A Guide to Exotic Morocco

Tripoto
12th Sep 2012

Camel Ride on Sahara Desert

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Bedouin Camps in Sahara Desert

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Camping in the Sahara Desert

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Casablanca, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Hammam in Riad Joya, Marrakech

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Hammam in Riad Joya, Marrakech

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Hassan II Mosque

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Inside the Hassan Mosque, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Inside the Hassan Mosque, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Inside the Hassan Mosque, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Market at Djemaa El Fna Square, Marrakech

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Marrakech, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Meknes, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Meknes, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Moulay Idriss, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Rabat, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

On the streets of Rabat, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

Volubilis, Morocco

Photo of A Guide to Exotic Morocco by Nikki Pitts

As-salamu alaykum! The travel bug had bitten me and I packed my bags for another much needed dose of wandering. I set out with my family to unravel the mystical Islamic country of Morocco.

More than the place itself, Morocco seemed to have been about the people it inhabited... the most generous and kindest kind you’ll ever meet! While a typical tourist would come with their own inhibitions and religious stereotypes, the warmth of the Moroccan families goes beyond just known faces. I never felt like a stranger wandering around Moroccan streets. In addition, they don’t seem to believe in small talk but greet each other warmly and ask about their family and well being. And the holiness of the people reflects in their everyday life revolving around their religion.

This 9-day trip to the Imperial cities of Morocco started with the adventurous plane ride to Casablanca, followed by Rabat, Meknes, Moulay Idriss and Volubilis, finally ending at Marrakech. The highlights, however, for me were so many! The hammams or public baths was an experience of a lifetime; so was the safari and overnight camping in the Sahara Desert along with Bedouin nomadic families and camel rides!

The experience at the airport was tiresome but our jovial driver Haji, made up for it with his good humor during the long drive. Being the biggest city in Morocco, Casablanca is gritty. I’d say a confluence of Cairo’s Arabic essence and Mexico City’s energy. It is also well known as the city encircling the famous Hassan II Mosque.
Photo of Casablanca, Grand Casablanca, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
Built partially on water, this is the second largest mosque in the world (trivia: the first being the mosque at Mecca!) With its magnificence reflecting in its towering high minarets, it secularly invites even non-Muslim worshippers. The intricacies of its artwork, grandeur chandeliers and pious mosaics enclose a central glass flooring peaking into the waters of the ocean. Its ablution room and hammam leave you marveling at this architectural wonder!
Photo of Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Grand Casablanca, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
Our next stop was Rabat, a two and a half hour drive from Casablanca. This capital city of Morocco was however only a 30 minutes stopover with a strict schedule, which included the visit to the Mohammed V Mausoleum.
Photo of Rabat, Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
Known as a good side trip from Fes, Meknes was the next spot on our schedule. It is also renowned for the many creations of Moulay Ismail, the most popular of them being Bab Mansour, which is a great gateway.
Photo of Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
To me, this seemed to be a recap of the amazing Roman ruins! Known for its Roman history, Volubilis is also known to have been a key location in Martin Scorsese’s film “The Last Temptation of Christ”. Other than that, it pretty much resembled Pompeii.
Photo of Volubilis, Meknes-El Menzeh, Meknes-Tafilalet, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
The Moroccan experience is incomplete without the experience of hammam, a public steam bath system. A weekly routine for the locals, its know-how left me with mixed feelings. But after a few minutes, the entire atmosphere eases out on you. And I can vouch for one thing... It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, where you cleanse yourself, your mind, and your body. And as odd as it may sound to many, I became more comfortable and acceptable about myself, while I developed a new kinship with other women around the hammams.
Photo of Hammam, Marrakesh, Marrakesh-Tensift-Al Haouz, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
My thesaurus isn’t adequate enough to describe the Sahara Desert. Its magnificence is awe-inspiring, whether it’s your first or tenth visit. The beauty of its serene expanse was a marvel to the eye while the music of the winds upon the desert sand was the lullaby at night. Our welcome by the Gnawi brotherhoods at Khamlia and the dance of the camel rides was a highlight of our day. And by night, our camps were ready to invite us into the lap of luxury and opulence under the star-studded clear desert sky. So if you were to ask me, my Moroccan trip would have been incomplete without those 24-hours in the Moroccan deserts.
Photo of Sahara Desert, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
A true insight to Moroccan culture, Marrakech is located in the heart of Medina. The walks to the main monuments are a treat to any tourist! The spices of the souk are fragrant from afar, and the Djemaa El Fna gives you not just a henna tattoo but also an opportunity to take part in snake charming. Other attractions of the red city include Coranique School, the Koutubia and the Museum of Marrakech. My most favorite part of our trip to Marrakech was our stay at Riad Joya.
Photo of Marrakech, Marrakesh-Tensift-Al Haouz, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
A trip to the splendid city of Marrakech calls for a stay at the fabulous Riad Joya. Traditionally Riad is a Moroccan home, yet in recent times has been known for the lavish boutique hotels sprouting in this desert retreat. As simple and plain as the exteriors may look, the interiors are more ornate than you can imagine. For the magic unfolds in the beautiful tiles, the grandiose mosaics, and the picturesque romance of the fountains along with the plush fall of the fabrics! And every part of it, be it the Courtyard, the Dar Arabe luxury suite, the Tuareg suite, the Naos suite, the Domus suite or even the Hammam and spa, speak aloud of the reeking opulence of the Riad Joya. A true retreat of tranquil peace, this boutique hotel is ideal for a dreamy Arabian night after exhausting yourself exploring the chaotic Medina.
Photo of Riad Joya, Marrakesh, Marrakesh-Tensift-Al Haouz, Morocco by Nikki Pitts
3 Comment(s)
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good experience , next time we invite with our experience for sahara tour with sahara-magic.com
Tue 09 08 15, 13:52 · Reply · Report
Photo of Kevin Hylant
Kevin Hylant
Can you recommend a good Hammam (traditional but not too off the beaten path) in Fez, Marrakech or Casablanca?? : )
Thu 03 26 15, 12:18 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
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Lavanya Pande
Add a comment...
Wed 03 12 14, 04:22 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·