- Atlas Mountains
- Jemaa el-Fnaa
- Hassan II Mosque
- Saadian Tombs
- Hassan Tower
- El Badi Palace
- Kasbah of the Udayas
- Massa River
- Sahara Desert
Morocco is an exotic land, a cultural collision between Islam and Africa. It has so much to offer: mountains, desert, ancient medinas, souks, hammam and camel trekking. And we learn a lot when drinking mint tea and talking to Moroccan people. It is a journey you’ll never forget!
Your first stop should be Marrakesh, where you’re inevitably going to feel disoriented: where to go, what to see, who to talk to… just take it easy and go with the flow. You will definitely want to be at Djemaa el-Fna square at dinner time! You will taste some of the best couscouses and drink the most delicious fresh orange juice. But there is more to that square: it’s an open-air theater with drama everywhere: snake charmers, henna tattooists, Gnawa musicians, dancers… at dusk, you will be charmed!
Marrakesh is more than just Djemaa el-Fna square. The medina is the perfect destination for shopping… and bargaining! Carpets, leather, ceramic… If you don’t know where to find the shop you’re looking for, ask anyone: their brother/uncle/father/friend runs exactly that business, lucky you! But don’t forget to thank your messenger with a couple of dirhams!
Then I would suggest leaving for a desert trek with one of the many tours available. Our tour was incredible with Sahara Desert Dream, and our guide was the best! Thank you again M’barek! We learned so many things about their culture, the way Moroccan people live… it is worth it!
You will probably pass by Ouarzazate, on your way to the Sahara Desert. You should stop first at Aït Benhaddou, a fortified city that has appeared in more than 10 movies, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. Then, Drâa Valley is waiting for you. Draa River, which forms at Ouarzazate, flows through a superb oasis between Agdz and Mhamid. A 200km strip of uninterrupted greenery stretches out before you, a kingdom full of date palms and their precious fruit as well as fields of henna.
Head to Merzouga, a village in the Sahara Desert, on the edge of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5 km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m. This is the perfect place to have mint tea and a plate of pastries, or couscous, steamed for hours and heaped with meat and vegetables, the highpoint of any feast, before going on a camel trek in the desert and watch the sunset over an ocean of dunes. As René Voillaume said: ‘You must go to the desert with a simple soul, without any concern about what to do, since you cannot do anything in the desert beside simplifying your life’. You will remember this day for the rest of your life!
On your way back to civilization, stop at Tinghir where you can sleep in a Kasbah and get to know a little bit more about Moroccan and Berber people. As our host told us, many of them are ‘light Muslims’, since they smoke and drink beer! And they call their donkey ‘4×4 Berber’, because it’s their main mode of transportation.
You would then go to Dadès Gorges, to enjoy palm oases and rocky red cliffs. It is a breathtaking vista, and again, your host will be delightful! You could then trek deep into the Atlas Mountains with a mule, and sleeping at a local Berber homestays! Or you can climb North Africa’s highest mountain: Jebel Toubkal (4167m)! Everything is possible…
After that, I would suggest that you go to Fez, and visit its ancient medina, the most intact medieval Arab city in the world. You’ll feel 1000 years back! Huge tanneries, narrow alleys, butcheries, cats, spices… Haggle for souvenirs in the souks until you’re knee-deep in carpets, and soak your cares away in a hammam (bath house): what better ways to enjoy your trip!
If you want to see something unusual, head to the coast to Essaouira, where the goats are crazy about the fruit of the argan tree: they can’t reach the fruit from the ground, so they hop up into the tree and munch away! You can also go to the beach, tan and surf, or head to Agadir for better swimming conditions.
Finally, if you want to hop to Andalucia, Spain, by the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier will be your next destination. A multicultural city with a sense of exotic mystery, interesting history, beautiful vistas, unspoiled beaches and friendly people… what’s not to like?
Morocco should be on your bucket list. It was on mine, and I definitely recommend a journey there! You will be enchanted!!
So here’s our itinerary for that marvellous trip! Enjoy!!
- Day 1 to 3: Visit Marrakesh, the medina, the souks, and spend some time at Djemaa el-Fna square (you will come back every day!).
- Day 4 to 8: Take a trek to the Atlas Mountains and the desert. Begin at Aït Benhaddou, then go to Ouarzazate. After that, the Drâa Valley and Merzouga Dunes: eat and sleep in the desert, take a camel ride and watch the most beautiful sunset over an ocean of sand! Priceless!! Then head to Tinghir, and to the Dadès Gorges, and make your way back to beautiful Marrakesh.
- Day 9 to 11: Take a train to Fez, and shop in its medina! Eat delicious couscous, get pampered in a hammam, soak into this particular blend of African and Islamic culture.
- Day 12 to 14: Take another train to Tangier, and spend your last days of your Moroccan journey on a beach, sipping a cocktail and making friends. And why not cross the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain?