We spent one week in Marrakech and the surrounding areas in March and I’m so excited to share some snaps from our time there.
It’s a place of amazing mud-built architecture, beautifully detailed doorways and fittings, featuring decorative patterns and the iconic archways it is so known for. All the terracottas and orange colours. Talented craftsmen ship around every corner.
We had a few trips around the Souks aka Market stalls where you can find the most incredible lanterns, mirrors and jewellery, not to mention all the gorgeous spices! Everyone is very welcoming and friendly, although be prepared to haggle, we found most things are much more pricey than they would be if imported and sold in the UK, so it’s very normal to hugely haggle. There is a huge amount of tourism here! First language spoken is Arabic, followed by French, we were so impressed by everyones skillset to speak pretty fluently in around 5 languages and rightfully put us to shame as Brits barely able to speak English ha but we did learn the very very basics in Arabic.
The Medina square comes alive at Night time and it’s a must-see experience! it is incredibly busy with live music and performers which is amazing to see! Be warned that Animal Tourism is everywhere. There are Snake charmers and chained costumed Monkeys being dragged around to perform for spectators and I was honestly shocked to see how popular these outdated and abusive animal attractions are with Western tourists. That was hard to see, as were the tortoises stacked tightly together and being sold on the markets.
Although I am very aware that animal abuse is just as prevalent in the UK (it is behind closed doors) whereas in Marrakech you will find it hard to hide from. I kept thinking how strange it was to compare the poor overworked horses here, working in 35 degree heat, no water, no shade, transporting tourists all day long. Clear Scarring to their bodies from being whipped, Ulcers can be seen around their mouths from tight Bits used constantly all day. Absolutely squashed and near missing being hit by cars as they navigate chaotic roads with a never-ending background of car horns making their ears propel. It was a very frustrating sight and knowing how the majority of tourists seemed still keen to finance this really broke my heart.
So nope, you will not see me posting and glorifying Camel, Donkey or Horse rides here, there are just so many ways to enjoy life without this obvious cost to animals.
We visited the Jardin Majorelle which was previously owned by Yves Sait Laurent. It’s one of the most photographed locations in Marrakech. it was beautiful to see all the cacti flourishing in their real habitat when compared to my home collection! The bright blue pottery and walls make for a really striking backdrop for the plants. It’s probably smaller than imagined and very busy, so get there early if you would like a little walk around. The Dar Si Said which is an incredible Textile Rug Museum, and I’d really recommend a visit to see the vintage rug collection, all unique and highly vibrant and colourful! The building itself is stunning and a real piece of art itself.
For live music whilst dining out + if fire breathing performers sounds up your street then a night out at the Dar Soukkar is a must!
There are many tours to book to visit the Atlas mountains where you can enjoy some trekking and waterfalls. Quad biking was also a great experience to have in Morocco.
We were over the moon with our accommodation. We chose a lovely Hotel Riad Jawad which was actually a 15 min drive from Marrakech but worked really perfectly to balance our trip; so we achieved the best of both worlds having the hustle and bustle of the city and then the peaceful tranquil downtime at our Hotel where we could recoup at the pool and be serenaded by all the birds at all times there.
A must-see if you are planning a trip here in our opinion and it was my absolute highlight and favourite part was going and spending some time at Jarjeer. An Animal Sanctuary which was started almost 10 years ago founded by Sue and Charles, along with a dedicated team of humans caring for their Donkeys, Horses and a couple of sheep! It was such a refreshing and needed sight after seeing the countless Donkeys carrying sacks of bricks and rubble, scarred from their abuse and destined for a long life of torture in the city. These animals at Jarjeer have the life they finally deserve, each with a heartwarming story, each with so much individual character despite what they’ve been through before. They really are giant Teddys. Jarjeer also have an exquisite garden, it’s all very photogenic and if we went again we would defiantly remember to bring some fresh fruit along with us for the donkeys to enjoy!
It’s around a 20 min drive outside of Marrakech and there’s a bus which you can catch, although we arranged a taxi as decided to go straight from our Hotel which was out of the city.
I couldn’t stress the importance of supporting a sanctuary that is an educational experience as well as being a lifeline for these animals and it is something we will make sure we include in any future travels, where ever we may go!
Sanctuary Jarjeer Donkey Sanctuary
Hotel Hotel Jawad Riad & Spa
Things to do
House of Photography in Marrakech