Traveling to MOROCCO: It’s that time of the year, where many of us stop and reflect on the past months and vow to do something different in the new year to come.
Make Traveling to Morocco Your New Resolution!
What if…? What if you were to make a resolution to travel more? And what if, you were to consider Morocco one of the destinations to explore in the upcoming year? We here at Mint Tea Tours think, by traveling to Morocco, you would be on the right path!
If there is one thing we could say to describe Morocco, it would be: Morocco is diverse. While many people may conjure up the movie of Casablanca, or couscous, tagine stews and mint tea, or camels in the Sahara Desert, the reality is that traveling to Morocco is so much more. Morocco has something for everyone!
Morocco is blessed with ever-changing landscapes
Morocco might be best known for treks into the Sahara Desert, but did you know that Morocco also boasts more than 1,800 miles (2,945 kilometers) of coastline? Situated near the strait of Gibraltar and being the westernmost country of the Maghreb, Morocco is the only African country to have access to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
If the seashore is not for you when traveling to Morocco, then consider that Morocco is home to two main mountain ranges: 1) the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco, and 2) the Atlas Mountains which stretch across North Africa, and within Morocco, this range is divided into the High Atlas, Middle Atlas and Anti-Atlas. The highest point of North Africa is actually located within Morocco; Mount Toubkal measures 13,671 feet (4,167 meters). And while you’re traveling to Morocco, you will definitely appreciate all of these beautiful landscapes in between such as valleys and farm land and rolling hills and majestic gorges and oases and palm groves and forests!
Fun fact: The “Sahara” gets its name from the Arabic word for desert, or should we say “Desert Desert”?
Of course, many people traveling to Morocco want to be immersed in and learn about the local culture. In Morocco, this takes many forms!
“I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable.”
– Anthony Bourdain
For example, it’s quite common to hear Morocco referred to as an Arab country, based on its location in North Africa and that fact that Arabic was considered the only official language. However, Morocco’s native tribes, commonly referred to as “Berbers” but more accurately (and more respectfully) as “Imazighen” make up a large percentage of its population and continue to celebrate their own unique culture and traditions. Their language, Tamazight, was recognized as the other official language in Morocco in 2011.
History buffs will appreciate that that history of Moroccan spans thousands of years, from prehistoric times to Phoenician then Roman annexations, to the Muslim conquests and the many resulting dynasties, and more recently, the European occupation and Morocco’s role in World War II. After regaining independence in 1956, Morocco joined UNESCO the same year, and now claims nine UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the kingdom.
For fans of more modern pursuits, the larger cities of Morocco are where it’s at! Marrakech has long been considered an easy get-away for Europeans, jet-setters and the rich and famous; nightclubs and restaurants abound! Rabat is home to the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and of course, Casablanca, being the largest and perhaps most international city, has its own scene as well.
Lovers of music traveling to Morocco will not be disappointed, either. Every year, Morocco hosts several internationally-renowned festivals, such as the Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira, the World Sacred Music Festival in Fes, and Mawazine Music Festival in Rabat, featuring a blend of local and international artists.
When you think of Morocco, do you think of sports? With its mountains ranges, hiking and trekking are an obvious choice. Would you be surprised to hear that you can downhill ski in Morocco, or test your endurance with the 6 day ultra-marathon Marathon des Sables, 156 miles (251 kilometers) through the Sahara Desert? The Atlantic Coast, especially starting near Essaouira and heading south, is fantastic for surfing and kite-boarding.
And if you follow interior design and decor, you’ll notice that “Moroccan Style” is a trend that never goes out of fashion, thanks to the many varieties of Moroccan handicrafts. Leather poufs, traditionally-loomed or hand-knotted rugs (who can resist a Beni Ourain or colorful Azilal?), zellige mosaics on garden furniture or fountains, beldi ceramic floor tiles, gorgeous patterns of Fassi pottery, handira wedding blankets, intricate patterns of metal lanterns – discover them all during a trip to Morocco!
“You have to taste a culture to understand it.”
– Deborah Cater
Last and certainly not least, is Moroccan food. Though there is no official ranking, we rank Moroccan cuisine high on our list! Couscous can be considered Morocco’s national dish and is a meal enjoyed and shared in the majority of Moroccan households every Friday afternoon.
Tagines, or stews, are made with fresh seasonal vegetables. Local specialties abound, such as “bachelor-inspired” tangia in Marrakech, or classic b’stilla pie in Fes. Dishes are prepared with a variety of spices, but rarely hot spicy. Rather, the spices are carefully blended in harmony to create memorable meals. Olive and argan oil add delicious flavor.
Consider eating among locals or book a food tour to discover even more tasty treats! Think mint tea is the only drink on the menu? Traveling to Morocco in different seasons or in different regions, and you’ll find a variety of fresh herbs added to green tea leaves. Or try the very popular avocado-dried fruit smoothie – touted as a healthy vitality drink. While small delicate pastries and cookies, often filled with almond paste, are offered as a “welcome” treat or at tea time, don’t be surprised that they are rarely served after the main course. Instead, “dessert” is often a platter of various seasonal fruits, a healthy and filling way to end a meal.
In upcoming blog posts, we will share some tips on how to best plan your own trip to Morocco, covering a variety of considerations and answering the most frequently asked questions when traveling to Morocco.
Read also: What is the best way to travel to Morocco?
Mint Tea Tours – Moroccan Hospitality at its Best! We specialize in private tours, excursions and shuttle services throughout Morocco – of course, all accompanied by a professional, English-speaking private driver! Contact us today to plan your own trip!