Monthly Archives: November 2012

Moroccan Jewelry and Tiznit

Jewish Moroccan Woman, Berber Jewelry

Morocco has an ancient tradition of  jewelry craftsmanship which continues today. Morocco’s Jewish population grew over  many centuries and they were the artisans who created the jewelry as the muslims for religious reasons would not work with silver and gold. The jews and the berbers intermarried and there were a number of jewish berber tribes.

Amber Necklace worn at Berber Marriage

Berber jewelry reflects tribal traditions and the berber woman’s jewelry was and still is and important part of her dowry.  Photographs of Atlas tribes show them with  large amber and necklaces  and headbands of silver coins and hinged silver bracelets with intricate and symbolic designs. Necklaces also have semi precious stones and talismans. A common symbol to ward off the evil eye is the hand of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed. The splendour of this heritage is still alive today and it is one of the richest expressions of Morocco’s culture and style.

Two traditions of jewelry craftsmanship grew up in Morocco in the towns where the jewelry is often gold inlaid with precious stones and in the South and the sahara. Berber and Tuareg  jewelry traditions intermingled and the Almoravid dynasty came from the sahara.

Amber Necklace with Tuareg Cross

The southern jewelry is of silver and bronze  and women often wear ornaments of silver or bronze with geometric or floral shapes. Women wear fibula jewelry on a dress, on their chest and as hair ornaments. The fibula is a triangle often silver, engraved and decorated with colored stones, used to fix the hanging of the “Selham” or burnouse ( a cloak).

Ornate Silver hinged bracelet

In the south Atlas, the “Nbala”, hinged bracelet, is commonly made with beautiful and colorful patterns. In Tiznit, Tafraoute and Inezgane, jewelers sell in the bazaars old and unique pieces considered rare pieces of art. Taroudant is also well worth a visit.

The walled town of Tiznit is an important centre for jewelry and has an annual jewelry festival. It was founded in 1881 by Sultan Hassan I. It is  located between the Atlantic coast and the Atlas mountains. It is the most famous place for silver-smith’s in Morocco and is also famous for ornate daggers and swords. There is a souk every Thursday and a  thriving jewelry market. It is a good idea to visit the Ensemble Artisanal in Tiznit before launching into the souk and beginning to bargain. It gives you an idea of what is available, the different styles and importantly, the prices. The Ensemble Artisanal is a cooperative with fixed prices. The Ensemble des Artisnal on Avenue Mohammed V in Marrakech is also a good place to call into if you are planning to travel south and explore local markets and souks.

You need to be aware that some silver jewelry may be “Berber silver”, an alloy of silver, nickel and lead.

For more information about Moroccan Jewelry and Tiznit

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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Trekking in the Atlas Mountains and Kasbah Toubkal

Mountain Scenery @ Kasbah Toubkal

Trekking and climbing in the Atlas Mountains and Toubkal National Park is increasingly popular,catering for all levels of fitness and available for  short trips or extended treks over a period of several days.It is an opportunity to see the Atlas mountains and its people, it is by far the most beautiful of Morocco’s diverse countryside, still largely unchanged from the time when it was remote and cut off from the ouside world.

Walking holidays in the Atlas mountains often feature climbingf Jebel Toubkal, at 4,165m, the highest mountain in North Africa. This does not require expert mountaineering skills but does require a higher level of fitness and  care should be taken when weather conditions turn difficult.The ascent during the end of the winter and spring (February/March) is more difficult. Crampons  are necessary to ascend through the snow and ice. Mount Toubkal can be climbedin two days, first day up to the refuge (around seven hours without mules), second day to the summit (around five hours) and back to Imlil (up to five hours). you can of course take longer.

Kasbah Toubkal

Just up from Imilil is the Kasbah Toubkal which can be reached on foot or by mule. It is in an iydillic setting surrounded by moutains and with a view of Mount Toubkal.

Hollywood movie director, Martin Scorsese, found it an ideal location for Kundun his film about the Dalai Lama, when it was temporarily converted into a Tibetan monastery. The view from the terrace of Kasbah Toubkal is stunning surrounded by the mountain scenery and the silence.

