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First Time in Africa: Visiting Morocco


Overview_of_Morocco


The traveler is well accustomed to the road, may it be long or short, planned or unexpected. Two - I think two is a magical number that challenges your imagination to take part in the wildest antagonisms. Mainly you can divide everything in two: you like something / you don't, you want something / you don't, cold / hot, night / day and finally when we are talking about travel: will you go on an adventure or will you pass this opportunity?


Moroccan_High_Desert


Morocco is itself more or less a dual world, the gateway to the African continent. It is an Arabic universe set over a Berber population, a countless effort of Europeanisation of an African legacy,  a vivid living place set out in the middle of the desert.

Living_valley_Morocco


We will share our experiences from the beginning to the end, how we came to go to Morocco without the slightest plan, why we chose to go with Solaris Travels, what we enjoyed and what we discovered during our first contact with the African continent.






By sharing this with all of you we are also re-living the unique experience that is Morocco and hopefully inspire you to start your own exploration. Probably there a lot of people out there that want to visit the world, probably many have seen or are going to see much more than we will ever but it is really important to be grateful for everything that you manage to accomplish and to try to absorb as much of the surrounding beauty as possible.


Traditional_Moroccan_Rug


For the last three years we have been thinking about the idea of visiting Morocco. Obviously we hadn't decided on a clear date or made any particular plan but both of us were sure this is the place where we will get in contact for the first time with Africa. We wanted to go there mainly for Toubkal - the highest peak in Northern Africa and the Atlas Mountains. It is a 4000 meter mountain top that is accessible not only from a technical skill point of view but also from a financial perspective. We had gathered some information about the best periods to attempt the ascension and trek itself but from year to year we had to postpone the excursion because of financial issues. Everything that is far away and involves getting a plane flight and organizing logistics tends to be burden to our frail budget.

We are pretty picky when it comes to traveling along side other people because most folks usually tend to try to relax on their holiday, to recharge their batteries and do for the most part nothing that demands to much physical activity. Holidays for us usually end up coming back to work more tired than you left, they involve a lot of running around in order to see and do as much as we can possibly manage. From time to time we will sacrifice a few hours to rest but never more than one full day.

Having this out of the way you can imagine that a classical excursion from a traditional travel agency would not cut it for us and our ideas about holidays in general. But when the good guys at Solaris Travels approached us (we received a great deal of positive recommendations on their behalf them from friends) we saw thing with different eyes. You can't really decline an offer that you know for certain you will regret not accepting in the future.

We met each other recently and from first sight we liked them and something tells me that they liked us as well because the invitation came in short time. After we managed (I say managed with quotes and full of guilt) to dodge the payment of some debts we decided we will leave for Morocco in one month's time (we are really lucky to have cool parents that understand that if we don't travel we might fall sick).

How can I explain this, it is the kind of trip that will deliver great memories with certainty. When I'm also thinking that they are organizing trip to Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Nepal ... pfff ... I don't even know where to begin. But lets get back to reality. Morocco. We are going to Morocco, for now at least.

The highlight of this trip is obviously Toubkal peak - they knew too well how to bribe us. Because they knew you can't simply travel to another corner of the globe and not taste the full experience they kept on bringing more and more to the table that would catch our eye.

Sahara, does it ring a bell? One does not simply go to Morocco and not ride an Arabian camel (dromedary)! Clearly not possible.

Morocco_Sahara_Desert


Everybody heard about the famous Moroccan bazaars, the narrow streets full of spices, the febrile negotiations and the architecture so different from what you can find in Europe. Do Marakkesh, Casablanca, Fez appeal to you?

Moroccan_Bazaar_Spices_and_Herbs


Or ... picture this: a blue city. All of it. The excitement is rising!


Morocco_Chefchaouen


The food, the mountains, the desert, the oases, the colors, the culture ... and many more! We were thrilled when we heard their battle plan for the eleven days of exploration. One does simply not refuse something like this.

Traditional_Moroccan_Tea


It was the first time for us when we went on a vacation and we didn't looked up any information about sights, destinations, accommodation, transportation and everything was delivered on a silver platter. Since we didn't organize any details about this trip I will approach the articles about Morocco slightly different. I will tell you more about our experiences / overall feeling and less about logistics, tracks, costs and will warmly invite you to get in touch with Solaris Travels for details about their next expedition.

Morocco_Bike


The story about Morocco will have three chapters.


  • Morocco: The Cultural Experience - Marakkesh, Chefchaouen, Moroccan Cuisine and Berbers
  • Morocco: The Hiking Experience - Towards Toubkal, the Hearth of Atlas Mountains
  • Morocco: The Desert Experience - Sahara on Camel and the Tuareg




It is true that every journey changes you or at least this should be the result when an individual gets in contact with a new world, a different culture, an unfamiliar setting. Some journeys change you a lot while others scarcely remain in your memory. I can definitely say that Morocco does not fit in the second category. What I am trying to say is from the perspective and mental filters of an Occidental - when I say 'occidental' I am not referring to a geographical region but to a way of thinking / a mental pattern. Even though we are not necessarily tied up geographically, Europeans and North-Americans share the same perceptions, aspirations and mental features. We are tied up with the same cultural values and you can only notice this once you visit a place that is totally different, might it be Africa, Asia or South America.

Moroccan_Bazaar_crafts


This was our first encounter with a society that sometimes has values which are totally opposite to what you are used to and we have discovered this in the most pleasant way possible, by taking small bites of each corner of the country. We ate with a traditional Berber family, we slept with Tuareg in the desert, we lived the high life in extravagant hotels, we laughed, we got amazed and we discovered just how different we humans can be. I seriously doubt that we could have organized this trip on our own to include so many objectives and activities in such a short time. As such I would like to thank the organizers (Sorin and Alexandra) for the great job they did.





Bottom line is that we hope we will open your appetite to travel, to explore and to discover new places, might they be Morocco or other corners of the world, by going alone or together with other people, with a specific plan in mind or without one.



until then ... enjoy the video video*! 

*watch HD for better experience




















First Time in Africa: Visiting Morocco Reviewed by Karina Isar on 13:31 Rating: 5

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