TRAVEL TO MOROCCO WITH THE TRAVEL SOURCE

Do you have plan to visit the beautiful country of Morocco? Are you looking for an authentic Moroccan tour? Then I would definitely recommend The Travel Source. A highly reliable and dependable travel agency that offer an authentic Moroccan tour with their friendly staff and approachable management.

The Travel Source is an American-owned,Morocco licensed travel company based in Fes, Morocco. They offer different tour packages that suits your needs and budget.

When we went to Morocco on our one month vacation we booked with The Travel Source and they arranged everything for us from the itineraries, accommodations, places to stop over for a short break and lunch. They even provided us an English-speaking driver, Younes. Younes is such a nice guy. He made sure that our trip was an enjoyable and very knowledgeable about his country. Every questions we asked he was able to answer it that enlighten us more about the history, culture, food , arts and people of Morocco.

Jill and Jeff the owners made sure that we had everything during our trip. Jill went out of her way to visit us at Riad Fes. We were very honoured with Ms. Jill’s gesture.

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My partner Brad, Me, Miss Jill and Younes our driver during our trip to Morocco.  Miss Jill met us in Fes, Morocco.

Prices of their tour packages are very reasonable. In fact we booked for a private tour (exclusive for me and my partner) which we considered it as a trip of a LIFETIME that we will never forget. We don’t need to deal with some other tourists. We can do whatever we want to do and enjoy our vacations without trying to bug other people’s time.

For more details and information please visit their website:

http://www.thetravelsource.net

DISCLAIMER: My reviews, thoughts, opinions here are my own and based on my experience. I am not affiliated with THE TRAVEL SOURCE  nor I endorse them and they do not endorse me. I am not paid for my reviews.

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MOROCCO: THREE WEEKS ITINERARY

A dream come true! So happy to say that this article of mine  was published on TripZilla Magazine yeyyyy!!! here’s the link https://www.tripzilla.com/morocco-3week-itinerary-filipino-traveller/50228

Morocco is a diverse country to discover, explore and a must place to visit. From its cobbled narrow streets. medieval medina, enchanting places, great architectures, souks line with spicy scents, colorful Moroccan decor, beautiful beaches, glorious Sahara Desert will really leave a lasting memory of your trip

THE MAIN HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TRIP TO MOROCCO:

Day 1

CASABLANCA the economic capital of Morocco.  A home to North-Africa’s largest Jewish population, consisting mainly of well-off, middle-class Moroccans.

What To Do In Casablanca:

  • Visit the very impressive Hassan II Mosque. The worlds’ third largest mosque built to commemorate the former king’s 60th birthday. To see the interior of the mosque you must have a guided tour. Guided tour cost 120 Moroccan dirham.
IMG_5802
HASSAN II MOSQUE
IMG_5812
INTERIOR OF HASSAN MOSQUE II
IMG_5813
INTERIOR OF HASSAN MOSQUE II
  • Visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V which has the tombs of the Moroccan king Mohammed V and his sons. Considered as masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, with its white silhouette topped by a green tiled roof.
IMG_5842
Royal Guard outside the Hassan Tower and Mohammed V Mausoleum
IMG_5852
MOHAMMED V MAUSOLEUM
  • Wander through the ruins of columns of Hasan Tower and discover a part of Moroccan history that will forever remain incomplete. Hasan Tower is an incomplete project of majestic proportions.
IMG_5853
HASSAN TOWER
  • Wander the streets around Boulevard De Paris of Casablanca to admire the French colonial architecture.
IMG_0380
BUSY STREET OF BOULEVARD DE PARIS -CASABLANCA

 Day 2, 3, & 4 

TANGIER a fascinating city in the Strait of Gibraltar and it’s just twenty miles from the coast of Spain. It is a gateway for many travellers

What To Do in Tangier (With Guided Tour):

  • Stroll through the narrow cobbled streets and walls of the medina.

