Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Morocco Family Vacation, Kid Friendly Travel

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Morocco Family Vacation, Sahara Desert Adventure, Photograph by Rusk Elatassi

Morocco Family Vacation, Sahara Desert Adventure, Photograph by Rusk Elatassi

 

Morocco is the perfect country to travel for families who are considering a place to visit for spring break. A Morocco family vacation  during spring break guarantees a great adventure and an insightful cultural experience for families with children of all ages. Morocco is a kid friendly destination. Morocco’s expansive landscapes provide a wide array of adventure travel opportunities for families such as hiking, biking, trekking, camel trekking, zip lining, eating, surfing and swimming. Morocco’s temperate climate year-round makes it easy for families with a limited time frame who are traveling from the USA and Europe to reach. Morocco is just 7 1/2 hours from New York’s John F Kennedy Airport,  a 3 1/2 hour Easy jet stretch from Paris and an 1 hour from Madrid via Iberia Airlines. Families in search of a child-friendly destination need to look no further then Morocco.

Morocco Family Vacation, Djemaa El Fna Square Waterman, Photograph by Rusk Elatassi

Morocco Family Vacation, Djemaa El Fna Square Waterman, Photograph by Rusk Elatassi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a Morocco family vacation, parents can anticipate a jam-packed travel itinerary that includes a mix of site seeing in ancient cities, exploration of the souks and marketplaces, visiting magical gardens and UNESCO Heritage sites, seeing wild monkeys and barbary apes in Ifrane’s cedar forest, hiking across High Atlas Mountains and through Berber Villages, Sipping Tea with a Berber Family, participating in private family henna party and watching the snake charmers at sunset in Marrakech’s Djemaa el Fna Square. A Morocco family adventure vacation is not complete without traveling in a four-wheel drive across the Moroccan Sahara Desert and a 1001 Arabian Nights Morocco experience in the heart of the Erg Chebbi dunes at a traditional desert camp.

Perhaps one of the best surprises of all during a Morocco family vacation is the opportunity to enjoy stays at charming boutique riads that are well appointed in the old city bustling medinas with maze-like streets, colorful alley ways filled with craftsman, street food vendors, gardens, Islamic architecture,  and terraces with dream-like city scapes.

The best time to travel to Morocco for a family vacation is March and April along with October, November, and December. Spring break, Easter holiday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are when Morocco’s weather is extremely temperate and local festivities and adventure tie in with school schedules.

Morocco Family Vacation, Marrakech Monkeys, Photograph by Rusk Elatassi

Morocco Family Vacation, Marrakech Monkeys, Photograph by Rusk Elatassi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 Best Adventure Activites on a Morocco Family Vacation are: 

Family Vacation in Morocco – Adventure Tour Highlights

Zip line across the Atlas Mountains

Camel Trek in the Sahara Desert

Hot Air Balloon over Marrakech

Bread bake with a Berber family

Attend a traditional Fantasia Horse show in the Marrakech Palmeraie

For more information about the Family Vacations in Morocco and Family Adventure Tours

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Souks Outside Marrakech, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Souk Amzmiz

By  visiting local souks outside Marrakech you can experience local Berber country life and absorb the character of the marketplaces where they meet each week. This is an important social occasion where local producers sell their wares including, fruit, vegetables and livestock. Merchants from Marrakech sell essentials such as: tea, coffee, sugar, packaged foods, cooking items, clothing and electronics. You can also come across carpets, jewelry and pottery generally cheaper than in Marrakech. There are many things available to buy from in Moroccan souks: henna, spices, rugs, Berber slippers and sandals, pottery, Berber djellabahs for men, dresses for women and handmade wooden kitchen utensils.

Amizmiz has the best Berber souk  in the region on a Tuesday as well as sampling the local wares, it is a good starting off point for treks in the surrounding Atlas Mountains and meeting the Berbers in their home environment for mint tea and a meal served in their homes.

