This article was originally published (in print) in the June 2018 edition of Emersons Green Voice (and sister publications).
Any traveller will tell you that there are many different sides to Morocco. There’s the crazy bedlam that is Marrakech, relaxing beach side resorts in Agadir, desert landscapes high up in the Atlas Mountains and the picturesque views of Paradise Valley.
The myriad of landscapes is harmonised with the diversity of the language too. Did you know that you’ll hear Arabic, Berber and French when exploring Morocco? It’s these unique qualities that help make Morocco as magical as it is today.
During our Moroccan adventure, we explored the top attractions that Agadir had to offer, got lost in the souks of Marrakech and marvelled at the beauties of Paradise Valley. And now I’m here to clue you in on a little piece of our trip.
Despite Agadir being destroyed by an earthquake in 1960, the rebuilt city is now a thriving hub of seaside resorts and vacationing tourists, with glimpses of Agadir’s past shining through all of that. The Oufella Ruins, a medieval kasbah, which looks down on the city from atop a mountain wasn’t rebuilt after the earthquake, showcasing what ancient Agadir may once have looked like and also how bad the earthquake really was.
And not too far from Agadir is the outstanding Paradise Valley. We knew we’d stumbled on something special as soon as we saw acres of palm trees, colourful roadside cafes and the most incredible views across the Moroccan landscape. This was when we understood that Paradise Valley really is exactly that – paradise.
You can explore the valley on foot or by car, and you will find winding rivers, cavernous gorges, tropical palm trees and many impressive viewpoints. If you want to follow in my footsteps, I’d highly recommend coming here with several hours to spare as you’ll find it very difficult to leave. I can also recommend a couple of rest stops within the valley: Cafe Tropic, where you can chill out by the river, and the Panoramic Cafe, which offers traditional Moroccan mint tea and views across the valley from its terrace.
Many visitors to Morocco also recommend popular Marrakech, mostly for the souks, but there is so much more to this popular destination than just that. You’ll also find the mesmerising Bahia Palace, which was built for a Sultan; the ancient Islamic college of Ben Youssef Madrasa, and endless riads perfect for whiling away a few hours in.
My only slight hesitation in all that I saw within Morocco was how booming the animal tourism trade is. Riding camels and taking photos with snakes and monkeys are very popular things to do in Morocco, but sadly these animals are often mistreated, and with each sale, more money is pumped into this trade.
But if you can look beyond that and see Morocco for the vibrant and diverse place that it is, then you’re in for a very memorable trip. Will I see you there?