UNESCO World Heritage Series: Ait Ben Haddou

UNESCO World Heritage Series: Ait Ben Haddou

I was traveling through the dusty south of Morocco, touring the Sahara with my guide, Hamid. He was trying to show me exactly where a particular scene in Ridley Scott’s epic film, Gladiator was shot. If you’ve seen Gladiator, you’ll remember Proximo (played by Oliver Reed, looking sufficiently Arab-ish) who purchases General Maximus (Russell Crowe). In one very memorable scene, Proximo says to the slaves, including the disgraced General Maximus: “I did not pay good money for you for your company. I paid it so that I could profit from your death.” (more…)

Encounter Morocco’s Draa Valley

You are enjoying your Morocco holiday. You have visited cities out of the past. You have walked where royals walked. You have visited the mystery of Tangiers and Casablanca. Now, though, you’re ready for a change from urban scenery to rural splendidness. Take a trip, then, through the Draa Valley. Here burned mountains, red clay villages seemingly sprouted from the earth and Berber villages with contrasting palm oasises line your itinerary. The Draa Valley is known as the date basket of Morocco. Shipping worldwide, this “date basket” provides an income and lifestyle to many in the area. (more…)

Erg Chebbi: Morocco’s Sahara Desert

Any exploration of Morocco wouldn’t be complete without including a visit to one of the the fabulous ergs (a classic sand dune desert). Just the place to enjoy such a sight is near the town of Merzouga, a place called Erg Chebbi in the Sahara. This part of the Sahara is said to have some of the highest dunes in Morocco. Join a tour and see the 150 meter high mountains of sand. They are not the world’s highest hills, but they are the place to see some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets anywhere. Guides will take you to the best locations, fix traditional dinners and show you which dunes are best for viewing the sky. (more…)