I've been waiting for this trip for a while. I have always dreamed of going to Morocco. Meet Arab culture and its customs, walk in the desert, eat good tagines, and visit a country full of history.
Today I take you with me to the gate of the desert in the city of Marrakech. Marrakech is one of Morocco's most popular cities for tourists, due to its rich history, traditional architecture, bustling market and vibrant atmosphere. Throughout this article I will try to convey to you the atmosphere that I found there.
The Agafay desert, not to be missed
Located at the foot of the Atlas desert, Marrakech is a very attractive city. I landed at Marrakech-Menara International Airport, from where I took a Taxi to go directly to the Agafay desert.
I was straight into the bath with a more than warm welcome from the taxi driver who took me 50 minutes from Marrakech to the gates of the Agafay desert. A rocky desert from which you can observe the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.
I went to one of the many camps/hotels in the desert, Emeraude Camp. A very pleasant hotel with around ten rooms in the shape of a tent or dome.
I started my day with a swim in the swimming pool, it must be said that with the stifling heat of the desert, taking a dip wasn't too much. And be careful, the water is freezing. This is not a joke. I then spent a good part of the afternoon on the deckchairs by the swimming pool contemplating the mountains, and all kinds of animals, camels, donkeys, etc…
At the end of the afternoon I took a camel ride accompanied by a guide, I was able to admire the magnificent sunset on the horizon.
For dinner everything was planned with my hotel reservation, a homemade tagine that made me salivate! All accompanied by a local orchestra under the desert stars. What more could you ask for?
It's time to go to bed. And what could be better than sleeping in a transparent dome through which I could admire the stars and the landscape before me.
The next morning, I took advantage of the morning to rent a quad, always accompanied by a guide who showed me a small part of the desert. For 3 hours we drove, and I had the opportunity to drink mint tea under tents in the middle of the desert.
Then, return to the hotel for lunch to prepare for my return to Marrakech.
Marrakech a city like no other
As soon as I arrived in Marrakech, I understood how bustling this city was.
I arrive by taxi directly in the Medina. It is the historic center of the city, which is surrounded by ramparts and monumental gates. It is a labyrinth of narrow streets, squares, markets and traditional buildings, where one can experience the authentic atmosphere of Moroccan life. The medina is divided into specialized districts, where one can find souks (markets) for different products such as spices, fabrics, jewelry, pottery, leathers and much more.
The medina of Marrakech is a place to live and work for many of the city's residents, who live in traditional houses called "riads".
A magnificent Riad
I just arrived at my Riads, a magnificent hotel with 5 rooms on several floors, immediately I noticed that it was much cooler. The riad is made up of a square where the life of the hotel takes place between the 4 walls. It is also between these walls that we were able to enjoy the swimming pool.
Jemaa el-Fnaa square, central point
Very well located, I was close to the city's attractions. Quickly I decide to take a closer look at the Jemaa el-Fnaa square, the most famous in Marrakech, where you can find musicians, dancers, acrobats, snake charmers and many traditional food stalls.
Get lost and haggle in the Souk
From the square I went to the Souk. The souk is a series of covered (tarpaulin) markets and narrow streets, which sell a variety of artisanal goods, such as carpets, jewelry, pottery, spices, clothing and much more. Merchants sell traditional Moroccan products, as well as modern items for tourists.
The Marrakech souk is one of the largest and liveliest in Morocco, and it is known for its colors, smells, sounds and ambiance. The streets are narrow and crowded, making navigation a little difficult, but it adds to the lively and authentic atmosphere of the place.
When visiting the Marrakech souk, it is important to haggle prices with the merchants, as it is part of Moroccan culture. It is also recommended to get lost in the streets to discover hidden places and unique products. The souk is an unforgettable experience that immerses you in Moroccan culture and allows you to take home unique souvenirs.
The Yves Saint-Laurent museum and the Majorelle gardens
For my first time in Marrakech I had to go to the Yves Saint-Laurent museum, as well as to the Majorelle gardens next to the museum. I advise you to buy tickets online if you don't want to have a bad experience. Even if you go before opening without a ticket you risk waiting in line for several hours. But once inside you enter the Yves Saint-Laurent universe.
The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is a museum dedicated to the life and work of the famous French designer Yves Saint Laurent, who spent much of his life in Morocco. The museum is located near the Majorelle gardens, which were bought by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé in the 1980s.
The museum houses a collection of more than 5,000 clothes, accessories, sketches and photographs by Yves Saint Laurent, as well as temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and other fashion designers. The museum building, designed by French architecture firm Studio KO, is a work of art in itself, with a terracotta brick facade and a light-filled atrium.
The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is a must-see for fashion and culture lovers. It offers a unique perspective on the career of one of the greatest fashion designers of the 20th century and his love for Morocco. In addition, the museum organizes cultural activities, such as film screenings, workshops and lectures, to allow visitors to learn about Moroccan history and culture.
Moroccan food, how good it is!
Throughout our trip I was able to taste local flavors and spices.
Marrakech cuisine is influenced by Berber, Arab, Jewish and Andalusian culinary traditions. Marrakech's most famous dishes include tagine, a stew cooked slowly in an earthenware dish, with vegetables, meat or fish, spices and dried fruits. Tagines are often served with crusty bread called "khobz", which is cooked in clay ovens. A delight ! I had the chance to taste a magnificent tagine during my first dinner in the Agafay desert.
Besides tagine, couscous is also very popular in Marrakech, with couscous grains served with vegetables, meat, spices and dried fruits. I couldn't leave Marrakech to enjoy a magnificent couscous with a view of the Jemaa el-Fnaa square.
During 4 days I enjoyed myself!
Some tips for your trip to Marrakech
- 4 days are more than enough to visit Marrakech and spend a night in the Agafay desert. That being said, you can always see more things by staying longer.
- Take a good Riad: in the medina if possible so you can get around on foot.
- Explore the city on foot: Marrakech is a city full of narrow streets and alleys, so walking is often the best way to explore the city and discover its hidden gems.
- Try local dishes: Moroccan cuisine is delicious and varied, so don't miss the opportunity to try dishes such as tagine, couscous and local pastries.
- Negotiate prices: When shopping in souks and markets, it is common to negotiate prices with sellers. Remember that negotiation is an art in Morocco, so be patient and friendly.