By Natasha Jackson
Sydney- I recently returned from a 5 week trip to magical Morocco. Before departing and upon my return I had to reassure friends, family and strangers that Morocco is a safe country to visit. For many there is the misconception that Morocco is a dangerous destination.
Unfortunately incidents like the recent tragedy in Tunisia only fuels this belief. Of course, in today’s climate you cannot take safety for granted; you need to be respectful and mindful of your surroundings. But this applies to any country that you travel to.
This was my second visit but this time I was travelling as a solo female. From the moment I arrived in Casablanca until my departure I felt safe. The people of Morocco are generous, welcoming and very tolerant. They are proud of their country and were more than willing to help me in any way they could. Despite the occasional language barrier (my only language is English) this trip was all I hoped for and more.
I thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the incredible energy of Marrakech’s famous Djemaa el Fna; wandering about the square in the early afternoon and into the evening was sensory overload. Here I encountered snake charmers, nappy wearing monkeys, fortune tellers, henna artists, musicians and dancers.
The food stalls were full of locals and tourists alike enjoying the open air BBQ. There is so much to see and do in this exotic red city. It comes as no surprise that Trip Advisor voted Marrakech the No 1 spot for most popular travel destination!
The small but charming coastal town of Essaouira was a great place to relax after the pace of Marrakech. It’s souk in the middle of town was easy to navigate and filled with great shops and restaurants. The atmosphere here is “chilled out” with a touch of bohemia. Wandering down to the fish market to see the fish merchants with their catch of the day was another authentic experience!
But my heart belongs to the Sahara – there is no place on earth like it. It’s solitude and beauty is breathtaking. It truly is a photographers paradise. I very much enjoyed the quintessential camel trek to an overnight bivouac. It was like visiting another world. Whilst my behind found the camel ride (or massage as it is sometimes referred) a little challenging, it was worth every minute!
A camel ride is the only way to appreciate the desert. The colors of the dunes at sunset and sunrise are spectacular, sitting alone on top of one of the many peaks was a spiritual experience for me. A great time for reflection and wonder. The night sky has to be seen to be believed, I have never seen so many twinkling stars.
I have not mentioned the mountains, palmeries, Kasbahs, food, palaces, artisans, gardens or the art of mint tea. Morocco has something for every budget and every taste. If you are looking for an exhilarating adventure of a lifetime rich in traditions and culture then Morocco is the place for you.