Salam, Morocco

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Hassan II Mosque_Photo credit: shoretrips

I would not know where to start with Morocco. It was a spiral of unknowns and anxiety. One of the most amazing places I have ever visited. I landed at Mohammed V International Airport and made my way to immigration to be met with an overwhelming array of taxi drivers at the exit of the airport looking to offer their services. It was overwhelming because the only languages the drivers seemed to understand were French, Arabic and some Spanish. I eventually found my driver, and started what would end up being a life changing experience. 

Every city in Morocco has it's own attraction. I visited Casablanca, Rabat and Marrakesh but this list is not exhaustive.I also visited the small desert village of Zagora. So the following are a few things I enjoyed about the country and perhaps will help you make up your mind on definitely visiting this country.

The Scenery: If you are in Casablanca, definitely visit the Hassan II Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Morocco, the second largest in Africa, and the 13th largest in the world. The architecture, the sacred rooms, the location is all worth the trip. Casablanca is a heritage of the old and new world. It has a European feel to it, with little cafe's and eateries in most streets and old buildings with historic architecture. This is offset by the modern buildings spiraling over the city skyline. The new Casa Port train station is a beauty on it's own and welcomes people into the city. If you are going to Morocco for a holiday though, then Marrakesh is your city. Waste no time and fly directly into Marrakesh Menara Airport. The city is exploding with things to do. It is visually attractive, with many cool picture and entertainment spots to keep you busy.If you go there, definitely go to the leather market.

The Beach: Casablanca is the home place for great beaches and these beaches attract thousands of tourists. It was winter when I visited so I did not go into the water, but I did however, watch the sun set and enjoyed the scenery from my hotel room overlooking the Atlantic ocean. It is definitely something scripted from out of a movie. Whether you are looking for relaxation, fun or just a walk on the beach, I recommend you make this one of your trips.

The Food: Tagine! That's all I will say....I had so many tagine's, enough for a life time. A tajine or tagine (Arabic: الطاجين) is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. It is also called a Maraq/marqa in North Africa. This dish can be cooked with all sorts of ingredients. In my time there, I had one with chicken, one with potatoes and raisins, I also had one with beef and vegetables. It really depends what your preference is. I indulged in a lot of couscous too. What a treat! Couscous is a Maghrebi dish of small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina that is traditionally served with a stew spooned on top. It is delicious. I cannot mention all the dishes I had in Morocco, but I can confirm that they have all the treats one could ever dream of. The best thing I tasted in Morocco though, would have to be their Moroccan Tea. They cook it in a special pot, brew it and dish it in a glass cup. It is heavenly. 

The Desert: A friend of mine who owns a tourist company gave me a free voucher to travel to a remote small village about six hours from Marrakesh for an overnight desert camp experience. I hopped into a mini bus and met six new tourists who I would learn a lot about over the next two days. Two of them were from Amsterdam, two New Yorkers and Two Czech Republic guys. I ofcourse, representing the motherland, Africa. After an eight hour drive, we finally arrived in Zagora, took an hour long camel ride to get to our destination. It was a remote camp site in the middle of nowhere offering unhurried, uninterrupted time with the stars and full moon. It was beautiful. If you are going to visit the country, then you should look into booking a similar trip. They have a lot of them running in Morocco so you need to do your research before picking one. 

The People: Moroccans are gracious and warm. They are open, and really helpful. I will say though, I struggled to get around because I only spoke English. Morocco is a French and Arabic speaking Kingdom. The locals, especially taxi drivers speak very limited English. However, you will find that the youth, and people in businesses will speak good English. It really helps if you know your way around basic French. I found a taxi driver who spoke English and he pretty much took me everywhere I needed to go at a discounted fee. 

In the end, it was a fun business trip. I am glad I took a few days extra after my work trip to tour the country. I met many wonderful people and enjoyed the warmth of people's homes. I recommend the country completely. And having traveled as a single woman, I think this can easily be a solo trip as well.


Me, grabbing a Tagine lunch

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