FROM MARRAKECH TO AIT BEN HADDOU
<< Tours / Mustapha Noughou
Ait-ben-haddou day trip highlights:
Cross the Tizi-n-Tichka pass in the Atlas Mountains.
Visit the Film Studios, the cinema museum and Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate.
Visit the UNESCO world heritage Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou.
Discover and learn more about the old caravan trading.
Have you heard about Thami El Glaoui known as the Lord of the Atlas? Learn more about him and his family.
I believe that Marrakesh ought to be earned as a destination. The journey is the preparation for the experience. Reaching it too fast derides it, makes it a little less easy to understand.
- Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams
Ait Ben-Haddou is an ancient, fortified, red earthen village along a former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. Arriving from Marrakesh, Ait Ben-Haddou sits as if a mirage, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Its earthen buildings hold memories of this once bustling trading post; a welcome sight to the nomadic travellers trekking across the Sahara Desert.
FROM MARRAKESH TO CASABLANCA
Casablanca, Morocco's economic capital, is located on the Atlantic Ocean, north-west of Morocco, 340 km from the Strait of Gibraltar. With a population of nearly 4 million, Casablanca is Morocco's largest city, industrial, economic and naval centre, one of the largest man-made ports in the world.
I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of witch it can be proud until the end of time. I want to build this mosque on the water, because God's throne is on the water.
- King Hassan II about Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca
Casablanca's image is the original Moroccan style and the twentieth century. It is defined by the blend of modern French urban design of the 20th century, the Spanish-Moroccan style and the coexistence of Art Deco. Casablanca was the first city in the world to take into account its aerial cityscape. Although Casablanca is the one of the most popular tourist destinations in Morocco, it is precisely because of its original atmosphere that we find original places (restaurants, shops) that are designed to serve tourists. Casablanca is the ideal place to get to know Morocco.
FROM MARRAKESH TO ESSAOUIRA
Essaouira, has long been considered as one of the best anchorages of the Moroccan coast. In 1506, the king of Portugal, D. Manuel I, ordered a fortress to be built there. The present city of Essaouira was built during the mid-eighteenth century by the Moroccan King, Mohammed III. Essaouira served as Morocco's principal port, offering the goods of the caravan trade to the world.
Traveling - it gives you home in thousand strange places, then leaves you a stranger in your own land.
- Ibn Battuta (1304 – 1368) - The greatest travellers of all time
The medina is home to many small arts and crafts businesses, notably cabinet making and 'thuya' wood-carving (using roots of the Tetraclinis tree), both of which have been practised in Essaouira for centuries. The fishing harbour, suffering from the competition of Agadir and Safi remains rather small, although the catches (sardines, conger eels) are surprisingly abundant due to the coastal up-welling generated by the powerful trade winds and the Canaries Current. Essaouira remains one of the major fishing harbours of Morocco. Essaouira is also a centre of argan oil production. It has become a tourist attraction due to the tree-climbing goats who are unique to the region, as argan trees are the only type the goats climb.
FROM MARRAKESH TO IMLIL
Imlil, is a village in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It is a good starting point for a trekking holiday or for climbing Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa (4167m). Imlil has a variety of shops and "pensions" as well as being a trail-head village for treks deeper into the mountains including the ascent of Toubkal. As you travel up to Imlil, the countryside around you will transform: from arid dust to green, leafy foliage. The temperature will drop also, a very welcome relief if Marrakesh is hot.
In Morocco never be surprised. If you see a donkey flying, just say Allah is capable of anything.
- Moroccan Proverb
Relax at the cafe until night falls. Mind the mosquitoes though from the river. At sunset, you will hear the sound of the call to prayer. The mosques sound even more ancient and timeless in the mountains, the sound echoing through the hills, the distant villages far down the valley seeming to reply. One of the great delights of the area is to sit on the Kasbah roof eating lunch or taking tea and watching the subtle changes of colour of the surrounding mountains as the sun moves.
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