IMG_5724IMG_5710IMG_5704

  • Explore the souks of Tangier to connect with the local people and to experience first hand tradition of Moroccan buying and selling of wide range of goods.
IMG_5701
Souks in Tangier
  • Walk down  in the street overlooking the strait of Gibraltar.
IMG_5714
Overlooking Strait of Gibraltar
  • Explore the day driving up through the Montagne Vielle or California, the most luxurious residential area of Tangier.
IMG_0383.JPG
Malcolm Forbes House in Tangier, Morocco. The American publishing tycoon. The movie “The Tourist” of Angelina Jolie and the 15th James Bond film here.
  • Visit the Rmilat viewing area and Cape Spartel, the most northern point in Africa.
IMG_0382.JPG
Cape Spartel, the most North Western point of mainland Africa. The cape rises to a height of 326m. at the top of Jebel Quebir where there is a tower.
  • Visit the Cave of Hercules with its most unusual opening, shaped like the map of North Africa.
IMG_5678
Cave of Hercules

Day 5

CHEFCHAUEN a city in northwest Morocco. It is the chief town of the province of the same name, and noted  for its building in shades of blue. A small gem with a bewitching atmosphere tucked in the Rif Mountains.

What To Do In Chefchauen:

  • Explore the medina of the blue city tucked in the Rif Mountains.
IMG_5062
Enter a caption

IMG_5077

  • Visit the communal bakery. The women of Morocco prepare the bread dough at home and take it to the baker to cook.

IMG_0384.JPG
The Communal Bakery. Note photo is not mine.

Day 6 -VOLUBILIS/MEKNES

VOLUBILIS a partly excavated Berber and Roman city in Morocco situated near Meknes, between Fes and Rabat, and commonly considered as the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauritania.

What To Do In Volubilis: ( With Guided Tour):

  • Explore the 2000 year old Roman ruins of Volubilis. Volubilis was a Roman settlement constructed on what was probably a Carthaginian city, dating from 3rd century BC. Volubilis was a central administrative city for this part of Roman Africa, responsible for the grain producing in this fertile region, and exports to Rome. Much of the best excavations been moved to the Archaeological Museum close to the royal palace in Rabat, but Volubilis offers ruins of quite good quality, and about 30 high quality mosaics that still stand in their original place. There is an admission fee entering the Volubilis of about  20 Moroccan Dirham.
IMG_5621.JPG
Roman ruins of Volubilis
IMG_5627.JPG
Roman ruins of Volubilis.
  • After lunch from Volubilis drive through Meknes to visit the Hri Souani -Granaries of Meknes. This is another great construction of Moulay Ismail in Meknes. It is a complex of three different buildings just to the south of the royal palace. The main structure is the real granaries which built to store massive quantities food and water in case Meknes had been under siege. This amazing place  been used as a scene for many films, the most famous of which is The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988 by Martin Scorsese.
IMG_5573
Granaries of Meknes

Day 7, 8 & 9

FES a northeastern Moroccan city often called the country’s cultural capital. Primarily known for its Fes El Bali walled medina, with medieval architecture, vibrant souks and old-world atmosphere.

What To Do In Fes

  • Explore the medieval labyrinth medina of Fes, one of the largest walled cities, and its ramparts and alleys line with fresh fruits, mounds, spices, intricately woven Berber carpets and many other Moroccan objects.

IMG_5560IMG_5563

  • Visit the stinky tanneries. This is an interesting place to see about the leather tanning process in Fes, Morocco but be very careful some touts would approach you and led you to their shop and try to sell multiple leather goods for sky-high price. There are many more bag stalls in the souks or better shop in the Marrakech market but try to haggle the price.
IMG_0386.JPG
Tanneries. Note: Photo is not mine. When I went there the tanneries was empty.
  • Visit the pottery, the heart of the Medina. This is a guided tour will you be able to see their artists at work how their porcelain and potteries made where everything done by hand. I bought some ceramics but again try to haggle the price. The prices are a little high compare in the souks. Products shipped to all parts of the world. 
IMG_0385.JPG
Art Naj Ceramics, Fes Morocco

Day 10

Ascend cross the Middle Atlas Mountains, a mountain range in Morocco. It is part of the Atlas Mountain that lies between, and can accessed from with Fes and Marrakech.

What To Do In Middle Atlas Mountains:

  • Winding through the beautiful scenery before descending towards the Sahara Desert.
IMG_5119
Herd of Sheep
IMG_5132
Fantastic off-road riding through beautiful scenery

IMG_5121

Day 11 & 12 -ERFOUD/SAHARA DESERT

ERFOUD  an oasis town in the Sahara Desert.

What To Do In Erfoud before heading to Sahara Desert

  • Explore the small town of Erfoud and Rissani
  • Visit the Museum of Fossils and Minerals
  • Try the Berber authentic wood-fired pizza in Pizzeria-Restaurant des Dunes
  • Visit the Manar Marbre and watch fossilised marbled being cut in their showroom.

IMG_5383

IMG_5370.JPG

SAHARA DESERT the largest hot desert and third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic.

What To Do In Sahara:

  • Camel Back Riding
  • Sand Surfing
  • Star Gazing
  • Watch the Sunset

IMG_5166IMG_5170.JPG

Day 13

TODRA & DADES GORGES is a scenically beautiful section of the Dade River valley separating the Atlas Mountain from the Anti Atlas. It is known for its mesmerizing scenery and the Kasbah set precariously amongst it overlooking the river below.

What To Do In Todra & Dades Gorges:

  • Take a walk in the stunning scenery and amazing views of the Gorges.

IMG_5427.JPG

Day 14 & 15

QUARZAZATE noted for film-making scene, with Morocco’s biggest studio inviting many international companies to work here. Over the years, Quarzazate has served as shooting place for Alexander the Great, Black Hawk Dawn, Kingdom of Heaven, Babel, The Mummy (1999), Star Wars (1977), The Living Daylights (1987), Martin Scorsese’s Kundun (1997), and many others, including Ridley Scott’s epic Gladiator (2000), starring Russel Crowe, and Body of Lies (2008) also starring Russel Crowe along with Leonardo DiCaprio.

What To Do In Quarzazate:

  • Visit the Taourit Kasbah with a guided tour. The Kasbah today is partly ruined but the place been restored with help from UNESCO. The Kasbah is one of Morocco’s most spectacular historical legacies of wealth and power. With almost 300 rooms and a true maze of passageways, steps, and key lock doors, its easy to feel lost within the immense structure that only connects to the outside world through a narrow entrance doorway.IMG_5458.JPG
  • Visit the Atlas Film Studios. The studios wasn’t built until 1983, when Moroccan entrepreneur Mohamed Belghmi recognised the need for a permanent studio in the area. But Quarzazate was first used as a movie scene by acclaimed British director David Lean for his 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia. Familiar with the area, Lean knew that the site could offer an authentic setting for any ancient,desert-based story.
IMG_5471.JPG
Atlas Film Studios

Day 15, 16 & 17

MARRAKECH a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic center and homes to mosques, palaces and gardens.

What To Do In Marrakech

  • Take a walk in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle, one of the most visited sites in Morocco. It took French painter Jacques Majorette (1886-1962) forty years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting garden in the  heart of the “Ochre City”.
IMG_4295
Jardin Majorelle
  • Stroll along Koutobia Mosque located near the Djemaa el Fna, one of the larger mosque in Marrakech. The mosque is famous for its magnificent minaret, the oldest of the tree great Almohad minarets remaining in the word. The highlight of the Koutoubia mosque, which non-Muslims may not enter, is the beautiful minaret. Rising almost 70m, it dominates the Djemaa el Fna square and can be seen from much of the city.
IMG_4315
Koutoubia Mosque in the background
  • Visit the Djamaa el Fna Square here it is predominantly occupied by orange juice vendors, water sellers, snake charmer, magicians, paddlers of traditional medicines. The square is  along one side by the Marrakech souk, a traditional North African market catering both for the common daily needs of the locals, and for the tourist trade.
IMG_0391.JPG
Djemaa el Fna at night. Note: Photo taken from Pinterest Site.
  • Visit the Bahia Palace, built in the late 19th century, intended as  the greatest palace of all time. The name means “brilliance”. As another buildings of the period another countries. Intended to capture  essence of the Islāmic and Moroccan style. There is  2 acre garden with rooms opening onto the courtyards.
IMG_4326
Back courtyard of the Bahia Palace.

Day 18, 19 & 20

ESSAOUIRA a picturesque fishing town lying on the southwest coast of Morocco, with an exquisite beach to the south. Essaouira has becomes one of Morocco’s most popular coastal towns. Many of the countries wood carves and artist make Essaouira their home.

What To Do in Essaouira:

  • Walk along the beach, watch the kite surfers, enjoy camel and horse back riding; watch the stunning sunset of Essaouira.

IMG_4928

IMG_4941.jpg

IMG_0388.JPG

IMG_0389.JPG

  • Explore the old Fishing Port of Essaouira. In the harbor area is an array of seafood restaurants where you choose your seafood and it freshly cooked for you.
IMG_5024
View from the old Fishing Port
IMG_5028
Essaouira, the seagull capital
  • Explore the medina, shop for souvenirs as gift for loved ones back home.

IMG_5031

Day 21 Head North along coast through Safi, El Jadida and up to Casablanca and back to Hotel Le Doge

Day 22 – Transferred to the airport departure

If and when we will definitely go back to Morocco in a heartbeat!

THE RUINS OF VOLUBILIS

The Ruins of Volubilis a UNESCO Heritage, became famous abroad when Martin Scorsese made it feature site for his film. The Last Temptation of Christ.

Volubilis is best described as a colony where Roman culture  made central to its inhabitants. Originally, the site was a Carthaginian settlement since the third century B.C.; however, the Roman Empire transformed the city into one of its administrative centers. The Roman transformed Volubilis into a typical city complete with mansions to house the Roman officials, a town center, a triumphal arc and temples devoted to the Roman gods. Christianity was the practiced religion and Latin was the spoken language by the Greeks, Jews and Syrians living in Volubilis.

Today, Volubilis is covered in fascinating ruins decorated with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. Volubilis’ ruins argued to be the some of the best preserved north Africa and at first glance, with some imagination, offer the opportunity to see what a traditional Roman city once looked like. Several fragments of walls still remain, along with parts of massive columns and arches; this  thought to be the courthouse. Furthermore, the capitol, the basilica and the triumphal arch are visible.

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img_5623img_5624img_5625img_5626img_5627img_5628img_5629img_5630

 

THE BLUE CITY OF CHEFCHAOUEN, MOROCCO

Chefchaouen is a small town tucked in the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco. The quaint town covered with white washed homes with distinctive powder-blue accents. The town painted blue by the Jewish refugees who lived there during the 1930’s as a reminder of the God’s power above. Even as the Jewish population faded in the area and gave way to a stronger Muslim presence, tradition of blue buildings continued. Residents of Chefchaouen still regularly paint their houses, keeping the blue city fresh and the lost tradition alive.

Today, Chefchaouen is one of the major tourists destination and attraction in Morocco. The Berbers hand-woven earth-tone blankets, rugs, bags, lamp shades and other Moroccan decor seen displayed at the small shops within the city’s medina wall.

Maze of narrow cobbled lanes, beautiful artsy blue medina against the mountainous backdrop is simple incredible photogenic and very calm soothing environment.

MOROCCO: THREE WEEKS ITINERARY

Morocco is a diverse country to discover, explore and a must place to visit. From its cobbled narrow streets. medieval medina, enchanting places, great architectures, souks line with spicy scents, colorful Moroccan decor, beautiful beaches, glorious Sahara Desert will really leave a lasting memory of your trip

THE MAIN HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TRIP TO MOROCCO:

Day 1

CASABLANCA the economic capital of Morocco.  A home to North-Africa’s largest Jewish population, consisting mainly of well-off, middle-class Moroccans.

What To Do In Casablanca:

  • Visit the very impressive Hassan II Mosque. The worlds’ third largest mosque built to commemorate the former king’s 60th birthday. To see the interior of the mosque you must have a guided tour. Guided tour cost 120 Moroccan dirham.
IMG_5802
HASSAN II MOSQUE
IMG_5812
INTERIOR OF HASSAN MOSQUE II
IMG_5813
INTERIOR OF HASSAN MOSQUE II
  • Visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V which has the tombs of the Moroccan king Mohammed V and his sons. Considered as masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, with its white silhouette topped by a green tiled roof.
IMG_5842
Royal Guard outside the Hassan Tower and Mohammed V Mausoleum
IMG_5852
MOHAMMED V MAUSOLEUM
  • Wander through the ruins of columns of Hasan Tower and discover a part of Moroccan history that will forever remain incomplete. Hasan Tower is an incomplete project of majestic proportions.
IMG_5853
HASSAN TOWER
  • Wander the streets around Boulevard De Paris of Casablanca to admire the French colonial architecture.
IMG_0380
BUSY STREET OF BOULEVARD DE PARIS -CASABLANCA

 Day 2, 3, & 4 

TANGIER a fascinating city in the Strait of Gibraltar and it’s just twenty miles from the coast of Spain. It is a gateway for many travellers

What To Do in Tangier (With Guided Tour):

  • Stroll through the narrow cobbled streets and walls of the medina.

IMG_5724IMG_5710IMG_5704

  • Explore the souks of Tangier to connect with the local people and to experience first hand tradition of Moroccan buying and selling of wide range of goods.
IMG_5701
Souks in Tangier
  • Walk down  in the street overlooking the strait of Gibraltar.
IMG_5714
Overlooking Strait of Gibraltar
  • Explore the day driving up through the Montagne Vielle or California, the most luxurious residential area of Tangier.
IMG_0383.JPG
Malcolm Forbes House in Tangier, Morocco. The American publishing tycoon. The movie “The Tourist” of Angelina Jolie and the 15th James Bond film here.
  • Visit the Rmilat viewing area and Cape Spartel, the most northern point in Africa.
IMG_0382.JPG
Cape Spartel, the most North Western point of mainland Africa. The cape rises to a height of 326m. at the top of Jebel Quebir where there is a tower.
  • Visit the Cave of Hercules with its most unusual opening, shaped like the map of North Africa.
IMG_5678
Cave of Hercules

Day 5

CHEFCHAUEN a city in northwest Morocco. It is the chief town of the province of the same name, and noted  for its building in shades of blue. A small gem with a bewitching atmosphere tucked in the Rif Mountains.

What To Do In Chefchauen:

  • Explore the medina of the blue city tucked in the Rif Mountains.
IMG_5062
Enter a caption

IMG_5077

  • Visit the communal bakery. The women of Morocco prepare the bread dough at home and take it to the baker to cook.

IMG_0384.JPG
The Communal Bakery. Note photo is not mine.

Day 6 -VOLUBILIS/MEKNES

VOLUBILIS a partly excavated Berber and Roman city in Morocco situated near Meknes, between Fes and Rabat, and commonly considered as the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauritania.

What To Do In Volubilis: ( With Guided Tour):

  • Explore the 2000 year old Roman ruins of Volubilis. Volubilis was a Roman settlement constructed on what was probably a Carthaginian city, dating from 3rd century BC. Volubilis was a central administrative city for this part of Roman Africa, responsible for the grain producing in this fertile region, and exports to Rome. Much of the best excavations been moved to the Archaeological Museum close to the royal palace in Rabat, but Volubilis offers ruins of quite good quality, and about 30 high quality mosaics that still stand in their original place. There is an admission fee entering the Volubilis of about  20 Moroccan Dirham.
IMG_5621.JPG
Roman ruins of Volubilis
IMG_5627.JPG
Roman ruins of Volubilis.
  • After lunch from Volubilis drive through Meknes to visit the Hri Souani -Granaries of Meknes. This is another great construction of Moulay Ismail in Meknes. It is a complex of three different buildings just to the south of the royal palace. The main structure is the real granaries which built to store massive quantities food and water in case Meknes had been under siege. This amazing place  been used as a scene for many films, the most famous of which is The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988 by Martin Scorsese.
IMG_5573
Granaries of Meknes

Day 7, 8 & 9

FES a northeastern Moroccan city often called the country’s cultural capital. Primarily known for its Fes El Bali walled medina, with medieval architecture, vibrant souks and old-world atmosphere.

What To Do In Fes

  • Explore the medieval labyrinth medina of Fes, one of the largest walled cities, and its ramparts and alleys line with fresh fruits, mounds, spices, intricately woven Berber carpets and many other Moroccan objects.

IMG_5560IMG_5563

  • Visit the stinky tanneries. This is an interesting place to see about the leather tanning process in Fes, Morocco but be very careful some touts would approach you and led you to their shop and try to sell multiple leather goods for sky-high price. There are many more bag stalls in the souks or better shop in the Marrakech market but try to haggle the price.
IMG_0386.JPG
Tanneries. Note: Photo is not mine. When I went there the tanneries was empty.
  • Visit the pottery, the heart of the Medina. This is a guided tour will you be able to see their artists at work how their porcelain and potteries made where everything done by hand. I bought some ceramics but again try to haggle the price. The prices are a little high compare in the souks. Products shipped to all parts of the world. 
IMG_0385.JPG
Art Naj Ceramics, Fes Morocco

Day 10

Ascend cross the Middle Atlas Mountains, a mountain range in Morocco. It is part of the Atlas Mountain that lies between, and can accessed from with Fes and Marrakech.

What To Do In Middle Atlas Mountains:

  • Winding through the beautiful scenery before descending towards the Sahara Desert.
IMG_5119
Herd of Sheep
IMG_5132
Fantastic off-road riding through beautiful scenery

IMG_5121

Day 11 & 12 -ERFOUD/SAHARA DESERT

ERFOUD  an oasis town in the Sahara Desert.

What To Do In Erfoud before heading to Sahara Desert

  • Explore the small town of Erfoud and Rissani
  • Visit the Museum of Fossils and Minerals
  • Try the Berber authentic wood-fired pizza in Pizzeria-Restaurant des Dunes
  • Visit the Manar Marbre and watch fossilised marbled being cut in their showroom.

IMG_5383

IMG_5370.JPG

SAHARA DESERT the largest hot desert and third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic.

What To Do In Sahara:

  • Camel Back Riding
  • Sand Surfing
  • Star Gazing
  • Watch the Sunset

IMG_5166IMG_5170.JPG

Day 13

TODRA & DADES GORGES is a scenically beautiful section of the Dade River valley separating the Atlas Mountain from the Anti Atlas. It is known for its mesmerizing scenery and the Kasbah set precariously amongst it overlooking the river below.

What To Do In Todra & Dades Gorges:

  • Take a walk in the stunning scenery and amazing views of the Gorges.

IMG_5427.JPG

Day 14 & 15

QUARZAZATE noted for film-making scene, with Morocco’s biggest studio inviting many international companies to work here. Over the years, Quarzazate has served as shooting place for Alexander the Great, Black Hawk Dawn, Kingdom of Heaven, Babel, The Mummy (1999), Star Wars (1977), The Living Daylights (1987), Martin Scorsese’s Kundun (1997), and many others, including Ridley Scott’s epic Gladiator (2000), starring Russel Crowe, and Body of Lies (2008) also starring Russel Crowe along with Leonardo DiCaprio.

What To Do In Quarzazate:

  • Visit the Taourit Kasbah with a guided tour. The Kasbah today is partly ruined but the place been restored with help from UNESCO. The Kasbah is one of Morocco’s most spectacular historical legacies of wealth and power. With almost 300 rooms and a true maze of passageways, steps, and key lock doors, its easy to feel lost within the immense structure that only connects to the outside world through a narrow entrance doorway.IMG_5458.JPG
  • Visit the Atlas Film Studios. The studios wasn’t built until 1983, when Moroccan entrepreneur Mohamed Belghmi recognised the need for a permanent studio in the area. But Quarzazate was first used as a movie scene by acclaimed British director David Lean for his 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia. Familiar with the area, Lean knew that the site could offer an authentic setting for any ancient,desert-based story.
IMG_5471.JPG
Atlas Film Studios

Day 15, 16 & 17

MARRAKECH a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic center and homes to mosques, palaces and gardens.

What To Do In Marrakech

  • Take a walk in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle, one of the most visited sites in Morocco. It took French painter Jacques Majorette (1886-1962) forty years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting garden in the  heart of the “Ochre City”.
IMG_4295
Jardin Majorelle
  • Stroll along Koutobia Mosque located near the Djemaa el Fna, one of the larger mosque in Marrakech. The mosque is famous for its magnificent minaret, the oldest of the tree great Almohad minarets remaining in the word. The highlight of the Koutoubia mosque, which non-Muslims may not enter, is the beautiful minaret. Rising almost 70m, it dominates the Djemaa el Fna square and can be seen from much of the city.
IMG_4315
Koutoubia Mosque in the background
  • Visit the Djamaa el Fna Square here it is predominantly occupied by orange juice vendors, water sellers, snake charmer, magicians, paddlers of traditional medicines. The square is  along one side by the Marrakech souk, a traditional North African market catering both for the common daily needs of the locals, and for the tourist trade.
IMG_0391.JPG
Djemaa el Fna at night. Note: Photo taken from Pinterest Site.
  • Visit the Bahia Palace, built in the late 19th century, intended as  the greatest palace of all time. The name means “brilliance”. As another buildings of the period another countries. Intended to capture  essence of the Islāmic and Moroccan style. There is  2 acre garden with rooms opening onto the courtyards.
IMG_4326
Back courtyard of the Bahia Palace.

Day 18, 19 & 20

ESSAOUIRA a picturesque fishing town lying on the southwest coast of Morocco, with an exquisite beach to the south. Essaouira has becomes one of Morocco’s most popular coastal towns. Many of the countries wood carves and artist make Essaouira their home.

What To Do in Essaouira:

  • Walk along the beach, watch the kite surfers, enjoy camel and horse back riding; watch the stunning sunset of Essaouira.

