Monthly Archives: January 2012

Morocco’s Kasbah Telouet, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Kasbah Telouet

Kasbah Telouet is one of Morocco’s most impressive Kasbahs. Most travelers who visit Kasbah Telouet opt to see it when en route to the Ouarzazate. The village of Telouet and this renowned Kasbah can be reached by Moroccan piste. Kasbah Telouet also makes for an excellent one-day excursion from Marrakech.Located along the former route of the caravans in Morocco’s High Atlas Kasbah Telouet is just twenty minutes from the Tizin-Tichka-Pass.

Kasbah Telouet Village

Kasbah Telouet has a rich history that is intertwined with the French. It is located in a fertile valley surrounded by palm, fig and olive trees. The Kasbah stands alone with its original zellij tile decorated with the Jewish Star of David, preserved silks and grand remnants of the El Pacha Glaoui family. The Kasbah’s painted wooden ceiling and low level corridors within the interior of the Kasbah lead to two well preserved Andalusian style reception rooms. These rooms are engraved with stuccowork and colorful zellij. To visit Kasbah Telout is see one of Morocco’s hidden jewels. It lies at an elevation of 1,800 meters and lays claim to magnificent views that overlook the Berber village of Telouet.

Unlike the other Kasbahs in Southern Morocco, Kasbah Telout was occupied by the Glaoui family instead of being used for slaves or only as a fortress. Kasbah Telouet has yet to be coined a UNESCO World Heritage site. While it appears in parts to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior Kasbah Telouet is one of true splendor.

Ounila Valley, Southern Morocco

For the adventurous traveler Kabash Telouet and the Berber village surrounding it can also be reached on a journey that starts in Ouarzazate and takes one through the majestic Ounila Valley. The Ounila Valley offers a scenic drive and is full of geologic history. The Ounila Valley gives insight into what flora, fauna and fossils existed in Morocco centuries ago. The changing colors and variation of the Ounila Valley in spring and fall also make it the perfect region for those traveling to Morocco to photograph scenery. Rest assured that when planning a trip to Morocco or Morocco’s Sahara Desert that Kasbah Telouet is one historic site not to be missed.

For more information about Kasbah Telouet & The High Atlas Tichka

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel to Morocco

Abderrazzak Benchaabane Ethnobotanist & Marrakech Garden Designer, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Abderrazal Benchaabane, Ethnobotanist & Garden Designer

Jeanette Lowdon gets up close with Abderrazzak Benchaabane, an Ethnobotanist & Morocco’s leading Garden Designer.  On a chilly Saturday morning in winter Lowdon had the fortuitous opportunity to  interview Abderrazzak Benchaabane at his private estate in the Palmeraie of Marrakech. The setting was Abderrazzak’s expansive gardens and contemporary museum located on one-hectare within the luxurious Marrakech palmerie.

Abderrazzak Benchaabane is a Marrakech legend. Quiet and soft spoken, this renowned Garden Designer, Ethnobotanist, Perfumer, Teacher, Photographer, Writer, Garden Restorer and Publisher has created a landmark place for himself within the world of the “red hamra” city. An academic who gained his doctorate in botanical ecology from Semlalia Faculty of Sciences at Marrakech’s Cadi Ayyad University, Benchaabane is currently a Botany and Ecology professor at the University of Marrakech.

Jardins Du Maroc Magazine

Founder of the Jardins du Maroc Magazine (Gardens of Morocco) and the Festival Jardin’Art (Garden Art Festival) in Marrakech, Abderrazzak Benchaabane continues to have big dreams for his beloved Morocco. Both of which were created to give public awareness to the importance of the garden in life and for the education to the protection of their environment. His passion of giving back to Morocco and to teach the youth to respect and understand their land can be seen in his tireless efforts to create projects that educate and share his dream. “My passion is a spiritual project, not a business project,” claims Benchaabane.

