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5 Ways to Celebrate Your Honeymoon in Morocco

Posted by Alecia Cohen on September 26, 2016 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Honeymoon in Morocco, Luxury Property Oualidia

If you are looking for the ideal Honeymoon destination that offers a combination of romannce, discovery, nighlife and authenticity Morocco should be on your bucketlist. With only one week in to celebrate your honeymoon, Morocco offers a myiad of options and many places to go for a lifetime memorable travel experience. Honeymooners can stay at stylish Luxury Moroccan riads and boutique hotels, enjoy a Moroccan Hammam with rose petals, essential oils, argan oils and orange water, take a private cooking class with a Daada Chef or check into a mountain hideaway just for two. Travel to Morocco for a Honeymoon and revel in Candlelight Dinners, a Secret Spot to Picnic in the Ourika Valley or Lunch on a Private Beach. The bustling Souks of Marrakech and the serene rural spaces of Morocco await you. 5 Ways to  Celebrate Your Honeymoon in Morocco - What to Do and Where to Go:

]Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp, Morocco Honeymoon

Escape to the Moroccan Sahara Desert for a Safari Visit Morocco's South and desert region. Explore Ait Ben haddou Ksar and Kasbah Telouet. Go back in time and travel through the Draa Valley region. Venture by pise through the old road of the caravans. Discover a region that once had Moroccan pirates raid caravans for dates and other valuable old world goods. Visit Skoura and the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs. Bask in the Valley of Roses and if traveling in April see first hand the crowning of the Rose Queen. Travel to the Dades Valley and sip tea with Nomads in Caves. Take a Sahara Desert Safari in the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Trek in the Sahara desert to an Oasis and experience an 1001 Arabian Nights dinner and music experience in the heart of the dunes under the Moroccan stars. Have lunch and bake bread with a Berber family on volcanic rock. Partake in your own private henna party. All of these activities can be done with one week in Morocco or more!

Honeymoon Morocco, Coastal Essaouira

Go Coastal to the Artist Colony of Essaouira Explore this Portuguese fishing village that is full of charm with its old ramparts, art galleries and glorious sunsets. Explore the Jewish Mellah, the blue washed doors, Orson Welles square and the numerous outdoor grills where you can have fresh fish with seaviews. Old Mogador is the ideal place for relaxation on a Honeymoon in Morocco. It's laid back atmosphere, gentle local population and Moorish architecture make for the charmed experience. For honeymooners who want to venture outside of the Essaouira medina walls there is the beach of Sidi Kaouki, Ranch of Diabat and Moulay Bouzerktoun all less then an hour by car. Essaouira also offers  day trips for honeymooners to a local Frommagerie and a winery for an afternoon filled with lunch and wine tasting.

]Honeymoon in Morocco, Food Tour, Photograph Courtesy of Amanda Mouttaki

Exotic Eats in Mararkech and Fes with Savory Food Tours Honeymooners in Morocco are guaranteed an exotic foodie experience of savory delights. A Food Tour in Marrakech and a Food Tour in Fes are two options for afternoon or evening exploration of what the locals eat. Eat your way through Morocco on a Marrakech Food Tour. Discover the world of spices and their uses and the secrets of the tea den under the guidance of a culinary leader and story-teller. Or learn to bake bread in the 400 year old community oven with the baker overseeing your hands-on efforts. Take your hot bread to the honey souk to try it with 8 artisanal wild honeys, aged butter or khlia, spicy dried beef. You might try cooking ‘on-street’. Shop and fill up a terracotta urn ‘tanjia’ to have embedded in the hot ashes of the furnachi for a rich and spicy Moroccan casserole. Try Moroccan harira soup, sardine meatballs, two varieties of lamb, smoothies, a Moroccan doughnut, simmering hot mint tea or a local sweet and more! 

Morocco Honeymoon Retreat, High Atlas Mountains

A Mountain Hideaway in the Middle of the High Atlas Honeymoon in Morocco at a mountain hideaway in the Atlas. It's something that you will not regret. Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot is idea for honeymooners that want a secluded experience with top end luxury. For more down to earth honeymooners the option to stay at Kasbah Toubkal or Dar Imlil, two other secluded properties nestled in a region of Berber villages can provide for an authentic stay. Morocco's High Atlas offers trekking experiences. Honeymooners can summit Kasbah Toubkal, the second highest mountain to Kilamanjaro or simply hike in and around the mountains. On a mountain hide away adventure your private day trip will allow you to venture into Berber Village by foot and lunch by candle light with a Berber family in their mountain home. You can visit a village of weavers and learn how lcoal carpets are made.