Set against the majestic backdrop of the High Atlas, the picturesque village of Tahanaout attracts visitors with its landscape and attractive sturdy Berber red clay buildings.  The village which is 30 km from Marrakech is surrounded by olive groves, orange  and lemon trees. Its souk is also held on a Tuesday. Pottery making and cooking demonstrations are on offer from the inhabitants of Tahanaout,  you  can learn how to make homemade bread, makoda, couscous and other traditional regional dishes.

Terres D'Amanar

There are good opportunities for bird watching whilst strolling along the riverbanks, where you can see  Moroccan wagtail, white stork and cattle egret. You can trek to the Ouirgane, N’Fis and Ourika Valleys and the waterfalls at Setti Fatma. You can also ride donkeys or hire a 4X4 cross country vehicle. If you want to stay in Tahanaout  you can book into the Terres d’Amanar an extensive eco lodge with gardens and stunning mountain views on the outskirts of the village. The Kasbah Angour is also nearby both establishments can arrange local tours including trekking on foot or by donkey and  4×4 overland vehicles for further afield .

Other centers for weekly souks include  Tnine Hem on Monday,Sidi Ghiat on Sunday and Aghmat with its ancient ruins on Friday. Asni   also has a large market on Saturday, Ijoukak on Wednesday and  Khemis Ouirgane on Thursday. Ouirgane itself is a delightful place to spend a few days for trekking and relaxation. It is close to the Tiz N’Test pass, Mount Toubkal, Toubkal National Park and the Tassa Ouirgane National Park. This is trekking and ecotourism country at its best. It is possible to travel around by 4×4 but if you are up to it by foot, donkey or horse is best. The air is clean the mountain scenery and the Takherkhoute forests are enchanting.

One of the of the best places to stay in Ouirgane is the idyllic Domaine de la Rosaraie, set in sixty acres of  parkland with a  large garden filled with roses .

Domaine Malika is new on the scene in Ourigane and for an upscale and chic mountain experience there is none better than the Domaine Malika. .

Chez Momo is a charming auberge, Moroccan country style home overlooking the High Atlas. They are also known for the excellent cuisine and elegant dinner setting. If staying in Ourigane dining at Chez Momo is a must.

Au Sanglier Qui Fume  has been in existence since 1945. It started by catering to Foreign Legion soldiers working on the bridge and acquired its distinctive name because it was used by wild boar hunters. Its restaurant has great character including the heads of wild boar hanging from the walls. The food is a blend of French and Moroccan cuisine. It remains a classical French establishment.

The Tassa Ouirgane National Park and the Toubkal National Park provide great trekking opportunities in amongst the valleys and local Berber villages hamlets and fields with the Atlas mountains towering above them. You can visit the salt mines at Marigha. Here the Berbers have been mining salt by their traditional method unchanged for centuries. They transport the salt by donkeys and sell it locally.

For More Information about the Souks outside of Marrakech

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Sefrou Cherry Festival in June, Tour Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Seffrou Cherry Festival

The June 2013 Sefrou Cherry Festival in Morocco, which celebrates the annual harvest, is the 93rd in its history and the first since its inclusion as part of the UNESCO immaterial cultural patrimony. The first Cherry festival held in Sefrou was In 1918. A cherry queen is crowned as a climax to street events and musical concerts. There will be exhibitions by cooperatives in the region to boost the local economy.

Sefrou is a small ancient walled city, less than an hour’s drive from Fes in the Fes-Bouelmane region of the Middle Atlas Mountains. It ‘s simple white houses pre-date the 8th Century architecture of Fes. The Oued Aggal , a seasonal river divides the city in half, with small bridges a good 10 meters above the river to allow people but not cars to pass. The city is built on high ground to avoid the raging torrents.

Sefrou, south of Fes, was once known as Little Jerusalem due to its high percentage of Jews and its well-developed religious life. Sefrou’s mellah makes up half of the old city.

