Posts Tagged ‘Marrakech Tours’

Travel Exploration Trip Advisor Winner 2016 – Morocco Private Tours

Monday, November 14th, 2016
Dades, Valley, Morocco

Dades, Valley, Morocco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours has been awarded the Trip Advisor 2016 Certificate of Excellence.

The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award is a testament to Travel Exploration’s High Standards and Service provided for Morocco Tours. The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence honors Moroccan Travel Agents and Tour companies that consistently earn top ratings from Trip Advisor travellers. With a perfect rating of 5.0 Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours has earned a place among the very best.

This achievement is a direct result of Travel Exploration’s consistent great reviews from Morocco travelers who have shared their experiences on Trip Advisor’s website. The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award is a testament to Travel Exploration’s High Standards and Service provided for couples, family, and small groups tours who have visited Morocco with Travel Exploration. The Trip Advisor award is given annually to exceptional travel agents and Morocco tour operators. TripAdvisor places a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers.

As a potential Morocco Traveler you can read what travelers who have visited Morocco with Travel Exploration Morocco’s Private Tours say on our Testimonials Trip Advisor page.

For More Information About Travel Tips Before You Go to Morocco or To Receive an Itinerary & Quotation, Visit our BOOK A TOUR page. We are an ASTA Certified Agency.

Travel Tips Before You Go: Morocco Private Tour & Boutique Travel Experiences – From Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours:

1. Make sure to Book Direct with Travel Exploration. Request a package that is inclusive of a Private, Mutlilingual Speaking Driver, Boutique Riads and Local Historical Guides. Ask for their hand selected options that have been curated by the owner. Our team of expert, licensed Multi-lingual guides and drivers will set in motion a memorable journey.

2. Research the tour offerings online as taking a Morocco Private Tour requires reserach and some planning on your own. Know what you want and decide whether you want an Imperial Cities or Imperial Cities and Sahara Desert Tour. Don’t miss out on the country wide site seeing options that are provided with the 1001 Arabian Nights 12 Day Tour, the Majestic Moroccco 2 Week Tour or if time is limited the One Week in Morocco Tour.

3. Take advantage of being able to book a Morocco Private Tour through a female owned company. Support a woman owned business. The owner of Travel Exploration, Alecia Cohen, is female, and a former magazine publisher, of Global Rhythm magazine and an executive who established Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours with her Berber partner to show travelers the best of Morocco. Mrs. Cohen has lectured at the World Bank on Culture & Sustainable Development in Africa and has been featured in various print and television venues, including CNN Financial News, Entrepreneurial Edge, Crain’s, Entrepreneur, and The World.

4. Splurge when traveling to Morocco. Stay at Morocccan Riads, Moroccan Boutique Hotels and a Luxury Desert Camp. Don’t miss out on unique opportunities to take a Food Tasting Tour in Fes or Marrakech, a cooking class with a Daada Chef or cruise across the Sahara Dunes on a Quad. The extra spending you invest in on local activites will ensure a richer travel experience.

5. Ask about Restaurant, Shopping and Spa Recommendations. Travel Exploration has their finger on the pulse of all things Moroccan. They can arrange for local lunches with families in Berber villages, a special dinner where you can dine on the best, Moroccan cuisine with locals, or visit up market restaurants where you have an exclusive invite to a Moroccan wine bar. Shop locally or at upmarket boutiques and enjoy a wide range of Moroccan and Hammam/ Spa experiences. Travel Exploration has Insider Guides to Morocco Travel only available to those who book with them.

Morocco has much to offer with it’s wide range of Travel Experiences for Couples, Indipendent Travelers, Families and those interested in visiting for their Honeymoon.

