Monthly Archives: March 2012

Morocco Tours For Women, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Fes Henna Party, Morocco Just For Women Tour

Morocco is a woman’s paradise for culture, food and magnificent markets. Want to discover Morocco’s Sacred Spaces, Imperial Cities, Ancient Kasbahs and Berber villages with other likeminded women? Visit Morocco! Join our Just for Women Tours or let us create a tailor-made group journey of your own. Cook, bellydance, trek the Sahara and attend a henna party. Travel Exploration’s Morocco tours for women offer a combination of luxury and adventure. Trip prices to Morocco include a FREE cooking class or balloon ride over the Atlas Mountains.

Your trip leader our Just for Women Tour will be a MoroccoTravel Specialist who has lived and traveled in Morocco for 12+ years. Morocco Tours for Women offer a greater way to discover Morocco through their unique and up close experiences with the people and the culture. Morocco Tours for Women also enable group and single travelers to visit Morocco anytime of year and with any budget. Luxury and adventure are affordable with Travel Exploration’s Just for Women Morocco Tour.

Women Painting, Fes, Morocco

Roam Like Royalty Through Morocco’s Imperial Cities was created for women by women to experience the wonders that Morocco offers. We’ll visit breathtaking architectural sites, majestic palaces, glorious houses of worship, opulent gardens, see traditional Moroccan crafts being made by local artisans, and shop a dazzling array of unique and enticing marketplaces. And we’ll enjoy exquisite cuisine and elegant accommodations all along the way of this magical voyage. Included in the Just For Women itinerary is a henna party and a ceramics workshop in Fes, an exotic cooking workshop in two Imperial Cities, a Hot Air Balloon ride over Marrakech’s Atlas Mountains, Camel Trekking in the Palmeraie of Marrakech, Spa time, Visits at women’s cooperatives, a wine tasting and more. Our group will rise and overnight at charming Riads & boutique hotels.

Cooking Class, Fes

MOROCCO TOURS FOR WOMEN: 10 DAYS/ 9 NIGHTS  (MOROCCO JUST FOR WOMEN BY WOMEN)

Day 1: Casablanca: Visit the Hassan II Mosque, Kasbah Ouadia, Tea & Pastries at Cafe Maure, the Royal Palace & Hassan Tower. Lunch in Rabat by the sea. Visit the Kasbah of Chellah. Welcome Dinner. Overnight at a charming Riad in Fes with opulent gardens, tile work fit for a queen.

Day 2: Fes:Visit the Sacred Tomb of Solica, the Weavers Cooperative. Workshops at the Women’s Embroidery Cooperative and Pottery Cooperative in Fes. Site seeing with a private expert guide of Fes. Lunch at the tiled Nejjarine Riad Palace. Overnight in Fes.

Day 3: Fes: Traditional Fes Cooking Class, Learn how to make a three-course meal, dine on it for lunch. Henna party. Dinner at Le Maison Bleue in Fes. Overnight in Fes.

Day 4: Fes t0 Marrakech: Visit Fes, Immozer, Azro and Beni Mellal. Stop to see the Cedar Forrest, the Barbary Monkeys. Tea & Pastries in Ifrane. Welcome Dinner upon arrival in Marrakech. Overnight in a luxurious Riad with an interior palmerie in the heart of the Marrakech medina.

Al Fassia, Marrakech

Day 5: Marrakech: Visit Marrakech’s most spectacular gardens, shop the souks. Site seeing with a private, expert guide at the Bahia Palace, Museum of Marrakech the Spice Market and gallery visits. Dinner at Al Fassia, a restaurant owned and run by women. Overnight in Marrakech.

Day 6: Marrakech: Marrakech cooking class option – local cuisine of Marrakech. Visit the Mosque of Koutoubia’s Gardens. Shopping and exploration in the new town of Gueliz, Marrakech. Dinner with a Marrakechi family or at the colonial revival charming restaurant, Cafe La Poste. Overnight in Marrakech.

Day 7: Marrakech: Marrakech Ballooning over the Atlas Mountains.1 Hour flight in front of the High Atlas Mountains. Souvenir flight certificate. Traditional breakfast served in a tent. Visit to a local Berber House.Landrover excursion. Camel ride in the Palmerie of Marrakech. Afternoon Spa time for a gromage and massage.

