- Departure for Morocco
- Fes arrival, Morocco
- More Fes, Morocco
- Fes Tannery’s & Sufi Music Festival, Morocco
- Meknes, Morocco
- Meknes to Merzouga, Morocco
- Sahara Desert Camp and Dilshad’s birthday, Morocco
- Todra and Dades Gorges, Morocco
- Ait Benhaddou, Tisseldai, & onto Marrakech, Morocco
- Marrakech, Morocco
- Essaouira. Morocco
- Safi, El Jadida and Casablanca, Morocco
After a very peaceful night, we were woken up by the sounds of bleating goats; coming to the river in the gorge for a drink. Got up, and headed downstairs for breakfast, which was out on their patio.
As we were having the traditional Moroccan breakfast, we noticed many goats climbing down the steep cliff behind us; at first we thought they were wild goats until we noticed their shepherd also climbing down the cliffside with them
Black spots on the Cliff side are the Goats
After breakfast and after paying (cash again, no Credit Cards accepted), we started driving back to Bourmaine Dades and then on towards Ouarzazate. Below are some scenes along the way
Interesting rock formations called Monkeys fingers
Hard working women, harvesting
Obligatory photo with “Monkey’s fingers”
We saw several minarets like the one below where the large egrets had set up nests; very convenient and safe
We arrived at the sleepy town of Skoura, and had a short break, and checked out some argan oil shops;
Seems like a popular place for washing and drying carpets
One of the best-preserved Kasbah’s in Morroco is in Skoura We kept driving to Ouarzazate along a very decent road, and saw a sign for the Sultana Royal Golf course.
So, decided to take a detour and check this out. What we found is that there was no golf course, but a number of very large and expensive mansions built here for the rich (including one that the King of Morocco uses), at the edge of a large lake/reservoir.
We went to Sultana Royal Golf hotel, and saw a very nice hotel, with elegant grounds and a very nice swimming pool and facilities. There was also a very nice-looking restaurant here, so decide to have a late lunch and chill here. The only golf course around was a mini putt course 🙂
Ordered Salads and Pizza’s (all very reasonably priced) and got talking to the waiter who informed us that the lady owner was French, and had owned the reservoir for many years and was selling the water to her neighbors and helped develop the community.
After this nice and refreshing break, we headed to Ouarzazate, passed a largish Movie studio, and headed out to Ait Benhaddou. Ait Benhaddou is a well preserved and best known Ksar in Morocco.
Ksar is a term brought by the Arabs to mean a Castle vs a Kasbah which was a settlement. The Ksar is generally larger, and more important than Kasbah’s which are smaller family settlements.
This is just the more famous films filmed here; there are many more lesser known films that were shot here. As a result, this place has been well renovated and preserved, but still lacks electricity and water. There are only ~6 families that live here full time.
Ksar Ait Benhaddou, has an imposing presence here, and commands a view of a huge area around it and so was easily defended being on the hilltop.
After getting lost in this small place, we asked for directions and found the parking lot we needed to park in, and walked a gauntlet of shops, crossed a wide, dry river bed to reach the Ksar.
The Ksar Ait Benhaddou across the river bed
After paying a small fee (to help restore the place), we walked into the Ksar. It was quite impressive inside and below are some views inside
Note the donkey inside the doorway
Landscape of Ksar, riverbed, town, and distant mountains. Commanding view
We then went to the Dar El Haja (Dar means small hotel) in the Ksar, which was a very delightfully run place by a family (grandma, daughter and grandson); and had mint tea, and biting’s, on a patio with a beautiful view of the Ksar and town.
The family is one of the few permanent residents of the Ksar; getting electricity from the sun (solar) and water from the almost dry river below; and run this small ~8 room hotel.
They all loved Indian TV serials, and watch several episodes every night. The Indian movies get dubbed in Arabic, and are popular across the Arab world; many Moroccans certainly loved them and raved about them.
With the delightful owners of Dar El Haja
After this nice visit, we left Ait Benhaddou, and drove to Tisseldai; it was dark now, but we found the hotel we had booked; on top of a cliff high above the town. The hotel was French owned, managed by Moroccan staff, and was very relaxing, with nice wide patios overlooking the (now dark) town below.
After a very peaceful sleep, woke up early morning, and had a nice Moroccan breakfast on the patio. There were some women harvesting the crop below us in a field and they were singing away; so we had breakfast with live music 🙂 . Some views of Tisseldai from patio
We started driving to Marrakech, and the road was thru the High Atlas Mountains. Below are some scenes along the way
Breathtaking views; note the color variations
Gaga over the hairpin bends below
Awaiting business in the High Atlas
One is never far from the ever-present mosque
We finally got to the outskirts of Marrakech after crossing over the High Atlas, and since this is a huge city and since we were going to be inside the old Medina, I called Oussama, our Riad manager, and asked how to get to his place.
He suggested I get to Bahia Palace, where there was parking, and where he would meet us. So I put Bahia Palace on the GPS, and I got somewhere, but it did not look like a Palace. So I called Oussama again, and gave him an idea of where I was, but he did not know this place, so I got him to talk to a couple of youths nearby to explain where we were.
He told me I was too far away, and in the wrong place. GPS had failed us for the first time in Morocco ☹ . The 2 youths asked us to follow their motorcycle and they would show us the place where we were supposed to go. After quite a long ride through Marrakech, we finally arrived, parked and met Oussama.
After some spirited negotiating with the 2 youths, who brought us here, and with the Parking lot attendant, we finally paid $7 and walked with Oussama to Riad Argan.Africa, Morocco, Morocco May 2017
3 thoughts on “Ait Benhaddou, Tisseldai, & onto Marrakech, Morocco”
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Ali-you certainly had a fully packed trip and oh so exciting.
The choice of words describing places you visited are so well expressed. We actually feel we are trotting along with you.
I loved the Mercedes Bakery and the grounds of Sultana Hotel were exotic and so inviting.
I must say, one has to be truly fit to keep up with such an expedition and to keep up with Ali!
Thanks and take care
As usual very informative and great pictures. Brings back a lot of memories as went to the same towns. Did you buy the Rose Water.My mom tells me it is the best she has seen. The factory from where we bought our rose water even made me drink it!!!
Keep it coming. Always look forward to them.