My recent trip to Morocco was hosted the company Intrepid, who specialise in guided tours all over the world. The Moroccan taster tour was to show 10 lucky Travel Agents the Intrepid experience, and how they offer a personal and knowledgeable insight into the city of Marrakesh.
My trip started when I arrived at the Rhiad Alida located a five-minute stroll to the main square in Marrakesh, ‘The Jemaa El-Fnna’. The 10 bedroomed Rhiad was beautifully restored and offered an almost family like feel, with the owners serving us breakfast in their communal dining room. After unpacking we met our local guide Abdul who was brought up in a village close to Marrakesh. Keen to show us what Moroccan life was like we headed straight to the souks, soaking up the sights and smells of what felt like a city that had not altered in centuries. The day was finished off with a group meal in a local restaurant.
The following day we were again met by Abdul who with another Intrepid guide ushered us off on a guided tour of the walled city, taking in the Bahia Palace and Marrakesh Museum. In the evening we took in a foodie tour of the souks and the main square and watched the snake charmers, magicians and dancers. There were many people trying to sell you their wares and generally trying to rip you off but that was one of the benefits of being on an organized tour with a local who would tell them in no uncertain terms to leave us alone! Of course, bargaining is all part of Moroccan culture, always be prepared to walk away though as there is always somebody ready to do a deal.
The next day involved a two-hour trek in the Atlas Mountains where we stopped for lunch with a local family. The lamb tagine was the best I have ever tasted but the incredibly sweet mint tea was not such a hit! On the way back to our minibus we stopped off in a small mountain village and watched how Aargan Oil was produced.
Our final day saw me mountain biking, cycling through palm lined roads and even going off road occasionally, after not riding for a good few years I was pretty impressed with myself!
An evening flight back to Gatwick with the rest of my group proved to me how being on an organised tour can bring people very close together, sharing our experiences and photos. Morocco with Intrepid certainly showed me things I would never have thought to see or do if I had travelled there independently.
Catherine Elliot, Travel Professional