A cultural experience in Morocco
Whilst at college I was lucky enough to be invited on a Geography trip to the beautiful country of Morocco. Having never been to such a cultural country, or Africa in fact… I was apprehensive about what the experience would entail but WOW what a week it was! Our trip would start off in the bustling city of Marrakesh for 2 nights followed by a minibus journey up into the Atlas Mountains for 6 days of exploring, trekking and research whilst staying in the little village of Imlil. Looking into the way of life of locals and agricultural complexities found with living within the mountains.
Before you book a holiday to Morocco remember:
- Currency : Moroccan Dirham
- Airport: Marrakesh Menara Airport
- Flight duration from London: 2hr 35 minutes
- Weather: Very little rain throughout the year in Marrakesh. July and August average 37 degrees.
The above photograph was taken from a pretty restaurant which overlooked the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, which was bustling with street traders selling food & drink, entertainers and locals milling around socialising .
- A night in Marrakesh was an ‘Experience’ I got attacked with a henna pen from an old lady, I saw small monkeys being walked around on string & a gentleman had a giant snake (I absolutely hate snakes.. I can’t even watch them when they come on the Television) so let’s just say I walked in the opposite direction!!
- We ate in a rooftop terrace restaurant called Café Restaurant Argana overlooking the square, it was a traditional Moroccan tagine meal with lots of potatoes, vegetables and meat. We had bread and olives to start which were lovely.
Day time in Marrakesh
We spent our days walking around the beautiful city taking in the scenery and culture. We had a horse and carriage ride from our hotel the ‘Diwane Hotel‘ which showed us the behind the scenes of Marrakesh. I would definitely recommend doing this.
- The Souk semmarine and Souk el Maasi square full of colourful scarfs, rugs and clothing along with hundreds of herbs and spices & perfumeries. We were lucky enough to have a tour of the perfumery trying all different smells and given a few tasters to take home which was nice. If visiting the Souks set aside at least 3-4 hours, keep a close watch of your pockets & bags and ensure you impress with your haggling.. it’s a bit of fun after all and we all enjoy a bargain!
We also visited the smelly insights of how leather belts are created, handmade within the Souks. Don’t stay there too long it’s a bit pongy!! It was great to experience how people of Marrakesh make their money and the trade of Marrakesh is ultimately reliant on tourism and locals being able to sell their products within the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square and Souks.
There are many other siteseeing landmarks to visit whilst in Marrakesh these include;
– Visit the Majorelle Garden and enchanted garden created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle.
– Bahia Palace [Palace of Beauty] The beautiful palace and gardens are set within 8 hectacres of Marrakesh built between the 1866 and 1867.
– Koutubia Mosque is the largest mosque situated within Marrakesh with the traditional Minaret tower built in the almohad style, it has now become one of the largest landmarks in Marrakesh… Be aware they like to pray in the early hours of the morning, so don’t stay too close to the Koutubia Mosque.
Imlil is the beautiful village that we stayed in within the heart of the Atlas Mountain range. Approximately 67km away from Marrakesh taking about 1hr 30 minutes to reach our second hotel. We travelled by mini bus from Marrakesh to the mountains on winding roads often untarmaced and made of shingle and gravel. The higher we got the worse the driving conditions but we were in good hands, the minibus driver a local man Azhama was very knowledgable and expereinced of the area.
We stayed in a beautiful hotel called Dar Imlil Hotel the staff were really accommodating seen as we were a large group of people. The food was beautiful and we enjoyed Breakfast and Dinner at this lovely place for 6 days. The hotel amenities include; Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Large Rooms and Suites.
Our days were spent trekking the Atlas mountains looking at the vegetation within the mountains and the crops which survives the humid and warm temperatures of Morocco. The weather was beauitful each day averaging 36 degrees, we were luck enough not to have to walk all the way the to the top of the mountains we were joined by Mouls. Having lived in the New Forest most of my life you would have thought I would of been used to riding horses but it’s really not a fan of mine!! We also got to make kites with the local primary school children, their faces lit up when they started flying them all.
We also ventured to another lovely hotel, which in fact we were supposed of stayed in but they double booked our visit.. from the hotel Kashbah Du Toubkal the views were amazing, very breath taking and we even played on the highest chess board in AFRICA!! I would love to return and stay at this beautiful hotel.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the Moroccan culture in particular Marrakesh both during the day and at night along with trekking the Atlas Mountains. I can certainly say that I hope to visit this wonderful country again one day.
Have you visited Morocco or Marrakesh? How was your visit? I’d love to hear all about it 🙂
If you’d like any advice on where to go/what to see or where to stay feel free to drop me a comment below.