Posts Tagged ‘Majorelle Gardens Berber Museum’

5 Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel to Morocco & Abroad

Thursday, March 17th, 2016
Talassemtane Morocco-National Park Chefchaouen

Talassemtane Morocco-National Park Chefchaouen

Do you dream of taking a vacation to a place where there are wide open spaces? Magnificent desert landscapes, rocky gorges, ancient kasbahs sprawled across a mountain backdrop and bustling old cities? Are you also a nut for keeping conservation on your mind, being careful and conscious of the way you’re affecting the environment? Then countries like Morocco should be on your bucket list and there are plenty of ways to travel that don’t include messing up the planet (or at least having a lesser effect on it). They are all perfect for incorporating into your next great Moroccan or other travel adventure.

Whether you’re into green living at home or are just interested in the ways you can make this world a more sustainable, beautiful place, check out my tips for staying eco friendly on the road–you might be surprised how easy (and bespoke, and luxurious as well) it is to make yourself a travelling friend of the planet in particular when visiting Morocco.

Try a boutique riad, that is eco conscious, a work stay or eco lodge instead of a regular 5 star hotel.

There’s more to being environmentally friendly when you’re travelling abroad then having the maids not clean your room, or reusing your towel for your entire stay (although these are both good things!). If you really want to make a change in the way you travel, there’s two really great options that put the carbon emissions of staying in a resort or taking a cruise, and those options are work stays and ecolodges.

Spending a week in a riad in one of Morocco’s old cities offers the opportunity to know your host, be eco conscious and have the services along with comfortable amenities needed for your trip, whether it is a private tour or independent travel experience.

Work stays may be something you associate with a gap year or something students do as a study abroad program, but there are options available for people of all ages, and most of them are tamer than the Peace Corps. Try programs like the ones found on, you could be rehabilitating elephants in Thailand, providing medical assistance in Cambodia, helping out conservation efforts in the Great Barrier Reef or assisting with farms in Berber Villages in Morocco. Now what sounds cooler than that?

Sawadi Eco Lodge, Skoura

Sawadi Eco Lodge, Skoura

And ecolodges are no work and all play, just check out L’MaLodge, Les Jardins Des Skoura or in the Skoura Palmerie or Sawadi, a guest house located on an organic farm. The small, sleepy town of Skoura has a big market Souk every Monday and a small group of administrative buildings. Most impressive in Skoura are the many kasbahs that ripple through its dry rocky oasis. Skoura is referred to as the “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs.” With the Valley of Almonds and Dades Valley nearby there are plenty of one-day excursions from Skoura. The eco lodges there serve organic cuisine from their gardens which guarantees a farm to table experience and all products used on their premises are bio/ organic.

Frequent places outside the norm.

New York City, London, Paris, Tokyo, Casablanca are all wonderful, destination hotspot cities, but once you get into them, the places that are really interesting are East End, Montmartre Shimokitazawa and Marrakech. Located in the same places as these hotshot places like Time Square, The London Eye, The Eiffel Tower, Majorelle Gardens and more, it’s the smaller, micro-communities within the big cities where you’ll want to grab a pint, shop for goodies, or book a reservation for dinner.

It’s not just because these places are outside the tourist bubble (though that’s a really great reason to stay away from them), but it’s because you’re putting money into the communities that support these bigger, larger-than-life tourist city centres and you’re getting a real look at how the people who live there, are actually living their lives. Perspective is pretty green, which leads me to my next point…

Buy only local, handmade gifts. Ditto for food and drink.

One of the greatest things about vacationing in general and in particular in Morocco, is going to a place and getting something handmade by artisans who live there; the wooden Kokeshi dolls show hundreds of years of folk art technique, Moroccan rugs show hundreds of hours of labor, and handmade leather sandals from Greek trace back before democracy. A shot glass isn’t going to get the same story.