The Kasbah Toubkal in its current form was recreated by Chris and Mike McHugo from the original rundown Kasbah owned by the local caid. Local workers from Imlil and surrounding villages built the Kasbah into an hotel   with fourteen rooms with ensuite bathrooms, including a three-bedroom family house and separate Berber Salons, which although can be used on a dormitory basisfor groups. there is a conference centre for study groups. The rooms simple yet comfortable, with berber  hand-woven carpets, blankets, intricate carved woodwork and traitional wooden ceilings.

The Kasbah is an ideal base for climbing Mount Toubkal and trekking in the area. There is also a hamam to relax in after a hard day’s trek.The Kasbah and its local staff who run it provide an excellent introduction into Berber culture and local life. Guides for climbing and trekking are available and they provide you with a metal stick with a spike at the end which helps as you climb the steep slopes and rocky ground of the valleys.

The Kasbah also has  the Azzaden trekking lodge,  a remote location on the outskirts of Ait Aissa in the heart of the High Atlas Mountains. It is close to a traditional village and has  solar-powered underfloor heating and spectacular views a day’s walk away. Kasbah Toubkal has become increasingly popular so they havedeveloped alternative accommodation at Dar Imlil which is five minutes from the centre of Imlil. It has 4 standard double ensuite rooms and 6 double/twin de luxe rooms.

Kasbah Toubkal is very much at the centre of local life contributing to schools and education forlocal women. ithas won numerous awards for sustainable and environmental tourism , involving the local community in all its activities and provding eemployment for the local community. italso plays an important role for raising funds for local education and child welfare.

Many groups climb Mount Toubkal to raise sponsorship for charities . The Kasbah Toubkal is also involved in promoting sporting activities such as cycling and mountain biking which are increasingly popularinthe Toubkal National Park.

There are guides and mules available   in Imlil the village which is the gateway to Mount Toubkal and the Toubkal National Park . Sturdy boots and warm clothing are essential. There are two stone-built refuges (old Neltner Refuge and new Refuge du Toubkal) that are often used as base camp at 3,207 m (10,522 ft).

Jebel Magoun

There  a wide range of trekking holidays available in Morocco such as the desert range of the Jebel Sahro in the south, the best area for trekking in winter along with the Anti Atlas. The Central Atlas is home to Morocco’s second highest peak, Jebel Mgoun.Walking  through the  Atlas mountains from Mgoun to Toubkal, passing through rarely trekked areas, many tiny villages and across high plateau  and ancient and discovering ancient rock carvings in the Toubkal National Park is an unforgetable experience.

For more information about a Toubkal National Park or a Tour to High Atlas Toubkal

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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Marrakech Voted Best African Destination, Your Morocco Tour Guide

The “red hamra” city of Marrakech has been sited as the best African Destination of the Year by the 19th World Travel Awards. The winners of the “World Travel Awards” are chosen by travel agents around the world. The World Travel Awards gives agents the opportunity to select leading travel destinations. Marrakech is the first Moroccan city to win the this title. Other cities that were nominated were Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg (South Africa), along with Luxor (Egypt), Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Victoria Falls (Zambia).

Mosque of Koutoubia, Marrakech

Following in the foot steps of Trip AdvisorMarrakech was  also selected as the sixth best destination in 2012. Trip Advisor, the leading review website is used by various kinds of travelers from around the world. Those looking for affordable luxury private tour to Marrakech (Morocco) and other leading destinations value Trip Advisor’s multitude of first unbiased reviews. When looking for the perfect  hotel,  restaurant, local activities or tours within a country like Morocco Trip Advisor serves as the perfect outlet for information

Marrakech has a reputation for being fashionable and has long drawn tastemakers ranging from designers, to actors, models, writers and foreigners looking to explore’s this cosmopolitan city that is surrounded by the majestic Atlas Mountains. From Marrakech’s stunning palaces, gardens, mosques, restaurants and nightclubs it serves as the perfect place to start any Morocco Tour.

For more information about a Marrakech Tour 

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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Luxury Hotels of Morocco, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Majestic Riad Fes

Morocco is moderate, Muslim country located in North Africa that is rich in history, steeped in culture, exotic cuisine and natural wonders. When traveling to Morocco there are many luxury hotels to stay at during a Morocco Tour. First in Morocco are its Luxury Riads that offer amenities on par with a luxury hotel. Morocco’s Riads boast beautiful courtyards and incredible architecture. Staying at a luxury Riad in Morocco can offer a top quality experience, equivalent to a luxury hotel.

