KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

LANGUAGE: The two official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber. French is also widely spoken.

CURRENCY: Moroccan Dirham.  It is necessary to carry cash while traveling through Morocco.  Most vendors in the souks are cash only.

WHEN TO GO:  Best time to visit Morocco is during the spring (March to May) or fall (September to October).   During the summer months, the heat is scorching and desert camps are not even in operation.

SAFETY: Pick pocketing and scams are common in the main square of Marrakech.  Keep your guard up in crowded areas.  If you stop to take in a scene in the main square (example: snake charmers), you will be expected to pay and the vendors will be aggressive in getting their payment. 

RESTAURANTS:  Cafe des Espices, Latitude 31, Le Jardin, La Maison Arabe hotel restaurant and Nomad

HOTELS: Les Jardins de la Koutoubia, La Mamounia, Royal Mansour and Erg Chigaga Luxury Desert Camp

ALCOHOL: Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country.  Alcohol is not widely served.

POINTS OF INTEREST IN MARRAKECH: Koutoubia Mosque, Jemaa el-Fnaa, Shopping the Souks in the Medina, Bahia Palace, Jardin Majorelle, High Tea at the Royal Mansour

POINTS OF INTEREST SURROUNDING AREA: Altas Mountains, Ait Ben Haddou,  Glamping in the Sahara Desert

WHAT WE DID

Our week trip to Morocco included four nights in Marrakech sandwiched around a two night desert excursion.

Marrakech is known for its famous maze of souks in the Medina with endless stalls of spices, shoes, pottery, lanterns, argean oil and leather goods.  We spent our first full day browsing the store fronts and brushing up on our bargaining game.  Expect to get lost or at least turned around when venturing into the souks.  We tried using GPS on our phone to help navigate; however, service is limited and not reiable.  Plus, side streets and alleyways may not show up accurately on maps.

Wanting to watch the sunset behind the Koutoubia Mosque, we went in search of the best rooftop view.  We found for a small fee, most stores and restaurants surrounding Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square in the Medina, will allow you access to their terrace or rooftop.

The main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, is packed with action: snake charmers, henna artist, belly dancing, juice stations, pet monkeys. Enjoy the crazy but be aware of pick pocketers and scammers. I let my guard down momentarily and ended up with an unwanted henna tattoo on my hand for which I was expected to pay. Any attraction that you stop to watch or take a picture of, you will be expected to pay.

We opted for a 3 day 2 night adventure into the desert.  Spending our first night in Ouarzazate, a three hour drive outside Marrakech over the Altas Mountains. Unfortunately for us, there was construction on the moutain roads. The roads are being widened with controlled blast being used on the moutain.  Not wanting our car to be trampled by a large boulder, we patiently waited for the blasts to cease.

Finally, we arrived at Ait Ben Haddou several hours behind schedule which cut down on our time to explore the unique village.  We spent the afternoon exploring Ait Ben Haddou, a fortified Berber village used as the filming back drop for scenes in Gladiator and Game of Thrones. The village is very well preserved and still home to families who will graciously give you a tour of their home.  We made our way to the top of the village to watch the sunset.

The next day we drove the remaining way into the desert to our glamping destination at Erg Chigaga Luxury Desert Camp. The last hour and a half of our drive we were off roading through the desert!

We arrived at our camp around 2 in the afternoon and taken to our luxury tent accomodations.  Each tent features a king size bed, separate sitting area, solar powered outlets and a full bathroom with running water. For more details on the desert camp adventure, please see our post, Erg Chigaga Luxury Desert Camp.

The last day was a travel day back to Marrakech. It was a long car ride, over 8 hours, with the first two and a half hours as another off roading adventure. Given, the overall experince, the desert adventure was worth it!

On our last full day in Marrakech, there were several places in the city we wanted to visit: Bahia Palace, Jardin Majorelle, Koutoubia Mosque and High Tea at the Royal Mansour.  Unfortunately, we were both sick to our stomachs.  The riad manager called it the “desert bug”.  Given neither of us were feeling our best, we decided to shorten our list of activities to Bahia Palace in the morning followed by a nap at our riad before High Tea at the Royal Mansour.

Bahia Palace is absolutely goreous, and we were very happy we decided to push through our sickness and tour the property.  Meaning brilliance in Arabic, Bahia Palace stuns with elaborately painted doorways, intricate tile mosaics and beautiful garden courtyards.

High Tea at the Royal Mansour, agrueably the most luxurious hotel in Marrakech, is a great way to enjoy the splendors of the hotel if the high price tag is out of your travel budget (like it was ours!).  Served daily from 3:30 to 6:30pm, you can enjoy a delicious spread of pastries and sweets along with the famous Moroccan mint tea.

We ended our last day with dinner at La Mamounia, another regal resort in Marrakech.  Arriving before our dinner reservations, we wandered the beautiful hotel gardens and enjoyed a beverage while listening to the live jazz music in the main lounge. Churchill Bar is also a great option for a pre or post dinner drink.

On a return trip, we would love to visit  Chefchaouen (The Blue City),   Essaouira and Casablanca.  Morocco is only a short plane ride from many European countries but worlds away in terms of culture, flair and scenery.  There is plenty to do and explore in this country!

Welcome to Mullen it Over!

Hi, we’re Amanda & Kai!

An every day couple trying to see the world and cross off our ever expanding bucket list.

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