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esfahani Maraksh - A travel report by Ralph
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Maraksh,  Morocco - flag Morocco -  Marrakech
3250 readers

esfahani's travel reports

The Magic of the Orient

  36 votes
Long, long time ago, I went to a magnificent place called “Morocco”
Six weeks of adventures at the pulse of the sahara desert, like a fairy tale you got dropped in...



Trekking around J.Mgoun
Trekking around J.Mgoun
A good place to arrive to the country is the international airport of marakech, a place as cutted out from a story book. The souks, the manufactures, the center place “djema el-fna” – “Meeting of the Deaths” – named after the exhibition of the cut-off heads there before.
The heat is tiring. Only the afternoon brings some cooling winds, blowing down from the snowcovered edge of the atlas mountains.

Just along the famous square we found the travellers place “Hotel Ali” – meetingpoint of the mountaineers und trekking groups from many countries. We are having enough time to explore the old city and the bazaar.

Djema el-Fna seems like a oriental amusement park - trying to change his face every hour: jugglers, snake charmers and fortune tellers, dancers and and artists, in between vendors with lots of things. After sunset the scenery at the square changes quickly in the country largest open air restaurant puzzled out of hundred of food stalls.

While waiting for the next bus to Ouarzazate, I went asking around to share a taxi – “Grand Taxi” are serving long distance connections filling their car with up to 8 persons.
Our destination is Telouet, just behind the Tizi n’Tichka Pass at at 2260 meter a.s.l.

A trail is crossing the mountains parallel to the main road ending in Ouarzazate after about 50 km.
We kept our backpacks really light, about 10 kg each, only the very needed stuff, like a sleepingbag and a toothbrush. during november it can be freezing cold at night in the mountains already.

Favourite spots:
View from Telouet Kashbah
View from Telouet Kashbah
Prepared to walk down to Ourzazate - we always found places to sleep, easily by asking villagers and the second day surprisingly a ride with a french couple with their russian SUV.
The radio playing a Neil Youngs “Sugar Mountain” – makes it easy deciding to share the car for the next hours...

After spending a night in the city there, we taken the bus in the morning to Boumalne heading north. Gorges du Dades is one of the most famous moroccain natural sights and our next trekking area.
3 days in the middle of nowhere, near the countries second peak Jebel Mgoun (4071m) – Fullmoon night at a tiny chalet, meeting a canadian couple from Magdalene Island.
It is difficult to take pictures of the people, even the kids are gone after taking the camera out of the bag.

Something is really different here: the kids are not asking for pens or candies – they ask for aspirin and eye drops ???

Scary trails during the day, climbing 200 m above the river crossing boulders on 30 cm wide paths

What's really great:
Local Bus Service
Local Bus Service
Not far from here: Gorge du Todhra, even more spectacular: 300 m deep some parts are close as only 10 m – birthwatchers and once a while tourist busses.

Hitchhiking deeper into the mountains, and got a invitation to a villagers weeding for the next three days!!! Every villige has his own kashbah, a kind of fortress (made of clay) where the people been storing their foods and daughters in the early days against the nomads attacking them.
Mostly they are family owned, having a guard at the door to open a keeping a small “bakshish” showing us around and explaining proudly the making of some hollywood movies and celebrity gosip.

Er-Rachidia, right turn from the main road to Erfoud and Rissani to the famous dunes of Erg Chebbi. Meeting dutch paragliders in the hostal, talking about their chances here after trying out the dangerous winds of the atlas mountains.

Sights:
Mountain Trekking
Mountain Trekking
. ,.

Accommodations:
We are bargaining since the afternoon about the camel trekking starting tomorrow.
Riding a camel is not that comfortable as it looks in the movies, after one hour only I prefer to walk! Sleeping in tents at night, and preparing the food on a campfire.

Meknes and Fez we passed on our way back to Marakech, spending another 4 days time in the bazaars and the famous spots around – the anchient roman city of Volubilis and the holy place of muslim pilgrimage Moulay Idriss are well worth visiting.

Hotels in packbacker’s style are between 5 and 20 USD per night for a douple room.

Nightlife:
Charming Essaouira is a great place to relax and meet people and one of my favourite place on the tour and worth writing another report about.

Hangouts:
NEW: www.ryanair.com is offering cheap flights to Marakesh starting the service from october 2006!

Other recommendations:
Artist at Djema el-Fna
Artist at Djema el-Fna
Jebel Toubkal is he highest peak of the northern africa, the trekking takes you about 3 to 4 days up to 4167 m. Starting from Imlil at 1800 m to Neltner camp at 3200 m. Can be easily arranged - guides, foods or/and packinghorses available in Imlil. For a package tour from Marakech contact the “Hotel Ali” at Djema el-Fna

Published on Friday August 5th, 2005


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Wed, Feb 28 2007 - 07:48 PM rating by biauwe.de

Artist at Djema el-Fna Tolles Foto

Sat, Sep 09 2006 - 11:21 AM rating by frenchfrog

Ralph, another fantastic report from you, Morrocco sound very great, I might conjoin a trip with Tunisia! Good infos provided, thanks for sharing your experience!

Sat, Sep 09 2006 - 09:58 AM rating by mrscanada

Hi Ralph this review is much better now.

Sat, Sep 09 2006 - 08:47 AM rating by leillli

Hi ralph,i see a great report here;)well,can you tell me more about that square?

Thu, Nov 24 2005 - 11:25 PM rating by ardelia

Dear Esfahani,

WOW. Very intereting. I've been dying to visit this place. I'd like to do all my wedding shopping there (cheap French lace, I heard?)

Ardelia

Thu, Nov 24 2005 - 04:28 AM rating by bhairavee

Heloo Ralph, thank you for such a wonderful report! I especially like the pictures.
BR

Fri, Aug 19 2005 - 05:02 PM rating by jimmyb

Cool place, sounds worth a visit. Thank you

Fri, Aug 12 2005 - 02:38 PM rating by isaacmolina

very good!

Sun, Aug 07 2005 - 07:37 AM rating by mistybleu

Ralph,

Another great report.
Misty

Sat, Aug 06 2005 - 12:45 PM rating by bear495

Very nicely described. Other than a few grammtical errors, this was an excellent report.

Russ

Sat, Aug 06 2005 - 11:12 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Excellent report Ralph!
Alter reading it I want to travel to Morocco to discover all the places that you describe.
Best
Jorge

Sat, Aug 06 2005 - 05:50 AM rating by davidx

Great report - yet another place to be seen!

Fri, Aug 05 2005 - 08:57 PM rating by eirekay

Ralph, thank you for such a marvelous report! I especially like the "Oriental Amusement Park" description!

Eire

Fri, Aug 05 2005 - 01:48 PM rating by hieronyma

Hi Ralph,
I liked to read your reprt. As you can see I wrote a report too about travelling in Morrocco, even when I did it in quite a different style. I agree with you: the Gorge of Thodra is impressive, as I experienced when I walked through it.
Hieronyma

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