Sensory Overload on the Moroccan Nature Trail

This article first appeared on our sister site International Luxury Travel Reviews.

Article and photos by Mustapha Aderraz, co-founder of Moroccan Nature Trail

10614195_10202410170929577_615147552079795085_nAmazing, diverse natural landscapes are never far away in the Kingdom of Morocco.  Desert, mountains, valleys and ocean, the country has plenty to offer lovers of the outdoors.  Travelers of all levels will love walking the Moroccan mountains, riding camels in golden desert dunes, surfing the Atlantic Ocean and discovering all kinds of traditions, cultures and people.

Marrakech, also called the “Red City,” has always been the best place to start your Moroccan experience – a place full of magic with its countless markets, gardens, palaces and mosques. Spend a whole day exploring the Medina and its secret courtyards and winding streets – on foot, bicycle, horse-drawn carriage.  (Camels stay outside the Medina gates.)   Then relax in the calm and serenity prevailing at Jardin Majorelle or admire the splendor of one of the oldest mosques in the city (however, note that you will not be allowed to enter the mosque if you are not religious Muslim).

Just a short distance from the city, visit the High Atlas, North Africa’s greatest mountain range, which contains some of the most intriguing and beautiful regions of Morocco. The High Atlas is both a historical and physical barrier between the northern plains and the pre-Sahara; its Berber-populated valleys feel very remote from the country’s mainstream or urban life.

Morocco is a country rich in history, tradition and culture, most of which is tied to its official religion of Islam. The Berbers are believed to be the original inhabitants dating back to around 8000 BC, and still make up a large part of the population today. Since then the country has been settled, colonized and reclaimed by several different nations including the Phoenicians during the Roman Empire, the flourish of Islam under the Idrisid Empire, the Alouite Dynasty, and French and Spanish protectorate lasting until 1956 when Morocco gained its independence from France. Many of the customs, laws, and practices within Islam widely influence the people and the culture of Morocco today.

1505012_10202412114058154_4248421548732955231_nTaking a trip to the desert by crossing the Atlas Mountains , will allow you the visit the amazing Kasbahs ( fortified villages)  where you discover the art of architecture. One of the best examples of a Kasbah on the way to the desert, in the middle of the High Atlas Mountains is Ait ben Haddou Kasbah, which is a fortified city along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day of  Morocco . Most citizens there now are living in a modern nearby village, although there are four families still living in the ancient city. This giant fortification, which is made up of six forts and nearly fifty palaces, which are themselves individual forts, is a great example of earthen clay architecture, which is also used in Moroccan architecture .

If you are outdoor traveler and like to spend a night under the desert sky, take trip with “Moroccan Nature Trail” as a travel agency can realize your dreams.

Moroccan Nature Trail Tour Guide Team was initially founded by two ambitious educated guys– Mustapha Aderraz and Farid Aos – who wanted to better help visitors explore and experience Morocco.  Their trips offer beautiful mountain and desert landscapes, many Berber villages and a night under the desert sky. starting from Marrakech driving through the High Atlas Mountains towards Ouarzazat, crossing the Tizi N Tichka pass, 2260m high.  From there onward to Roses, Dades and Toudgha Valleys. The journey ends in the Merzouga desert where you can ride camels in Erg Chabbi dunes to the nomad camp and spend the evening around a camp fire, under an amazing sky.

Essaouira is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, on the Atlantic coast. Since the 16th century, the city has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador or Mogadore. The Berber name means “the Wall,” a reference to the fortress walls that originally enclosed the city.  Archaeological research shows that Essaouira has been occupied since prehistoric times. The bay at Essaouira is partially sheltered by the island of Mogador, making it a peaceful harbor protected against strong marine winds.  Essaouira has long been considered as one of the best anchorages of the Moroccan coast. The Carthaginian navigator Hanno visited in the 5th century BC and established the trading post of Arambys.  Around the end of the 1st century BCE or early 1st century CE, the Berber king Juba II established a Tyrian purple factory, processing the murex and purpura shells found in the intertidal rocks at Essaouira and the Iles Purpuraires.  This dye colored the purple stripe in Imperial Roman Senatorial togas.  A Roman villa was excavated on Mogador Island.  A Roman vase was found as well as coinage from the 3rd century CE. Most of the artifacts are now visible in the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum and the Rabat Archaeological Museum.

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Hike the High Atlas or head south to the Sahara, whatever way you choose to take in Morocco, it is a nature trail and offers you an experience like no other!