Morocco

“Morocco is a gateway to Africa and a country of dizzying diversity. Here you’ll find epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, sweeping deserts – and warm hospitality” – Lonely Planet”

As I run out of options having visited most of Europe, I had a desire to do something crazy, my mind seems to wonder a lot lately. Where shall I go next? Bam! Morocco came at me hard, like I just got hit with a brick haha. This was going to be my next adventure! So the collaboration with my travel partner in tow, Kala the planning began. Deciding cities, our road map, the activities. We invited 6 other girlfriends to join us on this adventure.

Our trip began in the bustling city of Casablanca! We checked into the beautiful architectural Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche.  Designed by Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet.  Overlooking downtown and the ocean, Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche is a high rise luxury hotel in the heart of the city, situated across from the Hassan II Mosque.  Mixing French elegance with Moroccan accents, the 24-story hotel has 141 rooms and 30 suites with butler service, signature Sofitel My Beds, minibars, Bose Wave audio systems and Lavazza coffee machines.  Accommodations are furnished with contemporary styling in a color palette of white and tan, mixed with Moroccan-infused details, while the bathrooms have rain showers and Lanvin bath amenities.

Our first stop was to visit the none other than the famous Hassan II Mosque. The Only mosque in Morocco that allows non Muslims to enter.

As King Hassan II stated I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud until the end of time … I want to build this mosque on the water, because God’s throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God’s sky and ocean.
This marvel of a structure literally takes your breath away.  The beauty, the mosque, the architecture and the aura that surrounds you is just an experience in itself

And of course who doesn’t love giant doors!

Our dinner choice for the evening was none other than the famous Rick’s Cafe, inspired by the 1942 movie Casablanca.  Lived up the to the hype cause those Lamb Chops were divine!

So onto our next stop with our private driver we hired and arranged with the Sofitel from the USA.  Off to the beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen.  Kala and I decided this location after seeing endless blue photos on Instagram we can honestly say so glad we visited this city.  This is a must stop for anyone visiting Morocco.  No cars allowed within the city.  Chefchaouen is lined with cobalt blue very narrow alleys.  Literally a maze, but the joy of getting lost for the sake of the perfect photo shot is so worth the headache.

After two nights of blue wonderings we were off to our next pit stop on our way to the Sahara Desert.  The intriguing city of Fez or Fes.

The marvel of Fez! Our wonderful driver drops us off outside of the Medina walls and we are greeted by our fabulous hotel staff officials.  I seeked the perfect gem via an intense research online and boy am I glad I found the Palais Amani.  As you walk through the VERY narrow alleys you wonder “Oh Dear, what have I gotten myself into” until the staff opens the entrance door of the hotel and you are just awestruck as to how such a beauty exists within the narrow walls of the Fez Medina.

We hired a local guide whom walked us through the Medina narrating history, daily family life and the charm that this ancient city still withholds tradition.  The feeling of pure joy to see people, families and children content with what little means they have to live by.
One of our stops included the famous Leather Tannery. Hard to imagine this wonder sits within the walls. Of course I had to buy myself a leather pouf, which now sits majestically in my formal living room.

An early morning pick up and we are on our way to highlight of our trip. The Sahara Desert Camp. Yes I was going to Camp! Ok Ok so it was Glamping. A luxury tented camp set up in the middle of the Sahara.  Along the way the weather was rainy and dreary, not what I had hoped for or imagined. Hoping and wishing for the sun to make appearance along our way. I so wanted to see the sun shine upon the dunes to see the orange filter the Sahara is know for. Upon our arrival we were greeted by our camp staff and whisked away in jeeps over sand dunes until we reached our camp. Slam dunk right in the middle of the Sahara Desert.  It had been raining all day so the camp cushions, carpets and furniture were kind of huddled in one heaping mess. Not what I had hoped for again.  It was pretty chilly and windy. We all huddled in one tent, drank wine and laughed. We were pretty cold. Luckily the camp had heated blankets and fitted with hot water showers.
At dinner the camp staff informed us that the rain had held off enough that a campfire and some song and drum beats would happen later that evening.  Wrapped in blankets, listening to African beats it was still a beautiful star filled night. I was told in order to get some great photos I would have to be up early at sunrise and if the weather held up the way it did at night, we could still ride the camels around the dunes. Of course I got up early and the photos shots were all worth it. Here’s the proof!

This is what stories are made of! Adventure, roughing it and actually learning to enjoy it. We shared some pretty great laughter this segment of the trip. Thank god for wine!

We still had a trek to get to our final destination Marrakech, so we still had one more overnight stop on the way there.  Dades Valley was our next stop. Our private tour operator had us set up in a quaint family run hotel and I can honestly tell you it was pretty amazing.  The service and the food were top notch! The rooms, were quaint not extravagant but sufficient for a one night stay.  Our next day was going to be a long with stops at The Tundra Gorge and Ait Ben Haddou.

The Tundra Gorge is a wonder in itself.  A peaceful river meandering through cliff size Canyons ranging up to 1312 feet!  A short walk through the canyon was enough to amaze yourself the existence of such beauty this world really is.

Our next stop is Ait Ben Haddou.  Ok, now I know you’ve seen this place.  It’s a natural movie stage.  Films like “The Mummy”, “The Game Of Thrones”, “Jewel Of The Nile” I could go on and on.  There’s a whole list on Wikipedia.  Little narrow alleys meandering up a hill adorn this set stage.  It’s another definite stop when traveling in Morocco

And finally our last stop before heading back to the USA. We arrive at our luxury villa rental in Marrakech! Found this beautiful home on a luxury villa rental site.  Fully Staffed, with a pool and 5 glorious bedrooms with traditional furnishings.  We opeted to dine in and have our chefs cook for us every night.  It’s the perfect girl round table talk with endless bottles of wine and delectable local fare!
Our next few days were trips to the Jamaa El Fna Square for endless shopping. The hustle and bustle of this square if everything you imagined Morocco would be. If you imagined snake charmers, your right! I can still hear them playing the music to cobra swerving away. You’ll find many souks here and be prepared to be charmed by store vendors hustling for that Dirham.  Keep walking and don’t let them entice you.  It was a delight to go back to the peaceful villa after the commotion this square brings.

Another day spent in Marrakech, was dedicated to sightseeing. Of course fashionable tarts like me just have to visit Yves St Laurent’s home and garden the Jardin Majorelle, right next to the Musee Yves Saint Laurent.  Such a splendid, majestical home and man that blue! Just stunning!

One more fashionable stop The Royal Mansour.  I reserved a tea time there for 4:30 p.m. but they failed to tell me we had to be there by 3:00 p.m. to be finished by 4:30 p.m.  Such a disappointment on their behalf.  Once there we had a few cocktails and took some photo ops. They owed me that at least! HA!

So there you have it! My Morocco guide to fun and happiness! I truly enjoyed this trip with the funnest girls you could ever travel with.

If you need the perfect itinerary, hotels and activities contact me at R.Patel@DreamVacations.com.

I highly do not recommend any inexperienced traveler to try this country on your own. You need expert guidance. The country is still very political and Muslim laws must be abided by. I can help you with rules and regulations.

Hope you enjoyed my guide! Until my next adventure!

Rita


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