Our Man in Morocco
MOROCCO HAS DAZZLED VISITORS FOR CENTURIES; writers, travellers, adventurers, searchers of the exotic, academics researching learned treatise, romantics to gaze at desert stars, and hardier types to trek Jbel Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak. Rarely did anyone leave less than enchanted.
As Edith Wharton, the doyen of early travel writers, wrote, “Morocco is too curious, too beautiful, too rich in landscape and architecture”, and there are few who have the depth of knowledge of this delightful country to ensure a most remarkable adventure as….
Our Man in Morocco
Abdellatif Benhrima’s love of Moroccan history as a child was the beginning of his career as a tour guide – although he didn’t know it at the time. Born and raised in Marrakech’s Medina, Abdel knew all the hidden corners of the ancient heart of the city while still in his teens, and by the time he went to Rabat University to study linguistics (he speaks Arabic, French, Berber and English fluently, with a working knowledge of German and Spanish) he was already delighting his friends with his knowledge as he travelled his country devouring its sights, sounds and stories. The moment he received his license as a guide from the Moroccan Government he was off, and in the intervening twenty-five years has become one of the most knowledgeable and respected guides in Morocco.
The essence of Our Man in Morocco is that Abdel is Your Man in Morocco. From a half-day trip to unearth the secrets of the souks to a 2-3 week, once in a lifetime journey to discover this most exotic of North African countries, Abdel and his team of experienced guides can create a Moroccan adventure far beyond anything you hoped for or expected. A romantic night under the stars with a camel ride to watch the glorious desert dawn; ancient kasbahs of once powerful lords of the mountains; the workshops of ladies hand-weaving luxuriously rich carpets, their tribal designs each telling their own private story of daily life; the glories of the Imperial Cities; private homes and gardens of friends, where you can take tea by invitation only – all you have to do is ask.
If your time in Marrakech is limited and you would like to get a feel of the city and its surroundings, we suggest these half-day tours:
Secret Medina – The hidden corners, tucked-away workshops and stories of life in the Medina that only a born and bred Marrakshi would know.
Behind the Walls – Life lived away from public gaze explained and contrasted with the glories of the Bahia Palace of the Grand Vizier Si Moussa and life in the tiny cells of the students at the Ben Youssef Madrasa.
Personal Shopping – Everything from a glittering lamp to houseful of exotic ideas, Our Man in Morocco knows where to find it.
The Gardens of Marrakech – Marrakech was a ‘garden city’ long before the the idea occurred to urban designers. Green spaces, vibrant horticultural gems, calming pools, none of it is new.
In the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, life is still lived to the traditional rhythms of nature. The Ourika Valley is the nearest of the preferred destinations. Just 60 minutes from town, you will find a completely different way of life, mainly inhabited by Berbers, this valley is a delight to see. Stop at a roadside café and eat a Berber tagine by the riverside, or lunch in Ourika’s best restaurant Le Ramuncho. Alternatively, enjoy the spectacular views and excellent restaurant at Kasbah Bab Ourika. The option of climbing to the SettiFatma waterfalls is available for those who feel fit and adventurous.
About 90 minutes from Marrakech, this is a beautiful area to visit and probably my favourite. You will pass different types of mountain terrain, visit a Berber village and lunch in one of the area’s many delightful guesthouses, Chez Mou Mou, Au Sanglier Qui Fume or for those of you with deep pockets the ‘Kasbah Tamadot’, Richard Branson’s place (I used to go there when it was owned by Luciano, a lovely Italian Antiques dealer) We can arrange guided walking tours into the hills and lunch in a berber house. There are Berber markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays which are worth a visit.
The highest mountain in the High Atlas range. Enjoy a truly scenic drive through the mountains and visit the ‘Kasbah du Toubkal’ with its 360 degree view of the mountains. Lunch can be arranged at the Kasbah and for the adventurous among you, trekking can also be organised. This is an amazing day out and not to be missed.
Telout, Ait Ben Haddou and Ouarzazate
Not for the faint hearted, this trip is quite epic in proportions but so worth it if you can take the long car journey.Climb (by car of course) the High Atlas Mountains, pass the Tichka pass, (the highest in North Africa) then a sharp turn off to the left to descend into the valley to visit the old Glaoui Kasbah in Telouet. It is in ruins, but has some amazing interior architecture in a small part of it and I simply loved it when I visited in January of 2012. There are a couple of nice cafes if you would like to have lunch and then continue on to Ait ben Haddou, (a World Heritage site). Simply stunning, and then on to the town of Ouarzazate to visit one of the town’s Kasbah’s. Ourzazate is well known for it’s international film studios and is known as the ‘Gateway of the Sahara’. Please be aware though, that the nearest Dunes are another four hours from this town. The return journey takes a different route until you reach the Tichka Pass, where you rejoin the route from earlier in the day. Amazing scenery and I have to say one of my favourite ‘epic’ days out.
This pretty little fishing village on the Atlantic Coast was built by the Portugese and is sometimes known as ‘the Windy City’. It is well known amongst the surf boarding community. It still has the old fort and the people have a wonderful laid-back approach to life. The dulcet tones of Bob Marley can be heard on many a street corner. This is a great place to shop for local art, musical instruments and Thuya wood.About 2.5 hours from Marrakech, it is great for a beach day trip, sit in a beach side restaurant eating the local ‘catch of the day’ with a glass of crisp white wine and then taking a stroll around their medina.
All tours are chauffeur driven without guide unless specified. 4×4 tours can be arranged if you are looking to see a more rugged side of these destinations and leave the regular tourist track. We are happy to arrange private tours in the south of Morocco to visit the desert. Please contact us for more information.
Eye on Morocco shows you some of the beauty of the wonderfully colourful country that Abdel’s tours explore.
‘I would just like to comment on what a wonderful guide Abdel is. We booked on his Secret Medina tour when we booked our stay at Villa Dinari and it was excellent. He made our holiday for us.’ comment on Tripadvisor.
For further information, please contact Abdellatif Benhrima, Our Man In Morocco. Email: email@example.com, Tel: +212 (0)661 20 31 17