My friend doing her thing with the camera
I recently came back from a trip to Morocco with a friend. So, this post is to give you guys an overview of Morocco which is a superb adventure destination and to show a bit of contrast, since we did a full-on "adventure gentleman" trip by going from 5 star hotels to back-of-the-car accommodation (lol).
Anyway, we landed in Marrakech with the idea of making a small video of the trip. Something fun and playful since I got the new Mavic Air to play. However, the moment we arrived to the airport, we were notified that drones are forbidden in Morocco, unless you go through a ton of paperwork to accredit the reasons why you bring one. So, either don’t bring one or deal with the paperwork. I had to pay retention and storage taxes and lost a bunch of time dealing with the customs officers.
After dealing with our drone problem and going through the airport, we jumped in a car I had previously arranged to take us to our Riad in the middle of the Marrakech Medina. I loved being in the middle of the action there but, honestly, two days here is more than enough. We both got rapidly tired of people asking you for money, trying to sell you stuff, touching you for no reason, etc. This is something I really don’t enjoy and you will surely find a lot of it. Moving on, the Riad was excellent, the best we could find, with a lovely terrace and perfect breakfast.
Enjoying a beautiful sunset at the Riad
We then set off to make our way through the market and visit the landmarks around the city. I have to say is pretty interesting but after a couple of hours, everything is the same. Let me repeat some of the basic rules for these kinds of places:
Always carry everything in front (backpack) there’s a lot of pick pocketing
Always ask for the price before-hand (Although they will always lie and try to get more)
Everyone is trying to get money. If they offer to help it will be against a tip or something.
Download offline maps on your phone. It’s very easy to get lost and in need for “help”
Everyone tells you it is safe at night. It surely doesn’t feel like it is.
We arrived pretty late on the first day but, on the second night, I made reservations for Azar Marrakech, one of the best restaurants in town. We had a spectacular dinner full of luxurious food and wine, plus we got to see a belly dancing show. If you want to visit this place, make sure to reserve in advance and be prepared for a pricey meal. Definitely worth it.
Enjoying some delicious coffee on our 5 stars retreat next to the High Atlas
The next day we rented a car from Medloc Maroc, which we were told was the best rental service in town. To be very honest, it is. Considering the place we were at, they provided a pretty good service by delivering and picking up the car exactly where we told them and at the -almost- precise time. The retrieval of the car went without any problems and considering how we treated that 4x4, everything went super smooth.
We drove 3 days across the mountains and through the desert and I’m pretty convinced this is the best way of seeing Morocco. We had a blast and it was easy to just access anywhere and make our own schedule with the car. We decided to sleep in the back of the car, which was not extremely comfortable but, definitely not the worst I have experienced.
Room with a view?
Taking a small stroll through the valley
We decided to keep our objectives pretty down to earth and not try to overreach because our time was limited. So, in the wake of this, we chose to do a sort of a shoestring going through the high Atlas (Tizi n'Tichka Pass) going through Asni and making a beautiful stop to look at Mt. Toubkal (which we are definitely coming next time to climb). After leaving the area from the highest point in North Africa, we headed towards a more desert environment. Not that Toubkal area was really green but, this was certainly desert. Now, there’s an important topic in here: not all desert is sand desert and, since we didn’t really have the time to go all the way to the dunes, is necessary to clarify that the dunes are very far from Morocco and it is actually just a very small portion of the land that is actually covered by sand dunes. If your plan is to get to the dunes, then consider at least 3 days to make it either to Zagora or Merzouga, being the last the biggest of both.
As said, from the mountains we headed into the dry land (let’s call it like this) and we found a plethora of beautiful landscapes and tiny villages that look absolutely stunning under golden-hour type of light. We slept in the middle of the desert near Ait Benhaddou (the ancient city) and then we headed towards a second mountain pass in direction to Agdim. A few pointers at this stage:
Fuel is cheap and there’re plenty of gas stations so, no need to be very conservative.
Is nice and easy to take a stroll through the desert and climb some hills to get the view.
Definitely stop at small towns and have at least a coffee and witness the movement.
Internet is everywhere!
Guys selling stones and other cheap souvenirs are everywhere as well. Super annoying.
We Travelled in the middle of winter and it was 25 degrees all the time.
We drove from Agmid to Demnat and, my god, the mountain pass was absolutely gorgeous. Full of beautiful corners and weather changes. We even got an ice storm for a few minutes and then 25 degrees again. Be sure to go through here if you want to see some really interesting places. We even made a spontaneous stop to ask for directions at a local home and ended up eating Tajine and sipping coffee with a guy named Ahmed (he didn’t speak a word of English and our French is extremely basic) and had an amazing afternoon watching old pictures from his guiding days. It made our road trip so much better to meet him.
We took off from Ahmed’s and drove directly to Marrakech where we went straight to a 5 star Marriot to get clean, comfy and well treated after that perfect adventure. We had one more day left in Fes where we visited the medina and the market (the biggest market from the arab world) but, since it was mainly the same as in Marrakech, we had sisha and tea at a rooftop cafe (way better). Oh, forgot to mention, we went through more airports and I had to pick up and declare again my drone and pay more taxes for it.
Visit Morocco! Don’t bring a drone and have as much fun as possible!
If you have anything to add, make sure to leave a comment :)