I know I’ve been banging on about my trip to Morocco ever since I came back but it truly is a great place to visit. I was lucky and managed to travel around quite a lot within the week we were there and see lots of amazing parts of the country so I thought I’d let you know some of the things you should experience if you visit Morocco.
A traditional tagine
Everywhere you go a tagine will be different, you may get lamb, or beef, or chicken, or meatballs, or just vegetables. A tagine is just a description of the bowl that it is cooked/ presented to you in, but despite the variety in the dish you can’t go to Morocco and not try at least one or two. We had little option in the earlier part of our trip and ended up eating so much tagine that by the time we were in Marrakech we were relieved to see other options on the menu.
The souks of Marrakech
You can’t go to Marrakech and not experience the souks, or markets in other words. They’re magical like an Aladdin’s cave of treasures selling pretty much anything you may want: clothing, food, ornaments, scarves, pottery, jewellery, cosmetics and more. There are unwritten rules when going into the markets though so be careful. Don’t be afraid to say no if someone tries to sell you something, and whatever they say it costs make sure you offer something at least 75% lower because they know they’ll have to bargain for a sale. If you’re not looking to buy try to avoid spending too long looking at things or pointing things out because people will come over and pester you to buy. I would also recommend not walking around on your own, but enjoy and get some bargains.
Visit the cinema capital of Morocco
Ouarzazte sits about three hours south of Marrakech, or about 50 minutes on a plane from Casablanca which is how we got there. The city is nicknamed the door to the desert as it is very close to the edge of the Sahara Desert and it is for this reason (along with it’s proximity to mountains on the other side) that it is the cinema capital of Morocco. There are more than four film studios in the city alone and films including The Mummy, Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and some of the scenes with Khaleesi (including some of the dragon scenes) from Game of Thrones were all filmed here. The village of Ait Benhaddou is west of the city and is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the where a lot of these famous scenes were constructed.
Visit a Kasbah
A Kasbah is a particular type of building which has high walls, little windows and forms it’s own little village inside, Kasbah’s are rarely used to live in now but old ruins are scattered all around cities and towns in Morocco. They’re sometimes thought of as fortress’ as royalty and people with a lot of money tended to build them and live there, and they’re truly representative of Islamic cities. Your trip to Morocco is not complete without a visit to at least one.
A camel ride into the Sahara
Camel rides are pretty easy to come by in Morocco, we did ours in the desert quite far south in Morocco, but you can get camel treks in the desert much closer to major cities. I watched The Travel Man with Richard Ayoade and when he went to Marrakech they managed to do a camel trek only an hour or so away from the city. Riding a camel is one of those things you kind of have to experience for yourself as it’s hard to explain but he prepared for a very sore bum (and inner thighs) and be prepared to hold on tight when ever they get up and down.
A mountain climb in the Atlas
There are various aspects and parts of the Atlas Mountains from the Mid Atlas right up to the High Atlas Mountains and they separate North and South Morocco. Most of the cities that you will have heard of like Fes, Marakkech and Casablanca sit on the North and both sides of the country are very different in beliefs and the way that they live their lives. The Atlas Mountains offer some beautiful trails to walk up, or you can invent your own like our tour guide did, and the views are truly spectacular. In the winter the tops you can see are generally snow covered but sadly due to a 2 year drought in the country the snow had melted, if only we could donate some rain from the UK.