Two exhilarating weeks in Morocco


Dreams of the Sahara Desert, cities that are labyrinths of blue, palaces filled from floor to ceiling with majestic mosaics, enchanting music filling the air and puffs of spices delighting your senses … welcome to Morocco!

In October 2021, I spent two exhilarating weeks in Morocco with friends and other travel counselors. I always knew that Morocco looked magical, but I had no idea how much the country would fascinate me and absolutely captivate me. As they say “Morocco is a feeling”. Between the architecture, the food, the history and above all the people, Morocco is truly a country that I believe everyone should travel to experience the best of what “travel” has to offer. You can’t help but fall in love with all aspects of this beautiful land and its many faces. Morocco, which is slightly smaller than the size of Spain or France, has so many different landscapes. You can visit the ocean, mountains, oasis and desert in just one day!

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We started our trip in Marrakech, where I have never seen such grandeur in hotels in my life. I have never experienced anything like the true luxury that I have experienced in several 5 star properties in Marrakech. I felt like a queen in my private two bedroom ryad, with a private courtyard and fountains, and staff who use secret lanes to clean up so as not to disturb guests. Yes, I’m talking about the famous Royal Mansour, which absolutely lived up to the hype. This spectacular masterpiece of a “hotel” reflects the true essence of Moroccan tradition while exceeding all expectations of today’s luxury traveler. The craftsmanship of the tiles on the walls and the cedar wood artwork on the ceilings down to the smallest detail literally took my breath away.

During our full week in Marrakech, we toured the medina and made friends with local artisans, went shopping, took fashion tours and met designers, took a cooking class, rode camels in the desert from Agafay, visited the palaces and learned about history, did some more shopping, visited the Majorelle Garden, took a day trip to Essaouira and played with goats in the trees. Yes, goats in the trees! We also went to the Atlas Mountains for one night and stayed at Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot which is pure beauty to see. From there we walked to a local Berber village and were invited to a family’s house to drink tea with them. (Our guides translated.) All the school children were delighted to see us, as we were the first visitors since COVID. Apparently, no Berber has ever fallen ill with COVID, and we have taken every precaution to make sure it stays that way.

Take tea in Morocco
Take tea in Morocco. (photo via Cali Hersh)

At the time we went to Morocco, it was one of the only countries that had never closed its borders to American tourists. While we were there we met many Americans who were so happy that they made the decision to visit, as they may not have done in “normal” times. I had a colleague who visited Morocco in March 2020 and she took photos of a practically empty medina. Yet in October it was crowded and full of action! As of this writing, Morocco closed its borders in December and will not open until January 31.

After Marrakech, we left the city and returned to the Atlas Mountains to see the most spectacular landscapes and learn about Arab and Berber culture. We stopped at Ksar Ait Ben Haddou which is the backdrop for many movies and TV shows such as Game of Thrones. The next day we drove to the Sahara Desert, my personal gem of the trip. We mountain biked, rode camels again and watched the sun go down and then rise over the sand dunes. It was a spectacle unlike anything I had ever seen before. I always feel lucky to be a travel consultant, but here I have been overwhelmed by the gratitude that I am for being able to experience a world like this. In fact, I cried with joy at the beauty I was able to experience firsthand.

Cali hersh
Mountain biking in Morocco. (photo via Cali Hersh)

After leaving the Sahara, we drove north to Fez. We fed monkeys by the side of the road, explored the tanneries and medina of Fez, bought ceramics and wore the famous silly red hats, discovered ancient Roman ruins in Meknes, took a million photos in the blue city of Chefchaouen and eaten at Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca. Several times along the way we saw large groups of locals along the road and wondered if they were lining up to be tested for COVID. It turns out they were all waiting to get vaccinated.

No amount of articles or pictures can do this country justice. If you love to travel, Morocco should definitely be on your bucket list for the near future. Morocco has the perfect amount of culture shock, with its food, art, and culture, but also has the familiarities of home that make it a safe and clean destination. The people are so warm and welcoming and are very open to talking honestly about the best and the worst aspects of their current political and cultural climate. To see more photos from my trip, follow me on Instagram @ cali.hersh.travel and feel free to contact me for more details. I urge all travel counselors to ensure that their clients use a DMC, and I would be happy to share information on the wonderful vendors who assisted us on our trip.

About Wesley V. Finley

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