Blogs from Morocco, Africa - page 2

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Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 22nd 2014

I tried hard to truly like it, to fall head over heels for its seductive offerings of bustling medinas, evocative kasbahs, soaring mountains, Saharan landscape and bustling people. I wanted to be blown away by it but it never quite got there for me; like a B list celebrity clambering out of a taxi without underwear and legs akimbo she tried hard to flash me her wares, but ultimately it lacked the appeal to hold my attention for too long. Admittedly I was negative to begin with, as I joined the hordes of people queuing up on the Easyjet and Ryanair style budget airline I realised what a mass tourism destination I was heading to, I have flown on many planes where I have been the only non native travelling, but scanning around these queues I ... read more
Man working in tannery-Fez
Marrakech main square by night
100m dune in Sahara, the dots at the top are people!

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes April 21st 2014

First up, a (belated) Happy Easter to you all. I couldn’t be bothered to write up yesterday, as we spent the evening eating Easter Dinner at my Travel Buddy’s friends’ place (turns out there are a lot of westerners living in Fes) and well, it was more fun than typing at a computer (Easter cake rocks!). The bonus is that today it’s a bumper edition on Fes Medina, as I prepare to pack my bags and head on to Casablanca for my flight home tomorrow morning. I introduced Fes-El-Bali as feeling big (here: http://www.travelblog.org/Africa/Morocco/F-s-Boulemane/Fes/blog-840053.html). Well after 2 days wandering through this labyrinth (getting lost often) I can say that it most certainly is! It is built up the sides of a river valley and thus the contours add a level of enduring charm, and an easy ... read more
Detail - Medresa Bou Inania
Lamp & Minaret
The Courtyard - Medresa Bou Inania

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Tangier April 21st 2014

The campsite in Moulay was nice enough, but when the book claimed it was near a flamingo nesting site, it lied, sort of. There is a flamingo nesting site but you can't see it from the site, in fact the only way to see it is via a local boat trip (as in a local with a tiny fishing boat), which, as it is I don't believe would be worth doing, as I suspect there are only a couple of tame birds over there. As it was, when we walked back towards the trucks from the edge of the site, the winds had picked up a lot and collected all the dust with it, making the walk back a bit nasty. Then during the night it rained quite heavily on and off all the way through ... read more
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Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat April 21st 2014

2014-04-20 - We finally have arrived in Casablanca, Morocco after 21 hours of travelling (Calgary-Montreal-Paris-Casablanca). We took the train from the Casablanca Airport to Casa Voyagers station. The infrastructure here is quite shocking. You see some places that are nice and livable but you also see others that you think are condemned, as they look like they are going to fall down with the slightest breeze but people are still living in them. We got off the train and we were going to walk to our house we rented but could not get our orientation so we decide to take a taxi. It was even a bit tricky for our driver as not one street (that I seen) had signs identifying what road you are on or crossing...not sure how they do it here but man, ... read more
Kasbah des Oudayas
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Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Volubilis April 19th 2014

Volubilis is Morocco’s foremost Roman site, and conveniently for me on this trip it is located not far from Moulay Idriss. Now, one can take a taxi, bus or one of three walking routes to reach Volubilis from Moulay. Being pristine mountain scenery dotted with little villages and great views, and being me, we (jointly!) decided that of the three routes (very short (3km), short (5km) and long (7km - apparently) to Volubilis a longish day hike would be rather nice……at least before we went to bed yesterday evening. This morning was also market day in Moulay, and seemingly the entire of the surrounding villages were descending on the town that morning, so we decided that combining a visit to this spectacle with a visit to the ancient ruins, whilst taking in some scenery in the ... read more
Villagers Emerge from the Fog
Day of the Triffids?
Forum Arches (and Storks), Volubilis

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Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Mohammédia April 19th 2014

Nice drive up to the camp site from Ouzoud, with Dad's truck able to go along at 60 without issue, we made the camp site by 3pm. Though unfortunately the co-ordinates in the book put us in the middle of a building site, and no they wouldn't let us camp there, but they knew where we should be and told us how to get there. At Marrakesh, the reception could order taxis for us and organise tours if need be, but not this place. We had to walk up to the main road and hail one Moroccan style. Attempt number one failed due to a large language barrier, attempt number two involved a local security guard, two passers by and the Lonely planet travel guide, but we got our taxi. The next problem was I miss ... read more
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Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes April 18th 2014

Back on my travels, and thankful for budget flights, I braved the world of Ryanair once again and have joined up with my travel buddy from Tunisia for Easter, this time in in Fes-El-Bali (that’s the old quarter of Fes, as in famous for the hats), Morocco. Well, aside from bright red, tasselled headgear it appears what Fes-El-Bali should be famous for is that it is the world’s most well preserved medieval Arab city. This is a vast labyrinth of ancient streets, a real city, a working city, where donkeys and horses ply the streets in place of cars with the call of “bekel” hollered at anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way (all pedestrians, the streets are narrow!). “Bekel” roughly translates as “get out of the way or I will run you down”, not ... read more
Detail on the Doorstep of Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
A Deserted Tala'a Kebira
Door Detail

Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Moulay Idriss April 18th 2014

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun lies in the hills, around 20km north of the former royal city of Meknes, itself around 100km east of Fes, and is a holy city, a pilgrimage site, centred on the tomb of the cities founder, and whom lends his name. Moulay Idriss the man, had a bit of a cult following by all accounts and when he died, a great mausoleum was built in the hills, a visit to which these days is worth 1/5thof that to Mecca in the Muslim world. Now, if you are building a religious pilgrimage site, one pre-requisite is that the site itself must have a special feel, and a very a special setting, and since the Muslim world keeps Muslim monuments for Muslims only, this is precisely the reason we travelled out to this remarkable corner ... read more
Shopping in La Grand Place
Cooking Kefta
Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, Morocco

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 17th 2014

Well even though we had an early start, thanks to a damn chicken that had been squawking since 4am, we were still second to last to leave the campsite. Once under way it all went quite smooth, even when the mountain pass started climbing up ridiculously high. With 30 miles left we stopped at a small cafe for lunch, which had the most amazing view from the rear terrace. Once in Marakesh we hit traffic almost as bad as Fes, only this time round it was still daylight so you could at least see everyone. Got to the campsite in one piece, but my god it was busy, I have never seen so many campervans. Next day we set about camouflaging the trucks in wet laundry which I think went pretty well. By then our taxi ... read more
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Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Todra Gorge April 14th 2014

Well today went as well as yesterday, even if I feel like we pushed a bit too far at the end, it does mean we have gained another day. The morning started of ok and we started our accent of the Dades gorge in search of the off road crossing that goes between the two gorges. The first time I thought we had reached the turning, we came to a dead end within 200 meters. The turning didn't seem right when we took it, but because they were constructing a new road crossing, I just assumed this was the reason, not that it was wrong. Luckly a local guy had seen us and told us we hadn't reached the turning and that it was actually another 2km further up the road. This time it seemed more ... read more
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