Where: Marrakech and El Jadida, Morocco
You don’t go to Morocco for the cities – you go for the countryside.
If you’ve never been to a North African or Middle Eastern city before, Casablanca or Marrakech or Rabat will certainly feel exciting and overwhelming. They are whirlwinds of people, animals, and cars, all moving in some chaotic pattern too complex for us to understand. The smells, the souqs, the near-death experiences – if you’ve never experienced it before, it’s definitely worth adventuring in the city.
But in a way, once you’ve seen one major MENA city, you’ve seen them all. Where Morocco really shines is in it’s beautiful countryside. The sheer variety is amazing, but there is more than that; it’s also all so beautiful. Hike the Atlas mountains. Ride a camel in the desert. Take a hot air balloon a thousand metres up in the air. However you prefer to do it; just get outside and explore. My favourite memories of this trip are not the ones when I was indoors, but in nature.
The people here are also fantastic. Hardworking, honest people, always ready to help, quick to smile and joke. I highly recommend hiring guides to take you around wherever you want to go – they are all supremely knowledgeable and make the trip that much better. Plus, they all speak at least three languages fluently, if not more. I’m very envious of them.
P.S. As much as I love Moroccan food, even I get sick of tangine and couscous after I’ve had it for the third day in a row. By the end, all I wanted was a pizza.