IMG_4928

IMG_4941.jpg

IMG_0388.JPG

IMG_0389.JPG

  • Explore the old Fishing Port of Essaouira. In the harbor area is an array of seafood restaurants where you choose your seafood and it freshly cooked for you.
IMG_5024
View from the old Fishing Port
IMG_5028
Essaouira, the seagull capital
  • Explore the medina, shop for souvenirs as gift for loved ones back home.

IMG_5031

Day 21 Head North along coast through Safi, El Jadida and up to Casablanca and back to Hotel Le Doge

Day 22 – Transferred to the airport departure

 

 

If and when we will definitely go back to Morocco in a heartbeat!

 

CATS IN MOROCCO

There are cats everywhere in Morocco. They are everywhere: in the markets, in the restaurants, cafe, shops, entryways of mosques waiting and begging for a scrap. They are like community cats who wander anywhere, well-fed but not directly taken care as a “pet”.  They are considered taboo in Islam because they are said to be unclean.

I have six cats in our house back in the Philippines. Seeing stray cats in Morocco made me sad. I am a cat person so every time I saw cats  in the streets of Morocco, I always fed them and how I wish I could bring all of them back home.

Here are some  photos of cats that I took during our recent trip in Morocco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAJESTIC SAHARA SAND DUNES

The trek to the Sahara Desert, camel back riding and star-gazing was one of the main highlights of our trip in Morocco and the realisation of my partner’s boyhood dream.

It was almost ten o’clock in the morning when Younes (our personal driver from our travel agency) picked us up in Palais Du Desert where we stayed for one night before heading to the town of Erfoud. Erfoud is the port of entry to the Saharan dunes. On our way we stopped over for an authentic Berber pizzeria for lunch while waiting for Hamid, another driver who would drive us to the barren land of the Sahara on a 4wheel drive vehicle.

Driving in the rough and curvy road across the barren land to the majestic Sahara sand dunes requires an expert driver. Hamid is an extremely excellent driver and commendable person. The drive was smooth sailing and once in a while he would stop and let me take pictures of camels as we passed through the heart-stopping landscape of the desert. I was so exhausted that day, but I don’t want to blow every single moment of the spine-tingling scenery. The blue skies, camels, shrubs and acacia trees; Berbers riding on their bicycles and the dunes blown by the wind almost like looking at the waves on the ocean. Everything looks infinite, I was totally blown away by the beauty of the Sahara Desert.

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As we continued our odyssey through the barren land at a distance, I saw a sparkling lake. I yelled to my partner “hey look a mirage”. A mirage is naturally occurring optical phenomenon in which light rays bent to produce, a displaced image of distant objects or the sky. For an exhausted travellers in the desert, an inferior mirage may seem a lake of water in the distance.

Looking out of the window of the car, the landscape is so fascinating, the views are breathtaking, there are dunes in every direction, stretching out as far as you can see. It was hard to put words to the vastness of the desert as you look over the sea of golden-orange dunes. The farther Hamid drove us into the dunes, the less we could see the road, we were driving through a sand desert.

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 After a long and tiring drive we finally reached our destination. We were in the Sahara Desert. Our driver pulled up to a small desert hotel or a traditional home, built in a traditional way. It was all covered with bricks made with mud, sand ,straw and has its unique rustic charm as you entered the place well decorated with colorful Berbers rugs on the walls. We were greeted by a young Berber guy and offered us some cold water and Moroccan whiskey (a glass of sweet mint tea) to refresh us. He then lead us into our room to rest and relax while waiting for the sunset to go down before we set off on a camel for one and a half hour trek out into the dunes.

Our hearts stopped beating when it was time for us to hop on top of the camel’s back. This is it! as I said to my partner while smiling and holding his hand as we walked close to the camels where our camel guide, Ali was waiting for us. As we stood close to our camels, I was a bit scared, thinking the camel might kicked me. But our  camel guide, Ali told us that camels are gentle animals and all we had to do is hold on really tight once we hop on our camels back. When my partner and I hopped up on the seats on our camels back and our camels lifted their hind legs first, then their front one, throwing us back and forth on their bodies it was fun and daunting. That was our first hopped on a camels back and I could almost see tears leaking on my partner eyes. It was an emotions of happiness and excitement as we were ready to set off to the majestic sand dunes of the Sahara Desert.

