My personal highlights: 1. Experiencing the Sahara desert feeling like a little girl playing in a huge sandbox – 2. Joining local women for an authentic Hammam experience
This blog story invites you to dive into my first Africa travel. I experienced the south of Morocco starting in Marrakech and going all the way through the High Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert down to the Atlantic coast.
All of that mainly travelling in a mini-bus with an excellent local guide and a group of 15 passionate travellers.
On this trip I learnt about the beautiful real Moroccan way of life, Moroccans or better Berbers are a unique hearty folk that captured my heart. Berbers are a Moroccan pre-Arab culture that ruled unperturbed and unconquered for hundreds of years. They are craftsmen, you get to see that in every village you pass by. Interested in knowing more about these amazing people? Visit the blog www.journeybeyondtravel.com and dive into that fascinating history.
I can absolutely recommend exploring this country. As a passionate traveller having a heart full of love I am very much pleased to have left a piece of it out there.
Travelling alone? Consider an organized group journey!
I’ve chosen a group trave. with the company Intrepid. Happy to have booked them for a trip to Brazil and South East Asia back in time I knew what expected me. One benefit of choosing this kind of travelling is to have all accommodation and transfers organized. You move smooth, efficient and safe. Another advantage of intrepid is, that they use local guides. They bring you to spots you would never have access to by yourself. This makes the experience authentic. That is how we got to buy the world renewed Safran or got to eat seafood as locals do for example.
Find the detailed itinerary of the South Morocco trip here and get the whole picture. My blog story includes personal moments and highlights and skips some of the itinerary spots.
Let’s start in Aroumd and drive through the High Atlas Mountains after 1 night in Marrakech on my own
One of my highlights is the village Aroumd situated in the High Atlas Mountains. By the way: the High Atlas rises in the west of the Atlantic Ocean and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border. After a 1 hour light hike, we reached the village situated at 1900 meters. I am ready to discover the village populated by ca. 1900 inhabitants. I spend an afternoon making Moroccan doughnuts from scratch. A local girl teaches me a delicious, simple recipe. I feel so honoured to have this chance to be in her house.
Food blogger maniac interested to know more about Moroccan Food
My curiosity for food brings me directly into the kitchen of the Riad we stay. I get introduced to the preparation of a Tagine.
Tagine is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked for hours. It comes with seafood, beef, lamb, chicken or with only eggs. Every Tagine has veggies included, too as pumpkin, zucchetti, potatoes or even prawns. Besides Tagine couscous is one of the excellent dishes you get all-around Morocco. The preparation procedure and spices used are the same.
Cooking Moroccan food at home following the blog mymoroccanfood
I found a very lovely blog about moroccan food called mymoroccanfood managed by Nargisse!
You will be so much inspired cooking the dishes by yourself, give it a try! My favorite is the Quinoa and shrimps stuffed squid tagine.
A traditional hammam experience in a local village – Sitting scrubbing my skin with prestigious argan oil
My adventure in Aroumd continues to experience a very special wellness program. I am fascinated by the simplicity and authenticity of a local hammam. Entering the stone house a woman asks me to keep my underpants on. They guide me to a room where two ladies sit with their daughters on the floor washing each other’s bodies & hair. There the lady asks me to sit down. The girls bring me two buckets with water and a pot of black soap made of artisan argan oil. Sitting there on the floor beside them I enjoy my first traditional hammam experience, as an Aroumd local. I am again: fascinated.
Driving through the Tizi n’Test pass to the Game of thrones village called Ait Benhaddou
The trip is packed with a full program (10 days), be prepared for a lot of driving. This is mostly done with a comfortable minibus. The scenery you get out of the window is breathtaking and makes the drive entertaining. The drive passes through the Tizi n’Test pass (2092m) still the High Atlas Mountains. This is one of Morocco’s most challenging roads, but the most exhilarating and overwhelmingly drive ever.
