Experience

Introducing Morocco: Marrakech Medinas, Atlas Mountains Trekking & Agafay Desert Camping

Home to a rich culture that goes so far beyond what you’ll see in the souks of Marrakech’s medina, Morocco is a place to dig beneath the surface. Within the craggy expanse of the Agafay Desert, deep within ancient Kasbahs in the Atlas Mountains and beneath the pared-back canvas of a Bedouin tent; this is where the real Morocco is found. As landscapes shift from snow-capped peaks to arid desert valleys, hit pause on everyday life, take a breath of that fresh mountain air and prepare for a sensory overload as we introduce you to this enchanting country. On this week-long journey, we’ll take you into some of our favorite under-the-radar spots with stays in some of our all-time favorite properties.

Explore the Medina

Your discovery begins amid the zigzagging, centuries-old streets of Marrakech’s Medina. Check into Moorish opulence at Riad Farnatchi and unpack and relax ahead of three nights here. Spend the next morning exploring the Medina from an alternative perspective as you join an expat guide on a sidecar tour through the streets. Breathe in the rich aromas of ancient tanneries and rich spice markets before stopping to grab a bargain in the souks, looking out for handmade slippers and authentic Berber rugs. Having worked up an appetite, the evening will then see you heading off on a street food tour as you venture on to Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech’s main square for a bite to eat. You will find everything you could want, from the most aromatic tagines and flavorsome couscous to fresh fruit juice and traditional sweets. The air will be thick with the aromas of spice and charcoal, as well as the high-pitch tones of the snake charmers’ flutes.

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Hot Air Ballooning over Morocco

It’s an early start the next morning as you head out into the Moroccan desert by the cover of darkness to one of our must-do experiences. Wrapped up in a blanket, the landscapes are illuminated by the glow of the fire as your hot air balloon roars into life. Clamber into the basket as you float off into the African skies, taking in the rugged scenery as the slow light of sunrise slowly creeps in to illuminate the sky in hues of the softest pinks, blues and oranges. Coming back down to earth, a decadent Moroccan breakfast awaits before you return to the city for one of our favorite under-the-radar experiences in the afternoon. Join Amina, our expert perfumier in her fragrant atelier to create your own scent as you sample over 30 different kinds of perfume oils to create your base note, heart note and top note. Millilitre by millilitre, you’ll concoct your own personal perfume which you can then take home as an indelible souvenir.

Quad Biking in the Agafay Desert

Tomorrow, you’ll say goodbye to Marrakech and jump into a private 4X4 headed for the hills – or the mountains to be more precise. Driving out of town, the Palmeraie will soon fall away to reveal the rocky expanse of the Agafay Desert. Accompanied by an expert mountain guide, you’ll head out into this craggy expanse for an authentic lunch at La Pause before jumping on a quad bike for an Agafay Desert tour like no other. Quad biking across the desert plateau, taking in the looming mountain backdrop, you’ll then arrive at your stunning luxury camp for the night.

See the Agafay Desert by Camel Ride

Settling in amid the rustic luxury camp of Terre des Etoiles, you’ll be treated to sweeping views across the Agafay Desert. As the sun begins to dip down and kiss the desert, set off on a camel ride and experience the romance of the desert. Spend a couple of hours, roaming around the desert, discovering the oases and dry riverbeds that speckle the Moroccan landscape. With your adrenaline building quite the appetite, return to camp for a hearty dinner of Moroccan specialities in a Bedouin tent overlooking the valley beyond. Sleep soundly that night with only the stars of the Agafay Desert to light the sky.

Trekking in the Atlas Mountains

Waving a fond farewell to the solitude of the Agafay, you’ll carry onto your final stop, high up in the Atlas Mountains. But before you can settle in at your luxurious Kasbah, you’ll spend the day hiking through the Atlas Mountains, discovering local Berber villages and enjoying lunch alongside some locals. Having soaked in the panoramic vistas, check in at your home between the palm groves, Kasbah Tamadot, for a final three nights of bliss, best spent by the fireside bar and serene infinity pool. Cosied up in one of the luxuriously decked-out Berber tents, your love affair with Morocco will be sealed.

Tour the Atlas Mountains in Style

Tomorrow, you’ll head back out for one last tour of the Atlas Mountains as you visit the local town on Imlil before heading to Hiba Lodge for a traditional Berber cooking class. Joining a local chef, you’ll learn the secrets to a few Berber specialities before tucking into the fruits of your labour for lunch. Fully sated, the afternoon is yours to spend as you please, perhaps choosing to do a spot of road cycling or saddling up for a camel ride. With so much to do and yet still an easy day trip from Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains make for an irresistible getaway and as you say farewell tomorrow, it’s fair to say you’ll leave blissed out but fully won over by Moroccan culture.

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