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Morocco Adventure Tour, New Years Sahara Desert Safari

Posted by Alecia Cohen on October 19, 2015 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Arabian Nights, Sahara Desert Safari Tour

Journey beyond Marrakech for a New Years Luxury Desert Trip. Take the entire family on a Sahara Desert Safari to Morocco's Great South and experience the highlights of Morocco. Visit Ait Benhaddou Ksar, Lawrence of Arabia was Filmed Here. Explore Morocco’s natural wonder, the grand Dades Valley, sunset camel trek across the Erg Chebbi Dunes as an Arabian Nights Dinner and Berber Music at a Luxury Desert Camp awaits you. Go off road to Mount Mgoun and Sip Tea with Nomads. Have Lunch with a Berber Family in the Saghro Mountain Region and participate in a henna party designed just for you. A Morocco Desert Tour is not without adventure unless you discover the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs in Skoura and stay in boutique, Moroccan riads and guest houses. A Grand Sahara Desert adventure tour to Morocco awaits you. Travel Exploration's detailed experiential and family travel itineraries for visiting Morocco are outlined on our website and for desert adventurers who want to take a Sahara Desert Safari to Morocco for New Years our trip is featured here:

Morocco Tea Ceremony, Merzouga Sahara Desert

Morocco New Years Desert Trip: A Sahara Desert Safari for the entire Family: Day 1: Journey Beyond Marrakech via the Tizzin' Tichka Mountain pass to visit Kasbah Telouet - Kasbah of the Pasha Glaoui, and Ait Benhaddou Ksar before driving via the palmeraie to Skoura. Take the road to Ouarzazate. During your journey to Ouarzazate you will also pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders. Along the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as sights of fertile valleys, blue and red colored pise villages and other striking mineral environments. En route stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Have a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women. Go by piste to visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous Kasbahs that is the origin of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden among a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside Tichka. Its history stands alone with its original zellij tile, authentic, preserved silks and grand remnants of the Glaoui family. Telouet was once an important stop on the Southern Caravan route for traders carrying spices, slaves and other commodities. Telouet’s Kasbah also known as Dar Glaoui once served as the royal headquarters and residence of the Glaoui tribe. Until Morocco’s independence in 1956, the Glaoui had power in the central Moroccan and French administration. Continue the road to Ouarzazate. Visit Aït Benhaddou Kasbah. Ait Benhaddou Kasbah is located 32 km from Ouarzazate. Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. Continue to Skoura, the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs. Overnight at a Boutique Riad in Skoura.

Desert oasis with palm trees,  Zagora, Draa valley

Day 2: Visit Skoura and the Palmerie of one-thousand Kasbahs before driving through the magnificent Valley of Roses onto the Dades Valley and Dades Gorge. Visit the Skoura palmeraie and the Valley of 1000 Kasbahs. The “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs” and Skoura palmeraie is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside deserted landscapes. The palm groves were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe. The most beautiful kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found here. Many of them are still partially inhabited. Continue towards the perfumed Valley of Roses, just north of El Kelaa Des Mgouna. On the way to the Valley of Roses, your driver will stop for you to view the Capp et Floral distillation factories laid out in the small Kasbah town that manufacture the entire nations products of eau de rose. The rose water and other products such as hand and body soaps, oil, crème perfume and dried flowers are for sale and also popular among Moroccans. The factories produce 3000-4000 petals a year. Visit Mount Mgougn and Sip Tea with Nomads in their rural cave. The Valley of Nomads is filled with cave dwellers who have lived in the Mgoun region for centuries. Your journey will then take you through the Dadès Valley, which covers 125 km between Ouarzazate and Boumalne du Dadès in the High Atlas Mountains. Overnight at a Boutique Guest House in the Dades Valley.

Khemlia Musicians, Merzouga Sahara Desert 

Day 3: Dades Valley morning exploration before visiting the the Todra Gorge and it's large canyon en route to the Erg Chebbi dunes located in the heart of the Merzouga Sahara Desert. Take the road to Merzouga. En route visit Erfoud, the capitol of fossils and the town of Rissani. Rissani is a Sahara desert town that is from the ancient Alawi Dynasty and the birthplace of King Mohammed VI, the current King of Morocco. Visit the old Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Sharif, the first King of the Alawi Dynasty. Next visit Maison Taureg House and then the old Ksar of Rissani. Continue to Khemlia where you will visit Sudanese- Berber Gnaoua Trance musicians, Moroccan village. The Musicians of Khemlia have been living in this remote village for a century and perform 100 year-old Gnaoua Trance music songs. Spend an hour listening to Gnaoua Trance music using old world instruments by these Sudanese Berber Musicians. Tea is served and then there is an option to explore their village. Arrive in Merzouga’s Erg Chebbi Dunes before sunset, and then go by dromedary at sunset into the Erg Chebbi Dunes to a bivouac camp. Your Tuareg guide will share some of the Sahara Deserts’ secrets. As you glide across humpback on these silent, mystical dunes there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling dunes. Arabian Nights Dinner and Spend the night in a Luxury Desert Camp.

Day 4: Merzouga Departure for Ait Ouzzine, Nkob Berber Village where you will enjoy lunch with a Berber family, participate in a private henna party and discover how traditional families live in this mountain and desert region. Aït Ouzzine, just minutes outside Nkob is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated Kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani. Meet a local Berber family; partake in a cooking lesson of how to make traditional bread and a tajine. Explore and tour the village by foot. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, livestock, and henna plants. Sip tea with the Berbers in the Saghro Mountains and enjoy a traditional Berber lunch. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices and a chicken and vegetable tajine or couscous and fresh local fruits for desert. After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with henna or your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist and relaxes. Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices. End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds. Overnight at a Boutique Riad in Ouarzazate. Day

5: Drive from Ouarzazate via the Ounilla Valley and Tizzin' Tichka Pass back to Marrakech. Visit the Oasis of Fint passing the "Plateau de pierres". On this road you will find a shining Oasis of palms. Visit the Oasis of Fint that hovers under the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis where you will have a cup of tea with the headmaster’s family Azziz Ouaziz and tour the surrounding area where date palm oases and dramatic desert scenery are king. Next journey to the Atlas Film Studios. The studios are flanked by Holly-wood style Egyptian figures and cover 30,000 sq. m of desert. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara. Return to Marrakech. A Sahara Desert Safari New Years Trip for the entire family.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

The Berbers of Morocco, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 23, 2015 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Almost everything you see in and around Morocco, particularly in the South, is Berber in conception whether it be the riches of arts and crafts silver jewelry, wood carving, carpets and Kelims, brass and ceramics and pottery, the delicious tangines and couscous, and the villages of the countryside. Above all the people dressed in traditional Djellabas, the families and their delightful irrepressible children, all are Berber.

