Staying in hostels, you get to know people easily, go easy on your budget and can use kitchen facilities to cook for yourself. In Marrakech, some very nice backpacker places opened, which, calling themselves Waka Waka, Kif Kif or Young and Happy, partly cling to the legendary Hippie trail.
If you want to spend as little money as possible and are looking for social contacts, you will sooner or later end up in a lively hostel full of backpackers. There is hardly a better place to get to know people — no matter if you are travelling on your own or in a small group. In Marrakech’s medina there are by now eight of those hostels, providing different types of private rooms and dorms as well as lounges and roof terraces, each of them looking more comfy than the other.
(photo: Hostel Riad Dia)
Staying in a dorm of a hostel can, depending on its size, be a noisy experience. To be on the safe side, you should have ear plugs and headphones ready. A little padlock may be useful, too, especially if the hostel provides lockers. At night, a torch can be helpful. Most hostels provide a kitchen for guests to use. Free WiFi is a standard in all places and mostly, the hostels’ staff speaks or at least understands English. Read more
Marrakech is a perfect base for day trips beyond the suqs of the medina. Experience the various Moroccan landscapes in the lush and fertile Ourika-Valley, the Portuguese-style coastal town of Essaouira, the Toubkal National Park or at the Ouzoud Waterfalls — Morocco presents itself in many different shapes and breathtaking beauty.
Daytrips and longer excursions can be booked via the many travel agencies and tour operators that you’ll find in Marrakech’s medina. However, if you are not in need of supplies and an off-road vehicle or 4×4 to go to the Sahara, a lot of daytrips can be organised without renting a car by simply using public transport.
Not even an hour from Marrakech, you will find Ourika Valley. This fertile valley is supplied with water by a river fed by springs in the High Atlas. A popular day trip destination is the little village of Setti Fatma, the last settlement that can be reached by car on this side of the mountains. From here, you can start little hikes in the Atlas — the short walk to the waterfalls of Setti Fatma is a classic.
If you want the real authentic Marrakech experience, the accommodation of your choice should be a riad in the historic medina. There are by now more than 1200 guest houses, one more beautiful than the other. In this article, the most highly rated riads are presented.
Riads are generously-sized town houses, whose plain ochre outside walls hide a tastefully decorated interior. The heart of these often sumptuously renovated town houses is a splendid patio, which is usually decorated with complex ornamentation, water basins and a lot of plants. Around this roofless courtyard the guest rooms are arranged. On the roofs of most riads, you will also find a terrace with sitting areas. Some riads not only offer to cook for their guests, but have their own cooking courses on offer. Others even have their own on-site hammams.
The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts announces a new exhibition. From January 30th you can see works of Mourir Fatmi at Badi Palace.
Darkening Process, by contemporary artist Mounir Fatmi is based upon the idea of the Other; towards literature, Art History, figures and scientific experiments. The first project The Journey into Shame includes the bodies of work The Darkening Process and As a Black Man honoring John Howard Griffin, the white American writer and journalist, born in 1920, known for his fight against racial discrimination and best known for his book Black like Me. In 1959, he moved to the southern United States to undergo medical treatment combined with ultraviolet rays in order to blacken his skin — effectively transforming him into a “black” man. Griffin has gone through the ultimate experience of the Other to change his own skin to understand the life of a whole community.
Amal Women’s Training Center is not only a social showcase but also an excellent restaurant. Although people say that too many cooks spoil the broth, cooking courses for small groups are offered there. Here is a field report by a passionate amateur cook.
A while ago, the brilliant restaurant at Amal Women’s Training Center was already recommended here on this blog. Behind the project there is a non-profit organization seeking to support socially disadvantaged women in developing their professional careers and helping them find jobs to earn their livings. These women work together with 15 employees and 12 volunteers and get gastronomic training including Moroccan and international cuisine, service, French language courses focussing on tourism as well as practical training in riads and restaurants.
In Amal Center, cooking courses in which you can learn how to prepare couscous, tagine or pastilla, are offered six days a week. These courses are held – according to your needs – in either Arabic, French, English or Spanish and cost DH 200 per person. Book your course online — better early than late — , enter your desired date and language and choose from a list of eight different dishes what is going to land on your plate at the end of your course. You will get an e-mail-confirmation with a very good description on how to find the rather hidden Amal Center in the new town of Marrakech. Read more
There are many ways to get from Marrakech’s Menara Airport into the city centre. Apart from shuttle bus services and taxis you can by now book convenient airport transfers easily online. Here’s a field report on Getyourguide.
A four-hour-flight (depending on where you start) can be rather strenuous and it may not be to everybody’s taste to either bargain appropriate taxi fares for a ride into town with sometimes rather pushy taxi drivers immediately after landing or to take a public shuttle bus not knowing where to get off exactly. The bus may be the cheapest option, yet if you travel with a group of four or more, this price advantage vanishes. In December 2015 I travelled with four fellow travellers and gave private airport transfer offers a chance.
Private airport transfer in modern minibus including WLAN (photo: Travelguide Marrakech)
Getyourguide: Easy booking process and good service
Different transport companies offer private airport transfers from Menara to Marrakech’s city centre via Getyourguide’s booking platform. Their rates only differ slightly and resemble those of the Grand Taxis. We booked about 20 hours prior to our expected arrival time in a very quick and uncomplicated booking process on Getyourguide. Read more