The mountainous terrain is ideal for cherry trees, flowering in spring, with abundant cherries in summer. The festival is a very colorful occasion featuring music, dancing a fairground and supporting events. The event reaches it climax with the crowning of the Cherry Queen. Sefrou is perfect for a day trip from Fes, and your riad or travel agent can arrange a trip to the festival which occurs each year in June.

For More Information on the Seffrou Cherry Festival or Seffrou Excursion from Fes

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Ourika Valley’s Nectarome Products and the Moroccan art of body care

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Argan Nut, Morocco

In the village of Tnine in the Ourika valley Nectarome has an organic garden with aromatic plants and medicinal herbs where their products are created and a shop selling a range of soaps, shampoos aroma therapy and massage oils. There are also several outlets in Marrakech and Casablanca. The company has a team of experts in essential oils and pharmacy.

Nectarome combines ancient Moroccan traditional cosmetic formulas with the modern aromatherapy using essential oils and phytotherapy techniques for natural body and wellness treatments, with massage with oils. The famous Argan blended with other essential oils with moisturizing properties and essences such as almond or sesame oil. A range of soothing body lotions including rose,green tea and neroli (orange blossom) are available at their  Ourika valley location.

Argan, Product of Well Being

The soaps are based on essential oils such as Argan, Almond, Nigella and Ghassoul in addition to various glycerine soaps, Verbena, grape fruit, orange blossom, Amber, Musk and Rose. There are also liquid soaps such as cedar and orange.

Rose water and orange blossom water are used for toning and regenerating skin and perfuming the body and clothes. Face masks can help smooth wrinkles and anti aging with honey and essential oils and a gelling mask, natural clay face masks and cleansing masks.

There is a range of natural bath oils with eucalyptus and rosemary which helps to tone and relax the skin. Bath salts help to detoxify and purify the skin. Natural shampoos without chemical additives benefit the hair and scalp and treat dry or oily hair. Nectarome products also include shower gels in rosemary of bitter orange and a range of natural scents such as mint, tangerine and cinnamon.

The famous ancient black soap called beldi, is a mixture of olive and argan oil water and salt and is used in the massage to prepare the body for scrubbing and removing dead skin with a special horse hair glove.

Ghassoul, is a typical Moroccan clay, it is a deposit in the region of Fes . This clay is used in Morocco, mainly by women since the 12th century as a shampoo and skin cleanser.

Nectarome also provides natural henna recommended for skin infections and eczema, with restorative properties for skin and hair as well as decorating the hands and feet in traditional berber style. Nectarone cautions against henna with chemical additives which can be harmful to the skin.

For More Information on Nectarome in the Ourika Valley

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Morocco Wine Bars, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

El Minzah Wine Bar, Tangier

Wine bars are the new trend in Morocco. These new and upcoming Wine Bars offer a nice reprise for expats, travelers and those interested in a more local scene when traveling or living in Morocco. Wine bars in Morocco also offer a nice balance of wines ranging from imports to local Moroccan specialities along with light fare. With all the new craze in the USA and Europe – and some with a long trend of unique wine bars, Moroccan cities are at the forefront offering up some truly charming wine bars for those who want to expand their pallet and enjoy the new cities after sunset.

The Wine bar at the  El Minzah hotel  on the edge of the medina in Tangiers is decorated with the photos of stars who stayed at the historic El Minzah founded by the Marquis of Bute in the 1930’s and ate in the wine bar. Tangiers enjoyed an international reputation with the rich and famous and writers and artists during this period and  with the photos of past movie stars and personalities such as Sir Rex Harrison, Rita Hayworth, Rock Hudson, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jacques Cousteau and many others, you can relive the city’s  glittering past glories as you wine and dine.  An impressive wine list is accompanied by excellent cuisine . Start with a drink in the Caid’s bar which has an imposing picture of Caid Sir Harry Maclean who commanded the Sultan’s army.

