At first glance, one might mistake the misty, rolling hills outside of Asilah for the rugged highlands of Scotland. On a rainy, blustery winter’s day — where the only thing standing in your way is perhaps a massive muddy puddle or an enormous bull that looks a bit like a shaggy Shetland cattle — it’s easy to see why you might confuse the two beautiful landscapes. It’s even easier to see why you might confuse them when Karim Ben Ali, a Scottish-Moroccan, begins talking to you with his soft Scottish lilt. (more…)
It’s a typical Thursday morning on Rue des Consuls, the main road of the Rabat medina. The souvenir market section of this medieval, walled area is only a tiny sliver of the old medina. It’s also an easy and stress-free introduction to shopping and sight-seeing in Morocco. (more…)
Moroccan sweets and cookies are a bit like the secret underdog of the patisserie world. They look quite unassuming and even a bit dull at first glance. However, all bets are off when you take a bite of their heavenly deliciousness. (more…)
The prickly pear is a fruit Moroccans love to eat and love to hate! It’s name is justly named for its spiky outer shell and the fact that it is the fruit of the cacti plant. If you look out the window during your Moroccan road trip, you will notice an impressive number of these prickly pear cacti pretty much everywhere! (more…)
My girls emphatically insist on seeing gaudy, kilowatt-sucking, elaborate red-and-white, Rudolph, Frosty and Santa-inspired holiday decorations at the same time as anyone else in the United States — the day after Halloween. It doesn’t matter that they have never lived in the US. And it doesn’t matter that Halloween hasn’t exactly a been “traditional” holiday anywhere we have lived, whether that was in Central or West Africa or, these days, Morocco. (more…)
Nothing beats a slice of fresh-baked bread, warm out of the oven, slathered with butter and 100% pure honey, paired with a steaming cup of fresh mint tea for breakfast. Lucky for you, in Morocco this is an every-day sort of thing! In fact, not only will you find fresh-baked bread for breakfast, it will be on the table for lunch and dinner and pretty much every snack in between. Bread is such an important staple of the Moroccan diet that its production is subsidized by the government, ensuring that nearly everyone has access to delicious, mouth-watering khobz. (more…)
Today, Journey Beyond Travel is taking you off the beaten track to discover beautiful landscapes and incredible areas for a honeymoon that won’t be easily forgotten (more…)
Wander into the Khemisset Carpet Market, held on Tuesday every week around the year, and you magically travel back a few centuries. One traveller described it as feeling “like she was in the Middle Ages.” I tend to agree. Many locals still use horse-drawn carriages, donkeys and mules to get around and transport goods, lending a real 15th century feel to the place. (more…)
Morocco has been lucky enough to be blessed with a variety of different landscapes, including some wonderful mountain ranges. From the Rif to the High Atlas, you can enjoy various activities and take in some picturesque scenery, even if mountain hiking isn’t your thing. Though be ready to strap on your most comfy shoes, because there will be a lot of walking! (more…)
I stroll into the Khemisset Carpet Market (souk, in the local lingo) just after 7 am on a quiet Tuesday. The sun has just peaked over the horizon. The rustic, fading structure where the carpet market is held is barely awake. Vendors shuffle quietly in and out with their wares. Delivery carts wobble precariously up and down the aisles, their owners dropping off heavy carpets as they prepare for the busy day ahead. (more…)
When you think of a Moroccan wedding, you might imagine loads of colors, a vast variety of foods and endless ululations. All of which will happen, but there’s so much more to a wedding in Morocco! (more…)
Black soap (or sabon bildi) is essential to the Moroccan hammam (or spa). Rarely do you use black soap outside of the hammam. In fact, a trip to the hammam without black soap would be considered a waste of hot steam and marble tile! (more…)
When I became a vegetarian a few years ago, I thought it would be a breeze. After all, I live in Morocco. The fruits and vegetables are relatively cheap here and the cuisine is known for its rich, flavorful spices. However, the truth is that finding my food comfort zone (if there is such a thing) took a little more time, and a little more exploration, than I bargained for. (more…)
One of the most valid proofs of a successful visit to Morocco is a picture of you with one of the snakes of Marrakesh slithering over your shoulders. But what if thinking about being near a snake sends a chill shuddering down your spine? You still want to see all the wonders the Red City has to offer, but you hate snakes. It’s quite a dilemma. It makes you wonder: How can I enjoy Marrakesh when I’m afraid of snakes? (more…)
Zagora is a common pitstop on the way to the Sahara Desert. It is the last big town you’ll hit on your way to Erg Chigaga, one of the two major dunes in the Moroccan desert.
Although most travellers won’t spend more than a night in the Zagora oasis, it’s a destination in its own right! With few signs of modernization, it’s a great place to experience traditional Moroccan life in outstanding scenery among some incredibly unique sites.