The word Riad comes from the Arabian term for garden “ryad.” Travel in Morocco is not complete without a luxury Riad experience. Whether you are taking a Morocco Tour to the Imperial Cities, Old Medinas, the Sahara Desert, the Ouarzazate region or the Atlas Mountains there are countless opportunities to stay at luxury hotels and riads in Morocco

Luxury Hotels in Morocco can be found in all Moroccan Cities and in rural areas of the Moroccan country side.

Some of the Best Luxury Hotels of Morocco are Riads:

Magnificent Riad Kniza, Courtyard

Marrakech Luxury Hotels

Riad Kniza
 Dating from the 18th century, Riad Kniza is a luxury Riad in Marrakech located in heart of the medina not far from the top Marrakech sites, monuments, mosques and gardens. This top end Riad has traditional Moroccan furniture and décor with luxurious bathrooms and a beautiful roof terrace for evening tea or dining. Riad Kniza offers Wifi and has a host of other amenities including a swimming pool, spa and wellness center. Riad Kniza is an idea place to stay for those interested in an authentic luxury Riad experience and one that is complimented by beautiful architecture and traditional Fes Moroccan fabrics.

Riad Les Jardin De La Medina
Les Jardins de la Medina is a stunning luxury Marrakech Riad that combines modern amenities with Modern Moroccan décor. Located in Kasbah, a quiet region of the old Marrakech Medina, Les Jardin boats lush gardens with old palms, orange, olive and jacaranda trees. The food is fresh and service impeccable. This quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech is the perfect place to stay on a Morocco Tour.

Sultana Marrakech
Riad Le Sultana is one of Marrakech’shidden jewels for luxury accommodations. Located near the Saadisn tombs, Sultana is comprised of five separate Riads that have been elegantly pieced together with open-air patios and expansive, charming roof terraces with palms and Marrakech orange trees. Sultana is a sophisticated Riad and has successfully created an ambiance that is serene with it’s tasteful mélange of European décor and furniture complimented by Moroccan fabric and tilework using traditional craftsmanship. The staff matches the environment offering a perfect lusury Moroccan Riad experience.

Fes Luxury Hotels

Riad Fes
Riad Fes is in the Medina’s Batha region of Fes. This Riad offers and idea mix of Moroccan traditional architecture with a tasteful and luxurious modern touch. Originally a Moroccan Riad that lacked a modern setting, Riad Fes’ owners set out to expand Riad Fes whereby to offer a unique mix of the traditional with ultra modern. New additions to this luxury Riad in Fes are a swimming pool surrounded by a garden terrace, chic European outdoor furniture and a modern Spa along with a wing of newly designed rooms. Every room in Riad Fes also offers en-suite bathrooms with air conditioning/ heating and a full mini bar. Riad Fes is a 1st category Riad within the luxury offerings in Fes when it comes to living up to the Relais Cheateaux name.

Riad Myra
Riad Myra is one of the last true architectural gems where guests can stay in Fes. This first class Fassis Riad  has stunning Andalusian architecture and a magnificent courtyard surrounded by greenery and an old world fountain. Owned by the Chab family (owners of Al Fassia Restaurants in Marrakech and Bled Al Fassia) Riad Myra is the best remaining example of a traditional, three floor authentic family ryad – home -that was originally restored with care by the best zellij tile masters and top cedar carvers in Fes. Each of Riad Myra’s suites and rooms are ornately arranged with four poster beds, a Moroccan salon and en suite bathrooms along with antique fixtures complimented by modern amenities for complete comfort. Suites and rooms at the Riad are also decorated with traditional French armoires and desks with brass lighting fixtures made for a Queen. Upon arrival guests receive Fes pastries, water and a fruit basket that will last their entire stay.  A night or two or even three or four at Riad Myra will take anyone back into a one-thousand-and one-nights 18th Century Arabian fantasy. Riad Myra’s rich, elegant Fassis fabrics used in its dining room, library and luxurious rooms and suites are lush.  Riad Myra also has authentic paintings that surround it’s Riad walls and can easily lay claim to offering some of the best cuisine at any Riad in Fes. Myra does it best with their dinner arrangement of original Fes cuisine including a meza of salads, option of chick and lemon or for vegetarians an artichoke tajine with orange canelle with cinnamon for desert. To boot this Riad has an attentive staff that caters to guest needs and a concierge that dresses in traditional Fassis wears with pointy yellow baboosh. For an authentic 1st star  experience of luxury comfort and cuisine Riad Myra is the place to stay in Fes.