For More Information about Travel Exploration Morocco’s Private Tours to Morocco

Marrakech Day Trips, Morocco Atlas & Coastal Excursions

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Ourka-Valley-Day-Trips-From-Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bustling red terracota colored city of Marrakech is dotted with magnificent views of the High Atlas Mountains and surrounded by lush valley’s and a desert-like palmeraie. Marrakech is the perfect city to use as a base for Day Trips. Often referred to as the Paris of Morocco, the city of Marrakech is well appointed in Morocco’s south. Mararkech is just three hours from Morocco’s Atlantic coast and the Essaouira Medina, an hour from the Ourika Valley and a full days drive from the Sahara Desert. Consider taking a one week holiday in Marrakech as to allow for these various Moroccan Day Trips.

Ourika Valley & Ait Ashok
A favorite weekend getaway for Marrakech’s is the Ourika Valley. This quaint region is appeciated by locals for its valley’s, streams and the seven Setti Fatma waterfalls. Ourika is perfect for long walks, hiking, visiting a Berber villages and is filled with palm tree plantations, fruit trees, tiny hamlets, summer homes and road side cafes. Travelers can enjoy tea and break bread with a Berber family on this day trip from Marrakech.

For those looking to experience off the beaten path Ourika consider exploring the charming Berber vilage of Ait Ashok. Nestled in a secret location inside the Ourika Valley and not frequented by many travelers, it offers unforgettable views, authentic encounters, and an unclose experience to meet local villagers of of Tizi Oucheg.

Ourigane Valley
Nestled in the High Atlas Mountains of Toubkal National Park, this region is a must see for travelers interested in a low key, non touristic day trip from Marrakech. Ourigane Valley is ideal for relaxing and hiking. It’s various flora and fauna makes for the idea location to sip mint tea with a view. The Ourigane VAlley also home to one of Morocco’s oldest Jewish Zaouia sites, the shrine of Rabbi Abraham Ben Hammou. Ourigane boasts fresh Atlas air and small properties for longer stays such as the classic La Roseraie famous for it’s 30 hectares of rose gardens and stables and the new, contemporary Hotel L’Amandier.

High Atlas Toubkal

High Atlas Toubkal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Atlas Toubkal & Imlil
The High Atlas Toubkal Mountains are the second highest in Africa second to Kilamanjaro and the highest peak in North Africa. Toubkal and the village of Imlil offer scenic activities for hikers on a day trip from Mararkech. A day hike at Mount Toubkal allows for trekkers to explore the region’s varied peaks and have lunch in a Berber village or at Kasbah Toubkal with views. The village of Imlil is small and windy with local shops selling Berrber silver jewelry and Moroccan goods. Filled with street cafes and guests houses, Imlil is a good refuge for hikers.

Ouzoud Waterfalls

Ouzoud Waterfalls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cascades D’Ouzoud Waterfalls
The Ouzoud falls, just a few hours from Marrakech boasts three tiered beautiful waterfalls and a lush valley. Ouzoud offers many trekking options. Visitors can take a wooden paddle boat trip at the bottom of the falls or a cold dip in the falls which makes for a charmed experience. Outdoor cafe stands conjure up the atmosphere with fresh cold orange juice and Moroccan snacks. A favorite of Marrakechi’s, picnicing at Ouzoud is also popular in spring and summer months. For Morocco travelers who have more then a day trip from Marrakech available, an overnight stay can be arranged at a Berber guest house. The Berber guest houses in Ouzoud are secluded with spectacular views, local cuisine and Moroccan hospitlaity.

Oukaïmeden
Oukaïmeden is Africa’s highest peak for skiiing and a Morocco premiere ski resort. Oukaïmeden village is perched on Jebel Attar and just an hour from Marrakech. Adventure seekers and skiiers can enjoy Oukaïmeden’s windy slopes and chair lift to ferry them across the Atlas. Local cuisine is available at many of the Ski houses nearby, year round. Off season Oukaïmeden makes for the pefect getaway given its cooler temperatures and remote Atlas Mountain scenery. The region of Oukaïmeden is also known for its history of prehistoric rock carvings. The local musuem in Oukaïmeden provides more information on this and visitors can also explore with their Moroccan guide to discover rock carvings in the surrounding area.

