Beat’s guide to Morocco
19.02.2020

Beat’s guide to Morocco

Words by James Robertson

The colourful African country is full of hidden treasures.

The Kingdom of Morocco is a country whose name evokes a wild range of images. Not your typical African country, Morocco’s landscape contains everything from barren deserts to snow-capped peaks and ancient towns to sun-lit shores.

A perfect place to get lost in, this is a travel destination that rewards multiple visits. And with the kind of hospitality that Moroccan people will greet you with, why wouldn’t you make this friendly Arabic country your next travelling stop.

To help you plan your trip, we’ve rounded up some highlights.

 

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Marrakech

Although it may have gained a reputation as the ‘New York of Morocco’, Marrakech lives up to its name through its sheer liveliness. In the city centre is one of Morocco’s most spacious squares, which pulsates with an abundance of food and souvenir stalls. Descend into any alleyway that branches off the main square and you will be enveloped by souks, enclosed market spaces that sell everything from spices to sharks eggs.

One of Marrakech’s most tourist-friendly haunts is the Jardin Majorelle, a stunning botanical garden that hosts a plethora of plant-life from around the world – even cacti from Australia. Be sure to take your camera as you will definitely want a photo in front of the shocking blue colour palette of the Cubist villa that is also home to museums on Islamic art and the culture of the Berber people.

But if the hustle and bustle of the city gets to you, then fear not as the open expanse of the Sahara Desert is only a camel trip away.

 

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Rabat

When in Morocco’s newest capital, which gained the title with the country’s independence in the 1950s, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on the Mediterranean coast.

A little known fact, Morocco is renowned for its surfing and Rabat’s beaches are a hotspot in the summer. Before you go for a dip, make sure to traipse through the Kasbah of the Udayas, a stunning fortress overlooking the Bouregreg River and the sea, full to the brim with blue and white painted streets and houses that will make you think you’ve been transported to Greece.

Being a royal city, Rabat is home to the current king of Morocco. It’s also where you’ll find the burial places of members of his family, at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V – a stunning white construction with a kaleidoscope of frescos housed within. In the same location is the Hassan Tower, the remains of an incomplete mosque from the 12th century that would have been home to the tallest minaret in the world if it was ever finished. But, with the stumps of the pillars lining the space, the site of these ruins is a stunning echo of what could have been.

 

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Fes

If you want an authentic experience of a Moroccan city, look no further than Fes. Home to the largest and oldest medina in the whole world, Fes prides itself on its handcrafted goods. Makers of rugs, pottery, fabrics, metalwork and leather still utilise the same methods that have brought fame to Fes for hundreds of years.

Whatever you do, make sure to take a guide with you when exploring these shops, because, with thousands of roads making up the entire medina, it is extremely easy to get lost. Not to worry though, as Fes also has some of the friendliest people you will find in Morocco and will be more than accommodating guides.

One of Fes’ closest attractions is Volubilis, the remarkably well-preserved remains of an ancient Roman city and once the seat of power in all of Morocco. Walking through the massive gates, the towering pillars and the stunning Roman mosaic floors will not only stun, but will transport you back to a distant time.

Moroccan Food

Besides the culture and landscapes, Morocco’s biggest drawcard is its cuisine, which is renowned across the world. Eating at restaurants – which, for a foreigner, is the safest option – is an absolute delight.

No matter what dish you choose, warm bread is always served. And you’re going to need a lot of it to tackle the national dish, Tajin, a slow-cooked mix of meat and vegetables made in a conical cooking pot. The couscous you’ll find in Morocco will make for a fabulous dinner option, while the brochettes – essentially skewed meat – will make your mouth water, especially the Kefta.

The finishing touch for any Moroccan meal is, undoubtedly, the mint tea – otherwise known as ‘Berber Whiskey’. A mix of mint leaves and sugar boiled in a traditional teapot, this drink is so delicious it is almost addictive.

 

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