It’s not called the ‘Gateway to Africa’ for nothing. Just a mere three-hour flight away from London, a trip to Morocco is the perfect introduction to this mammoth continent. There’s heaps to explore, with a tantalising blend of adventure, culture and plenty of sunshine.
Lose yourself in Marrakech’s medinas
Marrakech is a city that sweeps everyone off their feet. It’s an assault on your senses, filled with enough sounds, sights and smells to keep you mesmerised for days. Trace intricate tilework, admire Islamic architecture, get lost amidst a maze of power-pink medinas and stop for some retail therapy in Djemaa El Fna square. A trip to the souks here warrants plenty of extra room in your suitcase – and your stomach!
See the Sahara
Imagine falling asleep beneath a glittering tapestry of stars in the world’s largest desert. Few places on Earth compare to the Sahara, a sprawling expanse of vast plains and sun-baked dunes that occupy nearly all of North Africa. You can experience the magic of the desert yourself, with heaps of tours departing from all of Morocco’s major cities. From camel trekking and quad-biking trips to sandboarding and desert camping experiences, there’s something here for everyone.
Visit the blue city of Chefchaouen
Nestled in the heart of the Rif mountain range, Chefchaouen’s blue-washed buildings easily make it Morocco’s prettiest city. The reasons behind the blue aren’t entirely clear, but it’s believed the walls were painted by the Jews who settled there after World War II. Put your camera to good use in the winding streets of the old medina, and browse the souks for trinkets and treasures. To top it off, Chefchaouen’s proximity to the Rif Mountains also gives you access to beautiful hiking trails.
Relax by the beach
Boasting 2,500km of coastline, Morocco offers its fair share of blissful beaches too, but the most popular are in Agadir. This southern city is framed by a beautiful stretch of sand, and is also a popular spot for golfers. Known as the ‘Wind City of Africa’, Essaouira is another popular choice, particularly amongst windsurfers and kitesurfers who stay here for the city’s gusty coastal winds. Navigate the medina, admire the art galleries and watch the locals working on the electric-blue fishing boats that line the waterfront.
Trek the Atlas Mountains
Hiking a portion of North Africa’s highest mountain range is an experience not to be missed. The High Atlas runs across Morocco for almost 1,000km, spanning arid desert landscapes, snow-capped peaks and lush valleys. The range is also home to Morocco’s nomadic Berber population, who have an indigenous history dating back to 10,000 BC. With an elevation of 4,167m, Toubkal is the range’s highest peak and is well worth the three-day climb for the views alone.
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum