Marrakech is Magic: Into the Souks and Jemaa el-Fnaa

Magical Marrakech

There are places in the world where simply mentioning their name conjures up an image of romanticism, the exotic, a step into the magic of the imagination. The Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal; Rome’s Colosseum, the symbol for the ‘Eternal City’ and the civilization of the Imperial Roman Empire; Stonehenge, the world’s most famous prehistoric monument, a sacred site beyond the memory of modern man. Say ‘Marrakech’ and a world of souks, snake-charmers and storytellers, kaftans and colour, tales from the Arabian Nights, the call of the muezzin summoning the faithful to prayer, unfolds like the unrolling of a luxurious Moroccan carpet.  “There are certain places on the surface of the earth that possess more magic than others,” said Paul Bowles, the American writer who lived in Morocco for fifty-two years. “And one of those places is Marrakech.”

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Kalaat M’gouna, Morocco: A Town of Roses

morocco rosesThose who are romantics at heart are likely to swoon at the opportunity to visit Kalaat M’gouna, especially in the spring. This city in the Dades Valley is famous for one thing: roses. Kalaat M’gouna means Valley of the Roses and the city itself is named after the nearby Mount Mgoun.

In the late spring months, the city is literally covered in roses. A pink carpet as far as the eye can see dots the otherwise brown landscape. It is believed that pilgrims who arrived in Morocco from Saudi Arabia brought rosa damascena, the variety of roses that are grown in this region, with them in the 10th century, and they continue to play a part in the city’s culture today. (more…)

Exploring Oualidia, Morocco

Oualidia MoroccoTucked away in a small sleepy fishing village, between the historic towns of El Jadida and Safi, sits a resort that “those-in-the-know” have been flocking to for years.

Oualidia (pronounced “Wa-lid-ee-ah”) overlooks an attractive natural seawater lagoon sitting against the edge of the Moroccan coastline. This Moroccan resort area contains a backdrop of contrasts between its shorelines of fine sand and majestic cliffs.

The lagoon remains serene and tranquil all year long. When compared to its counterpart, separated only by a sand bar, the wildest waves are exhibited by the Atlantic Ocean. Thousands of surfers naturally amass to the ocean side paradise seeking to “hang-ten,” while families opt for the lagoon.

Oualidia is a perfect getaway retreat that is considered the optimum in North Africa for its temperate climate. The region enjoys approximately 320 days of sunshine each year. (more…)