If Morocco isn’t already on your bucket list, it should be! Heralded by the well-travelled as the next big destination (and extremely instagrammable!) we were eager to spend a week there. Between the bustling souks, unique architecture and our breathtaking road trip to the Sahara Desert, we can confidently confirm that the hype is well founded. While our list of highlights is endless, we must mention the traditional food (think couscous and tagines!) experiencing the culture and meeting the friendly locals. We hope you enjoy our six-day travel diary!
Lil & Breez X
Our afternoon arrival in Old Town was hassle free! Our riad (guesthouse) had arranged a private airport transfer which we were extremely grateful for, particularly given the heat and our large suitcases. We were treated to Moroccan mint tea as the helpful staff checked us in and took the time to go through a city map with us.
Eager to explore the souks (markets) and grab a bite to eat, we navigated our way through the narrow streets toward the centre of Old Town. After getting a little lost on the way, we were stoked to stumble across the Atay Café, where we enjoyed bread and couscous (the first of many couscous dishes!). Absolutely stoked with our first Moroccan meal, we ventured to the bustling city square. Between snake charmers, performing monkeys and locals trying to grab the attention of tourists, we were happily overwhelmed.
We began our day with a delicious breakfast at our riad and then caught a taxi to Jardins Majorelle. The riad staff had told us not to spend more than 25 Dihrams (DH) on a taxi from Old Town so we had a bit of fun bartering with our taxi driver on the way there!
The entry fee for the Jardins Majorelle (excluding the museum) was 70DH. The fee was worth it as we explored the gardens in awe of the giant cacti and brightly coloured architecture. After an hour or so exploring this location, we caught a taxi back to the Old Town to wander the spice souks. Feeling as though we had been transported into a different world entirely, we embraced the shopping opportunity and walked home with too many sandals, scarves and woven bags! Although a word of warning – the cheap sandals were pretty much unbearable to wear for more than half an hour.
We grabbed an early dinner at Kui Zin, enjoying spice infused spinach and ricotta ravioli with another serve of couscous! We spent the rest of the evening back at our riad enjoying the rooftop terrace, a little exhausted from our jam-packed day!
Looking for some camel riding desert attire in preparation for our night in the Sahara Desert, we ventured to Zara in the New Town shopping mall. As our cheap sandal purchases were giving us some grief, we ordered some custom leather sandals from a higher end local shop (the name of which escapes us!) The shopping continued as we contemplated purchasing several colourful carpets and shipping them back to Australia. Although, realising this probably wasn’t the trip for homewares shopping and honestly a little overwhelmed by choice, we decided we’d just have to come back another time for this purpose!
We lunched at Café des Epices, enjoying tagines on the rooftop overlooking the busy marketplace below. We absolutely loved this restaurant. After lunch, we walked to Riad Dar Ten for a much desired swim in their plunge pool. We met some lovely British tourists there and chatted over some steamy camomile tea. As regular visitors, they recommend that we go to Les Jardins de La Koutoubia for a drink as alcohol generally isn’t sold in Old Town. We didn’t get a chance to go that day but would have loved to!
The indulgent day continued as we were treated to an epic three course dinner at Le Salama. We had daiquiris, danced with belly dancers and chatted to the friendly waiters. Our night ended in what felt like a life-threatening experience – via the traditional tuk tuk. This ride was both extremely exhilarating and concerning given the many, many near misses we had with pedestrians and motorbikes!
This was one of our favourite days on tour this summer – our Sahara Desert adventure! We were collected from our riad at 7:00am and began the very lengthy road trip. As we’d booked the trip through our riad, the staff kindly prepared a sunrise breakfast for us which we quickly enjoyed on our rooftop terrace! The overnight stay was inclusive of meals and pick up/ drop off for a sum of 650 DH per person.
While a little too long and lacking functional air-conditioning, the drive to the Sahara was spectacular. We drove through the Atlas Mountains, then crossed through Tizi Ntchika pass before stopping at the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou. After stretching our legs and exploring this amazing site, we embarked on the last few hours of driving to the edge of the Sahara Desert! Much to our excitement, we were then required to complete our journey to the camp via camel ride. We rode the camels for about 30 minutes or so before we reached our campsite. This was an incredible experience that we’ll never forget! We enjoyed tagines and red wine for dinner by the campfire. We spent the rest of the night dancing by the fire to traditional North African music and making friends with the other guests and tour guides.
As the heat persisted even after the sunset we all slept on our mattresses under the stars. We were even lucky enough to spot a few shooting stars!
We rose at sunrise with sandy mouths to the sound of the camels waking up. We were treated to a quick breakfast consisting of coffee and bread before riding the camels back to the road. This was yet another remarkable experience and we have never been so happy to be up at sunrise! We then embarked on the long road trip back to Marrakech.
After steamy showers and some rest at our Riad, we headed out to Le Cantines Des Gazelles for dinner. This restaurant is in the middle of Old Town and was quite affordable!
We spent the morning having a final wander of the souks to collect the sandals we had ordered earlier in the trip. We then were treated to a relaxing day at Es Saadi Resort. This resort is magnificent with the loveliest staff! All ten private villas are unique and we were lucky to spend a few hours by the pool at the Persian Villa. We went swimming in the large indoor spa pool and spent most of the day in bath robes. After a refreshingly relaxing day, we had dinner in the main square and then treated ourselves to traditional Hamman scrubs at our riad! Be advised that this treatment requires full nudity in a (thankfully) dark steam room. Although it sounds a little confronting, the treatment was truly relaxing and our skin felt brand new!
With an early morning flight to Paris the next day, we knocked off early feeling extremely satisfied with our trip.
We’re sure that you’ll love your journey to Morrocco too!