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* For links to more information and accommodation reviews for Morocco *



Fact:- djellaba-the hooded robe comes from the arabic word jallaba which means attractive each region has its own particular style and fabric .........kaftan's-are mostly a fancier design than the djellaba but the distinction is the kaftan does not have a hood .....more facts

Morocco :- The Sights!! the Sounds!! the Smells!! that are this exotic land of mystery at last I was going to experience all these for myself. Having lived in Spain for a while I was fascinated with the land that had invaded Spain on many occassions "Moros y Christianos" fiestas the re-enacting battles are celebrated in spectacular style annually. And I had also decided to coincide my trip with a visit to the Alhambra Palaces Granada that too was a first. I've a vivid imagination and could almost feel the ghosts of the past it was quite emotional. So Morocco was a special trip for me

I was travelling with David Waterman ( man extraordinaire ) and an award winning photographer now running 2-3 Moroccan Safari's a year. The adventure started from day 1 and I treasured every minute even being taken through passes in the mountains that I'm sure were meant for goats only and meeting other convoys of 4x4's was hairaising but you just have to experience the whole package. Like the mint tea that is served everywhere poured from a ritualistic height and made with a whole packet of sugar I'm sure....a Moroccan friend told me it cleanses you ....and I think he's right!!!



A drive and ferry ride over from Spain to Cueta interestingly Spanish owned (Mellila the only other) so the language filters out quite a way into neighbouring regions (quite comforting for me as my French is high school and too many years between) onto the Rif mountain region and Chefchaouen a quaintly picturesque village and now quite famous for it's various shades of bluewash houses that have been described as looking like blue meringue. Up at 5.00am to catch the sunrise ......bleary eyed uncombed hair in case I missed anything I waited until 8am just to catch the sun pop over the mountain to highlight the white mosque on the hill. The people in the village are friendly if you take the time to stop and chat but you do see a lot of peering around doors before they exit into what must seem like a paparazi clicking fest ......the children are not backward in asking for bonbons or Dirham and who can blame them......these phrases heard all over the outlying areas as well as the poorer parts of the cities.....difficult for a soft touch like me!! But first impressions overall I can say Morocco is pleasingly well kept and the infastructure was excellent far better than I had imagined it to be. The new motorway linking Marrakesh with Tangier, Meknes, Fez, & Rabat is not quite finished at time of writing but far enough to make it a 1 day drive into Spain from Marrakesh on the way home ...... well we are talking about Dave Waterman though who's driving stamina can outrun men half his age.


The Imilchil wedding festival and Camel fair was the reason for visiting in the heat of August. The atmosphere is quite amazing the sea of camels and traders in the setting sun and early morning light on the surrounding mountains, camp fires sending up plumes of smoke amongst the tents the images I shall never forget. There's a sense of excitement in the air old friends getting together to exchange stories of the past year and the price of the camels they have brought with them to trade. But the main event being that "Brides and Grooms" come together for what can be described as a huge communial wedding most are shy, nervous and embarrassed the body language saying it all ......but underneath secretly I suspect enjoying the attention. The marriage tent is huge and given a stately position overlooking the festival with barriers and military guards holding back the crowds. Families jostle to see their young ones tie the knot the notary in the centre writing the official documentation. Faces peer over the the make shift awnings. Outside there are 100's of stalls selling food some still walking (the smoke and smell from barbeques filling the air ......the smoke creating a natural soft focus for my Tuareg portrait wanted or not that's what I got ) material, trinkets, tea pots,hand made jewellery, clothes and even a carpenter selling doors and windows, in fact everything under the Moroccan sun................ the market stalls are bustling with people and the place where new friendships strike up and who knows maybe next years new bride and groom!! ......And of course no gathering is complete without entertainment Berber's love to crowd and listen to storytellers and watch acrobats perform usually with a joker in the scene somewhere giving the funlovers amongst them a real treat.

Fact:- Moroccan moussems (festivals) are commonly located outside towns on neutral ground, such as religious sites, where, in the past, feuding factions could put aside their conflicts and trade in peace.......more facts


The legend:- is that two young people who fell deeply in love, but were from enemy tribes, and their families wouldn't allow them to marry. Out of grief they wept bitterly and kept crying day and night until 2 great lakes were created made of their tears. Their despair was unbearable and so they comitted suicide by drowning in the lakes. The Imilchil Moussem has been created to pay homage to the young lovers. Henceforth families granted total freedom to their children to marry whomsoever they choose. The lakes are called "Isli" meaning bridegroom and "Tislit"meaning bride......... I came across this sign amongst the crowds love was in the air!!

