Palmeraie Golf Club, one of Marrakech’s many golf courses

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Situated within the city’s upmarket green belt, the Palmeraie Golf Club, one of no fewer than eight such venues boasted by Marrakech, all designed by some of the top names from the world of golf, is situated just 15 minutes (by taxi) from the centre of town.

The Course

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, one of the world’s most distinguished golf course architects, the course features a number of hazards in the shape of 7 lakes, white sand bunkers, clusters of palm trees, many dog leg fairways and fast greens. The low lying terrain, extending over 77 hectares, is set  against the majestic backdrop of the Atlas Mountains,

Choice of Play

Originally designed as an 18 hole, par 72 course, Palmeraie Golf Club, first opened to the public in 1992, was recently extended by the addition of another 9 holes, giving golfers the option of playing eighteen holes or three nines in any combination.

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How to make couscous the traditional way

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

How to make couscous the traditional way – The Couscoussier, a vital Utensil in Traditional Moroccan Cooking.

Many recipes for Moroccan dishes involve the preparation of couscous or vegetables in couscoussiers. Prepared in the traditional manner it is a time consuming process! Here is a brief explanation of this cooking utensil and how to make couscous the traditional way.

The Couscoussier 

Traditionally in ceramic or metal (aluminium, copper or steel), couscoussiers comprise two interlocking pots. The larger bottom pot is used to cook broths, stews or soups (although it is also common to fill it with water for use as a steamer) while the smaller upper pot has a perforated base with a lid. Placed on top of the larger pot it is used to steam couscous or vegetables.

Steaming Couscous

Traditionally, couscous is steamed over stews etc, simmering away in the lower part of a couscoussier. The steaming process typically involves two or three stages.

Stage 1 – the first stage of steaming couscous involves dampening it by placing it into a bowl, sprinkling it with slightly salted water and/ or oil and evenly mixing the grains with hands that have first been rubbed in oil, breaking up any lumps that may have formed.

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Marrakech Nightlife – a vibrant mixture of tradition and modernity

Monday, September 8th, 2014

As night falls in Marrakech the city comes alive with a combination of traditional gathering places and thoroughly modern venues of entertainment. Here’s a rundown of the best Marrakech nightlife!

Dining out in Marrakech

Restaurants, cafes and open-air eateries serving an array of traditional and contemporary Moroccan food compete for customers with street-vendors selling freshly barbecued meat and fish, notably on the central square, the Place Jemaa el Fna, and in the Kasbah. Whatever your tastes or mood you’ll be able to enjoy a dining experience to remember.

Place Jemaa El Fna

The medieval, exotic atmosphere of Place Jemaa El Fna is the perfect place to step back in time in the company of fire eaters, acrobats and jugglers, snake charmers and troupes of musicians.

Casinos

Several hotels within the city have in-house casinos, two of the best known being the Casino de Marrakech and the Grand Casino La Mamounia. Apart from the chance to have a flutter on the tables one can enjoy end dining and cabaret shows.

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Visit Terres d’Amanar, an Adventure Park with a Difference

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Bordering the Toubkal National Park’s pristine forests, the Terres d’Amanar estate is situated some 23 miles (37 km) from Marrakech, on the road to Asni.

Nestling in the foothills of the spectacular Atlas Mountains, the estate is an example of Moroccan Eco-tourism based on adventurous activities for all the family.

Terres d’Amanar, a unique Concept for All

Combining fun and sporting challenges as well as traditional Berber crafts and cultural activities in one unique concept, Terres d’Amanar offers visitors a remarkably wide choice of attractions.

Activities and Attractions

In addition to zip wires and Accro Park forest fitness circuits, a children’s play park (Accro Park Junior) and a BMX course for older children, the estate offers horse riding, archery and trekking as well as craft workshops which allow visitors a glimpse into the lives and cultures of local Berber families.

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Marrakech Events in late August and September 2014

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The late summer season is once again packed with a variety of events which visitors to Marrakech should consider scheduling into their travel plans. Read on to learn about the most popular Marrakech events taking place in late August and September.

August

The most popular event during the month of August is the Setti Fatma Moussem, a four-day event involving games and feasting, an agricultural fair and market (souk).

In the temperate climate of the Ourika Valley, an important route to the High Atlas, Setti Fatma is renowned for its seven waterfalls, a must see even at the end of summer. The festival is expected to take place between 12th and 15th August but travellers are advised to check these dates before travelling. Read the rest of this entry »

Tourist attractions in Marrakech – Tiskiwin Museum

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Situated on Rue de la Bahia, between the Dar Si Said and Bahia palaces, the Tiskiwin Museum is one of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Marrakech. The museum was created by Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint, a North African Art collector who filled his museum with artefacts from Morocco, Mali, the Sahara, sub Sahara and neighbouring regions.

