Earlier this year Rachel Armstrong got to experience the magic of Morocco for the first time with us. From the buzzing city of Marrakech to the pungent tanneries of Fes, rural scenery of Midelt, beauty of the Sahara and history of Ait Benhaddou, Rachel tells us about some of the highlights of her trip.
Our tour kicked off in the buzzing city of Marrakech, which I was indoctrinated into with a walk around the night markets in Djemaa el Fna. This lively marketplace was a busting hive of activity of food stalls, story tellers and souvenir stores. While you may not want to buy any trinkets on your first night here, I would definitely recommend freshly squeezed orange juice here.
After exploring Casablanca and Rabat, our next stop was Fes – a real highlight for me. The medina in Fes was no different to any others around the country – a bustling area of small streets and alleys with many small stores selling their wares. In Fes however, you’ll find the tanneries with dye pits and men working on famous Moroccan leather right in the middle of the medina. When visiting the tanneries you may be offered some mint to cover the pungent smells, and trust me – you’re offered it for a reason!
A good wind down from the hustle and bustle of Fes was the apple capital of Morocco, Midelt. The scenery here is rather barren, but beautiful. Walking through the country lanes it was fascinating to see the farmers going around their daily business, and a welcome respite from the city.
Next up was the Sahara, where just the name conjures up images of long walks with no water and mirages in the sand. But nevertheless it was still somewhere I had always wanted to see.
The camel ride to our desert camp at sunset exceeded expectations and was followed by an amazing evening under the stars with a Tangine dinner, local Moroccan music and singing.
Another highlight was Ait Benhaddou, an ancient fortified Kasbah originally built for defense purposes. Today it is a great example of architecture in southern Morocco and has acted as a backdrop to many famous Hollywood movies including Gladiator and Laurence of Arabia. This is a great example of architecture in Southern Morocco. A walk to the top offers outstanding views of the surrounding countryside and the Atlas Mountains.
During our final days in Morocco I headed back to the market square in Marrakech for shopping shopping shopping. You can find anything you need in the stores around the market place. Make sure you head up to one of the roof top restaurants for amazing food and a great view over the market place to top off your trip.
Rachel travelled on our 9 day Totally Morocco group tour – find out more here.