Essaouira Medina

Essaouira Medina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essaouira Medina
This former Portuguese fished village once called Mogador is just three hours from Marrakech located on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast. Essaouira has lovely white washed and blue-shuttered houses that create a scenic backdrop of coastal romance. Essaouira’s seaside medival medina offers mouth watering seafood, thuya workshops and art galleries. A hippy colony with chic restaurants that cater to foodies, Essaouira is ideal for contemporary gastro-fare and a great place to enjoy sunset cocktails. The Essaouira medina is only 8 kilometers from the Ounara winery and a Frommagerie where travelers can learn cheese making or enjoy a five course menu of cheese inspired dishes. The Essaouira medina as a Morocccan day trip from Marrakech is a layed back option for couples, small groups and families.

For More Information about Day Trips from Mararkech and Morocco Day Trips

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, 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.

Top 5 Tours From Marrakech, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
Marrakech Tours

Marrakech Tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marrakech also known at Marrakesh is one of the most cosmpopolitan cities in Morocco. The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words mur (n) akush, which means “Land of God.” It is the third largest city in Morocco, after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. It is a few hours from the foot of the Sahara Desert. Its location and contrasting landscape has made it an enviable destination in Morocco plus the perfect city to utilize as a based for discovering cities outside Marrakech. The Top 5 tours from Marrakech offer a Morocco Traveler a brief get away from the bustling medina.

Cascades Ouzoud Tour

Cascades Ouzoud Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Tours From Marrakech:

Cascades D’Ouzoud Waterfalls – Discover Waterfalls, Swim and Enjoy Lunch in a Traditional Berber Village. Located in a lush valley, in a friendly Berber village are the three beautiful tiered waterfalls of Ouzoud dropping 110m into the river below. Take a hike along the river up to the caves and gorges of Oued el-Abid, or stay close by the falls and enjoy the natural scenery. In the summer time, enjoy a picnic and mingle with Marrakshis that frequent this peaceful area on the weekends.Enjoy a local riverboat as you cruise across the river. This is our Top Tour from Marrakech selected for adventure travelers who want a combination of hiking, swimming and village exploration.

Essaouira Tour

Essaouira Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essaouira Coastal Tour – Journey and Discover the seaside resort town of Essaouira on this One Day Tour from Marrakesh. En route enjoy lunch at a local fromagerie and wine tasting at one of Morocco’s leading wineries in the Valley of Essaouira. Explore the thuya wood workers, the artisans boutiques, old Portuguese Ramparts and charming medina in Essaouira. End the day dining on fresh fish at the port or a local restaurant such as Umia or One-Up, Essaouira’s chicest eats. This is our Top Tour from Marrakech selected for foodies and those who want a laid back excursion in a small coastal town.

High Atlas Mountains Tour – Journey and discover Imlil Village & High Atlas Toubkal on this One Day Tour from Marrakesh. En route stop at a Berber home for tea and bread, followed by a visit to a traditional village and farm. Explore a local souk and hike in the Toubkal mountain region, the second highest next to Kilamnajaro. Enjoy lunch at Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot or at a local hideaway, Kasbah Toubkal that boasts majestic views of the High Atlas. This is our Top Tour from Marrakech selected for active travelers who want a combination of adventure and exploration of local culture.

Ourika Valley Tour – Discover the Ourika Valley on this One Day Tour from Marrakesh. Moving through the valley you will visit Setti Fatma’s Waterfalls, a favorite weekend resort of many Moroccans appreciated for its beautiful streams and waterfalls. Enjoy views of high green terraces, Atlas peaks, villages in the rocky foothills from the seven waterfalls that surround the village. Trek along the pretty trails and, climb the walls to see rock carvings. Lunch near the Setti Fatma Cascades in a traditional Moroccan restaurant, or have a picnic. This is our Top Tour from Marrakech selected for active travelers who want a combination of adventure and exploration through Berber Villages.

