MOROCCO

Morocco is a beautiful and diverse country. In one day you will be able to ride a camel in the Sahara and snowboard in the Atlas Mountains. It's a large country and easy to travel although, the distance can be quite long.

Marrakesh

 

Marrakesh is the first stop on a journey through Morocco and an absolute “must see” destination. Surrounded by a lush palm grove and with the often snow-capped High Atlas Mountains providing a scenic backdrop, this bustling metropolitan oasis has a everything a traveler could want. Ancient markets (souks) housing an endless array of shops, cafés, and museums, history literally around every corner, and nearly year-round sunshine. It’s no wonder Marrakesh has long been a destination for intrepid travelers.

In Marrakesh, expats wander alongside locals through labyrinth of the old medina streets, gawking at the bustling souks and performers plying their trade on the Jemma el-Fnaa long into the night.

The best way to enjoy Marrakesh is on foot, so be sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes!

Atlas Mountains and Draa Valley

We departed for our tour from Marrakech to cross Atlas Mountains and to reach Ouarzazate. We pass the Draa Valley, a long and green oasis in a dry, rocky landscapeto reach south to M’Hamid and Sahara desert. 

Along this route, we visited the Unseco site of Ait Benhaddou, a fortified village (ksar in Arabic) where live just four families. Inside the walls of the ksar there are half a dozen Kasbahs and it's a great example of Moroccan architecture.

Sahara Desert

The whole trip to Morocco was astounding, but the night in the Sahara Desert was the gem on top of the whole experience.

After our arrival at the camp, we did an unfogettable camel trek on the dunes at the sunset.

After eating, we all gathered around a campfire for some traditional Berber music. It was just us, the warmth of fire, and the sound of drums underneath the night sky.

I've never seen before so many stars like that night! The milky way is no longer visible to more than one third of the world's population, but in the Sahara desert you can see it with the naked eyes.

This experience would be imprinted in my mind forever.

Eassaouira

Located on the windy Atlantic coast, about two hours southwest of Marrakesh, is the small city of Essaouria. “Swerah,” as locals call it. Or it’s old Portuguese name “Mogador”. This blue seaside town combines some of the best of what Morocco has to offer — excellent beaches, great food and vibrant culture — with a chill atmosphere that isn’t as prominent in other parts of the country.

This vibrant city has a long history of colonization. The Portuguese were responsible for the construction of the massive stone walls that still surround the old medina of Essaouira. This, among other reasons, is why it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

With its long beach, calm harbor and friendly locals, Essaouria has developed into one of the more tranquil spots in Morocco. Windsurfers glide over the waves, the call of seagulls echo, and fishing boats pull into harbor. The salt air here is a crisp respite after a few days in Marrakesh or the heat of the Sahara.

Taghazout

Taghazout is a small fishing village, 19 km  north of the city of Agadir in southwestern Morocco, where the waves are louder than the sounds of the local Mosque. 

Legzira

Like its other Atlantic counterparts, the 8 km-long stretch of Legzira Beach is windy, rocky, and expansive. What set Legzira apart, however, are its two mammoth stone arches. Naturally formed after years of erosion, these sedimentary giants jutted out into the perpetually crashing waves and are accessible during low-tide. Legzira was named as one of The 40 Best Beaches on Earth by The Huffington Post and recognised by CNN as one of 20 Stunning Cliffside Beaches

 

Sadly, only one of the two arches now remains. The other collapsed in late 2016, undermined by wave action. The second arch is probably also at risk of eventual collapse, as the sea continues to wear away at the fragile red sandstone from which it is formed.

 

Being a haven for European para-gliders and surfers.

niktot@yahoo.com  —  ©  2018 Nicola Totaro All rights reserved

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