Having been ruled by both the French and the Spanish for much of the late 19th and 20th centuries, Morocco has an interesting blend of North African and European culture. Its cities have parks and boulevards that wouldn’t look out of place in Paris or Madrid, as well as beautiful Moorish mosques. It has a population of 33 million people who are mostly concentrated in its urban metropolises, but also inhabit rural desert and mountain settlements.


Take a trip to the desert to experience the awe-inducing vastness of the Saharan landscape. Many tour companies run excursions from Morocco’s main cities to destinations such as Erg Chigaga, an undulating set of sand dunes. Hitch a ride across the dunes on a camel and marvel at the endless expanse of dusty sand stretching out before you. 


In Marrakech, the Koutoubia Mosque dominates the skyline. Its minaret marks the center of the city, and stands 229.7 feet (70 meters) tall. Listen out for the haunting call to prayer and admire its silhouette as you make your way around the surrounding souks.


Most people think of desert when they thing of Morocco, but this North African nation also has gorgeous beaches and a healthy surf scene. Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast is a popular location to take to the waves. Novices and expert wave riders come here from all over the world and share the beach with kitesurfers, camels and walkers.


Adrenaline nuts will also love Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, a hub for climbing and trekking. Hike up the highest mountain in Morocco, the 13,671.3-foot (4167- meter) Jebel Toubkal, and meet Berber locals as you trek along the route.


Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech’s winding streets and expansive markets at Café Arabe. A popular spot for travelers, this atmospheric cafe has an authentic Moroccan feel thanks to its gleaming lanterns, North African photographs and its open-air views across the city. Take a seat and cool off in the night breeze with a refreshing beer or cocktail – drinks that can be hard to find in Muslim Marrakech. The food menu is nourishing yet diverse, drawing inspiration from Moroccan cooking and various other global cuisines including Italian.


No trip to Morocco is complete without a visit to Marrakech main square, the Jemaa el-Fna. During daylight, it has a chaotic carnival atmosphere, with exotic animal handlers and henna tattooists looking to capitalize on tourists’ curiosity and money. After sunset, it morphs into one of Marrakech’s best night spots, and fills with street food vendors whose tempting snacks are hard to resist. 

The square is also surrounded by souks or marketplaces that are ideal for shopping. Among the most commonly touted wares are North African lanterns, bohemian harem pants, leather goods and Berber art. Spices and other culinary treats are also on sale around the medina (the old city). Have a go at bartering with the local shopkeepers; it is all part of the Moroccan experience. Just remember to keep track of where you are going – the streets twist and turn in this shopper’s paradise.




BRIC'S Capri