Abderrazak''s Intimate Maroc

A gifted photographer, Benchaabane left the big city behind and traveled the Sahara along with other desert regions of the world to capture the intense emotions born out of the silence only the desert can evoke. Since 1981 Abderrazzak Benchaabane’s photographs have been featured in many expositions and galleries throughout Morocco and Europe. His photographs have been recently published in a book called “Intimate Morocco” and are on permanent display at the museum. Through his black and white photographs, Benchaabane shares his inside view of his country, Morocco, through his eyes. Each image echoes his roots of Morocco, evoking emotion-induced feelings of the love he has with his country.

Abderrazzak Benchaabane was approached in 1998 by Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Berger, the owners of the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech, to survey the planting and to provide the Latin names of its plants. After cataloging 120 varieties of plants and careful inspection of the grounds Benchaabane then made a complete restoration of the gardens including a new system for irrigation and to honor its creator, Jacques Majorelle, Benchaabane added new varieties from Majorelle’s chosen plant families raising the total varieties grown in the garden to 325. 10 years later the restoration was complete giving new life to the gardens. Benchaabane now acts as director of the charitable trust set up to protect the Majorelle Gardens.

Abderrazak Benchaabane, Creator of Perfume

Later in 2001 Yves St. Laurent requested  Benchaabane to develop a perfume that represented the Majorelle Garden. As Benchaabane  describes it, he went from “The Kingdom of Silence to the Kingdom of Fragrances.” As a child he watched his mother teach his sisters the art of collecting, drying and preserving medicinal plants for traditional healing.  His mother sometimes would say “the plants protect the body and move away the bad spirits.”

The plants his mother collected were being gathered in the ceremonial way accompanied by traditional singing, then dried and placed in glass bottles. Some were preserved in their powder form and others preserved in honey or olive oil.  His mothers inspirations led him to write a book on Moroccan medicinal and aromatic plants of the High Atlas Mountains.

The plant world his mother created intrigued him just as much as the souks in Marrakech. At the time the master herbalists and healers of traditional and medicinal medicine were in the Marrakech Medina. There one could find exotic spices, incense and resins from exotic countries and far off lands. Benchaabane’s mentor in Botany taught him the role of the nose in the identification of plants, explaining that each plant has its own perfume.

In the majority of Moroccan gardens roses and oranges are grown and in every home a mixture of exotic spices that are brought from Mecca. Sandalwood, amber and musk are used as an incense in Mosques and for special occasions such as festivals, marriages and childbirth. From here, the journey began to create “Jardin Majorelle” fragrance.

Abderrazak Benchaabane, Creator of Soir De Marrakech

Benchaabane credits his knowledge and acumen for creating fragrances to Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Berger and Gilles Toledano.  Later in 2001 seeing the success of Jardin Majorelle fragrance Yves St. Laurent encouraged Benchaabane to create his own perfume collection. His first fragrance in the collection called Soir de Marrakech is a blend of amber, musk, vanilla, patchouli, jasmine, orange and lemon flowers. Soir de Marrakech is the ultimate expression of life in Marrakech, says Benchaabane. His fragrance collection to date has now grown to 10. He describes the process as “ Pure joy in creating my perfumes, sharing my dreams, emotions and love in a bottle.  Just another facet of sharing the art of life here in Morocco!”

Once the restoration of Majorelle Gardens was completed Benchaabane decided to form the magazine Jardins Du Maroc to share his passions for the gardens of Morocco and around the world. The first issue published in 2005 was an immediate success. The magazine’s primary objective is to introduce readers to the talents of Moroccan gardeners, landscapers, architects and to portray garden lovers, garden designers and artists. As the director and editor, the majority of the magazine contains contributions by him with features on both Moroccan gardens and gardens from around the world.

Festival Jardin'Art

Benchaabane wanted to offer something to Moroccans who cannot afford to purchase the magazine or who read French therefore in 2007 he created the Jardin’Art festival in Marrakech (Garden of Art Festival). Jardin’Art festival is held each spring in Marrakech under the patronage of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. The Jardin’Art attracts an increasing number of visitors and participants each year. Jardin’Art aims to bring together artists,landscapers,landscape architects,garden designers and growers along with booths dedicated to environmental education and Eco-tourism. There are also temporary gardens built by the children from local schools which encourages them to represent in their designs the sort of environments that surround them. By educating the younger generations, Benchaabane hopes to accomplish his mission to link the preservation of nature and the planet.