 

The Museum

Without doubt one of the most fascinating museums and tourist attractions in Marrakech, the Maison Tiskiwin as it is commonly known, is located in a beautifully restored house exemplifying Hispanic-Moorish style. An architectural jewel in its own right, the museum showcases a colourful array of North African art and crafts chronicling the vibrant cultural history of the region.

Woodwork and Zellij

Even those not specifically interested in the origins of the displayed artefacts will stop to marvel at the elaborate, intricate designs of the woodwork and zellij (terracotta tiling) evident throughout the museum. Exceptionally beautiful, this visually striking artwork provokes admiration for the skill of the craftsmen who created it.

The Collection

Amassed by Bert Flint since arriving in the city in 1957, the collection is organised, room by room, into a geographically themed exhibition. Read the rest of this entry »

Take a daytrip from Marrakech to Ouirgane

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The pretty little village of Ouirgane (pronounced ‘Weer-gan’) is a Berber settlement situated in the foothills of the High Atlas, on the edge of the Toubkal National Park, some 90 minutes from Marrakech.

The Magic of Ouirgane

Surrounded by pine forests, red-earth hills and splendid greenery, Ouirgane is a great place for mountain biking or hiking trips; horse riding, bird watching and trekking in the national park are also popular. Offering magnificent views over the Toubkal massif, the village is located in a valley on the Oued (river) Nfis and is particularly delightful in spring when the almond trees are in blossom adding breathtaking beauty to the rural scene.

 Nearby Attractions

In addition to the attractions of the national park itself, Ouirgane lies just a few miles from the sanctuaries of Rabi Haim ben Diwan and Moulay Brahim Muslim, close to the villages of Anraz and Asni, 3 km and 15 km, respectively, from Ouirgane itself.

Another well-known village is Imlil, at the foot of Mount Toubkal, the starting point for treks up to the mountain summits with spectacular views en-route.

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Places to visit in Marrakech – Agdal Gardens, the ‘walled Meadow’ of Marrakech

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Situated close to the Menara Gardens and the Marrakech medina, the Agdal Gardens were created by the city founder, Abd al-Mu’min (1130 to 1163), of the Almohad dynasty who also undertook many of the city’s most significant building projects. The gardens, rejuvenated during the Saadien dynasty, were enlarged during Moulay Abderrahmane’s reign in the 19th Century.

Agdal Gardens

The name of the gardens is derived from a Berber word meaning ‘walled meadow.’ Adjacent to the southern edge of the medina, the Agdal Gardens, or orchards, covering an area of approximately 700 acres, were created to function both as the caliph’s private pleasure garden and for the production of fruit.

The Gardens

Featuring rectangular orchards planted with apricot, fig, lemon, orange and pomegranate trees each linked by walkways lined with olive-trees, the gardens are irrigated by water channelled via an extensive khettara (underground network of ditches and channels) from the Ourika Valley.

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Places to visit in Morocco – the Gnaoua Music Festival, Essaouira

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The picturesque coastal town of Essaouira may be around three hours from Marrakech but scheduling time for a visit to the four-day Gnaoua Music Festival (12th-15th June) is well worthwhile.

A good, four or five times daily coach service to Essaouira is operated by Supratours from Marrakech (behind the rail station) at a cost of 75 dhs, single.

Gnaoua Music

Combining traditional music, acrobatic dancing and ritual poetry, Gnaoua music originates from sub-Saharan Africa, although it has gradually evolved to incorporate African Islamic and Berber spiritual themes and rhythms.

The Festival

In addition to artists from Essaouira itself and Marrakech, the Gnaoua festival also showcases contemporary world music performed by pop, jazz and rock artists from across the world. Dozens of free concerts can be attended at the festival’s two main stages, one of which will be on the central Place Moulay Hassan, yards from the seawall.

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Events in Morocco May to July 2014

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

In virtually every region of Morocco religious and cultural festivals are staged throughout the year, June and July, despite the heat, being no exception.

June

The Mawazine Festival in the capital, Rabat, comprises street entertainment, art exhibitions and concerts between 30th May to 7th June 2014.

A week or two later in the ancient city of Fes, one of the most highly regarded of all events in Morocco is the annual Festival of Sacred Music presenting a variety of traditional music and dance performed by some of the world’s foremost musicians and entertainers. The event is scheduled to take place from 13th to 21st June 2014.

The Gnaoua Music Festival (Essaouira, 12th to 15th June) focuses on traditional Gnaoua music but also features contemporary world music (pop, jazz, and rock) performed by musicians from around the world. This year’s artists are expected to include 150 international and 250 Moroccan artists. Concerts at the event’s two main stages are free of charge.

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