Posts Tagged ‘Morocco Travel’

Mohammed Choukri, A Post War Moroccan Author

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Mohamed Choukri, Tangier

Mohamed Choukri, Tangier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few Moroccan authors have achieved international recognition beyond the Francophone world because of the lack of translations of their works. The international acclaim of writer Mohammed Choukri and the fact that not only his works, but his remarkable life story, are known beyond the Arabic and French-speaking worlds is largely due to the support he received from globally acclaimed authors Paul Bowles and Tahar Ben Jelloun along with his own, incredible determination.

The man who was to become one of Morocco’s most well-known and controversial writers had inauspicious beginnings. He was born in 1935, in Beni Chiker (also known as Aït Chiker), a small village in Nador province, in the Rif mountains of north east Morocco, near the Algerian border. Life in such remote northern villages at this time – under the Spanish Protectorate (the French governed the area further south) – was harsh. The young Mohammed’s family was desperately poor and his father was a tyrant. Several of his siblings died of hunger, negligence or – in the case of his brother Abdelkader – murder at their father’s hands. The family moved to the cities of Tetouan and Tangier (at that time an International Zone) in search of economic security. Mohammed fled the family aged 11 to make his own life and adopted the name Choukri, a derivation of his home village.

Mohamed Choukri, For Bread Alone

Mohamed Choukri, For Bread Alone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a child, Choukri survived on his wits. Homeless and starving, he took small jobs to get by, but resorted to theft and prostitution to survive. He used drugs and alcohol and mixed with prostitutes, beggars and street dwellers, the existence of whom most wealthy Tangerois preferred not to acknowledge. His meals often came from the garbage – he found the trash of the International Zone far more nourishing than those of his Moroccan neighbors. This grim and desperate period of his life was the inspiration for three autobiographical works, the most well-known of which is his novel, For Bread Alone. The title is a reference to the lengths he had to go to just to get dry, stale bread to eat.

At the age of 20, in an exceptional demonstration of determination and foresight, Choukri took himself off to school. In the year of Moroccan independence from France and Spain, 1956, he left Tangiers for the quieter fishing town of Larache and at 21 began primary school for the first time. He eventually finished his schooling able to write in classical Arabic (which was neither his mother tongue nor the Moroccan dialect used in daily life) and became a school teacher himself.

Back in Tangiers in the swinging 60s, he continued to document his early life, often writing in cafes and bars, where he found himself brushing shoulders with European and American literati and liberals. It was a friendship and collaboration with the US writer, Paul Bowles, which facilitated the publication of For Bread Alone in 1973 in England.
Choukri’s shocking story was out there. Although it drew explicitly on the reality of his life, it was controversial and was condemned by conservative and religious commentators in Morocco. The French translation by Tahar Ben Jelloun, a Moroccan author well-known in his own right, ensured a broader audience on its publication in 1981. Although printed in Arabic in 1982, For Bread Alone was banned in Morocco until 2000. It was as if the educated – those who could actually read his work in a country with high illiteracy – could not accept the reality of poverty in their own, newly, independent country.

Choukri published several full-length works and short stories, often printed in English before Arabic. He was still writing in the late 1990s. He died from cancer in 2003 and was buried in Tangier. In a final recognition of his contribution to Moroccan and Arabic literature, his funeral was attended by the Minister of Culture, numerous government officials, personalities and the spokesman of the King of Morocco.
During his life, Mohammed Choukri claimed that he could not put a false veneer on his work, his writing was “a protest, not a parade.” He wrote in an attempt to expose and to criticize those people and the circumstances that he felt had stolen his childhood and his teenage years. US playwright Tennessee Williams described For Bread Alone as “A true document of human desperation, shattering in its impact”.

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 Mohammed Choukri and Tangier

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

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 Best Things To Do in Morocco, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Friday, May 1st, 2015
Cooking Class, Travel Exploration

Cooking Class, Travel Exploration

From the Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Coast and from the Great Sahara Desert to Imperial Marrakech, Morocco offers a wide range of things to do. Adventure activities in Morocco offer travelers the opportunity experience another dimension of during a Morocco Private Tour. Travel Exploration has created partnerships with cooperatives and local experts for Morocco travelers to participate in that will enrich their private tour experience.
Glide across the High Atlas on zipline with your family or rise early to take in the Moroccan sunrise via a hot air balloon ride. Explore birdwatching in Sidi Boughaba or in the grand lagoon of Oualidia. Escape the bustling city of Marrakech for the day to visit the palmerie for a lesson of Falconry with some of Morocco’s most regal birds and their masters. Discover magnificent food-markets and try your hand at a Cooking Class with a Dadaa Chef or go deep into the heart of the medina on a Fes Food Tour. Visit a winery in Meknes and savor local cheeses in the hills of Fes. Participate in Tasting Marrakech, a guided dinner excursion in Djemma El Fna Square or bake bread with the Berbers. Join in to create your own designs ast a Fes Pottery Cooperative for half day and learn about the ancient Fasis pottery traditions. If all this is not enough to wet your palette then head off the Desert where you can quad-bike in the Erg Chebbi Dunes and sand board across the Sahara at Sunset.
Things to Do Morocco

