2015 Morocco

We arrived in Marrakech Morocco on October 11th and left October 25th.  The first few days in Marrakech were spent with a local NGO volunteering our time to provide photography training to children. The remainder of the time was spent on tour.

Over 6 days we drove east from Marrakech through the High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara and then returned.  On the first day we drove through Tighza and spent the night in a Kasbah at Ait Ben Haddou. The following night we were in Tamnougalt. The next day we reached the desert near Tisserdmine via M’ssici.  After a quick lunch we boarded camels for a 2 hour ride into the desert and the  night under the stars in a camel-hair tent.  The following night was in a riad on the edge of the desert; a chance to shower and relax.  The return to Marrakech took us along a different route, but again through the mountains.  We tracked  through Erfoud, Tinghir and up to the gorge near Bouskour.  From there we backtracked a bit and spent the night in Tamellalt. The last day was a long haul back to Marrakech.  

We spent the night in Marrakech and then took the bus to Essaouira on the Atlantic coast where we stayed for 3 nights.

  1. Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou
  2. Ait Ben Haddou to Tamnougalt
  3. Tamnougalt to Auberge Sahara Garden and then a camel ride into the desert
  4. Desert back to Auberge Sahara Garden 
  5. Auberge Sahara Garden to Bouskour
  6. Bouskour to Marrakech
  7. Marrakech to Essaouira (and back)

Blog Entries:

  • Return and Arrival

    Return and Arrival

    We returned last week, October 29th to be exact. We were away 24 days.  Our primary goal on this trip was volunteer work with a Moroccan-based NGO called El Fenn.   El Fenn Maroc (Facebook) is a non-profit cultural association whose mission is four-fold: [1] to BUILD bridges across cultures; [2] to SUPPORT Moroccan artists, their families…

  • Mosque


    Five times through the day was the call to prayer.  The first, Fajr, was called at dawn, around 6:30. Our riad was located just a 100 meters or so from a mosque.  Each day in Marrakech we walked by this mosque. It was located at the junction of a main street and the side street…

  • Film in Morocco

    Film in Morocco

    Before departure I had decided I would take my film camera as there were a few shots that I thought would be better captured in Medium Format.  Specifically, I was thinking the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and then the narrow streets of Marrakech. While I did get some shots of the Cliffs, I was…

  • The Souq

    The Souq

    Walking through the narrow passageways of the souq became a daily affair as it lie between our riad and the main market. Often crowded with people, in some secluded passages there where were some moments of quiet.  In some parts the area was covered; in others it was open to the sky. In all areas…

  • The Door

    The Door

    Entrances were often subdued by western standards. The entrance to our riad was an unremarkable door on a narrow passageway marked only by a simple sign.  In complete contrast to the flamboyant entrances common to western inns and hotels.   Yet when one looked closely there were many that were quite remarkable.  

  • The City

    The City

    Essaouira is a walled city on the Atlantic coast.  It is formerly a Portuguese fort.  The City seems to be undergoing a renovation, driven by tourism, yet there are areas that are in disrepair.   The character is more relaxed than Marrakech in part because it is smaller; fewer people walk the streets lessening the…

  • The Port

    The Port

    The Port of Essaouira is a booming and active place.  A convergence of fishermen, boat builders, tourists, local people, restaurants, equipment, wood, cement, sea, noise, smells and birds.   The types of vessels range from skiffs used by a single fisherman for in-shore fishing to larger trawlers.  The port seems to have few, if any,…

  • The Market

    The Market

    Inside the walls, along the northern half of Av. Mohamed Zerktouni in Essaouira is the market.  Stores, stalls and wagons line the street selling meats, fish, vegetables, breads and fruits.  People make their way from store to store picking up their daily needs.  It is where we bough 1 kilo of mandarin oranges for 7…

  • The Laugh

    The Laugh

    After exploring the Port and the Market, we made our way through the narrow streets of Essaouira.  Like many older, walled cities the streets seem confining and confusing. It is easy to feel one is walking through a maze and thus easily lost.  But Essaouira is small and the streets are fairly well laid out.…

  • Moroccan Landscapes

    Moroccan Landscapes

    Today I start a series on landscapes, which Morocco has many, including mountains, deserts, and coasts. Over 6 days we drove east from Marrakech through the High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara and then returned. On the first day we drove through Tighza and spent the night in a Kasbah at Ait Ben Haddou. The…

  • Landscape #1

    Landscape #1

    Traditional views of landscapes are in the large: wide vistas, mountain ranges, grand panoramas.  Morocco has many of these. But when one looks more closely at the details — zooms in — a different perspective is yielded exposing another magnificence.

  • Landscape #2

    Landscape #2

    Swirls and lines in rose and purple High Atlas Mountains, Morocco.

  • Landscape #3

    Landscape #3

  • Landscape #4

    Landscape #4

  • Landscape #5

    Landscape #5

  • Landscape #6

    Landscape #6

  • Landscape #7

    Landscape #7

  • Landscape #8

    Landscape #8

  • Landscape #9

    Landscape #9

  • Landscape #10

    Landscape #10

  • Images of Essaouira #1

    Images of Essaouira #1

    We spent our last few days in Morocco in Essaouira, which is an old Portuguese town on the Atlantic.  After the rush of Marrakech and the tour out to the Sahara, it was nice to have a period of unplanned time and relaxation. We spent most of our time walking around within the city walls,…

  • Images of Essaouira #2

    Images of Essaouira #2

    Port of Essaouira; fishermen talk while sitting on nets.

  • Images of Essaouira #3

    Images of Essaouira #3

    Port of Essaouira

  • Images of Essaouira #4

    Images of Essaouira #4

    Here one can see the activity of the port: fishing boats in repair; nets being mended; fish being bought and sold; crowds looking.

  • Images of Essaouira #5

    Images of Essaouira #5

    Fisherman preparing his boat

  • Images of Essaouira #6

    Images of Essaouira #6

    A popular point of view of Essaouira taken at sunrise.

  • Moroccan Summary

    Moroccan Summary

    I’ve prepared a slideshow, with suitable background music, of the Moroccan trip.  It’s in the form of a video that runs 3:52.