In Casablanca Bistrot Chic Casablancais is a brasserie serving modern French cuisine with tapas and home   made desserts. The restaurant has a floor where a wine bar is located on 8 rue Taha Houcine and French cheeses are served, diners can choose their own wine from the cellar.

The Riad Fes , 5 Derb Ben Slimane Zerbtana,Fes is renowned for its luxury, impeccable service and fine restaurant. Its Andalous pavilion and lounge .Its wine bar offers great wines from Morocco to satisfy the most discerning wine lovers. It overlooks the swimming-pool and its green walls.    The black glass tables and  the gray Tadelakt walls provide a clear modern architectural back drop to the discovery of Morocco’s best wines.

Meknes is Morocco’s wine capital and the surrounding countryside has many fine vineyards. The largest of these is Les Celliers de Meknes which has achieved international recognition. Morocco has excellent reds, rosés and some fine white wines and sampling them is an important part of experiencing Moroccan cuisine. Meknes has the Bistrot Art et le wine bar located at the Hotel Transatlantic which is well known for its excellent cuisine.

Cheese Me Wine Bar, Marrakech

Marrakech has a new wine bar at 68 rue de la Liberte  called Cheese Me. It can be quite difficult to find good cheese in Moroccan restaurants so this is a really welcome addition to the Marrakech  restaurant scene. A stylish modern décor is matched by a friendly welcome and an excellent menu of cheeses and wines. You can select various options such as tapas and different selections of cheese with a  very generous cheese platter. Wines are available by the glass or the bottle.

The Loft Wine Bar, Marrakech

Loft, also located in rue de la Liberté in Gueliz in Marrakech, is a relaxed and stylish venue influenced by New York and Paris where one can sample the wine on the terrace or at the bar,  or enjoy the excellent and reasonably priced international  and French cuisine.

For More Information on a Morocco Tours and Wine Bars 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

 

Essaouira has it all, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Essaouira, Medina Entrance

Essaouira has it all! Ramparts and cannons looking out to sea, a maze of alley ways and souks selling artifacts, carpets and jewellry , the best handicrafts that  Morocco has to offer, art galleries and museums ,excellent restaurants, riads and hotels to suit every budget a mysterious island with a deserted mosque and abandoned settlement, a thriving fishing port, a long beach with a collapsed fort. Essaouira is the perfect seaside destination for single travelers or family holidays.

Essaouira Port

In the 18th century Sultan Mohammed III directed a French engineer, Théodore Cornut, and several other European architects and technicians to build the fortress and city blending Moorish and European designs of the period. There is a martello tower which was a revolutionay design at the time. Originally called “Souira” (“the small fortress”), the name became “Es-Saouira” (“the beautifully designed”) which is especially apt. The  imposing gate to the harbour was built by an English renegade “Ahmed the English.” Thus the town has its own special magic and attracted the famous film director and actor Orson Welles who filmed his renowned version of  Shakespeare’s Othello here in the early 1950’s using the ramparts and medina streets to great effect. Essaouira also had a hippy period when Jimi Hendrix and many others gathered  here.

Art in Essaouira

The development of Essaouira into Morocco’s premier seaside destination owes a great deal to André Azoulay a native of the town and the Adviser to King Mohammed VI .Essaouira is now a cultural centre for the arts with  a number of galleries featuring contemporary Moroccan  artists and it is a great opportunity to view and buy  their work which is becoming internationally famous. The  Frederic Damgaard gallery is the best and oldest in town and features the work of local artists.

Essaouira’s beautifully refurbished  Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum is in an old riad and has a small but interesting collection of jewellry, costumes, weapons, musical instruments and carpets fom the region. There’s a section explaining the signs and symbols used by local craftsmen and photographs of Essaouira at the turn of the century.

