Ait Ben Haddou, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Ait Ben Haddou is a kasbah or village in the Ounila Valley, south of Télouet in the province of Ouarzazate. This valley was a traditional crossing caravans linking Marrakech to Saharan region. It is a true example of the architecture of traditional southern Morocco which is on the side of a hill on top of which there was a collective attic (an agadir). There’s a set of earthen buildings surrounded by walls, the ksar, which is a type of traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The defensive walls are reinforced with corner towers and houses are grouped within the oldest of which date back to the seventeenth century. Around it, a group of villages gathers next to the river that runs through the valley. The people, of nomadic origin, are mostly Berber. The village is inscribed on the World Heritage of UNESCO. For movie lovers, many films have been made in this lovely place such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Nile diamond, The Mummy, Gladiator, among others.

Tips

There are two ways to access the kasbah, the ‘tourist’ one, being helped by children waiting for tourists to cross over sandbags on the small river in exchange of some coins or by a bridge built in recent years which will not cause you problems in the case of having a hard time climbing the small hill or for disabled people.
If you insist on taking photos with villagers, always ask their permission, remember that this is their place and us, we are just visitors …
You will find some craftsmen and as usual, you have to negotiate the price before.

Sleep in a bivouac, Sahara desert, Morocco

The ‘bivouac’ is still a kind of accommodation for many nomadic people in the world. This set of several “Khima” (nomad tents) offers today a pretty convenient way of accommodation for lovers of the desert. In Morocco, it exists several ones that welcome tourists for a unique experience. Today we refer to a bivouac in the Sahara that was reached by us from Zagora. The tour is usually organized with a dromedary ride that takes around an hour and a half or two hours. When you get to the set of nomadic tents, the Berbers (people) welcome you to their home with mint tea and homemade biscuits. They will show you the tents that are well equipped with electricity and shower service and toilets that are normally outside the tents. There is a very large tent which is the dining room and around it all other tents align making a rectangular space in the middle. You will have a typical meal ‘tagine’ with fruit and local pastries. After the meal, life goes around the campfire with autochtonous entertainment, songs and dance await you as you watch a black sky crowded with stars and even smooth-flowing stars that will take your breath away. You go to bed with the idea of watching the sunrise the next day so you must be prepared to go up the big dune around 5:30 AM; it is really worth it!!! In short, an experience to be lived at least once in life …

Tips

If you do not want to make the trip by dromedary, you can also go in a 4×4 truck.
If you do not do the organized tour, you can take the package with one of the agencies on the desert road. It’s better to make a reservation in the morning.
You can bring a small suitcase or a backpack for your overnight in the bivouac especially if you go by dromedary, so take what is really necessary. Do not forget to bring a coat or jacket a little warmer cause the night temperature goes down a little. In the tent it is not cold.

Blue Sea Le Printemps Hotel, Gueliz, Marrakech

The Blue Sea Le Printemps Hotel is located in Gueliz, modern area of Marrakech. It was built in 2014, with modern facilities and beautiful decor. There are 114 bright rooms spread over five floors. The rooms have air conditioning, satellite TV and a minibar. The hotel has a pool, a lounge bar with live music concerts in the evening, a terrace, a restaurant with dishes of Moroccan and international cuisine, a snack bar, free wi-fi in common areas, private parking free, spa and safe (fee). There are many shops and restaurants nearby as well.

Tips

The hotel is very well placed and you can reach the main attractions on foot or by taxi, as the Jemaa el Fna square, with the Koutoubia Mosque and the Majorelle Gardens. The spa offers several treatments, ask at the reception for details and prices.