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MOROCCO: PHOTOS AND TRIP REPORT
Here below some of the most
fascinating photos from Morocco. Together with the photogallery, you will find a funny
and interesting trip report full of info and anecdotes describing the whole travel itinerary.
If you haven't read them yet, check out all travel info and precise itinerary here: www.wildtrips.net/morocco.htm.
MOROCCO TRIP REPORT AND PHOTOS
In Morocco, the most
fascinating places are arguably Marrakesh and the surrounding
natural landscapes. We
purchased three flights each (one Pisa-Marrakesh and two
Marrakesh-Pisa) and we were ready to go. Two return flights per person might seem a
little bit excessive. The fact is that we were unsure if we
could stay one week or just five days, so we spent ten euros
more (yes, it was really low-cost) and we booked both
possibilities. In the end, we were able to enjoy a full week in
Moroccan territory. We landed at Marrakesh airport, we picked up
the rental car and we immediately drove towards Ait Benhaddou,
our first stop along our travel itinerary. The road ran through wild mountain scenery, a
taste of the beauty of this region. When we reached our
destination, the holiday had just begun but we were already very
excited: from the road the view on the old town was stunning. Ait Benhaddou is a village made of mud houses
surrounded by bare hills. The citadel, perched on a hill in
spectacular position, is beautiful, famous and starred in
We parked and we walked along the narrow
streets of the sand-colored village at the feet of the fort. On
the walls of the mud houses there were colored textiles and
souvenirs for sale, but, unlike the fort, the village wasn’t a
touristy place, probably because most tourists went directly to
the fort. Therefore we could immediately feel the unique
atmosphere of Morocco, a country rich in beauty and history
where every stone, every hut, every cous-cous spreads an aura of
Once we had crossed the village we walked
into an arid plain at the feet of the majestic fortress. Amazed by the imposing fortress and by the
decorations on its muddy walls, we resumed our drive when it was
almost sunset. We stopped at a hotel along the road. It was in a
poor village with its own charm. The small market, especially,
was lively and quite characteristic.
The next morning we set off towards the nearby Ouarzazate.
historical town center featured a fortress and sand-colored
houses. It wasn’t as spectacular as Ait Benhaddou, but we liked
it. We walked through the alleys and we met some kids playing
ball and a tiny shop.
Our next destination was the Dades Valley, that we reached
driving through barren plains crossed by dry rivers. There were
small villages made of huts and many sand-colored fortresses. We met 17 millions fors along our travel itinerary. The Dades Valley is surrounded by red mountains and contains
several villages and farm fields that take advantage of one of
the few fertile areas of that part of Morocco.
We drove along the valley until it became a steep canyon. The
road twisted and climbed until we arrived at a beautiful
viewpoint on the Dades.
Coming back, we stopped at a restaurant where we had a good
lunch with couscous and tajine and other typical dishes. The we
walked for two hours to the top of one of the mountain, which offered us a wide 360-degree panorama that ranged from
cultivated fields to the chain of red mountains and to a rocky
It was almost sunset and the sky and all the colors were getting
red, making everything more beautiful.
We left the Dades and we drove towards the Todra gorges, our next destination along our a-little-bit-planned-and-mostly-improvised
In the morning we went to visit the gorges. Craggy red
mountains, villages and sand-colored (yes, you guessed it right)
fortresses. The “usual” scenery, which wasn’t boring at all.
After having crossed the impressive canyon that makes the Todra
gorges famous, we continued our drive until we reached an
isolated and wild plateau, with Berber villages perched at the
foot of the mountains.
While on the way back, some children threw us a few stones,
showing their appreciation for our visit.
We parked near the canyon, and we began a long trekking
described in two rows of the Lonely Planet guide. We crossed some
barren mountains and then we walked down to the Todra valley,
passing through fields and a village before reaching the main
road and then, with a last effort, our car.
We started our drive towards Merzouga. We stopped soon in a
random hotel, spending a little as always.
The next day we drove near villages and forts before arriving at
the gates of the sand dunes of Merzouga desert. At Erfoud and at
Merzouga afterwards we
walked into a couple of hotels to get some info on how to visit the
dunes. We were proposed a camel ride to a tented camp in the
desert, where we could have dinner and sleep. After bargaining a
little bit we agreed on the price. We mounted the dromedaries and we began the slow ride through the
dunes. The dromedaries were tied to each other and our guide
held the first of the row.
