Morocco is exotic and mysterious. It nestles on the northwestern tip of Africa, separated from the rest of the continent by the towering Atlas Mountains and by the Sahara itself.
Its climate and history are more closely related to the Mediterranean than to the rest of Africa, and for this reason visitors are often struck by the odd sensation of having not quite reached Africa in Morocco.
In the north, its fine beaches, lush highland valleys, and evocative old cities reinforce this impression. Yet, as one moves south and east, into and over the starkly beautiful ranges of the Atlases, Morocco’s Mediterranean character melts away like a mirage.
The smells and sounds of cooking are everywhere in Morocco. Meats used commonly include lamb, beef, chicken, camel & rabbit.
Much cooking includes lemon pickle, olive oil and dried fruits & spice is extensively used. Home-grown saffron comes from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes and oranges and lemons from Fez.
Bread is eaten with every meal. Often, for a formal meal, a lamb or chicken dish & couscous topped with meat and vegetables.
Among the most famous Moroccan dishes are Couscous, Pastilla, Tajine, Tanjia and Harira.
Green tea with mint is drunk widely & the making of good mint tea is considered an art form. The pouring technique is as crucial as the quality of the tea itself.
Moroccan tea pots have long spouts which allows the tea to be poured evenly into tiny glasses from a height.
Marrakech by day is just glorious - it is like a film set, head for the Djemaa El-Fna, the square in the medina which is largely filled with snake charmers and people with monkeys, as well as some of the more common stalls.
Venture further afield for camel rides on the beach in Essaouira, or trek through the Atlas mountains by mule. Just one day in Morocco is a fabulous sensory invasion second to none.
Enjoy a hammam at a spa in any of the big cities.
The Djemaa El-Fna is the highlight of any Marrakech night. Musicians, dancers, and story tellers pack this square at the heart of the medina, filling it with a cacophony of drum beats and excited shouts. Scores of stalls sell a wide array of Moroccan fare and there are many women offering henna tattoos. Delicious food is on offer at stalls or in the many Riads in the city. Fine dining as well as local fare is available, most of it delicious.
Marrakesh is a great place to spend some time. An entire day can be dedicated to wandering around all the different souks, seeking out the best bargains.
It is said that the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque is to Marrakech what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris & is a must-see.
Visit the homes of locals, drink tea with the elders or watch the acrobats in the medina.
There is fabulous shopping, try your hand at bargaining and see how you get on!
Venture into the mountains fto Amizmiz where you’ll find one of the largest Berber souks - well worth a visit.
Year round sun, adventuring through the Atlas mountains on foot or on skis, swimming in the sea and camel rides! If this bores you try the endless shopping in the wonderful mazes in the Medina, alleyway upon alleyway of tiny retail cubicles make up the souk - bring back leather sandals, slippers, spices, kaftans, blankets, jewellery, baskets and (of course) the rugs. There are amazing Mosques to visit, gardens to enjoy, tombs to take in and several museums. Eat out, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy!
Famously, Churchill adored Marrakech. Following his lead came Jimmy Hendrix, Paul McCartney and John Lennon as well as the Getty family. Hitchcock filmed The Man Who Knew Too Much here, Kate Winslet is also a visitor. The country attracts many from the fashion industry including both Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford.