We were going to Morocco for a surfing trip a...
Sep 2 - Sep 18, 2023
We were going to Morocco for a surfing trip and ended up adding an extra week for sightseeing. We met Sharon from Morocco Immersions on Kimkim. Sharon planned the entire trip considering our interests and available time. Excellent decision!
We saw so much of Morocco and the people there who are hardworking, welcoming, and warm hearted. We started & ended our trip in Marrakesh. Spent the first day visiting the souks by ourselves and then with a guide the 2nd day. It was a nice overview of this busy city with visits to local attractions. Enjoyed our time in the Medina.
We traveled to Boumaine Dades where we visited Alt Ben Haddou and later saw the majestic monkey fingers, large rock formation. It’s a beautiful, natural area with stunning views. Also spent a lovely day in the Valley of Roses. Had a family cooked meal of couscous, vegetables, and chicken all prepared with the food we purchased at the local market. We toured the family farm and interacted with some family who owned the villa there. Amnay was the perfect host. It was such an enjoyable day!
Next, we drove to Merzouga where we rode camels into the Sahara and camped in glamours tents with nice showers. I’ll never forget the camel ride which was such a cool experience. Next off to Agdz. We visited Khamlia and toured Kasbah Tamnougalt. All so educational and provided a glimpse of how many locals live in buildings that from the outside look in disrepair but once inside, you experience the homey quality of the lives they’ve made there.
Our journey continued to Taroudant, little Marrakesh”. We had a long walking tour of the area with a guide who knew so much and had the respect of so many locals as witnessed in their greetings. I really liked Taroudant! It seemed more manageable than Marrakesh. I never got the hang of haggling. We experienced our first major earthquake (6.8) there which was frightening but we managed well, and Sharon’s driver/manager Omar took good care of us. Most of the locals slept outside due to fear but my husband & I returned to the hotel to sleep. We did not feel the aftershock the next morning.
Got dropped off for our surfing camp for one week and then Omar picked us up and drove us to Marrakesh for the last two nights in Morocco. We walked around quite a bit, and I slept quite a bit. It had been a very busy 2 weeks for us 60+ year olds. Marrakesh was hit hard by the earthquake and damage was noticeable, especially around the Medina. Many locals were still camped out on the sidewalks and grass due to fear of staying inside or due to loss of homes. It was a sobering reality of the impact of a natural disaster. The people continued to work and help each other. We witnessed trucks being loaded with blankets for the Moroccans who were in the mountain regions that were hit very hard by the earthquake.
Want to add we visited Souktana in Province de Taroudant where they produce and sell “high quality” saffron. We enjoyed the tour and purchased (all prices marked/no haggling) saffron as gifts for our family and friends at home.
A very westernized lodging experience. It has all the comforts of home but in a more lavish way. The breakfast bar is amazing! The staff was warm and welcoming. The hotel is close to the souks/Medina. We took a lovely evening stroll from the hotel to the Medina where many Moroccan families were busy shopping and eating. I'd recommend taking such a stroll to experience the Marrakesh night life which is so different than Marrakesh by day. We felt perfectly safe strolling in the evening/night (~11PM).
Nice glam camping experience! The tent had all we needed including a nice shower. It was very hot in the desert. All the warm clothes we packed were not needed. The service and food were good. There was some musical entertainment that added a bit of fun. The generator stopped working before bedtime but the hosts got it up and running so we had A/C for the night. The morning hike into the desert to watch the sun come up was beautiful! Wow, the stars were amazing too. The camel ride into camp & out of camp was a worthwhile experience. Our camel guide did a lot of walking and took pictures of us along the way. Some other guests rode ATV's out instead of the camels but I'm glad I rode the camel out. My husband & I had separate camel rides in & out from the other larger group of guests so it felt very special as we walked through the desert for ~1.5 hours each way.
Another beautiful hotel! We felt like the only guests there. We had a private dinner and breakfast on the scenic terrace where the pool was located. It was quite posh! The staff was excellent! They truly catered to our needs, and beyond. I slept very well. I will mention that the bathroom, though beautifully tiled and historical in design, was a bit awkward for showering. The tub narrowed on the bottom making it difficult to stand with both feed next to each other. You had to stand as if on a surfboard. I ended up washing my hair and body on my knees. Really not much to complain about. The hotel is lovely!
Very nice older hotel with a lovely courtyard. It had a quaint, small town feel. The beds were comfortable and the bathroom with shower was located farther away from the sleeping area which was a nice touch. The front desk woman was so helpful, answering our many questions. She spoke very good English. We experienced the 6.8 earthquake at this property, after 11PM. It was scary to feel the room shake, at first felt like a large truck driving down the road, but intensified and we knew it was an earthquake, as other guests starting running past our door to get outside. We followed. The hotel night manager stayed with us in the courtyard. Our driver Omar checked in on us by phone. We stayed outside for 2 hours or so and then went back inside to bed. The pictures on the walls were all skewed and new cracks appeared on many of the walls with plaster/dust on the tile. We heard most of the locals slept outside that night for safety concerns, including our front desk lady. She lived there all her life as did her family and this was their first earthquake. It was truly a devastating event for Morocco and her people.
We enjoyed this last property too. It was located well into the Medina in Marrakesh. We stayed two nights. The room was small but the high ceilings seemed to add space. The bathroom was particularly small. The shower was one of the more modern ones we had with an actual shower door to open and close. The beds were comfortable. The breakfast offered a variety of options and the service was timely and polite. The rooftop where we ate was extremely nice! I had thought we'd be spending our last two nights in Marrakesh in a hotel that was more like Hotel Ryads Barriere Le Naoura, westernized. The previous week we had been in a surfing camp in a villa that was lacking much and a bit light on safety, no armrail on marble stairs, scary with wet feet so was ready for western comforts. But, the stay at Riad Nesma was pleasant and, once we adapted, it proved comfortable and added a cultural touch to our last nights in Marrakesh. I'm grateful for having stayed there.
We enjoyed the tour of Marrakesh. Our guide was knowledgeable and pleasant. He did not help us with haggling which I later learned he was supposed to have done so that was a bit disappointing. I never got the hang of haggling. It always felt overwhelming. We ended up not buying much in the Medina. I think with time, haggling would come. You really need to visit shops and get prices before you decide to purchase so you can determine a fair price. We never got to that stage.
This was a fun stop. We walked through a dry waterway to get to the ksar which provided a nice view on approach. It was historical and pleasant, with a much needed breeze because the temps were hot. Lots of uphill walking so wear comfortable shoes and sun protection. Several movies have been filmed here. A list of these movies is posted for viewing. There is a nice artist room where paintings and carving are made for purchase.
Loved our day with a local family - shopping, cooking, and eating Moroccan couscous. We had a fun and educational tour of the farm and relaxed after lunch with some enjoyable conversations. Amnay was the perfect host. Omar, our driver/manager took us on many adventures as we traveled through Morocco.
If you can travel to the Sahara while in Morocco, take the time to ride in the desert. It's a magical and impressive place with awesome stars and beautiful sunrises!
I really liked Little Marrakesh in Taroudant. This was a fun tour with lots of educational information. We learned about many of the reforms that King Mohammed VI made in Morocco including expanding education and raising the marriage age for young girls. We experienced our first major earthquake in Taroudant. The city suffered damage from the quake. I would have stayed more than one night if we had the time to do so.
We enjoyed the guided tour of Kasbach Tamnougalt.