Moroccan Hammam, Couples Honeymoon Experience

Get the Royal Treatment in a Moroccan Hammam The perfect Honeymoon in Morocco is not complete without the Royal treatment at a Moroccan hammam.Moroccans from all walks of life use hamams as a method of self-cleansing or as a social event. During your visit make sure to carve out time to spend an afternoon taking in this traditional Moroccan experience. At a Moroccan hammam you can have a royal massage with argan oil and orange or rose water. Almond oil rubs and other essential oils will be used. Your scrub down at a Moroccan hammam will remove all of the dead skin and wipe away the past.  Both sides of your body with a rough flat glove called a kiis. If you find this a little invasive, then you can bring your own kiis. Royal Moroccan Hammams can be enjoyed at La Mamounia, Heritage Spa, La Maison Arabe, Le Bains Des Marrakech or even your Moroccan Riad.

For more information about a Honeymoon in Morocco

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, 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.

Marrakech Day Trips, Morocco Atlas & Coastal Excursions

Posted by Alecia Cohen on August 9, 2016 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Ourka-Valley-Day-Trips-From-Marrakech                

The bustling red terracota colored city of Marrakech is dotted with magnificent views of the High Atlas Mountains and surrounded by lush valley's and a desert-like palmeraie. Marrakech is the perfect city to use as a base for Day Trips. Often referred to as the Paris of Morocco, the city of Marrakech is well appointed in Morocco's south. Mararkech is just three hours from Morocco's Atlantic coast and the Essaouira Medina, an hour from the Ourika Valley and a full days drive from the Sahara Desert. Consider taking a one week holiday in Marrakech as to allow for these various Moroccan Day Trips.

Ourika Valley & Ait Ashok

A favorite weekend getaway for Marrakech's is the Ourika Valley. This quaint region is appeciated by locals for its valley's, streams and the seven Setti Fatma waterfalls. Ourika is perfect for long walks, hiking, visiting a Berber villages and is filled with palm tree plantations, fruit trees, tiny hamlets, summer homes and road side cafes. Travelers can enjoy tea and break bread with a Berber family on this day trip from Marrakech. For those looking to experience off the beaten path Ourika consider exploring the charming Berber vilage of Ait Ashok. Nestled in a secret location inside the Ourika Valley and not frequented by many travelers, it offers unforgettable views, authentic encounters, and an unclose experience to meet local villagers of of Tizi Oucheg. Ourigane Valley Nestled in the High Atlas Mountains of Toubkal National Park, this region is a must see for travelers interested in a low key, non touristic day trip from Marrakech. Ourigane Valley is ideal for relaxing and hiking. It's various flora and fauna makes for the idea location to sip mint tea with a view. The Ourigane VAlley also home to one of Morocco's oldest Jewish Zaouia sites, the shrine of Rabbi Abraham Ben Hammou. Ourigane boasts fresh Atlas air and small properties for longer stays such as the classic La Roseraie famous for it's 30 hectares of rose gardens and stables and the new, contemporary Hotel L'Amandier.

High Atlas Toubkal

High Atlas Toubkal & Imlil

The High Atlas Toubkal Mountains are the second highest in Africa second to Kilamanjaro and the highest peak in North Africa. Toubkal and the village of Imlil offer scenic activities for hikers on a day trip from Mararkech. A day hike at Mount Toubkal allows for trekkers to explore the region's varied peaks and have lunch in a Berber village or at Kasbah Toubkal with views. The village of Imlil is small and windy with local shops selling Berrber silver jewelry and Moroccan goods. Filled with street cafes and guests houses, Imlil is a good refuge for hikers.

Ouzoud Waterfalls

Cascades D'Ouzoud Waterfalls The Ouzoud falls, just a few hours from Marrakech boasts three tiered beautiful waterfalls and a lush valley. Ouzoud offers many trekking options. Visitors can take a wooden paddle boat trip at the bottom of the falls or a cold dip in the falls which makes for a charmed experience. Outdoor cafe stands conjure up the atmosphere with fresh cold orange juice and Moroccan snacks. A favorite of Marrakechi's, picnicing at Ouzoud is also popular in spring and summer months. For Morocco travelers who have more then a day trip from Marrakech available, an overnight stay can be arranged at a Berber guest house. The Berber guest houses in Ouzoud are secluded with spectacular views, local cuisine and Moroccan hospitlaity. Oukaïmeden Oukaïmeden is Africa's highest peak for skiiing and a Morocco premiere ski resort. Oukaïmeden village is perched on Jebel Attar and just an hour from Marrakech. Adventure seekers and skiiers can enjoy Oukaïmeden's windy slopes and chair lift to ferry them across the Atlas. Local cuisine is available at many of the Ski houses nearby, year round. Off season Oukaïmeden makes for the pefect getaway given its cooler temperatures and remote Atlas Mountain scenery. The region of Oukaïmeden is also known for its history of prehistoric rock carvings. The local musuem in Oukaïmeden provides more information on this and visitors can also explore with their Moroccan guide to discover rock carvings in the surrounding area.

Essaouira Medina

Essaouira Medina This former Portuguese fished village once called Mogador is just three hours from Marrakech located on Morocco's Atlantic Coast. Essaouira has lovely white washed and blue-shuttered houses that create a scenic backdrop of coastal romance. Essaouira's seaside medival medina offers mouth watering seafood, thuya workshops and art galleries. A hippy colony with chic restaurants that cater to foodies, Essaouira is ideal for contemporary gastro-fare and a great place to enjoy sunset cocktails. The Essaouira medina is only 8 kilometers from the Ounara winery and a Frommagerie where travelers can learn cheese making or enjoy a five course menu of cheese inspired dishes. The Essaouira medina as a Morocccan day trip from Marrakech is a layed back option for couples, small groups and families.

For More Information about Day Trips from Mararkech and Morocco Day Trips

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, 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 Rural Markets, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 22, 2015 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Sidi Mokhtar, Souk, Breakfast - Photo by Lynn Sheppard

Sidi Mokhtar, Souk, Breakfast - Photo by Lynn Sheppard                

Even if your trip to Morocco is mainly centered around the major cities, it is worth getting out for a day into the countryside to see rural life. Although the majority of the Moroccan population now officially lives in urban areas, many retain an attachment to the land and their native town or village. It is worthwhile, therefore, seeing Moroccan life in a different context, as it is still lived by many people. Despite increasing urbanization, the agricultural sector in Morocco still employs around half of the workforce and there is nothing quite like the hub of activity on a Moroccan market day! On any day of the week, a market (or souk) will take place somewhere in each Province (a region like a State in the US or a county in the UK). The souk often takes place in one of the larger towns or in a village which acts as a hub for the surrounding rural area and local farms. The weekly market is so ingrained in local culture that many towns include the day of their souk in their name. Take a look at a map of Morocco: any town with "el had" in its name has the weekly souk on a Sunday. Likewise, "khamiss" means the market is on a Thursday.

Souks and Markets, Morocco

Souks and Markets, Morocco                  

Rural markets provide several essential services for local people. As well as being an opportunity to buy and sell essential items, the souk is a weekly meeting point. Unlike in other cultures, it is mainly men who attend the souk, picking the shopping according to the strict instructions of their wives and mothers. While they are at the market, they take the opportunity to pause for a cup of tea or three and catch up on local gossip with their friends and the itinerant traders. The weekly souk might also be a chance to use services that we might be more accustomed to accessing on a high street or in a mall. Dotted around the edge of any souk are the barbers' tents, doing a brisk trade in haircuts and close shaves. And whereas in the West we might park our car in a multi-storey parking lot or leave it with a mechanic for a service, Moroccan farmers tether their donkey at the roadside and catch a taxi to the market, or bring their donkey along for a once-over by the vet or blacksmith. At the larger markets, for example the Sunday market at Had Dra between Marrakech and Essaouira, early risers will be rewarded with the sight of cattle auctions and camel trading. On-site abattoirs ensure that sheep, cattle and goats traded that morning are slaughtered according to Muslim customs before being sold by the kilo or as a quick barbecued snack for those needing some sustenance before the journey home. People travel long distances to reach the souk and public transport is always packed on market days. If you have the opportunity to visit a rural market, it is unlikely you will find much of interest to buy. Unless you are self-catering, the heaps of fresh fruit and vegetables are more likely to be of photographic interest than for purchasing. If you do buy something, make sure you buy a sack or a woven basket to carry it in. You will marvel at the recycling ingenuity of rural people, who upcyle tires into feeding troughs, plastic into grocery baskets and old jars into storm lanterns. Pause for a beldy (authentic, rural) breakfast - buy all of the ingredients for your breakfast by weight (a couple of dirhams of tea, a few ounces of sugar and a bunch of mint) and take them to one of the pop-up cafes to have someone brew the super sweet tea. Pick up a freshly baked loaf, a packet of homemade cookies, handful of olives, a half pound of fruit or some grilled nuts. If you dare, grab a couple of bits of meat or offal and have them grilled over charcoal. Your cafe host will supply plates and - depending on your region - some olive or argan oil for dipping your bread in. If you are based in Marrakech, nearby souks worth a visit include Asni (Saturdays) or Tahanout (Tuesdays). Around Essaouira, as well as Had Dra on Sundays, you can visit Smimou (also Sunday), Akermoud (Saturday), Ida Ougourd or Sidi Mokhtar (Wednesday) or Meskala (Thursday). Depending on your route, these might be a convenient stop-off on your way to/from Marrakech or Agadir. If you are travelling in the Middle Atlas, the Sunday souk at Midelt is large and well-known for local carpets and - in season - apples. Travelling up the coast to Casablanca, the Saturday souk at Oualidia is also worth a visit. Remember, rural folks live simple, conservative lives. Always dress appropriately (no short shorts or skimpy tank tops) and be discreet when you take photographs. The weather-beaten faces of rural people are fascinating, but the owners do not always welcome the attention of the lens. Written by Lynn Sheppard  Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients. For more information about Moroccan Souks and Markets outside Marrakech 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.

Souks Outside Marrakech, Your Morocco Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on August 3, 2014 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

By  visiting local souks outside Marrakech you can experience local Berber country life and absorb the character of the marketplaces where they meet each week. This is an important social occasion where local producers sell their wares including, fruit, vegetables and livestock. Merchants from Marrakech sell essentials such as: tea, coffee, sugar, packaged foods, cooking items, clothing and electronics. You can also come across carpets, jewelry and pottery generally cheaper than in Marrakech. There are many things available to buy from the souk: henna, spices, rugs, Berber slippers and sandals, pottery, Berber djellabahs for men, dresses for women and handmade wooden kitchen utensils. Amizmiz has the best Berber souk  in the region on a Tuesday as well as sampling the local wares, it is a good starting off point for treks in the surrounding Atlas Mountains and meeting the Berbers in their home environment for mint tea and a meal served in their homes. Set against the majestic backdrop of the High Atlas, the picturesque village of Tahanaout attracts visitors with its landscape and attractive sturdy Berber red clay buildings.  

The village which is 30 km from Marrakech is surrounded by olive groves, orange  and lemon trees. Its souk is also held on a Tuesday. Pottery making and cooking demonstrations are on offer from the inhabitants of Tahanaout,  you  can learn how to make homemade bread, makoda, couscous and other traditional regional dishes. There are good opportunities for bird watching whilst strolling along the riverbanks, where you can see  Moroccan wagtail, white stork and cattle egret. You can trek to the Ouirgane, N’Fis and Ourika Valleys and the waterfalls at Setti Fatma. You can also ride donkeys or hire a 4X4 cross country vehicle. If you want to stay in Tahanaout  you can book into the Terres d'Amanar an extensive eco lodge with gardens and stunning mountain views on the outskirts of the village. The Kasbah Angour is also nearby both establishments can arrange local tours including trekking on foot or by donkey and  4x4 overland vehicles for further afield . Other centers for weekly souks include  Tnine Hem on Monday, Sidi Ghiat on Sunday and Aghmat with its ancient ruins on Friday.

Asni  also has a large market on Saturday, Ijoukak on Wednesday and  Khemis Ouirgane on Thursday. Ouirgane itself is a delightful place to spend a few days for trekking and relaxation. It is close to the Tiz N’Test pass, Mount Toubkal, Toubkal National Park and the Tassa Ouirgane National Park. This is trekking and ecotourism country at its best. It is possible to travel around by 4x4 but if you are up to it by foot, donkey or horse is best. The air is clean the mountain scenery and the Takherkhoute forests are enchanting.

One of the of the best places to stay in Ouirgane is the idyllic Domaine de la Rosaraie, set in sixty acres of  parkland with a  large garden filled with roses . Domaine Malika is new on the scene in Ourigane and for an upscale and chic mountain experience there is none better than the Domaine Malika. . Chez Momo is a charming auberge, Moroccan country style home overlooking the High Atlas. They are also known for the excellent cuisine and elegant dinner setting. If staying in Ourigane dining at Chez Momo is a must. Au Sanglier Qui Fume  has been in existence since 1945. It started by catering to Foreign Legion soldiers working on the bridge and acquired its distinctive name because it was used by wild boar hunters. Its restaurant has great character including the heads of wild boar hanging from the walls. The food is a blend of French and Moroccan cuisine. It remains a classical French establishment. The Tassa Ouirgane National Park and the Toubkal National Park provide great trekking opportunities in amongst the valleys and local Berber villages hamlets and fields with the Atlas mountains towering above them. You can visit the salt mines at Marigha. Here the Berbers have been mining salt by their traditional method unchanged for centuries. They transport the salt by donkeys and sell it locally.

For more information about Souks and a Marrakech Tour 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.

Ourika Valley's Nectarome Products and the Moroccan Art of Body Care

Posted by Alecia Cohen on June 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

In the village of Tnine in the Ourika valley Nectarome has an organic garden with aromatic plants and medicinal herbs where their products are created and a shop selling a range of soaps, shampoos aroma therapy and massage oils. There are also several outlets in Marrakech and Casablanca. The company has a team of experts in essential oils and pharmacy. Nectarome combines ancient Moroccan traditional cosmetic formulas with the modern aromatherapy using essential oils and phytotherapy techniques for natural body and wellness treatments, with massage with oils. The famous Argan blended with other essential oils with moisturizing properties and essences such as almond or sesame oil. A range of soothing body lotions including rose,green tea and neroli (orange blossom) are available at their Ourika valley location. 

The soaps are based on essential oils such as Argan, Almond, Nigella and Ghassoul in addition to various glycerine soaps, Verbena, grape fruit, orange blossom, Amber, Musk and Rose. There are also liquid soaps such as cedar and orange. Rose water and orange blossom water are used for toning and regenerating skin and perfuming the body and clothes. Face masks can help smooth wrinkles and anti aging with honey and essential oils and a gelling mask, natural clay face masks and cleansing masks. There is a range of natural bath oils with eucalyptus and rosemary which helps to tone and relax the skin. Bath salts help to detoxify and purify the skin. Natural shampoos without chemical additives benefit the hair and scalp and treat dry or oily hair. Nectarome products also include shower gels in rosemary of bitter orange and a range of natural scents such as mint, tangerine and cinnamon. The famous ancient black soap called beldi, is a mixture of olive and argan oil water and salt and is used in the massage to prepare the body for scrubbing and removing dead skin with a special horse hair glove. Ghassoul, is a typical Moroccan clay, it is a deposit in the region of Fes . This clay is used in Morocco, mainly by women since the 12th century as a shampoo and skin cleanser. Nectarome also provides natural henna recommended for skin infections and eczema, with restorative properties for skin and hair as well as decorating the hands and feet in traditional berber style. Nectarone cautions against henna with chemical additives which can be harmful to the skin.

For More Information on Nectarome in the Ourika Valley

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.

Taroudant, Mini-Marrakech & Walled Berber City, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on April 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (2)

If you want a relaxing stay in an authentic walled Berber town look no further than the medieval town of Taroudant. It lies beside the High Atlas mountains in the Sous Valley in the southern part of Morocco and it has retained its authentic Berber character and roots. Taroudant is well placed as a base for exploring the region  to the east of  Agadir  and its beaches, it is on the road to Ouarzazate and the Sahara desert and adrive over the dramatic Tizi n'Test pass to Marrakech. It is said to resemble a smaller version of Marrakech with its walls and ramparts surrounding the city. For a very short time Tarodaunt was indeed the capital of the Saadian dynasty  used as a base for attacking the Portuguese in Agadir. The Saadians then moved to Marrakech. Taroudant saw its golden age during the reign of Mohammed ash-Sheikh who constructed the city walls and built the great mosque and its minaret in 1528. Taroudant unlike the imperial cities of Fes, Marrakech and Meknes does not have a ville nouvelle, a modern part of town, which greatly adds to its authentic ancient atmosphere and charm. It has a population of around 70,000 but retains its small market town character. Taroudant remains a traditional Berber fortified  town enclosed by its ramparts which are the best preserved in Morocco, nearly 6 kilometres long with bastions and nine gates that still remain intact.

A perfect way to see the town walls is to take a horse drawn caleche or hire a bicycle. It was an important staging and trading post on the ancient camel trading route and there is still a small tannery outside the ramparts selling products made from camel hide such as leather bags,sandals and belts. The town is well known for its quality leather products. Its souks are welcoming and relaxed and excellent value for discerning shoppers, especially for local crafts and Berber and Tuareg jewellery, for which it is renowned. Prices here are significantly less than in the big cities like Marrakec and Fes. There are souks near each of the two main squares, Assarag and Talmoklate. There is also a weekly souk outside the city walls, near the new university district. Taroudant has always benefited from the diverse agricultural produce from the Souss  and remains a local market town  .The Berber market, called Jnane al-Jaami, sells spices and dried fruits but mostly clothes and household goods. The Arab souk, however, specialises in handicrafts such as terracotta, wrought iron, pottery, brass and copper, leather and carpets, rugs and jewellery. It is a place to gain a real insight into Morocco's everyday culture and environment. It has a very equitable climate in winter and in summer it is cooled by the current from the Canaries. It is therefore no surprise that Taroudant is home to some of the best hotels in the south of Morocco; they include the the exclusive haunt of the rich and famous, the Hotel Gazelle D'Or, which began as hunting lodge for a French baron in the 1920's and was converted into a hotel after the  Second World War, it has superb grounds.

Other well known hotels include the Dar Zitoun and the Hotel Palais Salam and there is a full range of hotel accommodation in town. The Riad al Hossoun also comes highly recommended and has a superb garden and views of the Atlas Mountains. Activities outside Taroudant include visiting Berber villages in the foot hills of the High Atlas and Anti Atlas mountains and the Oases and experiencing the wild life and birds in the Souss Massa National Park The village of Tioute 36 kms from Taroudant has a Kasbah on a hill which has been partly converted into a restaurant area with a pool which is alluring in the summer heat. The ancient fortified village of Freija is 11 km from Taroudant also has a Kasbah, now the Riad Freija.

For More Information on a Tarodaunt 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.

