Blogs from Marrakech, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Morocco, Africa


Cancer and Covid have conspired to keep us from foreign travel for four years, so it’s a joy to finally take a proper trip. We have a smooth flight from Gatwick to Marrakech, arriving an hour early. The plane crew mostly look like they’re on work experience – is this a sign of us getting old? The first officer in particular was struggling with his announcements, telling us first that Morocco was an hour behind the UK, then that it was an hour ahead and finally, with a degree of embarrassment, that it was the same time zone as the UK. Meanwhile the young stewardess was struggling to remember what destination we were travelling to! We were quickly at our hotel, a pleasant riad whose one downside was its extremely close proximity to one of the ... read more

SAT, 21 MAY 2022 – “Day 15: Marrakech - Your adventure tour ends after breakfast. (Breakfast included).” Our tour group was quite diverse and included many experienced world-wide travelers who lived in the U.S. (5), Canada (3), England (2), and Germany (1). One person had fallen ill and had to miss the trip. My roommate was born in Bangladesh but was moved to London by his parents at age 6 months. He has an interesting philosophy and believes much knowledge about life’s lessons can be learned from travel. He is the most experienced traveler in the group, by far, and has been to North Korea and Iran. Several others have been to Southeast Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean and have piqued my interest in each of those locales. Our tour group was quite diverse and included ... read more

THU, 19 MAY 2022 – Day 13: Marrakech - "We leave Essaouira this morning and return to Marrakech to explore the final one of Morocco’s four Imperial cities we visit on this tour. Marrakech is set against the snow-capped Atlas Mountains; Its great pride and landmark are the Koutoubia Tower, sister to the Tower of Hassan in Rabat and the Giralda Tower in Sevilla. It is said that after the third of these was completed, the sultan had the eyes of his architect put out, lest he should build another more beautiful tower elsewhere. No visit to the city is complete without a visit to the city’s UNESCO-listed medina & Djemâa-el-Fna, an extraordinary gathering and marketplace. Overnight Marrakech. (Breakfast included).” FRI, 20 MAY 2022 – “Day 14: Marrakech - This morning, why not book our optional ... read more
Returning to Marrakech for the Grand Finale
Returning to Marrakech for the Grand Finale
Returning to Marrakech for the Grand Finale

TOUR 1 – Morocco Encompassed– 15 Days; Nomadic Tours; SAT, 7 MAY 2022 – SAT, 21 MAY 2022 My first accompanied, group tour is a 15-day trek that begins and ends in Marrakech, Morocco. This is the only tour that is the same tour as I had planned in 2020, with the exception that I had planned to pick up the full tour on Day 2 in Casablanca, Morocco. After the folks from Nomadic Tours had cancelled the tour and then learned of my isolated plight, they remained in contact with me to assure my welfare up until the time I reached London, England. Even though my tour money had been promptly refunded (vs. a ”voucher for future travel”), this “above and beyond” concern for my welfare during my crisis generated a sense of loyalty to ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech March 15th 2022

I was really looking forward to cycling through the Atlas Mountains and I wasn't disappointed. The road to Taraoudant was flat. I was cycling parrallel to the mountain range. Sunlight reflecting of snow capped peaks. After Taraoudant with the road signs counting down the distance to Marrakech I really felt like I was on the last leg of this trip. Then came the last left turn and I turned to face the mountains. The climb started of quite gently and I made decent progress. It was only after the village where I stopped for coffee that the gradients really got steeper and I got more tired. There was no accommodation in the village so I pressed on. The shop keeper did offer me accommodation in the living quarters behind the shop, but it seemed I'd be ... read more
Atlas Mountains

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech February 16th 2022

The first day of cycling to Oualidia was in lovely sunshine as I had hoped for. There were loads of larks along the roadside. However on the second day the weather took a turn for the worse. In early afternoon a thunderstorm rolled in off the sea. I watched it coming towards me and wondered what the curious orange haze was below the slate grey cloud. I soon found out. As the sun disappeared and wind went from calm to almost storm force in seconds I was sand blasted for a few seconds before being drenched. I could barely push the bike never mind ride it. I wanted to get to shelter in the town a kilometre or so ahead as I guessed being in an open landscape like this in a raging thunderstorm was not ... read more
Thekla's lark
The open road
Approaching storm

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech February 13th 2022

I decided to start my career break with a cycle trip to Morocco. The aim was to get fit enough to try and cycle over the Atlas Mountains and see how many bird species I could see. I started building my bird list in Marrakech. It was nice to see alot of familiar species such as blackbird, collared dove and starling. It was more exciting to identify common bulbul and house bunting. Over the next three weeks I cycled out to the coast at Ouiladia. Headed south to Agadir and turned inland for a couple of days before heading back to Marrakech via the pass at Tizi 'n Test. On the way I met brilliant people and saw some amazing birdlife. I hope to add some of those stories to this blog over the next few ... read more
Common Bulbul

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech December 11th 2020

When planning to visit Morocco, you may find it hard to decide on the final destination. There are so many beautiful places to choose from! In this article, we will try to help you decide between Marrakesh and Tanger. When compared with most European countries, Morocco seems quite a big one. However, in comparison to its North-African neighbors, it can be called quite a small country. And there are so many things to discover there! When choosing the starting point for their vacation, many tourists end up unable to decide, having so many opportunities to choose from. Iconic Casablanca, mysterious Marrakesh, Tanger - a haven for writers and a giant port, or sunny Essaouira - it is not easy, isn't it? We will try to make it a bit easier by describing the spirit of the ... read more

Good weather followed us every day so far, and Day 10 of our Moroccan adventure was no different although on this day the humidity could be keenly felt. An ambitious agenda was planned for our first full day in Marrakesh which is not surprising considering how much there is to see and do here. As mentioned in my preceding blog, the noise from the heavily congested roundabout traffic circle next to our hotel could have ruined a good night’s sleep, but didn’t thanks to the two pairs of heavy sliding doors leading to our balcony so our room was quiet. We were joined at breakfast in the Le Rossini International Restaurant by another member of our group. A buffet-style breakfast is served here each morning and included a variety of salads, cheeses, cold cuts, fruit and ... read more
Bahia Palace

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 29th 2020

Marrakesh --- just the name conjures up images of the exotic. A colorful tapestry weaving together not only the old and the new, but an intoxicating blend of cultural influences derived from the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. Marrakesh has been called the “Jewel of Morocco” and it certainly seems to live up to its title. Marrakesh was one of the four ancient Imperial cities, once a celebrated capital that lies only 150 miles from the present-day capital of Rabat. Today this sprawling 4th largest city in Morocco seems to be growing in all directions. Founded around 1070 AD by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, a cousin to the then reigning Berber Almorovid king, Marrakesh was once a very important stop and trade center on caravan routes crisscrossing the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. It was at ... read more

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