Things to Do Morocco

10 Best Things to Do in Morocco:
1. Quad Biking in the Sahara Desert – Quad bike across the Sahara Desert or Essaouira’s Atlantic Coast. Perfect for the active traveler.
2. Sandboarding in the Sahara Desert – Sandboarding in the Moroccan Sahara Desert. Ideal for families and the active traveler.
3. Bird Watching Sidki Boughaba & Oualidia – Morocco is the perfect climate for the serious birdwatcher.
4. Hot Air Balloon over Marrakech – An excursion at sunrise over the High Atlas Mountains in Marrakech.
5. Falconry Morocco – Discover falcons and rare Moroccan Royal Birds in the Marrakech Palmeraie.
6. Fes Food Tour – A Souk Tasting Trail in Fes led by a Moroccan hostess. Morocco’s ideal culinary adventure for foodies.
7. Cooking Class Marrakech –  The best Cooking Class in Marrakech, led by a traditional Dada Chef. A four hour experience for foodies.
8. Zipline Across the Atlas – Zip-line across the Altas Mountains near Toubkal National Park.
9. Wine Tasting Morocco  – A Boutique Wine Tasting Tour. Visit Moroccan vineyards in the Meknes region.
10. Zellij & Pottery Design Tour –  Try your hand at making traditional Moroccan pottery and zellij tile in Fes.

For more information about Things to do in Morocco on a Morocco Private Tour

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.

Morocco’s Great Deserts, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Friday, May 1st, 2015
Morocco's Great Deserts, M'hamid

Morocco’s Great Deserts, M’hamid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although, compared to neighbouring Algeria, Morocco has only a fraction of the Great Sahara Desert within its territory, yet Morocco offers the safest and best-organized access to the Sahara of the whole of North Africa. Whether you want a quick glimpse of the magnificent dunes on camelback, the thrill of sand boarding down the dunes, an overnight experience under the vast starry skies in a nomad’s tent, or a longer excursion to explore the expanse of the dune complex and the people who inhabit it, Morocco has it all. There is nowhere else where you could be in some of Africa’s highest snow-tipped mountain ranges and in the depth of the sandy expanses of the desert in the same day. And your trip to Morocco’s Great Deserts will take you through centuries-old oases on route. Along the way, you will meet local nomads and villagers whose families have worked this land and survived its hardships for generations.

Morocco lies on the northwesterly tip of the African continent with a long Atlantic coast. This coast runs approximately southwest to northeast. Almost parallel to the coast, behind the fertile plains of Morocco’s principal rivers, are the Atlas Mountain ranges (from north to south, the Middle, High and Anti-Atlas). The Sahara desert begins in the foothills of these mountains on their eastern (interior) side. Sandwiched between the mountains and the Algerian border are the principle dune regions of Morocco. Further south, the Sahara meets the ocean where Sahara cities Laayoune and Ad Dakhla are known for their sandy dunes, unique flora, bird life and beaches.

Erg Chebbi Dunes, Merzouga Sahara Desert

Erg Chebbi Dunes, Merzouga Sahara Desert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting in the north, the most frequently visited dune network is at Erg Chebbi, near the towns of Rissani and Merzouga. Erg Chebbi’s dunes are the largest in Morocco, with some reaching around 150m in height. They cover an area of 50km (31 miles) from north to south and are about 5-10 km (3-6 miles) across. This area is easily accessible from Fes (via the Middle Atlas). A longer drive from Marrakech, takes visitors via the spectacular Tiz n’Tichka pass and the city of Ouarzazate or the stunning Dades Valley. This accessibility and the size of the dunes have meant that the infrastructure around the dunes at Erg Chebbi is very well developed, both in terms of desert bivouacs, luxury desert camps and guesthouses and hotels. This is great for those visitors who want a convenient way to see the desert on a tight itinerary, but those with more time or who seek to explore the Sahara in greater depth may prefer a more remote destination.

Further south, and also reached via Ouarzazate (but this time via the beautiful Drâa Valley and its date palm oases and ancient defensive kasbahs) are the desert areas around Zagora and M’Hamid. At Zagora, you can see the famous sign indicating “TOMBOUCTOU 52 JOURS,” (“52 days to Timbuktu”), which gives an indication of the importance of the desert and this region in particular for the camel caravans and trade routes of the past. Today, Zagora is a popular starting point for trips on camelback into the Sahara. The landscape here is flatter, although there are dunes at Tinfo, and near the town agriculture is relatively well developed, giving a different desert experience.

Erg L’Houdi (meaning the Dunes of the Jews) and Erg Ezahaar (the Screaming Dunes) are respectively one or four days’ camel ride from M’Hamid, which is itself around 100km (60 miles) further along the Drâa Valley towards the Algerian border. The paved road ends here. M’Hamid feels much more like a nomadic outpost. Being much more remote, this area is considerably less visited and many of the local sites of interest, such as sacred springs, ancient zaouias (sites of religious pilgrimage in honour of saints) and local Berber and nomadic villages are more easily (and comfortably) accessed in a 4×4 vehicle with an experienced guide. Being such an important region for trade and artisans, the area between Zagora and M’Hamid features some interesting historical and cultural sites, such as the village of Amezrou – base of former Jewish silversmiths with an Ancient Jewish Mellah – and Tamagroute, with its pottery cooperative, zaouia and Koranic Library.

