Camel shadows across a velvety desert. The majestic stratified orange Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou. The specific smell of a tannery in a corner of the souk in Fez. Morocco is bright, fragrant and a world away from any illusions its proximity with Europe might create. Its northern coastline faces onto the cool rush of the Atlantic, encircling its landward limits are borders with Algeria to the east, and with the Western Sahara to the South. Morocco spreads inland from endless beaches to the snow-tipped Atlas Mountains in its centre to graze the burning Saharan sands in its south east areas. Morocco has an estimated population of over 36 million people, many of whom live in its largest city, Casablanca.
The capital of this evocative country, Rabat holds a relatively small proportion of its population, in fact just over 650,000. Situated on the northern coastline, Rabat is traditionally a port and place of industry, but its tourist appeal has steadily been growing. Follow the coastline south-west, and eventually you arrive at Casablanca. A cosmopolitan city with French colonial architecture at its centre, the slick inner city clashes starkly with the plainer pads of its periphery. Further south lies Essaouira, a World Heritage city, host to its own music festival and stellar spot for kitesurfing. Beyond is Agadir, which accomplishes the rare feat of being a starting point for visitors seeking beaches, desert and mountains depending on how you like your travel! Agadir is principally a resort city. Its real appeal is that its beach is seldom crowded. There are also a number of surf schools, making it an ideal destination for those learning the sport.
Heading inland Marrakech is a bewitching hub of activity at the foot of the jagged Atlas Mountains. Divided between the distinctly different medina and the nouvelle town, everyone but the fainthearted should dive straight in to the souk, whose inhabitants want to sell you the world and its kitchen sink. Leave with a carpet and your sanity intact, or hang around until night falls and be further bewildered by the thrum of activity which ripples through the streets of Djemaa El-Fna. Magicians and dancers materialise, and traditional food stalls send tastebuds soaring with their tantalising scents.
On Morocco’s Mediterranean coastline, things twist again into a different shape. Tangier mixes a cocktail of French, Spanish and north African vibes. Dive into the Hercules cave to the west and look out from the gloom through its entrance, which forms the shape of the African continent, or bask in the artistic echoes left in the Petit Socco by bygone writers with a light refreshment. Far from the vivid oranges and yellows so adored by painters in Tangier: the azure alleyways of Chefchaouen, a mountain city in the north. With its brightly hued, cooling colours and mellow atmosphere, it’s a great place to have henna dashed across your hands, pick up some rainbow pottery or sink into a shady café by its sparkling waterfall and shake off the dust of the road.
Last Edit by Site Administrators on 7/05/2012 EDIT NOW >>