Berber Villages Morocco 

In modern day times it is possible to visit a local Berber family on a Morocco Tour and experience the culture from bread baking in the mountains and enjoying tea with a Berber family. On a Berber Village Tour a traveler will experience the authentic Morocco that is often not experienced when traveling in large groups or with a company that does not have interconnections with local Berber families. The Berbers were the original inhabitants of Morocco, 4.000 years ago, well before the Phoenicans, Carthaginians , Romans, Byzantines and the Arabs who arrived in the 7th Century. The Romans made them citizens and many served in their legions but they never subjugated them.

Berber Village, Ait Ouzzine, Berber Tours

The tribes in the Atlas mountains withstood the Arab invaders and while they accepted Islam, they maintained their independent customs and way of life in a remarkably resilient way despite attempts to repress and marginalize them. The great dynasties of Morocco began with the Almoravids (1062–1147) with their capital in Marrakech and the Almohads (1147–1269) through to the Merenids and Saadians who ruled from the Sahara to Spain were Berber dynasties . When the French Protectorate was established( 1912-1956) the Berbers in the South resisted them and in the North Abdelkrim El Khattabi proclaimed the Riffian Republic from 1920-26 and resisted the combined forces of the Spanish and French for ten months when they launched poison gas attacks by air against the Berber forces. Most figures put the Berber population of Morocco at around 60 per cent of the Moroccan population, though Berber experts say that almost 80 percent of the country claims at least some Berber heritage.

Tifinah Berber Language Alphabet Sign                           

Today under King Mohammed VI, Tamazight the Berber language is recognized as an official language taught in schools and at the Universities including the University of Ibn Zhor and there is a Royal Institute of Amazigh language and culture (IRCAM) which is working to create a standardized version of the Berber language and a dictionary. Berber first names were banned for a longtime but were recently declared legal. There is a high quality satellite Amazigh TV channel which broadcasts daily in the Tachelhit, Tarifit and Tamazight dialects, reflecting the diverse cultural achievements of Berber writers, poets, artists and craftsmen. The Berber flag can be seen flying from innumerable shops and windows in nearly any city. Berber radio programs and a small film industry have both grown in recent years. Berber musicians and singers such as Raissa Talbensirt, the doyenne of Amazigh singers, and Najat Aatabou are extremely popular in Morocco. Berber ritual music often features drums and rhythmic handclapping. It is used in the rites of the agricultural calendar - such as moussems - as well as on occasions such as marriage.

Ritual music is also performed to help deal with evil spirits. In the Atlas Mountains professional troupes of musicians, called Imdyazn, travel during summer and perform in village squares and at weekly souks. A leader improvises poems telling of current affairs. Drum, rabab and clarinet accompany the singer. Rwais are Cheleuh Berber musicians from the Sous valley who perform ancient musical theatre involving poetry, fine clothes, jewels and elaborate rwais. Groups consist of single-string rabab, one or two lotars (lutes), sometimes nakous (cymbals), and a number of singers. They play for every celebration and produce their own repertoire and improvisations. Female ensembles are called raysat. Berbers refer to themselves as Imagzihen which is said to refer to free people. Tashelhit (sometimes known as "Soussi" or "Chleuh") is spoken in south-west Morocco, in an area between Ifni in the south, Agadir in the north and Marrakech and the Draa/Sous valleys in the east. The southern Atlas and Anti Atlas Mountains are home to the Chleuh or Shilhah. The Chelueh are the largest Berber tribe in the country and often viewed as having the most ‘pure’ Berber language, Tashlhit. The majority of Berber films and music are produced in the Tashlhit language. Tamazight is spoken in the Middle Atlas, between Taza, Khemisset, Azilal and Errachidia. Tarifit (or Rifia) is spoken in the Rif area of northern Morocco. Drawa Berbers are found in the Draa Valley.

The Dades live in the North East, The Mesgita, Seddrat and Zeri tribes are along the North West. The Moroccan Rif region is home to the Ghomara. Some Berbers living around Ouazarzate in the south remain nomadic herders and the Tuaregs of the Sahara Desert near Zagora and guelmim are also Berbers, whose language Tamazight is considered the least corrupted out of all Berber languages . Their highly distinctive jewelry and symbols and their Tifinagh script display a fascinating world symbols. Many schools now teach a standardized form of Tamazight. As well as the University of Ibn Zohr offering degrees in Amazigh, an umbrella term for the three dialects of Berber that are spoken in Morocco, the previously oral-only language has moved further into the mainstream with the creation of a Royal Institute of Amazigh language and culture. The strong hold of Berber culture has cemented itself in Moroccan daily life and to experience the traditions, the people and their culture first hand on a Tour to Morocco makes for an enriching discovery of Berber Morocco

For more information about the Berbers of Morocco or a Berber Cultural Tour For more information about the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.  We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Merzouga, Morocco's Great Sahara Desert

Posted by Alecia Cohen on April 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Merzouga, Morocco

Merzouga is a small dusty town in Morocco about 450 miles from Marrakech and close to the Algerian border. Ouarzazate is the closest large town. Merzouga is 50 km from the town of Erfoud and Rissani. It is the gateway to the Moroccan desert. Merzouga lies in the heart of of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m. The landscape constantly changes with the wind sweeping the dunes into new formations and the sun changing the colour of the sand at different times of the day turning from pink to gold to red. The Erg Chebbi is like the great Ergs accross the border in Algeria. The largest dunes are near Merzouga and Hassi Labied. At night, you only have to walk a little wayout into the sand, away from the light, to appreciate the immensity and clarity of the desert sky and the brilliance of the stars.

