Jamie Lloyd, a Goway Africa Specialist, recently returned from Morocco with insider tips and personal insights into one of Northern Africa’s most exciting destinations.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Morocco?
Morocco is a place that surprised me at every corner, every step of the way. I think the biggest misconception is that the country is just a massive desert when in fact it offers a wide array of topography and landscapes, from lush green coastal plains to thick, pine-forested mountains, to some areas that almost look like another planet with barren rock formations. I had no idea that we would see such dramatically different scenery each day! I was glued to my window the entire trip.
What was your favourite hotel/lodge and why?
Without hesitation, I would say Merzouga Luxury Camp in the Sahara Desert! Starting with the approach into the camp on camelback through what looks like an endless sea of red sand just as the sun was setting, I knew right away we were arriving at something special. They set up a small table for us on top of one of the sand dunes so that we could have a glass of champagne as the sun slowly dipped down to the horizon. The tents are very well-appointed, with a small heater for the cool nights, and of course, a private shower and flushing toilet right in your room. In the evening there is a dinner and entertainment to highlight local dance from that region as well as some very tasty foods to try out. It was an experience I will always cherish.
What was your favourite unique stay/experience?
Riad 72 really spoiled us! Right in the heart of the medina of Marrakech, this historic home converted to a luxury hotel is just a delight. Each room is bit different, capturing the true Moroccan style with tasteful local decorations. But what I really loved was the stunning rooftop bar/restaurant, which was a perfect place to watch the sun slowly set over the historic heart of Marrakech.
As a Goway Africa Expert, was there anything that surprised you?
I was shocked at the layers of history and the drastic changing scenery. Just when you think you finally have Morocco figured out, our guide would add in a new layer, he would introduce us to the semi nomadic peoples of the Sahara region, we visited a working synagogue in Fes, and we saw homes that were once the residence of the French colonial government.
What area would you recommend if clients wanted to extend into another country?
This is a great question, and I would say Morocco pairs very well with Spain and Portugal, or even with France! The country has a lot of history that overlaps European history, and considering Europe really is on Morocco’s door step, the two go very well together.
Are there any tips about travelling to Morocco that agents might share with their clients to make their trip even more enjoyable?
Ever since my desert camp experience, I’ve always made sure my clients include this as part of their stay. It is just a surreal experience that makes the trip so much more memorable.
Do you have a favourite local dish?
Of course, it would have to be tajine! Morocco’s most famous dish is a slow-cooked savory stew full of spices and flavor, but it can come in a wide array of regional variations. Some include nuts or dried fruit, but my favorite are the hearty vegetarian options and a close second would be a nice lamb tajine.