I am really glad that I can share here my wonderful experience with all of you and hope this review will help to all of you that really wanna taste all the beauty and spice that Morocco can offer to all of you.
I decide to choose this amazing travel agency Desert Tours Marocco during my research for the right offer that can give me everything that I have wanted for this trip. My Maltese friends recommended me Mr Said as they all been traveling to Morocco with his agency. I contact him and he was really amazing and helpful answering all my questions and offering me different options including different locations. I saw immediately for how serious and experienced agency I am facing at and after couple of hours I immediately make decision that this is exactly what we wanted with my sister.We book the trip between 27 December 2019 and 3 Of January 2020. Looking at the program that was offering many many things we decide that we want only one day to be changed and that was the day for New Years Eve which we wanted to be spend in Marrakesh and Said change it for us in a moment without changing the prize which was really amazing from his side. In the package that he send us was mention only the cities that we will visit, the tour guide, hotels and things that are included. BUT that was only 10 % of what this trip REALLY offer.By my experience as world traveler with more than 50 countries that I have in my travel history I make conclusion that I can believe to this people as they never mention money before like other agency but they were happy to make us sure in the program and the other things were left for later on which gives me security as we travel in specific country where u need to be safe and satisfied.We pay only small deposit week before we traveled and all the rest we pay when we had the pleasure to meet Said in person.
DAY 1- CASABLANCA
On 27 we flight from Malta to Casablanca with Air Malta and I recommend this flight which was pleasant and the crew was really helpful even if in the past I don’t have some nice experience with them. The flight takes us less than 4 hours and we arrive safe and ready to start our adventure.From the start I will tell you to don’t read or watch YouTube videos regarding passport control or safety as they really pictured the country on bad way which is not true and we really didn’t have any kind of problem to enter the country. Yes there is check ups but that is for the good of everyone proving that this country is very safe for traveling and even more than many places I have visit.When we get out of our terminal we meet our tour guide Omar that was holding my name in his hands ready to take us around the paradise. We didn’t have really a lot of information regarding him but instantly we felt comfortable with him helping with our baggage and bringing us to a nice Jeep explaining us regarding the safety and Casablanca in general.I must tell you from the start that the tour guide is 50 % important for this kind of trips and his knowledge and ability to show you places and to make really experience all is based of his personality and experience otherwise you will just go around without noticing many things. OMAR IS EVERYTHING!
We really recommend him for this trip as this guy is ENCYCLOPEDIA!
In Casablanca we visit all the things and travel around it daily and at night and was really nice to see this city from different angle. The Mosque of Hassan the Second is the most beautiful thing I ever visit with really nice tour inside giving u a lot of information.In every place we have had a really solid hotels and nice traditional breakfast and dinner in same places included in the price.
DAY 2- CASABLANCA-RABAT-CHEFCHAOUEN
In general we visit Casablanca, Rabat, Chefchaouen during our second day. We wake up and had an amazing breakfast in the Hotel in Casablanca and than we head directly to catch the mosque tour and visit the mosque during morning light when is the most beautiful. After that we continue our trip to Rabat which is the capital city of Morocco where we visit the Royal garden and the palace of the king and had an opportunity to see Rabat from close as well.
After visiting the capital we had a long ride to one of the most beautiful places that I ever visit and recommend it to everyone
Chefchaouen where we succeed to catch the sunset on the top of the city which is one of the lifetime experience.
Chefchaouen – or Chaouen, as it is often called by Moroccans – is a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to Tangier and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. There are approximately two hundred hotels catering to the summer influx of European tourists. One distinction possessed by Chefchaouen is its blue-rinsed houses and buildings.
Chefchaouen is a popular shopping destination as well, as it offers many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets. The goat cheese native to the area is also popular with tourists.
The countryside around it has a reputation for being a prolific source of kief. The Chefchaouen region is one of the main producers of cannabis in Morocco. A nearby attraction is the Kef Toghobeit Cave, one of the deepest caves in Africa.
Chefchaouen's blue walls are a popular subject of interest. There are several theories as to why the walls were painted blue. One popular theory is that the blue keeps mosquitos away, another is that Jews introduced the blue when they took refuge from Hitler in the 1930s. The blue is said to symbolize the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life. However, according to some locals, the walls were mandated to be painted blue simply to attract tourists at some point in the 1970s.
The growing tourist industry is geared especially towards Spanish tourists, who are numerous during great Catholic feasts like Semana Santa and Christmas.
The fez may have originated in ancient Greece, or the Balkans, initially during the Byzantine reign, and subsequently, during the Ottoman period, various peoples, mostly Bosniaks and Serbs, started wearing the head-wear.
