Monthly Archives: October 2012

Carpets, Kelims and Textiles, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Maison Tiskwin Berber desert settlement photo@ Kerry Dunstone. age fotostock/Robert Harding

For an introduction into design and textiles one can do no better than visit the Tiskwin museum which is near the Dar Si Said in Marrakech. For a first foray into carpets and kelims there are cooperatives such as L’Ensmble des Artisans on Avenue Mohammed V in Marrakech to get an idea of the range of carpets and kelims available and most importantly, the prices before plunging into the souks and the bargaining when traveling to Morocco.

Interior designers like Le Corbusier before the Second World War  popularised berber geometric designs which had been passed from generation to generation and were emblematic of the tribes and regions. Carpets with a black background come from the Gloua clan whereas red  came from Chichoua on the road from Marrakech to Essaouira.

Moroccan carpets do not match Persian ,Turkish or Chinese for value but their unique identity as an expression of cultural identity and their beauty make them an attractive buy.  Moroccan Kelims or flat weave carpets are an excellent buy.

Vintage Moroccan rug.Nazmiyal Collection

There are now a number of websites offering antique Moroccan carpets, there are naturally fewer of them available. This is a specialist area and you need expert advice.

Rabat carpets are not as old as those which come from the Berber regions. Their exact origins are sometimes disputed. The “r’bati” carpets are reputed to trace their origins to distant Asia Minor. It is said that the Muslims of Andalusia who settled on the banks of the Bou Regreg River after the  Spanish Reconquest in 1492 brought with them the designs and skills of producing them.

Antique Berber Moroccan Rug

The oldest examples come from the 18th century, and these are the only Moroccan carpets where the pattern is diametrically different to those of the Berber carpets. The oldest carpets manufactured in Morocco are  Taznakht, Zayane and Hanbal, all of which  are made in the same region and are a source of pride for the country’s handicraft industry both at home and abroad.

Originally woven in the High Atlas, the Taznakht carpet is made of knots on two lines; their bottom is yellow with dense geometrical drawings which are red, dark green or broken white.

Hanbel is a woven rug, lighter and less thicker than the typical carpet. It is used as a cover for sofas or decoration during national or private feasts. Sometimes, it is used instead of carpets. It is produced in Zayane, Zemmour and Ouazguita.

Either genuine wool or good quality cotton is used to make this type of carpet. Threads are well spinned and clean. The colour of this carpet is red, yellow, green, black and brown. These colours are extracted from the plants in the Hanbel region.Originally made in Berber regions, the hanbal contains patterns whose forms and features are inspired by nature and whose contours are inspired by Amazigh script.

There are little known and more varied flatweaves (often called kilims) from the Middle Atlas Mountains, with some Glawa or Tazenakht pile pieces from the High Atlas south of Marrakesh, especially in the Women Weavers OnLine section. Nearly all the flatweaves are in wool, with white designs (usually in cotton) for contrast, and the pile pieces are usually all wool. Floor pieces range from about 3×5 feet to 5×8 feet, though some are larger. The rectangular shape fits Moroccan rooms, in which many have already been used

Vintage Moroccan Carpet, Fes

What unites all Moroccan carpets is a creative and archaic spirit and a language of rural symbols and motifs. Old tribal carpets can be spontaneous and bold. Some are very plain, others full of complex motifs; some are colourful while other feature subtle hues.

Because old pieces are now so hard to find, co-operatives have sprung up to supply the market with copies, particularly Beni Ouarainss, and reproductions now abound. These can be attractive but cannot replicate the creativity and originality of an old piece, created with care for personal use.

Certain tribes favour certain colours. Natural dyes are usually only found in items over 70-80 years old – almond leaves, cochineal, indigo, iron sulphate and cow urine were all used. Both synthetic and natural dyes fade – with older rugs you can be sure that most of the fading has already occurred.

The complex language of different tribal carpets reveal the richness of berber culture and traditions. Weavings contain important thoughts and ideas. More often than not symbols make reference to the natural world, to fertility, birth, femininity, rural life and to nature as well as to spirituality and beliefs. Many weavers believed that rugs had powers to ward off evil.