Arriving in Ait Benhaddou my eyes are again wide open to admire the houses and landscape. This Mud Brick city on the edge of the High Atlas Mountains is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and featured in many films. Game of Thrones fans: The city is used to represent the slave-trading city of Yunkai in episode 3. Today it is still home to 8 families. We walk through the whole village and I feel thrown back in time.
Continuing towards the Sahara Desert: Pure adventure on a 4×4 car
The second highlight of my trip is the Sahara Desert. I am surrounded by dunes, silence and a tremendous infinity. A feeling I cannot describe in words. It is like playing in a big sandbox when my feet touch the ground.
In the desert, a perfectly organized camp waits to spoil us with comfortable tends and delicious Moroccan Tagine. We stay for one night only. A place to definitively come back for some desert hiking for example.
The desert trip includes a fun camel ride. My personal exciting journey is the 4×4 ride through the desert and the dry lake called Ikiri. The car sliding and bumping on sandy and stony paths is pure adventure. Our driver Mustapha is a professional Rally driver of the Maroc Dakar Series. The scenery encountered here is unique in the world.
A beautifully laid-back city called Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast
The trip coming to an end we reach the Atlantic coast. Essaouira is a little pear loved by plenty of surfers and kiters due to its perfect wind conditions, too. It’s the coastal getaway in Morocco, away from mass tourism and the hectic lifestyle of the major cities of Fes and Marrakech. This charming town fits the bill perfectly. The city offers fantastic sandy beaches, authentic culinary experiences, gentle Moroccan charm and just enough sophistication to make the destination unforgettable.
This is where I discover the best street food: fresh fish, figs to go, bread, and bakeries with handmade sweets. By strolling through the streets you pass by hip young Moroccan designers, cosy coffee shops and live street music. The diverse ethnic groups such as Arabs, Africans and Europeans enrich it with good vibes.
Recommended: Visit the rooftop terrace called Taros for great dance and drinks.
The culinary highlight of my morocco trip:
- Buy the fresh fish at the market
- find the spices or side veggies you like and home made bread
- bring everything to a special restaurant that grilles it for you
- enjoy it and lick your fingers!
A secret hint about where to sleep in Essaouira
Dar Lazuli Bed & Breakfast is a modern Riad with attention to detail. It’s located in a tranquil zone close to restaurants and nearby souks. I like the ambience with a contemporary and traditional design. The staff is friendly, too.
Find more Morocco deals here:
5 things to do and see in Marrakech
My trip started and ended in Marrakech. I discovered the city mainly on my own. I got lost in the medina, of course. But people are friendly and help you to find your way back to your Riad. Marrakech has this atmosphere of 1001 nights with its rose-purple sky in the evening.
- Try the local food stalls at the main square of Marrakech called Djemaa El Fna. There is a mass of people insisting to stop at their stall, taking your time and choosing what you like.
- Visit the Berber museum inside the Jardin Majorelle and the Botanical Garden. It’s a perfect spot to take typical Moroccan design photography.
- Visit or stay at a palace: El Badi Palace is the sprawling 16th-century sultan’s home. Sultan Ahmed el Mansour spared no expense adorning the more than 350 rooms of his palace with marble, gold, onyx, ivory, wood and semi-precious stones.
- Relax in a typical Riad, enjoy fresh brewed typical Moroccan hot tea and lean back.
Most of these traditional Moroccan houses are built around a central garden or courtyard. They are as much a part of the city as the snake charmers of the main square. Many of them have had a modern makeover.
Recommended: Riad Alboraq is located in a hidden corner absolutely away from the crowded streets you find a modern, clean and very comfortable place to stay. Their terrace is lovely to enjoy breakfast. The infrastructure is sophisticated and makes you feel like a princess.
Get lost in the backstreets. Walk around to discover every angle of the old medina. Feel the vibes of the Marrakech. Find classic local souvenirs such as djellaba robes, spices, babouches (Moroccan slippers), old carpets or colourful ceramics.
Recommended: La Porte d’Or — an ancient two-level bazaar rammed with rugs and antiques.
Want to know more about Lovefoodish travels? Check some other blog stories here.