Almost everyone who passes through Morocco comes out the other side slightly changed. It’s a peculiar country, a part of the African continent, but could almost be called European. A former part of a French colony, almost 35% of Moroccans speak French. Over the years everyone from William S. Burroughs and Henry Matisse to Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones have spent time here and found something alluring about this place. So we’re here to sample Morocco in 2017.
What makes Marrakesh so attractive is the contrast between the manic souks that swarm the old city, and the quiet back streets that can be endlessly explored. A couple of spots you must head to if you’re a sucker for good food: a hidden food spot we found, the La Familie. If you can find it, their goats cheese strawberry salad is to die for. And the modern Moroccan eatery, Nomad, make sure you try the saffron scented Moroccan date cake.
You cannot leave Marrakesh without visiting the Garden Majorelle, it’s a must. The home and inspiration epicenter for YSL founder Yves Saint Laurent, they even scattered his ashes here when he died in 2008. Once inside you’re transported to a world where style has little compromise. It’s a fitting tribute to a man that gave so much to the fashion world.
Finally we ended our trip by rushing over to the Atlas Mountains. It’s just 90 minutes’ drive from Marrakesh but when you’re nestled amongst some of the most beautiful ice-capped mountain ranges you’ve ever witnessed, you could be in a totally different world altogether. The Berbers (descendants of the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa scattered all Africa) that predominantly live in the region open their arms to tourists. Our residence of choice, Kasbah Toubkal, is almost 2km above sea level. So taken was the legendary film director Martin Scorsese with the location that he decided to shoot Kundun, his 1990’s tribute to the Dalai lama, right here. Staying here you’ll even be wrapped in a blanket that depicts stunning mountain ranges, almost insulting the man-made structures around it. An eclectic range of people visit from all around the world, and we were told by the local Berber guide that 4 people died last year on the mountain De Toubkal, so be prepared if you want to climb it. In any case we were left awe struck by the place.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration, an adventure, or just a new experience, Morocco is definitely an under-appreciated spot and with EasyJet flights at just £75 from London, there is no excuse not to visit. If only we had another 72 hours.