Erg Chegaga Sahara Desert

Erg Chegaga Sahara Desert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last of the four main dune networks is Erg Chegaga, between M’Hamid, 50km (30 miles) west of the town towards the settlement of Foum Zguid. After Erg Chebbi, these are the second most popular dune destination. Erg Chegaga has the highest dunes in this southerly area, but they are still considerably lower than the dunes at Erg Chebbi to the north. A favourite activity is to scramble to the top of the dunes in time for sunrise over the Sahara. Running uphill on sand is not an easy task, so this is an activity for early risers only!

Many visitors to Morocco manage to fit in an overnight stay under canvas or in a Kasbah-style hotel at one of the main dunes areas of Erg Chebbi or Erg Chegaga. However, for the more adventurous or those wishing really to escape the distractions of the modern world, the trip down to south to Morocco’s Great Deserts and also to M’Hamid and beyond is certainly worthwhile. For those with less time, however, the larger dunes still offer the chance to get away from it all. And while a journey on camelback is certainly not the most luxurious in terms of comfort, it is unlike anything else! Climb aboard the “ship of the desert” and image the great trains of camels, which once crossed this magnificent sandy expanse, transporting gold, silver, and salt across the African continent!

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 Morocco’s Great Sahara Desert Tours

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.

Essaouira’s 18th Annual Gnaoua Music Festival May 2015

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
Essaouira 18th Annual Gnaoua Festival, May 2015

Essaouira 18th Annual Gnaoua Festival, May 2015

 

 

 

 

Every year, the sun-bleached, windswept city of Essaouira on Morocco’s Atlantic coast plays host to a festival of Gnaoua and World Music. Normally it is held in June, but this year’s 18th edition will take place – like many of the main Moroccan music festivals – in May, to avoid a clash with the holy month of Ramadan. The dates for this year’s event are 14-17 May 2015.

The principal feature of the festival is the celebration of Gnaoua music and rituals. The Gnaoua movement is a form of Islamic Sufism. The roots of Gnaoua (or Gnawa) lie in sub-Saharan Africa and reflect pre-Islamic traditions. Successive Moorish sultans brought African slaves to Morocco and their traditions became integrated into Islamic Sufism.

Gnaoui (as practioners are known), like other Sufis, are organized into brotherhoods gathered around a Master, or maalem. These brotherhoods are based in a zawiya – a center of religious teaching, healing and practice found in towns and cities across Morocco. Sufis are known for their communion with God (Allah) through rituals such as music or dancing based on repetitive rhythms, known as samaa. The gnaoua hold spiritual events known as a lila, where the objective is for participants to reach a trance-like state of ecstasy to reach deeper spiritual knowledge. The lila rhythms and rituals are said to call up ancestral spirits to drive out evil and cure ills.

A typical instrument of the gnaoua is the gimbri, a three stringed bass lute covered in camel skin. The skin creates a deep reverberation, creating the soul-stirring basis of gnaoua music. The maalem typically plays the gimbri seated, singing the verse of a song (typically praising Allah or venerating a gnaoua saint). A chorus line of young adherents respond to his call while playing a percussive rhythm on the krakeb, iron castanets said to echo the sound of the slaves’ chains. As their clackety-clack beats hasten, the rhythm reaches a crescendo and Gnaoui may enter a trace or break ranks to demonstrate acrobatic dancing and whirling.

At the Gnaoua Festival in Essaouira, the audience has an opportunity to see both the brightly-colored, energetic spectacle of Gnaoua groups performing on large open-air stages (on Place Moulay Hassan and near the beach) as well as at more intimate concerts which simulate some of the atmosphere of a lila in smaller venues such as Dar Souiri or a zawiya. The best venue for the late night, smaller, concerts is the Borj Bab Marrakech. Lying on rugs and cushions under the stars, within earshot of the waves crashing on the beach and with seagulls calling and swooping overhead, a special atmosphere is created for some of the best known artists on the program.

As well as offering the opportunity to see the best of local Swiri gnaoua maalems and their groups, such as Tyour Gnaoua with Maalem Abdeslam Alikane, brothers Maalem Mokhtar and Maalem Mahmoud Guinea or Gnaoua rockstar Omar Hayat, the festival also an insight into the full diversity of Moroccan Sufi music – such as the more traditional and contemplative style of the Hmadcha of Essaouira; the drum-led beats of the Issaoua brotherhood from Fes, or the modern fusion style of Maalem Hamid el Kasri from Rabat.

The festival program is interspersed with performances by international artists. At the end of each evening on the main stage is the highlight – a fusion concert between one of these invited musicians and a Moroccan Sufi group. These spectacles are remarkable not only in their combination of musical genres and traditions, but also in the collaboration between artists of very different spiritual, religious and cultural traditions.

Invited guests this year include Afrobeat veteran, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen; Guadeloupian percussionist, Sonny Troupé; the latter’s sometime collaborator, US jazz saxophonist and flautist Kenny Garrett, and long-standing Gnaoua Festival supporter and collaborator, Franco-Algerian drummer Karim Ziad.

Those seeking a sample of Morocco’s diverse modern music scene, will want to catch Darga, a band from Casablanca playing a fusion of gnaoua, traditional and Western styles on the beach stage or Hindi Zahra, who has been compared to Norah Jones and Patti Smith, on the main stage.

The Festival opens with a spectacular parade of giant marionettes and all the participating Sufi groups on the Thursday afternoon. Seek out a position early on the main street through the medina from Bab Doukkala and get your camera in position!

