We enjoyed a crazy (yes I mean it! ) adventure in Morocco last October. Determined to see major cities in Morocco at a fast pace, we embarked on an 8-night nomadic living across Morocco. The cities on our itinerary included: Agadir, Essaouira, Marrakesh, Sahara desert, Ouzoud waterfalls, Casablanca, Rabat, Mekenes, and Fez.
We began with Agadir in the South and finished in Fez (the North) – Approx. 1000 miles covered within these locations.
Agadir is a white washed resort destination, with wide crescents and tranquil beaches. It’s seaside promenade is lined with cafes, restaurants and bars, so you wouldn’t be running out of activities easily.
It’s one of the modern cities in Morocco with easy accessibility to areas of interests like beaches clubs, bars and restaurants. One place you must visit to get a back drop view of the city is Agadir’s hilltop kasbah (also called Oufella) which was destroyed in a 1960 earthquake. However it’s original old walls still stand. (You didn’t think you were going to see nothing, did you?)
Souk el Ahad market is a must visit in Agadir. The souk is the third biggest market in North Africa after Fez and Cairo, well labelled to help tourists navigate their way easily. Great for purchasing leather, spices and hand-made crafts.
Our first stop en route was the ‘Women’s cooperative’, a major Argan oil producer. We were lucky to see the goats on the Argan tree, but the herdsman wasn’t buying the idea and decided to charge us for taking pictures, which we refused to do. Then he sent the goats away haha.
Soon after, we made it to the white and blue fishing port city of Essaouira, also known as the ‘windy city of Africa’ because of the Alizé winds that make it almost impossible to relax on the beach.
The city rose to fame after the Game of Thrones series used it for Astapor’s location .
Besides eating fresh fish, watching the goats on the Argan tree and living on the Game of Thrones filming site, Essaouira didn’t give us much to do (We’ll probably blame it on the strong fishy smell that filled the Essaouiran air).
We disobeyed ‘TLC’ and went chasing waterfalls, not just any but one of Morocco’s natural wonders.
Fortunately, it’s a down hill mountain which is easier than the likes of Ourika (upward hill). You can also use the stairs to exit the waterfalls.
We witnessed the stunning, 360-foot (110-meter) waterfalls as they plunged down rugged cliffs. We couldn’t get enough of the beauty so we boarded a floral boat to take us round the river.
Every hill point here is panaromic and you won’t run out of choices for view points.
Zagora (Sahara Desert)
Also known as the small Sahara, Zagora is highly recommended for those with limited time to explore Morocco. It’s a 7-hour journey from Marrakesh with a first stop for lunch at Ben Ait Haddou (another Game of Thrones site, Yunkai).
We made it to the Sahara before sunset and traded our mini-vans for a 35-mins camel ride. We were welcome with sweet treats and tea, along with some traditional music. Dinner was the best we had ever had and the Moroccan hospitality we received in this desert camp was impeccable.
We ended the night with bonfire and dance, and began the next day very early with some sand dunes exploration.
This is the tourist heart of Morocco and everyone’s favourite city. Famous for it’s landmarks, souks and unending nights out, we spent 3 nights in Marrakesh, and didn’t fail to explore the city’s night life-both modern and traditional.
We made it to the country’s economic capital, and caught the beauty of the Hassan II Mosque at night (one of the reasons you must spend a night in Casablanca).
We visited the Hassan II mosque again in the day time, then the beach and the Morocco mall. After this, we grabbed some tax free shopping. (Bonus tip: Make sure you experience the hand crafted floral ice cream in Amorino).
We visited the political capital briefly and stopped at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and Hassan tower. The highlights of our visit to Rabat were the night street life, the cheap food and the freshly squeezed fruit juices we had.
It wasn’t only the food stalls that were in operation, we also had great bargains on clothes, spices, nuts and much more.
We assumed we could breeze through Meknes for half a day before heading out to Fez, but we were so wrong. Our trouble in paradise began when we struggled to find an English speaking carriage tour guide- We found a guide who claimed he could speak English when he actually couldn’t! Then we had to deal with a rather aggressive donkey that accidentally threw us off the carriage. To top it all, we encountered an old male driver who practically stalked our lives. It was such an experience and we finally settled for a tour of the city 1hr 30 mins later.
We made it to this city later in the afternoon, and couldn’t do so much. The maze medina in Fez is one of the hardest to explore in a hurry but we tried. We made it to the Tannery (leather production), but couldn’t visit more sites because we lost our minivan in the heavy rai (The stall set up around our parking was a pop-up one and wasn’t there anymore by the time we finished. We were so confused lol).
We look forward to returning to Fez in March during our NTTMorocco tour from the 21st to the 28th of March 2018.
As tempting as this journey looks, please don’t do it but if you’re willing very well prepared!!! The reward for this trip was that we got to see so much in a short time. It however left us tired, and almost killed the excitement of looking forward to what the next city had for us.
Also, Google time estimates can’t be trusted;several police on the highways meant drivers have to keep to their low speed limit. There is also an unending road expansion taking place on the way to the Sahara desert which means you can anticipate traffic.
Driving up the hill North and also down South (desert) could add to your journeying time as care has to be taken when driving.
If you however decide to take up this journey or a similar one, please make sure you understand your travel personalities as it’s a traveller’s dream as supposed to a vacationer’s.
PS: You’re welcome