With Marrakech offering so much, it would be a shame to miss out on any special events occurring within the city. Here, we outline a couple of Marrakech events during the months of September and October 2012. Marrakech events September 2012 Following its great success last year, the fifth Marrakech Salsa Festival will take place between 27th September and 1st October, again at the Palmeraie Golf Palace. (more…)
Archive for the ‘What To See In Marrakech’ Category
Set against its backdrop of the Atlas mountains, Marrakech is a North African destination like few others, its souks, squares, historic buildings and displays of Islamic art accounting for much of its fascination and charm, as does the medina’s maze of narrow passageways concealing ‘hole-in-the-wall’ businesses of all kinds, artisanal workshops and, secreted away behind anonymous facades, some beautifully atmospheric riads.
To get the most out of a visit to Morocco’s tourism capital one should be aware of certain customs and basic facts of local life so, listed below, are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Marrakech. What is the currency in Marrakech? The currency in Morocco is the Dirham. £1 sterling is approximately 13 Moroccan Dirhams (MAD) and €1 euro is approximately 11 Moroccan Dirhams. As tipping is widely practised it is as well to have a supply of change. (more…)
Marrakech really does have it all at this time of year with some wonderful activities and events taking place in May. Here is a brief run-down of Marrakech events in May 2012.
Caftan at the Palais des Congrès. Caftan brings together Moroccan and Eastern haute couture, an event at which experienced fashion designers and newcomers showcase their latest collections.
All proceeds go to the CSSF, an organisation sponsoring the education of young girls in rural Morocco through scholarships. To find out more see mansoureddahbi.com.
Marrakech Poker Open (24th – 27th May 2012). The Marrakech casinos take centre stage with this annual professional poker tournament, this year being the 26th. The Marrakech Poker Open will be attracting some of the world’s best poker players, due in no small measure to the million dirham prize pot on offer!
Set against the backdrop of the High Atlas, snow-capped until late April, historic Marrakech is the gateway to Morocco’s desert region and the Sahara, only a few hours’ drive further south.
Just a three hour flight from northern Europe, Marrakech is an ideal winter sun and short break destination. Here, African, Berber and Arab cultures come together in one exotic, bubbling melting pot.
Enclosed by the high rampart walls of its ancient medina, Marrakech has a rich historical heritage, major landmarks including beautiful ancient buildings and palaces, mosques and squares, well displayed by a number of fascinating museums.
The pulsating heart of traditional Marrakech, the Djemaa el Fna, comes to life at sunset when story tellers, musicians, snake charmers, fire-eaters and acrobats and, not least, scores of street food sellers, compete for the attention of hundreds of tourists and locals alike.
The souks are another unmissable Marrakech experience. Here, one can find just about every product imaginable – from spices and local delicacies (olives, dates and patisseries) to pottery, metal ornaments, jewellery, rugs and leather goods.
The wonderfully exotic Moroccan city of Marrakech offers so much as a short holiday destination, from reliable year-round temperatures (ideal from mid February to end April) and mouth-watering local cuisine to fascinating historic sites and other landmarks, from golf on six courses to treks in the Atlas.
Not least, Marrakech is also renowned for the limitless varieties of locally hand-crafted products and souvenirs on sale in its vast network of souks.
Here is a short list of important facts you should know about Marrakech.
1. Widely referred to as the ‘Red City’, Marrakech lies in Morocco’s south western region, within sight of the High Atlas.
2. As with most North African cities, Marrakech has two distinct parts: the old city, or medina, and the modern city which, here, comprises the commercial quarter, Guéliz, and leafy residential district of boulevards known as l’Hivernage.
Fans of motor racing will be interested to learn that a major event will be taking place in Marrakech in March to mark the opening of the FIA 2012 season.
Initially planned for Monza, the event will now be held in Morocco’s ‘pink city’, Marrakech, between 9th and 11th March 2012.
Motor sport enthusiasts will be aware that the Marrakech Grand Prix circuit is the only FIA World Championship track in Africa.
Its location, a short distance from the red city’s legendary rampart walls and with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains as a backdrop, promises to make this into one of the most attractive circuits (taking in the Mohammed VI and Ourika avenues) in the world.
To start your Moroccan experience, you must first find a place to stay. There is a huge variety of accommodation in Marrakech and with such a large choice from large luxury hotels down to four to eight roomed riads and modern apartments, finding the right place can be hit and miss.
Our suggestion would be to go for the best of both worlds, i.e. the last word in modern comforts but with plenty of authentic local character added. Les Borjs de la Kasbah is one such, a 5 star luxury boutique hotel in Marrakech, well placed within comfortable walking distance of the centre yet far enough away from its hurly burly to be remarkably peaceful by comparison.
Having found your place to stay you’ll need some suggestions for things to see and do so here’s a short beginner’s guide to visiting Marrakech.
Visit the ancient medina and admire the 13th century walls that surround it. The souk, one of the largest in Morocco, is a tourist’s dream, such is the variety of artefacts and souvenirs you’ll find there. Take an official guide to show you round, with visits to a couple of palaces and museums included.
Marrakech Events December 2011
International Marrakech Film Festival 2011 – firmly established in the local calendar, this is the main event for December in Marrakech. Attracting ‘A list’ stars, it is an important occasion for Morocco’s successful film industry, based in Ouarzazate, where the Atlas Studios have played host to countless films from Lawrence of Arabia to Gladiator.
Olive Festival 2011 – another major event, this charming festival takes place in the middle of the month in Rafai, in the Fez province. You can enjoy the traditional olive-picking ceremony, numerous ‘Diffa’ feasts and folklore events performed in a vast area of olive groves.
Marrakech Events January 2012
Marrakech International Marathon 2012 – more than 5000 international runners take part in the annual Marrakech International Marathon and Half Marathon for which the Pink City offers an exceptional setting for this gruelling athletic event putting it among the most attractive of all marathon circuits.
Culturally significant as the biggest event in the calendar of Morocco’s highly successful film industry, the Marrakech International Film festival brings together writers, actors and directors from many nations. Last year’s Marrakech Film Festival saw a number of Hollywood big hitters including Francis Ford Coppola, Harvey Keitel, Keanu Reeves and Martin Scorsese.
This year’s 11th annual Marrakech International Film Festival takes place between 2nd and 10th December.
With attendees from around the world, including several hundred from the media, the film festival is testament to the importance of the Moroccan film industry, based at the Atlas Studios outside the desert town of Ouarzate, which goes back as far as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and beyond. More recent productions have been ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘Gladiator’ by Ridley Scott, a regular visitor, ‘Black Hawk Down’ and ‘Babel’.
Marrakech is justly renowned for the colourful animation of its feudal main square, Jemaa el Fna, and never ending labyrinth of its souks. But there’s plenty more to the city and its surroundings to attract the tourist visitor. So here are our suggestions for the top 7 alternative attractions in and around Marrakech.
* Get high in Marrakech. African Sky has been operating for 21 years now and its hot air balloons are perhaps the best way to admire the city and High Atlas landscapes. One can book direct on +212 524 43 28 43 or via Les Borjs de la Kasbah.
* For the ‘kids’. Ludiparc is a recreational haven for youngsters with a series of indoor and outdoor water features. Over 55 species of birds can also be found here, some flying free. Pedal boats and playgrounds make this a ‘must visit’ if you have children with you. The best bit? Adults go free!