Merzouga, Sahara Desert Bivouac

Tourists come to Merzouga to go camel trekking and to experience the quiet stillness and immensityof the desert and the stars at night followed by the sunrise and sunset which is an amazing experience. Local berber tribesman can peform dances and their traditional music and tourists can spend the night in tented camping areas sampling traditional Moroccan cuisine and music by the camp fire. Make sure you get a turban before setting out into the desert as protection from the heat and the dust.Carry a water bottle and ensure you secure the best bargains for your trips into the desert and pay attention to what is and is not provided. Merzouga has a number of guest houses and riads if spending the night in a bivouac is not your choice. There are about 50 guest houses of varying categories along the sand dunes, and most of them own camels and can arrange for an extended trek, bird watching and other Sahara activities. Other activities include trips into the desert by4X4 ,quad biking,hot air ballooning and sand skiing. You can bird watch around the Dayet Srji where there is a lake with flamingos. The Dayet Srji is a salt water lake and offers excellent bird viewing with lots of Egrets, Storks and Shelducks. The summer months from June to September Merzouga can very hot during the day,, temperatures average around 115 Fahrenheit (45 C) during the summer and it's obviously very dry. Nights in the desert do get much colder however and you'll need a good jacket and pullover even if it is swelteringly hot during the day. If you do visit Merzouga during summer months find a hotel with a swimming pool.In March and April there are sandstorms as the Sirocco whips up. The best time to visit is from October to February.

By Colin Kilkelly

For More Information on a Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour 


Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Ouarzazate The Gateway to the Sahara Desert and Draa valley

Posted by Alecia Cohen on October 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Ouarzazate has always been a cultural meeting place and melting pot for the various peoples of the North and South for trade and cultural exchanges. Merchants settled in the city of Ouarzazate and excavations have found gold and precious metals. The town thrived on the Saharan camel trade routes coming up form Africa via Timbuktu and the ancient city of Sijilmasa. Slaves and gold were traded for salt and the ethnic mix of Ouarzazate reflects the many different tribes that have passed through with descendants from Mali and further a field. Berbers, Africans and Jewish Berber tribes lived side by side for centuries in Morocco. Ouarzazate nicknamed The door of the desert ( the name means"without noise" or "without confusion"), is a city and capital of Ouarzazate Province in the Souss-Massa-Drâa of southern-central Morocco. Ouarzazate is located at an elevation of 1,160 metres (3,810 ft) in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains. To the south of the town is the desert. Trips to Mezouga with camel treks and campsites where one can spend the night under the stars are especially popular as are Sahara Desert 4X4 expeditions. The town of some 60,000 retains a sense of adventure and excitement that one remembers from driving across southern Morocco in the early 1980’s it is still not too commercialized when compared to Marrakech. It has grown dramatically over the years and now has its own airport and is a major tourist center. Some 80,000 tourists visited Ouarzazate in the first three months of 2012 according to the local tourism authority. The town several five star hotels as well as 5 Star Moroccan Riads along with less expensive accommodations.

The town is not totally focused on tourism, which gives it a certain attractive independence, for Ouazarzate is Morocco’s Hollywood and the centre of its film industry. The town boasts three film studios one of which, Atlas Studios is one of the largest movie studios in the world. Several historical movies were shot here, including Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, Kingdom of Heaven and Babel. It was also the location of an episode of the television series The Amazing Race 10. American director Ridley Scott, has shot several films in Morocco including the historical epic “Gladiator” (2000), “Kingdom of Heaven” (2003), “Black Hawk Down” (2001), and the spy thriller “Body of Lies” (2007). He has a special affinity for the Ouazarzate film industry and is rumoured to be returning shortly to make another blockbuster. International Filmmakers have been coming to Morocco for years because of its dramatic scenary, which is particularly evident round Ouzarazate and the Draa Valley The Ouarzazate area is also a noted film-making location, with Morocco's biggest studios inviting many international film companies to shoot their films. Films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988, The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Kundun (1997), Legionnaire (1999, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011) were shot here. Salmon Fishing in Yemen, British inspirational romantic drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas and Amr Waked, it has done well earning over $36 million dollars so far. It involved the creation of an artificial lake in a canyon just outside Ouarzazate. Such was the film’s success that the Yemeni tourist board felt compelled to make a public announcement that there are, actually, no salmon in their country. A film made by Al Jazeera Televison,“Casting In’shallah” follows the lives of Ouzarzazate’s citizens as they await their next role in a film.

The Draa valley is especially famous for its kasbahs. The most famous kasbahs including the kasbahs of Tamnougalt (the kasbah of Caïd Ali) and Aït Hammou Ousaid (or Mouha ou Hammou Zayani) near Agdz. The kasbah of  Caïd Ouslim and Oulad Outhmane in Tamezmout. Foum Achnna and  N'Kob in Tinzouline, Tat Ifli in Beni Zouli, Amezrou, of Aït Ali Tighramt Ouziguen and of Laglaoui in Zagora.The kasbah of Agouim Nouaadjou and Tagounite,Aït Bounou,  LaAllouj, Oulad Driss and Rgabi in M'hamid El Ghuzlane. Imposing Kasbahs like Ait Ben Haddou which is a World Heritage Site and has been used for films like Lawrence of Arabia and The Gladiator. On the way to Marrakesh just beforethe Tiz N’Test pass is the crumbling ruin of the Pasha Thami el Glaoui’s Kasbah at Telouet. He ruled as Pasha of Marrakesh and governor of the South during the French Protectorate from 1912 -1956. There is  also the kasbah of Taourirt in Ouzarzazate which was the Kasbah of the former caïd and later owned by T'hami El Glaoui. The Krupps field gun which secured Glaoui power in a deal with the Sultan caught in bad weaher on the Tiz N’Test pass, is displayed outside the kasbah today. The road south to Zagora and also to the east there are ksours and ancient Jewish mellahs as well as Kasbahs. Seeing them reminds of the fantastic and sometimes turblent history of Morocco.

