Morocco: A Magic Carpet Ride for Your Senses
Nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean in the Northwest corner of Africa, you wouldn’t expect Morocco to have everything from rugged mountain ranges and hidden river gorges to a portion of the Great Sahara Desert. But spectacular scenery and natural treasures aren’t the only surprises that await you. In Morocco, you might find yourself drinking sweet mint tea at a café with the locals after wandering the narrow alleys of a beguiling souk (market) for hours. Along with incredible outdoor adventures, this exotic country offers an incomparable cultural experience and opportunity to experience a dreamlike civilization that has remained largely unchanged for centuries.
The Heart of Morocco: Marrakech
A trip to Morocco wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Marrakech or the “Red City,” which gets its nickname from the ancient red walls surrounding the city and sandstone buildings that were constructed in the 1100’s. This lively city, with its maze-like medina (old quarters), is also home to the largest traditional Berber market in the world, including the famous Djemaa el Fna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors flock to this other-worldly souk where you can spend a day getting lost in its labyrinth of spice stalls, carpet sellers, local craftsman and food carts, as well as healers peddling ancient Berber cures, and other bizarre characters like snake charmers, magicians and money handlers. It’s not all carnival-like chaos in this bustling city. Outside of the medina lies the Kasbah (former royal quarter) where visitors can tour Palais El-Badi, the remnants of a spectacular palace that was influenced by the design of the Alhambra in Spain and the Saadian Tombs, a beautifully restored ancient mausoleum. This indescribable city also offers a bit of a European flare in its new city or Ville Nouvelle where visitors can find incredible art galleries and museums, or grab an elegant dinner and cocktails. Marrakech is a mind-boggling destination that gives people a chance to be fully transported to an unfamiliar and vibrant world.
Morocco’s Diverse Natural World
Completely contradicting the enthralling chaos that Morocco’s cities exude is a unique and peaceful wilderness that offers everything an outdoor-lover could imagine. Creating the country’s backbone is the magnificent Atlas Mountain range, which provides relatively easy access to ten peaks over 13,000 feet and ample opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and even whitewater rafting—a sport that’s fairly new to the country. Crystal clear rivers like the Ahansal, Dades and Ourika descend the Atlas Mountains through spectacular valleys and rocky gorges, hiding unnamed rapids, virgin waterfalls, lush forest and remote Berber villages. On either side of the towering Atlas, with peaks that come second in Africa only to Mount Kilimanjaro, lie sandy sanctuaries that are as different to each other as the mountains are to Morocco’s cities. On one side visitors find an expansive coastline encompassing both the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean, with hundreds of beaches. On the other, a portion of Africa’s largest desert—the Sahara—which spans 11 countries and 3.6 million square miles. In Saharan Morocco, with its unique orange-colored sand, visitors also find the picturesque Erg Chebbi dunes, surreal sandy formations that can tower nearly 500 feet in places. Morocco offers an incredibly diverse natural world that doesn’t exist any other place on the planet.
A Taste of Morocco
Part of the adventure of traveling to Morocco is experiencing its flavors which are as exotic as its land. Unfamiliar aromas emanate through the air and challenge visitors to figure out the mysteries of Moroccan cuisine which largely plays with a blend of sweet and savory. While the national dish of Morocco is couscous, a light and fluffy rolled semolina that is often a communal dish eaten with your hands, spices are clearly at the center of other Moroccan specialties like tajine. Named after the clay tangia pot it’s traditionally made in, tajine typically combines lamb or beef, with fruits, vegetables and spices, including cumin, peppers, saffron, turmeric, and ras el hanout—a special blend of dozens of spices that give many Moroccan dishes their signature flavor. The flavors of Morocco will excite your senses just as much as the beautiful scenery and unfamiliar traditions you’ll see all around you on this special adventure.
Why Choose OARS for an Exotic Morocco Vacation?
OARS has been in business for more than 45 years and that is no accident. We thrive on creating adventures that take travelers of all ages and skill levels off the beaten path and away from the crowds to magical landscapes, rivers and coastlines. National Geographic Adventure, Outside and Sunset magazines have proclaimed OARS adventures as some of the “Best Trips on the Planet.”
Our Morocco trips are right up there with our all-time best adventures. With more than 150 years of combined experience in the adventure travel industry, OARS staff of knowledgeable adventurers has taken out the guesswork and added our guarantee so you can have an incredible experience in this exotic land. As you travel through Morocco’s majestic Atlas Mountains, paddle the crystal clear waters of the Ahansal River, ride camels through the Great Sahara Desert and explore ancient medinas, you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands along the way.
On top of a one-of-a-kind journey, we provide the best guide-to-guest ratio in the adventure travel business so you can feel at ease from the moment you step off the plane. We believe it is a fundamental part of adventure-tourism to work with local guides while at the same time bringing our wealth of experience to the table. In addition to our-OARS representative, we provide local tour guides in Marrakech, on the river and in the Sahara. These local tour guides share their personal experiences with guests as well as general information about the area. Our like-minded partners in Morocco realize they are accountable to OARS high standards, so you can rest assured you will be in be in good hands. Going above and beyond at any chance, our friendly guides will ensure your questions are answered and your concerns are given the personal attention you deserve, all while sharing their extensive knowledge of the landscape and local culture. We hope you can join us for a once-in-a-lifetime Morocco tour.