Exploring the Dades Valley

Stretching from the High Atlas Mountains in the north to the rugged Jbel Sarho in the south, the Dades Valley is scattered with oases, palm groves and elaborate kasbahs. The valley itself is made lush and green by the Dades River, which rises from the High Atlas Mountains before emptying into Morocco’s largest river, the Draa. The waters of the Dades provide life for a variety of almond, fig, walnut and birch trees on the valley floor offering a spectacular contrast to the earthen-colored rocky formations rising from the valley floor. (more…)

A Night in Marrakesh’s Place Djemaa el-Fna

Henna in marrakesh moroccoIf you’ve read even a little bit about Marrakesh prior to your tours to Morocco, you probably know that this cultural hub is bursting with activity, especially in Place Djemaa el-Fna, the city’s main square. For a first-time visitor, approaching the clamor of the square at sunset can feel disorienting. To survey the bustle before joining it, consider starting the evening with a terrace dinner.

Terrace restaurants surround the square, and most specialize in the traditional multi-course spread of salad, tajine or couscous and whole fruit dessert. You’ll pay a bit more to dine here than you would at ground level, but the balcony seating is absolutely worth the extra dirhams.

West of the square, the modestly lit minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque seems to mark a main entrance where a continuous current of silhouettes migrate toward the festivities. Motorbike headlights sprinkle the crowd, weaving through the shadows like dancing fireflies.

Following the migratory path leads your eye to long rows of dinner vendors under a cloud of steam. Though fuzzy from a distance, wandering toward the wafting scents of cumin later in the evening takes you down countless aisles lined with vendors on one side and tent-covered seating on the other. (more…)

Interview: Chris Padgett, Founder of Savor Morocco

Christopher PadgettChris Padgett and his wife are the owners of Savor Morocco, a cooking school and guest house in Meknes, Morocco. He took a few minutes to answer some questions for us about his business and his tips for people traveling to Morocco for the first time.

Tell us a bit about your cooking school and guest house, Savor Morocco. What led you to opening such a business in Morocco?

Back when we lived in Texas, I owned a catering business that was fairly successful. We were able to sell it for quite a profit. For many years, I have been in the food service industry / customer service business. Both my wife and I wanted to live overseas for a season of our lives. When our kids were young, we decided it would be a great time to move and raise them in multi-lingual country. We moved over to Morocco with numerous business ideas, eventually landing on the cooking school / guest house.

Our cooking school has been running for almost 3 years. During this time, we have held close to 200 classes, teaching countless foreigners how to create some amazing Moroccan cuisine. People come in and learn how to prepare the traditional mint tea, an appetizer and main dish. At the same time, they learn about the history of the dishes along with various cultural differences, sprinkled in with some great stories of Morocco’s past.

The guest house is located on several floors above the cooking school. It has been a great safe haven for travelers throughout their trek. Often times, we have groups stay for extended amounts of time and use Meknes as a base to see numerous surrounding towns and villages, including Fes. One of the great aspects of our guest house is that we provide much more space than a traditional hotel room, along with a full-scale kitchen to prepare your own meals and facilities to wash your own clothes in the midst of those long trips.
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Wedding Traditions in Morocco

Morocco wedding brideLet it never be said that Moroccans don’t know how to party; one of the best ways to experience this truth first-hand is to attend a wedding. Moroccan weddings are 24-hour affairs, but some can take place over the course of two or even three days. Just as in the west, every wedding is different, and families strive to put a unique or personal spin on the day. All the same, there are a few common themes and events that occur over the course of a wedding, and knowing what to expect if you attend one is important.

First, know that there is a very great difference between ‘country’ weddings and ‘city’ weddings. Urban couples are generally a bit wealthier, and their day may include a number of dress changes for the bride; an endless supply of tagine, cakes, and cookies; and even some professional live music. Rural couples generally stick to more traditional ceremonies, though the urban influence is starting to creep in to even the most remote wedding festivities. (more…)

What To Do When Your Trip to Morocco is Over

Morocco belly dancing cooking languageTravelers have the unique opportunity of being able to share experiences created abroad with family and friends back home. Jumping into every conversation with “When I was in Morocco…” is not necessarily the best way to interest others in your experiences, but there are many creative things you can do to share your Moroccan trip with your community.

Cook Moroccan Food for Family and Friends

During your trip to Morocco, you most likely sampled all sorts of slow-cooked tajines, succulent kebabs, hearty couscous dishes and freshly baked bread. If you enjoy cooking and baking, try your hand at Moroccan cuisine and share the results of your culinary endeavors with friends. (more…)

10 Reasons to Vacation in Morocco

morocco things to doWhen you travel, do you like to poke around palaces, indulge yourself in history at a museum or sip coffee at a local café? Do you prefer to take part in extreme sports or wander through the wilderness?

The beauty of Morocco as a vacation destination is that it’s a country diverse in adventure, culture and heritage, and regardless of your travel style, you’ll find something here that suits you. Whatever your preferences when it comes to travel, here are ten good reasons you’ll want to make Morocco your next holiday destination:

1. Trekking experiences are plentiful. The main mountain ranges in Morocco are the Rif Mountains, Atlas Mountains, Middle Atlas Mountains and Anti Atlas Mountains. The Rif Mountains, located in the northern section of the country, are covered with cascades, forested land and caves. Expert trekkers will find more challenging terrain in the High Atlas Mountains. (more…)

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Morocco

morocco camels beachThe world is filled with fascinating places to visit, and there will be a time when you have to choose which destination is right for you. We’re not afraid to let you know, though, that if you’re looking for a vacation experience that encompasses adventure, culture, history and wilderness, you should look no further than Morocco, a diverse country filled with majestic palaces, interesting museums, mouth-watering cuisine and large expanses of stunning natural landscapes.

Still not convinced? Here are ten great reasons to make Morocco your next vacation destination:

1. Trekking

The Rif Mountains, High Atlas Mountains, Middle Atlas Mountains and Anti-Atlas Mountains all fight for attention from trekking enthusiasts. Located in the northern portion of Morocco, the Rif Mountains’ peaks may not be as high as those in the High Atlas Mountains, but they are covered with forests and caves. The Middle and Anti-Atlas Mountains are not as heavily visited as the High Atlas, so they offer a quieter, more personal experience with nature. (more…)