For many travelers the question isn’t if you’ll be traveling or when you’ll be traveling. It’s a matter of where you’ll be traveling. Where do you want to go on your dream vacation? Where should you spend your beach getaway to relax after a hectic month at the office? Where will you be taking that once-in-a-lifetime family trip? If you’re reading this, you probably already know where you’re going: Destination Morocco! (more…)
If you’re looking to get away when the temperature plummets and the snow starts falling from above, why not consider spending Christmas in Morocco? While many travelers from the Northern Hemisphere initially consider a European destination for their winter holidays, a multitude of savvy travelers are choosing to spend their holiday in Morocco. With it’s sunny skies, colorful allure, and variety of cultures and landscapes, Morocco is becoming one of the most sought-after destinations for travelers looking for some winter warmth. (more…)
There are very few places on Earth that compare to the incredible landscapes you’ll see visiting the Sahara Desert. Running roughly north-south along Morocco’s eastern border with neighboring Algeria, the Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert. In fact, the Sahara covers an area roughly the size of the entire United States. Many travelers visit Morocco specifically with the intention of venturing off into the desert and spending a night under the stars. And we can’t blame them! A desert adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on. (more…)
It’s a common refrain heard around the world: “It’s not easy being green.” In bright contrast to the Kermit dirge bemoaning the color green, the hillside town of Ouazzane, Morocco celebrates green. Greens of every tone are splashed across the medina walls and reflected in the fields and olive groves that surround the town. So, if you find yourself in this hillside medina on the edge of the Rif Mountains, the fact remains: It’s easy being green! Consider a road trip to Ouazzane! (more…)
Three days in Marrakesh. This is the average most travelers manage to spend in the Red City. Whether you’re coming for work or pleasure, it’s almost impossible to not spend at least a couple of nights in Marrakesh. And for good reason! Marrakesh is a delight, a feast for the eyes as well as all your other senses. It’s familiar and exotic. Decadent and humble. Rustic and opulent. And it manages to be all these things, and much more, all at once. It’s a place that has to be seen to be believed. For whatever reason, two nights seems to be the magical number to spend in Marrakesh. (more…)
In the 13th century, Morocco’s own Ibn Battuta, in explorer and intrepid traveler, was the first known traveler to connect distant the northwest corner of Africa to the far East. It’s taken nearly eight centuries, but the connection these days between Beijing and Rabat is strong. With stronger political ties, many are following the route of Morocco’s most famed exploring, making the journey from China to Morocco. And make no mistake about it, in just a few short years, this recent influx of Chinese travelers to Morocco has altered the landscape of some of the most popular destinations around the country, largely because of the number of travelers from China choosing big bus tourism over smaller, more independent and sustainable travel. (more…)
Hot air balloon excursions from the outskirts of Marrakesh take passengers over the Western High Atlas Mountains, the Oueds Tinsift and the Al Hawuz Plain. Half-day trips start early, around 5:00 or 6:00 a.m., so the balloon can be launched before or around sunrise. The early morning hours offer the best light for enjoying the view.
Balloon rides don’t operate during the height of summer (mid-July through late August) due to southern Morocco’s extreme heat. When booking, make sure the company you plan to go with has certified pilots and utilizes trailing vehicles that follow the course of the balloon in case of an emergency. Ask whether transport to and from Marrakesh and any meals are included. Most half-day excursions include 4×4 transport, a camel ride and breakfast in a Berber tent.
Each hot air balloon can hold up to 10 passengers, including the pilot. The balloon’s basket is made up of four sections, and three passengers can stand in each section. Keep this in mind when booking; most companies also offer a pricier option of renting the entire balloon for a romantic couple’s flight. Reduced rates may be available for children, although be sure to check the minimum age requirement. (more…)
Considered one of the toughest ultra marathons on the planet, runners of the Marathon des Sables travel approximately 150 miles through the rugged and arid Sahara Desert. Participants run the equivalent of six regular marathons over the course of six days with each stage ranging anywhere from 21 to 91 kilometers in length.
