Morocco

We were in Marrakech for 5 days and 4 nights. We stayed in this lovely spa hotel called Villa Makassar (20, derb Chtouka Kasbah, Marrakech, Morocco).

Places To Go:

  • Marrakech’s Souq – Unbelievable selection of everything – clothing, accessories, utensils, lamps, kitchenware, and of course Argan oil. Be ready to haggle down and be ready to walk away.

  • Jardin Majorelle – Nature Garden – Stay 1-2 Hours – The garden is open every day: from 8:00am until 5:30pm in the off season. 
    • Address: Rue Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech 40 000
  • Kasbah Mosque – built in 1230, most important mosque in Marrakech, we can’t enter, we’re not Muslim.
  • Ben Youssef Madrasa – theological college, open to visitors. 8am-5pm. A combination ticket to Ben Youssef and the nearby Marrakech Museum is available. The architecture to this place is unbelievable, worth a walk around just to take good photos. 
  • Tanneries – in here, you will see how leather are made. If you have a sensitive sense of smell. This is not the place for you, despite the amount of mint you try to shove up your nose. It will not work. If you can’t stand the smell of rot and all the disgusting smells you can think of. Just don’t do it.

  • Sahara Desert – to be able to sleep under the stars in the Sahara Desert. We went for an organised tour to make the most of it. We booked the tour with www.excursions-maroc.net – so worth checking them out.
    • Our tour started at 7:00am, as we were picked up by a van to take us to the meeting point.
    • By 8:00am we depart Marrakech, as we drive left and right of the Atlas Mountains we reach Casbah Ait-BenHaddou, in the Ouarzazate province. This is one of the UNESCO Heritage Site. These are eathen buildings surrounded by high walls which are usually the traditional pre-Saharan habitat. This place is also famous as this is where they filmed loads of movies like Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia; and my ultimate favourite TV show of all time: Game of Thrones. This is where Khalessi – Mhysa was born!

    • We took a quick stop to a small town Draa-Valley and the beautiful Oasis.
    • Then off we go to the Berber Campsite. This evening we had Berber bivouacs with full bedding, dinner and breakfast. We had tagine (by far the best one from this trip!) had moroccan tea. This is one of my favourite highlights of the trip. In this trip, I saw a sky full of stars. I saw how beautiful this planet is, and for a brief moment, despite all of the chaos in my life, I was at peace. I was grateful for that brief moment, to have that calm fill me up and be thankful for everything. I saw so many stars, it was silent and dark and so beautiful.

Places To Eat In:

Unfortunately my attentiveness during this trip was lacking in terms of food. We just went to any restaurant we can find in the souq and had tagine. Most of our dinners were inside the villa.

Quick Tips:

  • If you want to hire a guide in Marrakech only hire one wearing a badge of an official tourist agency. Ignore everyone else claiming they are guides. 
  • We went in May, it wasn’t that hot yet, so comfty footwear is a must. But also, try to cover up as much legs and shoulders if possible.  Bring some hand sanitisers too.
  • Tipping is seen as polite. However, check that service charge isn’t included in your meal.
  • Our tour to the Sahara Desert have pre-arranged pick ups from our villa. These are usually included in tour packages.
  • If possible, travel with a male friend, or have a big group which consists of males. It’s quite difficult travelling in Marrakech just being two girls. The cat calling was quite exhausting.
  • When in the tour for the Sahara Desert, be prepared to bring flashlights or extra battery packs. I had to use my phone as light as the camp site was too dark.
  • You think riding a camel is easy, it ain’t. I think I rode 3 camels during the entire Moroccan trip, of which, the last camel seemed quite drunk and it kept on tripping everywhere. I swear at some point, I thought the camel was just going to give up and fall to the ground.

  • Some areas of Morocco has people who can speak a number of languages. I joined the Sahara tour and encountered my tour guide who can speak 4 languages, Arabic, English, French and Spanish. I was literally lost for words when I heard him speak.
  • You will hear this often in Morocco in souqs or in travel, the word Berber. Berber is an ethnic group in North Africa and they make up almost half of Morocco’s population. Loads of souqs would have their sellers selling Berber clothing.

 

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