A rich and varied culture, a cuisine of heady, hearty deliciousness and landscapes that leave you breathless. From the mountains and the Atlas oasis through the long beaches of the Atlantic coast, to the fortified cities, Hollywood film sets and immensely hospitable towns and villages, in Morocco there truly is something for everyone. But if you’re still not convinced, let’s drill down a little, to these; our 5 IDEAL reasons to go to Morocco this year.
ADRENALINE CHASING ACTIVITIES
Though it perhaps isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of thrills and spills, Morocco is in fact an adrenaline junkie’s dream. Water sports fans shouldn’t miss the opportunity to get close to the beaches of the Atlantic coast, in the south of the country, near Essaouira and Sidi Ifni and up to Dakhla, an enclave known worldwide for its surfing and kitesurfing. In fact, the surf in Morocco is as good as it gets and attracts some of the planet’s best. On dry land and not to be outdone in the pulse raising stakes are the sand based extreme sports of the country, namely the dune buggy racing and dune boarding in the Sahara. Still not had your fill? Then river rafting through the canyons and waterfalls on the Ahansal and N’fiss rivers will ensure you get your kicks.
TOURING THE MEDINAS
In Marrakech, Essaouira, Fez or even Tetouan, the medinas are inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list, indicating the charms, curiosities and culture that lies within. Owing to their maze like quality and the shops and cafes which lure you in at every turn, it’s necessary to dedicate a whole day or more to them. We’d recommend going mapless, and simply giving in to getting lost. And remember; haggling is considered a highly playful way to pass the time. Essentially, it’s mandatory. Embrace the madness.
DISCOVERING THE FOOD OF MARRAKECH
An aromatic, heady and highly complex cuisine served for pennies…what more could you want? Indeed, one of Morocco’s greatest draws, and in particular we think, Marrakech, is its abundance of street food stalls; to us, there’s nothing better. Visit the heart of the action – and the beating atrium of the city – at the medina’s central square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. Flames lick high off grills and each meal comes with a side order of theatre. Perfect.
Marrakech is equally comfortable with exquisite restaurants. Treat yourself at Marrakesh’s Le Grand Café de la Poste – a journey back in time to Marrakech’s old post office for a lunchtime treat. Relax on the veranda of this glorious colonial Art Deco bistro and relish the French cuisine with Mediterranean influences or hit local’s favourite special occasion destination Al Fassia.
EXPLORING THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS
The dramatic landscapes of Morocco lend themselves to excursions and nowhere is this truer than in the High Atlas and Middle Atlas. While here, admiring the valleys of Dades or Draa is a must, though you’ll need the support of a local guide to get the full experience. Fortunately, a fair amount of travel agencies now exist in the region able to organize these excursions on foot, with the invaluable local knowledge of guides provided as well as and donkeys that can carry your luggage. This isn’t one to be done alone; water can be scant and temperatures extreme. But as part of a group, this will truly take your breath away.
Music, artists, gastronomy … The Moroccan culture is incredibly diverse and loaded with historical intrigue. This is most succinctly exemplified in the country’s many festivals; cultural, foodie, religious and musical events take place all year round and throughout the country. Some of the top events include Festival Gnaoua in Essaouira, Festival of Sacred Music in the Medina of Fez, (acknowledged by UNESCO), Festival Alegría en Chaouen and many, many more. Get stuck in!