In 2014 my parents celebrated their 25th year of marriage in… Morocco! We decided to celebrate it by going away from home. We spend 24 days in Morocco and made a trip with a private driver in a 4×4 wheel drive. The first few days we spend in Marrakech, it didn’t take long at all to find a place, everywhere you go in every street there are Riads. We were stopped by a boy who eventually lead us to a dark quiet alley, we all wondered what Riad we would visit, it didn’t look very promising. After we went through the door, which was a door made for little people we were amazed by how big it was, it was really a small palace with a few rooms a pool in the middle and beautiful orange trees that reached the top, when you looked up you could see the sky through the trees. All these houses have an open field in the middle which is why it looks so gorgeous. So after settling we went into the streets of Marrakech, before we realised it we were completely lost. I checked my map and indeed… it looked like a maze and with my not-so-perfect sense of direction we were getting more and more lost. I suggest before you go out you take some bread crumbs with you so you can find your way home again…
after 4 days spending in Marrakech we were a little bit exhausted by the busy city. Right when we had lunch a guide came to us, introduced himself and explained to us that he had a tour company and if we would like to make a trip with him. We were a little bit anxious about it because he did suddenly pop up out of nowhere and after all the calculating it would cost us 1300 euro for 5 persons (this was included all the stays the driver, the guide himself, the car and all the side trips) for 15 days. We said we would think about it and of course back in our Riad we googled and searched for him on Facebook or other social media. It turned out he did have a company but he just started it. The next day we visited him in his “shop” which was basically just a chair outside the doorpost and agreed to go with him on tour (our decision was made because overall it felt good) not knowing this would be the best holiday ever (ok ok every holiday is great).
I can’t exactly remember the order in which we visited cities but our first stop was at one of the largest waterfalls of Morocco called Cascades d’Ouzoud (Ouzoud waterfalls). This waterfall has a height of 110 meter and is one of the largest in Morocco.
We asked our guide if he could arrange the trip in a way were we would avoid most of the tourists. That was possible and he immediately turned to us and said “would you like to spend the night at my families place” we all agreed to that and off we went from the waterfalls to a small place called Béni-Mellal, once arrived here we saw an event called Fantasia or lab Al baroud (the gunpowder play), this event shows the bond between a horse and man or woman and is a traditional display of horsemanship. Later that day we met the whole family and we were welcomed like we were already family, it felt good, it felt great and it was really a superb experience. They had build their own Hammam in their backyard and it could barely fit 2 persons. It was build from clay and the roof was made out of branches, before we could go in they filled up the bucket with water that was underneath the hammam and it had to boil before we could go in (we were getting cooked alive haha). After that the family gave us their Djellaba which was handmade by themselves. The most fun thing about eating with locals is that the whole family eats together from one plate and everyone is welcome to come in and eat it doesn’t really matter if you’re the neighbour or from across the street it’s all good. You can really feel the warmth from the people which I don’t quite feel here in the western world (I feel the warmth in other things from people here).
So from Béni-Mellal we were going through the Atlas mountains and this is something all of you have to do if you ever visit Morocco! If you look at the pictures, all the mountains, all the roads you see are mostly in the Atlas, this Area is changing constantly when on the road and it’s almost impossible to not stop every 5 minutes, it’s just really beautiful, it goes from dry to green from endless rivers to big and small waterfalls. from little wooden villages to villages build out of clay it’s so diverse it really amazed me how much landscape can change in just a 5-6 hour drive in the same country.
We had a little stop in a city called Ouarzazate which is the Hollywood of Morocco and where many films and series have been filmed here, just to name a few:
- Highlander III
- The Mummy
- Asterix & Obelix
- Prince of Persia
- Sex and the city 2
- Game of Thrones
There’s not a lot to do here so we just went here an afternoon and paid a visit to all the film sets. I didn’t find it very interesting because I didn’t recognise a single thing from a film haha but it was fun to see.
The best part comes now “sleeping in the desert”! Off we go to the desert! to be precise the Merzouga Desert. We drove through the desert in our 4×4 and suddenly our guide asked us if we wanted to stay the night in the desert in real tents. We were all very enthusiastic about it and half an hour later we met with another guide from the desert. Before we went out into the desert to our tents we had to prepare our food and drinks. Within an hour there was someone who had 8 camels with him and that was our transportation for the rest of our day. We hopped on (which was really scary, you better hold on tight) and the camels walked for nearly two and a half hour. After that long beautiful ride through a desert of silence and sand hills silky smooth we arrived at our tents we pulled out our “comfy” yoga mats and slept outside of the tent under a night sky filled with stars. I just didn’t want to go sleep because I didn’t want that view to end, so I stayed up as long as possible. This is something I will always remember, When I close my eyes now I can still feel the breeze, the silence and see the beautiful universe in front of me.
We ended the tour with the guide in Marrakech again. We had set our eyes on the coastal city Essaouira now, we then booked tickets for a bustrip from Marrakech to the sea side, this costed us 8 euro per person. Funny enough our tour guide decided to hop along with us so we ended up together again and it was so much fun, we invited him to stay with us and he didn’t know what to say since he never had a proposal like that before but he was very happy. Once in Essaouira you could see it was a very relaxing city, way different than Marrakech. It was all so laid back, probably because of the surfers there haha. Some people like to say the song “Castles made of sand” by Jimi Hendrix was made because he once visited Essaouira, while Jimi did visit Essaouira this song was already made 2 years before his visit to this city, so whatever the people tell you they like to tell this story and say it’s true that the song was made because he visited Essaouira. Further more there is a lot to do in Essaouira, from surfing to art galleries to festivals all throughout the year, Jazz, Blues, Pop music. A lot of young people come here to chill and relax. This city is definitely the place to relax in between your busy traveling.
Just south of Essaouira there’s a small city called Taghazout this is really a surfers spot, it’s small (like one big street) and very friendly, a lot of surfers come here because the waves are great and the sunsets are magic. It’s definitely a place to pay a visit and stay for the night.
Our last 2 days were in Marrakech again and then we unfortunately had to fly back home to the cold brrr… Right now I’m stuck between 4 walls again and trying to save money for our next trips. Stay tuned! and enjoy the pictures below.
Check out the tour operator we had by clicking here (FB page)