For more information about Carpets, Kelims and Textiles or Shopping in the Souks of Morocco 

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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The Medina Gardens of Fes, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Jnan Sbil (Formerly Bou Jeloud) gardens entrance

The Medina Gardens of Fes make for the perfect Fes Tour to compliment this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s ancient Mosques, Monuments and Zaouias. The Bab Bou Jeloud is the main entry point to Fes el Bali. This area divided the cities of Fes Jedid and Fes el Bali and was developed into three palace gardens by Sultan Moulay Hassan in the 19th Century. These were the gardens of Dar Batha,Bou Jeloud and  Dar Beida. The Jnan Sbil gardens (formerly the Bou Jeloud gardens) on the north-western edge of the medina has palms, eucalyptus, weeping willows, citrus trees and bamboo. The park was opened to the public by Moulay Hassan in the 19th century. Jnane Sbil encompasses 7.5 hectares and is located in the heart of city. It is one of the oldest gardens in Fes. Because of its historical importance, great care was taken to restore the Jnan Sbil garden to its original design and after four years of detailed restoration and renovation of the heirloom plants, the hydraulic systems and the famous waterwheel, the project was completed and re-opened in June 2010.

The Oued Fes river and the Oued Jawahir (river of pearls) flowed through the garden and a broken down water wheel remains as a reminder of how the medieval city was powered by water wheels which provided craftsmen and their workshops with power. On the western edge near Bab Makina, the Nouria Cafe is still open and is a very pleasant place for tea or lunch.

Andalusian Style Garden, Batha Museum

Dar Batha ,which is now the Museum of the Arts and Traditions of Fes, is the only one of these palace gardens open to the public. It is an Andalucian garden which boasts a three-hundred year old Quercus Rotundifolia, Washington Fifera, Cycas Revolta and Moroccan fountains. The Batha Garden is a serene escape from the bustling medina in Fes. It serves as a location for the Fes Festival of Sacred World Music each June.Andalusian gardens are based on the charbagh, the four-part garden with water ways and fountains.

Shaded with citrus trees and perfumed with orange blossom, red roses and sweet-scented jasmine, Islamic gardens were designed for tranquillity, reflection and relaxation in mind, earthly paradises to inspire a spiritual experience and inner peace.

In the arabo-andalousian culture the garden is a major element of  architectural balance and of lifestyle. Fes was one the first cities in the world to built a water distribution network which enabled the city to develop the art of gardening. The city was founded following the muslim exodus from Spain in 1492 following the Reconquista and the exiles from Andalousia brought with them the artistic creativity culture and vision of Moorish Spain which has distinguished Fes ever since.

Palais Jamai Hotel Garden

The Palais Jamai which is Fes’s premier five star hotel and also a former palace has a superb  Andalusian garden once the property of the Grand Vizier of Sultan Hassan, Haj Amaati Jamai. The  garden is oldest example of Andalusian style in Fes with Al Hambra Classical Axial lines.

Robert Johnstone, has created a beautiful garden in the ruin at Riad Idrissy which  can be viewed daily from noon until 8pm. Johnstone describes it as “half garden, half allotment.” In it he grows gardenias, a jacaranda, papyrus, and a mix of edibles that are used in the riad’s kitchen, such as verbena, mint, chillies, sorrel, rosemary, parsley and tomatoes.

Jardin des Biehn is based on traditional Islamic forms, with water channels intersecting the garden, and fountains at one end. It was formerly the summer palace of a pasha who housed his concubines and slaves there. Now a boutique hotel, the rooms all open onto the lovely garden, which features roses, irises, large trees and a variety of edible herbs.

Fes et Gestes is a colonial house, which is now a maison d’hote. It has four equal garden beds, with a grand fountain in the centre.

Palais Mokri, Fes

The El Mokri Palace is located on the Southern of the old Medina on a hill – the hill of springs (El Ayoun), on the edge of the small valley of Wadi Fes and above the south gate, Bab Did.Built in around 1906 by Si Tayeb El Mokri, son of the king’s grand vizier the grand palace has a large garden with terraces and fountains. Ryad Mokri also has a a fine and well tended garden.

For more information about a Fes Tour or a Garden Tour of Fes 

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Abderrahman Slaoui’s Casablanca Museum,Your Morocco Tour Guide

Le Musée Abderrahman Slaoui

Abderrahman Slaoui was a businessman who loved the arts. Newly opened  this past May 2012 is Abderrahman Slaoui’s Foundation Museum located in Casablanca. The Musee De La Fondation Abderrahman Sloaoui is set up in the home of a charming art deco building dating from the 1940’s. Casablanca’s Musee De La Fondation Abderrahman Sloaoui is dedicated to Moroccan jewelry and decor.

