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Morocco has been a headline destination for at least a decade now, but if you believe the travel press, life there stops in the riads of Marrakesh or, at a pinch, in those of Fez and Essaouira. But in the last year or so, after the tragic massacres of tourists in Tunisia, even those headline places are slowing. So what about the rest of it?

Morocco_Anti-Atlas


Morocco gets endless coverage in the travel press, but this often focuses on glitzy riads in Marrakesh, Essaouira or Fez. Push the boat out and you might reach Tangier (see an earlier post www.fionadunlop.com/blog/2009/03/14/tripping-tangiers/). These magical guesthouses which so cleverly blend Moroccan craftwork with Western style, are generally foreign-owned. Nothing wrong with that, and I love staying in them, but on my recent foray to the deep south, I was delighted to discover a couple of locally-owned guesthouses in stunning rural kasbahs or ksars (castles).


This time last week I was deep in the Sahara, exploring a completely mesmerising oasis town. Ghadames, on the Libyan- Algerian border, made me feel like Alice in Wonderland, drawn deeper and deeper through the twisting lanes of a mysterious rabbit-hole that in this case once housed thousands of people. Beautifully constructed from whitewashed mud-brick walls with palm-wood ceilings and doors, occasionally decorated with intricate geometric patterns, this secret town metaphorically blew me away.