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Morocco Pictures
Travel Photos

Journey beyond travel logo, Morocco  

JBT offers small group, cycling, trekking and family holidays plus good value custom tours of Morocco: Wild Sahara, Sahara Desert Tour, Ultimate Morocco, Imperial Cities

Lake Yasmina and massive sand dune, Sahara Desert, Merzouga,  Morocco

Lake Yasmina making an infrequent appearance at Merzouga, beside the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Look closely and you can see tourists climbing the dune.

 

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Visiting Morocco

The traveller's mecca in 60s-70s, Morocco is a fascinating mix of Islamic, Arab, African and Berber cultures with a chic topping of France.

Throw in a handful of exotic cities, eye-boggling landscapes, colourful people, excellent beaches, good trekking, plenty of interesting shopping and there's something for almost everyone.

Moroccans are mostly Muslim but not pushy about it, the sunshine quota is high and prices are pretty low making this one of those classic old tourist destinations where millions have already visited but it will still provide a superb, unique and memorable trip.

 

a dried river bed between Skoura and Ouarzazate, with the Atlas Mountains in the background, Morocco

Much of the Sahara desert is a lot less attractive than the Merzouga dunes.This is a dried river bed between Skoura and Ouarzazate, with the Atlas Mountains in the background. Photo by linpadgham.

Sahara Desert pictures >>>

 

The Sahara Desert

This notorious desert stretching across North Africa is the size of the USA but only about 25% sand. The rest is composed of volcanic hills, rock and gravel plains and some vegetation which is home to around 300 species of bird and animals such as mongooses, snakes, jackals, hares, deer, foxes and even baboons.

A desert experience in Morocco is not to be missed. It's easy enough to drive on hard packed sand/rock near to massive dunes and have a climb (and even picnic), though preferably travel on camel for a couple of days including sleeping under the stars. Merzouga is a famously easy place to reach big dunes.

 

 

A Moroccan family on the way home from market, Atlas Mountains,  Morocco

A Moroccan family on the way home from market, beside the Atlas foothills.

Moroccan people pictures >>>

 

Have a Driving Holiday

Drive the lovely Ziz Valley from Errachidia to Erfoud - then on to Merzouga and the Sahara desert. Or along the Dràa Valley from Ouarzazate to Zagora and on into the desert.
Also driving between Errachidia and Ouarzazate (the Kasbah Route) with snow-capped mountains, valleys, oases, villages and kasbahs is magnificent. Visit the Todra and Dadès gorges.

 

Kasbah Ait Benhaddou,  Morocco

Kasbah Ait Benhaddou. Photo by Donar Reiskoffer.

 

Morocco road trip pictures >>>

 

Fès, el Bali Gate, Morocco

Fès (Fez), el Bali Gate.

Main attractions

***Marrakesh (aka Marrakech) is home to some terrific buildings (mostly pink), especially traditional riads, good museums and a great covered souk (market) - the best place to find good quality crafts in Morocco - but most of all Marrakech hosts Djemaa el Fna, the wackiest square in Morocco and probably in Africa, where assorted weirdos put on performances and in the evening food stalls serve excellent local cuisine.

**Fès is the oldest imperial city in Morocco and has the largest medina (old city) and souks in the world, with great old walls and gates. You have to get lost in this medieval maze of 10,000 tiny streets to feel the city.
Another fine old city - Meknes, is a good day trip from Fès.

***Sahara Dunes. Head past Erfoud (to Merzouga) or Zagora (to M'Hamid) to get to the dunes at the edge of the Sahara desert, and stay two or three days or more to get a real feel for the place.

***Drive the lovely Ziz Valley from Errachidia to Erfoud - then on to Merzouga and the Sahara desert. Or along the Dràa Valley from Ouarzazate to Zagora and on into the desert.
Also driving between Errachidia and Ouarzazate (the Kasbah Route) with snow-capped mountains, valleys, oases, villages and kasbahs is magnificent. Visit the Todra and Dadès gorges.

***The Atlas Mountains. This high mountain range across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia offers spectacular year-round trekking with stops in Berber villages and low-cost guides and porters. Toubkal National Park is especially popular with its High Atlas walks only a couple of hours from Marrakesh. From there hikes ranging from 1 day to 1 week and more can be easily organised.
Driving Errachidia - Marrakech through/beside the Atlas is also highly recommended; navigation is fairly easy, the roads are uncrowded and views spectacular.

 

Rabat's Kasbah des Oudaias, Morocco

Rabat's Kasbah des Oudaias. Photo by Ben Javelina.