Morocco Green Travel

Morocco Green Travel

When you buy cheap trinkets made in other countries and imported for the benefit of tourists, you undercut the local economy, driving down living wages, and making it harder for local producers to keep up. When it comes to tourist gifts, you’re also trading a silly shirt for something that was made with cultural consciousness and care; it’s just a better rule to shop and eat with the locals, it helps sustain their culture and keep your travel destination exactly how it is for years to come.

And please, for all that is wonderful in the world, don’t buy cheap electronics! Electronics overseas can be malfunctioning, made under terrible working conditions, headed for a giant, unhealthy dump, or are even potentially stolen (if it has an iCloud lock on it, you know it belonged to someone else first) and no one should go on vacation for an Android. Buy food, buy art, buy small doodads but never technology. Save those purchases for home.

Travel lighter.

Seems easy right, to take off the poundage when you’re travelling? Maybe not, but every pound counts, especially when you’re jetting all over the world. One of the best ways to cut down on excess weight is to just pare down to the essentials. Don’t take “what if” accessories, additional clothes for weather that is unlikely to happen; if it’s summer, no need to take a parka, although raingear is always a good idea.

Need help trying to figure out what to leave and what to take? Map out your itinerary, and consider what’s practical for your trip. A couple pair of shoes, interchangeable separates, and at least one nice outfit is a great place to start. If you’re still stumped, go through Travel Exploration’s A-Z packing guide for inspiration.

Ditch the water bottles.

There are very few things that everyone considers unanimously bad for the environment as water bottles (carbon emissions is just one of them). From containing dangerous chemicals to taking forever to decompose, water bottles are just about the worst thing that can end up in a landfill or in the ocean, choking the life out of an ecosystem somewhere.

How do you get away from this while travelling? There’s a couple of options. First, reuse the same water bottle over and over again if you have to; stop buying water in restaurants unless it’s tap (worried about clean water? take a purifying device or tablets along with you). Second, get a good water bottle that you can carry with you wherever your feet might take you. Avex Brazos is a good bet (it’s BPA-free plastic), as are the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vaccum (great for insulation, keeps cold cold and hot hot), and the popular, cheap favorite, Naigene.

Looking for more ways to make an impact around the planet and in Morocco during your visit or are you interested in sharing some of your green tips for travelling abroad? Leave a comment at the end of the article and I’ll try it out in my new travel routine. We’re always looking for better ways to connect with local communities and be a service -so please feel free to share your ideas with Morocco Travel Blog!

Bon voyage vert!

By Claire Lovesti – a self-confessed travel nut, traveling around the world since her mum farewelled her in a teary goodbye. For more information on Claire’s adventures through 48 cities in 26 countries on 4 continents you can read her blog at

For more information about Eco-Friendly Travel and Tours to Morocco

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 Things to do in Marrakech, Off the Beat Morocco

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Majorelle Gardens, Top 5 Things Marrakech

Majorelle Gardens, Top 5 Things Marrakech












Marrakech, referred to as the “red hamra” city is a major city in Morocco known for it’s magnificent ochre color and is an attraction in itself. Marrakech boasts a vibrant street life and a rich array of drought tolerant flora and fauna, magnificent scents, exotic street food and bustling souks. Marrakech is a lively city where the traditional collides with the contemporary. A travelers experience to Marrakech can be highlighted by visiting UNESCO Heritage sites, sprawling gardens, mysterious palaces with majestic mosaic zellij tile work along with glorious houses of worship. The Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech are those that combine new trends with tradition along with off the beaten path experiences. For those who want a touch of local culture and authentic of city life our take on the Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech are stand out choices.

The Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech, Off the Beat Morocco – Recommended by Morocco Travel Designer Alecia Cohen:

#1: The Majorelle Gardens & Berber Museum – The Majorelle Gardens, previously the Jardin Bou Saf, bears its name from its original creator, Jacques Majorelle, the French expatriate artist who was born in Nancy, France, in 1886. Jacques Majorelle was the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. In 1947, the son opened his gardens to the public and, during this time, also painted a magnificent ceiling at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with exquisite gardens and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote The Birds. Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Nancy in 1901 and in 1919 went to Marrakech to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years, using a special blue color that he used extensively in the garden and that is named after him, Majorelle blue. Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries. As a collector of unique plants from five continents, Majorelle left to Yves Saint Laurent one of the more unique collections of flora and fauna of this era as well as a place of inspiration and contemplation. Even though Morocco is no longer under the French protectorate, this original French creation is one of the most beloved areas in Morocco. The Majorelle Gardens also houses a 200 meter squared Berber Museum with its spectacular collection of Berber Silver and an exclusive collection of over 600 objects from diverse regions of Morocco. Visit the Majorelle Gardens  during the early morning to take advantage of the Marrakech sunlight.

Amal Women's Training Center, Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech

Amal Women’s Training Center, Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech












#2: Amal Women’s Training Center – Perfect for Couscous on Fridays, a Cooking Class and mingling with women – The Amal Womens Center & Moroccan restaurant is a non-profit organization that empowers disadvantaged women by training them in traditional and modern cuisine. Founded by Nora Fitzgerald, an American born and raised in Morocco, this fabulous small house is located in the new city of Gueliz. The Amal Center offers cooking classes and is the prefect place for couscous lunch on Fridays.

#3: Café Clock – A Camel Burger and Hikayat Storytelling Experience – Mike Richardson, owner of Café Clock in Fes launched a Mararkech offshoot that is the ideal place to go for lunch. Cafe Clock is trend setting with its fine get up of retro and vintage style Berber decor where young Moroccans, foreigners and expats can commence together to meet and enjoy Moroccan cafe fare while participating in variety of activities such as the Art of Hikayat Storytelling.  Café Clock is off the beaten path in the Kasbah region of the Marrakech medina and embodies the diversity of which Morocco is celebrated. The oral storytelling of Hikayat can be heard at Café Clock twice weekly. Hikayat is over 1000 years old and the oral culture of storytelling encompasses everything from love to recipes, legal agreements and daily life. Visit Cafe Clock at sunset for a camel burger and Hikayat Storytelling. The perfect evening for those wanting an insider experience of Marrakech.

La Maison Photographie, Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech

La Maison Photographie, Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech










#4: Maison de la Photographie – A visit to Marrakech is not complete without a visit to La Maison de la Photographie which is close to the Medersa Ben Youssef. It is truly one of the wonders of Marrakech. Housed in a converted three story Foundouk (the old inns and storage houses for camel trains coming to sell their wares in the souks) which Patrick Man’ach and his Moroccan business colleague Hamid Megrani converted in to a photographic gallery in 2009. There are photographs of Morocco from the 1860’s at the very dawn of photography when intrepid adventurers had to carry heavy equipment into what was still a largely closed country up until the 1950’s and Morocco’s independence in 1956. The exhibitions are arranged on three floors, with large size portraits and scenes from the 1860’s and 70’s to the early20th Century and the late 1950’s. The third floor has a video room showing the films of Daniel Chicault who took his cine camera to the Atlas Mountains to film in colour unique dance scenes and the village life of the Berber tribes in 1956 and 1957. Don’t miss this boutique museum or the chance to purchase one of their fabulous vintage prints.

Ben Youssef Medersa, Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech

Ben Youssef Medersa, Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech









#5 Ben Youssef Medersa – Visit the Ben Youssef Medersa, one of Marrakech’s leading mosques of magnificence. Not far from Djemaa El Fna Square is the Ben Youssef that was built between 1121 and 1132. A former theological university the mosque faces towards Mecca. Each wall is marked with zellij tile work and entering in the Ben Youssef takes you back to another century and makes one feel as if they are on a pilgrimage. This dynastic mosque is one of Morocco’s greats and worth the sight and the photo-op in front of its massive shallow pool and columns in the morning or early afternoon.

For more information about the Top 5 Things to Do 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 offer Private 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.