In April, 2014, I spent 10 days travelling in the cities, mountains, and the desert of Morocco. I joined a guided tour organized by CW Adventures. Our small group consists of five travelers from America, a highly knowledgeable Moroccan guide Saida, and a driver.
The history of Fes reaches back to 791. The city is Morocco's intellectual and spiritual center. My visit concentrates in the medina, the historic part of Fes, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
Built by the French during the colonial period in 1929, Ifrane is in the Middle Atlas mountains at an elevation of 5460 feet. With a cool climate and plenty of rain, the landscape is lushly forested.
After a long day of travelling on the minibus toward the desert, I arrive at Erfoud. The landscape is dusty and dry as it slowly transitions to a desert environment. Many traditional fortified residential compounds, the kasbah, are spotted in this region.
Rissani (from 8th century) is a small town on the edge of the desert. The town is the site of several ancient ksour, fortified small towns.
These sand dunes are the most impressive in Morocco according to the "Rough Guide to Morocco." The vast Sahara Desert begins here and stretches into Algeria and far beyond. I stay in a tent for one night in order to view the sunset and sunrise.
During the colonial period, the French built Ouarzazate in the 1920's. Now the town is a bustling hub for travelers to launch their explorations of southern Morocco. Large tour buses disgorge travelers. Rugged off-road sport-utility vehicles take travelers to and from the desert. Hotels are plentiful.
The small town of Ouirgane is in the High Atlas mountains at 3300 feet of altitude. It has lush landscape and a comfortable climate in the spring. I stay at the Domaine de La Roseraie hotel which has beautiful gardens of roses, date palms, cacti, and many other species.
Ijoukak is a small rural village in the High Atlas mountains near Ouirgane. I hike from Ijoukak through other small villages to the ruins of Tin Mal mosque.
Marrakesh (from 11th century) is a large and bustling city. My visit focuses on the historic medina of Marrakesh, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.