The Draa river is Morocco's longest river (1,100 km). It is formed by the meeting of the Dadès River and Imini River. It flows from the High Atlas mountains south-(east)ward to Tagounit and from Tagounit mostly westwards to the Atlantic Ocean north of Tan-Tan. Most of the year the part of the Draa after Tagounit falls dry. It is  also famous as the date basket of Morocco. It grows more than 18 varieties. Fruit trees and vegetables are the main crops but henna is also a well known product of the region. The agriculture is very labour intensive because it takes place on terraced fields. Seguias (small canals) transport the water from the river to the fields. Like some other ancient Berber oases in North Africa (Siwa, Kufra, Ouargla) the Draa valley was known for its qatarra, a sophisticated system of underground irrigation canals. The Draa Valley allows the visitor to appreciate the beauty of rural Morocco and its timeless pastoral life. Written by Colin Kilkelly

For more information about  Ouarzazate or Draa Valley Tours

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Morocco's Kasbah Telouet, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on January 29, 2012 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Kasbah Telouet is one of Morocco’s most impressive Kasbahs. Most travelers who visit Kasbah Telouet opt to see it when en route to the Ouarzazate. The village of Telouet and this renowned Kasbah can be reached by Moroccan piste. Kasbah Telouet also makes for an excellent one-day excursion from Marrakech.Located along the former route of the caravans in Morocco’s High Atlas Kasbah Telouet is just twenty minutes from the Tizin-Tichka-Pass.  

Kasbah Telouet has a rich history that is intertwined with the French. It is located in a fertile valley surrounded by palm, fig and olive trees. The Kasbah stands alone with its original zellij tile decorated with the Jewish Star of David, preserved silks and grand remnants of the El Pacha Glaoui family. The Kasbah's painted wooden ceiling and low level corridors within the interior of the Kasbah lead to two well preserved Andalusian style reception rooms. These rooms are engraved with stuccowork and colorful zellij. To visit Kasbah Telout is see one of Morocco’s hidden jewels. It lies at an elevation of 1,800 meters and lays claim to magnificent views that overlook the Berber village of Telouet. Unlike the other Kasbahs in Southern Morocco, Kasbah Telout was occupied by the Glaoui family instead of being used for slaves or only as a fortress. Kasbah Telouet has yet to be coined a UNESCO World Heritage site. While it appears in parts to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior Kasbah Telouet is one of true splendor.

For the adventurous traveler Kabash Telouet and the Berber village surrounding it can also be reached on a journey that starts in Ouarzazate and takes one through the majestic Ounila Valley. The Ounila Valley offers a scenic drive and is full of geologic history. The Ounila Valley gives insight into what flora, fauna and fossils existed in Morocco centuries ago. The changing colors and variation of the Ounila Valley in spring and fall also make it the perfect region for those traveling to Morocco to photograph scenery. Rest assured that when planning a trip to Morocco or Morocco’s Sahara Desert that Kasbah Telouet is one historic site not to be missed.

For more information about Kasbah Telouet & The High Atlas Tichka

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.  

Kasbah Telouet, Telouet Village, Telouet, Tizin Tichka Pass, High Atlas, El Pacha Glaoui Kasbah, Ouarzazate, The Ounila Valley, Marrakech excursion, Morocco Tours, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

Morocco Bead & Jewelry Tour, Treasure Hunt & Shop the Souks of Marrakech, Essaouira & Ouarzazate, Morocco Tour Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on September 11, 2011 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

A Moroccan Bead & Jewelry Adventure hosted by Sarah Corbett 

April 16th – 29th, 2012 - Marrakech - Essaouira -Tarodaunt - Ouarzazte

Discover the History of Moroccan Jewelry, Morocco's leading Imperial city, the Magnificent South. Shop the Souks of Marrakech, Essaouira and Ouarzazate on this unique journey with fellow jewelry collectors and bead lovers. We will begin this Moroccan Bead & Jewelry Adventure in Marrakech where you will discover ancient trade beads, collector’s jewels along with a visit to the Tiskiwin Museum. Complimented by a visit to the Majorelle Gardens your Marrakech Bead & Jewely Adventure is a luxury and enjoyable travel opportunity and great way to discover this “red hamra” city. We will then travel to seaside Essaouira, the region of the Argan tree and explore its old medina for precious amber while dining seaside. Next our journey will continue onward towards Tarodaunt, considered the mini Marrakech where you will participate in the Bead making process and watch ancient traditions. Last stop is Ouarzazate, the home of great silver traders and fabulous shops near the lovely Kasbah Taourirt where you will discover trade beads and treasures.

ITINERARY

APRIL 16th: MARRAKECH ARRIVALS - AIRPORT TRANSFER Airport arrivals in Marrakech. Transfer to Riad. All to meet up at Riad Palais Sebban by 3:00pm. Visit the Tiskiwin Museum, a private museum dedicated to popular arts & crafts, styled as a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan house, next door to Dar Si Said palace, a smaller version of the Bahia.Tiskiwin Museum Lecture: You will have a first hand viewing of the Tiskiwin and listen to a one-hour lecture and exploration of its history, be shown its private bead and jewelry collection. Afternoon treasure hunting. Welcome Evening - Appetizers & Drinks at Riad Palais Sebban. A chance to meet your fellow travelers and an overview of the route and the jewels we may find. A display of Tuareg pieces of jewelry with a Tuareg trader on hand to explain the styles and symbolism of the jewelry. Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad in Marrakech.