Alongside the main concert program are also events such as the Forum – a seminar series, this year about African Women – and the Arbre à Palabre discussions held at the French Institute. This year there will be a smaller stage with afternoon concerts at Bab el Minzeh near the port. The open air concerts (on Place Moulay Hassan, at Bab el Minzeh and at the beach) are all free, although they can get crowded at night. VIP passes for an enclosed area near the stage can be purchased on site. The intimate concerts are ticketed (for example, concerts on the roof of the Borj Bab Marrakech at 250 dirhams) and places are limited.

Essaouira’s range of festivals throughout the year (such as the Alizés Festival in April and the Andalusian Festival in the Fall) highlight the melting pot of musical and cultural influences that is Morocco, but the Gnaoua World Music Festival is unparalleled in its showcasing of gnaoua music in its original form as well as in fusion with a range of world music styles. If you are in Morocco this May, don’t miss it!

ESSAOUIRA 18TH ANNUAL GNAOUA FESTIVAL PROGRAM

THURSDAY, MAY 14TH:
PLACE MOULAY HASSAN
OPENING CONCERT RÉSIDENCE HUMAYUN KHAN AND MAÂLEM HAMID EL KASRI
CONCERT MAÂLEM MOKHTAR GUINEA
CONCERT MIKKEL NORDSØ BAND AND MAÂLEM MUSTAPHA BAQBOU
CONCERT MAÂLEM ABDELKEBIR MERCHANE

DAR SOUIRI
INTIMATE CONCERTS HMADCHA D’ESSAOUIRA
TE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDENBI EL GUEDARI

ZAOUIA ISSAOUA
INTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDELLAH AKHARAZ AND MAÂLEM SAID EL BOURKI

FRIDAY, MAY 15TH

PLACE EL MINZEH
CONCERT GANGA D’AGADIR AND ISSAOUA D’ESSAOUIRA

ARBRE À PALABRE
ARBRE À PALABRE

PLACE MOULAY HASSAN
CONCERT SONNY TROUPÉ
CONCERT MAÂLEM OMAR HAYAT

FUSION SONNY TROUPÉ AND MAÂLEM OMAR HAYAT

CONCERT TONY ALLEN

FUSION TONY ALLEN AND MAÂLEM MOHAMED KOUYOU
CONCERT HINDI ZAHRA

 

LA SCÈNE DE LA PLAGE

JAUK, LE GNAOUI BLANC ET MAÂLEM AZIZ BAQBOU JAUK, LE GNAOUI BLANC AND MAÂLEM AZIZ BAQBOU

CONCERT MAÂLEM FATHALLAH CHAOUKI

CONCERT DARGA
FUSION MIKKEL NORDSØ BAND AND MAÂLEM MUSTAPHA BAQBOU

BORJ BAB MARRAKECH

INTIMATE CONCERTS TIMBUKTU

INTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDELKEBIR MERCHANE

ZAOUIA ISSAOUA

INTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ALLAL SOUDANI AND MAÂLEM RACHID BENTAIR

SATURDAY, MAY 16TH

PLACE EL MINZEH
FORUM “L’AFRIQUE À VENIR
CONCERT HMADCHA D’ESSAOUIRA AND ISSAOUA D’ESSAOUIRA

ARBRE À PALABRE

PLACE MOULAY HASSAN
CONCERT MAÂLEM HASSAN BOUSSOU
CONCERT KENNY GARRETT
FUSION KENNY GARRETT AND MAÂLEM HASSAN BOUSSOU
CONCERT LES AMBASSADEURS

CONCERT AZIZ SAHMAOUI

LA SCÈNE DE LA PLAGE
CONCERT DIAPA ZONE
CONCERT BARRY
CONCERT MEHDI NASSOULI
CONCERT HUMAYUN KHAN AND MÂALEM HAMID EL KASRI

BORJ BAB MARRAKECH
INTIMATE CONCERTS ISSAOUA DE FÈS
INTIMATE CONCERTS MARIFAT SUFI BAND

DAR SOUIRI

INTIMATE CONCERTS ISSAOUA D’ESSAOUIRA

INTIMATE CONCERTS MAALEM LOTFI BENALI

ZAOUIA ISSAOUA

NTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDELLATIF EL MAKHZOUMI AND MAÂLEM MOHAMED QAQA

INTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDELLATIF EL MAKHZOUMI AND MAÂLEM MOHAMED QAQA

SUNDAY, MAY 17TH:

PLACE MOULAY HASSAN
CONCERT DE CLÔTURE KARIM ZIAD AND MAÂLEM MAHMOUD GUINEA

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 Essaouira’s 18th Annual Gnaoua Festival or an Essaouira Tour

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.

 

The 6 Best Views of Morocco, Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Morocco is such a photogenic country. The Best Times to Travel to Morocco and discover the 6 Best Views is spring and fall. The bright, Mediterranean sunshine makes for a special light, whether you are photographing deserts, mountains, cities, dunes or coastal scenery. The colors of the natural elements, the architecture and the handicrafts such as carpets, highly polished teapots, hand-stitched and embroidered leather babouches slippers or flowing caftans make for great subjects, as do the people and animals of Morocco. It’s best to always ask before taking someone’s picture and don’t be offended if they refuse given many Moroccans are modest and private. Morocco also has several stunning vistas which you will want to snap during your trip. Here is a lowdown of where to go to capture the six best views of Morocco.

