Spain’s starting to get cold and is losing it’s sunshine, also I want to get back to a never ending summer, so I decided to spend a month in Morocco to learn more about this beautiful country.
Surfing in Tamraght
Taghazout is the most famous surfing destination in Morocco, but it’s tiny, lost it’s hippy vibe and has more scammers than soul nowadays. Further down the coast is another town called Tamraght with more surf and yoga camps as well as proximity to the same beaches. I have stayed in a few places and recommend Maroc Surf Camp for basic accomodation, yoga and surf lessons or the Riu Palace if you want more of a luxury resort vibe. The Maroc Surf Camp guys were happy to collect me from the Riu and take me out for surf lessons when I was staying there.
South Morocco Discovery With Intrepid Travel
I wanted to learn more about Morocco so booked the South Morocco Discovery tour with Intrepid Travel. If you decide to do this tour there are a few things of importance to note. Bring a water bottle with you, the tour guide provides fresh water along the route and having a water bottle makes it easy to refill. On a few nights you will be limited to a small over night bag, i.e. when you are in the Atlas mountains and camping in the Sahara, the rest of your luggage will be stored securely. Trainers were fine for the hiking.
I left for Marrakech a few days early as I knew there were some things I wanted to see that weren’t part of the official tour, namely the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. There are long queues at the door so it’s best to book your tickets online 24 hours in advance to skip the queues entirely! I recommend getting the combined ticket that lets you in to both the museum and the Jardin Majorelle, which is absolutely beautiful.
We left Marrakesh early in the morning and headed out to a small town in the Atlas mountains called Aroumd, where we got to start our adventure. After being dropped off by the mini van, we left our main luggage in a hotel and started a small, 1 hour, 3.5km hike up to the guest house we were staying in.
Upon arriving at the guest house, we were welcomed with traditional mint tea and lunch, followed by another hike of just under 4 hours, there and back again, to a shrine in one of the peaks. Whilst the guest house was cold, there were plenty of blankets and more importantly plenty of hot water in the morning, but I did get up first!
The next morning we hiked back down the mountain to the hotel we left our luggage in and boarded the minivan for the drive to Ait Benhaddou. The small town of Ait Benhaddou was built around 1,000 years ago and was an important point along a caravan route. Now it’s slowly being restored whilst being a tourist destination and featuring in films and TV shows like Time Bandits, The Jewel Of The Nile, The Living Daylights, The Mummy, Gladiator and Game of Thrones!
Ouarzazate – Zagora
In the morning we headed out to Ouarzazate and the Atlas Studios, Morocco’s version of Hollywood! Here they filmed Cleopatra, Black Hawk Down, Prison Break, Game of Thrones and more.
We did a tour of the Atlas Studios were we visited sets from Cleopatra and Gladiator and saw stunt cars, buses, trucks and planes from Black Hawk Down, Prison Break and Jewel Of The Nile.
Tamegroute – Erg Chigaga
Leaving the hotel we headed to the Erg Chigaga dunes for a night camping under the stars in the Sahara. On the way we stopped at the town of Tamegroute where we got to visit the local library and the underground Kasbah, before continuing on to the dunes, a camel ride and a camp fire!
One of the things I didn’t expect was just how amazing the stars are in the desert, that far away from light pollution!
The next day was an 8 hour drive to Oulad Berhil by minivan. We were up early and driving so we could catch the sunrise from the sand dunes on the way back to civilisation! We stayed the night at the market town of Oulad Berhil.
Taroudant – Essaouira
We headed to the windy city, Essaouira, also featured in Game of Thrones where we would stay for 2 nights. Essaouira is a really cool city, it’s got a bit of a hippy vibe, a beautiful beach, lots of shops and is popular for kite surfing. In the morning we did a tour from a local guide, then the rest of the day was for ourselves, mostly walking, shopping, eating and visiting hammams and getting henna done!
Eventually back to Marrakech! The trip back from Essaouira to Marrakech took about 4 hours but then due to Morocco winning a world cup game took an extra hour whilst inside the city to get to the bus stop. Because the roads were locked up we then just walked back to the same hotel we started off at, not really a big deal.
This was our last night together as part of the tour, in the morning I took a taxi back to Tamraght for another week of surfing to book end the entire trip!
Travelling With Insulin Around Morocco
This was the first time I’ve travelled internationally since going on to insulin therapy for my diabetes so I was a bit apprehensive as I wasn’t sure how it would be received or whether I would be able to keep my insulin refridgerated.
The Maroc Surf Camp was really awesome, they let me store my insulin in the camp fridge and I also stored cool packs in the freezer. Whenever we went to the beach I would just bring my insulin in a cool box with the cool packs, really easy!
The Intrepid Travel tour were also really accommodating. Our guide, Mohammed, would help me at every destination talk to the staff of the hotel or guesthouse to get my insulin in a fridge and my cool packs in a freezer. The one day in the sahara that we did not have a fridge, a big ice box and a lot of cool packs were bought to last the 48 hours. It was also pretty cold at night anyway so would probably have been fine.
This trip has gotten me back to travelling again!