Last month I was fortunate enough to travel with our most loyal guest Andrea on her seventh world-wide trip with us, and two more trips coming soon, and a dear friend, Paul. Here’s what we got up to on our travels through MOROCCO!
Marrakech is the oldest capital of the Kingdom that keeps a sense of the ancient alive with its ancestral traditions, history, customs and a traditional way of life. We stayed at a famous old-world riad, a traditional Moroccan house built around a beautiful courtyard garden, instead of a hotel and explored the exquisite architecture and the fabulous history of the old palaces and shrines in this city. Our richly guided showed us the glorious past of the old city, the busy, colorful streets, delicious traditional food stalls and the newly restored 16th-century Jewish quarter. On the main square of Jemaa El Fna, we discovered a large space dedicated to local people and visitors seeking delicious and rare traditional recipes, which was MAGICAL!
The walking tour inside the colorful souks in the Medina of Marrakech was a feast for the senses as we tasted the local produce, smelled the fragrance of the local spices and oils, touched the texture of the exquisite fabrics – fantastic, full emersion!
Majorelle Garden & YSL Museum
We strolled through the famous garden created by the orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle in 1920’s. It has a collection of plants from the four corners of the globe which flourish among elegant ornamental ponds and an Art Deco villa. The special shade of bold cobalt blue you see here is named after the artist: Majorelle blue. The garden also has more than 15 bird species endemic to North Africa and has an amazing collection of cacti. This garden was owned by the French designer, Yves Saint Laurent.
Then onto the white-capped Atlas Mountains, separating the Sahara Desert from the ocean (I made friends with at least four camels!!) where we stayed at the divine White Camel Lodge.
The Hot Air Balloon over the desert
This was a fabulous sunrise expedition through the Moroccan sky, floating over the desert and villages, hills and oases. Hovering over this amazing world was an unforgettable experience.
Then we met the Berber people, for an unforgettable experience baking bread and preparing a tradition tagine in the kitchen of a Berber-village family… and we got to know them better over a pot of traditional mint. Here we took a walk through the alleyways, exploring the village, meeting locals and discovering the ancestral activities they still maintain. We joined local artisans in their workshops and got our hands dirty learning to create local clay crafts.
The city of Essaouria
From there we went to Essaouira, a charming and peaceful seaside town with a unique blend of Moroccan and European architecture from the late 18th century. We also drove through the famous Argan forest which produces this highly demanded oil. We found a women’s cooperative, and we were their absolute best customers… laden with vats of argan, cactus seed oils and more we marched out 20 kgs heavier with our goodies!
Chefchaouen: The Blue City
Lastly and possibly my personal favorite, was a drive to Chefchaouen the Blue City for some sightseeing. Bursting with colors: oranges, yellows and blues of all hues we negotiated small hills and fertile plains where farmers still grow grain cereals and an abundance of fruit, like figs and oranges.
Our delightful walking tour took us to see houses with blue and white lime-washed walls. We felt a powerful yet gentle charm in the Outa-el-Hammam square, in the cobblestone-streets of the medina.
Then we made our way back to Casablanca, where we had many a cocktail in the incredible restaurant where CASABLANCA was filmed. This film, starring Humphrey Bogart, made the city of Casablanca famous, it won Oscars for best picture, best director and best screenplay. This city is all about romance, old-school decadence, amazing restaurants and more.
These are some of the highlights of this colorful, magnificent jewel in Northern Africa. Contact Sikeleli and we’ll curate the perfect Moroccan experience, especially for you! Contact our travel specialists: Danni, Karen or Fungai
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