APRIL 17th: MARRAKECH (9:00am - 2:30pm  OPTIONAL - GUIDED HALF- DAY HISTORICAL TOUR & TREASURE HUNTING) Breakfast at your Riad. Begin your one-day Historical Tour of Marrakech. Your introduction to Marrakech will begin in the new city, we will navigate our way to French, Gueliz and head to the Majorelle Gardens, a magical and lush small garden estate designed by Jacque Majorelle and maintained by Yves Saint Laurent. The Majorelle Garden is filled with colorful walkways, ponds, cactus and plants as well as a beautiful shop with hand-made goods. On our return to your hotel, we will pass by the La Mammounia Hotel Garden (where Alfred Hitchcock wrote the famous film The Birds). Visit the 19th Century Bahia Palace, originally built for Si Moussa, a former slave who became King Moulay Hassan's chamberlain. The palace holds a courtyard and riads decorated with and the most beautiful carved stucco, Arabic architecture. Next visit the 16th Century Saadian Tombs and El Mansour mosque. Marrakech is a city of underground channels built by the architects from Cordoba, Spain to provide water for the town and Palmery. Next visit the old, Medina, the old quarter of the Marrakech. From here we will explore this historically charming area by foot. In Djemma el Fna, you will visit the famous 12th century Koutouba Mosque and its influential minaret. Afternoon treasure hunting in the Souks of Marrakech. Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad in Marrakech.

APRIL 18th: MARRAKECH - ESSAOUIRA  (12:30pm -2:30pm OPTIONAL - Half-Day Guided Historical Tour) (Driving Time: 2 1/2 Hours) Breakfast at your Riad in Marrakech.Departure for Essaouira in the morning.  Take the road to visit the seaside port of Essaouira. The journey to this former Portuguese fishing village offers up only a few roadside towns and the occasional Berber village. In the ’60s and ’70s, Essaouira was a pitstop on the hippie trek from Marrakesh. Jimi Hendrix made the pilgrimage, as did Bob Marley  and Cat Stevens. Essaouira was the inspiration for Hendrix’s song “Castles Made of Sand.” Witness the Argan goats in trees nestling in to eat away at the Argan nuts which are typically used in making Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics. Arrive in Essaouira. Check into your Hotel. Take a half-day Historical Tour. Have lunch at the fish-grill cafes, with wooden tables and benches laid out overlooking the sea. The journey to this former Portuguese fishing village offers up only a few roadside towns and the occasional Berber village. In the ’60s and ’70s, Essaouira was a pitstop on the hippie trek from Marrakesh. Jimi Hendrix made the pilgrimage, as did Bob Marley and Cat Stevens. Essaouira was the inspiration for Hendrix’s song “Castles Made of Sand”.  Visit this sea-side medieval town that boasts lovely white-washed and blue-shuttered houses, colonnades, thuya wood workshops, art galleries and mouthwatering seafood. Once called Mogador by European sailors and traders, Essaouria is known for its annual Gnaoua Music Festival that attracts 300,000+ people in June. It also has an expansive beach for surfing called Plage de Safi. Take a stroll along the town’s sunlit pedestrian main square, Place Prince Moulay el Hassan and the Skala du Port, the fishing harbor, offers breathtaking views of the Portuguese ramparts. Explore the ramparts and the spice and jewelry souks of the medina. The medina of Essaouira (formerly "Mogador") is a UNESCO World Heritage listed city, as an example of a late-18th century fortified town. After your historical tour, continue treasure hunting in Essaouira. Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad in Essaouira.


APRIL 19th: ESSAOUIRA Rise, breakfast at your Hotel. Bead & Jewelry Hunting in Essaouira: Take time out in Essaouira’s old medina to visit the jewelry shops that specialize in antique Venetian beads, Berber Silver, Amber and Copal. Dinner Recommendations:  Taros or El Mer, Essaouira’s top eats with sea views and fresh fish. Spend the night at a 4 Star charming Riad in Essaouira.


APRIL 20th:  ESSAOUIRA - TAROUDANT  (Driving Time: 6 Hours) Rise, have breakfast at your Riad in Essaouira, then take the road to Tarodaunt. Dinner and Spend the night at a charming Riad in Taroudant.


APRIL 21st:  TAROUDANT Rise, have breakfast at your Riad in Tarodaunt. Shop the Souks of Tarodaunt. Taroudant is a Moroccan city located in the Souss Valley in the southern part of the country. It is situated east from Agadir on the road to Ouarzazate and South from Marrakech. It has the feel of a small fortified market town on some caravan route. It is also known for its local crafts like jewelry and carpets. Taroudant is often referred to as the "Grandmother of Marrakech" because it is a scaled down, slowed down town that resembles Marrakech with its surrounding ramparts. Unlike Marrakech, Taroudant contains almost the whole city within its walls. Visit the old medinas’ ramparts with a guided two-hour tour then spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the souk of Taradount and treasure hunting in its shops that are filled with antique silver,  beads and shaded alleys occupied by gentle craftsman and shop owners. Dinner and Spend the night at a charming Riad in Taroudant.


APRIL 22nd TAROUDANT Rise, have breakfast at your Riad in Taradount then take the road to spend an entire day watching the Bead-making Process, rare demonstrations of Bead-making traditions. Lunch during your Bead-Making workshop. View The Bead-Making Process: View the bead-making process detail at the workshop where you can create your own jewelry from the beads that you have seen produced that day -  which will be yours to keep as a souvenir of your visit. There will be access to a wide selection of beads available. Bead Demonstration Of Rare Bead-making Traditions. During your workshop you will have the opportunity to witness a demo of three different styles of bead making.  Bead making enthusiasts will enjoy this demonstration as it will enable them to view how old traditions are still be practiced, produced and carried on in Morocco. Some of these traditions include utilizing couscous and other original Moroccan traditions to create beads. Travel Exploration Morocco was the first agency to record this “rare” bead-making process and your group will be second to experience it first hand. There will be an opportunity to also purchase beads and special silver and other Moroccan Jewelry during your Bead Making Workshop in Taroudant Lunch in Taroudant at La Valla, a local restaurant in Taradount or at the Bead-Making workshop.  After lunch continue Moroccan Bead and Jewelry Treasure Hunting or return to your Riad to relax for the evening. Dinner and Spend the night at a charming Riad in Taroudant.