Ourigane Valley Tour – Discover the Berber Valley of Ourigane, the Tinmel Mosque and charming villages on this One Day Tour from Marrakech. Nestled in the tranquil foothills of the High Atlas Mountains in the heart of the Toubkal National Park is the charming and quaint Berber village region of Ourigane. Ourigane boasts magnificent views of the High Atlas range along with out door activities ranging from hiking, walking, horse-riding and mountain biking. A wide variety of birdlife awaits you. Located on the valley floor of the Oued ‘River’ Nfis, Ourigane is situated 1,000 meters above sea level. Visit the Tinmel Mosque and if time allows the ancient Jewish Zaouia.

For more information about Tours from Marrakech

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, 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.

5 Fabulous Courtyard Gardens in Marrakech

Saturday, March 28th, 2015
Marrakech Riad Courtyard Garden

Marrakech Riad Courtyard Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marrakech is a city of light and vibrant color. From it’s bustling souks to new museums and art galleries, wide Moroccan restaurants, lavish designer hotels and opulent riad gardens there is something for everyone. There’s no better place to take it all in then one of Marrakech’s fabulous courtyard gardens. Riad courtyard gardens are intimate spaces filled with lush, leafy green flora and fauna often centered around a stone or marble fountain filled with rose petals.  In the majority of Moroccan courtyard gardens roses and oranges are grown and in every home courtyard garden a mixture of exotic spices that are brought from Mecca. A Marrakech courtyard garden should be part of a Morocco travelers experience when visiting the city particular in spring and summer. Riad Courtyard gardens serve as the perfect escape to read a book, enjoy a typical Moroccan meal, a sunset cocktail or simply decompress and take in the sights and sounds. Marrakech courtyard gardens offer a divine escape for the Morocco Traveler and for Expats alike.

5 fabulous riad courtyard gardens in Marrakech worth visiting are:

Palais Lamrani Courtyard, Marrakech

Palais Lamrani Courtyard, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

Palais Lamrani is an authentic nineteenth century palace riad with an extraordinary lush garden filled with orange trees, roses bushes, frequent bird visitors an a sense of interior calm. The owners, a remarkable French couple, Noemie and Eric offer a private riad experience for luxury travelers. The Palais has six suites, a swimming pool, a traditional Moroccan Hammam /Spa and terraces that over look the High Atlas Mountains.

 

Riad Enija Courtyard Garden, Marrakech

Riad Enija Courtyard Garden, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riad Enija is owned by a Swedish architect Bjorn Conerdings and Swiss designer Ursula Haldimann.  This Maison d’Hotes is made of several riads seemed together with many exotic courtyards and sprawling terraces. Named after their daughter, Enija, it boasts tropical style plants and opulent gardens. Lavish fountains filled with flower petals can be found around every corner during an afternoon stroll. The design of the riad is both sophisticated and eclectic with Ursala having traveled the world collecting textiles, furniture and art all, which have made their way into every room on the property. Ideal for the laid back luxury traveler this riad with secret courtyard gardens guarantees the comfort of a home.

Dar Donab, Marrakech Courtyard Garden

Dar Donab, Marrakech Courtyard Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dar Donab is located in the Dar El Bacha region of the Marrakech medina. This typical Moroccan riad has stunning traditional architecture and quite an intimate setting for a day at leisure. The courtyard at Dar Donab is arranged around a swimming pool and gurgling fountains. Dating from the eighteenth century, this riad was once part of the Dar El Glaoui’s Palace. The courtyard garden remains authentic with its zellij tile work and Andalusian style patio paved with marble. A haven of peace this courtyard garden is perfect for an afternoon cocktail or late lunch just before sunset when the light is at its peak.

 

Palais Sebban Marrakech Courtyard Garden

Palais Sebban Marrakech Courtyard Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palais Sebban located in the popular Moussine district of the Marrakech medina is a hidden jewel of Moroccan-Andalusian architecture. This charming boutique riad has a breathtaking courtyard with a stylized hanging garden dripping from it’s rooftop terrace. Originally constructed around the  residence of Caíd  Sebban, this nineteenth century palace has three courtyards, hand painted rooftops, frescos carved in plaster and antiques of historic significance can be found in every nook and cranny. Lunch or Dinner in the courtyard of Sebban or even afternoon tea completes a long day after exploring the Marrakech souks.