Runners battle sand storms and incapacitating heat. They endure torturous chafing and blisters down to the bone. Not only does this race seriously challenge the body’s physical abilities and will, but the $4,000 entry fee challenges most people’s financial will as well. Surprisingly the race has a 2-year registration waitlist and once registration opens, all available spots are often filled within an hour.
Sunny Blende once said that “Ultras are just eating and drinking contests, with a little exercise and scenery thrown in,” and this is especially true of the Marathon of the Sands. Participants battle temperatures of up to 120°F so maintaining adequate hydration and electrolyte balance is not only crucial to finishing the race but to surviving it. Water is rationed out at each aid station and runners are responsible for carrying all their own food typically around 14,000 calories a person. (more…)
From luxury resorts and beachfront spas, to mountain lodges and sand dune hikes, if you can dream it, to shine up an old cliché, chances are good that if you can dream it, you can do it. For many, that dream includes adventure in Morocco. No matter your definition, whether getting lost in a winding medina, trekking the high peaks, camping amid sand dunes or just getting through your first taxi ride, Morocco provides ample opportunity for thrill seekers.
If the idea of hiking into the wilderness strikes your fancy, Morocco’s famous mountain ranges are the perfect place to test your skills. Novice hikers can take part in any number of day hikes from the innumerable mountain villages that dot the High and Middle Atlas. Imlil, just an hour from Marrakesh, acts as trailhead for those looking to ascend Jbel Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak. Setting out for just a few hours along the trail will lead you to remote villages, religious shrines and some of the most spectacular alpine views in the country. Azilal, in the north, lies in the foothills of the Middle Atlas and is a beautiful place to use as a base from which to explore the region. (more…)
Located in the deep south of Morocco, the Draa Valley stretches from the city of Ouarzazate into the Sahara Desert. The Draa Valley is a stunning oasis home to Berber villages, sumptuous Kasbahs, streaming sand dunes, lush green plains, snow-capped Atlas Mountains, endless stretches of palm trees and the Draa, Morocco’s largest river.
During ancient times, the river of Draa crossed the desert and traveled hundreds of kilometers west until it joined the Atlantic. Today, most of this river has dried but its path still leads through one of the most fascinating landscapes in Morocco. (more…)
Trekking in the Mountains of Morocco is, for many, the highlight of a trip to Morocco. The alpine landscape reveals traces of the range’s glacial history (for real!), and is a far cry from the scrub of the plains or the sands of the nearby Sahara Desert. But while any trip requires planning, a jaunt to the High Atlas necessitates a slightly higher degree of preparation. As with any mountain landscape, temperatures and conditions can change quickly, and available resources will vary wildly between villages and outposts. Here, then are a few things to consider as you get ready for a trip to the High Atlas.
Guides – If you are planning to strike out on the trails, you may be curious about hiring a guide to help show you the way. There are a number of guiding/touring businesses in almost every trailhead village, as well as the larger cities. They can provide transport, food, lodging or any combination thereof you like, in addition to leading you through the mountain passes. Make sure you are clear on your price before you go, and establish exactly what is being provided ahead of time. Don’t feel guilty about shopping around for good prices or service! (more…)
Travelers who think of visiting Morocco probably don’t consider outdoor adventure and sports – They usually get caught up in all the museums, colorful bazaars and cuisine choices instead. However, Morocco is full of outdoor options for the sports-minded enthusiasts. In fact, the skies the limit from golfing to hiking to biking to skiing to fishing, surfing, birding or even camel trekking, you can indeed, stay active in Morocco. (more…)
The splendid landscapes of Morocco provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. There is no better way to dive into the crystal blue ocean waters than grabbing a surfboard and catching a wave in Essaouirra or Agadir. For those that like a bit of a challenge, Morocco offers up vast mountain ranges like the High and Middle Atlas Mountains, which are perfect for a day or multi-day hike outing. If you’re more of a spectator, then there is a world of motor sport racing. (more…)