Tag Archives: travel

Essaouira Gnaoua Festival 2015 is underway!

The 18th Essaouira Gnaoua festival opened with a  colourful paradeThe Essaouira Gnaoua Festival 2015 started yesterday, 14 May with a colourful carnival parade of the gnaoua artists through the main street of the Essaouira medina.

The festival continues now until Sunday 17 May with concerts, exhibitions, open air shows and intimate gigs all over the city, much of it for free.

Continue reading

The Best of Essaouira: Cookery classes

couscous, the Moroccan national dish - made gluten free with cornmealThe cuisine of Morocco is becoming increasingly well-known abroad and a popular holiday activity is a cookery class where students can learn about the intricate blends of spices, the diverse influences on Moroccan cuisine and attempt to create their own culinary masterpieces. Over the past year, I have tried two cookery classes in Essaouira – one a well-established brand, the other a homely newcomer. I enjoyed both immensely, even though I could already make some key Moroccan dishes. If you want to do a cookery class in Essaouira, I recommend one of these two options. Continue reading

New in Essaouira for Summer 2015

essential EssaouiraI have been spending some time over winter in the UK, but this weekend, I head back to Essaouira for a few weeks. I hope to hand over a tidy sum of donations which I have collected through my crowdfunding campaign for Association Bayti, as well as check out some favourite old haunts and some exciting new openings in the city.

In anticipation of an influx of British visitors with the start of new direct flights from London to Essaouira on 1 May, I thought I would round up what’s hot in Essaouira for summer 2015! Continue reading

The Best of Essaouira: My top 5 for the 2015 Essaouira Gnaoua Festival

Gnaoua Music in EssaouiraThis year will see the 18th edition of the Essaouira Gnaoua World Music Festival.

The Essaouira Gnaoua Festival is the largest of Essaouira’s annual music festivals and attracts artists and an audience from around the world. In 2015, the Gnaoua Festival will take place earlier than usual from 14-17 May 2015 (to avoid a clash with Ramadan).

The format of the festival is large open-air stages in 3 locations across the city, plus intimate concerts in smaller venues and a side programme of discussions around related themes (for example, this year’s Forum is on African Women). The four-day musical extravaganza is opened by a carnival parade of colour featuring the Gnaoua and Sufi groups playing in their traditional costumes playing their instruments and dancing, plus über-dimensional puppets which tower above the crowds.

The Essaouira Gnaoua Festival programme features something for everyone. It’s hard to choose between the local gnaoua acts and the invited World Music stars, but here is my pick of the best of the 2015 line-up: Continue reading

Tips for older travellers to Morocco?

If as an older traveller, you are wondering whether there is anything you need to be specifically aware of or any preparations you need to make, check out my tips for older travellers to Morocco here.

For ideas on where to go and what to do in Morocco for the young at heart, check out this post.

maroc-o-phile: Heather Cole

maroc-o-phile Heather Cole

Heather and Peter at Tamdaght

The latest interviewee in the maroc-o-phile series, is UK-based blogger, Heather Cole, a.k.a. The Conversant Traveller. By day, Heather is an outdoor educational specialist, by night she’s a blogger and a part-time traveller. Heather writes the words for Conversant Traveller whilst her hubbie takes the pictures. Together they hope to inspire other independent travellers to see more of the world.

MoP: Hi, Heather. What makes you a maroc-o-phile?

Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to shake Morocco from beneath my skin (and that’s not just the Saharan sand stuck behind my toenails!). I first visited back in 2010, not expecting anything but another enjoyable trip to assign to the memory bank, but to my surprise, when I returned home I couldn’t stop thinking about the overwhelming sensory experience I’d just had. It took less than a week for hubbie and I to decide we’d soon make our very first return visit to a country ever. And we haven’t looked back!

MoP: You’ve been to Morocco 5 times in the last 4 years and you’re planning another trip for 2015. What is it that keeps drawing you back to Morocco?

I could wax lyrical about the friendliest most genuine people we’ve ever encountered, the superb cuisine and the endless landscape photography opportunities. I could enthuse about there always being new and exciting places to discover and the joy of returning to what are quickly becoming ‘old haunts’. Yet the underlying reason is that we feel so relaxed and at home in Morocco. It is one place we can truly unwind. Continue reading

Medieval Morocco Exhibition in Rabat

Medieval Morocco Exhibition in Rabat 2015

Photo: Musée Mohammed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporain

After a critically-acclaimed run in Paris, the Medieval Morocco exhibition, which was part of the Parisian Moroccan Autumn, comes to Rabat. The exhibition features work spanning 5 centuries from when the Moorish influence was at its greatest. The artefacts have been assembled from the Iberian Peninsula as well as North and West Africa.

The exhibition is now on and runs until 1 June. If you are in Morocco over the next months, it’s not to be missed! Read my review here.

Best 2015 Festivals in Morocco

Gnaoua Festival in EssaouiraMorocco has become a major festival destination over the last years. 2015 looks like a bumper year. The way Ramadan has pushed some of the dates together means that on one trip, you could fit in even two festivals. From music to culture, from roses to rap, from modern pop music to sufis, from the trance of Gnaoua to the German classical composers, from Agadir to Rabat via Fes and Essaouira, there’s something for everyone! Check out my list of the best 2015 festivals in Morocco here.

Springtime in Morocco

Ait Baha: Taroudant to Tafraoute Spring has well and truly sprung in Morocco! The days are warmer and longer and it’s the perfect time to visit.

If you haven’t planned your Springtime in Morocco, there are still deals to be had. Don’t forget, flights from London to Essaouira begin on 1 May.

Take a look at my post for Travel Exploration for some spring holiday ideas!

The Marrakesh Express

arriving in MarrakechTourism in Morocco didn’t begin with the hippy trail, but without a doubt the likes of the Crosby, Stills and Nash; the Rolling Stones and the Gettys helped put Marrakesh on the 20th century map.

“Looking at the world through the sunset in your eyes
Travelling the train through clear Moroccan skies….

Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind
Had to get away to see what we could find…”

Read my post for Travel Exploration about the origins of those famous lyrics and the Swinging Sixties in Marrakech here.