Villa Des Orangers Courtyard Marrakech

Villa Des Orangers Courtyard Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villa Des Oranges is a stylish Marrakech boutique hotel with a truly romantic courtyard garden perfect for all seasons. A Relais & Chateaux property it is one of the best medina retreat experiences Marrakech has to offer. A French couple, Pascal and Veronique Beherec discovered this riad on a trip to Morocco in 1998 and then began the creation of a luxury this hotel that combines sophistication with luminous textures, fabrics, Moroccan woodwork and further development of the garden. It took nine months to restore the traditional Moroccan house using local artisans in Marrakech. Elegance combined with the cozy essence of a home, salons with fireplaces, private terraces and views of the Atlas are just a few good reasons to stay at Villa Des Orangers. Just a 2 minute walk to the place Djemma El Fna, Villa des Orangers is a veritable oasis of calm. With three green patios and trickling fountains, harmony can be found here.

For more information on Marrakech Riads and Courtyard Gardens.

For more information about the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music 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.

The Marrakesh Express, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
The Marrakech Express Train

The Marrakech Express Train

Tourism is not a new phenomenon for Marrakesh. Morocco as a whole has long attracted explorers and adventurers, artists and their muses and those in search of the mystic and exotic. From 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys to 20th century author George Orwell; from Winston Churchill to Franklin D. Roosevelt; from Yves Saint-Laurent to the Rolling Stones. All have sought out the particular charms of Marrakesh and the city undoubtedly cast its special spell on them as it has on many millions of visitors since.

In the 1960s, Morocco’s accessibility – just a short ferry journey across the Straits of Gibraltar on a ferry in a psychedelic painted VW Beetle or Camper Van (and the accessibility of its notorious cannabis) put Morocco firmly on the hippie trail. Morocco then became the inspiration and bolthole of a number of icons of the era. Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards came here to escape media attention ahead of their infamous drugs trial and hang out with the likes of Paul and Talitha Getty. One of the most famous photographs of Patrick Litchfield’s career is of the Gettys on their Marrakesh terrace, taken in 1969. Their contemporary, Yves Saint-Laurent recalled that other era of excess, the Roaring 20s, when he said of the Gettys:

I knew the youthfulness of the Sixties (…) Talitha and Paul Getty lying on a starlit terrace in Marrakesh, beautiful and damned, and a whole generation assembled as if for eternity where curtain of the past seemed to lift before an extraordinary future.” 

1969 was undoubtedly the peak of this very special era. In the early morning of 18 August 1969, in a field in New York, Crosby, Stills and Nash played the first concert performance of Marrakesh Express at the Woodstock Festival. In the way that Woodstock defined an era and a cultural movement, the song defined an image of Marrakesh which persists today. Graham Nash was inspired to write the song by a train journey he took between Casablanca and Marrakesh in 1966. He claims that on finding his first class carriage “boring”, he went to explore second class, which he found fascinating and full of “ducks and pigs and chickens,” according to the lyrics. (Although pigs are unlikely in a Muslim country – poetic licence, perhaps?)

YouTube Preview Image

I’ve been saving all my money just to take you there.

I smell the garden in your hair.

Take the train from Casablanca going south,

blowing smoke rings from the corners of my mouth.

Colored cottons hang in the air,

charming cobras in the square.

Striped djellebas we can wear at home.

Well, let me hear ya now.

The colored cottons are probably a reference to the kelims and carpets Nash observed hanging on buildings and shops as he approached the centre of Marrakesh, where, just as today (and for centuries previously), he found snake charmers in Place Jmaa el Fna. Djellabas, the typical hooded robes of Moroccans, are a practical garment and a popular souvenir. There are many archive photos of 60s icons dressed in this costume.

Ruined Sultan Palace Diabat

Ruined Sultan Palace Diabat

Incidentally, it was also in 1969 that Jimi Hendrix, another icon of the period, visited the boho-chic coastal resort of Essaouira. Much is made of this connection in the town and it is said that the ruined Sultan’s Palace in the nearby village of Diabat inspired his hit, Castles in the Sand. A brief fact-check reveals that the song was released two years previously, but facts never stand in the way of a good Moroccan legend!

