Marrakech is a sensory overload. From the moment your airport transfer drops you off at your riad in the Medina, you’ll be seeing, hearing and smelling a melange of surprises. Mazes of souks, eager shopkeepers and colourful trinkets (which you probably don’t need, but will likely buy) will keep your eyes peeled and ears perked up as you make your way through this city.
Basking in the North African sun, the old imperial capital of Marrakech is not only an attractive tourist destination in itself, but also a getaway for trips to the Atlas Mountains, the coast or the Sahara Dessert.
Our group of eight went down to Morocco with the main goal of trekking the beautiful Atlas Mountains. Unfortunately, my Canon had a tiny accident on day two of the trip – the body of the camera is ok but my favourite 50mm lens is beyond repair. So I don’t have photos from the trek itself. But here are some snaps from our time in Marrakech.
Morocco is a great place for affordable luxury. Our stunning five-bedroom riad came equipped with a pool, a roof terrace and two pet cats. Most riads will also organise meals for you, but we wanted to check out the popular Nomad restaurant near the Rahma Kedima spice market. This modern rooftop eatery feels more Scandi-chic than northern African until you taste the food. It features eclectic twists on traditional Moroccan cuisine. It was perhaps the best meal we had on our trip.
Once (and if!) you are tired of the crowded Medina, a short walk towards the new town is Jardin Majorelle – Yves Saint Laurent’s gift to Marrakech. The twelve-acre botanical garden was bought and preserved by Yves Saint Laurent, and feels like an electric blue oasis in the middle of the earthy tones of rest of Marrakech. Fans of succulent plants will especially enjoy this place.
When in Marrakech, you must go to the night market in Marrakech’s main square, Jemaa el fna. Unesco declared this square a “Masterpiece of World Heritage” in 2001. After dusk, the square fills with musicians, entertainers and apparently snake charmers (we didn’t see one). But to get to them, you must make it past the pushy food vendors, who can be overly insistent at best and outright rude at worst.
While there is something to be said about the authenticity of dining in the middle of the square, if you have limited meals in Marrakech, don’t waste them at the night market.
Speaking of markets, I’m in the market for a new lens. I’ve had my 50mm for the last 4 years and most of photos on this blog have been shot using that. Given that I believe in packing light, taking my 18-200mm on trips is a bit of a hassle. Time for a change perhaps – what other Canon lens I should try or should I go back to the good old 50mm? Suggestions welcome in the comments below.