While planning a family getaway, Morocco was the top destination in our mind - and for good reason.
Morocco has been rising in popularity again as a tourist destination, with people flocking to its cities for a fairytale vibe, visiting the medinas for cultural immersion, finding themselves lost in the magical souks or traditional markets and of course - finding themselves awed by the raw natural beauty of the Moroccan Sahara desert and Atlas mountains. We reached out to Catterfly to arrange for a trip through Morocco & cover the highlights in about 10 days. Our family of 4 is vegetarian, and we were hoping to have enough options to satisfy our diverse palates as well.
We started off the journey in Chefchaouen, also called the blue pearl of Morocco. It was a fitting name to the city, as the buildings of the old town were coloured in stunning shades of blue, making for gorgeous photos. We stayed in a beautifully decorated Riad, or traditional Moroccan estate - the first of many on our trip. Our driver then drove us to Fez, the oldest colonial city of Morocco, which was an interesting mix between the 8th-century traditional town and the 20th-century Ville Nouvelle (built by the French). The local tannery was quite a sight to see - and be warned about the interesting smells that emanate! We once again spent the night at a really comfortable Riad in Fes with a spa built in to it.
We had a long journey planned the next day, travelling towards south Morocco to Merzouga. There were some dramatic changes in the landscape as we approached the south. We saw the lush forests near Fes turn into rolling green hills surrounded by wide fields full of sheep. It eventually turned into date palm plantations and rocky landscapes with the majestic Ziz river flowing through it. We finally reached Merzouga in the evening and were able to rest at our tastefully decorated boutique hotel. The next morning, we woke up to the jaw-dropping desert landscapes of Merzouga and were excited for our foray into the desert - made even more special because of a birthday in the family that day.
We entered the desert at Erg Chebbi, or the sea of dunes. We were immediately immersed in Berber culture and traditions as our hosts were able to share insights into their life in the desert. The camel ride was super fun, especially for the kids & we were delighted to enter our traditional camp for night. As our hosts realized we were celebrating a birthday, they made us a special Berber feast and even played some traditional festive music for us under the desert stars. It was a truly magical experience that we will never forget!
We sadly said goodbye to the desert camp the next day, but were rewarded by an equally stunning landscape in Dades Gorge. The breathtaking valleys and rock formations were made all the more special by the historic kasbahs and ksour, or fortified villages of the Berber people that overlook the valley. We also got the chance to visit the famous Kasbah of Ait-Benhaddou, which transported us to a different time and age.
We then passed through te beautiful landscapes of the Atlas mountains to arrive in Marrakech. We stayed at a chic and minimalist Riad in central Marrakech, which was the perfect base to explore the fascinating streets of the old town of Marrakech. It was exactly as we had imagined it - colorful, loud, delightfully chaotic and with a faint air of mystery to it all. As we soaked in the Moroccan magic and reflected on our journey through the country, we felt deep appreciation for our guides and drivers for sharing parts of their life and culture with us - and making sure we got our fill of vegetarian Moroccan cuisine.
Thank you to the the team at Catterfly for organizing a smooth and unforgettable journey through Morocco!