Archive for the ‘Conseils de voyage’ Category

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. (more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

The Marrakech Museum of Moroccan Art – Musée Dar Si Said

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Located in a 19th century palace, the Musée Dar Si Said is regarded as one of Morocco’s most eloquent tributes to the skills of its master craftsmen.

Surrounding a splendid courtyard filled with shady cypress trees, flowers, a fountain and gazebo, the museum’s exhibition rooms are filled with a wealth of items showcasing some of the finest examples of Morocco’s rich arts and crafts heritage.

Treasures to be discovered

Some of the most noteworthy items to be admired at the Musée Dar Si Said include a chest, dating from around 1000 AD, heavy silver Berber headdresses and striking High Atlas carpets in innumerable shades of purple. Other items include jewellery, wedding costumes, pottery, leather articles and rugs.

Throughout the museum visitors can see extraordinary mosaics, stucco artefacts and beautifully carved cedar doors embellished with elaborate talismans believed to ward off the evil eye.

(more…)

Exchange Rates Favour Morocco

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Having risen against most currencies during 2013, the Moroccan Dirham (MAD) has eased by some 8% during the past few months and is currently fluctuating at around MAD 13.45* to the pound sterling and MAD 11.25* to the euro; holidays in Morocco are thus even better value, with spending money going that much further.

Cost of dining in Marrakech

Take, for example, a restaurant meal for two. Whilst a fine dining experience (and there is no shortage of opportunities for experiencing the very best of European and Moroccan cuisine) will vary between MAD 600 and 800 a meal at a midrange restaurant will average around MAD 400; if that’s not reasonable enough a street food experience can be yours for less than MAD 100!

(more…)

The Benefits of Hammams

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Marrakech, like most places in the Arab world, is renowned for its traditional hammams. No visit to Marrakech is complete until you have experienced the delights and benefits of these time-honoured steam baths.

What are Hammams?

The marble-clad hammam at Les Borjs de la Kasbah

The Arabic word ‘hammam’ means ‘hot water’ and the origin of traditional Moroccan hammams dates back to Roman times when they were popular both as bathhouses and meeting places. A traditional hammam consists typically of a series of two to four connected steam rooms, the temperature increasing to around 50°c as one proceeds from one to the next.

Hammam Treatments

Housed usually in marble-clad rooms, a hammam bath involves dousings of alternating hot and cold water followed by a vigorous scrubdown with black ‘beldi’ soap. Other treatments include ‘ghasoul’ or henna coatings, ‘rassoul’ hair treatments and, after a short recovery period, relaxing massages using essential oils. In addition to being wonderfully relaxing and providing welcome relief from stress, hammam sessions provide a number of physical benefits, not least improved blood circulation:

(more…)

The 7 Delights of a Trip to the Cascades d’Ouzoud

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Situated within the Grand Atlas province of Azilal, some 150 km to the north-east of Marrakech, the Cascades d’Ouzoud are more than simple waterfalls.

Surrounding Region

The journey from Marrakech to the Cascades d’Ouzoud is an experience in itself as the road takes you there via green valleys and the superb gorge of the El Abid River, passing orchards and ageless olive mills along the way to the Berber village of Tanaghmeilt, close by. Seeing the magnetic beauty of this desert region it is easy to understand why much of the area is designated a conservation site by a number of national and local organisations.

Cascades d’Ouzoud

First sight of the Cascades d’Ouzoud explains why they are renowned as one of the region’s most photographed sites. Dropping in a series of wide and narrow steps from a height of 110 m, the falls are at their most beautiful during mid-to-late afternoon when the appearance of rainbows makes the scene even more spectacular, the widest of them appearing towards the bottom of the series of cascades.

The Top of the Falls

Refreshingly un-commercialised, with just a few Berber traders selling fresh orange juice and market produce, every section of the falls offers a fascinating spectacle. At the summit you’ll find a dozen or so small mills, the last working examples of the many olive and flour mills believed to have given the site its name, Ouzoud being the Berber term for the act of grinding.

(more…)

4 Great Places for Kids in Marrakech

Monday, February 17th, 2014

While historic sites and monuments, stately gardens and the delights of shopping in the souks of Marrakech may appeal to adults, children quickly tire of admiring Berber carpets, sampling spices (however colourful and tantalisingly odiferous!) and learning about ancient history.

So here are just a few great places for kids in Marrakech to keep them busy and, more importantly, smiling.

Le Bowling

Situated in the Palmeraie, Le Bowling is a quaint, air-conditioned bowling alley. Featuring six lanes, it is perfect for keeping kids from going stir crazy in your hotel when it’s too hot to do anything else. A bar and billiard tables are also available.

Kawkab Jeux

Offering arts and crafts, workshops, games and a host of other state-of-the-art activities for children of all ages, the Kawkab Jeux on Rue Imam Chafaï in the central area of Marrakech is ideal for keeping your kids amused while you try your hand at a bit of old fashioned haggling in a nearby souk. There are video games, a mini-train, playground slides, mini foot tables and a snack bar.

(more…)

Money exchange in Morocco

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The unit of currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham – the Dirham is used in several Arab states, hence the contextual prefix. The Dirham, designated as MAD or Dhs, is comprised of 100 centimes; notes are available in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 25, 20 and (occasionally) 10 dirhams and coins are issued in denominations of 10, 5, 2 and 1 dirham, or 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes.

The word “dirham” comes from the Greek “drachma”, one of the oldest currencies known to man, dating from the sixth century BC. The Greek drachma was circulated through trade in many countries around the Mediterranean, including Morocco, and in the 7th century the term ‘dirham’ was adopted widely throughout the Arab world.

The Dirham is officially designated a ‘closed currency’ which means that it can only be traded in Morocco – so if you have left over cash after your trip you’ll need to convert it back before you leave or you may be stuck with useless money.

According to Trip Advisor, however, Dirhams are traded in a number of travel agencies and airports outside of Morocco but only up to a maximum of 1000DH and one is likely to pay more for money exchange outside Morocco than within the country itself. It is wise to retain currency exchange receipts acquired in Morocco as they may be required when selling back surplus Dirhams at the airport prior to leaving (there is no limit to the number of Dirhams one can sell).

If you’d prefer to exchange your money in Morocco, as most visitors do, you will be able to buy and sell currency at a Bureau de Change in the airport or port upon arrival in the country and also at banks.

(more…)