Canadian maroc-o-phile Mandy Sinclair is Marrakech-based blogger MandyinMorocco. She came to Morocco for the first time on holiday and promptly went back to Canada, sold her stuff and came back to live. She has now lived in Morocco for 4 years and blogs about her life on Why Morocco? A social media fanatic and PR expert, Mandy has just set up her own communications agency and Marrakech food tours.
MoP: Mandy, what first brought you to Morocco and why?
After watching the film Hideous Kinky in 1999 while in Australia, I knew I had to travel to Morocco. So I arrived in June 2010 for a three-week holiday. Within four days, in Fes, I knew I was going to come back for a longer-term stay. I just didn’t think that I would still be here nearly four years later.
MoP: You’ve been a maroc-o-phile for a few years, then. What is it that keeps you here?
The food, the people, the music, the colours and the lifestyle keep me coming back despite my efforts to leave. The coast, mountains and desert are all within driving distance from Marrakech which is ideal for weekend getaways. Compared to Canada, winters are fabulous, and made even more beautiful by the stunning views of the Atlas Mountains over Marrakech.
MoP: What is your most memorable Moroccan experience?
When I returned to Morocco in 2011 for five months, I spent a week in the south with a Berber family, eating fresh bread prepared directly on the coals in the local bread oven and sipping mint tea, eating couscous in a true kasbah and trekking through the local area. It was such a fascinating insight in to the local village life. It was a simple week. But one I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
MoP: What are you most excited about for 2014 in Morocco?
I have worked on some interesting projects including contributing the shopping and where to stay sections of the latest edition of TimeOut Marrakech and I freelanced on a celebrity wedding in Marrakech in May. Now I’ve launched Say Something, a communications agency offering social media consultation and management, writing, strategic communications and marketing, event management, and media relations to travel and lifestyle clients.
MoP: What else is new for you in 2014?
In November, I’ll start my first Tasting Marrakech tours – personalized food and cultural tours of Jemaa el Fna, the main square and one of my favourite places to eat in Marrakech.
MoP: What are your favourite places in Morocco….
…. to sleep
Under the stars in the Sahara desert
…. to eat
Jemaa el Fna, stall #14 in particular
…. to photograph
Any views of the medinas – Meknes, Marrakech, Fes, Tetaouan, but also Essaouira, Chefchaouen and Marrakech daily life. And of course the little Berber villages and Atlas Mountain life. Oh, I just think everywhere you look here in Morocco is picture perfect!
MoP: What advice would you give to someone planning their first trip to Morocco?
Morocco is best experienced slowly. Take your time to enjoy the place you are visiting. Don’t cram too much in to your itinerary. Places like Essaouira, Chefchaouen and Asilah deserve at least two nights. Rabat too deserves at least one night as it is rich in architecture and history. But certainly the desert cannot be done in anything less than four days from Marrakech, otherwise you are missing the southern hospitality and charm.
MoP: What is the one thing you never travel without?
MoP: Any last thoughts from one maroc-o-phile to the maroc-o-phile readers?
When travelling in Morocco, it’s best to just do as the locals do. Sit in a café and people watch. Slow down. Enjoy the pace of the life. It’s not about the destination, but rather the journey. Enjoy !
You can follow Mandy on Instagram.