Recently known because of revolution, Arabic spring and so on. There was a travel warning, like for many other countries but I anyway went. The flights are especially cheap from Spain. Marrakech has a pretty small airport. What you see on the picture is already all of it 😉
And make sure, you got an address of where you stay, otherwise you might get problems at the immigration office.
I came there, meeting a friend and not yet knowing where to stay but we quickly found a really nice hotel close to the main square in Marrakesh and right at one of the entries to the Medina (the old city part of Arabic cities). The view above was taken at the top of it. Usually you get a pretty nice view as nearly all of the houses have flat roofs which are often used for relaxation or simply because of having a nicer temperature within the house.
Around February, days can get up to 30°C and nights down to 0°C (and maybe even less in the desert). So be prepared to dress like an onion – with many layers.
Once you start walking around Marrakech, you start embracing the cultural diversity and heritage Morocco combines. If you want to do any excursions, do not trust any tourist agencies which are openly advertising for any trips. Instead, try to ask locals which are working in shops or in a small hotel. They are the ones which know the secrets and there is a high probability that you will pay less then for a much better experience.
One example is that there are lots of agencies which advertise with spending a night in the desert. Yet, a lot of them only bring you to a dune in the stone desert and not until where the sandy Sahara really is. It is of course, a longer trip, but much worth it.
We first travelled by a local bus to Ouarzazata (get used to being stared at because locals are not used to foreigners going by public transport 😉 ). It is of advantage if you know some basic French or Arabic in order to get what you want. What is more, you better understand locals and they are usually very helpful.
An interesting fact is also, that always, after 1h or 2h of driving a buidling appears or a little village or someone walking by the street. Randomly.
As you can see on the pictures above, the landscape is very diverse and you can find snow next to the desert.
Ouarzazata is a nice little Moroccon traders town where we stayed at a hostel close to one of the main places:
Sunrises, sunsets and night skies are amazing and each one is a special experience and beautiful. In Ouarzazate, you can get traditional Moroccan materials and clothes which you should not miss. Let me endorse the scarfs here.
After Ouarzazate, we continued to Zagora, which is again around 4-5h afar. The time always varies as you never know how driving is going. After Zagora we just went further on to Mhamid where the Sahara starts. And from the interestingly comfortable seats we changed to the seemingly comfortable back of a camel. 15km in front of us. A ride of around 2-3h. After the first few kilometres I chose to walk a little bit in the desert. I admit, my backside started hurting and riding a camel is way more exhausting than you think!
Those animals are the relaxation in person and teach you the world about impatience. You learn to enjoy the moment and get a very detailed eye for your environment.
As we finally arrived at our “camp” in the desert, which was close to the route of Ralley Dakar, we tried out some sandboarding (like in Peru)…
…had an amazing Moroccan dinner, an unforgettable sunset and some time gazing at the beautiful star sky, and went to bed, covered by 3 blankets. Even the cats were hiding under my blankets…
As we woke up, we started re-packing our camels (yes, we sat on that violet-grey blanket) and headed slowly back. No mobile worked there. No electricity. Nothing. I would even advice to stay for a few days and you can take some days truly off from your daily life and just relax.
Back in Marrakech, you should also enjoy one of the wonderful massages (again: see that you go off the beaten touristic path), enjoy the evening markets and you might get addicted to the delicious orange juice 😉