Fes Medina View

Fes Medina View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fes

The ancient capital of Fes is such a dense, labyrinthine city that when you are in it, it is hard to imagine getting an overview of the place. To get the best view, it is necessary to climb above the hustle and bustle of street level, to get away from the jostle of the souk and rise above the walls. The best place to do this is actually outside the medina (old city) at Les Merinides Hotel. Situated on a hill overlooking the medina, this five-star hotel has three restaurants (La Kouba du Ciel on the top floor; L’Impérial French restaurant and La Terrasse de Fès at the poolside), all of which offer panoramic views of Old Fes.

Moulay Idriss View

Moulay Idriss View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moulay Idriss

The main draw of this most holy of Moroccan cities is the mausoleum of Idriss I, the founder of the Kingdom of Morocco and credited with the introduction of Islam to this north western corner of Africa. The mausoleum occupies a large footprint in the medina, but is not accessible to non-Muslims. However, it is still worthwhile stopping at Moulay Idriss and hiking up to the highest point in the medina to look down on the huge mausoleum complex with its mosaic patios and glazed green roofs. From here, it is also possible to see the full extent of the ruins of the Roman city at Volubilis, just a few miles away.

Mosque of Koutoubia Marrakech View

Mosque of Koutoubia Marrakech View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marrakech

The most special moment in Marrakech occurs just before dusk. Pick your spot on a roof terrace in one of the many cafes which surround Place Jmaa el Fna and watch the magic unfold. As the sun begins to set, the hawkers and street food vendors roll their mobile stalls onto the square to set up for the night. As the call to the sunset prayer sounds from the Koutoubia mosque’s minaret, the electric bulbs of the food stalls illuminate one by one, until the natural light has gone and the square is lit by hundreds of twinkling lights. Get to your chosen cafe early to secure a front-row seat and snap the sun setting behind the Koutoubia.

Portuguese Ramparts on Water, Essaouira

Portuguese Ramparts on Water, Essaouira

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essaouira

The classic picture of Essaouira, which you will find on postcards all over town, is shot through a round window in the fortifications (skala) of the port. Entrance is 10DH and as well as great views looking back to the white-washed medina, you will get an aerial view of the functioning port and the canons lining the crenulations, as well seeing swooping seagulls and the islands out in the bay. For the best sunset views, head to the medina skala, or one of the many bars and restaurants along the beachfront, and wait for the sun to sink into the Atlantic.

Dades Valley Pins

Dades Valley Pins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dades Gorge

The best views of the stunning Dades Gorge are from the Auberge Chez Pierre, in the gorge itself. The ochre and red landscapes are an essential sight on your route to Zagora. Even if a night at Chez Pierre isn’t on your itinerary, it is worth stopping for lunch or a drink on their terrace. The hotel is built in the traditional local style amid terraces of fruit trees, offering fantastic views of the surrounding gorge.

Sahara Caravan

Sahara Caravan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erg Chebbi Dunes

It is not always easy to get an accurate impression of the sheer size and majesty of the magnificent Erg Chebbi sand dunes. However, the Yasmina Hotel offers unbeatable views due to its sheer remoteness. It is located right on the edge of the dune complex and the slightly longer drive from all sense of civilization is worth it for the absolute peace and calm that gives visitors a true feeling of the vastness Great Sahara. The best views of the dunes are at sunrise and sunset. For this reason, you may not choose to sleep at Yasmina – many guests use it as a stopping point before heading into the dunes on camel-back for a night under the stars in tents.

This list is offers edited and subjective highlights of our favorite views. On your Morocco trip you will certainly experience many others, take many photos and create special memories for the years ahead.

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 Best 6 Views and our Splendors of Morocco 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.

Explore beyond Chefchaouen, Day Trips from the Blue City

Sunday, April 5th, 2015
Chefchaouen, Woman in Medina

Chefchaouen, Woman in Medina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chefchaouen, in the Rif Mountains of Morocco’s North, is a popular destination for visitors. Nestling in a valley beneath the “horns” of the mountains to which its name alludes (Ichawen means goat’s horns in the local Berber dialect), Chefchaouen is famous for the blue-painted houses in the steep and winding alleyways of the medina. This northern area of Morocco was once a Spanish Protectorate and there are many elements of Spanish culture and language still in evidence.

The city of Chefchaouen is well worth exploring for a day or two; the medina is attractive and small enough to navigate easily and you will find shops and artisans offering many local crafts. Near the river, you can see women washing laundry in the way they have for centuries, in their colorful striped aprons which are typical of the region.

Talassemtane National Park, Chefchaouen Region

Talassemtane National Park, Chefchaouen Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, if you have a little longer in the north of Morocco, the region around Chefchaouen is easily accessible and deserves some exploration. The city sits right on the border of the Talassemtane National Park. The park was designated in 1989 and covers some 145,000 hectares (358,000 acres). It is a great location for hiking and trekking and a number of routes are available for short half-day or day hikes as well as longer trekking and camping excursions. The park has a Mediterranean ecosystem including Rif Monkeys, native bird varieties and more than 239 plant species, many of which are endangered, such as the black pine, the Atlas cedar and the Elbow Tree (abbies marrocana), which grows only here in the whole of Africa.

Akchour Falls, Chefchaouen Region

Akchour Falls, Chefchaouen Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great day hike takes visitors to the Akchour Falls and/or the Bridge of God. The starting point is a short journey (around 40 minutes by car) outside Chefchaouen. From the same starting point at the small hydro-electric dam, paths run right and left. The easier hike is up to the right, to God’s Bridge, a steep cavern traversed by a wooden bridge with the river flowing far beneath it. The track is hilly but not too challenging and it takes less than one hour from the start to the bridge. In the tourist season, there are small cafes along the river bank offering cans of soda chilled in the river and tajines cooked on charcoal burners.

Either from the starting point, or from God’s Bridge (creating a large loop back to the start), the path to the stunning Akchour waterfalls – known as the Blue Pearl Falls – is more challenging, but very rewarding. To reach the falls from the starting point (or vice versa), it is necessary to cross the river several times. The ease of doing this depends on the season – after the spring snowmelts the river can be high and fast-flowing. A local guide can offer advice on the safest routes and times of year. Take a picnic with you from your hotel, or stop off on the way at one of the riverside cafes or roadside restaurants.

Another worthwhile excursion heads south out of Chefchaouen to Auberge Dardara. The Auberge is run by Jaber Elhababi, a charismatic Tanjoui (native of Tangiers), who has returned to his roots and the land of his forefathers to establish his business and social enterprise. The small complex features a restaurant, simple accommodation and a pool in summer. The trip is worth it for the restaurant alone, which uses local recipes and techniques and sources many of the ingredients from the Dardara market garden. A meal on the outside terrace with views of the surrounding Rif Mountains takes some beating!

If you feel like something more active, Dardara offers a number of activities such as local trekking in the Talassemtane National Park, cookery classes and mule riding. The emphasis is very much on sustainability and a respect for local communities and their traditions. Dardara also serves up daily three course lunches which and is noted for the best gastronomic farm-fresh cuisine in the region.

The city of Chefchaouen is a not-to-be-missed element of any tour of northern Morocco. However, a well-planned itinerary will also include time to get out of the city and into the stunning surrounding area of dramatic hills, wild rivers, rich agriculture and centuries of tradition.

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 Morocco Tours beyond Chefchaouen

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.

 

Responsible Travel in Morocco, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Akshor Waterfalls, Northern Morocco

Akshor Waterfalls, Northern Morocco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the expansion of routes from its international airports and the increase in low-cost airlines offering direct flights from European hubs, Morocco has become much more accessible in recent years. For many visitors, a trip to Morocco will be their first time in Africa or in a Muslim country. Morocco has become so close, yet still seems so exotic and different. As such, even the seasoned global traveler should consider some tips for visiting Morocco in an ethical, culturally and environmentally responsible way.

Morocco has a multi-cultural and multi-religious past but is a predominantly Muslim country today. Moroccans are typically tolerant of other religions and most visitors – particularly those of the Jewish or Catholic faiths will easily find places of worship in large cities.

There are a few simple words of advice which will ensure your visit to Morocco is respectful to local customs and Islamic practices. Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter mosques. If you are interested in Moroccan Islamic history, practice and architecture, many historical madrasas (Koranic schools, for example in the cities of Fes and Marrakesh), marabouts (tombs of revered saints dotted all around the country and often pre-dating Islam) and zawiyas (homes to Sufi fraternities practicing music, song and trace – for example the gnaoua brotherhoods of Essaouira) are open to visitors.

Muslims are invited by the muezzin or adden to pray five times per day. You will hear the call to prayer in the largest cities and tiniest villages. Many attend the mosque at this time, although Muslims often pray wherever they are, for example at home, at work or at the side of the road if they are travelling. The prayer is generally short (except on Friday lunchtimes) and so if you see a storekeeper praying, or he is absent attending the mosque, just wait a few moments or come back later. Fridays are the main day for religious observance and many businesses shut for Friday prayers in the middle of the day or all afternoon. Many mosques cannot contain their congregations on a Friday, so praying men and their mats spill out into the street, especially during Ramadan (a holy month of fasting and religious observance which passes through the lunar calendar, beginning around 12 days earlier each year). If you can pass by, do so quietly and without staring and do not take photographs of those praying or of the inside of the mosque. There are many resources to introduce visitors to the principles of Islam and your guide will be happy to explain a few basic facts.

In general, Moroccans do not enjoy being photographed by strangers. Some have recognized that travelers like to capture the different, exotic and attractive aspects of Moroccan life on film and will sell the right to photograph them. It is your choice whether you go along with this. In any case, try to be discrete in your photography (a phone camera is much less obvious than a large SLR) and ask if you would like to take a direct portrait. Don’t be surprised if your request is refused, and if so, please respect this decision.

Visitors to Morocco are often surprised about the range of ways that Moroccan women dress. Most dress modestly, in keeping with Islamic custom, many wearing the jellaba (a hooded, ankle length robe) and headscarf. In cities, many wear Western dress with or without a headscarf. You will see few burqas of the type associated with the Gulf region or Afghanistan. In order to avoid stares or unwanted attention, it is best for visitors also to dress modestly. Keep your swimwear for the beach and always cover at least your shoulders. Women will find their visit much more pleasant if they also avoid revealing necklines and cover up down to the knees. A scarf or pashmina is also handy for moments when you feel the need to conceal your head or shoulders from unwanted stares, the hot sun or over-zealous aircon. In the evenings in the winter months (and even more so in the mountains or the desert), sunny days become chilly nights and you will need to bring a sweater or even a jacket.