There is a lot you can read about Morocco, though not a lot is written by Moroccan writers. Unfortunately, what books that are available are not immediately available in English. Few Moroccan authors write in English. Most prefer either Arabic or French. Because of this, we monolingual readers have to wait until their words find a translator. Fortunately, some really great works by Moroccan writers have found translators and are readily available! (more…)
Before you board that plane for Morocco, remember to pack a book or a dozen. Not just for yourself, but for the Morocco Library Project! (more…)
The long dusty road leading to Tamegroute takes me back in time. The family-run pottery workshops in the oasis, not far from the Sahara desert, are among the oldest in the country. Dating back to the mid-1600s, they remain virtually unchanged. Artisans still work with manual pottery wheels in a building made from the same clay used to make pots and tiles. Finished pieces are fired in multi-chambered wood stoves. (more…)
I’m on an early morning bus from Zagora to Tata and into the Sahara. My eyes are half open. The other-worldy landscape flashes by. The barren, rocky vistas between towns is fitting. After all, I’m in the heart of meteorite country, on my way to find out about meteorites in Morocco. (more…)
This past year, Morocco has made headlines for its scientific discoveries and innovations – some of which have been game-changing. If you’re in the country, you can visit the locations linked with these finds. Here are our top five scientific discoveries in Morocco.
On our first afternoon in the Tangier medina, a soft-spoken old man invited my wife and me to step inside his carpet shop to “have a look.” When we showed interest in a small piece, he suddenly vanished, replaced by The Closer – the rabidly aggressive owner of the store. After being cajoled, pressured, and begged for far too long, we finally stumbled out, exhausted. Undeterred, we continued our walk, dodging one shopkeeper after another, each shouting: “English? Espanol? Just have a look!” This was going to be one long week in Tangier! (more…)
By far, Eid al-Adha is the most important holiday for Muslims around the world. It occurs two lunar months after the end of Ramadan. Confusingly, Eid al-Adha called by many different names. Eid el-Kbir (often spelled “Eid el-Kbeer, “Aid al-Kébir” and other variations) is really common. It translates to “The Big Holiday”. With francophiles, la fête du mouton (“sheep festival”) is also common. (more…)
As the largest, and one of the driest, deserts on Earth, it’s safe to say there are very few places in the world like the Sahara Desert. The infinite sea of sandy dunes all in different shades of gold is the perfect setting to experience a once-in-a-lifetime getaway filled with adventure, fun, and unique experiences.
Food is a major part of Moroccan culture. Its diverse and intense flavors perfectly capture Morocco’s multiethnic background, tumultuous history and rich heritage – and they’re an integral part of the country’s renowned hospitality. Best of all? Moroccan food is absolutely delicious.
Morocco isn’t just winding souks and desert dunes: it’s also 1,200 miles of coastline running along the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Along the coast, charming harbors, busy fishing ports and picturesque beach towns abound – they’re just as diverse as Morocco’s interior. There are many Moroccan coastal towns waiting to be explored, most of which are completely off the radar destinations.
Aside from Agadir and its package holiday resorts, most of Morocco’s coastal towns actually remain largely untouched making them ideal for laid back travelers curious to get to know Morocco off the beaten path. From stress-free medinas to incredible mountain backdrops, our top 5 Moroccan coastal towns have it all. Take your pick and spend your Moroccan getaway taking easy strolls along the beach.
If you’re planning your first trip to Morocco, chances are you’ll be tempted to visit the country’s best known sites: the busy souks of Marrakech, the historic mosques of Fez, the infinite sea of golden dunes in the Sahara Desert, the windy coastline in Essaouira, or the dramatic mountain landscapes of the High Atlas. While these will all be worthwhile destinations during your trip in Morocco, don’t forget to include Moroccan villages! There’s a case to be made for wandering off the beaten path and exploring some of the country’s lesser visited towns and villages. It’s here that you’ll get to taste a slice of real Morocco, away from the tourist crowds and at your own comfortable pace.
Although best known for its desert landscapes and labyrinthine souks, Morocco is actually home to some of the most stunning mountainous scenery in the world. Those who venture away from the country’s bustling medinas will find dramatic mountain ranges, high snow-covered peaks and lush green valleys. Best of all? Hiking remains a largely unexplored activity by foreigners here, leaving you to enjoy Morocco’s natural landscape all to yourself.
So many destinations, so little time! With the New Year finally here, for many travelers the question isn’t if you’ll be traveling or when you’ll be traveling: it’s just a matter of where. Where should you go on your dream vacation? Where should you spend your days relaxing after a hectic month at work? Where will you be taking that once-in-a-lifetime family trip?
To make your life a little easier, we give you 7 excellent excuses to visit Morocco as your next destination in 2017.
Argan is one of Morocco’s most famous products of late. But, there’s a lot of mystery and misconceptions that exist about this nut. The trees, argania spinosa, grow only in one region of Morocco, the southwest area around Essaouira and Agadir. The people in this region have used and processed the oil for generations and do it well!
Morocco is home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites, an impressive showing. UNESCO World Heritage Sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties. These sites are seen as being an important part of the collective interests of global humanity. To be listed a country must first take stock of all their ethical and natural properties that are put forward to the International Council on Monuments and Sites and World Conservation Union who make the final decision. Since the inception of the program in 1972, 192 states parties have ratified the convention. In July of 2016, 1052 sites are listed: 814 cultural, 203 natural, and 35 mixed properties. (more…)