Archive for the ‘Morocco Travel Tips’ Category

December in Marrakech – dates for your diary

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Visitors to Marrakech in December can expect, on average, a remarkable 7 hours of sunshine per day. Thus, although one can also expect occasional light rain, albeit only 30 mm per month, daytime temperatures are typically around 19 ͦ  with a night time minimum of around 5 ͦ , another reason, no doubt, why Christmas shoppers are much in evidence at this time of year. Sunshine and shopping apart, here are some other reasons to visit Marrakech in December.

December in Marrakech – religious festival

The 12th of December is the day of ‘Eid Al Mawled’, or ‘Mawlid’, an important religious festival celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (born 570 AD). Declared an official holiday by the Ottomans in 1588, it is also a public holiday in Morocco, the day being marked by recitals of Koranic verses and religious lectures.

December in Marrakech – secular Event

The Transnational Moroccan Cinema Conference scheduled to run from the 4th to the 7th of December, is an international symposium seeking to examine the global circulation of film as a cultural and industrial art form, especially those which deal with ethnic communities and experiences of migration and exile.

16th Marrakech International Film Festival

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November in Marrakech 2016– dates for the diary

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Although temperatures drop significantly to range between 11 and 23 degrees, November is still mild enough (and, compared with northern Europe, also dry) for a relaxing, quiet holiday in Marrakech with an average of seven hours daily sunshine. Furthermore, several sporting events and major international conferences are taking place in Marrakech.

November in Marrakech – Public Holidays

There are no major Islamic religious festivals this month but Morocco celebrates two important public holidays, namely:

Green March Day: November 6th is Green March Day commemorating the date in 1975 when some 350,000 unarmed Moroccans converged on the southern city of Tarfaya to protest against the occupation of the Western Sahara by Spain.

Independence Day: Morocco’s ‘Fete de l’Independence’, Eid Al Istiqulal, is celebrated on the 18th of November to mark the return from exile of King Mohammed and the declaration of independence from France in 1956.

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October 2016 in Marrakech – Dates to Note

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

With an average of 28 degrees, temperatures in Marrakech are appreciably lower than the still very warm 33 degrees of September which is why this is one of the most popular months of the year, not least for the 8 hours of average daily sunshine! At 23mm per month, rainfall is still minimal. Still, rain or shine, there is definitely plenty going on in terms of festivals and events.

October in Marrakech – Religious Festivals

Fatih Muharram. 02.10.2016

The month starts out with Fatih Muharram (or Awal Muharram), the Islamic New Year, on the 2nd of October. Coinciding with the prophet’s journey from Mecca to Medina in 622AD, the day is marked by celebrations less exuberant than those of cultures using different calendars. Here, the New Year is a time for reflection on one’s own mortality and the passing of time, observed through religious meetings, sermons and spiritual singing at mosques and public halls throughout the day.

Ashura, 10/11.10.2016

This Day of Remembrance, observed for different reasons by Shia and Sunni Muslims, is celebrated differently not only in different areas of the world but also from one region of Morocco to the next. What most Ashura celebrations in Morocco have in common, however, is that participants enjoy a sense of solidarity through worship and even humour, collectively. (more…)

Berber Eco-Museum in the Ourika Valley

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Virtually all of Morocco’s ethnic groups are Berber-Arabs, a fact reflected in much of this exciting city’s architecture and cultural traditions about which much can be learned by visiting the Berber Eco-Museum near Ourika, in the foothills of the High Atlas, some 37 kms south of Marrakech. Located in the pottery village of Tafza, in one of the village kasbahs, the museum is said to be the first Berber museum in Morocco.

What’s on Offer?

Restored using traditional construction techniques, the museum features a permanent collection of rugs and pottery and various other fine examples of Berber culture, and also hosts temporary exhibitions such as “Landscapes and Faces of the High Atlas 1957″, which featured documentaries by humanist photographer and film-maker Daniel Chicault. More than just a historic collection, the museum also offers a research and student centre as well as a variety of activities, including tree planting, village and High Atlas treks, music and pottery courses.

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Jardin Secret in Marrakech – The ‘new’ secret gardens of Marrakech

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Opened to the public in March 2016, this beautiful garden is located in the city’s Mouassine district, on the site of a former Marrakech governor’s residence. A haven of peace that transports you back in time and through history to the Saadian dynasty, the secret garden consisting of two courtyards with lush gardens, fountains and majestic buildings combining botanical diversity and architectural beauty.

