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Morocco

Curious what backpackers do in Morocco? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • I'm just leaving the beautiful city of Chefchaouen, known for it's blue painted medina. It's a very photogenic place and it's also quite nice that the medina is equally set up for tourists and locals.

    It also turns out that Chefchaouen is the global capital for hash production and supplies most of Europe. The effect of this on the town seems strangely non-existent. E.g. there are no Mexican drug wars. The only downside is the rather persistent dealers, that and the odd person in the hostel who's been there a month and haven't moved, apart from to get more hash or possibly wash.

    Anyway, onto the click bait. Another guy and I decided to go out to a recommended restaurant. We look at the menu, and each line up a tasty tagine. We order to find out there is no tagine available, we try a second choice....not available. So we ask what is available and are given about 4 options, mostly offal , with one described as 'sinew'. Now I thought that this didn't sound appetising and that they were probably underselling it, so I asked for an explanation of what sinew is. The answer of ox penis took me by surprise. Maybe sinew is a better menu description after all! So my options are limited, apart from I can have any feasible organ availbale. I chose the ox penis with chick peas and can report it is both tasteless and texture less, it's kind of like eating a softer, flavourless wine gums. Not offensive, but not particularly desirable either. Anyway I'm of to Fes now, determined to get my tagine.
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  • Well firstly it's a bit warmer now I'm not in the mountains. It's not generally that cold at night c.9 degrees, but most traditional Moroccan places don't have heating, so it soon feels cold.

    Secondly Fes is the tightest medina I've ever seen, the place is an absolute maze with loads of dead ends. It'd be rubbish to be the postman. What's really nice though is that most of the 9000+ alleys are lived in by locals. I met Dan Hui and Gabriel in the hostel and we went out one day just to get lost and see what we would find. We succeeded quite easily and tried to walk into someone's house accidentally. We got stopped by the neighbour only to be invited into their 400 year old riad with amazing carved wood and plaster work. The same day we went to the Tannery and saw the men at work dying and curing leather. It turns out that to make leather you need an ample supply of coloured piss and bird shit, and it smelt of it. I have no idea how anyone could do this all day long.

    While also in Fes I realised that i had no insurance even though I had gone through at least 4 layers of checks when my ferry arrived into morocco. So I set off to get some and discovered my French is woefully inadequate, but I found the place eventually, but it was closed for lunch... for 2.5 hours. So off I went for lunch. Next thing I see is a 125cc bike going down a 3 Lane boulevard in Fes about 30 mph, but with an old lady in a wheelchair holding onto the back being towed. Unfortunately I couldn't get the camera out quick enough. I'm still puzzled to know how they handled the roundabout at the end of the road.

    But the best thing about Fes was the riad I was staying at run by Youssef a very friendly guy and the guys I met there and shared some good times. Thanks to Gabriel, Dan Hui, Hillary, Andrea and Mike. It turns out that morocco attracts a different group of travelers. We spent hours playing cards and just chilling sharing stories. I also learnt a Russian card game called darjit. So stereotypically Russian, the game has no winners, but you just don't want to lose and it's based on rounds of attack and defence.

    Photos
    1&5) Tannery
    2) typical Fes street
    4) a massive overlanding truck I came across. I thought I might have packed too much stuff but now I feel underprepared, especially as it had a motorbike attached to the back.
    6) Gabriel surveying a huge cous cous meal after our wander around Fes.
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  • So Barcelona was great, the ferry to Morocco was not.

    I've concluded that old Italian ferries make the perfect solution for prison overcrowding. Once you're on board there is no level of repentance that will save you from an interminable wait for your release back into society. After 27 hours of sitting on the floor and 40 hours without sleep I was primed to face my first bureaucratic and chaotic border formality.

    Needless to say that when I arrived at my hotel at 1.30 at night I was very much looking forward to a good night sleep. The owner of my hotel was patiently waiting for me, upgraded my room for free, offered to share his dinner with me and generally restored my spirits. And in the morning I was greeted to this fantastic view across the straights of Gibraltar to Tarifa. All is well in the world again
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  • Onto another famous Moroccan city, but not before taking the mountain pass to make sure I can say I've seen snow this Christmas.

    However this scenic route meant I arrived in Marrakech just as it was getting dark on Saturday, almost the busiest possible time. So far I had been relying on the trusty 'maps with me' app. It had every single alley of Fes in it, all offline ready for me to use at anytime. In fact in Fes it helpfully told me what was a street and what wasn't. All this made me feel good about picking a hostel in Marrakech that I could ride up to the door. You can probably see where this is going, particularly anyone who has been to Marrakech. But for those the haven't. Take a street 10ft wide, subtract 3ft from either side for the souk stalls, then in the remaining 4ft fit the population of Marrakech doing its shopping, then place me on a 3ft wide bike trying to part the waves, whilst frantically work out which direction I should be going. 45 minutes later I arrive at a location you most definitely shouldn't ride a bike to. Unfortunately the go pro was out of charge otherwise it would have been an amazing video to watch back.

    Marrakech is all hustle and bustle without my input. It's all good natured and enjoyable but I have never been so pestered in my life. It's a great experience, the whole city is just constantly trying to sell you something, even if it's just directions. The main square, jemaa el fna, is supposedly the busiest in Africa and at night it comes alive with a mix of locals are tourists. There are various food and drink stalls, but in the open bit of the square, people gather round Berber story tellers, musicians and dancers. The place just has a constant noise of people and drumbeats.

    I also went to the Bahia palace where there is a bit of quiet and you can see the best examples of the carved plaster and wood.

