In the sand sea of the Sahara, stars are life. Ancient nomads used them to navigate at night, trusting the celestial bodies to lead them safely through the dunes.
Ask travellers what we love most about exploring new places and the majority of us will tell you it’s meeting local people.
We are curious to know more about their lives, we want to share a laugh or two and enjoy authentic experiences. This isn’t easy to do when your stuck in touristy hotels, so the best way to make this happen is to spend the night with someone.
The camel’s lashes drew closer and closer as he slid into sleep; my seven-year-old daughter Julie rubbed his curly-haired head as he drifted into dreams upon the sand.
My son Ben, ten, was sure he saw Jedi knights in the twisting alleyways of Morocco’s medinas, for the men’s jelebas (cloaks) looked a lot like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s.
These are memories from our Kids in the Kasbahs trip. When traveling with children, the world becomes full of wonder.
On Dyan McKie’s trip to Morocco she couldn’t wait to get her teeth into all the sensational dishes. Learning the art of couscous, finding the perfect tajine recipe and tasting local specialities were high on her wish list, but what about eating McDonald’s, Moroccan-style?…
“I’m such a fan of Moroccan cuisine, but trying the real thing was even more delicious than I expected. From the big and fascinating cities where foodie choices are endless, to the small towns where you have time to linger and appreciate the local flavours, it’s a wonderful assault on the senses.
The highest peak in North Africa appears to be a well-kept secret amongst trekking enthusiasts, making it all the more enticing for those who are willing to walk through the breathtaking scenery of the Ait Mizan Valley to reach Mt Toubkal Base Camp.
Intrepid’s James Ingham tackled the climb in winter, when it’s a more icy and dicey affair, but even the frosty conditions didn’t detract from his Morocco adventure…
Taking a wander through the local markets of Morocco is a fascinating way to soak in the distinct local flavour. You can discover the culture and traditions that go hand-in-hand with food and even get to try the local delicacies for under a dollar.
Laura Carroll gives you some tips on how to come out of your culinary shell in the Kingdom of Morocco…
“Vendors sell all kinds of wares in the food market of the Fes Medina. Walking through the curious and colourful stalls you quickly lose track of time while you peruse the impressive displays of fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, cheeses and snails. Yes, real, live, garden-variety, cook-them-at-home snails. Crawling all over a large woven basket, the snails look more like prospective pets than your potential dinner, but they are definitely destined for the dinner plate.
Morocco has set the scene for many great movies, even though you might not have realised while you were watching. The destination is rarely the star of the show, and the same goes for some local personalities, as Intrepid’s Mandy Morrissey discovered…
“Ait Ben Haddou is a lovely old town in Morocco with a picturesque Kasbah dating back to the 700s. Although now only inhabited by a handful of families, the local Kasbah and Ait Ben Haddou have starred in a number of films in recent times, including The Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander, Kundun and classics such as Lawrence of Arabia and The Jewel of the Nile. But what made the town more interesting for us was getting a chance to meet ‘Action Couscous’.
They are the thriving hub of villages, town or cities. They are where people come from miles around to trade their wares or take home a bargain, and they are where visitors get to see the local community in action. Even if you’re not a shopper, there’s so much to love about markets. Here’s a few favourite places to enjoy the local flavours and hone your haggling skills…
During the day the Marrakech main square is full of touts, performers, snake charmers and more, then at night it transforms into an outdoor food festival. The square is surrounded by souks, otherwise known as local markets, selling everything from brass pots and pans, to linens, antiques, colourful spices, local dresses, leather slippers and delicious Moroccan food.
Think of movies and most know Morocco for the famous Hollywood film Casablanca, even though in that case production never left the Los Angeles studios! But since then there have been 100s of movies made locally and Intrepid’s Summer Davis explains how Intrepid travellers get to dine with a Moroccan film ‘star’…
“In a small mud brick house on the wadi bank opposite Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, lights and laughter warm the cool interior. Joking his way through a cooking demonstration, Hussein Boulkil enlivens the onlookers intently learning to cook couscous and tagine. A self-proclaimed actor, Hussein has been an extra in 14 movies filmed in Ait Benhaddou and ‘met’ such prestigious actors as Harrison Ford, Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt.