Morocco Travel Guide
The popular, but wholly incomplete, picture of Morocco is of a hot sand pit which starts at the overcrowded beaches of Agadir and extends to the dunes of the Sahara Desert. A truer and more honest picture would include a description of the Northern half of Morocco which is made up of vast expanses of fertile agricultural lands, forests, productive vineyards and lush, green grazing meadows. Other surprises include outstanding snow - skiing near Marrakech; superb Golf courses and a summer climate that is similar to most Mediterranean resorts.
Morocco brims over with contrast, colour and mystery and all you can do is simply catch your breath in wonder. It has a timeless quality that no longer exists in the modern world, a sense that the past with all its glory and savagery still lives on, threading in and out of the present, informing with its every word and gesture. On arrival you are plunged into a culture, a religion and a lifestyle utterly unlike anything that you have ever experienced before; a mystery tour of a land of endless surprises, enchantment and enduring fascination.
The first reaction of most visitors to the flood of new impressions is to draw a long, deep breath and sigh; the odours of mint and blossom mingling with the acrid smell of the tanners' yard, the unearthly wail of the Muezzin and muleteers "balek! balek!", the subtle intricacies of an art that had reached its apogee and a daily rhythm that seems barely to have changed since the coming of islam.
For some, it begins with a glimpse of the cloud-veiled Rif, the first of three giant ranges that slice sideways across the mountain and culminate in the High Atlas, a wonderfully impressive barricade of snow-clad peaks that tower above a mystic city, dark ravines and hidden valleys. Beyond the oases of extraordinary fertility, planted with pomegranite and palm and the only bulwarks against the advances of the sterile desert. Here the air is luminous, the silence almost deafening and one understands instinctively the burning desire for purity which has fueled every Moroccan dynasty.
The Almohads, Merinids and Almoravids came from the dunes but their genius erupted further north in a spectacular flowering of mosques, minarets and palaces that is everyones vision of life in the Orient. The monuments of Fes and Marrakech defy heaven in their own opulence but, at the heart of even the most sumptuous, there is the modest, desert dream of a life of quiet contemplation passed amid ripening fruit and the gurgling of fountains.
For some, the countries main appeal lies in the quality of its beaches. Morocco has always been a crossroads, the place where the East collides with the West and Africa shakes hands with Europe across the narrow straits of Gibraltar. It also marks the merger of the Mediterranean with the Atlantic and this gives Morocco two strikingly different coasts.
You may like to combine a few days on one of the beaches together with exploring the kasbahs and oases of the pre-Sahara where the only waves are those shaped by the receding dunes. You could disappear into the medieval world of Morocco's ancient cities and souks or go skiing in Oukaimeden or trekking on foot or on horseback in the high Atlas or play golf on some of the finest courses in the world.
Moroccans are friendly, polite, competitive and intensely curious about the outside world. Islam is a thriving faith but Morocco's version is also extremely moderate, open minded and tolerant. You can go a long way into the heart of their culture just by feeling independent enough to accept their hospitality which pours forth from rich and poor alike whether in the city or the countryside. Such gestures of friendship are what transforms a good holiday into a great experience, for then you are no longer just visiting but really living.
The accommodation in Morocco ranges from the luxury Aman chain, through grand hotels, the traditional riads in the medinas of Marrakech, Fes, Essaouira, ... and boutique hotels, onto the ideosyncratic residences in the desert and the atlas mountains. The larger hotels and hotel chains also offer a wide range of facilities with good value.
Our staff know and have visited all the places and Hotels And Riads featured on this website and we are probably the best qualified and most knowledgeable team to help you select the most suitable itinerary to match your personal interests and requirements. Most other holiday companies deal in the "masses" - we deal in individuals.
Morocco is an exciting country. We have no need to make idle promises and exaggerations. It is all there for you to experience, but we will help you create an itinerary that involves as little inconvenience as possible and steer you away from the places that may be of little or no interest to you.
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Live like Lawrence of Arabia and cross the orange dunes on a camel
Colourful dunes and natural rock landscapes of the Sahara
Excess Baggage on BBC Radio 4
Explore Marrakech medina and new quarters with David Stafford