The dromedary is a very staid animal that quietly obeys
In the meantime, the buildings behind us disappeared and we
found ourselves surrounded by dunes that were higher and higher.
The colors ranged from light yellow to red, sometimes
interrupted by some sad, lonely and thirsty green bushes.
Eventually we arrived at
the tented camp in the middle of the desert. There were five or
six tents that could host from 8 to 10 people each, but there
were only few guests. The tents were empty, with only some
blankets and sleeping bags laid on the ground.
At sunset we walked on the dunes surrounding the campsite: the panoramas were stunning.
In the morning, we admired the view a little bit more and we
rode back to Merzouga on our smelly camels. Once in the city we
decided to rent quads. Following a guide, we climbed and
descended the dunes. It was fun, although a bit expensive.
We got back to our car and we left the
desert behind us. We met the vibrant town of Rissani, with
lively and quaint market stalls. The vendors followed us trying
to sell us some crap.
After Rissani the landscape became almost lunar, with dark stony
plains surrounded by bare mountains. Then some vegetation
reappared and with it also some villages with the ever-present
forts. We arrived in the Draa valley, broader than Dades and
even more fertile.
It was full of palm and date trees. Of all
the ancient cities made of sand-colored, decadent houses, the
most fascinating one had an imposing fortress that looked over vast
cultivated fields. There were picturesque muletracks, handmade
water channels and farmers dragging donkeys laden with
vegetables. There were also the best dates of the world.
We slept in Zagora, then we continued our travel itinerary to Marrakesh. Along the way we
noticed – hold it – some forts.
We entered Marrakesh in the afternoon. We drove through the
confused traffic with immense courage. We parked near the
center, in a car park, for a fee paid to a shady person.
We chose a budget hotel recommended by the Lonely Planet guide,
just a few steps away from the main square of Marrakesh, Djemaa-el-Fna.
This square is full of stalls offering food.
One must be careful to avoid the tourist traps, but the food was
good. We walked around the large and lively square, which was
really funny with all the people and the screams and the weird
foods, and then we went to sleep.
The next day was dedicated to the visit of Marrakesh, with its
distinctive markets and the exhausting bargaining, the beautiful
old alleys, the mosques and the monuments.
Overall, Marrakech is a wonderful city both for the streets, the
monuments and the ancient buildings and for the liveliness and
The next day our group of five split up: three of us stayed in
Marrakesh to enjoy massages and steam baths. A friend and I,
instead, drove for an hour and something to Essaouira, a pretty destination that should be added to any travel itinerary in Morocco.
In fact Essaouira is a beautiful city on the Atlantic coast. It’s famous
for surfing but it also has a quaint harbour full of colourful
fishing boats and a citadel perched over the sea. There are some
stalls on the seafront where you can eat fresh seafood at very
good prices – especially if you are good at bargaining and if
you walk from one restaurant to another asking for discounts.
We rented two surfboards at a well organized surf center and we
rode the waves (or tried to) for an hour and a half. The water
was cool and a wetsuit was necessary, also considering that
there was a good wind.
At this point, I am happy to write some useful info and, in particular, a meteorological observation.
Morocco is warm and sunny, and during our vacation in November a
t-shirt was more than enough almost everywhere, on the dunes, in
the oases, in the cities... The only place that was too cool for
sunbathing was precisely the Atlantic windy coast. Those looking
for a sun tan should keep this in mind.
After surfing we went to see the camels that roamed the infinite
oceanic beach: they were huge, taller and healthier than those
of the desert. After wandering for the lovely town and its market we
got back to our car when it was almost dark.
We met our friends and we spent the evening in the modern part
of Marrakech, in a chic restaurant.
The dinner costed about twenty Euros per person, but it was
remarkable. There was a disco, which offered alcohol, and,
upstairs, there were belly dancers and several escorts who
entertained elderly businessmen.
The next day, after a short walk downtown, we drove to the
airport and got our flight to Italy. It had been one of
the best holidays in terms of good moments per euro spent.
And this made us even happier of our journey.
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