Earlier this year in April, I went to Africa for the first time of my life - MOROCCO. It was one of the most fascinating places I have ever travelled to, and I honestly cannot wait to go back one day.
|Riding Camel at the Sahara Desert, Morocco|
I arrived to the Traditional Riad that we were staying at (Booked through airbnb - https://www.airbnb.com.hk/rooms/879643?s=BH5R - EXCELLENT PRICE and the place was extremely cute, where you can also experience living in a traditional moroccan riad! The owner is french and was very friendly - we had an awesome time there!) to meet up with my friends who arrived to Marrakesh the day before from London and Munich. We spent the day walking around, trying out local traditional Moroccan cuisines and etc. My favorite part would be the main market which is only walkable distance from our Riad. There are a lot of bargaining going on, and as a girl from Hong Kong, China, I am of course very good at it ahahahahaha with many practices before. All the food and souvenirs were extremely cheap anyways - a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice cost less than HKD4 (~USD0.5) and i think each of us drank more than 5 glasses in a day....
I also bought many cute little accessories, pants and hand painted canvas of the desert. Everything fascinated me and I was completely mesmerised by the place.
|Juice Stalls at the Main Market in Marrakesh, Morocco|
|Little Alley outside of the Riad that we stayed at|
|Marrakech Market, Morocco|
We first drove from Marrakech through Atlas mountain at an altitude of 7145 feet,. We passed through various villages that are typical of northern slopes of the mountains and continued across the territory of ancient Kasbahs and fortified granaries - a fortified village classified by UNESCO as one of the world's cultural treasures. We visited the Kasbahs and also where GAME OF THRONES was filmed (OMG) at Dades Valley. Words cannot describe how amazing our day was - and it was made even better when we were driven to our hotel before dinner. We stayed at Xaluca Dades Hotel - and it was absolutely gorgeous. I would not say the same for the receptionist's service (we were horrified) but trust me, this hotel is still a must-stay! (especially given the price) Just ignore the receptionist (:
|Hotel Rooftop - overlooking the whole Dades Valley|
|Traditional Moroccan Dinner Buffet|
|Hotel Room Interior|
After a great night of sleep, we had some yummy breakfast buffet at the hotel and we were then driven towards the desert. We stopped by a little town to pick up our supplies for the desert trip and we finally reached Merzouga where we were greeted with traditional Moroccan tea by local Moroccans from the desert, and we also played music and danced around with them. It was great fun!
We also had our heads wrapped before going into the desert in order to have our hair protected against the wind and the sand.
We then started to ride the camels into the pink sands of Morocco's highest dunes. After 2 hours of camel riding, we reached the nomadic berber tents that we would be spending a night at. We had time to wander around the Erg Chebbi Sahara Desert Sand dunes before sunset. Traditional Moroccan dinner was served (yes, even in the desert. How amazing is that!) inside a tent. We enjoyed intellectual conversation with our local Moroccan tour guide - it was great to know more about the political situations in Morocco and Africa, as well as the history and the culture. After dinner, we sat around the tent and listened to live traditional music played by people from the desert while watching a sky full of stars. It was a truly unforgettable night.
We woke up very early the next morning and climbed up the sand dunes to see the sun rise from the Sahara. We then rode two hours of camel back to Merzouga.
After a relaxing breakfast, we went onto a 4WD off-roud tour around the dunes and villages. One village that especially worths mentioning is the Gnawa Black People's Village, originally slaves brought back from Black Africa, listening to their spiritual music.
We also met desert nomads in their tents - the little boy you see below is one of these nomads - the living condition in the desert is extremely harsh, him and his mum own nothing but a self-built 'tent, some bed sheets and very minimal cooking equipments. Nonetheless, he was a very happy kid. It was definitely a day for some self-reflection.
We spent the last night at a decent hotel, drinking tea with a local Moroccan family and enjoy a very pleasant dinner under the stars.
We woke up in the morning to enjoy our last Moroccan Breakfast - which I LOVE - with a lot of yummy bread, fruits and cheese - and we started our journey to Fez, where I would depart to our next destination travel destination - Lisbon in Portugal.
|Traditional Moroccan Breakfast|
|Beautiful scene along our drive to Fez|
I am not going to bore you with the details of my journey from Fez to Lisbon - but one thing I can tell you is - it was horrible as I booked a wrong flight and I had to travel by myself with a 25kg luggage and a 10kg backpack through 3 cities by different trains and taxis, carrying the luggages up and down the stairs, not really knowing where I was or where I should get off, not being able to communicate in the local language, trying to get to Casablanca within 4 hours in order to catch another flight to Portugal. But thinking back, I cherish all the memories and experiences during my travels - good or bad - because they toughened me up made me who I am today. and one thing that I need to add is - the places that I went to in MOROCCO ARE NOT DANGEROUS AT ALL. Many girls I know from Hong Kong have been asking me if it's safe to travel without any boys in the group as they have heard only bad things about the place and I can only say, I could travel by myself as the only girl through 3 cities with local people all very friendly and all trying to help (even though we could not really understand each other verbally). So please, do not let your wrong perceptions stop you from travelling to such an amazing country - you will be missing out a lot.
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