Essaouira is famous for its wooden artifacts,bowls,intricately designed boxes and cabinets in workshops in the Skalla de Ville just under the ramparts. Other finds  in the souks are carpets and kelims and jewellry  shops near Avenue Istiqlal  where you can find berber jewellry and items in gold.

Down by the harbour, the Skala du Port has cannons and picturesque views over the fishing port and the Île de Mogador. The small fishing boats are painted a deep blue and the larger fishing vessels are sometimes raised on to the harbour for repairs. Fish are landed and it is possible to buy them fresh from the sea or eat  them  grilled  at tables on the dockside. Sam’s the wooden  restaurant in the  harbour is famous for its fish dishes as is the Restaurant de la Plage with views out to sea and Essaouira’s  long beach.The terrace of Restaurant de la Plage is still one of the the best places for lunch in Essaouira. Other highly recommended restaurants include ; Les Alizés ,Ferdaous, El Minzah, Riad Al-Baraka and Les Chandeliers

The magnificent square at the entrance to the souks has numerous cafés for breakfast and coffee during the day and patisseries bake excellent cakes and pastries which can be consumed in the cafés.

Fishing with a fishing boat from the harbour can be arranged  as can trips to the Ile de Mogador ( with a permit from the Port office) except during the mating season of the famous colony of the rare Eleanora’s falcons, between April and October.

Essaouira is a windy town and thus a paradise for surfers, wind surfing is particularly popular and the bay is often filled with the colourful sails of windsurfers gliding back and forth with speed. Care should be taken by swimmers as there are strong undercurrents. If riding camels along the beach is not enough for you, you can ride horses and trek in the surrounding countryside and discover the ancient viaduct brought down by an earth quake.

Outside the town you can witness the amusing sight of goat’s climbing argan trees to eat the berries and you can visit argan oil presses and women’s cooperatives producing argan oil which is now a highly sought after product for culinary and cosmetic purposes.

Essaouira now has extremely good connections,with its own airport and a motorway linking it to Marrakech.The Supra tours bus company provides s regular service between Marrakech and Essaouira.

There are three world class festivals held in Essaouira each year ; the Gnaoua Festival of World Music is held in Essaouira, normally in the last week of June. It is a great event and it is important to book hotel accommodation well in advance if you decide to visit at this time. The spring musical festival of Alizés   in May features classical music and opera and the festival of Atlantic Andalusian music,art and dance in late September.

For More Information on a Essaouira Tour 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Merzouga, Morocco’s Gateway to the Desert, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

 

Merzouga, Morocco

Merzouga is a small dusty town in Morocco about 450 miles from Marrakech and close to the Algerian border. Ouarzazate is the closest large town. Merzouga is 50 km from the town of Erfoud and Rissani. It is the gateway to the Moroccan desert.

Merzouga lies in the heart of of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m. The landscape constantly changes with the wind sweeping the dunes into new formations and the sun changing the colour of the sand at different times of the day turning from pink to gold to red. The Erg Chebbi is like the great Ergs accross the border in Algeria. The largest dunes are near Merzouga and Hassi Labied. At night, you only have to walk a little wayout into the sand, away from the light, to appreciate the immensity and clarity of the desert sky and the brilliance of the stars.

Tourists come to Merzouga to go camel trekking and to experience the quiet stillness and immensityof the desert and the stars at night followed by the sunrise and sunset which is an amazing experience. Local berber tribesman can peform dances and their traditional music and tourists can spend the night in tented camping areas sampling traditional Moroccan cuisine and music by the camp fire.

Make sure you get a turban before setting out into the desert as protection from the heat and the dust.Carry a water bottle and ensure you secure the best bargains for your trips into the desert and pay attention to what is and is not provided.

Merzouga has a number of guest houses and riads if spending the night in a bivouac is not your choice. There are about 50 guest houses of varying categories along the sand dunes, and most of them own camels and can arrange for an extended trek, bird watching and other Sahara activities.

