This blogger just got back from a week-long adventure to Morocco (with her mother!) so please forgive her if the next couple of posts are all about Morocco! Morocco was an amazing educational experience, giving me new personal experience and insight on another MENA and Muslim-majority country besides Egypt. Now I can do comparisons! (see upcoming post)
This post, however, will keep it simple. Below are a selection of photos I took of some of the best tourist destinations in Morocco. During my January 9th-16th trip my mother and I stayed in both Casablanca and Marrakech, with day trips to Rabat, Ait Benhaddou and Ourzazate.
DO visit. I know every guidebook and travel site says to stay just long enough to see the Hassan II mosque and then jump on a train, but Casablanca is an intriguing city and offers a vision of crossroads-Morocco. It gets bonus points for its Atlantic ocean location and noir allure.
Rabat, Morocco’s capital city, is compact, clean, safe and beautiful. True, I did not visit inside the old medina, but the taxi drivers my mother and I took were fair and leering/harassment was minimal during our day here. The Chellah ruins on the outskirts of the city are easy to walk to from the train station and a must see: this ancient site is a relaxing and beautiful respite from busy streets and kasbahs.
Marrakesh is amazing and has plenty to see and do, but it is not for the faint of heart: the souqs and medina are impossible to navigate without a guide, as my mother and I got lost.
After Casablanca, I was most excited to see the old kasbah town of Ait Benhaddou, more than a two hour treacherous ride through the Atlas mountains away from Marrakesh. It did not disappoint: like a red mirage rising up out of the suddenly flat desert plain, this kasbah is an amazing UNESCO site. Just be sure to walk around without a guide, otherwise you’ll be dragged through pretty fast.
Land of the Hollywood film studios, Ourzazate is a Wild West-style town seemingly in the middle of nowhere that nevertheless feels modern, perhaps because there seems to be a bit of American influence, with signs in English and the main road leading into the city is heavily decorated with curlicue lampposts not unlike an American suburb. The kasbah is cool, if empty, but I couldn’t imagine staying in the town.