Musee de l’Art Marrakech

Recently opened is the Musee de l’Art (Museum of Art of Living) in Marrakech. The museum was created to fill a gap in cultural activities and offer new ongoing exhibitions for Moroccans as well as tourists. The goal is to continue to use the museum space to create cultural programs for the residents in the Medina and visitors to balance out the cultural divide that the Medina of Marrakech currently faces. Benchaabane feels by offering the youth a place for concerts, meetings with writers, seminars on art and poets it will help open the gap for new talent among young Marrakechi’s.

Benchaabane’s newest project combines art with nature at his Musee de la Palmeraie (Museum of the Palm). Since its opening in May 2011 the museum has attracted more than 3000 visitors worldwide. Located on a 150 year old restored French farm on one hectare outside the city of Marrakech is a museum and several majestic gardens. Musee de la Palmeraie is clearly dedicated to nature and art with its one-hundred year old mature palms, an Andalusian garden, a cactus garden, aquatic garden, perfumed rose garden, potager garden and sixty year old olive and orange orchards all dotted with local artisans sculptures and garden art.

Abderrazak Benchaabane, Palmeraie Gardens Marrakech

For the Andalusian Garden he took the natural divide in the orchards and created a water feature. He says “the water is like a mirror, reflecting the lite to the museum”. An Andalusian and Saharan shaded seating area are set amongst the rose gardens, orchards, and Mediterranean aquatic garden with its Koi fish. The Andalusian area with its tiled steps and the Sahara area with its earthen piste wall calls one to come, rest and contemplate the serenity of this magical place.

The cactus garden was planted 10 years ago with 40 kinds of cactus from Morocco, South Africa, USA, South America and Mexico.  All the locally grown cactus came from his mentor, a German engineer of Agriculture here in Morocco.

Within the converted stables and piste buildings on the property Benchaabane houses his private collection “unknown” Moroccan artists from the 1970’s, a workshop area for children, a private collection of his own photographs, paintings, photographs, calligraphy and sculptures along with the permanent collection of contemporary art from more than 50 Moroccan artists. One special photograph worth seeing is Le Maroc en Noir et Blanc taken in 1981 in Essaouira.

In the museum boutique the money raised from the sales of books, some of them authored by him go to the childrens workshops that are held regularly at the museum for the nearby village children. The workshops are taught by artists and are free to the children. Benchaabane felt it was a way for the children to learn a craft near their home as some may not have the means to go the city for lessons.

A project due to open in the near future is Benchaabane’s Ourika Valley Ecology farm. He has completed the 30,000 palm planting plan. His dream is to plant and create a space for children to learn about an ecology farm. “Too many children are growing up in cities and don’t know a farm. The 3 hectare farm will be a living museum with a kitchen garden and saffron garden. On the farm there is an old house and an an old traditional argan oil press”.

Asked what is the future for plant growers in Morocco: Benchaabane replied ” The growers and designers are organizing themselves to introduce new varieties that have adapted to the climate changes using new technologies “. Fifteen years ago Benchaabane was the first one to introduce the dry garden to Morocco. Now he is teaching the growers what works best in a dry climate for garden design.

When asked what is the future is of Moroccan gardens he replied, “It is highly related to the implication of the state and the people. The state are the owners of the gardens and the mayors and municipalities need to do two things to preserve gardens “to organize and take care of the gardens of Morocco” and “to educate the people on the value of plants – especially the new generation.”

For more information about Abderrazzak Benchaabane & The Majorelle Gardens 

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Abderrazzak Benchaabane, Abderrazzak Benchaabane Ethnobotanist, Abderrazzak Benchaabane Garden Designer, Jardins De Maroc, Majorelle Gardens, Palmeraie of Marrakech, Marrakech Garden Designer, Yves Saint Laurent, Soir De Marrakech, Morocco Tours, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel to Morocco, Uncategorized

Morocco Beach Holidays, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Agadir, Beach Holiday Morocco

Morocco is the perfect place to consider a beach holiday. Since Morocco is nestled between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, you won’t have trouble finding a beautiful beach for your Morocco travel your vacation while taking in the local seafood fare. If you choose to relax by the tranquil Mediterranean shores, you are in store for unspoiled Moroccan beaches with dramatic scenery of rocky inlets and headlands. In comparison, the beaches by the 2000 mile turquoise lit Moroccan Atlantic shore are more popular as they are lined with pristine stretches of sand. You will surely be astounded by the sand dunes, mythical cliffs and bluffs when traveling to the seaside of Morocco.