Located in the heart of the historic district in Casablanca, Morocco Slaoui’s museum contains a unique ecollection of antique jewelry , vintage posters by great artists like Dinet, Majorelle and De La Neziere; miniatures. The museum also boasts 19th century Bohemian crystal boxes, illuminations and other objects collected from around the world. Visiting Slaoui’s Museum is like retracing the steps of a world traveler.
Abderrahman Slaoui  was a traveler, humanist and esthete, a “treasure hunter” for over fifty years. His collections of artistic and ethnographic pieces are the result of patience and persistence in creating a collection. The museum was born out of Slaoui’s exhibitions of “Moroccan Treasures” and opened several months prior to his death. When visiting Casablanca on a one-day tour from the Port or a general Casablanca Tour a trip to see Abderrahaman Slaoui’s collection is a treat.
Address Rue du Parc in Casablanca
Open: 10h00 – 18h00
For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Morocco’s Tin Mal Mosque and the Gandoufa Valley, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Tin Mal Mosque, High Atlas Mountains

Tin Mal is 100 kms from Marrakech  just past the village of Ijoukak on the road to Taroudant in the High Atlas Mountains. It was the spiritual home of the Almohads, who went on to  conquer Marrakech defeating the ruling Almoravids and then creating an empire that stretched  from all of what we know as the Maghreb, southern Portugal and Spain and part of Africa.

It began when Ibn Toumert of the Masmoudi tribe established the mosque at Tin Mal with a fortified town, called a ribat, in 1122. He proclaimed himself the Mahdi and established a strict and puritanical rule over his followers. All you see today is the imposing mosque which was rebuilt by Ibn Toumert’s successor, Abd el Mumin who went on to take Marrakech in 1148. It has been recently restored. It is one of only two mosques that non muslims can enter in Morocco, the other being the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.

Tin Mal Mosque, Arches

The mosque is high up in a striking position over looking the river N’Fis andbears witness to the fervour of the Almohads with high walls and strong towers. It has been recently renovated and is one of the most memorable sites of historical significance in Morocco. There is a small museum housing architectural fragments. The mosque maybe closed on Fridays when the villagers of Tin Mal come to pray. In former times the mosque would have covered in white plaster and true to its founder’s puritanical ideals is free from the decorative features  normally found in Moroccan mosques.

The prototype for Tin Mal was the Great Mosque at Taza (near Fès), also built by Abd el Mumin. The Koutoubia at Marrakech  (the Almohad capital as of 1148) was in turn modelled on it. Tin Mal was the starting point of the Almohad dynasty which lasted till 1269. In 1276 the Merinds stormed Tin Mal leaving only the mosque standing killing the entire population. It remained the heartland of the Almohads and its rulers would come in pilgrimage to visit the tombs of their predecessors and pray at the mosque. It is a place to soak up the atmosphere of a movement and dynasty which saw the beginning of the Morocco we know today.

Further on from Ijoukak,Tagountafte, Souk Lara and Ikhfe N’Boul is the remains of the kasbah of the once-powerful caid of the Goundafa  tribe. The Gandoufa vied with the Glaoua and the M’Touga tribes for control of the Atlas Mountains at the end of the 19th century. The Gandoufa Kasbahs  which are now in ruins controlled the entry to the valley. Si Taieb Gandoufa succeded as caid in 1883 and fought other tribes with his army of 5,000 tribes men to increase his territory. In 1906 rival tribes plundered the N’fis valley and burned his Kasbah , Talat –n-Yakoub, whilst the caid was away in Fes.

However in 1912 the Kasbahs of Azemmour and Aguergour were returned to him and the French gave him money and weapons to conquer the Sous valley. He captured Taraoudannt  in 1913 amd was appointed Pasha of Tiznit. He retired to his mountain kasbahs in 1924 where he died at the age of 65. The French left it to leaders like Si Taieb Gandoufa and Thami al Glaoui Pasha of Marrakech to secure the south of Morocco during the protectorate and the ruins of their Kasbahs are their memorial and the relics of the last bastions of feudalism in Morocco.

