Blogs from Morocco, Africa - page 3


Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Merzouga May 23rd 2015

As previously mentioned, the Palais du Desert was the one clinker in our hotel experiences. Although the rooms were lovely, and the overall layout was fine, there were simply too many problems, and management seemed both unwilling and unable to fix them. But I shall cover that in my TripAdvisor review. After spending the night, we arose the next morning and headed to Rissani. Risen is the old capital of the Tafilalet region, and in the past was an important way station on the caravan routes. It is also the closest city to the Erg Chebbi, the largest sand desert in Morocco. We visited the mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif, father about 6 generations back of Moulay Cherif, the founder of the current Moroccan Alouite dynasty. It was wiped out in a flood of the Ziz ... read more
Morocco 2015 0934 Erfoud Morocco 052315
Morocco 2015 0960 Erfoud Morocco 052315
Morocco 2015 0984 Rissani Morocco 052315

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 22nd 2015

The day started with a field trip. Although there may have been a few alleyways we had not yet walked in the medina of Fes, we headed out of town to two interesting settlements. Bhalil is a small town with interesting troglodyte homes built into the hillsides. The Berbers have lived here for hundreds of years, and many (but not all) of the homes have a cave as a portion of the house. It never became clear to me whether these were enhanced natural formations or were completely carved out for dwellings. They offer the usual cave advantage of evening out hot and cold temperatures. The houses in this town are painted in various colors. Although I have read of a pottery industry here, the only current industry seems to be the production of jellaba buttons, ... read more
Morocco 2015 0695 Mohamed, Lucie Bhalil Fes Morocco 052115
Morocco 2015 0706 Jennie, Nicole Bhalil Fes Morocco 052115
Morocco 2015 0714 Sefrou Fes Morocco 052115

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 21st 2015

Fes. Ancient city. Quintessential Morocco. Not to be confused with fez, a hat, usually with a tassel, often red, worn throughout Morocco and many other countries. We ended our day in Fes, and awoke the next morning to something closer to the Morocco which had imagined. Our visit to Fes began with arrival at Riad Fes. This being our first experience with a riad, we were stunned by the beauty and by the service we encountered. It was almost oppressive to our American tastes to have someone catering to our every whim, but we decided we must accommodate and managed to carry on under the burden. Although Fes has two medinas, the larger was the one where we spent time, and our riad was on the upslope edge of the medina, giving us panoramic views of ... read more
Morocco 2015 0553 Art Naji ceramic shop Fes Morocco 052015
Morocco 2015 0560 Art Naji ceramic shop Fes Morocco 052015
Morocco 2015 0571 In the medina Fes Morocco 052015

Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Meknes May 19th 2015

The journey from Rabat to Meknes is a short one, only some 150 km, but it is a large distance culturally and architecturally. Rabat is a large, mostly modern city. There is a fairly small medina, but most of the city is more modern Other than the redoubt of the Udayas, there is relatively little of great historical significance as far as extant structures are concerned.. Meknes, on the other hand, is much more rich with historical structures, and is frankly, to me at least, a much more vibrant city for the visitor. Our visit began with a visit to the Royal Granaries and Stables, established by Moulay Ismail (Ismail ibn Sharif). By all accounts, this man who ruled Morocco during the years 1672-1727 was a man who lived large. Known as the "Warrior King", he ... read more
Morocco 2015 0294 Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail Meknes Morocco 051915
Morocco 2015 0311 El Hedim Square Meknes Morocco 051915
Morocco 2015 0319 El Hedim Square Meknes Morocco 051915

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat May 18th 2015

Before I get into other matters, there are some Moroccan terms that must be defined. It will simply be too difficult to define them repeatedly. Moulay - an honorific for someone who claims ancestry to Mohamed Medina - a walled ancient city. Often located within a larger modern city Ksar - a walled dwelling place for multiple families. Often within a medina, although not necessarily so. Kasbah (or casbah) - a walled dwelling place for a single (usually extended) family Souk (or souq) - an open-air marketplace, often found within the medina Camel - a flatulent, lumbering animal with a broad back that strains the hips Scirocco - a wind from the Sahara that puts and in your shoes despite having them inside your tent behind a sturdy zipped flap with a reinforcing rug barrier Berber ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat May 18th 2015