Other activities include trips into the desert by4X4 ,quad biking,hot air ballooning and sand skiing. You can bird watch around the Dayet Srji where there is a lake with flamingos. The Dayet Srji is a salt water lake and offers excellent bird viewing with lots of Egrets, Storks and Shelducks.

The summer months from June to September Merzouga can very hot during the day,, temperatures average around 115 Fahrenheit (45 C) during the summer and it’s obviously very dry. Nights in the desert do get much colder however and you’ll need a good jacket and pullover even if it is swelteringly hot during the day. If you do visit Merzouga during summer months find a hotel with a swimming pool.In March and April there are sandstorms as the Sirocco whips up. The best time to visit is from October to February.

For More Information on a Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Taroudant, Mini-Marrakech & Walled Berber City, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Tarodaunt Walled City

If you want a relaxing stay in an authentic walled Berber town look no further than the medieval town of Taroudant. It lies beside the High Atlas mountains in the Sous Valley in the southern part of Morocco and it has retained its authentic Berber character and roots. Taroudant is well placed as a base for exploring the region  to the east of  Agadir  and its beaches, it is on the road to Ouarzazate and the Sahara desert and adrive over the dramatic Tizi n’Test pass to Marrakech.

It is said to resemble a smaller version of Marrakech with its walls and ramparts surrounding the city. For a very short time Tarodaunt was indeed the capital of the Saadian dynasty  used as a base for attacking the Portuguese in Agadir. The Saadians then moved to Marrakech. Taroudant saw its golden age during the reign of Mohammed ash-Sheikh who constructed the city walls and built the great mosque and its minaret in 1528. Taroudant unlike the imperial cities of Fes, Marrakech and Meknes does not have a ville nouvelle, a modern part of town, which greatly adds to its authentic ancient atmosphere and charm. It has a population of around 70,000 but retains its small market town character.

Taroudant remains a traditional Berber fortified  town enclosed by its ramparts which are the best preserved in Morocco, nearly 6 kilometres long with bastions and nine gates that still remain intact. A perfect way to see the town walls is to take a horse drawn caleche or hire a bicycle. It was an important staging and trading post on the ancient camel trading route and there is still a small tannery outside the ramparts selling products made from camel hide such as leather bags,sandals and belts. The town is well known for its quality leather products.

Its souks are welcoming and relaxed and excellent value for discerning shoppers, especially for local crafts and Berber and Tuareg jewellery, for which it is renowned. Prices here are significantly less than in the big cities like Marrakec and Fes. There are souks near each of the two main squares, Assarag and Talmoklate.

There is also a weekly souk outside the city walls, near the new university district. Taroudant has always benefited from the diverse agricultural produce from the Souss  and remains a local market town  .The Berber market, called Jnane al-Jaami, sells spices and dried fruits but mostly clothes and household goods. The Arab souk, however, specialises in handicrafts such as terracotta, wrought iron, pottery, brass and copper, leather and carpets, rugs and jewellery. It is a place to gain a real insight into Morocco’s everyday culture and environment.

It has a very equitable climate in winter and in summer it is cooled by the current from the Canaries. It is therefore no surprise that Taroudant is home to some of the best hotels in the south of Morocco; they include the the exclusive haunt of the rich and famous, the Hotel Gazelle D’Or, which began as hunting lodge for a French baron in the 1920’s and was converted into a hotel after the  Second World War, it has superb grounds. Other well known hotels include the Dar Zitoun and the Hotel Palais Salam and there is a full range of hotel accommodation in town. The Riad al Hossoun also comes highly recommended and has a superb garden and views of the Atlas Mountains.

Activities outside Taroudant include visiting Berber villages in the foot hills of the High Atlas and Anti Atlas mountains and the Oases and experiencing the wild life and birds in the Souss Massa National Park The village of Tioute 36 kms from Taroudant has a Kasbah on a hill which has been partly converted into a restaurant area with a pool which is alluring in the summer heat. The ancient fortified village of Freija is 11 km from Taroudant also has a Kasbah, now the Riad Freija.