For more information about visiting Tin Mal & The Gandoufa Valley Marrakech

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Excursions from Marrakech: Amizmiz, Ourika and Ouirgane, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Amizmiz Souk

Many visitors to Marrakech also enjoy excursions into the nearby countryside to experience the life of the surrounding Berber villages and towns and the communities in the Atlas Mountains. After the excitement of the souks in Marrakech and the hub bub of the city the silence and the beauty of the countryside is a pleasant contrast. One popular destination is Amizmiz where the local souk takes place every Tuesday. A Visit to Amizmiz is an opportunity to browse a real Berber market which is usually cheaper than Marrakech. Many artifacts and carpets and kelims are available and if younegotiate well you may geta better price than in Marrakech. It’s a good idea to check out prices in the souk in Marrakech first. Amizmiz is 55 kilometers south of Marrakech at the foot of the High Atlas mountain range. It is a small town of some 11,000 population and the local souk plays an important role in the economic life of the surrounding villages. Berber farmers bring their local produce and animals and buy goods from Marrakech, so its good to see how the countryside interacts with the city. Marrakech still has its vegetable and fruit markets and farmers come from the surrounding area.

The souk is an important social gathering where business is done and friends and family meet. It’s good to be able to examine the wares in a less pressurised environment like Amizmiz, and get to know the locals.

Its also a good place from which to visit other villages and explore the surrounding countryside. There are tour operators in Marrakech who provide transport and guides for the area . If tourists want to travel independently they have to take a grand taxi-an old mercedes from  the Bab Er-Rob in Marrakech and negotiate the price. You can either hire the driver for the day or take a taxi back to Marrakech from Amizmiz.

Another well known get away is the Ourika valley 30 kms from Marrakech and the place where Marrakechi’s go to escape the heat of summer in Marrakech. In winter you can see the fabulous snowy mountains. The road to Ourika takes you through the entry to the valley which is one of the loveliest sights in Morocco as your car climbs up along the hill side looking down on orchards and cultivated terraces and the riverbed below.

Ourika Valley

Ourika itself is a holiday village with craft and pottery shops and  sturdy stone houses. It’s  great to meet the Berber people and visit a Berber household. The people have a hard life and in winter it can be very cold. Sometimes there are avalanches and flash floods but mercifully not to often. You have the option of carrying on up to Sebti Fetma which is a  colourful small village with the tomb of the Saint . There is a waterfall and the opportunity to trek out into the fabulous mountain scenary .

A favourite stop for lunch is the Auberge Ramuntchko (Tel: 0524 484521, mobile: 065965631), just outside Ourika with a wonderful view from the terrace where you can eat. Inside there is also a restaurant with a blazing fire place during winter. Get there before the tourist buses arrive!

You can also take the high road up to the sky resort of Oukaimeden with its stunning views looking out to Marrakech and beyond. No matter how often one visits the Ourika Valley it is always a revelation, always beautiful. The road however has to be constantly maintained and can get crowded on market days.

Ouirgane valley

Another magical valley location is Ouirgane , 60 kms and an hour or so drive from Marrakech close to the Tiz N’Test pass, Mount Toubkal, Toubkal National Park and the Tassa Ouirgane National Park.This is trekking country at its best. Its possible totravel around by 4×4 but if your up to it by foot, donkey or horse is best . The air is clean the  mountain scenary and the Takherkhoute forests are stunning, it is the ultimate place to crash out. Trekking out to little berber villages reminds one of Nepal in the early 1970’s when it was unspoilt.

Garden at Domaine de la Rosaraie

One of the best places to stay in Ouirgane is the idyllic Domaine de la Rosaraie , set in sixty acres of  parkland with a  large garden filled with roses . The Domaine de La Rosaraie was created nearly forty years ago by  Abdelkader Fenjiro. Staying there is not cheap but is a wonderful experience.

Domaine Malika

New on the scene in Ourigane for the upscale and chic mountain experience is the elegant and Domaine Malika. Domaine Malika is modern and stylish. This luxury boutique hotel run by Paul Goetz and his staff has seven modern rooms and suites tastefully decorated laid out on delightful grounds from which you can view the surrounding Atlas mountains. The restaurant at Domain Malika has an excellent 3 course set menu with vegetables from  the garden and fruit from the orchard.

Chez Momo

Another highly recommended hotel is Momo’s in Ouirgane. Chez Momo is a charming auberge, Moroccan country style home overlooking the High Atlas. They are also known for the excellent cuisine and elegant dinner setting. If staying in Ourigane dining at Chez Mommo is a must.

