My wife and I love to travel. In our most recent trip to Morocco we discovered an abundance of culture, incredible food, amazing people, plenty of shopping and a range of travel scenery to amaze travelers of all kinds. There is magic everywhere – not of the siem sala biem type, but rather embedded in the variety of cultural and culinary experiences…
Casablanca: Since most international flights arrive and depart from here, it is best to use it as only a place of arrival and departure. Most of the sought after culture lies elsewhere.
Marrakesh: Shopping and scenery mecca. Plenty of variety and lots of craft, food and clothing. Here you will find pretty much anything you can think of. The options are unlimited and the quality and prices are amazing. You can easily spend a week here and not get through nearly enough.
Sahara Dessert: Massive sand dunes, Dromodare (single hump camels) and palm trees welcome you to a quiet and hospitality that is truly unique. For the best experience visit Marzourga (and not Zagora). You should consider the 3 day or more camel trekking to get the best experience.
Essaouira: A beautiful fortress right on the ocean. The market is great and less hard selling makes this an ideal destination.
Meknez: A lot more busy, not as clean and not as much to see that cannot be seen elsewhere.
Fez: This is a city with more than 9,000 streets. Even the locals have trouble getting you to your hotel. But, this is where everything is made and it is a shopping mecca!
Culture: Moroccans speak mainly French and/or Arabic and English can be found at most of the Riads (hotels) and tourist centres. Crime is almost non existent and is largely due to the fact that alcohol is not readily available and when a squabble does arrive, there will be more people to stop the tiff than to egg it on. It is wonderful to see the community jump in to stop almost any type of conflict the moment it may even appear to surface.
Food: We enjoyed tagimes which are slow cooked meat, chicken or lamb served in a warm clay bowl. Couscous, bread, olives and fruit such as prunes, raisins or oranges are usually part of the selection for main meals. Breakfast consists of chocolate croissants, french bread, butter and jam served with coffee, orange juice and mint tea. For desert there is a variety of fruit sprinkled with cinnamon and dates or nuts and/or a variety of local delicious pastries.
Drinks: Expect to find Coca-Cola, Fanta, Cuppacino, Coffee, Hot Chocolate and the favorite mint tea in abundance.
People: Moroccans are friendly. They will go out of their way to help you. Although they will assist for free one can anticipate that a few dirham (local currency) will be well accepted and appreciated. They bargain hard.
Shopping: At the souke (market) you will find food of all kinds, beautiful hand-made lamps and lanterns, incredibly beautiful goat or camel leather bags, hand-woven carpets and rugs with the most beautiful colours and textures. One is overwhelmed by choice and have to almost ignore contact with the owners as once you have engaged eye contact it is incredibly hard to gracefully disengage while not buying anything. The variety of treats for the eye is astounding but bargaining is not for the faint-hearted and best left for the seasoned bargainer.
Getting around: Very good and affordable bus and train service is available throughout the country. Taxis are cheap but be sure to arrange your faire before you get in.
Scenery: The landscape changes from snow peaks to valleys, from sweeping palm trees to never ending desserts. Morocco really has an amazing variety of scenery crammed into one country. It is an absolute feast for the eyes. I like to think of it as the place of 10,000 pictures.