APRIL 23rd:  TAROUDAUNT - TAZNAGHT- OUARZAZATE Breakfast at your Riad. Then take the road to Ouarzazate. En route to Ouarazate, you will stop at the Taliouine Saffron Cooperative. Taliouine is the traditional area of cultivation of saffron in Morocco and has been for hundreds of years.  The Taliouine Souktana cooperative is on the road to Taroudant, in the village of Taliouine, in the heart of Sirwa Mountains. The Taliouine Cooperative sells only a truly biological saffron, cultivated according the traditional ways, with natural fertilizers . The mountains dry climate is ideal for such a culture. After visiting the Taliouine Saffron Cooperative , continue the road to Ouarzazate. Dinner and Spend the night at a charming Riad in Ouarzazate.


APRIL 24th: OUARZAZATE (MORNING JEWELRY SHOPPING & VISIT OF THE ATLAS FILM STUDIO OR OPTIONAL AFTERNOON VISIT OF OUARZAZATE) Rise early, breakfast at your Riad and then spend the morning jewelry shopping in Ouarzazate. Lunch near Kasbah Taourirt. Discover treasure hunting in this calm, oasis of Southern Morocco that was originally an administrative center during the French Protectuate. Discover jewelry just outside Kasbah Taouirt and in the old market alongside the smells of Berber Amber and Musk. Have a walk across from the antique jewelry shops and option to visit Kasbah Taourirt. Kasbah Taorirt was built by the Glaoui. Its location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South it was then one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Explore its nooks and crannies and discover some local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah. In the afternoon, visit the Atlas Film Studios. The Atlas Film Studios studios are flanked by Holly-wood style Egyptian figures and cover 30,000 sq m of desert. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabiaat The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara. Most of the filming takes place in the desert in the south however you can view the Tibetan monastery featured in Scorese’s Kundan and an Egyptian temple from Cleopatra. This ends your Morocco Travel experience. Dinner & Spend the night at a charming Riad in Ouarzazate.


APRIL 25th: OUARZAZATE (JEWELRY SHOPPING) Rise early, breakfast at your Riad and then take the road to visit the Ouarzazate region and its famous Kasbahs. Jewelry Shopping and Explore Ouarzazate. Dinner at La Kasbah Des Sables in Ouarzazate. Le Kasbah Des Sables is a gastronomic experience with a menu that combines the cuisine of Fes, Meknes, Tangier, Arab and Berber with first class fare.  This restaurant offers a museum- quality atmosphere as its’ decor has been hand stitched together and is filled with Berber, Morocco traditional furniture and art that was hand crafted by local artisans in the Ouarzazate region. Each section of the restaurant offers an intimate environment and the opportunity to eat on tables that are hand painted and adorned with silver fibulas, Amber and other regional jewels. Spend the night  at a 4 star charming Riad in Ouarzazate.


APRIL 26th: OPTION EXCURSION TO THE VALLEY OF ROSES - VALLEY OF NOMADS - DADES VALLEY OR RELAX AT THE RIAD OR CONTINUE JEWELRY SHOPPING (Driving Time: 2 1/2 Hours) Breakfast at your Riad. Take the road to visit Bouthgrar, the Valley of Nomads and the Dades Valley. En route visit Kasbah Amerdihl in Skoura and it’s one thousand Kasbahs and palmary. Begin your visit at the breakthtaking Valley of Nomads Located in Bouthgrar is the Valley of Nomads, a beautiful 10 kilometer valley where Nomads live in caves that are surrounded by Mount Mgoun. Mount Mgoun is the second highest mountain in Morocco and boasts extraordinery views. Have tea with a Nomad family.  See first hand where they make their own carpets and co exist in Bouthgrar with other Nomad families. Your journey will then take you through the Dades Valley which covers 125 km between Ouarzazate and Boumalne du Dadès in the High Atlas Mountains. Once you reach Boumalne at first sight you notice the limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery and the valley’s pise (windy roads). Driving along you will pass flower filled fields, fertile fields, riverbanks and several fortified ksours. At the bottom of Gorge of Boumalne Dadès there are ruined hilltop Kasbahs and valley floor gardens. Lunch will be served at a nearby guesthouse that offers local Moroccan fare and a panoramic view. Relax and sip mint tea while gazing at the impressive valley view. Dinner & Spend the night at a 4  star charming Riad in Ouarzazate.


APRIL 27th:  OUARZAZATE - MARRAKECH Rise, have breakfast at your Riad and then take the road to Marrakech. “See Ouarzazate and die” are feelings often expressed by Moroccans with regards to this magical city that is the door to the Sahara desert. Located just four hours from Marrakech, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region. Ouarzazate became famous when it’s nearby Kasbah; Ait Benhaddou appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. Then take the road to Ait Benhaddou. Located 32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village. Aït Benhaddou of Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Dra on a hill along the  Ouarzazate river.. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films. Aït Benhaddou which once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most of the town's inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; ten families however still live within the ksar.  Your guide will lead you on a private tour through this Berber village of towered and crenulated Kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas Mountains. Explore the Kasbahs by foot with the option to ride a donkey across a river.  During your journey to Marrakech you will also pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders. long the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as sights of fertile valleys, blue and red colored pise villages and other striking mineral environments.  En route stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Have a complimentary tasting.  This cooperative is run entirely by women. Lunch in the village of Tadart. Arrive in Marrakech. Evening Free. Spend the night at a 4 star charming Riad in Marrakech.