Then we moved through the Gorges de Todra staying at Tamtattouchte Auberge Baddou well recommended for the hospitality, which extended to music in the tented eating area I was so impressed had to buy a CD for my memories. There was a small 12 year old boy playing drums with such natural rythem I captured some on my small compact camera and will upload some as a taster. The cook who also happened to be the music maestro had unfortunately been out looking for a young girl who had forgotten to tell her parents she would be with her friend ......parental problems the same the world over.......anyway it was a shame we were unable to stay longer .....

Next stop Telouet and the amazing Kasbah a forgotten pearl of a palace on a smaller scale equal to the much visited Islamic architecture of the Alhambra Palaces in Granada Spain (my visit follwed on from Morocco) the detailed fresco's, ornate doorways and windows now being preserved by the caretaker who locks this precious palace away nightly and only reveals it to those who knock on his door and leave him with some pieces of eight. Ali the host from Telouet hotel was a learned man and most gracious and patient he took us to the Kasbah both days and stayed with us posing for his portrait while we took close up's and silhouettes of him and the details in the interior of such charm and beauty it is such a well kept secret perhaps for good reason .....but I feel priviliged to have witnessed such beauty and to have taken images to keep forever probably even after the Kasbah has finally decayed to an un-redeemable state. Thank you Ali!!

Fact:- The history of Telouet and the Glaoui Kasbah .................( this is a very interesting and readable extract adapted from a piece written by...Brendon Sainsbury ) .......more facts

Other stops included Ait Oudinar - Gorges de Dades ....... very seriously awe inspiring & colourful rock formations here some quite well phalic shapes to boot not too sure I should show the children!! and of course a beautiful Kasbah.

Ouarzazate- our stay in the town ( one of the newest we visited very nice but not a great deal of character as yet ) was quite brief a lunch stop in fact but Telouet is actually in the Ouarzazate province

Ait Benhhadou - the most well known and best preserved of Kasbah's up at dawn for the early morning light here I tried to capture different viewpoints climbing into a turret proved interesting

And then of course no visit to Morocco would be complete without seeing Marrakech known as the rose or red city because of the colour of the houses, it has been described as being like a rose quartz gemstone nestled near the foothills of the often snowcapped Atlas mountains. Djemma el Fnna square and the souks are worth visiting alone but while I was there I took in 2 visits to the Gardens Majorelle now sponsored by Yves St Laurent.....a beautiful place full of the most extraordinary colour the greenery of the plants giving the eye just enough time to rest before the next colour explosion. a feast for the visual senses to be sure. Djemma el Fnna is a place of constant change snake charmers, musicians,storytellers,ladies painting henna and then as dusk falls the atmosphere rises....you must experience eating at one of the food stalls all conveniently numbered so you can remember which one you ate at last. When it all becomes too much you can watch the spectacle from above there are terraces at the restaurant Argana or the cafe de France. Nearby the Koutoubia Minaret stands nearly 70mtrs high and is visible from most parts of the city

Fact:- The name "Koutoubia" is derived from the Arabic al-Koutoubiyyin for librarian, since it used to be surrounded by sellers of manuscripts.........more facts

My images will describe Marrakech (french) or Marrakesh better than I can ever hope to. A picture paints a thousand words and I'm sure you'll agree when you visit the Morocco page!!!

Facts:- Though Berbers are the original inhabitants of North Africa, no one really knows where they came from. Genetic evidence seems to indicate that the Berbers are descended from several waves of immigration into the area, some dating as far back as 50,000 years. These immigrants came from diverse areas such as the Caucusus and the African coast of the Red Sea. Since Berbers are a mixture of different ethnic groups, the term "Berber" refers more to the language spoken and not necessarily to a specific race.
Berbers are first mentioned in writing by the ancient Egyptians who fought against the Lebu (Libyans) on their western borders. In 945 B.C. the Lebu conquered Egypt and founded the 26th dynasty. Berbers also led the Islamic conquest of Spain in A.D. 711.  Famous Berbers include the Roman emperor Septimus Severus; Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan traveler and explorer; and French soccer star Zinedine Zidane.
excerpt National Geographic writen by Marisa Larson