Day 8: Marrakech – Essaouira:  Visit Essaouira. En route take time out to explore a local Argan cooperative to see how Argan oil, Argan butter and cosmetics are made from the Argan nut. Wine & Cheese tasting in the countryside of Essaouira. Dinner by the sea. Overnight at a charming Riad in Essaouira with spectacular seaside views.

Day 9: Essaouira:  Visit Essaouira with a private guided tour. Explore the old mellah, ancient doors and their brass and hand carved knockers. Visit a Moroccan Patisserie Cooperative run by women that referred to Association Feminine de Bienfaisance el Khier. AFBK is an organization providing help for women and children with social difficulties. Return to Marrakech at sunset. Farewell Dinner. Overnight in Marrakech.

Day 10: Marrakech- Casablanca: Marrakech & Casablanca Departures.

Baking Bread with the Berbers, Sahara Region

Sahara & Berber Village Extension Option Morocco Tours For Women:Extend the tour for a visit of Morocco’s Sahara Desert & Berber Villages. Continue the Morocco Tour for Women with exploration of ancient Kasbahs, hiking in and around the Todra Gorge, bake bread with the Berbers, Sunset Camel Trek & Overnight in a bivaouc in the Sahara Desert. Visit a Nomad family. Discover Morocco’s deep south.

INCLUDED: Private Luxury Transport, Accommodations at 4 Star Riads & Boutique Hotels, Gourmet Breakfast Daily, National Historical & Local Licensed Expert Guides, Henna Party in Fes, Pottery Workshop in Fes, Cooking Workshop in Fes and Cooking Workshop in Marrakech, Hot Air Balloon Over the Atlas , Bellydancing Lessons, Wine & Cheese Tasting in Essaouira Winery, Museum & Monument Fees.
CHARMING 4/5 STAR ACCOMMODATIONS: Fes: Riad Fes, Riad Myra or Riad Laaroussa, Marrakech: Le Jardin De La Medina, Riad Palais Sebban. Essouira: Riad Palais Des Ramparts, Villa Du Maroc.
NOT INCLUDED:  Lunch & Dinner Daily (Except where noted in Tour Program), Beverages, Services on days or time at leisure, Gratuity.
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.

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Carey Duncan, Morocco’s Leading Landscape Architect & Garden Designer, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Carey Duncan, Landscape Architect & Garden Designer

Jeanette Lowdon, Garden Enthusiast covers Carey Duncan’s work across Morocco’s private and public green spaces. Lowdon recently had the opportunity to interview the well known Landscape Architect, Carey Duncan, at Cafe La Poste in Marrakech. Sitting on the colonial style porch savoring a gourmet lunch, Duncan chatted about her life in Morocco and her honorable achievements within the development, restoration and garden design field in Morocco.

Carey Duncan, a South African native, was first struck by Landscape Architecture while attending school in Johannesburg with its beautiful gardens bordered by a wild urban nature reserve. Her father also fueled her passion as she watched him create a paradise out of an old rubbish dump in the garden of the house he built and lived in for 45 years.

This inspiration led her to receive her bachelors degree in Town and Regional Planning in South Africa before attending Cornell University in the United States to get a double masters in City and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture.

While in University Duncan met her future husband, a Moroccan studying on a grant from USAID and the government of Morocco. After graduation she went back to South Africa for two years and worked as a private consultant in the fields of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture. She later married and joined her new husband in Morocco.

Tresco Abbey Gardens Scilly, England

In 1992, after arriving in Morocco Duncan discovered that locals were not familiar with the field of Landscape Architecture. Concerned about the possibility of Carey being able to work in her chosen field, her sister came to Morocco with a British Homes and Gardens magazine in hand. Inside the magazine was an announcement for an international competition to design a Mediterranean garden in the Tresco Abbey Botanic Gardens on the Isles of Scilly, England. It was the first major intervention in the garden in 100 years. Duncan came up with a design which she remembers thinking, “it’s not earth shattering, but it works.” Following her instinct, she created it and won first prize. Her confidence was strengthened which encouraged her to continue her work which resulted in her winning contracts for  projects in Morocco.

