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    Highlights of Morocco

    Highlights of Morocco

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    If you are looking for a unique and exciting destination for your next travel adventure, personal travel manager Alyssa Pretorius knows just the place: Morocco.  With great diversity within one country, from cities and bustling market places to quaint little villages, Saharan desert experiences and world-famous gorges to fabulous shopping: these are her Moroccan highlights.

    Fes, in the northeast of the country, is the second-largest city in Morocco and was its capital city until 1925. Its famous medina (or old town) is a World Heritage-listed maze of colourful, narrow streets that are full of life. The stall holders are friendly and welcoming, and it’s possible to pick up some great bargains for hand-made homewares, rugs, and leather goods. You can even pay a visit to one of the traditional working leather tanneries, but be warned: the smells can be pretty intense!

    In the east of Morocco, just a stone’s throw from the Algerian border and the Saharan Desert, a visit to Merzouga is an absolute must. You’ll be taken by 4WD to the very edge of the desert before embarking on a more traditional method of desert transport: a camel ride through the dunes. The scenery is unforgettable, with towering dunes that reach up to 150 metres high, and you can camp under the stars and visit the traditional Berber people that live in the small huts which are dotted throughout the desert.

    On your way back from the desert towards Marrakech, you can stop at Todra Gorge, where the Todra River cuts through the High Atlas Mountains to form one of the world’s most beautiful canyons. A two-night stay will ensure that you have plenty of time to experience the hiking trails and take in the sight of the pink rock canyon walls which soar 300 metres straight up from the floor of the gorge. Be sure to try the locally-grown olives, almonds and pomegranates while you’re here.

    Marrakech, in the west of Morocco, offers everything you have imagined about Morocco. By day you can get lost wandering the intricate laneways of the bazaar, and at night, the Djemaa el Fna square really comes alive with the famous night markets. You’ll find rows upon rows of food stalls cooking up everything from sheep’s heads to kebabs, and beautiful Moroccan tagines, while storytellers, live shows and music will keep you entertained.

    Depending on how much time you have, it’s well worth also visiting the country’s most popular coastal cities: Casablanca, for a taste of modern Morocco, and Essouir, where eighteenth-century ramparts protect a picturesque blue and white medina.

    Alyssa’s tops tips for visiting Morocco:

    1. Don’t take photos of people or their shops without asking permission first. Many people simply do not like photos and you may find yourself being asked for money (particularly, beware the snake charmers in Marrakech)
    2. Always carry small change in your pocket for toilet access or for the small fees asked for photos, to avoid taking out your main wallet.
    3. Dress modestly – ideally shoulders, upper arms, thighs and chest should be covered up. Generally speaking, the dress standard in bigger cities like Casablanca and Marrakech is more European.
    4. Pre-book your ground arrangements to avoid the local tourism touts. There are many great group tours or options for independent touring packages that allow more flexibility but with the security of a reputable ground operator. Your personal travel manager can make recommendations to help you choose the best option to suit your needs.

    If Alyssa’s personal Moroccan experiences have inspired you to visit this incredibly diverse country, you can view her web profile and get in touch with Alyssa here.

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