It is still possible to take the Marrakesh Express train, although ducks, pigs and chickens are a rare sight nowadays. You might begin your journey – as thousands of hippies did – at Tangiers following your ferry crossing from Spain. You can even start your train adventure further back in former Al Andalus – in Seville or Granada. Or, like Graham Nash your journey may begin in Casablanca, the location of Morocco’s largest international airport. Your journey will pass through arid plains, past low hills and through villages and towns. Typically, Moroccan passengers are friendly and generous. Moroccan trains are comfortable, although not luxurious. As a slow-paced introduction to the landscape and culture of Morocco, the modern day Marrakesh Express takes some beating!

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.

For more information about the Marrakech Express 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.

Marrakech’s 14th International Film Festival, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Sunday, November 30th, 2014
Marrakech 14th Annual Film Festival

Marrakech 14th Annual Film Festival

The Marrakech International Film Festival is now in its 14th year. The festival will take place in Marrakech from December 5th – 13th, 2014. Founded in 2000 as a means to promote Morocco as a production destination on the international film circuit, it is now responsible for an influx of film fan and film industry visitors every December to the ‘Red City’.

Although less well known than festivals such as Cannes or Berlin, the Marrakech Festival is accessible to the general public and is a great way to enjoy foreign and Moroccan films – either new releases in the competition category or old favourites in the retrospective sections. Films are shown in the Palais des Congrès (Congress Center) and then repeated at the Cinema Colissée in Guéliz. Entrance to the Palais des Congrès is free with a public pass, available via online prior registration. A minimal entrance fee is charged for the second showings at the cinema. At the premiers in the Congress Center, the audience is made up mainly of local Marrakchis, students of Marrakech’s ESAV school of visual arts and further afield, as well as film buffs and members of the cast and crew of the film. At the Colisée, you can experience the Moroccan film-going public in all its glory: clapping, cheering and heckling through popular films.

Although less high-profile than other festivals, Marrakech has its red carpet moments – on the opening night, locals and visitors wrap up warm and grab a table on the terrace of the cafés opposite the Congress Center to catch a glimpse of the stars as they arrive or are interviewed in the glass radio booths which line Avenue Mohammed VI. This year, French actress Isabelle Huppert takes over the mantel from Martin Scorsese to lead a jury which features an international cast including British actor Alan Rickman (known for Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Love Actually and the Harry Potter movies).

Mohamed Mouftakir, Director L'Orchestre des Aveugles (Orchestra of the Blind)

Mohamed Mouftakir, Director L’Orchestre des Aveugles (Orchestra of the Blind)

The line-up of competition films includes only one Moroccan production, L’Orchestre des Aveugles (Orchestra of the Blind), a story of the relationship between a father and son, the second feature film directed by Mohamed Mouftakir. The 2014 Festival will open with The Theory of Everything, James Marsh’s film about the relationship between physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. J.C.Chandor’s A Most Violent Year will close the festival; a movie about an immigrant who fights to protect his business and his family during 1981, statistically New York City’s most violent year.

Moroccans are big fans of Bollywood movies and in recent years, Marrakech has featured Indian films and attracted big Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan. 2014 is no exception: locals and visitors can enjoy the undisputed King of Bollywood on a big open air screen once again in Marrakech’s iconic Jmaa el Fna square in this year’s musical heist hit, Happy New Year. One of Bollywood’s most expensive and highest grossing films, young Marrakchis are sure to flock to the square to catch it.

The full Festival programme is still being finalised. It includes an homage to Japanese film as well as a tribute to two leading Moroccan producers, Khadija Alami and Zakaria Alaoui. The list of the movies these two have worked on reads like a catalogue of almost every movie ever made in Morocco, including at the world famous Atlas Film Studios in Ouarzazate. Between them, their resumés include dozens of TV and feature film productions such as James Bond 24, Mission Impossible 5, Gladiator and the Bourne Ultimatum.

