Morocco with Intrepid
On our first evening we were met at our quirky, luxury hotel by Adil our leader for the trip. He instantly took control of our excitable group and explained what we would be doing- maps and all.
I should add at this point that the trip was a new ‘Premium Morocco Highlights’ tour, this lasts 8 days starting in Casablanca before moving onto Meknes via Rabat and then onto Fes, Bin-el-Ouidane and finishing in Marrakech. There is certainly a lot of Morocco crammed into this great adventure! The Intrepid Premium tours are different to the other tours offered in that they take care of every detail (from drinking water to your luggage being transferred to your rooms), the accommodation throughout is ‘premium’. This doesn’t necessarily mean luxury but every hotel and riad was carefully selected for its style, history and authenticity. You also have lots of activities included and some special ones that give a true insight into Moroccan life.
This trip was pretty full on and there are so many highlights… here are a few:
Casablanca- Hassan II Mosque This mosque is out-of-this-world! It is the 2nd largest mosque in Africa. It is half over land and half over water, 25,000 worshippers can fit inside! It is immense! You cannot visit the mosque during prayer however at set times during the day you can have a tour and I would highly recommend it!
Rabat- Kasbah This area is currently under development and will be painted completely white! It is exactly as you would imagine, lots of small, cobbled lanes with plants and beautiful doors. There is a great terrace area that opens up to the beach… also highly recommend stopping for a mint tea and a few Moroccan pastries!
Meknes This city really is under-construction, but my highlight was the fact that Intrepid still visit regardless of the building work around every corner. Intrepid do this to ensure that the local guides are still able to work. This city has so much to offer and will be a stunning stop once completed but for the meantime, it is important to see past the scaffolding and understand that by visiting you are truly supporting someone’s livelihood. Our local guide also looked like an older Ryan Reynolds so it really was win win!
Volubilis This was a fantastic lunch stop en route to Fes from Meknes and one that I would not have even known about if I had planned my own trip. Volubilis is a huge Roman ruin with so much to walk around. The mosaics are out of this world and if you love history, this is a must!
Fes- Dinner with a local family and the feature stay I will hold my hands up and say that I was initially worried about this- would dinner with a local family feel a bit contrived? Will it be uncomfortable? The short answer to all of these is ‘no’. It was such fun! The local family were super friendly and they enjoyed spending time with us as much as we did them. They also made lovely chicken pastilla which was delicious! Our feature stay in Fes left me lost for words! It was a luxury oasis within the old city walls of Fes. The décor and details throughout were just beautiful and the staff were friendly and attentive. I could have easily spent several days here!
Bin-el-Ouidane- Hotel Widiane This peaceful little spot in the middle Atlas was dreamy. The hotel was luxurious and peaceful with plenty of facilities to warrant a longer stay however for the 1 evening spent here it was also a perfect. A particular highlight was listening to the call to prayer from the local mosque whilst the sun faded.
Marrakech- Djemma el Fna For anyone that has been to Marrakech before, I am sure they will agree with me when I say it is hectic but so so exciting! This square is a hive of activity no matter what the time of day is but from around 4pm onwards it becomes a huge open air dining venue with food stalls, street entertainers and market sellers. I love the hustle and bustle and noise of this place.
… these are just some of my favourite parts of the trip, there are so many more!
If you are thinking of exploring Morocco, I urge you to go! You will not be disappointed and Intrepid have really shown their passion and love for getting under the skin of a destination. I feel like I have been on a true adventure, and I am already planning the next one!