The fez is a part of the traditional clothing of Cyprus, and is still worn by some Cypriots today. Traditionally, women wore a red fez over their heads, instead of a headscarf, while men wore a black or red cap. The fez was sometimes worn by men with material (similar to a wrapped keffiyeh or turban) around the base. In his 1811 journey to Cyprus, John Pinkerton describes the fez, "a red cap turned up with fur", as "the proper Greek dress". In the Karpass Peninsula, white caps are worn, a style considered to be based on ancient Cypriot Hellenic-Phoenician attire, thus preserving men's head-wear from 2,700 years earlier.
In 1826 Sultan Mahmud II of the Ottoman Empire suppressed the Janissaries and began sweeping reforms of the military. His modernized military adopted Western style uniforms and, as headdresses, the fez with a cloth wrapped around it. In 1829 the Sultan ordered his civil officials to wear the plain fez, and also banned the wearing of turbans. The intention was to coerce the populace at large to update to the fez, and the plan was successful. This was a radically egalitarian measure, which replaced the elaborate sumptuary laws that signaled rank, religion, and occupation, allowing prosperous non-Muslims to express their wealth in competitions with Muslims, foreshadowing the Tanzimat reforms. Although tradesmen and artisans generally rejected the fez, it became a symbol of modernity throughout the Near East, inspiring similar decrees in other nations (such as Iran in 1873).
To meet escalating demand, skilled fez makers were induced to immigrate from North Africa to Constantinople, where factories were established in the neighborhood of Eyüp. Styles soon multiplied, with nuances of shape, height, material, and hue competing in the market. The striking scarlet and merlot colors of the fez were initially achieved through an extract of cornel. However, the invention of low-cost synthetic dyes soon shifted production of the hat to the factories of Strakonice, Czech Republic (then in the Austrian Empire).
The 1908 Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina resulted in a boycott of Austrian goods, which became known as the "Fez Boycott" due to the near monopoly the Austrians then held on production of the hat. Although the headdress survived, the year-long boycott brought the end of its universality in the Ottoman Empire as other styles became socially acceptable.
The fez was initially a brimless bonnet of red, white, or black with a turban woven around. Later the turban was eliminated, the bonnet shortened, and the color fixed to red. Praying while wearing a fez—instead of a headdress with brim—was easier because Muslims put their foreheads on the ground many times during the prayer sessions.
The fez was also the main headdress in the Ottoman Empire for non-Muslims, especially for Jews. Jewish men wore the fez, usually referred to in the community by the Arabic "tarboush," especially Syrian and Palestinian Jews.
We also had opportunity to visit Ifrane city which is called the Moroccan Switzerland.
The modern town of Ifrane was established by the French administration in 1929 on land expropriated from the inhabitants of the zâwiya. The town was to be a "hill station," a cool place for colonial families to spend the hot summer months, and it was initially planned according to the "garden city" model of urban design then in vogue. The plan called for chalet-type summer homes in the Alpine style, laid out among gardens and curving tree-lined streets. A royal palace was also built for Sultan Muhammad b. Yûsuf. The town's first public buildings consisted of a post office and a church. Moreover, a penitentiary was built which served as a POW camp during World War II.
As elsewhere in Morocco, a shanty town called Timdiqîn soon grew up next to the colonial establishment. It housed the Moroccan population (maids, gardeners, etc.) that serviced the French vacationers. Timdiqîn was separated from the colonial garden city by a deep ravine. After independence the French properties in the original garden city were slowly bought up by Moroccans. The town was enlarged and endowed with a mosque, a municipal market and public housing estates. Furthermore, the shanty neighborhood of Timdiqîn was rebuilt with proper civic amenities.
In 1979 Ifrane became the seat of the administrative province of the same name and some government services were established. In 1995 Al Akhawayn University, an English-language, American-curriculum public university opened and this has helped re-launch Ifrane as a desirable destination for domestic tourism. Consequently, Ifrane continues to develop as both a summer and winter resort. Old chalets in the center of town are being demolished and replaced with condominium complexes, while vacation centers and gated housing estates are springing up on the outskirts.
The Middle Atlas Mountains consist mostly of a series of limestone plateaus. Not far from Ifrane in the Middle Atlas is Cèdre Gouraud Forest. These plateaus receive considerable precipitation—averaging about 1100/1200 ml/year in Ifrane—and are naturally wooded, with scrub oak forests alternating with cedar. The Middle Atlas lies in the center of Morocco and constitutes its natural water tower, as many of the country’s most important river systems: the Moulouya, the Sebou, the Bou Regreg, and the Oum Rbia originate in it. Historically, however, despite its centrality, the Middle Atlas has been an “empty quarter.” Though the area was regularly crossed by traders, and though the alpine summer pasture was used by herders, the harsh climate and relatively poor soils long impeded permanent human settlement. Today the Middle Atlas is still one of the least densely populated parts of Morocco, even when compared to other mountainous regions such as the High Atlas and the Rif.
A small fort overlooking Oued Tizguit (now part of the palace precinct) had already been built during the period of military conquest in order to secure the Fez to Khenifra road across the mountains. The gently rolling landscape, with fresh springs and wildflowers, was judged to have potential as a summer resort for colon families from the Saïss Plain, Meknes and Fez. Fifty hectares of agricultural land upstream from the zâwiyah, in an area originally designated as Tourthit, or “garden,”was expropriated for the project.
Ifrane was conceived as a “hill station” or colonial type of settlement. It is a resort town set high up in the mountains so that Europeans can find relief from the summer heat of tropical colonies. The British were the first to develop this type of resort in India, the best known of which is Simla in the Himalayas which served as their “summer capital.” The French built similar hill stations in Indochina, such as Dalat established in 1921. Ifrane was not the only hill station to be built in Morocco. The French also built one in neighboring Immouzer, as well as at Oukaimeden in the High Atlas. Hill stations share some common characteristics. As they are intended for expatriate European families, and they are often designed in such a way as to remind their foreign inhabitants of their distant homelands. The architectural style adopted is imported from the mother country in order that the place look like “little England” or “douce France.” This is the case in Ifrane where various mountain styles such as “maison basque” “Jura” and “Savoy” were used. Moreover, trees and flowering plants were also imported from the European home country. This too was intended to heighten the appearance and feeling of home. In Ifrane, lilac trees, plane trees (platanes), chestnut trees (marronniers and châtaigniers) and linden trees (tilleuls) were all imported for this purpose.
After this city we had opportunity to visit the Atlas Cedar forest full of flora and fauna and most interesting full of monkeys that are not afraid to eat from our hands.
DAY 5-FEZ-DESERT OF SAHARA
The Sahara Desert is the world's largest hot, non-polar desert and is located in North Africa. It stretches from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. The vast desert encompasses several ecologically distinct regions. The Sahara Desert ecoregion covers an area of 4,619,260 km2 (1,783,510 sq mi) in the hot, hyper-arid center of the Sahara, surrounded on the north, south, east, and west by desert ecoregions with higher rainfall and more vegetation.
The North Saharan steppe and woodlands ecoregion lies to the north and west, bordering the Mediterranean climate regions of Africa's Mediterranean and North Atlantic coasts. The North Saharan steppe and woodlands receives more regular winter rainfall than the Sahara Desert ecoregion. The South Saharan steppe and woodlands ecoregion lies to the south, between the Sahara Desert ecoregion and the Sahel grasslands. The South Saharan steppe and woodlands receive most of its annual rainfall during the summer. The Red Sea coastal desert lies in the coastal strip between the Sahara Desert ecoregion and the Red Sea.
Some mountain ranges rise up from the desert and receive more rainfall and cooler temperatures. These Saharan mountains are home to two distinct ecoregions; the West Saharan montane xeric woodlands in the Ahaggar, Tassili n'Ajjer, Aïr, and other ranges in the western and central Sahara Desert and the Tibesti-Jebel Uweinat montane xeric woodlands in the Tibesti and Jebel Uweinat of the eastern Sahara.
The surface of the desert ranges from large areas of sand dunes (erg), to stone plateaus (hamadas), gravel plains (reg), dry valleys (wadis), and salt flats. The only permanent river that crosses the ecoregion is the Nile River, which originates in east Africa and empties northwards into the Mediterranean Sea. Some areas encompass vast underground aquifers resulting in oases, while other regions severely lack water reserves.
In the desert we slept at luxury camp and had an amazing oriental night with dinner and live music which was followed by amazing breakfast full of amazing homemade food.
DAY 6- DESERT OF SAHARA-MARRAKECH (NEW YEAR EVE 2020)
After long travel we arrived in Marrakech at the beautiful Riad exactly on time to prepare for New Year Eve. We choose one of the most famous restaurants in Marrakech named AZAR where we really enjoy to maximum.
DAY 7- MARRAKECH
The Majorelle Garden was designed by the French artist, Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962), son of the Art Nouveau ébéniste (cabinet-maker) of Nancy, Louis Majorelle. As a young aspiring painter, Jacques Majorelle was sent to Morocco in around 1917 to convalesce from a serious medical condition. After spending a short time in Casablanca, he travelled to Marrakech and like many of his contemporaries, fell in love with the vibrant colours and street life he found there. After travelling around North Africa and the Mediterranean, he eventually decided to settle permanently in Marrakech.
