For some reason ever since I moved to London I had felt a certain pull to visit Marrakech. “Marrakech!?” many people said when I informed them of my impending travel plans, “is it safe there?” where as others couldn’t speak highly enough of their experiences in Morocco. Never really being one to take much heed of people trying to ward me off travelling due to safety concerns, my mind was made up and I was on my way to the land of cous-cous.
As soon as the plane lands, prepare yourself because there is no other way to describe Marrakech as anything than other an assault to the senses. Head into the main square, Jemaa El Fnaa, and immediately you’ll hear banging of drums, the tunes of snake charmers and the babble of hagglers. Beware, as fascinating as it may be, Jemaa and El Fnaa is an intense place and if you’re a female tourist prepare yourself for the unfortunate yet inevitable sexual harrassment that you’ll experience. I didn’t spend much time in the square and instead walked further on into the Souks which were seriously incredible.
In the souks, your eyes will be met with an explosion of colour. Terracotta walls contrast beautifully with the bright blue sky and the vibrant textiles, pottery and work of the Moroccan artisans. Have your camera at the ready because you’re in for a treat. I honestly believe that Marrakech is the most photogenic place I have ever been, India coming a very close second (which you can read about here, sneaky plug!)
After feeling worn out from the fascinating yet hectic souks, we paid Jardin Majorelle a visit. Jardin Majorelle is a lush garden in Marrakech that was privately owned by Yves Saint Laurent and is now open to the public for a small fee. It’s definitely worth a visit to get away from the hectic nature of the city and escape into a peaceful oasis.
Visiting Ouarzazate was one of my personal highlights of the trip. Although it is a few hours outside of Marrakech, it is truly a sight to behold. I felt as though I was in ancient Egypt as I walked through the winding terracotta clay buildings set against the blue African sky. Not only is Game of Thrones filmed here but it’s also a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.
Going on a camel ride was on my Marrakech bucket list so I booked a camel trek through none other than the Sahara desert. I’m not going to lie to you here, it was painful. I may or may not have a scab on my butt. However despite the butt scabs and the groin pain it was definitely worth it. After all, it’s not everyday that you can watch the sun set over the Sahara desert on a camel, am I right?
After camping out in the Sahara desert overnight we awoke early the next morning to watch the sunrise over the sand dunes. Not normally an early morning person (who am I kidding, NEVER an early morning person) even I knew I would have to get out of bed to witness a Saharan desert sunrise. Without sounding like a total cheeseball, it was one of those once in a lifetime moments that I felt so grateful to experience.
After our Saharan desert adventure we only had two more days left in Marrakech so we decided to visit Bahia Palace. Prepare yourself for some seriously insta-worthy pictures because you’ll be spoilt for choice here. Islamic geometric mosaic designs line the doors, walls and floors of the palace and colours spill in on the floor from the light through the multi-coloured glass windows.
On our final day we decided that we needed to wind down and visited Les Bains d’Azahara for a traditional Moroccan Hammam treatment. A Hammam treatment in basic terms is where you’re lathered up with soap and oils, washed with water and have a clay mask put all over your face and body. And when I say everywhere, I mean pretty much everywhere! My friend and I were put in the same room and we couldn’t stop laughing at first; we definitely took our friendship to a new level. After the initial awkwardness it was actually an extremely relaxing experience and we got used to having clay and soap rubbed all over us by a virtual stranger. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.
After our Hammam we opted to get an incredible massage and oh my goodness, ALL THE GOOD FEELINGS. The entire treatment lasted two incredible hours and cost an extremely reasonable £35! I wish I could have done it again and again but unfortunately I had a flight to catch.
Have you ever been to Marrakech? What did you love most about it?