Morocco's Great Ecolodges & Mountain Hotels, Your Morocco tour Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 25, 2013 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (1)

 [/caption] There are a number of Eco lodges (Atlas Mountain Hotels) in Morocco which offer travelers the opportunity  to  escape the urban environment and enjoy the beauty  of its countryside and the rural communities. The Kasbah Toubkal at Imilil  60 km from Marrakech is one of the most famous. A converted Kasbah, it sits on a hill and is a ten minute walk from the village. Kasbah Toubkal surrounded by the mountains and a blissful Mountain Hotel worth more then a one night stay. It serves as a lodge for those planning to climb Mount Toubkal but it is also a brilliant getaway. Sitting on the terrace looking out at the surrounding countryside while at Kasbah Toubkal is a stunning  experience. There is also a mountain lodge, gitabpe, run by Kasbah Toubkal for those who want to stay further up in the mountains. The Kasbah or gitape is run by locals from the village and a proportion  of the money earned goes to the village to support education and health services. The Kasbah is very much part of  the local life and provides much needed employment. The  Kasbah is run on sustainable lines and isa centre for many many activities such as biking as well as mountainerring and trekking. It recently sponsored a rubbish collection day clearing the approaches of Mount Toubkal from accumulated rubbish that had built up over the years

The Atlas Kasbah near Agadir in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas mountains  is an Eco lodge that also offers a taste of Berber life and is surrounded by varied and beautiful Moroccan landscapes .It  is high on a hill with a panoramic view of the countryside. The 11-bedroom lodge uses solar power for 80% of its energy, has solar-heated showers, a chlorine-free pool and a herb and vegetable garden. As well as views of the Atlas mountains there is the opportunity to meet the local Berber  communities  in the surrounding countryside. Members of the local community work at the lodge and cook traditional tagines and other dishes. The village of Tanefeest and the Atlas Kasbah lie in the Souss-Massa-Drâa region in the Unesco argan tree biosphere reserve and it is possible to visit an Argan oil factory and watch the production process. Further afield there are a number of day trips to the ancient town of Taroudant and the  beaches along the coast from Agadir.

Dar Ksar Shama, Agdz

Also in the South of Morocco is Ksar Shama in the village of  Ouirgane with 20 rooms in 15 acres of land. Ouirgane is close to the Atlas mountains and is a haven of peace and tranquility with many routes in the beautiful  scenary which allows trekkers to wander amongst the local communities and the Toubkal National Park. The Eco Lodge dar Itrane at  Douar Imelghas two hours drive from Azilal  and four hours from Marrakech in the heart of the  of the beautiful Ait Bougmez valley in the High Atlas mountains.Dar Itrane is a 17-room-cultural ecolodge dedicated to the promotion and protection of the Berber Culture in the High Atlas of Morocco at an altitude of 1850m/6000 ft, close to the MGoun Mountains Range.The lodge is traditionally built  and blends with the local houses of the Bougmez valleyand has a library dedicated to Berber culture. It is an environment friendly building with waste management and water consumption management. At an altitude of 1,800m (6,000 feet), Dar Itrane and the Bougmez Valley enjoy a fine climate, allowing journeys almost all year round. There is a traditional Hammam  and comfortable living rooms, patios, and roof terraces offering a excellent views over the valley. Going further south there are a number of Eco lodges in the desert and Oases. These include Oasis Bab el Oued in Agdz in the Draa Valley Palm groves witht 5 rooms at the heart of a palmgrove with a an organic orchard and a garden of aromatic and medicinal plants . Activites such as hiking, mule treks and mountain biking are on offer. Close by is Kasbah Timidarte . This is a pilot project for rural tourism located 15km from Agdz in the Draa Valley. The Kasbah has been restored with respect to local tradition to be transformed into a guesthouse. The Ksar El Khorbat, Tinejad is near the Todra Gorges It is guest house with a museum, and a workshop for craft women. it is a model of ecotourism in Morocco and is a fully restored adobe kasbah.

For More Information on Morocco's Mountain Hotels in Toubkal & Ecolodges 

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 Great Ecolodges & Mountain Hotels, Your Morocco tour Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 25, 2013 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

 [/caption] There are a number of Eco lodges (Atlas Mountain Hotels) in Morocco which offer travelers the opportunity  to  escape the urban environment and enjoy the beauty  of its countryside and the rural communities. The Kasbah Toubkal at Imilil  60 km from Marrakech is one of the most famous. A converted Kasbah, it sits on a hill and is a ten minute walk from the village. Kasbah Toubkal surrounded by the mountains and a blissful Mountain Hotel worth more then a one night stay. It serves as a lodge for those planning to climb Mount Toubkal but it is also a brilliant getaway. Sitting on the terrace looking out at the surrounding countryside while at Kasbah Toubkal is a stunning  experience. There is also a mountain lodge, gitabpe, run by Kasbah Toubkal for those who want to stay further up in the mountains. The Kasbah or gitape is run by locals from the village and a proportion  of the money earned goes to the village to support education and health services. The Kasbah is very much part of  the local life and provides much needed employment. The  Kasbah is run on sustainable lines and isa centre for many many activities such as biking as well as mountainerring and trekking. It recently sponsored a rubbish collection day clearing the approaches of Mount Toubkal from accumulated rubbish that had built up over the years

The Atlas Kasbah near Agadir in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas mountains  is an Eco lodge that also offers a taste of Berber life and is surrounded by varied and beautiful Moroccan landscapes .It  is high on a hill with a panoramic view of the countryside. The 11-bedroom lodge uses solar power for 80% of its energy, has solar-heated showers, a chlorine-free pool and a herb and vegetable garden. As well as views of the Atlas mountains there is the opportunity to meet the local Berber  communities  in the surrounding countryside. Members of the local community work at the lodge and cook traditional tagines and other dishes. The village of Tanefeest and the Atlas Kasbah lie in the Souss-Massa-Drâa region in the Unesco argan tree biosphere reserve and it is possible to visit an Argan oil factory and watch the production process. Further afield there are a number of day trips to the ancient town of Taroudant and the  beaches along the coast from Agadir.