APRIL 28th:  MARRAKECH (JEWELRY SHOPPING & EXPLORATION) Rise early, breakfast at your Riad. Free Day to Shop the Souks of Marrakech for the special Moroccan Beads and Jewelry you missed out on the first time around. Sarah Corbett is available by arrangement for morning shopping guidance. Jewelry & Treasures of Marrakech Viewing:Evening viewing at a celebrated Jewelry store in the Spice markets of Marrakech.  Enjoy a two- hour viewing of fabulous beads, jewels and local silver pieces available for purchase and historical discussion about the origin and meaning of these pieces. Spend the night at a 4 Star charming Riad in Marrakech Marrakech.


APRIL 29th:  MARRAKECH MENARA AIRPORT DEPARTURES: Breakfast at your Riad. Departure from Marrakech’s Menara Airport. Airport transfers from Marrakech.

TRIP DETAILS:
Cost Per Person: 
$4,325 USA /2,675 GBP / 3,030 EUROS
Single Supplement:
$950 USA /652GBP /579 EUROS

Includes: Accommodations (shared rooms or single room supplement option), 14 breakfasts, 6 dinners (20 meals total) (alcohol not included), private transport, local transport fees, entrance fees for sites on tour, guide fees, workshop tuition, tips.

Not Included: Airfare, some meals, alcoholic beverages. Payment Terms:  $500 deposit to hold spot; balance due 90 days prior to start of Morocco Bead & Jewelry Tour

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today. Bead & Jewelry Tour, Morocco Bead Tour, Morocco Jewelry tour, Morocco Bead and Jewelry Tour, Marrakech Bead Tour, Marrakech Jewelry Tour, Essaouira Bead Tour, Essaouira Jewelry Tour, Morocco Bead & Jewelry Advenutre, Morocco Tours, Morocco Holidays, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

Top 10 Things To Do In Ouarzazate, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on January 5, 2011 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Things to do in Ouarzazate. The Top 10 Things to do in Ouarzazate, Morocco is a hot list of activities and experiences that one can do alone, with their spouse or friends and family in the the door to the Sahara Desert. The most popular activities on a Ouarzazate Tour typically included spending time visiting the Oasis of Fint, the many Kasbahs in the region such as Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, Kasbah Tifoultilte, Kasbah Taouirirt, Kasbah Telouet and Kasbah Telouet in the Tizzin' Tichka Pass. A Sahara Tour from Ouarzazate to the region of Zagora where one can pass through the Draa Valley's volcanic rock, the old road of Caravans and have lunch with a Berber, Moroccan family is not to be missed. In Zagora or the M'hamid Sahara Desert one can take a 4x4 tour by pise and explore the unique flora and fauna of Morocco's Sahara region.



The top 10 activities in Ouarzazate are Visiting Kasbahs in Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kasbah Taouirit, Kasbah Tifoultilte, Kasbah Telouet, the Oasis of Fint and have Tea With Azziz, the Atlas Film Studios, a Sahara journey, the Draa Valley region and have lunch with a Berber, Moroccan family, Valley of Nomads in the region of Bouthgrar, the Dades Valley and Todra Gorg and dine at Le Kasbah D'Sable, a work of art with the finest French- Moroccan food in Ouarzazate.



Top 10 Things To Do in Ouarzazate:

  1. Visit Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  2. Visit the Oasis of Fint and have Tea With Azziz
  3. Visit the Atlas Film Studios
  4. Visit Kasbah Taouirirt
  5. Visit Kasbah Tifoultilte
  6. Take a Sahara journey for one day or a Sahara overnight 4x4 adventure to Zagora, M'hamid or Merzouga
  7. Visit the Draa Valley region and have lunch with a Berber, Moroccan family
  8. Head to the Valley of Nomads in the region of Bouthgrar and have tea with a Nomad family
  9. Visit the Dades Valley and Todra Gorge
  10. Dine at Le Kasbah D'Sable, a work of art with the finest French- Moroccan food in Ouarzazate

For more information about  the Top 10 Things To Do in Ouarzazate and Ouarzazate Tours For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today. Top 10 Reasons to Visit Ouarzazate, Imperial Cities Morocco, Ouarzazate Sahara Desert Tour, Morocco, Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait Benhadou, Oasis of Fint, Kasbah Taouirirt, Kasbah Tifoultilte, Kasbah Teloute, Atlas Film Studios, Ouarzazate Tours, Sahara Desert Adventure, Zagora Tour, M'hamid Sahara Desert Tour, Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour, Valley of Nomads, Bouthgrar, Dades Valley, Dades Gorge, Gorge of Todra, 4x4 Ouarzazate Adventure, Morocco Holidays, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

Ouarzazate Then & Now, A Growing Berber City in Southern Morocco, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on October 23, 2010 at 9:56 AM Comments comments (0)

 


"Ouarzazate has one main street, about fifty yards long, and two thousand people, of whom two hundred are French.  The temperature can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. "  So says world-renowned journalist John Gunther in 1952, of his visit to Ouarzazate, during the reign of the Pasha Glaoui, whose honored guest he was. "The sight I enjoyed most," he says, "next to the kasbahs, was the general store, run by a Greek.  It resembles closely the general store in Twin Corners, Montana, or Greensboro, Vermont.  The frigidaire has cold beer, ham is sliced by a machine made in Toledo, and you can buy anything from a can of sardines to a monkey wrench."



"From Ouarzazate, two roads stretch out which are among the most interesting in all Africa, one going southeast to Zagora, along the celebrated Valley of the Draa, the other projecting eastward through an equally celebrated valley, that of the Dades, which is solid with crumbling kasbahs.  We chose the latter.  Five minutes after we were on the road, it became clear to us--if we needed to know it--that indeed Africa is a continent of contrasts.  We passed first a long line of camions (heavy trucks) carrying manganese, and then a stately camel caravan." Ouarzazate today has grown into a city of over 60,000. One of the most popular places to go at dusk is Place Al Mohadine which is home to Ouarzazate's largest, local outdoor market that sells everything from spices to rose water and a charming cafe named Habous.