For More Information on a Tarodaunt Tour 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Denise Masson, “The Lady of Marrakech”, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

denise-masson-2114

Denise Masson was not only a leading Islamic scholar of Marrakech, she was “La Dame de Marrakech” par excellence .. a woman who celebrated the medina where she lived and continues to be part of the memory of this city and Morocco.

Denise Masson wrote her famous interpretation of the Koran which must be hailed as one of the best interpretations of the Koran in French, published in 1967 by Gallimard.

The Riad Denise Masson, where she studied Islam, and was  honoured by her neighbourhood, was bequeathed to the French Institute of Marrakech to host people or events aimed  at dialogue between the three religions of the Book.

To pay tribute to her, and on the occasion of 110 anniversary of her birth (August 5, 1901) and the anniversary of her death  at 93  on 10 November 1994, a ceremony was organised on 10 November 2011,  at the  European cemetery in Marrakech, Guéliz.

On this occasion prayers were said from the three religions of the Book, in the presence of the Consul General of France in Marrakech, Chantal Chauvin, Bahija Simou (speecj in Arabic), Francois-Xavier Tillette (Project Manager for the Sub-Directorate North Africa, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs), Dominique Lemaistre (Director of Sponsorship at the Fondation de France) and Guerric Masson (great-nephew and biographer Denise Masson).

Denise Masson was the most erudite and well known  Islamic scholar of her time,  known for translating the Koran into French. Writer, musician, protagonist of the dialogue of cultures of the Euro-Maghreb and  the three monotheistic religions ,  She chose to leave the riad to France and to be buried in Morocco, a country she always loved and where she rests peace.

Ryad-Denise-MASSON--Marrakech_6617

The famous Denise Masson riad, located at Bab Doukkala in the old medina of Marrakech, is open to the public for greater cultural and artistic development of this specific place.

For More Information on Denise Masson and a Marrakech Tour 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

10 Great Things to Do in Marrakech, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Marrakech Atlas Mountain Views

Morocco’s “Red Hamra” city of Marrakech is an icon for travelers to Morocco. A visit to this North African country’s hotspot of Marrakech is a must. Morocco is exotic and the penchant of every travelers dream is to visit Marrakech. Marrakech offers landscapes to indulge in along with a bustling medinas and Berber villages just minutes outside. Here are Ten Great things to do in Marrakech.

1. Touch the Heart of the Atlas

The  view of the Atlas Mountains  and its snow capped peaks is one of Marrakech’s glories and can be viewed from many part’s of the city, looking far closer  than 4 kms away. One of the best locations is the terrace of the Hotel Renaissance where you can sip a drink during the day or at sundown as the white peaks go pink .Churchill and Roosevelt savoured the moment,Churchill telling his friend at the end of the Casablanca conference :”You cannot come all this way to North Africa without seeing Marrakech. Let us spend two days there. I must be with you when you see the sun set on the Atlas Mountains.”

Marrakech Caleche Ride

2. Romantic Trip by Horse Drawn Caleche

Take a romantic trip round Marrakech’s ancient ramparts in a horse drawn caleche . It is also an excellent way to get to know the city at a sedate pace instead of roaring around in a taxi. Make sure you agree the price before hand !

3. Indulge & Shop the Marrakech Souks

The fabled souks of Marrakech are a  vibrant riot of colour  as  they display their riches crafted by its artisans , carpets, kelims jewelry, jellabas and caftans, dressess ,shirts and tunics,wooden bowls, ornate boxes and chess sets an, leather bags and jackets and lamps, as the crowds pass through  and salesman vie to attract attention and haggle over prices. Serious shoppers should be armed with a notebook, a calculator and time for tea and haggling when visiting the Grande Souk. when visiting the Souk several hours is the minimum for any shopping expedition. You can choose your vendor on your own or with a guide. Marrakech’s medina and its grande souk stocks the city’s treasure of handicrafts. If you’re willing to haggle then a deal can be had. If you are not a haggler then simply enjoy the spectacle and visit the Ensemble d’Artisansale, a craftsmen’s cooperative on the Avenue Mohammed V offers fixed price  goods in a charming and unpressurised  atmosphere. It’s also a good place to check out prices before plunging into the souk nd.you can also watch the craftsmen at work.Wander the timeless streets of the medina and be seduced by its ancient medieval mystique.

