Glimpse into the world of a Moroccan nomad from yesteryear and climb into the saddle of a hardy camel for a desert exploration that’s full of wonder. Bond with your Ship of the Desert, feast your eyes on natural spectacles, and traverse unforgiving terrain for an adventure in one of the world’s largest hot deserts: the awesome Sahara Desert.
It’s one thing to soak up the splendour of the towering dunes of Erg Chebbi, located close to Merzouga, but it’s another thing entirely to whizz down the orange-hued dunes on a sandboard. Reaching up to 150 metres high, boarding down the sands is an exhilarating experience that’s certainly not for the faint-hearted!
Saharan adventures don’t have to revolve solely around energetic activities. Sleeping under the stars in a traditional Berber tent, while surrounded by a sea of sand, is magical. Ideal for couples, friends, families, and solo travellers, camping can be as rustic or as luxurious as desired. Live like a true nomad for a night or two and understand more of the local culture while making treasured memories.
Located near North Africa’s highest peak, the imposing Jbel Toubkal in the glorious High Atlas Mountains, the ski resort of Oukaimeden sits at an altitude of between 2,600 and 3,200 metres. With slopes suitable for everyone from beginners to experienced daredevils, two ski lifts, and good facilities, skiing at Oukaimeden promises to be thrilling.
Travellers in search of an adrenalin rush are sure to love tackling the sheer burnt-orange, dusky pink, and pale grey walls of the magnificent Todra Gorge. Those who prefer to keep both feet firmly on the ground can hike through the stunning gorge. The walls tower some 300 metres over the narrow ravine and a clear river adds to the beauty.
The Dades Gorge is another of Morocco’s natural marvels, and the nearby Jbel Sagro offers gaping chasms and flat-topped table-like cliffs. Narrow roads twist and turn through the mountains, with steep climbs, sharp descents, and plenty of hairpin bends. Cycling through the area is certainly not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted, but it offers rich rewards as well as thrilling challenges.
Ait Ben Haddou is a striking example of a historic clay-built ksar, or fortified town. Located close to the fringes of the Sahara Desert, the Berber town has been used as a shooting location for a number of movies. Enter another world as you walk through the high gates to explore traditional dwellings and climb up through the sloped town. Pass livestock living in the lower levels and people selling traditional arts and handicrafts.
Terres d’Amanar is an exciting adventure park in the Atlas Mountains. Within easy reach of Marrakech, a highlight is the long and fast zipline that whizzes over a deep valley. Visitors can also enjoy the rush of climbing, horse riding, mountain biking, a tree-top rope course, suspension bridges, and more. Whether you’re looking for a little or a lot of excitement, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Terres d’Amanar.
Morocco’s Ourika Valley is a lush area in the mountains. Hiking the waterfall of Setti Fatma is terrific fun, but a hot air balloon ride lets you relax as you admire the true splendour of the area. Hear the roar of the burners and the whoosh of the hot air as you gaze down on the picturesque scenes spread like a blanket of greenery beneath.
Morocco has several excellent surfing spots, but for something a little different, head to Essaouira for incredible kitesurfing. The reliable winds and waves provide a fantastic playground for water-loving adventurers. Harness the power of nature and ride the waves like a boss. Alternatively, sit back on the sands and watch the colourful kites fly through the sky as talented riders seem to effortlessly skim the waves.
Kayaking and rafting in the Ahansal Valley is a perfect way to admire the beautiful surroundings while having a fun adventure. Meandering 80 kilometres through the mountains, the river offers the best water activities from March to June. The mostly gentle waters are ideal for beginners, though the faster sections can still induce a few shrieks and squeals.
Morocco is known for its terrific shopping activities, with visiting the varied souks often high on the list of things to do for many travellers. The souks of Marrakech and Fez are especially frenetic, with a diverse assortment of products to choose between. Haggle hard and purchase a range of handicrafts, souvenirs, and other items. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, Morocco’s souks offer a memorable experience.
Djemma el Fna is the main square in the old imperial capital of Marrakech. Lively by day, with numerous market stalls, food vendors, orange juice sellers, snake charmers, and performing monkeys, it ramps up the energy even more after dusk. Henna tattoo artists, jugglers, musicians, dancers, magicians, fortune tellers, and water sellers are among the hypnotic spectacles vying for your attention.
Chefchaouen is a stunning vision of blue nestled in the greens of the Rif Mountains. While there are various stories as to why locals decided to daub shades of blue on the city’s walls, there’s no denying that the effect is photogenic. Wander through the old medina, passing through narrow alleys and climbing up and down staircases, and soak up the sights.
Fez is home to some of the world’s largest and oldest leather tanneries. Men work hard to prepare and dye the skins of various animals, ready to be used to make assorted leather goods. Take a spring of mint to combat the strong odours and head up onto one of the roof terraces to watch the hive of activity around the multi-coloured vats.
As in many Arab countries, smoking a shisha pipe is a popular way for locals to relax and unwind. Diverse flavours are available to enjoy in the hubbly bubbly pipes. Accompany your shisha with a glass of sweet mint tea for the ultimate Moroccan downtime. Several riads and guesthouses can supply all necessary equipment, or you can go to an atmospheric café for a smoke with a local crowd.
A type of steam room, a Moroccan hammam can be a great way to soothe aching muscles, relax, and feel thoroughly cleansed after a busy few days of sightseeing and adventures. Although many accommodations have onsite hammams for guests to use, visiting a local hammam offers an authentic Moroccan experience. As well as relaxing in the warmth, visitors can pay somebody to scrub their body until it glows.
Morocco offers many exciting experiences for all visitors. Plan your trip and make many marvellous memories in the diverse North African nation.