Inhabited by Berbers, in the past Ouarzazate was a point for African traders passing in and out of Morocco.  During the French era, it was a garrison town.  Ouarzazate today is the center of the Moroccan film industry,  and the starting point for most Sahara Desert tours, as well as being the closest city to the kasbah Ait Benhaddou.  


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Some famous films that were shot at Ait Benhaddou Kasbah include the Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara.



For more information about Ouarzazate Tours or to Contact a Ouarzazate Travel Agency For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate


 

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today. Ouarzazate Tour, Ait Benhaddou Kasbah Tour, Authentic Moroccan Tours, Moroccan History, Americans Traveling to Morocco, Ancient Medinas in Morocco, Atlas Mountains Morocco, Berber Life, History of Morocco, History of Ouarzazate, Moroccan Film Industry, Ait Ben Haddou, Ouarzazate, Kasbahs in Southern Morocco, Sahara Desert, Sahara Desert Tours, 4 x 4 Sahara Tours from Ouarzazate, Morocco private tours, Morocco Holidays, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco


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Exploring Moroccan Kasbahs In Ouarzazate, Kasbah Taourirt & Ait Benhaddou, Former Homes of Pasha Glaoui, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on August 6, 2010 at 11:06 PM Comments comments (0)


For anyone interested in touring Morocco's kasbahs or ksars, I highly recommend starting with Kasbah Taourirt, the Pasha Glaoui's former palace in Ouarzazate. Kasbah Taorirt was built by the Pasha Glaoui. Its location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South was then considered one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Kasbah Taourirt was one of the places Glaoui kept his slaves. As a Moroccan traveler you can explore its nooks and crannies to discover its history and often local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.


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The word kasbah has two meanings. The first meaning of a kasbah is a fortified village, such as the mountain village of Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  In some cases, the word is used to describe the old medina quarter of ancient cities throughout the Middle East and North Africa, such as in Algiers.  Kasbahs are essentially attached earthen houses that were built and coexist in a sprawling pattern, which also contain structures for other uses such as bath houses or granaries.  Built out of adobe (mud and straw), they were usually situated on a mountain hillside to make defense easier.

The second meaning of a kasbah, which refers to that  of Kasbah Taourirt in Ouarzazate, was a place for the local caid (leader) to live which demonstrated a sign of wealth, and also as a place for defense when the city was under attack.  In this case,Kasbah Taourirt once served the dual purpose of being both an administrative center, as well as a fort. For this reason, kasbahs were generally built with high walls and either no windows, or very narrow windows to keep out arrow attacks. Kasbahs in southern Morocco are generally built on a rock base.  Rammed earth is used for the load-bearing walls, which are usually about two feet (60 cm) thick.


Lighter-weight adobe is used on the top story for ornamental work. Kasbashs are generally started on a rectangular pattern, three stories high, with a tower rising from each corner.  Off of that, with time, the kasbah expands with additional rooms and passageways being built in a twisting, turning pattern, without any organized plan.  This is the beauty of exploring a kasbah, that one never knows whether around the next corner it will turn, or twist, or go up or down.



Kasbah Taourirt, located in the center of Ouarzazate, a Southern Sahara city and often referred to as "the door to the desrt" is definitely one of the first kasbahs worth visiting on a Sahara Tour.  Kasbah Taouirt's impeccable exterior architechture offers a good understanding of how kasbahs were constructed centuries ago and thus make your subsequent visit to other kasbahs in Morocco such at Ait Benhaddou Kasbahand Kasbah Telout much more enjoyable.


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When visiting Kasbah Taourirt, make sure to have your Morocco Travel Agency provide a historical guide so that you are able to ask questions about the history of the era, construction and be guided throughout it's maze like interior walls. Pasha Glaoui--was once known as one of the richest men in the world--and his penchant for building kasbahs in southern Morocco, collecting slaves and having numerous wives eventually fell to ruins.  When the French occupied Morocco, they left with the goal to eventually return and through UNESCO assist in the restoration of palaces and ksars such as Kasbah Taourirtt, Ait Benhaddou, Volubilis and even Fes, one of the largest contiguous car free medinas (cities) in the world. Much of the Kasbahs in the Southern region of Morocco have been restored and while not to their original grandor can lay claim to being simply magnificent.  Most of the rooms Kasbah Taourirt are very plain however its interior architecture and exterior are majestic.  The fun in exploring any ancient Kasbah comes from wandering through the maze of passageways.  Kasbah Taourirt, like Glaoui's other kasbahs, consists of approximately 300 rooms, and was built to house up to 1,000 slave sand family members.  According to a historical guide who mans the front entrance, Glaoui had four official wives and 20 legitimate children.  He also had 14 concubines and a total of 60 children all together.  Included in the kasbah rooms were  stables and garrisons, public reception and ceremonial rooms, domestic living quarters, as well as school rooms for the children. 


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Many interesting architectural features can be found inside the Kasbah Taourirt.  Traditional dyes were used to color in the ceilings tiles that include saffron for the yellow, henna for the red, mint for the green, indigo for the blue, and kohl made from crushed galena (lead ore) for the black.  Other ceilings are made out of decorative thatched palm fronds and bamboo, which in some cases are painted, in others, plastered over. 



In the photo above, it appears that windows might have been closed up, but this is not the case.  Found throughout the kasbah, these were ledges made for candles.



Many famous films include scenes that were filmed in Kasbah Taourirt.  Some are: Lawrence of Arabia; The Harem; Diamond of the Nile with Michael Douglas; Rules of Engagement; Prince of Persia; Terres du Lumieres; The Mummy; Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité; and Tés au Sahara (Italian). When visiting the Ouarzazate, region, make sure to begin your tour at Kasbah Taourirt before exploring Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO world heritage site as this will give you a head start and background of appreciation that you can bring along during your Kasbah tour.


For more information about a Kasbahs, Waterfalls & Ruins Tour in Morocco


For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate



Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.


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