Morocco has been on my To-Do-List for quite a while. I’ve heard about this versatile country and I always imagined to go backpacking there some day. Eventually, we planned a family trip during spring break and booked a guided group travel for ten days.
We started in Marrakesh, a very colourful and lively city. The most known place there is Jam El Fna, where you can find everything from henna tattoo-making over snakecharmer to acrobats. After crossing the huge place and market, you find the souks, where they sell loads of different things (for tourists), for example spices, bags or woodcraft. One day I went running in the morning and I really enjoyed the straight buildings in the calm street, before the city awakes and spreads all its charm.
After Marrakesh we drove to the High Atlas (yes, Morocco has mountains as well). This is the home of a lot of Imazighen, better known as Berbers. The Imazighen are the peoples that lived in Morocco and the whole Magreb even before the Arabs invaded the country. Their mothertongue isn’t arabic, but tamazight, a unique language with an alphabet consisting of symbols. Imazighen means free people and right now, activists fight for the revaluation of their culture that is dominated by the Arabs. Anyways, we walked up to a small village inhabited by Imazighen called Amroud where we enjoyed delicious Berber-Tajine and slept a night at a familys house. This day we made as well a hike to a shrine in this beautiful landscape.
Next, we passed the Anti-Atlas (let’s just take a sec to congratulate for this creative name) and came to Ait-Ben-Haddou. Some of you might know it, it’s a very popular film location. Even some scenes of Game of Thrones had been filmed here. It’s a very idyllic place, especially in the early morning. I really can recommend watching the sunrise, the colours are so nice and it’s not too crowded at that time of the day.
During the trip, we had to drive a lot to see all these places. To make the journey more comfortable, we had several stops to have lunch, a cup of tea (black tea with mint and loads of sugar) or some freshly pressed orange juice. We’ve seen diffrent typical handcrafting as well like pottery, bread baking in the village-oven, bazars, cosmetic and spice store, rug- and jewellery-crafting and various other things. Here are some impressions:
One of the highlights was definitively the Sahara. With cars we drove over the sandy ground and the last hour to the camp we made on camels. We slept in tents that were so nicely decorated and we had a wonderful time. The endlessness of the desert is just amazing. We wanted to see the sunset on top of a nearby dune, but then a sandstorm surpised us and we quickly walked back to the cosy tents, where some Tajine waited for us.
Our last destination before we headed back to Marrakesh was Essaouira. It’s a charming small town at the seaside. On the way there we passed several argan oil trees (very typical for Morocco) with goats climbing on them. In Essaouira we spent three days, so we had time not only for a guided city tour, where we learnt a lot about the culture (did you know for example, that muslims don’t throw away hard bread, but put it on the window sill and passing farmers collect it to feed their animals?), but also to discover the beautiful city, its haven with the blue fishing boats, its beach and its small streets by ourselves. After all these impressions it was good to calm down, take a hammam and relax in the riad.
I would definitely recommend going to Morocco. It’s such a beautiful country with a variety of things to see and do. Big citys, mountains, desert, sea - Morocco has it all. I’m very thankful for this experience that I always will keep in my heart.