A month and a half, trekking around Morocco with our two young girls. From the spectacular madness of the Marrakesh medinas to the beauty of the Atlas mountains and everything in between.
- + 6
Africa23 days / October - November 2019
Highs & Lows
Camping Berber style in the Sahara is the stuff of starry-night dreams.
Casablanca. Totally missable.
We arrived in Marrakesh late in the afternoon just in time to enter the city’s medina as it comes alive with its evening rituals and merchants. As I watched our young girls' heads swivel, their eyes wide, squealing with delight, I knew then that it was love at first sight...
We spent a week in Marrakesh to really savour the spectacle of it before an incredibly transformative and memorable trek out to the Sahara Desert via the breathtaking Atlas Mountains. From there, a local bus took us to the beautiful seaside town of Essaouira where we experienced the most incredible hospitality of our lives (and the best French pastries outside of France). Another bus and overnight stay in beautiful Rabat and then a winding, hot car ride up to the Riff Mountains, to the infamous blue city, Chefchaouen. From here we took another bus to Fes where we got lost incessantly in its winding labyrinth medina and we ended our time in Morocco in the incredible city of Casablanca.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
We wouldn't change anything about our time in Morocco except maybe spend less time (or none) in Casablanca and more time in the desert.
Anything go wrong during the trip?
Not one thing went wrong during our time in Morocco. I did get scratched by a petulant little monkey who was annoyed at me for not letting my 4 year old pet him (rabies shots just paid for themselves!) but this was more a funny travel story (thank goodness) than a concern.
How was the food?
Most of the restaurants in the main squares are pretty touristy but a few paces outside can lead you to some incredible food. We ate at and recommend Cafe Clock (in Marrakesh and Fes) but we mostly stuck to the markets and pop up restaurants in the medinas. We did a cooking class at Riad Anata in Fes and I still have dreams about that food.
What tips would you give a friend?
To take your time. Savour it all. Buy the things that catch your eye and talk to locals, some of the most warm and hospitable people we have ever come across and many who have become friends.
Be sure to pack clothes that allow you to cover up if you are a woman. Knees and elbows are not a common place sight and might draw unwanted attention or gasps of horror if you show them. Men don't really wear shorts either but this is really tolerated in the bigger cities like Marrakesh and Fes and most women say they felt comfortable wearing what they wear at home here.
We walked a lot and felt safe the entire time. We also took local buses and trains. The first class tickets are cheap and worth it. Uber is not available but there are two types of taxis, petite and grande and can be organised through your riad or any new friend. This is recommended as some of the grande taxis can be unsafe or unreliable.
We were surprised by how safe we felt. People had warned us almost too much to be wary of pickpockets and would-be swindlers but our experience told an opposite story. People helped us, invited us to dinner, drove us places, did our washing and welcomed us. We have never met a more hospitable people and this was a big factor in our wonderful experience.
We found our riads through a recommendation and found that you can get a better rate by speaking directly to the management. We also used Airbnb.