We spent just 2 days in Marrakech. I think you can spend a whole week here. We stayed at a riad in the old city (riad just means house with a courtyard), the Riad Karmela. We spent most of our time discovering the old part of the city, and doing a ton of walking. So much walking! I loved it! The weather was perfect, around 75 degrees during the day and nice and cool at night.

marr street 2

marr street

The day we arrived, we did some shopping (retail therapy!), and had dinner in the night market. The night market was really entertaining; locals and tourists alike walk around, get food, buy some things, and one of the most popular things to do is to see the street performers. The performances vary, as far as I can tell, but they mostly seemed like storytelling, musicians, or snake charmers. There were thousands of people in the big square that night. After dinner, we headed over to the new part of town and went to a wine bar. It was very chic and full of young people chain smoking cigarettes. The new part of town is really nice, with apartment buildings, fancy shops (Zara, H&M, etc) and restaurants.

date nut seller 2lamps marr

story teller marr
Story teller with a captive audience
square marr night market
So many people!

The second day, we were picked up and taken to Imlil Valley, about an hour outside of town, for a hike in the high Atlas Mountains. We hiked all day! It was so nice to be in a rural area with fresh air.  The region is populated mostly by Berbers. Our guide was Berber, and was actually from the town where our hike walked us through. We hiked up a mountain, very close to Toubkal, the tallest mountain in north Africa. Our guide said Toubkal is the third highest mountain in Africa, but I just googled that, and it isn’t, according to Wikipedia. But whatever! It was pretty. It was chilly, and looked like autumn with yellow and red leaves everywhere. Apple harvest season had just ended, so there were apple crates everywhere. Our hike took us around to different Berber villages, by a waterfall, past many mules, and we even saw baby goats.

Imlil 1

river bed imlilimlil mosqueimlil valley 2hike group shotrugs in imlilImlil 2

The next morning, after a massage (I had several massages in Morocco…I deserved them), we headed back out to see Le Jardin Secret, which is just what is sounds like, and had lunch in a rooftop restaurant overlooking the city.

jardin secret 3

jardin secret 2

jardin secret

In the afternoon of our last day, one of my companions and I found a small salon, and spend many, many hours getting our hair and nails done. It was really nice to just sit and relax. The two ladies in the shop were local, born and raised in Marrakech, and were a delight to spend time with.

I really wanted to love Marrakech, but our group experienced quite a bit of harassment from local men, much more than in Casablanca and Fes. If I were to go again, I would do what we did in Fes, and always have a guide with us. Being a tourist, and a female tourists, makes you an easy mark for troublemakers.

After Marrakech, we drove back to Casablanca, and the group separated. Some went back to Brazzaville, some of us went off to Fes!

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