Morocco, Africa.

23rd August – 1st September 2016

Ben and I spent 10 days in Morocco getting a taste of what the amazing country has to offer. On arrival I instantly loved it. There is something I love about everything being different to what you know at home. Europe is amazing but in many respects all the countries are versions of New Zealand, Morocco however is something else.

I think I loved Morocco for the same reasons I love Asia, the culture shock and dramatic contrast from normal everyday life actually means you experience something more than a new language.

On our trip we visited Marrakech, the Sahara, Fes and Chefchaouen. Unfortunately we did not have time to visit the beaches so I will be back for sure.

WHERE TO GO:

Marrakech – If you feel like splashing out I cannot recommend Riad Laila enough, it was the best place to stay and made our whole experience in Marrakech I am sure of it. Marrakech is crazy busy so you really want somewhere to escape the madness believe me. Riad Laila is so quiet and peaceful and the pool is amazing. While in Marrakech go to the Souks and shop to your hearts content, you will get a little bit lost but eventually you will find your way out, there are also app’s you can download which you can use offline and helped us so much in Marrakech – did not get lost once. Visit the square at night and we wow’d by the amounts of people and Moroccans trying to sell you things. Do not make eye contact we any snake charmers, henna tattoo ladies and so forth or they will put whatever they are selling on you and force you to pay sometimes ridiculous prices. We just stayed clear. There are heaps of street stalls to eat at – we ate at 14 so can be sure that one will not give you food poisoning. Visit Jardin Majorelle and have a look around. If you want a break from Moroccan go to Katsura – Japanese food and it is really good.

Mergouza/The Sahara – We decided to do a 3 day, 2 night tour to the Desert leaving from Marrakech and I would recommend it to anyone. You can do private tours but they are so expensive and only worthwhile if your travelling in a big group. If your not you can book into a group tour from any of the tour agencies you see around the medina in Marrakech. We booked at one just on a street off the square and it cost us 700 dirhams each which is about $70 euro. We then paid a bit extra to share a taxi from the desert to Fes rather than coming back to Marrakech with the rest of the tour in order to save time – highly recommend that too. Day one – you get picked up and drive quite a lot stopping off at Ben Haddau and a few other places before staying in a hotel. Day two – Stop at a couple of places/sights before arriving in Mergouza and riding the camels for an hour and a half around sunset. You then stay in Berber tents in the desert and it is pretty amazing. We decided to sleep outside under the stars which was awesome. Day three – you wake up early and ride the camels back and watch the sunrise. The tour then drives back to Marrakech but we and 4 others taxi’d to Fes instead which was a great decision and only about 100 dirham each. If you have the time – DO IT.

Fes – HOT. By far the hottest place we stayed, over 40 degrees both days so we did not do much here. Stay in a Riad with a pool, we stayed in a nice place but I think they went through our stuff so I will leave that off the suggestions. Visit the leather tanneries they are pretty impressive, we did not do a tour just found our way there and people ask you if you want to go up to their shops which is where you get the views over the tannery itself. Here you can buy bags, belts, shoes and all sorts. Eat at Cafe Clock – you will not be disappointed, we ate here twice. They have good food that is not too Moroccan like burgers and smoothies. Try the almond milkshake and fresh mint lemonade.

Chefchaouen – Amazing, quiet, cool little town in the North of Morocco. This is the town everyone see’s on Instagram with the blue walls. In a country of madness and huge cities this place cannot be missed. It is so peaceful and wish I spent a bit longer there. Stay in Riad Baraka, it is an amazing hostel with two rooftop terraces and a constant flow of like minded travellers. They will help with any suggestions of where to eat and there is a map drawn on the wall so you can easily pick them out. Chef is known for its Marijuana farms and you can do day trips/hikes through the fields although we did not do this. Instead we visited God’s bridge which I highly recommend. Waterfall and river with endless spots to swim. You can even eat your lunch while sitting on tables in the water.

WHAT TO EAT:

Tajine, Tajine, Kefta, and more Tajine.

A Tajine is a North African dish which is named after the pot that the meal is cooked in. Moroccan tajine dishes are slow-cooked savoury stews, made with sliced meat, chicken or fish together with vegetables. The chicken one is usually cooked with lemon and olives and is slow cooked deliciousness. The beef one is also really good and i would recommend eating them while your in Morocco – not that you will have much choice they are on every menu! We were eating at least one a day while we were there. Kofta is also yum, it is beef meatballs cooked in a tomato sauce slowly with an egg in the middle – sounds a bit odd but it is good.

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