Our Morocco Guide
We took the opportunity to do a long weekend trip to Morocco. As working and traveling kiwis in London this trip was definitely on a tight budget. With its instant contrasting culture and scenery you know you’ve arrived some place far from home. The high Atlas Mountains, Sahara desert and a rigid coastline it makes a fantastic destination for any avid traveler. While in the souks you get lost in the sites and smells, haggling with authentic Moroccan traders for their goods. Weaving through the narrow alley ways until all your bearings are long gone. Our Moroccan stay was short but sweet, I would love to come back and travel more of this beautiful country. This is our Morocco Guide to help organize your trip.
We grabbed a great deal on Skyscanner, from London to Marrakesh – Fes to London for £72! Pretty good for a 4 hour flight. We organised an airport transfer with our hostel prior upon arrival so it was super easy getting from the airport to our hostel.
Travelling Marrakesh to Fes, we booked an overnight bus ride a day in advance from the local bus station (Walking distance from the Souks.) It took around 7 hours and wasn’t pleasant, but hey it was cheap and we saved on accommodation that night.
We stayed at Kif-Kif Marrakech hostel, located in the old town and near the main town square – Jemaa EL Fnaa. It had a really good location, value for money and the nicest staff who were friendly and ready to help. I really enjoyed our stay and recommend it to other travellers. Upon your stay you are able to book all tours and day trips through the hostel at decent prices, I recommend waiting to book when you get there instead of prior your trip as it is cheaper.
Being a Muslim country it is quite difficult to find a beer. Something which I was very much in the market for after walking through the souks all day in the Moroccan heat. Instead we found the mint tea. One sip and you’ll forget that beer you wanted. The tea gives you that delicious refreshing ‘ahhhh’ feeling that you need after your big day. It is made from fresh mint and tastes great!
With the visual platter of Moroccan spices throughout the Souks we knew the food would rock our sweaty socks. Our first meal we found a decent looking cafe and sampled a chicken Tagine. This first tagine became my benchmark for all others to follow, and sadly the bar was never pushed any higher than that first fantastic tagine. Since talking with other travelers they too have experienced a few hit and miss Tagine dishes. Even so, ‘when in Rome’ give a tagine a try and see for yourself.
The Jemaa EL Fnaa becomes a food market after the sun sets. The stands packed tightly together and each vendor jostles for your business. Some were even bordering on aggressive in nature to get your business. We made a wide berth, clear of these particular vendors trying to see everything on offer before deciding. Most the stalls sell seafood although you can find anything from sweats to snails. We opted for a quieter vendor not attacking us for a sale (after a full day in the souks we were in no mood for pushy people). We got the seafood platter and it was divine. The fish bites were deep fried fast and hot leaving them still moist and full of flavor. The Calamari would melt into creamy goodness. We had a second round. Very good!
MUST SEE & DO
- 2/3 day tour of the Zagoran/Saharan desert
You can book this through your hostel in Marrakech, the tours leave at any day and are well worth it. Due to time restraints we opted for the 2 day tour, but if you have the time definitely take the longer tour. If you are a game of thrones fan (like us), you will be happy to hear that you will be visiting the famous fortified city Ait Ben Haddou. This was the set for ‘Yunkai and Pentos’. You will travel through the beautiful sceneries of the Atlas Mountains and also visit the gateway of the desert, Ouarzazate. Near the end of the day you will reach your final destination, the Zagoran Desert, where you will watch the sun setting while riding camels to your camp. We celebrated our first night with delicious Moroccan Tagines and a bonfire, singing and dancing around the campfire with local guides. It was absolute bliss. Brett and I woke up extra early to take photos of the sun rising with our mint tea in one hand, camera in the other. We headed back through the Atlas Mountain to the bustling city of Marrakech where our tour ended later in the evening.
- Get lost in the Marrakech Souks
‘Souks’ known as the Arabic/North African traditional markets. They have everything you can think of from morocco spices, rugs, pottery, jewellery and more. It veers off different alley ways and pathways, so it is very easy to get lost wandering around but that is the fun of it. We thou
One tip to remember, if anyone asks you for any help back to the main square (Jemaa el-Fnaa) beware they will expect a monetary tip in return of their services and can again become quite aggressive with demands.
- Marrakech Night food market
Jemaa el-Fnaa will turn into a night food market, this is one of the best places to eat in Marrakech. Indulge in the fresh seafood and traditional Moroccan dishes like tagines, there was a lot to choose from. We couldn’t get enough of the delicious seafood, at very reasonable prices.
- Day trip to Fes
We took a not so comfortable night bus from Marrakech to Fes and arrived early in the morning, we had the whole day here before we had to go to the airport that evening to catch a flight back home to London. Fes is a lot different to Marrakech, it isn’t as touristy – so this meant less hassling from the vendors. Our highlights in Fes were;
- Visiting Madarsa Bou-Inania – the Madrasa was used for both an educational institute and congregational mosque. This is famous for its amazing architecture.
- Chouwara tanneries – This is an iconic site in Morocco, It is an open air tannery located in the Fes Medina. When you arrive locals will give you a tour and small explanation of the process of making leather, you are given mint leaves for the very distinctive smell. This Tannery is a lot bigger than the one in Marrakesh and you can a bird’s eye view of how they make the leather.
- Climb the hill next to the Fes Medina, to get a panoramic view of the city. This is a good way to chill and get away from the hustle and bustle down below. We even made a friend with a goat when we went.
- Chefchaouen the beautiful blue city
This was one of my biggest regrets not going to this beautiful city. We just did not have enough time unfortunately. But what I have seen and heard, this is definitely a place to add onto your Moroccan trip. It is located in the Northwest of Morocco and well known for the magical blue colourings of the buildings.
- For surfers: Visit the Agadir region
Moroccos best place to learn and practise to surf. This is another one on our list we did not get to visit, but as surf-lovers we have been wanting to visit this place for a long time. Taghazout is a small fishing village there is a number of surf schools located here and you can also stay at surf camps that include all the gear, accommodation and even yoga! For more experienced waves visit Anchor Point, Killer Point, La Source, Boilers and Immsouanne.