Marrakech is a great winter destination: days are sunny and the city is presided over by the majestic snow-tipped High Atlas mountains. If you are in town at the start of December, why not catch some red carpet glamour and a sprinkle of silver screen stardust at the Marrakech International Film Festival?

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients. You can contact Lynn at: lynn@maroc-o-phile.com

For more information about a Marrakech Tour or the Film Festival 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.

World’s Largest Photography Museum Opening in Marrakech 2016, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

David Chipperfield, Architect Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts

Morocco has plans to open the world’s largest photography museum in the Imperial City of Marrakech in 2016. This is a living testament to the importance as image and icon that Morocco has held for centuries as the leading artistic and cultural travel destination in North Africa.

The MMP (Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts) location will be near the Menara Gardens, located on the edge of the city. The MMP will house a small, permanent collection with a keen focus on rotating exhibitions and works by contemporary artists. The MMP will serve as a leading cultural epicenter and attract visitors from around the world to Marrakech.

The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts will attract the 9 Million + who readily flock to Marrakech for sun holidays and a unique cultural experience in this Imperial city. The Museum has plans to house lens-based and traditional fine art. The museum’s goal is to house the best of Moroccan and and North African art objects as a testament to mortality, vulnerability, mutability of the human condition.

The architect who is designing the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art 80,000 square-foot (6,000 square meters)  exhibition space is British architect Sir David Chipperfield.  The space has plans to feature galleries, a theatre, cafe, bookshop, public spaces and educational facilities. The atrium on the third floor will house desert plants within a garden.

The MMP’s plans to include a rich program of exhibitions, education and cultural exchange will make it the first example of this kind of artistic institution on the African continent.

David Knaus is the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts Managing Director.

The museum already has a temporary location in the 16th-century El Badi Palace and has been well received by locals along with tourists and Morocco travelers.

For More Information about Photography in Marrakech and Marrakech 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.

Rue Laksour and The Mouassine, Gateway to the Marrakech Souks

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Marrakech Souk, Bab Laksour - The Mouassine District

Marrakech’s hippest shopping destination is rue Mouassine in the Marrakech Medina. Bab Laksour and the Marrakech medina’s Mouassine district is an intimate introduction for first time visitors to Marrakech. The Mouassine in the Marrakech medina boasts many trendy, fashionable boutiques, antiques dealers along with arts and crafts shops. The Mouassine has become one of the best places to shop in Marrakech. One of the easiest ways to get to Bab Laksour and the Mouassine is from Avenue Mohammed V just after the Ensemble de Artisans which leads to rue Laksour. This route offers an alternative to entering via the Jemma El Fna and the crowded souks.

Riad El Fenn

The Mouassine District is also home to Vanessa Branson’s stylish Riad el Fenn, located at the Derb Abdallah ben Hssain. Riad El Fenn (fenn means art in arabic) is a former palace with panoramic views of the medina and Atlas mountains from its terrace. Also close by is the classical  Moroccan restaurant, Le Tobsil.

The Kounouz jewelry shop is also a well known place to shop and Maison d’ Argan for those who cannot make it to Essaouira. There are many spice and essential oils and natural product stores in the Mouassine. There are also many hanouts, Moroccan owned domestic shops,carpenters and a motorcycle repair shop. Normal domestic life blends seamlessly with the tourist scene in the Mouassine.

Just footsteps from rue Sidi Yamani are antique shops, the Mouassine mosque and fountain. Kulchi, a stylish clothing boutique and Chez Khayati known for quality leather poufs and babouches are two well known boutiques.

Kifkif Marrakech Medina

Kifkif is another intimate and trendy boutique that has jewelry, textiles, leather goods and accessories made by local artisans with a European twist. Kifkif’s owners have a boutique in both the Moussaine District of the Marrakech medina and in Sidi Ghanem, an industrial artistic district 15 minutes outside of the city center of Marrakech.

