Morocco is a country in North Africa, that impressed with its diverse landscape and unique culture. From camel riding in the Sahara, hiking in the High Atlas Mountains to surfing in the Atlantic Ocean.
The city Fez has a large medina, an old town with narrow streets, where life still takes place like in the past. Impressive was the district of tannery and weaving.
In the city Chefchaouen are all the buildings of the medina painted in blue. I made only a day trip from Fes, but I can recommend spending a whole day here.
Volubilis is an old archeological site of the Romans. I was impressed by the size of the Roman Empire and that it made it all the way to Africa.
Meknes is a city with a large detail decorated gate and a public square with beautiful towers.
Camel riding in the desert
A highlight of every Morocco trip is the camel ride at sunset into the desert and the overnight stay in a Berber camp. Many go to the Erg Chebbi desert, which is next to the village of Merzouga.
The High Atlas is a mountain range with a scenic hiking region. The highest mountain in North Africa, Mount Toubkal, can be climbed within two days. The starting point for hiking is often the village of Imlil.
The city of Marrakesh is probably the most visited place in Morocco and just so crowded with tourists. It has a huge Medina where even mopeds are allowed, and a large public square that turns into an evening entertainment area with animals like monkeys and snakes. There are many small food stalls and traditional music is played.
Essaouira is a small fishing town on the Atlantic Ocean that felt like time had stopped.
The city Casablanca is known from the movie ‘Casablanca’ and the economic center of Morocco. It has a huge mosque located at the sea. I have hardly seen tourists and a neighborhood felt like a big European city.
The Moroccan menu usually consists of tagine (vegetables served in a clay pan), couscous and omelet. It’s served with freshly pressed orange, banana, mango or avocado juice.
- I have used and can recommend the Lonely Planet Morocco Travel Guide.
- On my trip I flew to Fes and made day trips to Volubilis, Meknes and the blue town of Chefchaouen. Then I went on an organized tour to Merzouga and on the way were some stops to feed wild monkeys and marvel at oases. Arrived in Merzouga, I rode a camel at sunset in the desert. They served tagine for dinner at the Berber camp and played traditional music. I did not sleep in the tent, but under the stars next to the campfire. At dawn on the next morning, we returned with the camels to Merzouga. For the next two days, the organized tour to Marrakesh led to Ouarzazate and the fortress of Ait Ben Haddou. After visiting Marrakesh I went to Imlil, the starting point for a hike to the highest mountain in North Africa, Mount Toubkal. On the first day I walked 1500 meters up for a distance of 10 km to a mountain hut where I stayed overnight. The next morning I started with my headlamp at 6 o’clock with others to hike the 1000 meters up to the summit on a distance of 2 km. To climb the highest point on this day was unfortunately too dangerous, because a strong wind was blowing and there was fresh snow. I hiked back to Imlil and took a shared taxi to Marrakesh. The next morning, I visited other parts of Marrakech before going by bus to Essaouira. I spent a day here and took the bus to Casablanca. After an overnight stay I took the train to Fes and after two weeks I flew back to Germany.
- I recommend going to the Erg Chebbi desert near Merzouga to ride a camel into the sunset and spend the night in a Berber camp under the stars. Almost all the backpackers I met were also in this desert. Merzouga is about 10 hours drive from Marrakech or Fez. Therefore, there are organized tours that stop several times on the way to see oases, a fortress, a huge gorge and other impressive places. These tours are almost twice as expensive from Fes as from Marrakesh, as there is much less competition. I cannot recommend booking a desert online, because they are overpriced. From Fes the Funky Fes Hostel offered a ‘Budget Tour’ for 150 € (day 1: transfer with several stops from Fes to Merzouga, day 2: stay in Merzouga, camel ride and overnight at the Berber camp, day 3: direct transfer to Marrakech) and the Discovery Tour for 250 €, which is similar to the Budget Tour. The camel ride takes place on the evening of the first day, on the way to Marrakech (Day 2 & 3) several stops are made. I booked the budget tour for 150 € and upgraded at the hotel owner in Merzouga for only 50 € to the Discovery Tour. When I arrived in Marrakech, I could hardly believe the prices. At the Rouge Hostel there was a 3-day tour to Merzouga for 85 € and a 4-day tour for only 120€. To save over 100 €, it is worth booking in Marrakech.
- Almost all the travelers I met had stomach problems. I can recommend to get something before you go.
- The internet in the hostels and hotels is catastrophic. Even the upload of my mobile pictures hardly worked. I can recommend to buy a local SIM card.
- In Morocco, no drones are allowed. They are taken at the airport and you get them only if you fly from the same airport out of the country. I can recommend to leave the drone at home to avoid unnecessary stress.
- My credit cards have almost never worked at the ATM to get money and I always had to try several. Often a charge of 22 MAD (about 2 €) incurred.
- For transport within cities like Marrakesh, there was a bus network that I navigated with Google Maps. The App OsmAnd provides the bus lines for offline navigation. Taxis are cheap and even cheaper for several people than the bus.For 4 km I have paid 1-2 €, a bus ticket costs approximately 0.40 €.
- To travel between the cities, there are either trains or buses. Rome2Rio provides information about the railways and part of the buses. In addition, there are private bus companies, where you can buy a ticket only locally at the local bus station. There are also shared taxis (shared taxis), which are cheap and connect to places that no bus otherwise drives. The 6-hour bus ride from Essaouira to Casablanca was 90 MAD (about 8.30€), the 5-hour train ride from Casablanca to Fes 116 MAD (about 10.60€) and a 90-minute shared taxi from Marrakesh to Imlil 50 MAD (about 4.60€).
- I met travelers who rent a car. It’s cheap in Morocco, but it should be noted that the routes take a very long time. Rome2Rio provides a good price indication of fuel costs. I only met a few backpackers who rented a car and their feedback was not very good: from scratches in the car to towing in the wrong parking.
- I got the cheapest accommodation at HostelWorld. The breakfast was often included and consisted of at least pancakes. On average I paid less than 6 € in the 10+ bedroom.
- In cities like Marrakech, an additional 20 MAD (about 1.85 €) per person and night is charged. This is only partially included in prices at HostelWorld and it’s written in the description.
Do you have questions to plan your trip or suggestions? I'm looking forward to your commentary.