Four of the most popular Atlantic resorts for Moroccan travel are AgadirEssaouira, and Mirleft El Jadida, all have stunning sandy beaches with a plethora of exciting things to see and do. Moulay Bousalam, a smaller beach with rolling sand dunes that resides within a fishing town on the Atlantic is a less touristic alternative then Agadir and Essouaira and is where many Moroccans from Fes travel for their vacations and own second homes.

Agadir
Argued to be one of the most beautiful seaside resorts to travel to in Morocco, a visit to Agadir is a memorable experience as it offers a glimpse of  the Modern Maghreb. Agadir’s beach boasts a sparkling unpolluted crescent shaped shore that has retained a mountainous Kasbah backdrop even with the new seaside buildings that have sprung up in the past several years. The city is located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean near the foot of the Atlas Mountains, just north of the point where the Souss River flows into the ocean.
Agadir is an important fishing and commercial port, the first sardine port in the world, (exporting cobalt, manganese, zinc and citrus). Because of its large buildings, wide roads, modern touristic hotels, and European-style cafes, Agadir is not a typical city of traditional Morocco, but it is a modern, busy and dynamic town. Agadir is famous for its seafood and agriculture.
Even though Agadir’s popularity continues to grow, it is possible to escape the crowds during Morocco’s travel peak season (June – July) by visiting any one of the nearby beaches. Taghazout is only 19 km north of Agadir and a favorite of surfers.
After a few hours in the sun, there are several places to explore in Agadir. Maturer audiences have the option of renting horses, camels, or quad bikes to ride up the sand dunes. There are also numerous cafes with views of the sea that are wonderful to relax or people watch early in the morning or at sunset. Agadir is mellow and with its mix of new hotels, restaurants, shops and nights clubs it is an accessible place to travel to in Morocco for a vacation for singles, couples and families. Agadir also lays claim to one of the largest Marjane’s (the Moroccan equivalent of Target) in the country.

Essaouira Camel Trekking on the Beach

Essaouira
Essaouira, formerly known as Mogador, is a city and tourist resort in western Morocco, on the Atlantic Coast. Archaelogical research shows that Essaouira has been occupied since prehistoric times. The bay at Essaouira is partially sheltered by the island of Mogador, making it a peaceful harbour protected against strong marine winds. The Medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an example of a late 18th century fortified town. Essaouira remains one of the top seaside Moroccan travel destinations for foreigners.

Referred to as the ‘windy city of Afrika’, the beaches of the 18th century French influenced Essaouria, are the most popular. The winds make it the ideal place to host windsurfing competitions and year round, you can spot people practicing the sport.
Essaouria attracts diverse crowds because it offers a range of activities to do. When traveling to Essaouira, shop in the famous Thuya wood carving shops, take in the panoramic sights by Skala du Port, embrace the cafe scene, or visit the nearby islands. History and cultural lovers will also enjoy exploring the Mellah, where up to 9000 Jews lived between 1875-1900 exporting goods like salt and jewelry to London. You can also spend an afternoon climbing 15th century ramparts that were once sea bastions and fortifications. During the 19th century, Essaouira was the only part of port south of Tangier to trade with Europe.
Tourism to Essaouira has been of growing importance over the past ten years, supporting boutique hotels established in traditional Moroccan riads, within the old town’s ramparts. The medina is home to many small arts and crafts businesses, notably cabinet making and ‘thuya’ wood carving (using roots of the Tetraclinis tree), both of which have been practiced in Essaouira for centuries. This beachside resort also has a fishing fleet and market. Essaouria offers a good range of cafes and restaurants near the ramparts with views of the sea. For lunch or dinner the best place to eat is at one of line of grills down at the port, an Essaouria institution, and cooking fish as fresh as can be.
Essaouira is also renowned for its kitesurfing and windsurfing, with the powerful trade wind blowing almost constantly onto the protected, almost waveless, bay. Several world-class clubs rent top-notch material on a weekly basis. Parasols tend to be used on the beach as a protection against the wind and the blowing sand. Camel excursions are available on the beach and into the desert band in the interior.
Essaouria makes claim to one of Morocco’s largest and most successful annual events held each June, The Gnawa World Music Festival. Traveling to Essaouira during this festival season is one of the best ways to see Morocco The festival attracts approximately 600,000 attendees each summer and provides a platform for exchanges and a meeting point of music and dialogue between foreign artists and the mystical Gnawa musicians. In this melting-pot of musical fusion, the Gnawa masters invite players of jazz, pop, rock and contemporary World Music to explore new avenues. Past performers at the Gnawa World Music Festival include the French-Algerian group Gnawa Diffusion, the Rajistani Romany group Musafir, Vietnamese guitarist Nguyen, American drummer Sangoma Everett, Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, KyMani Marley, Wayne Shorter, the National Orchestra of Barbès Trio Joubran, the English genius of bluesman Justin Adams, as well as the incredible Toumani Diabaté and the Korean traditional percussions of the Salmunori Group.

Mirleft Beach

Mirleft

Mirleft is a fishing village South of Agadir between Tiznit and Sidi Ifni. The village of Mirleft acquired a robust reputation in Morocco for the quality of its white sand beaches, its almost inaccessible creeks between cliffs and ocean, or its sand dunes shaped by the wind of the desert. The taste of the sun, the crash of the oceanic waves, the immense areas of sand the tourist fond of seaside pleasures.  The bank of Mirleft is a part of these unique places these lost small places that the best surfers advise in secret. Often impressive and especially regular waves in a wild and grand decoration. The warm hospitality of the people in Mirleft and the beautiful weather make it an ideal Morocco vacation spot.
Moulay Bousalam
If you want a lower key place to sunbathe when traveling to Morocco, yet still prefer to spend afternoons mingling with locals, Moulay Bousalam is the simple and charming choice. The town’s beach is different from most along the Atlantic shores because it is surrounded by cliffs, sand dunes and impacted by waves that can sometimes be dangerous. Year round, some Moroccans can be spotted making a pilgrimage to visit the remains of 10th century Egyptian, who the town was named after. This sleepy fishing town attracts the most visitors in July and August. Another point of interest is Merdja Zerga, a lagoon used as a space for herding wild sheep, cattle, and goats. People also visit this quaint beach town throughout the year for bird watching.
  

El Jadida Beach

El Jadida

The region is well-known for the quality of its shad (cousin of the sardine) and of its seafood in general. Opposite the Bastion of the Angel, on the port of El Jadida, or along the boulevard de Suez, eating in any of the numerous restaurants will let you sample this while having an enjoyable time. If the premises are simple ones, their cooking is no less delicious. Here you will be able to sample grilled sea urchins, grilled sardines and other seafood, etc. Further to the south (76km), a visit to Oualidia is a must. This charming seaside resort is well known for its oysters. You can try them on the terrace of a restaurant or directly from the oyster beds in the lagoon where they are grown. You will also be able to hire a guide and a small boat. There is simply too much choice… The water is calm and perfect for swimming. The beach of the chic seaside resort of Sidi-Bouzid, 3km to the south, is magnificent and the current coming from the Canaries gives it a particular freshness. Haouzia is the name of Azemmour’s attractive beach to the north. The Royal Golf Club is worth the trip: its course weaves through the middle of a eucalyptus forest.

For more information about Beach Holidays in Morocco

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Morocco Beach Holidays, Agadir Beach, Essaouira Beach, Moulay Bousalam Beach, El Jadida Beach, Merlift Beach, Sun Holidays, Camel Trekking Essaouira, Morocco Tours, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel to Morocco

Casablanca Shore Excursions, Your Morocco Travel Guide

MSC Fantasia Cruise Ship

When traveling to Morocco by cruise ship make sure to take advantage of your time at port by considering exploration of the region through a Casablanca shore excursion. Casablanca has much to offer for cruise critics who want to take a day off from their journey at sea. The best Casablanca shore excursions are those that offer cruise lovers a fun-filled day in and around Casablanca with a private English speaking driver and guide . Cruise ships that originate from the USA or Europe tend to give their passengers a full-day in Casablanca. Some cruise ships that dock in Casablanca stay overnight while other cruise ships that come to Morocco dock in Tangier or Agadir. Cruise ships such as the Fantasia and Queen Elizabeth often make Morocco as part of their stops and often give cruise passengers a full day in Casablanca to explore.

Some Casablanca shore excursions worth considering are a Casablanca one-day tour, a Rabat  one-day excursion, or an El Jadida one-day excursion. If time allows and the cruise ship you are arriving on from Casablanca is docking overnight at the Casablanca Port then it is good idea to consider a Marrakech overnight excursion as an option. A Marrakech one-day tour with an overnight option is a great adventure from Casablanca.

Casablanca Shore Excursions are the perfect opportunity to begin ones exploration of Morocco. The Best Casablanca Shore excursions are:

Casablanca Shore Excursion: Full Day Tour – The Highlights of Casablanca

Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city and a world-renowned center for trade. A Casablanca excursion or one-day tour begins with a visit of the Hassan II Mosque which sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the leading architectural splendors of Morocco and the largest mosque in the world. Next visit the central market, a massive kaleidoscope of colors and home to hundreds of stalls brimming with locally grown flowers, spices, vegetables, meats and all kinds of seafood as well as handicrafts. Continue to the New Medina of Casablanca and the Habous Quarter with its attractive Islamic architecture. Enjoy lunch at one of the international restaurants by Casa’s port, the Corniche or Rick’s Cafe- a famous Piano Bar run by an American and named after the Movie “Casblanca.”Take time to photograph the impressive facade of the Royal Palace and cross the quarter on foot and its colorful Olive Market. Drive through the residential quarter of Anfa, where your guide will point out the residence in which a memorable and historical meeting was held during the Second World War, in 1943. This is the world’s largest religious monument after Mecca and its minaret is the tallest. Continue your coastal drive to Sidi Abderrahman, built on an island-like rock. Last stop will be the Cathedral  free time at Mohamed V’s square for more photo opportunities or some shopping.

Optional: Casablanca Jewish Full Day Tour

Visit Temple Beth-El, the Jewish Synagogue in Casablanca. Beth-El, is considered the center piece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows and other artistic elements, is what attracts tourists to this synagogue.

Visit the Jewish Museum in Casablanca.Next visit the old Jewish Mellah of Casablanca. The Jewish Mellah of Casablanca is young by Moroccan standards, not much more than a century old. It assaults the senses in the evening, with a sea of women in brightly colored djellabas carrying and selling fruit and vegetables throughout the cramped, narrow streets.  While Jews no longer live in the mellah, kosher butchers are found in the old market, next to other butchers selling horse meat. The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancans celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.

The 4,500 Casablancas Jews live outside the mellah in the European city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, and attend Jewish schools and social service centers. Beth El is the largest synagogue and an important community center, seating 500 persons.

Rabat Shore Excursion: Full Day Tour – Imperial City of Rabat
Begin your day with an approximately 1 1/2-hours drive to the diplomatic capital of Morocco, Rabat, rich in historical monuments and history. Option to stop en route to see the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. Arriving at the Mechouar Quarter, you’ll admire the magnificent exterior of the Royal Palace. Continue to the archaeological Phoenician site of Kasbah of Chellah. Drive through the winding road overlooking the Bou Regreg River to the Hassan Tower & Mohamed V Mausoleum for an inside visit. The Hassan Tower is one of the prestigious architectural heritages of the Almohad dynasty. Enjoy lunch at El Borj Eddar, a seaside restaurant with views of Rabat or local Moroccan fare. Then continue on foot to the ancient medina and its colorful souks to arrive at the Kasbah of Oudaya. Tea and Pastries at Cafe Maure and then enjoy Oudaya with its white and blue houses that appear freshly painted. Visit the Andalusian Gardens of Kasbah Oudaya then return to Casablanca. Last stop if you did not visit the Hassan II Mosque in the morning is an opportunity to take photos of the Mosque and seaside Ain Diab