Rue Laksour, the main street of the Mouassine has a candle shop that sells colored scented candles. There is also a store with traditional Berber musical instruments nearby Stylia Restaurant which is a former palace with a huge ornate door offering the very best in traditional Moroccan cuisine.

The emporium, Artisanal Dar Essalam is also worth visiting. You cannot miss it with its over sized wooden doors decorated with a white stucco portal. The Artisanal sells all kinds of craft items and paintings, a veritable Aladdin’s cave at fixed prices for those who don’t want to haggle with shop keepers over tea.

As you walk on the narrow streets of the Mouassine, a small wood shop displays its wares, bowls, boxes and trays. A covered section has another emporium, the Palais Vizier, which sells carpets. Mosques, local hanouts and riads line the streets of the Moussaine which offers the feel of ordinary life in the medina.

Well known in the Mouassine for socially responsible shoppers is a women’s cooperative called Al Nour that sells hand embroidered sells scarfs, children’s garments and fine linen accessories, all made by handicapped women.

Berber carpets line the wall of the Mouassine. Facing A Nour is an archway topped by a building of Portuguese origin which bridges the street. There is a spice and natural products shop. Passing through the archway you will find the large wooden door of the Kssour Agafay which is a 16th century riad once home to a noble chorfa family. It has been completely restored to its former glory featuring painted intricate stucco decoration and 4 meter high doors and carved wooden ceilings, by Abel Damoussi. As well as being a guest house it is also an exclusive private members club. If you knock on the door you might be lucky enough to be shown round.

Nearby Kssour Agafay are two fine Berber jewelry shops and a ceramic store. Finally a kelim and rug shop with antique wooden doors on display, the Bazaar Chichoua, completes the rue Ksour and leads on to the rue Mouassine.

If books are what you fancy then off route of the rue Mouassine is a French language bookshop filled to the brim of coffee table books on Morocco. To the right is the busy covered street leading to the Place Bab Fteuh and beyond it the entrance to the Souk Semarine. To the left the rue Mouassine leads on up to the Mouassine Mosque and its Fountain.

During a walk through this gateway of the Marrakech souk you will also discover an impressive, colorful array of shops lining the street that offer the best in Moroccan handicrafts including jewelry shops, ceramics, leather goods, lanterns ,carpets, rugs, clothes, lighting design shops and fine linen (Kis boutique and Esprit Coton) spices and natural products such as Argan. Marrakech’s Mouassine District is full of surprises.

For More Information about a Marrakech Tour of the Bab Laksour or Mouassine District in 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.

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.

Dakka Marrakchia Music Festival, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Friday, January 25th, 2013

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Marrakech has been celebrating the Marrakchia Music  festival since the Saadian dynasty in the 15th and early 16th century.It takes place in February each year and celebrates traditional music passed down by generations in honour of  the seven patron saints or ‘Sabaatou Rijal’ of Marrakech.

The seven saints of Marrakech were: Qadi Ayad, Imam El Jazouli, Imam Souhayli, Sidi Youssef Ben Ali, Sidi Abdelaziz Tabbaa, Sidi Abdellah El Gazouani and Abou El Abbas Essebti. To represent these seven saints, musicians from seven districts, the El Moukkaf quarter, Bin Laarassi, Bab D’Bagh, Derb Dabachi, Sabtiyyine, Cashbah and Ben Salah, take part in the festival. During the Dakka Marrakchia Festival ordinary locals, such as shopkeepers, artists and craftsmen, become the heart of the event, filling the air with traditional music choral chants and rhthyms.

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Groups of male musicians perform with percussion instruments and drums accompanied bychoral chants. Instruments include the lakrakash, taarija, naffar and tara.The Asdekaa Nakhil Association (their name means “Friends of the Marrakech Palm Tree”) organises the festival each year.

The followers of the Saint El Jazouli played an important role during the Saadian dynasty by establishing zaouias to give religious support to their cause the music reflects the fervour of those times as well as the traditions and civic pride of Marrakech.

For More Information About Marrakech Tous and the Marrakchia Music  festival
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.