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5 Tips for Travelling in Morocco – Pt 1

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If you have the opportunity to travel to Morocco, I would highly recommend it.  Morocco is an intricate mix of old meets new and a country where the culture is entrenched in religion and its religion intertwined in its culture. While everyone has their own advice on travel in general, these are five tips I would like to offer.

Tip 1: See the traditional Morocco

As I mentioned Morocco is a country where old meets new and the reality is if all you see are shopping malls and fast food outlets you may have well stayed at home. While malls and suburbs can be equated to what we see anywhere, behind the tall medina walls lives an intricate web of markets, traditional mosques and an age of a time past. Find yourself a great guide who will take you around the country showing you the great treasures Morocco has to share; many of these being places off the traditional tourist path. If you are fortunate you may get to experience the life of a nomad, or wait as a shepherd drives his goats across a road and down the mountain-side

Tip 2: Watch your step in the labyrinth of the markets

The markets are teeming with life; including produce! Vendors seem to pop out from everywhere trying to ply their trade and some can be quite persistent.  If you’re interested in buying, my best advice would be to never take the first offer. Vendors expect to haggle and barter, but don’t forget this is their livelihood so don’t be too greedy.

Look carefully for there is some quality merchandise to be purchased; wonderful leather goods and garments, to name but a couple. The other side of the markets that may not be first apparent is the labyrinth of turns, twists and alley-ways exist.  Be careful, it is extremely easy to get lost!

The markets of Marrakesh are unique. During the day it is an open, empty square but the late afternoon sees it erupt into life with a huge range eateries, stalls and performers; including snake charmers and dancers.

The other side of the markets that may not be first apparent is the labyrinth of turns, twists and alley-ways exist.  Be careful, it is extremely easy to get lost!

The markets of Marrakesh are unique. During the day it is an open, empty square but the late afternoon sees it erupt into life with a huge range eateries, stalls and performers; including snake charmers and dancers.

Travelling in Morocco – Pt 2

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Tip 3: When it comes to accommodation, look to the Riads.

Rather than stay in a hotel; one that you’d find anywhere in the world, do yourself a favour and find one of Morocco’s beautiful riads to stay in.  These are more traditional dwellings can be quite opulent on the inside. Moroccans pay far more attention to how dwellings look on the inside, with little importance placed on the outside. So don’t worry about what the outside looks like; if you do your homework and find one that comes recommended, the inside will be great.

And the food ….. well that’s simply amazing

Tip 4: Organise an overnight camel ride to the Sahara

A trip out into the Sahara is a must! Do it in style on the back on a camel, which is about a three hour trip, but well worth a few bumps and bruises you may acquire on the way. And don’t sleep in!! The sunrises in the Sahara are spectacular; the colour and silence are amazing.

Tip 5: Movies buffs be on the lookout!

Most people may be unaware that that nearly 100 feature movies have been shot, either wholly or in part, in Morocco.  These range from epics such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), to The Mummy and of course his return.  Similarly you’ll find scenes from Troy, and Alexander, while if you look closely below I’m sure you’ll recognise the location as used in Gladiator.

 
 
 
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Of course the site depicted is Ait Ben Haddou which is a World Heritage listed UNESCO site. Those that had a look at the caption would notice that this was also used during the filming of Game of Thrones. For the GoT fans out there, Morocco holds a number of surprises in terms of locations. While travelling up the west coast of Morocco a spot not to be missed is Essaouira. This is a port city well known for its fishing and street markets, though Game of Thrones fans will surely recognise the castle ramparts when we first met the ‘Unsullied’.

Morocco is a photographer’s delight offering such a variety of landscapes, people and lifestyles. Always keep your camera handy though it is wise, if not essential, to ask people first before taking their photo.  Many individuals refuse to have their image taken , based on cultural beliefs.