El Jadida Shore Excursion: A full day tour El Jadida’s Portuguese Ramparts, Old Medina and Azemmour (Option to Extend Trip to Oualidia)

El Jadida and Azemmour are seaside towns and their charm is innate from their Medinas and the warmth of the seaside community. El Jadida’s narrow streets, beautiful buildings and gates combine a mixture of Portuguese, Arab, Andalusian and Berber architectural styles. A Full-day tour of El Jadida begins with a drive from the pier to Azemmour via the charming coastal road. Stop at the entrance of Azemmour for a panoramic view of this white-washed town on the banks of the Oum Rabiaa River. Next, drive to one of the town’s main gates Sidi Makhfi. Enjoy a walk by foot through the Kasbah to reach a large square overlooking the river. Near the old square lies a synagogue which is witness to the coexistence of Moroccans and Jews living together. After the visit of El Jadida, head for the Portuguese town of Mazagan, now referred to as El Jadida to enjoy a Moroccan-style lunch of fresh fish paella with sea views. In the afternoon, visit the Portuguese cistern built by the ofiginal Portuguese settlers to serve as a water reservoir in the event of a prolonged siege. Enjoy a guided tour through the old Medina and stop for a panoramic view of the port and the Atlantic Ocean. On your return to Casablanca, stop at the Hassan II Mosque for photos.

Marrakech Overnight Shore Excursion: Magical 2 Days/ 1 Night in Marrakech or Full Day Marrakech Excursion From Casablanca

DAY 1: Depart Casablanca for a three-hour drive to Marrakech. Along the way, your guide will tell you about the history and culture of this captivating “red hamra” city as you pass villages and small towns. The city of Marrakech unfolds at the foot of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. You will travel along boulevards lined with orange and jacaranda trees before checking in at charming Moroccan Riad or Hotel. Enjoy lunch at your Riad in front of tiled fountains and gardens or at your hotel surrounding the pool. Begin your exploration of Marrakech with site seeing of it’s Majestic Majorelle Garden along with monuments and museums of great architectural splendor. Visit the 12th-century minaret of Koutoubia, the tallest and most famous landmark in Marrakech, and the Saadian tombs, where the Royal family of the Saadian dynasty is buried and the Bahia Palace. Walk through the ancient Medina with its colorful souks before arriving at the famous Djemaa el Fna square filled with fortune-tellers, magicians,monkeys as they mingle with Acrobats, snake charmers and popular singers. Djemaa El Fna is undoubtedly, the most exuberant marketplace in the world.

Enjoy free time and then return to your Riad or Hotel in Marrakech. Depart for dinner at a traditional Moroccan restaurant or attend the Chez Ali  Equestrian and Moroccan Music show under royal tents, with typical Moroccan folklore and fantasia. After the show, return to your Riad or Hotel, then spend the night in Marrakech.

DAY 2: Breakfast at your Riad. Continue site seeing and shopping in the old medina. Visit the Kisseria, Art Galleries and Wood workers. Lunch at Terraces D’Epices or Moroccan fare. There is an option to visit the new city of Gueliz for shopping and also the Menara Gardens. In the late afternoon depart Marrakech and head to Agadir to meet your ship. Relax and enjoy the views during the two-hour return drive to your ship in Agadir. A stop will be made en route to see the goats that climb in trees which is indigenous to Morocco. These goats are the producer of Argan nuts which are utilized in making Argan oil, butter, honey and cosmetics. Option to visit an Argan Cooperative run by women prior to arrival at your ship.

For more information about Casablanca Shore Excursions or Casablanca one-day tours 

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Casablanca Shore Excursions, Casablanca excursion, Rabat excursion, Marrakech excursion, El Jadida excursion, Cruise critics, Shore excursions, Morocco Tours, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

Leave a comment

Filed under Casablanca Corniche, Casablanca Customized Tour, Casablanca excursion, Casablanca excursions, Casablanca Hassan II Mosque, Rabat excursion, Rabat site seeing tours, Rabat Tour, Rabat tours, Travel to Morocco

Jewish Casablanca Tours, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Moroccan Jewish Fiddler, Casablanca

Casablanca offers a combination of Jewish Heritage and Jewish sites that can be seen on a Casablanca one-day tour or in context of a longer Morocco Imperial City tour. In almost every Moroccan city there is a Jewish presence that can be felt whether it be within the ancient Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, mellahs, or in monuments of Muslim rulers who historically maintained strong ties with the Jewish community.