    Photos
    1) A local looking out of one of the windows at the Bahia palace
    2) Snow on the mountain pass
    3) More Bahia palace
    4 and 5) Jemaa el fna, the second one is taken on a long exposure so you can see how a lot of the square is busy moving around, but then there are these circles where people are standing listening to the story tellers
    6) Local takeaway
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  • Next stop is some summer sun on the beach at Essaouira and a Norfolk reunion with Pete, who has flown out to see me between Christmas and new year.

    So after a quick catch up on news, we get our priorities sorted and look for a place to show the Liverpool v Man City game. We end up in this back street bar watching the game and get speaking to a Senegalese guy called Adam. We buy him a couple of drinks as we hear about Senegal and how he is in Morocco as a musician. Through broken franglais, a couple of small beers and an hour of time it seems Adam is now our lifelong friend.  After then buying him dinner and seeing where he lives and quite firmly refusing to tell him where we are staying, we still can't decide if he is really friendly, scrounging, or a bit dodgy. After seeing him play a terrible rendition of 'jamming' by Bob Marley we decide he is mixture of the first 2 options. So harmless, but we can see that if he sees us we will not lose him for the whole day.  So for the next 3 days in Essaouira we play this ridiculous game where we pick our routes to wander based on if we can see (or are likely to see) Adam.

    I also learnt from Pete the way to deal with persistent shop owners trying to sell you stuff is to just say "je suis russe". Most of the shop owners speak Arabic, Berber, French, English, Spanish and German...but not Russian. However Pete's pasty skin allows him to pass for Russian, but for me they all just speak to me in Spanish.
     
    Finally I need to apologise to Pete as the last couple of days I was a bit rubbish having got a mild mixture of heat stroke, manflu and dodgy stomach. I finally left the picturesque but tiny town 6 days after I arrived! I never want to suffer the nervousness that is a cold / dodgy stomach mixture. Every sneeze felt like a risk!
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  • Having been in the cities so far,  I'm off to hunt out some mountains.  They're pretty easy to find as the various atlas ranges are as high as the alps. I went for some lowish ones while heading south. The upshot was some good riding and the learning of a few lessons.

    1) Appreciation of geography. The highest mountains in this area are about 2000m, this actually turns out to be quite high and takes longer than expected
    2) Always ask 3 people for directions! I asked the police at a crossroads which direction to take... they told me the wrong one, probably because they didn't know.

    However this detour allowed me to be inventive so I got some Dirt riding in, by cutting across between the 2 roads. 😀
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  • Welcome to the new and updated tours information & resource site of the Morocco Culture Tours Company. Whether you are a traveller on an epic journey, looking for a short getaway, or dreaming of a life changing adventure, the new tours offerings were designed to fulfill your unique personal travel dreams and make each journey a memorable experience.

    The Morocco Culture Tours Company has a team of certified and experienced guides and drivers who will ensure your comfort, safety and enjoyment as you travel to your chosen Moroccan destinations. They are passionate about sharing their culture, heritage and history. The traveller can be assured of a visual discovery and narrative education of what makes Morocco legendary.

    The integrity of the team and the value of the services provided by Morocco Culture Tours Company is guided in principle by a travel philosophy based on professionalism, and a commitment to engage the traveller in a unique cultural immersion.

    Morocco Culture Tours Company is aware of its social responsibility to make a difference in the lives of local nomad families whose children would otherwise be denied valuable education as a result of their nomadic lifestyle. We are proud to launch a humanitarian program initiative to provide for the essential requirements of a basic human right to an education. With your booking, you become a valuable partner in this initiative.

    Web: www.morocco-culture-tours.com
    More info: moroccoculturetours@gmail.com
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  • The city part Oudayas was built in the 12th century during the reign of the Almohad Caliphate and is standing on the hill over the river, oposite to Salé. It is probably my favourite place in Rabat and I love to return everytime.
    ***
    Časť mesta Rabat, Oudayas, bola postavená v 12tom storočí počas vlády Almohad-a Caliphate-iho. Stojí na kopci nad riekov oproti mestu Salé. Je asi mojím najobľúbenejším miestom v Rabate a nikdy neváham sa sem vrátiť.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Morocco, Marokko, Morocco, Moroko, ሞሮኮ, Marruecos, المغرب, Morokko, Марока, Мароко, Marɔku, মরোক্কো, མོ་རོ་ཀྐོ།, Maroko, Marroc, Moroco, މައުރިބު, Moroko nutome, Μαρόκο, مراکو, Maruk, Maroc, Maracó, Maroco, Marrocos, મોરોક્કો, Yn Varoc, מרוקו, मोरक्को, Marokkó, Մարոկո, Marocco, モロッコ王国, მაროკო, Marocko, ម៉ារ៉ុក, ಮೊರಾಕ್ಕೊ, 모로코, मोराको, مەغریب, Marokk, Marocum, Marokɛ, ໂມລັອກໂຄ, Marokas, Maroke, Maroka, Marôka, മൊറോക്കൊ, मोरोक्को, Maghribi, မော်ရိုကို, Morokho, Marròc, ମୋରୋକ୍କୋ, Maròch, مراکش, Марокко, Maroccu, Marôko, මොරොක්කෝව, Marooko, மொராக்கோ, మొరాక్కో, Марокаш, ประเทศโมร็อกโก, Maruekos, Molako, Fas, ماراكەش, Мороко, مراقش, Ma-rốc (Morocco), Marokän, Marok, Orílẹ́ède Moroko, 摩洛哥, i-Morocco