As mentioned, A LOT in the last few days blog, we loved Marrakech. I don’t know if it was a mix of low expectations to begin with and the fear or feeling unsafe all the time but upon completely changed our mind set based off how friendly everyone is.
Here are our tips, loves and not some much loves from Marrakech:
Now, for the things we didn’t like much:
ENJOY THE CHAOS – it’s super exciting and live in the moment when in Marrakech. Let the city immerse you in it’s charm!
Our last day in Marrakech and what an amazing experience it has been! From the sheer generosity and loveliness of each and every person we met here, to the amazing food, and markets, we have thoroughly enjoyed being here. It has come as a surprise as after S.America we really expected a lot of street vendors following us, selling and general annoyance or not feeling safe, but I can honestly say, it has been quite the opposite.
The people here do not bother you at all, they are always willing to help (just don’t take help from teenage boys on corners, they will scam you and it’s a major problem in the area) . As for safety, we did not feel unsafe once, we had our phones out snapping away throughout the day, in the markets and walking back home in the evening. Like every city, do not walk alone at night but apart from that, add Marrakech to your bucket list as it truly a fantastic place!
Now, back to today and our Atlas mountain trip. I have added the link below to the trip we did as overall it was very good. 8am we departed the city and headed to our first stop along the way to see how Argan oil is produced, which was actually quite interesting, and we were able to sit enjoy some mint tea and beautiful fresh bread and oil.
Of course, it’s a tourist trap in the sense you can buy from them, but we didn’t and just enjoyed the food and learning about the products. Our first valley stop was where we stopped to take some epic photos which you will see scattered through the blog and each valley was totally epic, and crazy to see the small towns camouflaged perfectly and perched up against these gigantic mountains! This is pretty much how the day went and it’s unbelievable to think that over winter this place is covered in snow as during the time outside I was back to being melting candle face all day. Between the 2nd and 3rd Valley we headed off into the National park on a 1.5 hour hike to a brilliant waterfall at the top of the Ourika Valley.
Another day and another beautiful morning in Marrakech. Waking up this morning it is clearly obvious that we were in for a super hot day as I pretty much sweated through my clothes during breakfast at 8.30am. Regardless, we wanted to explore the city again and check out any sights we missed on day 1. The agenda today was La Momounia (The hotel where Sex and the City 2 was filmed) as we heard from a reliable source ( my mum ) that you don’t need to stay there to walk the hotel and gardens, but you do need to be dressed appropriately and smart … neither of which we are very accustomed to this trip. So, we went and checked, and right enough, no singlets allowed so it turned swiftly into an afternoon plan.
We had heard a lot about La Jardin Majorelle – aka, The Yves Saint Laurent Gardens and wanted to see what the fuss was about as it was voted the number 1 Instagram spot in Marrakech. We walked there which took 45 minutes as it’s about 5km from our Riad and when we got there, there was a huge queue to get in and a 70 Dirham fee (about $8NZD pp) . We paid it of course as we had just spent the last hour walked in 38 degrees to get there and overall it was pretty enjoyable and easily recognizable why it is instagrammable
Holy moley, 170 days in and we are in Northern Africa! And what a journey it has been so far! Marrakech was always on our radar but after finding dirt cheap $30NZD flights from Nimes with RyanAir we decided to add it to the list for a few days stop over to check it out.
OK, yes flying with Ryanair is always a bit of a hit or a miss in the sense its mostly a miss as the service is shite and did you know they charge you $50NZD if you don’t print your boarding pass off before flying, and you can’t check in at the Airport? Yes, well they do, so just be aware of that when flying with them. After a horrid 3 hours of nasty turbulence and not being able to sit next to Leo we arrived safely in Marrakech and to our surprise a seriously luxurious Airport.
You cannot bring any drones into Morocco so just and FYI as you must declare then get them confiscated for the time you are there (more than 3 days then you pay a horrendous tax) so try and only stay 3 days. We booked an Airport transfer through our Riad for $25NZD and he was waiting for us there after we got through the customs shenanigans. He was so nice and took us to our beauty A/C van and off we went to our Riad – Riad Elite, a new accommodation beside the Royal Palace. Upon checking in we were greeted by yet another super friendly team member and shown to our room …which tbh was just ok, but for $150NZD for 3 nights with B’fast we can’t really complain.
After a rough night’s sleep and being woken by the call to prayer at 5.30am we were ready to start our day of exploring this wonderful, vibrant HOT AF city. However, waking up early meant we were able to catch this sunrise! On our list of things to do was to wander, get lost and most importantly try a tagine and see the markets!
Nothing can prepare you fully for Marrakech, at all. Not reading blogs, watching YouTube video’s or scrolling Instagram! This is a city which moves to its own organised chaotic beat and you can choose to go with it or stand out and feel awkward. We chose to go with the flow and immerse ourselves! and visitors can either go against it or try to find their place in its chaotic rhythm. Within the labyrinthine of the city walls we found ourselves many times lost while in awe of the stalls, trying new foods, exploring new alley ways which intertwined and experiences smells, some both good and bad…OH all while trying not to be run down by motorbikes…everywhere! It is a sticky sweaty mess of a city that is vibrant, inspiring and grasps you from the second you let it.
That afternoon we last minute booked a sunset camel ride at the Palmerie through Morocco Inspiring tours. It was 60NZD pp and we were picked up at 5.45pm by the nicest man in the world, Abdul who spoke perfect English and provided us with water and great chat on the way to the Palmerie. The Palmerie is a national park just outside Marrakech and is a great way to see the sunset, experience camel riding in a desert like area and have wonderful conversations with the locals.
Our guide Siad was not only multi-lingual but also incredible funny, smart and made the trip immensely fun. To top it off we sat in the home of a local guy and drank mint tea, ate traditional bread with honey and some little cakeys before getting some epic photos of the sunset. Overall, it was an epic tour, and generally we hate tours but this was 3 hours well spent!