Dar Ksar Shama, Agdz

Also in the South of Morocco is Ksar Shama in the village of  Ouirgane with 20 rooms in 15 acres of land. Ouirgane is close to the Atlas mountains and is a haven of peace and tranquility with many routes in the beautiful  scenary which allows trekkers to wander amongst the local communities and the Toubkal National Park. The Eco Lodge dar Itrane at  Douar Imelghas two hours drive from Azilal  and four hours from Marrakech in the heart of the  of the beautiful Ait Bougmez valley in the High Atlas mountains.Dar Itrane is a 17-room-cultural ecolodge dedicated to the promotion and protection of the Berber Culture in the High Atlas of Morocco at an altitude of 1850m/6000 ft, close to the MGoun Mountains Range.The lodge is traditionally built  and blends with the local houses of the Bougmez valleyand has a library dedicated to Berber culture. It is an environment friendly building with waste management and water consumption management. At an altitude of 1,800m (6,000 feet), Dar Itrane and the Bougmez Valley enjoy a fine climate, allowing journeys almost all year round. There is a traditional Hammam  and comfortable living rooms, patios, and roof terraces offering a excellent views over the valley. Going further south there are a number of Eco lodges in the desert and Oases. These include Oasis Bab el Oued in Agdz in the Draa Valley Palm groves witht 5 rooms at the heart of a palmgrove with a an organic orchard and a garden of aromatic and medicinal plants . Activites such as hiking, mule treks and mountain biking are on offer. Close by is Kasbah Timidarte . This is a pilot project for rural tourism located 15km from Agdz in the Draa Valley. The Kasbah has been restored with respect to local tradition to be transformed into a guesthouse. The Ksar El Khorbat, Tinejad is near the Todra Gorges It is guest house with a museum, and a workshop for craft women. it is a model of ecotourism in Morocco and is a fully restored adobe kasbah.

For More Information on Morocco's Mountain Hotels in Toubkal & Ecolodges 

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.

Hiking the Ourika Valley, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 24, 2013 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

 

The Ourika valley is 30 km from Marrakech and is one of the best places to visit in Morocco for hiking in the Atlas Mountains and seeing its unique countryside. Getting there by grand taxi of bus or one of the many tourist travel companies is easy. The valley starts at Souk Tnine de l'Ourika leading on to the village of Arhbalou then on to Tazzidfount leading up to the trekking area of Adrar Yagour which has prehistoric rock carvings. trekking further afield ahould be undertaken with a guide,equipment and proper planning. Trekking is easily arranged in the Ourika Valley, and can be anything from a day’s walk into the foothills to a trek lasting several days. It is unsurpasssed for natural beauty and its terraced hillsides lead off into a world of adventure amongst the local villages of mud bricked walls. There are numerous walking trails weaving their way through the valley.Trekking in the valley can involve a variety of activities including rock climbing, birdwatching and mountain biking which is especially popular on the roads through the forests of the Toubkal Natural Park. The ruins of the kasbah Dar Caid Ouiriki the origninal house of the Caid of Ourika across the valley from the souk of Tninede l'Ourika at the entrance of the valley beckon as a first trek among the poplar trees and weeping willows and the lush green fields and farms.   

There are again numerous expeditions that you can enjoy walking from the Kasbah Bab Ourika, which is amongst the best accommodation in the area from short strolls through villages and aromatic gardens to longer hikes taking in forests and rivers.There are numerous expeditions that you can enjoy walking from the Kasbah Bab Ourika, which is the amongst the best accommodation in the area from short strolls through villages and gardens to longer hikes taking in forests, rivers and waterfalls. During the hot summers in Marrakech the valley is an escape to the cooler environs of the Ourika river andthe surrounding hillsides and mountains. The fields and livestock provide a living for their families and the trekker can experience their daily lives walking alongside donkeys and carts, with little children playing in the fields. To trek and absorb the imposing majesty of the surrounding mountains Setti Fatma 20 kms upthe valley is the gateway to the mountain ranges. There is an important four day moussem festival in August in Setti Fatma which is a very colourful and lively event with its souks selling traditional fare. Passing by the shrine and the waterfalls you can walk out on the stone tracks amongst the mountains of the High Atlas.The summit of Jebel Toubkal(4,167 metres) the highest peak in North Africa towers above the valley.It is possible to trek to Mount Toubkal via Setti Fatma to Timichi and Oumkaimeden, it takes about 5 hours.The more usual appraoch to Jebel Toubkal is via Asni. Othertreks from Setti Fatma include Adrar Meltzen via Tourcht and the Oued Zat region by the Tizi n'Tilst. There are numerous trekking routes but these are quite arduous and trekkers should be fit and accompnied by a guide.These include the Taska n'Zat-Arjout peaks and the Tizi Tzarzit. The chance to meet the mountain people in their enchanting rural communities adds to the experience which can be experienced during a day trip from Marrakech. The ski resort of Oukaimeden is the other main tourism location in the Ourika valley. On a good day the views over the plains surrounding Marrakech can be stunning.The resort has a number of ski slopes and hotels.The period for sking is February to April. There are walking trails from Oumkaimeden but these should only be attempted during the summer season because of snowfalls in winter. The three hour trek to Tachddirt is relatively easy. The world of the mountainpeople and their villages is a complete contrast to the life of the cites and villages of the plains.

