My Upcoming Moroccan Adventure
As I write this, I'm less than twelve hours away from jetting off on a plane to Morocco. Yup, I'm off on a last minute trip. The kind of trip that was never really on the cards, until you get dealt a particular hand. My sister, who has a passion for travel photography and all things quirky, called me to say she'd booked flights to Morocco. As soon as the words came out her mouth I knew I was going to go.
It's only after booking this trip that I've realised just how much I want to go to Morocco. It's the kind of place that should be on everyone's bucket list. I told my aunty about my travel plans and she said ‘it's somewhere I've dreamt of going for a while now, because I want to see, smell and listen, it's most definitely a mystical place where the senses come alive. Morocco comes highly recommended by my travelling buddies, who have shared some super handy insider tips with me.
The trip of a lifetime to Marrakesh and Agadir
Morocco is the gateway to Africa, and is infused with Arabic, Berber and European influences. Perhaps that's why it's such a colourful, scent infused destination that truly awakens your mind, body and soul. From the snake charmers and multi-coloured carpets and clothes, to the freshly brewed mint tea and spices piercing the air, there's a lot to take in.
I'm incredibly fond of just sitting in a little cafe and watching the world go by, and that's exactly what I plan to do in Marrakesh. As soon as I arrive I'm going to find a rooftop cafe and gaze over the main square to take everything in.
I thought I would share with you our plans for this exciting trip, which will consist of three days in Marrakesh and four days in Agadir. If you want to see as much of Morocco as possible in one trip, then I'd recommend going to both.
Plus, you can get the best of both worlds by enjoying a city and beach break combo. It takes just over three hours to drive between the two. It's going to incredible to share this journey with my sister and snap some beautiful shots of all that Morocco has to offer. I can't wait to cast my eyes upon the myriad of colours at the market and treat my taste buds to a tagine.
Our itinerary is still to be confirmed as there are a few more tips and excursions we want to squeeze in, so do check back to see what we got up to in the end. Here are our current plans, which consist of wandering ancient cities, uncovering the Atlas mountains, setting foot in the desert and getting a bit of rest and relaxation time on Morocco's coast.
Marrakesh day tour
It's quite easy to get a little overwhelmed in the souks, so it will be nice to have a guide to show us around and point out all the best bits. I imagine they are filled with noise and the sounds of stall owners haggling with customers trying to strike a deal. I definitely want to bring a few unusual souvenirs home, if I can get the right price!
As well as the tour, I want to see El Badi Palace and Jardin Majorelle, a twelve-acre botanical garden and artist's landscape garden. I've also heard there are some pretty cool old ruins within walking distance from souks. However, I'm pretty sure we will see most of this on the city tour, and much more!
Atlas mountains tour
Literally everyone I've spoken to has recommended going to the Atlas Mountains. I think a trip to these mountains is what takes a trip to Morocco from pretty darn amazing to absolutely epic. I really hope we get the chance to squeeze a visit into our itinerary. A friend I know went there and stayed under the stars overnight which sounds totally dreamy. It's the kind of thing you desperately crave when you want to switch off from the world and get away from technology.
Camel ride in the desert
Well I can't really go to Morocco and not go on a camel ride in the desert now can I? Although I've seen camels in Dubai when we went dune bashing, I am yet to actually ride one. I'm not a massive fan of horse riding but I'm definitely up for an authentic camel ride through the desert.
Beach time in Agadir
Although I love to get my hands dirty and keep busy on my trips, I also like to enjoy a little bit of down time. I'm intrigued to see what the beaches are like in Agadir and how it contrasts to city life in Marrakesh. I'm guessing it's going to have much more of a laid back vibe.
The beaches here get 300 sunny days a year, so it's safe to say I'll be soaking up some rays on a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand. We're staying at two lovely four star hotels on the beach, look out for my follow up post to see what they were like.
My hotels in Morocco
We are staying in three different hotels during our trip. The first is Hotel Opera Plaza in Marrakesh, it's a conveniently located four star half board hotel. Then we will head to Agadir and stay in the Kenzi Europa Hotel for two nights and our final night will be at the Anezi Hotel, both these hotels are four star and located on the beach.
I will review all the hotels upon my return! Watch this space!
Marrakesh travel tips
Here are some handy tips I've got from friends who have already been to Marrakesh. I will add some more of my own once I get back from my trip.
- If you get lost in the souks don't trust anyone telling you the direction to get out- work it out yourself. Any advice and they will expect a tip (and it's likely to be a lie).
- If watching snake charmers etc. obviously they expect a tip too.
- Things to buy: a tagine, traditional tea set, leather.
- Dressing: at your hotel you can usually wear what you want (and you can drink alcohol at hotel). But once out and about you should cover up as it's a Muslim country. Cover your shoulders with a top or scarf and always cover above the knee area. You will be taken more seriously and will have greater respect from people when you are getting taxis or buying stuff.
- Eat lots of tagines and drink fresh orange juice and fresh mint tea. Try out the food at the street food stands by the souks.
- Explore the medina for half a day- perhaps start out earlier or late afternoon when it is cooler.
- Have a mint tea in roof top cafes in the main square.
- Book yourself a traditional Hammam spa, I've been recommended this place.
So that's the plan at the moment, but it's changing every minute. I think sometimes you need to arrive in a destination and get a feel for it before you completely finalise your itinerary, especially in a place full of so many surprises like Morocco. I'm so excited to share my trip with you when I get back and provide you with a detailed account of what to see and do. It's a place that's so vibrant, that I'm itching to see it and put my experience into words.
Morocco here I come!