On your trip to Morocco with Travel Exploration, you will be fortunate to visit bustling cities and untouched nature. The pace of development and increased tourist numbers put a pressure on local infrastructure with which the authorities are struggling to keep up. This is especially true of natural resources and the environment. Please be sensitive to the water use that your visit entails and try to conserve water where possible. Local tap water can antagonize foreign stomachs; consider using purification tablets or devices or at least buying bottled water in the biggest bottle you can carry to cut down on plastic waste. Dispose of your trash responsibly. In rural areas, where there are limited waste collection or treatment services, your guide will often advise you to bring your non-biodegradable trash out to the next large town.

Many under-educated young people flock from rural villages to cities and resorts in the hope of earning a living, but the limited number of jobs and their limited skills means that opportunities are few and these youngsters often resort to begging or scams to earn a crust. Poor families sometimes send their kids into the street to shine shoes, sell tissues or beg – a more immediate revenue stream than sending them to school. Ultimately, each tourist will make his or her own decision about how to deal with this situation. Recognizing the reasons behind it will help you remain polite, whatever your reaction to their need. If you decide to give, a few dirham is reasonable but you may prefer to give a child a pen or buy a beggar a meal rather than offer money. If you wish to make a donation to charities which seek to alleviate poverty and help families in difficult socio-economic situations, your Travel Exploration adviser can make a recommendation.

If you are fortunate to be invited to eat with Moroccans, be aware that they often eat from a communal dish. Wash your hands thoroughly before eating and only eat with your right hand. Moroccans use bread like cutlery and to avoid touching food which might be eaten by another. Follow their lead or request a fork or a spoon. Eat what is in front of you without ‘invading’ the portion of your neighbor and politely refuse (at least once) before accepting the morsels which are likely to be proffered to you as the guest by the hosts. Moroccans are very proud and will often object to you paying for their meal or drink, but if you insist (and you win the battle), they will never forget your generosity and will seek to repay it.

Tourism provides an income for a large number of Moroccans and their families, but it also creates tensions as locals are exposed to different cultures, values (and money) that they often do not fully comprehend or appreciate. On the whole, Moroccans are extremely resilient, tolerant and hospitable people. If you make a small effort to respect their culture, religion and customs you are sure to have a rich and rewarding insight into a fascinating country and to create friendships and memories to last a lifetime.

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 Ethical Tourism and Responsible Travel in Morocco

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 Caravan Routes of Morocco

Monday, March 30th, 2015
52 Days to Tombouctou Sign, Zagora

52 Days to Tombouctou Sign, Zagora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a much-photographed sign in Zagora, in the spectacular Draa Valley in Morocco. Beside the image of a blue-swaddled desert nomad is written: “TOMBOUCTOU 52 JOURS.” The journey is considerably quicker today, but if you go by camel, it probably still takes 52 days. Zagora is a popular starting point for trips on camel back into the Sahara Desert and this famous sign gives some indication of the significance of this area back in the mists of history.

Camel caravans (or – more accurately – dromedary caravans, as it is the one-humped version that is used in the Sahara) have existed since the 3rd century; the last caravans were officially closed down during the French and Spanish Protectorates in 1933.

For centuries the camel trains were the main means of transportation of goods and people between North African ports and economic hubs (such as Marrakech and Fes), across the Sahara to sub-Saharan Africa and eventually the Levant. For example, the camels travelled from as far West as the Moroccan Atlantic Coast right across to Ethiopia and Sudan in East Africa. An important north-south trade was salt (from Morocco) with gold (from the then Ghana Empire). One of the key caravan routes connected Tifilalt in Morocco, one of the largest oases in the world; Sijilmassa, an important salt mine; Tindouf in the deep south of Algeria, and Timbuktu in Mali.

Map of Caravan Routes of Morocco

Map of Caravan Routes of Morocco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloth, manufactured items and paper were brought in from Europe. On the return leg, they carried gold, slaves, ivory and ostrich feathers as well as beads and shells for currency. On the way, the traders may have picked up silver, salt, dates or handicrafts for exchanging on route. Slaves flowed in both directions, but particularly northwards. It has been estimated that from the 10th- 19th century, as many as 7,000 slaves were transported northwards into Morocco.

The procession of the camel train was a carefully planned affair. In previous times, the Sahara fringes and the Sahel were greener than today and the camels would be fattened for a number of months on the plains before being rounded into a caravan. The famous 14th century Moroccan explorer, Ibn Battuta, describes the size of the camel trains: 1,000 camels but occasionally as large as 12,000.

The leaders of this solemn procession were well-paid Berbers and Touareg tribesmen who literally knew the desert like the back of their hands. Along with their camel herds, this knowledge was a valuable commodity. Furthermore, they had invested time in building the relationships and connections necessary to ensure safe passage of the valuable cargo. The routes changed according to these allegiances, the rise and fall of economic might of different towns and cities and – importantly – the existence of rivers and oases, many of which in the desert are ephemeral and unpredictable. Runners would sometimes be sent ahead to oases to bring water back to the caravan because of the difficulty of transporting the water necessary between sources. It was not unusual for them to travel 3-4 days in each direction to provide this service.

