Blogs from Essaouira, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Morocco, Africa - page 4


Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira September 9th 2012

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” – a phrase to live by, even when travelling around the world. Africa, for me, was the undiscovered continent, somewhere that had never been on my radar due to my annual travels around Europe. Turning thirty this year, I was determined to change this and decided to book a trip with G Adventures to Morocco. Why Morocco? Last year’s adventures took me to Turkey, a hybrid European-Asian country, steeped in Islamic traditions, so I thought Morocco was a good foray into Africa, a hybrid European-African country again steeped in similar traditions. After a trans-Atlantic flight from Montreal, I arrived in Casablanca, the romantic, “here’s looking at you kid” city. Of course I didn’t expect it to be in black and white with Humphrey Bogart waiting with a sign as ... read more
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
Granary of Moulay Ismail, Meknes.
Stables of Moulay Ismail, Meknes.

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira August 20th 2012

Essaouira is a city in the western Maroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, on the Atlantic coast. Since the 16th century, the city has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador or Mogadore. The Berber name means the wall, a reference to the fortress walls that originally enclosed the city. The Medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed city, as an example of a late 18th century fortified town, as transferred to North Africa. 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 are surprisingly abundant due to the coastal upwelling ... read more
Inside Essaouira
Fishermen in harbor in fron of Essaouita
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I travelled from Toulouse which is known as the Pink City to another city known as the same for its pink coloured brick, Marrakech. Arriving in Marrakech was like a breath of fresh air, well actually it was 38C that day, but nevertheless, the hustle and bustle, the dust, and the sunshine was all an awakening of the senses. I could not wait to sit at the now familiar Solaris Café on Avenue Mohamed V with a Berber Whiskey (mint tea) and watch life go by. It is actually the place where I watched a Euro Cup game between Italy and Germany; I being one out three women in the whole café, and to my great surprise and relief the majority of men watching all cheered when Italy scored. Initially, I headed out on a 9 ... read more
Entrance to the Oasis Hotel
Camel ride into the desert
Gnawa World Music Festival

(Fun fact: it is freezing in Essaouira at night. I was wrapped up like a cocoon in my blanket last night.) I have sand in places I didn’t even know one could have sand. ‘twas a tad bit windy in Essaouira today! First things first, we had a pretty chill morning where we debated how to spend the rest of the week and such. We opted to have a few more days in Madrid which will be lovely I think :) We had decided today was going to be our beach day – unfortunately the weather didn’t see too keen on that. The wind was howling so bad, we could hear it inside. Didn’t stop us though – or in theory it didn’t. We headed out into the Medina for a bit first – went back ... read more
On the beach
Our supper

(I should preface this post by noting here that Moroccan people are fantastic – they are super nice and friendly. The problem here is the attack on the tourist – it’s that small segment of the population that really ruins the view and atmosphere.) So, I’m a little conflicted right now on my thoughts regarding Morocco. On one hand, I absolutely adore it... and on the other... yeahhhhhhh. Yeah. We had a lovely morning – I really do love our hostel in Marrakech – the staff are so friendly and helpful and it’s just a cozy and homey feeling. I’m glad we’re going back there each time we go back to Marrakech – it will be like coming home after our side trips :) We left our big bags and headed off in search for the ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira April 11th 2012

Saturday Day 28 Kathryn had her baby! I woke to a message announcing Elsa's safe arrival with an accompanying photo which made me ridiculously happy. I should've saved the bottle of wine for today! We left Rabat at 8am and I almost felt sad to be leaving. Almost. I'm told this is the most expensive of the campsites we've been to and yet it has the least facilities. I sat up front with Britt as we drove down the freeway towards Marrakech before veering off and heading for the coast. We're spending four nights in Sidi Kaouki, 20 minutes from Essaouira at a campsite opposite a beach which stretches almost as far as the eye can see in both directions. - and which most made a beeline for once their tents were up. On the other ... read more
Weird tan lines
Guess who?
Ready for the morning

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira February 15th 2012

Leaving the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh we drive through terribly poor, stony farms. Sparse shoots of wheat poke between the dirt and stones. Sheep and goats grazing on what I am not sure, but did find a group up a thorny tree. I kid you not. A local boy wanting some Dirams for that photo. The country is flat, boring and stark. Not at all what I thought it would be between Marrakesh and the Coast. Essoura ( I have no idea how to spell this town) is a white washed fishing village on the coast. Trying to become a tourist town I think. A big sandy beach sweeps up to the harbour full of blue wooden fishing boats. Battlements of stone walls surround the town, protecting it from the ocean and long ago the ... read more
goats IN A TREE?
the blue boats
the roaring winds

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira November 4th 2011

On the coast of Morocco there is a picturesque and beautiful fishing village called Essaouira. We had not heard of this town until a few weeks ago when we had Dave and Suz over to our apartment for dinner (The Overlanders). This is one of the towns they explored when they came to Morocco and we are so happy that they mentioned it or we might not thought to stop here. We admit that a first glance of this town was reminiscent of some Greek villages due to the generally white buildings with blue trim that we have visited, but this place definitely has a Moroccan personality. As you approach the smallish harbor, seagulls en masse greet the returning fishing boats in the harbor. Our guide Mustfa tells us this town is nicknamed the “windy city”. ... read more
Essaouria Sunset
Gulls circling
A blast of color

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira October 25th 2011

Morocco Day 10 We left the high Atlas Mountains this morning as the first of this year’s snow had fallen on the peaks visible from our hotel. The journey to Essaouira took about four hours skirting the outskirts of Marrakesh, showing us some of the high end hotels and future golf resorts. We will see the city centre when we start our proper visit there on Wednesday. The hotel we were staying in was about four miles from the nearest metalled road, in the town of Ourika, which is actually a collection of Berber villages. Monday is market day and whereas yesterday when we walked through to visit the gardens there was a road, today it was not visible for people, animals and carts. However Abdul found his way through, by the use of the horn. ... read more
Ladies in the argon cooperative
Abdul disappears into the sunset

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira October 24th 2011

Morocco Day 9 This morning was spent at rest in the Kasbah Bab Ourika. The hotel is situated at the top of hill so has wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, including several Berber villages. The manageress is a Kiwi called Amanda and she is very welcoming and really goes the extra mile for her guests. Most of' the staff speak English, which is less appealing for me personally but would be a great draw for most! This morning I took a Hammam, which was quite an experience. Having undressed, you enter a room which is almost as hot as a sauna. The heat is coming from a stone bench built into the room (presumably there is a fire underneath). The lady fills a large tub with warm water from a tap above it ... read more
Kasbah Bab Ourika
In a Berber village

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