Heather C. got a last-minute invite to go to Morocco with dear friends and jumped at the chance to visit. Their trip included visits to Casablanca, Rabat, Fes and the Sahara Desert.
The group set up the trip up with the experts at Africa Adventure Consultants and it was Heather’s first time working with a tour operator. She was grateful to have a guide and driver throughout her journey and that every detail of her trip was already planned out. She found that her guide had great local insight and took care to understand their group’s wants. He then tailored the trip and incorporated elements of interest to the group into the pockets of time in between planned activities.
“Having had this experience, I wouldn’t go to Africa any other way.”
They loved their first stop in Casablanca where they visited its impressive Hassan II Mosque. Half of the structure is over the ocean and they were awed by how the architecture compensates for the moisture and stays intact. They also found the restaurants in Casablanca to be wonderful. They even dropped by Rick’s Café which was built to look like the one in the movie ‘Casablanca’.
The group then visited Morocco’s capital, Rabat. Heather found the melding of cultures, religions and histories here to be eye opening and found the city to be very well-manicured and beautiful. She especially loved their hotel, the Villa Mandarine.
“I highly recommend this place. Homemade orange flower yogurt at breakfast, beautiful pool and grounds and tropical birds in the background. Onsite spa, restaurant and bar. We were spoiled here.”
Ramadan began when they were in Rabat and continued during their time in Fes. Heather enjoyed visiting during Ramadan to see people observing the holiday. They would see locals taking a break to pray while shopping. During sundown in Fes on Friday night, a huge feast commenced. Shops shut down briefly and people prayed in the street.
In Fes they also visited the medina (historical quarter of the city) –
“This is the place to see everything – every kind of shop! We have grocery stores and malls, there they have a school supply kiosk, butcher kiosk, olive kiosk…Everything is fresh – nothing sits overnight. It was extra interesting to see during Ramadan as people shopped for breaking the fast.”
Heather’s top experience in Morocco was visiting the Sahara Desert. The drive itself was a brilliant adventure! They stopped by Roman ruins en route, which they found to be a fascinating and somewhat unexpected experience.
They also drove through the Atlas Mountains where they passed through a town that looked like Switzerland! They saw macaws and wooly long-haired monkeys in the mountains as well. They passed through an oasis, orange groves and a village frequently used as a movie set.
When they were deep in the desert, a dune driver guide picked them up and they were off four-wheeling through the dunes. She had so much fun with her guide exploring the dunes that she ‘laughed until she cried.’ Their overnight in a desert camp was unforgettable. The Bedouin tents had a glamping feel with en suite bathrooms, great bedding and real furniture.
“This place made me speechless. The sites, the staff, the journey to the camp, the feisty camels, the stars, the sunrise and the food....one should not leave this 8-hour drive adventure out! It was totally magical!! And one of our top experiences of the trip. It feels like you’re in a dream.”
“I wouldn’t have been able to plan this own my own and had the quality time I had. Lots of people don’t speak English in Morocco – most speak French or Arabic. Having our guide/translator was very useful…If you don’t make yourself go, you’ll miss out on something remarkable.”
Photos courtesy AAC traveler Heather C.