The peak of the caravan trade coincided with the boom in the fortunes of the Islamic rulers of the greater Maghreb and Al-Andalus region, from the 8th century until the late 16th century. These routes were even responsible for the spreading of Islam from North Africa into West Africa. The decline was caused by improvements in maritime transport by the European powers and the discovery of gold in the Americas. However, the link between, for example, the port of Mogador (modern day Essaouira) and Timbuktu was significant as late as the 19th century, when Jewish traders in both cities exchanged goods and slaves from sub-Saharan Africa with produce imported from Europe and further afield, such as gunpowder tea from China.

Today, some sections of the routes are passable. In fact, many of the unmade trails used today by all-terrain vehicles to traverse the desert are actually the remnant of the old camel routes. Modern political tensions have made many Saharan borders impassable to tourists and travellers. However, the local tribesmen still know the routes and still use ancient navigation techniques passed down through the generations. It’s unlikely they would let a modern construct such as a line on a map hinder their passage!

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 Moroccan Caravan Routes from Zagora or a Morocco Tour 

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.

Best Regions for Trekking in Morocco

Sunday, March 29th, 2015
High Atlas Hiking, Toubkal

High Atlas Hiking, Toubkal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morocco is a trekker’s paradise with its diverse scenery and various levels of difficulty. With hundreds of miles to cover and many trekking paths in every region Morocco is a top choice for those looking to experience a trekking adventure. The best regions to trek in Morocco are the High Atlas, Anti Atlas, and the Great North.  In the High Atlas you can climb a mountain or walk in the Ourika Valley or in the beautiful village of Ouirgane gateway to scenic walks in the fields and forests of the Toubkal National Park and meet the local Berber people in their villages . To have these trekking opportunities so close to Europe means that a world of adventure awaits you with snow capped mountain peaks like Jebel Toubkal at 4167 meter canyons, rivers and waterfalls and the forests in the National Parks with their wildlife. If you want a day’s walk from the village of Azimiz or a ten day trek with an English speaking guide, these can be easily arranged and pre booked during a tailor made private trekking tour to Morocco.

Marrakech is within an hour or two’s reach of most trekking destinations. For serious trekkers a summit to Mount Toubkal can be arranged with a professional Berber guide who specialists in summiting Kasbah Toubkal. A Berber guide arranges a planned route and along with all equipment necessary for a 3 day summit. For a 3 day summit a combination of things to bring would be trekking boots, a good sized backpack, layers or clothing appropriate for three seasons, windbreaker and water bottles. On a 3 Day summit to Kasbah Toubkal you will stay in a Gitape at night and trek during the day with all local meals being served in Berber villages by locals and at the Gitape. Mule is included for equipment during your trek and led by your Berber guide.

Trekking is an all year round activity in Morocco however in the winter months you will encounter snow on the High Atlas and freezing temperature. The best time for trekking in Morocco is April to June when the weather is temperate and spring flowers carpet the valley floors.

Cedar Forrest Monkeys Ifrane

Cedar Forrest Monkeys Ifrane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another region famous for trekking Jbel Saghro. Jbel Saghro at 2,712 meters is less than 100 km south of the central High Atlas and overlooks the the Draa Valley and Dades valley in the Anti-Atlas. Jbel Saghro’s barren volcanic rock and deep ravines is home to the famous Ait Atta tribe. During a trek in the Jbel Saghro region you time is made to have lunch with a Berber family in Ait Ouzzine, a small village located in the Nkob region.

Located between the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas, Jbel Siroua at 3,305 is another prehistoric volcanic region perfect for trekking. The area extends over 350 km with valleys and canyons and fields on the mountain slopes. You can have fine views of the Jebel Mgoun at 4,068 meters in the Sous Massa Draa region and the picturesque Ait Bougmez valley some four hours from Marrakech. From Jbel Siroua trekking to Merzouga and the surrounding area is possible for those interest in desert scenery and a camel trek in the Sahara with a Nomadic guide.

An alternative to trekking in Southern Morocco is the option to trek in the Rif Mountain region which is not part of the Atlas Mountain chain. In North of Morocco the nature offers a different environment for trekking. In the South it is arid and dry with valley views whereas in the North the trekking offer lush, green views as this region receives far more rain then the South of Morocco trekking.

 Talassemtane National Park, Chefchaouen Region

Talassemtane National Park, Chefchaouen Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Morocco’s North, there are fabulous vistas, streams and lakes with great forests of cedar, oak and fir in the Talassemtane National Park, at Jebel Taloussisse and Jebel Lakraa. During a Northern Morocco trekking experience you will see Barbary Apes, eopards, wild boars, eagles, lizards and many species butterflies. You can also meet the local Berber population who till the fields in small villages and hamlets amidst the forests. The Northern part of Morocco is a less frequented trekking area by tourists than in the south of Morocco and offers an enchanting and peaceful trekking experience. The Berbers travel by donkey or on foot and vehicles area rare sight.

A Rif Mountain to the Jbel Lakraa Summit which is at 2154Meters is the ideal trek in this region. Trekkers can hike to the highest Summit in Talassemtane National Park through a magnificent Cedar Forrest.

Regardless of your level of experience and fitness, Morocco offers many options for trekkers alike.

For more information on Morocco Trekking in the Atlas.

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.

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.