 

**Essaouria. For a cool seaside scene try this pretty blue-and-white walled fishing port, rather than the over packaged Agadir. It's relaxed but authetic and fronts a large, firm brown beach that is less than great for sunbathers and other inactive beach-goers due to a pretty constant NE wind, but much favoured by windsurfers, kitesurfers, sand-yachters and quad bikers. Get there via a spectacular road in a couple of hours from Marrakesh.

*Casablanca is a huge modern city with not much ethnic interest bar the biggest mosque in the world and the old quarter.

*Rabat, the capital and seat of the Moroccan government is smaller than Casablanca and much more tourist-friendly though still not a must-see. It's relaxed, hassle-free, has some worthy sights, fine architecture and masses of pleasant cafés.

*Tangier, Morocco's main port and only an hour by ferry from Spain has a some interesting structures, a couple of not-very-clean beaches and a run-down old town but is useful as a transit point to the magic of the rest of Morocco.

 

Dining in the ever lively Djama el Fna square in Marrakesh,  Morocco

Relaxing in the ever lively Djama el Fna square in Marrakesh.

Marrakesh

Marrakech is beautifully located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains in the centre of the country but also not far from either Atlantic coast beaches or the Sahara Desert or up north to the capital, Casablanca, on the new expressway takes just a couple of hours.

Marrakesh is home to some terrific buildings - especially traditional riads - good museums and a great covered souk (market) that is the best place to find good quality crafts in Morocco - but most of all Marrakech hosts Djemaa el Fna, the most entertaining city square in Africa, where assorted weirdos put on performances and food stalls serve excellent local cuisine at low prices.

Marrakesh pictures >>>

 

 

Morocco's Climate

These photos were taken in December, wintertime, when days are usually sunny and reasonably warm but nights can be relatively cold, down to 0C/32F at sea level and way colder up in the Atlas Mountains. Take into account that temperatures usually range between quite hot and blood-boiling so hotels - especially at the budget end - are set up for heat avoidance and tend to ignore insulation, draft prevention, effective bedding and any form of heating except for open fires. So take plenty of warm clothes if you travel to Morocco in the winter and stay down south.

Best weather is March - May and September - November

Winter daytime is fine in southerly parts of Morrocco though nights will frequently be bitterly cold while the north of the country and mountains may see rain. In summertime heat is excessive (into the 30Cs and possibly 40Cs), making cultural tourism a sweaty, foot-dragging pain and Sahara trips out of the question, but if you're by the sea in Essaouira, Agadir or even Tangier sea breezes may deliver enough cool while up in the Atlas mountains the trails will be equally cool as you trek from village to Berber village.

 

One of Essaouira's beaches, Morocco

One of Essaouira's beaches looking unusually inviting. Photo by Uploadmo.

Beaches

The Mediterranean coast offers warmer, calmer waters than on the Atlantic side but cleanness may be a problem, such as on the beaches around Tangier.
Plage (Beach) Quemada near Al Hoceima (half way between Tangier and Algeria) is one of the best Moroccan Med beaches, tho' inevitably crowded.

On the Atlantic coast waves and currents can be difficult and the water is always chilly but big, pleasant beaches are not hard to find though solitude - in season - is. e.g. just south of Tangier Grotte d'Hercule is clean and popular, as is Larache beach further down the coast.
Rabat and El Jadida both sport good beaches while calm and pretty friendly Essaouira port to the south is known for constant wind so loved by wind/kite surfers.
Agadir in the south sports big beaches, 300 days of sunshine a year and is the province of tour groups and monster resort hotels.
However, 20 miles+ past Agadir on the way to Tiznit are some stunning beaches visited by few (perhaps because there's a distinct shortage of hotels around here). Sidi Rbat is arguably Morocco's best beach.

Beaches pictures >>>

 

A typically colorful and eclectic Moroccan-style riad/hotel,  Morocco

A typically colorful and eclectic Moroccan-style riad/hotel, chaotic but comfortable.

Ramadan

Ramadan can be an awkward time for tourism as many Moroccan locals neither eat nor drink during the day and may be tired. This is the Muslim fasting month, dates depend on full moon so may differ by one day depending on location.
In 2015 Ramadan will start on the 18th/19th June and will continue for 30 days until the 17th/18th of July. There's always a lively feast day, Idd al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan.

 

Marrakesh pictures >>>

 

Sahara Desert >>>

 

Atlas Mountains >>>

 

Fes >>>

 

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