Carey has had a few selective favorite projects that she considers key to her career. Most notably is the rehabilitation of the mineral spring esplanade in Sidi Harazem, which was her first major public project. Renovating the gardens of Palais Marshan and designing the Esplanade of the Presidential Palace in Nouakchott and later the gardens of the Residence, were also challenges that she enjoyed. This set her up to work on the Jardins Exotiques in Bouknadel, a project that took several years of intensive on site work. Since then, she has worked on a variety of restoration projects, in Fes, Rabat and Oujda, often with the collaboration of architect, Fadel Guerraoui. Carey’s top project on her list is an open space network in the small town of Oued Zem near Khouribga.

Andalusian Garden, Sidi Bouknadel Rabat

One of the larger and more well known projects Duncan worked on was the Rehabilitation Project of the Exotic Gardens, Sidi Bouknadel for the Foundation Mohamed VI set up for Environmental Protection of Morocco’s heritage sites.

The Exotic Gardens Sidi Bouknadal in Sale, is set on a 18 acre plot of land originally bought by Marcel Francois in the 1940s. For over 4 years Duncan worked to restore the garden to its former glory as in the days of its creator, Marcel François. The gardens were completely run down, bridges disappeared, eroding paths and the incredible plants and trees had received no maintenance for decades. The bridges, paths, walls, monticules had to be entirely redone”, says Duncan. With very little information or photos, Duncan and her colleagues relied on descriptions from the old gardeners who were still on the site and on interpretation of some of the ruins that were left. Most of the plants were original and were restored with care. Adapting to modern technology and contemporary requirements, the project began.

Duncan recalls, Marcel François used to design decorations for aquariums. You can sense this as you walk through the garden, where he takes you down into a subsurface cave, gliding past monticules that look like termite mounds, and then up into the tree tops on swinging bridges – the visitor experiences several strata just as fish does in an aquarium.”

Another restoration project Duncan worked on was the The Jardin D’essais in Rabat originally laid out by JN Forestier in 1924. The ancient garden of Colonial Rabat is one of the green spaces that structure the city of Rabat as laid out by Prost. “It was initially a garden to test new varieties of fruit trees and how imported ones could be acclimatised” says Duncan. Organized along a central perspective with a series of rectangular gardens grafted onto either side of the central path, a series of themes are presented, based on the original trials that were conducted by INRA at the time.

Batha Garden, Fes

The famous Dar Batha in Fez was restored by Duncan in 2005 as part of a tourist trail in the heart of the Fez old Medina. Duncan worked with Cotecno and Architect Raffael Gorjux from Italy recreating the Andalusian Garden while keeping existing large trees, but replanting the undergrowth which was either bare or overtaken by weeds, and revitalizing the existing planting. “It was particularly difficult as the current legislation for preserving historic monuments does not take into account the changing nature of gardens over time and the requirement to prune, shape and weed. So a committee had to convene almost every time we needed to pull out a weed!” says Duncan.

Duncan has collaborated with a number of Landscape Architects from several different countries on various projects, in order to bring local knowledge and expertise to hand. After 20 years here she claims, “I am considered a local!”  Duncan says, “The most interesting of these partnerships was with Hart Howerton from San Francisco. It was a very exciting and difficult project given the complicated topography and the difficulties surrounding the preservation of the mythic argan trees on the site.”

When asked about how has she educated the nurserymen in plant choices Duncan says “The nursery industry in Morocco has developed a lot in the last 20 years, but there is still a long way to go. It is ironic that a lot of indigenous plant species are not available in cultivation for landscape use. After slowly hammering away at growers, and with the growth of demand, we are starting to see local species being cultivated for sale as landscape plants.”

When asked what does she see as the future for Landscape Architects in Morocco hold, Cary’s face lit  up with excitement. Duncan stated “About a year ago, the few Landscape Architects that there are in Morocco formed a professional association: “L’Association des Architectes-paysagistes du Maroc” (AAPM).

As the Secretary General for the AAPM Duncan states “We would ideally like to have our profession given recognition and a scale of fees agreed upon and made known to the general public.  We need to promote our profession which is not officially recognized in Morocco”. Presently, they have made great strides in their goal by gaining membership in the IFLA – the International Federation of Landscape Architects. Duncan spoke with passion saying “We do want to strive for the separation of client – designer – and contractor to ensure quality landscapes for our clients, but for the country in general as well.”

The “local” as she is now known in Morocco has given so much of herself in the 20 years that she has been working in Morocco as a Landscape Architect. She is now fully booked each week as she travels to a different city nearly every day.

Morocco is very lucky to have this talented woman at the helm of this business. She is a role model for all students of Landscape Architecture and City and Regional Planning. Anyone would be lucky to be graced by her wealth of knowledge and expertise in this field.

For more information about Garden Designers in Morocco or Gardens of Morocco Tour 

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities,Seaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of Morocco,Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best ofMarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel 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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Sahara Desert & Seaside Resorts, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Djemaa El Fna Sunset, Marrakech

Visit Morocco where the sun shines 300 days a year. Morocco is one of the ancient intersections of civilization. Boldly situated on the far northwestern corner of Africa, its expansive shoreline stretches from the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Mediterranean. The cultural diversity of contemporary Morocco reflects its historic vantage point  as a gateway to Europe and the world. Morocco’s heritage offers visitors an encounter with an exotic society and its customs, an incomparable cuisine, and a shopper’s paradise of magnificent markets. Visit Morocco and explore it’s Imperial Cities, Sahara Desert and Seaside resorts. Visit Morocco and hike, trek, cook, sunbathe. Visit Morocco and indulge in all things Moroccan. Visit Morocco to explore Berber villages and off the beat places. Morocco should be on everyone’s bucket list. Make Morocco your next holiday destination!

For more information about a Visit to Morocco

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities,Seaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of Morocco,Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best ofMarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel 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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Jewish Heritage Tours Casablanca,Your Morocco Travel Guide


Temple Beth-El, Casablanca

Casablanca is respectively admired for its longstanding Jewish Heritage. Casablanca is the perfect place to take a Jewish Heritage Tour. The Jewish community in Casablanca, Morocco has a strong history  that has survived along with it’s synagogues, cemeteries, monuments and shrines. When visiting Casablanca a Jewish Heritage tour from the Port or from your hotel offers insight into the ties of the historic Jewish community and what remains today.

The 4,500 Casablancan Jews in Casablanca 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. Jewish Casablancans worship at Temple Beth El, the largest synagogue and an important community center, seating 500 persons. The Jewish community of Casablanca also contributed to the construction of the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest in the world. On a Jewish Heritage Tour it is possible to visit the Muslim shine of Sidi Belyout.  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.

Jewish Cemetery, Casablanca

On a Jewish Heritage  Tour you will start your morning off visiting Casablanca’s Jewish Sacred sites and then continue seeing the highlights of old Casablanca. The synagogues, cemeteries, monuments and communal institutions of Casablanca show how important the city has been to the Jewish community during the twentieth century.

Temple Beth-El:
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.

Casablanca Jewish Syngagogue

Jewish Mellah: 
The 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 djellabahs 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.

Visit the Museum of Moroccan Judiasm in Casablanca. 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.

Museum of Moroccan Judiasm, Casablanca

The Jewish Heritage tour includes a visit of the Jewish Museum in Casablanca also referred to as the Museum of Moroccan Judaism 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…pastedGraphic.pdf 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.

Casablanca’s Jewish Cemetery:
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.

Casablanca’s Jewish Club: Option – If time allows.

Lunch Options:  Kosher Food in Casablanca, Seafood or Moroccan Fare.

Kosher Jewish Lunch:
– 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

– 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.

Searfood or International Fare:
An international seafood restaurant by Casa’s port, the Corniche, or reknowned seafood haunt, El Mer or Rick’s Cafe– a famous Piano Bar run by an American and named after the Movie “Casablanca.”.

Hassan II Mosque:
After lunch visit the Mosque of Hassan II. Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French architect  Michel Pinseau. It is situated on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic, which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor with room for 25,000 worshippers. Next visit the Hassan II Mosque.The Mosque of Hassan II’s promontory offers lovely views overlooking Casa in the residential Afna quarter.

Casablanca Habous Market & Cooperatives:
– End the day with a visit to Casablanca’s Habous Market and Local Casablanca cooperatives. Shop and Explore local crafts and wood work traditions, leather and carpets.

For more information about an Casablanca Tour

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities,Seaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of Morocco,Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best ofMarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel 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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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