The synagogues, cemeteries, monuments and communal institutions located in the Imperial city and economic capital of Casablanca show how important the city has been to the Jewish community during the twentieth century. Some of the Jewish Heritage sites seen on a one-day Casablanca Jewish tour range from the Jewish Mellah to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, a visit to a Jewish Synagogue, the Jewish cemetery with the option of a kosher lunch.

Jewish Cemetery, Casablanca

The mellah of Casablanca is just about a century old. It peeks the senses with its sea of women in brightly colored djellabas carrying and selling fruit and vegetables throughout the tiny, narrow streets.  While Jews no longer live in the mellah, kosher butchers can be found in the old market, next to other butchers selling horse meat.

The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, the Jews of Casablanca celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.

Currently Casablanca has approximately 4,500 Jews who live outside the mellah in the new city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, and attend Jewish schools and social service centers.

Jewish Synagogue, Casablanca

Temple Beth-El is the largest synagogue and an important community center in Casablanca, Morocco. While the city boasts 30 synagogues, Beth-El, is often considered the centerpiece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows and other artistic elements, is what attracts tourists to this synagogue.

The Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca is a museum of history and ethnography, created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is tucked into a residential neighborhood and holds a treasure trove with it being the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism presents religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization.

The Museum, which covers an area of 700 square meters, is the first of its kind in the Arab world. It consists of:

  • A large multipurpose room, used for exhibitions of painting, photography and sculpture
  • Three other rooms, with windows containing exhibits on religious and family life (oil lamps, Torahs, Chanukah lamps, clothing, marriage contracts (ketubot) Torah covers…) and exhibits on work life;
  • Two rooms displaying complete Moroccan synagogues;
  • A document library, a video library and a photo library.

The Museum offers guided visits, sponsors seminars and conferences on Jewish-Moroccan history and culture, and organizes video and slide presentations. On special request, it organizes group visits in Arabic, French, English or Spanish.

Museum of Moroccan Judaism: 81. rue chasseur Jules Gros, Casablanca-Oasis

Director: Simon Levy
Curator – Zhor Rehihil
Telephone:  (212) 22 9949 40
Fax: (212) 22 99 49 41
Open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm (and Sundays by appointment)

Casablanca is also the home of the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest in the world. The Jewish community contributed to the construction of this mosque, which was inaugurated in 1994. Some Jews visit annually the Muslim shrine of Sidi Belyout, Casablanca’s patron saint. Many Jews of Casablanca celebrate the hiloula of the saint Yahia Lakhdar in Ben Ahmed, about an hour south of Casablanca near the town of Settat.

Kosher Food in Casablanca: For kosher food while visiting Casablanca’s Jewish sites, dine at Cercle de L’Alliance. E.J.J Dairy or La Truffe Blanche.

Cercle de L’Alliance is one of the centers/buildings where Jews from Casablanca hang around. The bottom floor/lobby is where people sit around, smoke cigars or cigarettes and socialize. You will also find a small bar and a mid size restaurant on the same floor with great appetizers and outstanding food (Kabobs, Steaks, Hamburgers etc).

D.E.J. J. is a restaurant that primarily serves dairy, pizzas, salads and pastas. Meat is not served here.

La Truffe offers skewered chicken accompanied with sides of bread, salad, olives and pickles. It is the most reasonably priced kosher restaurant located in the downtown area of Casablanca across from the medina.

For more information about Jewish Casablanca Tours & Casablanca one-day tours 

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Jewish Casablanca Tours, Jewish Heritage Casablanca, Jewish Museum Casablanca, Museum of Moroccan Judaism, Casablanca Jewish Mellah, Casablanca Jewish Cemetery, Casablanca Kosher Restaurants, Morocco Tours, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel to Morocco, Uncategorized