The Pool at Au Sanglier Qui Fume

A less costly option is Au Sanglier Qui Fume which has been in existence since 1945. It started by catering to Foreign Legion soldiers working on the bridge and acquired its distinctive name because it was used by wild boar hunters. The rooms are simple but adequate and there is a good swimming pool and garden. Its restaurant has great character including the heads of wild boar hanging from the walls. The food is a blend of French and Moroccan cuisine. It remains a traditional French establishment.

One should also mention  the village of Imilil 70 kms from Marrakech, descending the road on the mountain pass downwards is an experience in itself, the staring point  of the trek to Mount Toubkal . It has a busy mountaineering feel to it which reminds me again of Nepal years ago. Walking up or taking a donkey you pass Kasbah Toubkal.If you have the chance to climb up to its terrace you will find an epic view of surrounding mountains which would satisfy the gods. After that you can carry on up  the mountain slopes for a walk. Climbing all the way to Mount Toubkal at 4,167 metres is only for the fittest.

For more information about excursions from Marrakech

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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by | October 15, 2012 · 5:53 am

Ouarzazate The Gateway to the Sahara Desert and Draa valley, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou Kasbah

Ouarzazate has always been a cultural meeting place and melting pot for the various peoples of the North and South for trade and cultural exchanges. Merchants settled in the city of Ouarzazate and excavations have found gold and precious metals. The town thrived on the Saharan camel trade routes coming up form Africa via Timbuktu and the ancient city of Sijilmasa. Slaves and gold were traded for salt and the ethnic mix of Ouarzazate reflects the many different tribes that have passed through with descendants from Mali and further a field. Berbers, Africans and Jewish Berber tribes lived side by side for centuries in Morocco.

Ouarzazate nicknamed The door of the desert ( the name means”without noise” or “without confusion”), is a city and capital of Ouarzazate Province in the Souss-Massa-Drâa of southern-central Morocco. Ouarzazate is located at an elevation of 1,160 metres (3,810 ft) in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains. To the south of the town is the desert. Trips to Mezouga with camel treks and campsites where one can spend the night under the stars are especially popular as are Sahara Desert 4X4 expeditions.

The town of some 60,000 retains a sense of adventure and excitement that one remembers from driving across southern Morocco in the early 1980’s it is still not too commercialized when compared to Marrakech. It has grown dramatically over the years and now has its own airport and is a major tourist center. Some 80,000 tourists visited Ouarzazate in the first three months of 2012 according to the local tourism authority. The town several five star hotels as well as 5 Star Moroccan Riads along with less expensive accommodations.

Ouarzazate Medina

The town is not totally focused on tourism, which gives it a certain attractive independence, for Ouazarzate is Morocco’s Hollywood and the centre of its film industry. The town boasts three film studios one of which, Atlas Studios is one of the largest movie studios in the world. Several historical movies were shot here, including Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, Kingdom of Heaven and Babel. It was also the location of an episode of the television series The Amazing Race 10.

American director Ridley Scott, has shot several films in Morocco including the historical epic “Gladiator” (2000), “Kingdom of Heaven” (2003), “Black Hawk Down” (2001), and the spy thriller “Body of Lies” (2007). He has a special affinity for the Ouazarzate film industry and is rumoured to be returning shortly to make another blockbuster. International Filmmakers have been coming to Morocco for years because of its dramatic scenary, which is particularly evident round Ouzarazate and the Draa Valley

The Ouarzazate area is also a noted film-making location, with Morocco’s biggest studios inviting many international film companies to shoot their films. Films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Kundun (1997), Legionnaire (1998), and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011) were shot here. Salmon Fishing in Yemen, British inspirational romantic drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas and Amr Waked, it has done well earning over $36 million dollars so far. It involved the creation of an artificial lake in a canyon just outside Ouarzazate. Such was the film’s success that the Yemeni tourist board felt compelled to make a public announcement that there are, actually, no salmon in their country. A film made by Al Jazeera Televison,“Casting In’shallah” follows the lives of Ouzarzazate’s citizens as they await their next role in a film.

