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OMG so beautiful Marrakech! Didn’t you read my post about this beautiful city? Check it out here Marrakech in the meantime I go on telling you about the incredible tours of Morocco that I did.
I decided to arrange my tour days with a local agency. I thought to rent a car and go on my own but honestly drive in Morocco is crazy not for the streets because they are good but for the number of people, cars, buses, donkeys and horses and everyone moves so fast, it is mental. At least, I am delighted with this decision because the tours have been unique, I saw a lot of exciting things, and the guy that brought me around was excellent, always ready to answer my questions and pleased and proud to show me his land.
Day trip 1 : Essaouira
During the ride to Essaouira: It takes almost 3 hours to reach Essaouira from Marrakech, but there are also some stops-over to do. The first is absolutely an Argan Oil Cooperative (they are different from the Cooperative in the Atlas Mountains) where you can see the ladies of the Cooperative while producing Argan Oil cream, shampoo and even peanut butter. For the second stop, you have to be lucky because not every day you can see the goats climbing the Argan trees and try to reach the fruit to eat them.
Essaouira was one of the three days trips from Marrakech, I heard and read a lot about this blue city, and I have to say that it is fantastic. The town is authentic and traditional inside the wall of the Medina and more touristic outside, thanks to the enormous beach and the cold and blue ocean. With my tour included a local guide, the guide is not necessary to visit the city, but essential if you want to learn something particular about this place, something that only local people can know. My visit began from the port with the typical blue little boats, that day it was full of people selling the catch of the day, very chaotic but everything was peaceful looking at a fantastic view of the ocean and three islands. The most famous is the island of Mogador because it is a natural reserve with many species of protected animals; indeed, it is not possible to access undisturbed the environment.
After the harbour, we moved into the Medina, just entered the Medina, in small streets we found the fish market, the fantastic textile shops, the spices… and evly one door open. It was a shop where this older man creates the typical musical instrument the Gnaoua. He showed me how he builds them, and then he started to play it, and the sound was so lovely that it is still in my head. After a proper fish lunch, I decide to spend the rest of the day at the beach. It was very windy, so I stayed at the bar in front of the ocean to just chill out and watch the people enjoying the wind and the cold ocean water. As you can imagine, Essaouria beach is home to windsurfing and surfing, but not only there is also the possibility to ride a horse at the beach, or dromedary and even a quad. It is a nice place even to do a relaxing vacation at the beach. . Thanks to my guide, we arrived in this small street with on.
Day trip 2: Ait Ben Haddou and Ouarzazate
Another day trip has been Ait Ben Haddou and Ouarzazate. It is a little crazy going for just one day, they are far away, almost 4 hours from Marrakech but all the trip from the beginning to the end worth every single mile. The Grand part of the street is up and down to the High Altlas Mountain until we reached the highest point of the mountains, then we started to go through the crucial valleys, like the almond valley or the prickly pear region. These valleys are stunning all these green and big trees between red mountains without any kind of shrub, it was surprising.
The first stage has been Ouarzazate. Ouarzazate called the door of the Sahara desert because it is only a few hours from the desert. The city is famous for the Taourirt kasbah, but also the cinema; indeed in this city, a lot of movies were shot like the Mummies or Gladiator and many others. Why a lot of filmmakers decided to recorded at Ouarzazate? Well, especially for two main reasons: first it is a very cheap city even to make a film and second the environment, this place has everything for every kind of movie, like mountains, rivers, valleys and the desert.
The second leg of this trip brought me to Ait Ben Hoddou. This place is important for the huge and well-kept kasbah. The kasbah was important because it was in the middle of the only commercial street from the north to the south and it was used principally for collected taxes from passing caravans full of salt and dates. The kasbah was built at the top of the mountain and surrounded by giant walls. You can walk around the kasbah up and down the hill and if you kindly ask and paying something you can also visit the inside of the kasbah at seeing how they look like.
I liked this trip especially at Ait Ben Haddou, the small village was nice and the kasbah so particular and interesting, but the best part for me has been the ride with a dromedary all around the kasbah with a hilarious guy that took almost 50 pictures of me from every angle.
During the ride back to Marrakech: As I already told you I was so damn lucky with my guide that during the way back to my Riad he proposed me an extra stop and since I love discovery I accepted it. I went to a Berber village in the High Atlas Mountain called Telouet. Fortunately, I said yes to the extra stop because there is not only a wonderful kasbah but the history behind is even better. The kasbah belonged to El Glaoudi a wealthy pasha family that conditioned the history of Morocco; they became famous when they saved the sultan life from a blizzard, they gave him food and a safe place for many days until the snow was gone. The Sultan decided to thanks El Glaoudu for the hospitality. He gave him the command of the High Atlas tribe, some arms, a lease, and in few times they expanded their borders significantly in the south of Morocco. During the years all the family became more and more important and influential principally the son Thami El Ghaoudi, he had a power greater than the Sultan himself, that, according to the conventions of the protectorate, was deprived of all his ministers. In 30-40 years the pasha was at the top of his glory, he was known all around Europe and started to manipulate the principal market to permitted his luxurious and full life; he died in 1956 after he tried a coup against the king that wanted the Independence form France. The kasbah belonged to this pasha, and the interiors are lovely, colourful and particular. Worth seeing it.
Day trip 3: Ouzoud
My last day trip and also my last full day in Morocco was at the Ouzoud waterfall. Even on my final trip, I went with a tour, and I had a guide, I was fortunate with the tour and guide because even here I did a non-tourist walk around the mountains before arriving at the waterfall. I walked around a single mountain from the top to the base, crossed a river and then reached near a small waterfall, and after a few more steps, I arrived at the great waterfall. The walk was fascinating; my guide explained to me a lot about the villages and the people around these mountains. I remember particularly well about the "Mexican village". It is called Mexican because it is all day in the sun, and the citizens use big caps to cover themself. My guide explained to me also that the village was significant for the minaret school and a lot of young men travelled here from all over Africa to learn the jobs.
While I was walking around the mountains, between the olives trees, he also explained to me how important is this cultivation for the people, every winter all the people of the village start to collect the olive in a way very organized. Indeed every family has their own space that has to manage, usually, the man shakes the tree with a stick, and the women gather fruit from the ground, and after that, they can move into another, but always in an orderly fashion; more than one village, this one, in the Atlas Mountains, is a cooperative where everyone has a job to do for the good of the community.
The environment along all the walking was fantastic to take your breath away. Big and green trees, small olive trees, Carrubba trees, the sound of the water falling from the top of the mountains, the blue water of the waterfall and the jangle of wild monkeys have made all the ride very lovely and absorbed in nature. What to do in Ouzoud?? Chill out listening to the sound of nature (so don't go where there are all the people), take a bath, if you have the opportunity, take pictures from every single different view and must to do, search for the wild monkey.
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