Palais Ferraj
Palais Ferraj is a new luxury Hotel and the first of its kind in Fes. Located in the Bab Ziat district and just a 10 minute walk from the Blue Gate in Fes. When entering Palais Ferraj one is reminded of being in an Arab-Moorish palace. Much of the decor is distinctly modern with fabrics imported from France and Italy. Palais Ferraj has one of the best views in Fes from it’s stunning bar- restaurant and visit for an elegant Moroccan dinner. For those looking to stay in Fes in luxury hotel and not be in the heart of the medina Palais Ferraj offers the best of all worlds. At Palais Ferraj there are no standard rooms as the starting accommodation is a Junior Suite. All Junior Suites and other Suites in this luxury hotel boast Moroccan Zellij tile work, a mini bar, flat-screen TV with satellite channels and private bathrooms fit for the Pacha. At Palais Ferraj you can consider shopping until you drop in Fes as each room also features an impeccably designed closet with space to stay for a week or more. Palais Ferraj also offers an outdoor pool, Moroccan Hammam, Luxury Spa facilities and massage treatments utilizing Morocco’s best rose, argan and other oils.

Stunning Kasbah Riad Ksar Ighnda

Ksar Ighnda
Riad Ksar Ighnda is located jut footsteps from the UENSCO World Heritage site, Ait Benhaddou and 25 minutes from Ouarzazate’s city center. Riad Ksar Ignda overlooks the Atlas Mountains and has terraces views of Ait Benhaddou. This 5 Star Luxury riad offers a modern setting combined with traditional Moroccan architecture and Berber textiles. Ksar Ighnda blends perfectly with the Ouarzazate Sahara region environment. Bedrooms are spacious, with en suite private bathrooms, air conditioning, heating, satellite TV, DVD/ CD player and mini bar. Ksar Ighnda offers meals made with local produce and has a swimming pool and a Moroccan Spa (Hammam) and Jacuzzi. This Riad is the top place to stay in the Ouarzazate region and an ideal spot for those who want to spend a few days down time during a journey in the midst of peace and nature.

Riad Temple Des Arts
Temple Des Arts is a 5-star luxury Riad is conveniently located in the heart of Ouarzazate, just 25 minutes from Ait Benhaddou. This uniquely designed Luxury Riad with a film theme decor is on par with a luxury hotel offering standard rooms and suites in a quiet setting with complimentary Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV’s. Hotel Riad Le Temple Des Arts features an outdoor pool, a spa and wellness center along with a traditional Moroccan Hammam. Traditional decor combines unique elements of painted walls with Moroccan tradition, Buddha statues and slick marble bathrooms. Most of the rooms have a balcony that overlooks the garden or swimming pool. Hotel Temple Des Arts offers gourmet meals and is the most suitable Riad in Ouarzazate for those who want luxury amenities in a unique setting yet don’t want to stay at a local Southern Morocco Guest House.

Dades Valley Luxury Hotels

Xaluca Kasbah & Spa – Dades Valley & Erfoud
Xaluca Kasbah & Spa is a luxury hotel in Southern Morocco with views of the Dades Valley
. It’s sister property located in Erfoud offers similar luxuries however lacks the view being it is located in a Sahara Desert town which is referred to as “The Door to the Desert.” Xaluca Dades Valley has African decor, a Moroccan Spa, *Hammam, swimming pool, bar and one of the best buffet’s in the region. Xaluca Dades Valley is set within the Tinerhir provence and is the best place to stay for a wide range of amenities, location and excellent staff service in the region.

Casablanca Luxury Hotel

Elegant Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche

Sofitel Blanche Casablanca
Sofitel Blanche Casablanca is a new five star luxurious hotel located just foot steps from the train station, the Habous market and the Casablanca Medina. Sofitel Blanche Casablanca is the ideal place to stay during a one-day Casablanca tour or on a visit to Morocco when needing to overnight in Casablanca. The rooms combine luxury modern comforts with Moroccan decor. One of the Sofitel Blancha Casablanca suites has impeccable views of the Hassan II Mosque and boasts glass windows that offer some of the best views in Casablanca. Wifi is available throughout this upscale luxury Moroccan Hotel property and the breakfast buffet is fit for a King and Queen.

For more information about Luxury Riads in Morocco or a Morocco Tour 

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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Filed under Travel Exploration Morocco