The Draa valley is especially famous for its kasbahs. The most famous kasbahs including the kasbahs of Tamnougalt (the kasbah of Caïd Ali) and Aït Hammou Ousaid (or Mouha ou Hammou Zayani) near Agdz. The kasbah of Caïd Ouslim and Oulad Outhmane in Tamezmout. Foum Achnna and N’Kob in Tinzouline, Tat Ifli in Beni Zouli, Amezrou, of Aït Ali Tighramt Ouziguen and of Laglaoui in Zagora.The kasbah of Agouim Nouaadjou and Tagounite,Aït Bounou, LaAllouj, Oulad Driss and Rgabi in M’hamid El Ghuzlane.

Imposing Kasbahs like Ait Ben Haddou which is a World Heritage Site and has been used for films like Lawrence of Arabia and The Gladiator. On the way to Marrakesh just beforethe Tiz N’Test pass is the crumbling ruin of the Pasha Thami el Glaoui’s Kasbah at Telouet. He ruled as Pasha of Marrakesh and governor of the South during the French Protectorate from 1912 -1956. There is also the kasbah of Taourirt in Ouzarzazate which was the Kasbah of the former caïd and later owned by T’hami El Glaoui. The Krupps field gun which secured Glaoui power in a deal with the Sultan caught in bad weaher on the Tiz N’Test pass, is displayed outside the kasbah today.

The road south to Zagora and also to the east there are ksours and ancient Jewish mellahs as well as Kasbahs. Seeing them reminds of the fantastic and sometimes turblent history of Morocco.

Draa Valley, Mountain View Morocco

The Draa river is Morocco’s longest river (1,100 km). It is formed by the meeting of the Dadès River and Imini River. It flows from the High Atlas mountains south-(east)ward to Tagounit and from Tagounit mostly westwards to the Atlantic Ocean north of Tan-Tan. Most of the year the part of the Draa after Tagounit falls dry.

It is also famous as the date basket of Morocco. It grows more than 18 varieties. Fruit trees and vegetables are the main crops but henna is also a well known product of the region. The agriculture is very labour intensive because it takes place on terraced fields.

Seguias (small canals) transport the water from the river to the fields. Like some other ancient Berber oases in North Africa (Siwa, Kufra, Ouargla) the Draa valley was known for its qatarra, a sophisticated system of underground irrigation canals. The Draa Valley allows the visitor to appreciate the beauty of rural Morocco and its timeless pastoral life.

For more information about Ouarzazate or Draa Valley Tours

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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New Years Desert Trips in Morocco, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Camel Trek New Years Merzouga Sahara Desert

Celebrate New Years in Morocco’s Sahara Desert with the trip of a lifetime. Sahara Desert New Years Tours in Morocco are the perfect way to discover the Deep South’s Berber Villages, the Skoura palmeraie and its Valley of one-thousand kasbahs, UNESCO World Heritage Site Ait Benhaddou, the Dades Valley and Morocco’s Erg Chebbi Dunes. New Years Desert Tours can be tailor made for couples, families and groups to include a 3 Day Desert Trip, 4 Day Desert Trip or a 5 Day Desert Trip or 6 Day Desert Trip.

All Sahara Desert New Years Tours include transport in 4×4 land cruiser, an English speaking multilingual driver/ guide, option of charming 4 or 4/5 Star Riads in the palmerie of Skoura, Riad in Ouarzazate, a Riad Spa in the Dades Gorge and a luxury Sahara Desert bivouac in the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Sunset and sunrise camel treks are accompanied by a three-course New Years Eve feast and festivities in the Moroccan Sahara desert’s Erg Chebbi Dunes with traditional Gnaoua music to compliment. New Years Desert Tours also include the option to go off the beaten track to dine with a Berber family for lunch in the middle of the Atlas mountains or visit ancient rock carvings in Tazarine.

New Years Sahara Desert Feast at Bivouac

Spending New Years Eve in Morocco’s Sahara Desert is a treat for any Moroccan traveler. The highlights of Merzouga’s Erg Chebbi Dunes, their unique flora and fauna and the charm of a desert adventure should not be missed.

Sahara Desert Bivouac Erg Chebb Dunes Merzouga

4 Days New Years Desert Tour From Marrakech

 ▪   December 30th– 8:00am Departure from Marrakech and cross the High Atlas Mountain traveling through the Tizzin’ Tichka Pass. Stop to visit Kasbah Telouet, a local Argan Cooperative run by women. Arrive in Ouarzazate at sunset. Dinner and Overnight at a 4 Star Charming Riad with views of the Atlas Mountains.