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The trek into the desert was a mind-bending experience, I can not believe I was there. I thought I was dreaming, stunned and dazzled at how immense the desert is, that even travellers may go for days to explore it. The farther we go the sand get more orange. It was marvellous. The sand is so fine and almost yellow-orange. I felt I would jump out of the camel’s back and roll my body into the lofty sand dunes. My inner child awakened. It was just an incredible sight knowing you are right there in the middle of mountains of sand dunes captivated by its glorious beauty.

As we trekked farther I saw more sand and bigger sand dunes. Our camel guide, Ali headed us into big sand dunes and from there he motioned towards us that we need to get out from the camels back and reach the top of the sand dunes. It was funny, I was trying to step forward going to the top but it was like stepping forward and back. I was grasping my breath trying to made it on top. Once I reached the top, the view was heart-stirring…the sunset..it was breathless, stunning  setting over the wide horizon of the Sahara Desert. I can’t find words to describe how I felt at that very magical moment.

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The sun had nearly completely set and our camel guide, Ali lead us safely to our deluxe Berber camp. Amazed at how skilled our camel guide, Ali was able to have his sense of direction without getting lost in the desert,  I asked him: “Ali, the desert is so huge how you know where our camp base is?  “How are you able to shift from one directions to another directions without getting lost?” Ali replied ” My brain is like GPS” as he pointed his finger towards his head. My  partner and I laughed.

Finally we arrived at our deluxe Berber camp and met our Berber staff waiting for us. They showed us our room and I was tongue-tied when I saw the marquee. It was all covered with razzle-dazzle carpets, with a comfy bed, shower, private functional toilet and a sink to wash your face. I shook my head and asked myself, a tent like a five-star in the desert? Amazing right?

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Dinner time they served us Moroccan chicken and beef tagine with plums, cous cous, Moroccan soup and fruits. The food was excellent.

After dinner we gathered around the campfire for hours laughing, sharing some stories and our experiences in Morocco. The team was excellent, they truly made our stay in the desert a once in a lifetime wonderful experience.

As the night became darker they bid goodnight to us. My partner and I remained outside the tent laying on a comfy cushioned laid down around the campfire watching a gazillion stars. I have never seen so many stars in my life! The desert sky is a great art gallery just above us; it was spectacular. Looking at all the stars suddenly dwarfed me at how huge the universe is and how wondrous. We are tiny dots on a tiny speck in a gigantic universe. It was a mind blowing-phenomenon and made me realised how fortunate I am with all those trials and difficulty in life here I am blessed and able to do the things that I want in my life. We didn’t want to sleep that night, but the desert was cold and we could no longer keep our eyes open. We came inside our tent where our comfy bed waiting for us as we crawled into the blanket and close our weary eyes with a smile on our faces .

It was hard for us to say goodbye to our nomad friends the following day. They became part of us, they are very special. Nomads are very fascinating people. It was a privilege and a wonderful experience to spent some time with them. But we need to go before the desert sun burned us up. Once again I need to look back and see the majestic Sahara sand dunes and left my foot prints on the sand of time, know there was something that I left. When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets, I leave something to remember, so they won’t forget I was there.

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Trekking the Sahara majestic sand dunes was truly a humbling and life changing experience.

CASABLANCA MOROCCO AIPORT EXPERIENCE

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CASABLANCA MOHHAMED V AIRPORT

Our trip did not start well. Our arrival in the Casablanca airport was one we will never forget. My American partner has attended many college football games and public function that involved large numbers of people, but has never experienced the cattle drive that was at the Morocco Immigration. Hundreds of people were pushing and shoving, we expected someone to get hurt. We will tell all to avoid Casablanca airport and better to arrive in country by ferry from Europe.

I never expected that much people in the Immigration. Immigration queue move slowly. There were about 9 windows in the Immigration but only 3 windows were open and people were flocking trying to push one another.  It took us more than an hour before our passports stamped.

I thought we were already done through the waiting process from the Immigration queue but our agony haven’t done yet. We ended up waiting for another one hour to claim our luggage. When the carousel started running and  bags started coming out and I haven’t seen our luggage my heart stopped beating thinking that our luggage might have been lost but luckily after an hour of standing and waiting our luggage were one of the belt.

Going out in the Casablanca airport arrival area was another nightmare for us. The queue was horrible, passengers pushing their carts trying to cut lines to pass you.

Casablanca airport is the worst airport I have ever been.