For More Information on Hiking in the Ourika Valley  

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 Excavation at Aghmat, Morocco?s Medieval Capital

Posted by Alecia Cohen on December 23, 2012 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

 

The Medieval  site  of Aghmat can be found beside the modern village of Ghmat which is 30 km south east of Marrakech in the northern foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Professor Ron Messier, Professor Emeritus Middle Tenessee State University and Senior Lecturer in history at Vanderbilt University and his codirector Professor Abdallah Fili faculte des letters Universite d’El Jadida have been following a trail of gold a it was part of the camel caravan routes from sub-Saharan Africa through the ancient city of Sijilmassa which Ron Messier’s team excavated through to Morocco’s Medieval Capital, Aghmat. Coins minted in Sijilmassa have been  found in  an excavation in Jordan and Aghmat too minted coins for the Almoharavid empire which stretched into Spain. The international archaeological program has been studying Aghmat Since June 2005 Medieval texts suggest  that Aghmat existed before advent of Islam in the 7th Century. It flourished under the Idrissids  in the 8th and 9th centuries and attained the rank of an Amazight city state in the late 10th Century. It became a capital under the Almoravid dynasty from 1056 to 1070 when the Almoravids moved their capital to Marrakech. Aghmat  gradually declined in competition to Marrakech. It was an important city for routes through the Atlas Mountains on the trans Saharan trade and attracted scholars from Ifriqiyya (Tunisia) and Andalusia. The site contains the tombs the Andalusian kings al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad of Seville and Abdallah ibn Bulukhin of Granada. Zaynab Nafzawiyya settled in Aghmat married three successive rulers,the independent Maghrawa emir and the first two Almoravid emirs. Aghmat consisted of two towns Aghmat Ourika and Aghmat Haylana home to Bani Masmuda tribesmen. It was a rich city fully irrigated and minting gold currency for  the Almoravids.   

The archaeological excavations have  so far revealed a hammam , a palace and a mosque.the archaeological process of discovery is aided by modern equipment which can identify the ancient foundations which are now under ground. Ancient texts also describe the city providing valuable clues. The excavations have been conducted to ensure preservation as well as revealing what was buried beneath the surface. The hammam, the first structure to be excavated is remarkably well preserved and fragile areas have been supported whilst respecting the original integrity of the building and its original materials. When Aghmat declined and the hammam fell out of use it began a second life as a pottery and the excavation discovered the potter’s  wheel. The palace was a typical Andalusian palace of the 14th Century and at the end of the 2011 excavation  a separate level revealed occupation from the 9th -12th Century under the Almoravids when Aghmat was their capital. The mosque which was  definitively confirmed during the 2011 excavation was founded by Wattas ibn Kardus in 859AD. There were several phases to its construction. It was found to have a moveable minbar on wooden rails  the only other of its kind was found in the mosque at the ancient city of  Sijilmassa.The team also found an Islamic inscription from the Koran as they did in Sijilmassa. The inscription reads “God is the light of the heavens and the earth”

In April 2007 the Aghmat Foundation was founded by a group of patrons under the leadership of Moulay Abdellah Alaoui to provide financial support for further excavations and the construction of a museum for the artifacts that have been found and for conservation and preservations of the excavations.In 2009 a partnership agreement between the Aghmat Foundation and the Moroccan Ministryof Culture which delegates to the Foundation matters of managing archaeological research, conservation and protection of the excavated remains and  the opening of the site to the public. It is easy to visit the site of Aghmat close to the village of Ghmat and the archeological work is a testimony to the close cooperation between the Moroccan Ministry Culture and The United States. Excavation work continues each season and Professor Messier is working hard to achieve more sponsorship to support the continuing  discovery process,  which is more difficult since 2008  during the current economic downturn.

For more information about the Excavation at Aghmat, Marrakech Morocco or a Marrakech Tour 

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.

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