So the real journey begins today. I suspect that if you were to poll your friends and acquaintances, a fair number would tell you that Casablanca is the capital of Morocco, but the real capital is Rabat. Rabat occupies the left bank of the Bou Regreg river, while the ancient city of Salé occupies the right bank. One gets the impression that there is a fair amount of competition between the two, such that they are now constructing an entertainment complex along the river on the Salé side to answer questions as to why Rabat gets everything. Many people live in Salé and work in Rabat. Rabat is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco, a list which also includes Fes, Marrakech, and Meknes. We will visit all. Rabat had some sort of settlement somewhat ... read more
Morocco 2015 0111 Royal Palace complex Rabat Morocco 051815
Morocco 2015 0124 Medina Rabat Morocco 051815
Morocco 2015 0149 Kasbah of the Udayas Medina Rabat Morocco 051815

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca May 17th 2015

Morocco. Casablanca. The very names evoke the essence of exotica. Maybe it is the dark aura of Rick's Cafe from the movie, with the sweeping lighthouse beam and the dark menace of the Gestapo. Maybe it is the old Pepe LePew line of "Come with me to the casbah!" Or maybe it is just the Vietnam era reverberating through "Marrakech Express". For whatever reason, the mere saying of "we are leaving Paris and will be in Casablanca in 3 hours" just reeks of adventure and secret places. The reality, at least for Casablanca, is somewhat different, for this is no ancient city with a many-alleyed medina. It is a large city of some 4 million inhabitants, or about 5 million in the greater metropolitan area, making it the largest city not only in Morocco but the ... read more
Morocco 2015 008 Hassan II Mosque Casablanca Morocco 051715
Morocco 2015 011 Hassan II Mosque Casablanca Morocco 051715
Morocco 2015 058 Hassan II Mosque Casablanca Morocco 051815

Africa » Morocco » Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen April 23rd 2015

Essaouira is an optional tour that John wasn't so sure he wanted to take. By telling John some of the history of Essaouira, Khalid convinced a reluctant John to go. Neither of us were looking forward to the 3 hour drive in each direction… but this may be our only chance to see where Hendrix slept!!! We drove through a few small villages and came to an area where Argan trees grow naturally. Morocco is the ONLY place these trees are found in the wild. Attempts to grow this tree in other countries or even in other parts of Morocco have been unsuccessful. In Israel, the tree did grow but produced no fruit. The demand for Argan Oil is off the hook and it has brought a tremendous boost to the economy of this area. The ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Tangier April 6th 2015

MONDAY 6TH APRIL 2015 (AM) - NEWS JUST IN FROM GEOFF: Everyone is good and they are on their way to the ferry port to see what one they can get. BIG drive yesterday and all feeling tired and a tad grumpy this morn. Will be able to rest up now for the crossing and get a good sleep back in Estepona tonight. I think they are hoping to go to the same hotel as on way out. Relieved to know they are safe and together. They are putting themselves through all of this to raise as much as they can for the charties. Please donate, even just a tiny bit, if you can - every bit helps - read more

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca April 5th 2015

SUNDAY 5th APRIL 2015 (21.00) - 3 teams have just cleared Marrakech and are heading north towards Casablanca. Just making a fuel stop then taking it in turns driving on as far as they can tonight as they want to get the ferry across the straits tomorrow afternoon. Being separated on the way down has made them appreciate how important it is to keep the team unified and they are all sticking together like glue and really watching out for each other. Great to hear :) Comms will be better once they are back in Spain. Will update you all again when I hear from them tomorrow.... read more

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