Morocco! Should your finger have stopped on this country after spinning the globe, you have chosen a country without comparison when it comes to the magnificence of its countryside and cities or its rich culture. Whether you crave for mountains, the sea, exotic people or simply the endless Sahara with its proud dromedaries – this country will take your breath away! The Morocco’s history can be read like a novel: From the Roman province with its capitals Tingis and Volubilis (A visit to the ruins is highly recommended!) to being a proud monarchy, the country became Spanish-French colony at the beginning of the last century.
Since 1956, however, Morocco exists in its contemporary form as an independent monarchy with about 33 million citizens. Still the influences of the colonial powers are clearly evident: Ceuta and Melilla on the Mediterranean coast are two Spanish cities on Moroccan terrain and one can easily communicate in French everywhere, as well as sporadically in Spanish (mostly in the north). In bigger cities or areas with greater tourist influence English is sufficient, too.
If you want to travel individually and avoid mass tourism, you are strongly advised not to restrict your travels to the popular cities of Casablanca, Agadir and the capital Rabat. Chose some of the other options! Rent a car and independently start on your unforgettable holiday! An exceptionally beautiful route awaits you, if you get a rental car in Tangier (easy to reach by plane) and drive southward from there. Take your time in outstanding places; experience a day or two the hustle and bustle, the scent of exotic spices in the market streets of Tetuouan, cross the Rif Mountains with its typical vegetation until you make Meknès your home for a few days. This city will catch your eye with its great number of defensive walls and magnificent gateways – do not under any circumstance forget to visit the city gate Bab Mansour!
As you are mobile with your rental car, you can have an uncomplicated and educational excursion to Volubilis, the former Roman colony, where stunningly well preserved columns and paving tiles can be viewed. On your way back, treat yourself to a peppermint tea – locally called ‘Berber’s Whiskey’- at the holy town Moulay Idriss and once back in Meknès, savour the cheerful dances and the foreign goings-on at Place el Hédim. Your next destination should be Fès, where the market may be the most splendid in the whole of Morocco. You enter the Medina (Arabian for ‘Old Town’) through the gateway ‘Bab Boujeloud’. Let the uncountable merchants show you the typical Moroccan leather goods and carpets.
But now careful, shut your nose, you are reaching the infamous quarter of tanners and dippers, where workers dye fabric and leather in great tubs of clay and with nose-battering natural ingredients of all kinds. After your stay in Fès, you can go southwards by car; the streets here are mostly well developed. Pass the spring of Sidi Harazem, whose name you can find on bottles of mineral water, take a rest in Ifrane, a small Swiss-like ski resort, and drive towards the Middle Atlas Mountains, where you can stay in a hotel for the night in Midelt. A trip to the city’s surroundings might be worthwhile if you would like to watch a monkey play with their offspring in between the cedars and to buy sparkling minerals.
Keep on travelling towards the Sahara, where, beginning at the small town Tafilalt, red desert sand dominates the landscape. Travel westwards and pass through the gigantic valleys Todra and Dadès. Take your time to stop in the Todra Valley in a restaurant or hotel under rough ledges and taste couscous or a Tajine, the delicious Moroccan stew prepared in a clay pot and made of chicken, mutton, vegetable and fish. Fans of extreme sports will find the opportunity to free climb in the valleys.
Further along this route, travel through the beautiful and historic streets of the Kasbahs, with enormous castles made of clay that are nowadays being used as garners. If a tour guide offers you to show you one of these castles from the inside, by all means accept this great offer. Furthermore it is recommended to take a trip to the uninhabited colony Ait Behhaddou, which is, as legend has it, haunted by the ghost of its deceased residents. Maybe you recognise the set of one of your favourite movies?
A great end to your trip and an ideal final impression of this fascinating country is Marrakech. You should give yourself a few days to discover this city. On any account you have got to visit the famous square ‘Dschema el Fnaa’. Sip on a freshly pressed orange juice at one of the juice bars, which will cost you only 3 Dirham (about 20 pence) or marvel at the groups of gymnasts that stage their acrobatics at the square. Marvel at snake charmers, who lead sleek black cobras towards the sky with the sounds of their flutes and smooth movements. Let yourself drift and bargain passionately with marketers in the Suks at Dschema, where amidst fragrances of spices and cinnamon aroma you can do your last bits of shopping.
After a last unforgettable evening on the roof terrace of one of the beautiful restaurants in the old town where you could see the clear sky of stars as would never be at home, you leave the next day, you head home full of precious memories. And when you are proud about the distance travelled and for sure a little nostalgic, take a comfort by thinking ‘Ma assalaama, al Maghribiya!’- Farewell Morocco, see you soon!
CarDelMar wishes you a very pleasant stay with car hire in Morocco!