Entrance Courtyard 

Evoking Morocco’s colonial approach to garden design, the first courtyard is packed with plants from North and South Africa, the Mediterranean, Australia, Southern California and other regions with climates similar to that of Morocco. Trees in this courtyard were sourced from nurseries in Sicily while a Casablanca nursery supplied the majority of plants. A complex blaze of colour, this scented part of the ‘Jardin Secret’ with its many flowers evokes the Red City’s exoticism and romance.

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Marrakech in July 2016 – Scorching Dates for Your Diary

Monday, June 13th, 2016

With temperatures ranging between 21C and 37C, July is, alongside August, the hottest month of the year in Marrakech, both in terms of the searing dry heat and its popular festivals.

National and Religious Holidays

There are two religious festivals in July, the first of which, Lailat al Kadr, takes place on Friday, July 1st. Commemorating the night on which the Koran was originally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, this ‘Night of Power’ is considered to be the Muslim year’s holiest event.

Eid al-Fitr

The second, equally important religious festival taking place in July is Eid al-Fitr, which sees Muslims around the world celebrating the end of the month of Ramadan by visiting friends and family and exchanging gifts. There are also numerous parades and street parties.

Eid al Arch

Eid al Arch, the ‘Feast of the Throne’, is a National Holiday marking the succession of King Mohammed VI from his father Hassan II. Held annually on the 30th of July, this day is celebrated with cavalcades (parades or processions on horseback), feasts and fireworks.

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Sidi Ghanem, an Unexpected Treasure Trove

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Industrial areas rarely attract tourists and, as a result, Sidi Ghanem, an industrial zone located some 15 minutes (by car) from downtown Marrakech, is typically overlooked. However, if you are looking for original, hand crafted goods at manufacturers’ prices, many of which are hard to find in the souks, the area is well worth a visit.

About Sidi Ghanem

Though hardly photogenic, due to its many ateliers and factories, Sidi Ghanem has over recent years experienced a real boom thanks to the large numbers of foreign and local designers setting up shops and studios here. Today, visitors will find a treasure trove of articles and wares of all kinds and may even get a chance to meet some of the designers. There is also a handy French bistro for a little refreshment.

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Hot Diary Dates for June in Marrakech 2016

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

With temperatures between 17 C (night time lows) and 31 (daily highs) and very little rain, Marrakech gets rather hot in June. While keeping out of the searing midday sun is recommended (there are some wonderful historic sites, museums and verdant gardens to keep cool in), June sees a series of festivals and events.

Ramadan, 06/06/2016 – 05/07/2016

The 6th of June marks the beginning of Ramadan, the month of fasting concluding with the Eid el-Fitr feast day on the 5th of July. While business continues pretty much ‘as usual’ in the squares and souks of Marrakech, and restaurants, gardens, museums and palaces remain open, it is wise to remember that you are visiting a Muslim country at a particularly holy time in the Islamic calendar and that there are certain rules one should observe out of courtesy for local residents.

Fes Sacred Musical Festival, 13/06/2016 – 21/06/2016

One of Morocco’s most important cultural events, the Sacred Music Festival in Fes celebrates and promotes the relationship between spirituality and the arts, although the spectrum of performances is actually much wider than that. Local as well as celebrated international artists representing many different cultures from around the world, are on display with outstanding performances of music and dance.

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Visiting Marrakech During Ramadan

About Ramadan

Dates for the holy month of Ramadam vary from year to year but in 2016 observance of this most important of Muslim traditions begins on 6th June and ends with the festival of Eid el-Fitr on July the 5th. Ramadan is observed through daily fasting from dawn until sunset when communities come alive as the faithful gather to dine en famille. Eid el-Fitr, the three-day festival marking the end of Ramadan, is celebrated with more feasting, music and dancing.

While, in Morocco, business carries on pretty much as usual at this time, especially as far as foreign tourists are concerned, there are some things they should be aware of.

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Top Walks Around Marrakech

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Walking around Marrakech is one of the best means of exploring the city’s many delights (horse-drawn carriage rides being another). And easy as it is to get lost in the Medina, temporary loss of one’s bearings actually adds to the excitement of the sensory overload that characterises the bustling souks.

Take time to look at the quirky details of many building facades; notice how no two windows or doors are exactly the same; note how the low, covered walkways and door frames seem to have been designed for a shorter generation. These are just some of the features that make walking through Marrakech a fascinating experience.

Top City Walks

Here are five of the most popular walks, each taking in different aspects of the city in both the ancient medina and its modern counterpart.

• Rue Semmarine – one of the Medina’s main arteries, this one embodies the essence of the souks’ frenetic energy. Here, bazaar booths packed with every imaginable (and some unimaginable) objects strike you from every angle. (more…)