▪  December 31st – 9:00am – Departure from your Riad to visit Skoura, the Amerdihl Kasbah. Take the valley of one thousand Kasbahs and the Skoura palmary through the Valley of Roses also known as El Kelaa Des Mgouna. Optino to have lunch in the Valley and then continue the road to Erfoud. Discover Erfoud, famous for fossils, the Sahara Desert town of Rissani. Continue the road to the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Sunset camel trek into the Sahara Desert. New Years Celebration Feast at your bivouac camp deep in the Sahara Dunes under the midnight stars.

▪  January 1st – 9:00am – Sunrise camel trek and breakfast in the Sahara. Discover its windy roads by 4×4. Take the road back to Ouarzazate. En route to Ouarzazate, go by Alnif and have lunch of couscous in a traditional Moroccan village with a Berber family or take the road through Tinerhir past the Todra Gorge and onto Ouarzaz.ate. Dinner and Overnight at a 4 Star Charming Riad in Ouarzazate with views of the Atlas Mountains.

– January 2nd – 9:00am – Breakfast at your Riad. Visit the Oasis of Fint. Tea ceremony and fresh baked bread with Azziz. Continue the road to Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Go for a short hike and have Lunch with views of this ancient Kasbah. Continue the road through the Ounila Valley back to Marrakech.

5 Days New Years Desert Tour From Marrakech

 ▪   December 30th– 8:00am Departure from Marrakech and cross the High Atlas Mountain traveling through the Tizzin’ Tichka Pass. Stop to visit Kasbah Telouet, a local Argan Cooperative run by women. Arrive in Ouarzazate at sunset. Dinner and Overnight at a 4 Star Charming Riad with views of the Atlas Mountains.

▪  December 31st – 9:00am – Departure from your Riad to visit Skoura, the Amerdihl Kasbah. Take the valley of one thousand Kasbahs and the Skoura palmary through the Valley of Roses also known as El Kelaa Des Mgouna. Optino to have lunch in the Valley and then continue the road to Erfoud. Discover Erfoud, famous for fossils, the Sahara Desert town of Rissani. Continue the road to the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Sunset camel trek into the Sahara Desert. New Years Celebration Feast at your bivouac camp deep in the Sahara Dunes under the midnight stars.

▪  January 1st – 9:00am – Sunrise camel trek and breakfast in the Sahara. Discover its windy roads by 4×4. Take the road back to Ouarzazate. En route to Ouarzazate, go by Alnif and have lunch of couscous in a traditional Moroccan village with a Berber family or take the road through Tinerhir past the Todra Gorge and onto Ouarzazate. Dinner and Overnight at a 4 Star Charming Riad in Ouarzazate with views of the Atlas Mountains.

– January 2nd – 9:00am – Breakfast at your Riad. Visit the Valley of Nomads and have Tea with a Nomad family. Continue the road via the Dades Valley. Explore this region’s Dades Gorge and narrow road. Hike or walk the Dades Valley. Nightcap in Ouarzazte at a charming Riad Kasbah restaurant. ODinner and Overnight at a 4 Star Charming Riad in Ouarzazate with views of the Atlas Mountains.

– January 3rd – 9:00am – Breakfast at your Riad. Visit the Oasis of Fint. Tea ceremony and fresh baked bread with Azziz. Continue the road to Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Go for a short hike and have Lunch with views of this ancient Kasbah. Continue the road through the Ounila Valley back to Marrakech.

Sahara Desert New Years Eve Dinner Feast & Festivities

  • Welcome with Moroccan mint tea, dates and almonds
  • Bon fire – Gnaoua Musicians of Khemlia, Drumming and Dancing
  • Dinner in an Arabian nights style Berber tent
  • Moroccan Harira soup
  • Mechoui (roasted lamb)
  • Royal Couscous
  • Fruit or Pastry Dessert

Included in New Years Desert Trip in Morocco

  • 4×4 Land Cruiser, English, Multilingual Speaking Driver/ Guide
  • Accommodations in Ouarzazate with breakfast and dinner
  • Overnight in Luxury Bivouac encampment – Berber tent in the Erg Chebbi Dunes, Merzouga with breakfast and New Year’s Eve Dinner & Music Celebration
  • Overnight option in the in Dades Valley or Todra Gorge
  • Sunset Camel Trek & Camel Trekking Guide
  • Extended Desert Trip: Lunch with a Berber Family

For more information about New Years Tours or Desert Trips 

For More Information About Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
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 at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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