4. Be a Sultan for a Day – Explore the Great Medersa Ben Youssef

The Medersa Ben Youssef was an Islamic college in Marrakech named after named after the Almoravid Sultan Ali ibn Youssef who reigned from 1106–1142. Wonder at the glory of the golden age of islamic architecture in the central courtyard and walk through the maze of  130 student cells in this Medieval centre of learning.

5. Stepback in time at La Maison de la Photographie

La Maison de la Photographie is a photographic treasure trove of Morocco and Moroccans from the 1870’s to just before independence in 1956.  to the gallery in a converted three floor foundak which houses a collection of photograhps of Morocco from the 1860’s and the very earliest days of photography to 1956 on the eve of Morocco’s independence. Over 5,000 photographs and glass prints of Morocco were brought from France to Marrakech by Patrick Man’ach and he and his assistants give a guided tour of this unique record of Morocco as it was.There is a video room with footage of Berber tribes dancing in the 1950’s At the end of the tour you can mount the terrace for a fine view of the Medina.

6. Overnight in an Ancient Riad in Marrakech – Palace Sytle

Stay in a Riad in Marrakech’s medina and enjoy life in the ancient medina .Riad’s are individually  richly decorated by local craftsmen and give you the opportunity to stay in an intimate atmosphere as an alternative to a hotel outside the Medina.. Many Riads offer cookery classes so that you can learn how to create your own Moroccan cuisine and riad owners can advise you where to go for  local bargains in the souk.

7. Stroll Marrakech’s Exotic Gardens & Lush Parks

The Abdelsalem Park with its high palm trees, greenery and shrouded walks is one of these off the busy Avenue Mohammed V, it is a haven of  much needed tranquility after a few hours of frenetic shopping in the souk   . Other famous parks are the Aguedal and the Menara with its large water tank and famous Pavilion. The El Harti Park off the Place 16 November is a delightful park with a play area for children with two large stone dinasours. The famous exotic and colourful  Majorelle gardens once owned by Yves St Laurent are on the Boulevard Zerktouni.

8. Paradise at the Bahia Palace – Walk in the footsteps of the Vizir Si Moussa

The Bahia Palace was the 19 th century residence of the vizir Si moussa and his son who succeeded him, Ba Ahmed and has a remarkable maze of rooms and gardens there is even an ornate parade ground.The American novelist Edith Wharton stayed there in1917 when she was a guest of Marshal Lyautey after the First World War and it was te French army headquarters in Marrakech and she wrote a vivid description in her book “In Morocco”. Go back in time in a Vizir’s palace.

 

Moroccan Hammam

9. Go local – Visit an Authentic Moroccan Hammam for a traditional Scrub

Visit a Moroccan hammam to soak in the heat, be scrubbed and massaged with Argan, Orange and Rose oils to take away your aches and pains. Experience traditional beauty treatments of a gromage and sip tea by a delightful fountain. Marrakech has some of the most charming and authentic traditional Hammam’s in Morocco.

10.  Splurge and Dine out at Marrakech’s Finest that is run by women

Splurge on  one superb Moroccan meal at Al Fassia restaurant  on Boulevard Zerktouni in the Gueliz staffed by women it is still the  place to sample the very best in Moroccan cuisine  with  a selection of salades and  traditional tangines  and couscous washed down with fine Moroccan wine.

For More Information on Great things to do in Marrakech or a Marrakech Tour 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.