In 1923, just four years after his marriage to Andrée Longueville, Majorelle purchased a four-acre plot, situated on the border of a palm grove in Marrakech and built a house in the Mooroccan style. In 1931, he commissioned the architect, Paul Sinoir, to design a Cubist villa for the property. Gradually, he purchased additional land, extending his holding by some 10 acres. In the grounds around the residence, Majorelle began planting a luxuriant garden which would become known as the Jardins Majorelle (Majorelle Garden). The garden became his life's work and he devoted himself to developing it for almost forty years.
The garden proved costly to run and in 1947, Majorelle opened the garden to the public with an admission fee designed to defray the cost of maintenance.At times, he sold off parcels of land to fund the growing garden. Following his divorce in the 1950s, Majorelle was forced to sell the house and land. After this, the garden was neglected and fell into disrepair. The garden and villa were rediscovered in the 1980s, by fashion designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who set about restoring it and saving it.
During his lifetime, Majorelle earned a reputation as a celebrated Orientalist painter. The special shade of bold cobalt blue, inspired by the coloured tiles he had seen around Marrakech and in Berber burn-houses, was used extensively in the garden and its buildings and is named after him, bleu Majorelle—Majorelle Blue. Prior to his death, Majorelle patented the colour which carries his name.
Marrakesh comprises an old fortified city packed with vendors and their stalls. This medina quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site),. Today it is one of the busiest cities in Africa and serves as a major economic center and tourist destination. Tourism is strongly advocated by the reigning Moroccan monarch, Mohammed VI, with the goal of doubling the number of tourists visiting Morocco to 20 million by 2020. Despite the economic recession, real estate and hotel development in Marrakesh have grown dramatically in the 21st century. Marrakesh is particularly popular with the French, and numerous French celebrities own property in the city. Marrakesh has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco, with some 18 souks selling wares ranging from traditional Berber carpets to modern consumer electronics. Crafts employ a significant percentage of the population, who primarily sell their products to tourists. Marrakesh is one of North Africa's largest centers of wildlife trade, despite the illegality of most of this trade. Much of this trade can be found in the medina and adjacent squares. Tortoises are particularly popular for sale as pets, but Barbary macaques and snakes can also be seen.The majority of these animals suffer from poor welfare conditions in these stalls.
Marrakesh is served by Ménara International Airport and by Marrakesh railway station which connects the city to Casablanca and northern Morocco. Marrakesh has several universities and schools, including Cadi Ayyad University. A number of Moroccan football clubs are located here, including Najm de Marrakech, KAC Marrakech, Mouloudia de Marrakech and Chez Ali Club de Marrakech. The Marrakesh Street Circuit hosts the World Touring Car Championship, Auto GP and FIA Formula Two Championship races.
DAY 8- MARRAKECH- Ouzoud Waterfalls
Ouzoud Falls (Amazigh: Imuzzar n wuẓuḍ, French: Cascades d'Ouzoud) is the collective name for several tall waterfalls that empty into the El-Abid River gorge. This popular tourism destination is located near the Moyen Atlas village of Tanaghmeilt, in the province of Azilal, 150 km northeast of Marrakech, Morocco.
Ouzoud means "the act of grinding grain" in Berber. This seems to be confirmed by the frequent mills in the region.
The bottom of the falls is accessible through a shaded path of olive trees. At the summit of the falls, there are a dozen old small mills that are still in use. One can also follow a narrow and difficult track leading to the road of Beni Mellal. While descending the gorges from the "wadi el-Abid" in a canyon sometimes one does not distinguish the bottom which is nearly 600 metres down.
It is the most visited site of the region. In the vicinity, green valleys, mills, orchards and a superb circuit of the gorges of the El Abid River (in Arabic, "Slaves' River") are found. Many local and national associations lead projects to protect and preserve the site.
8 days and more than 2500 km which was an amazing adventure.In the trip are included so many things that u will see, places that u will visit, production of many many things that u will not believe it.We are still shocked and our head is exploding from so many information but I will try to concentrate this review on the organization more than the other things as I want you to experience all this places by your self.EVERYTHING in this trip is more than worth it and you just need to follow your guide who will explain you everything and even more that you have plan to visit. You will have opportunity to see my photos and they are saying everything than any work that can describe it.
RECOMMEND IT TO EVERYONE!
U will never do wrong and we are so so THANKFUL for everything that they made for us.