Whether you want to ride a camel in the Sahara, wander through the colourful souks of Marrakech and Fes, explore an ancient Kasbah, or discover a desert oasis, Morocco is a country full of surprises. Our ten day trip of Morocco left us with some unforgettable experiences.
1 Wander the pink city of Marrakech
Dating back to the eleventh century, head to the traditional old medina (walled city) and explore the narrow paths that lead through the uneven ancient buildings where thousands of people live. If you’re feeling adventurous, wander along the dusty, windy streets through the old medina through small cornered tunnels. Watch out for motor bikes and horses and carts!
Wandering through the maze of colourful never-ending souks is a must in Marrakech; buy leather, spices, carpets, argan oil, handicrafts and shoes. It’s easy to get lost.
The main square of Marrakech is filled with local food and souvenir stalls and continually buzzes with the sounds of drums, and snake charmers in the day. Watch the spectacle in the main square that’s surrounded by restaurants and cafes with terraces, the atmosphere is great when the local people gather there in the evening.
2 Stay in a Traditional Riad
Don’t judge a book by its cover ! Behind the ancient walls of the Riad we stayed in Marrakech we found beautifully appointed traditional rooms with an indoor courtyard and swimming pool. The hospitality and service at Ksar Anika was exceptional. We found very friendly hospitable people in all the places we stayed in Morocco, and some of the best service we’ve experienced throughout the world.
3 Visit a Kasbah
The Ben Haddou Kasbah is a UNESCO world heritage site in the provence of Ourzasete on the southern side of the high Atlas Mountains. It’s constructed from mud brick and has featured in many movies including Gladiator and The Mummy.
There are many Kasbahs (fortified houses) in Morocco that are still well preserved. Telouet Kasbah is also worth a visit.
4 Stunning Scenery
We didn’t expect to see such incredible natural beauty on our 10 day road trip of Morocco. The richness of the red rock formations at the base of the Atlas mountains and the green oasis of palms that suddenly appeared in parts of our journey were breathtaking.
5 Ride camels in the Sahara desert
The one and a half hour camel ride each way and overnight stay in the Sahara desert was a highlight of our trip to Morocco. The friendly Berber guides prepare a traditional tagine with dancing and drums around the campfire. Take warm clothes in the cooler months, it can get cold staying in the tents overnight (our tent had a mattress) The sky is so clear, look out for your favourite star formation.
Make sure your awake to see the spectacular sunrise over the orange sand dunes.
6 Visit a nomad family
We visited a nomad family’s cave, that’s only accessible by four-wheel drive and experienced the very poor and basic conditions that they live in. They had electricity for the first time a few weeks before we visited from a small solar power generator.
7 Explore Fes
Step back in time in the UNESCO protected city of Fes and walk through the souks and streets of the two medinas closed to traffic. Surrounded by city walls and gates, Fes-al-Bali is the larger of the medinas. Donkeys transport goods through the narrow winding streets of the medieval city founded over one thousand three hundred years ago.
It’s worth hiring a local guide to show you the architecture of the ancient buildings and mosques. A visit to the outdoor tanneries is a must, even with the overpowering smell in the surrounding area. (We were given fresh mint to smell for our visit)
8 Roman ruins in Volubilis
Visit the archaeological site of Volubilis founded in the 3rd century BC as part of the Roman empire. Abandoned for more than a thousand years, it’s a very large 42 hectare well-preserved site. It’s worth paying a local guide to show you around the site for a couple of hours, as it’s unlike other archaeological sites in Europe that have restricted access. Being quite unknown in Morocco, it would be easy to miss seeing the large ancient Roman city.
9 Explore Chefchaouen
Situated high in the Rif mountains, wander the winding streets and stairs of the captivating blue city of Chefchaouen. You can spend a day or two exploring the city where colourful traditional Berber handicrafts are displayed in the streets. Be ready to buy a carpet that you don’t need as I did !
Find a viewpoint that looks down to the old city for a spectacular sunset.
10 Discover Marrakech Palaces
Built in the late nineteenth century, the Bahia palace, with its Islāmic architecture is one of the finest palaces in Morocco.
View and admire the outside of the Royal Palace that was built in the 12th century, it isn’t open to the public.
There are restrictions on cash limits at most ATM’s in Morocco, it’s also difficult to find ATM’s in remote area. It’s a good idea to take some cash to Morocco to change to Moroccan dirham.
Many restaurants and some hotels and riads don’t serve alcohol.
The suggested dress standards in Morocco are very useful from Rough Guides, see roughguides.com
We visited Morocco in November, the weather was warm during the day, and cool at night in the Sahara Desert and the Rif mountains.
Public transport is very limited in Morocco, it’s a good idea to visit the country with a guide. Rough Tours tailor-made our itinerary and have group sizes as small as two people. Our tour guide Driss and driver Ibrahim were very knowledgeable and helpful and are highly recommended. Rough Tours give some of the tour cost to the Ramlia Childrens Literacy Fund to help improve their living standards.
Is Morocco on your bucket list ?
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