Three weeks in Morocco inclusive of all flights, accommodation and travel for only £545 – sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s what I thought when I first saw the deal pop up on my Facebook feed. However, after a glance at the Overlanders website I was intrigued by this small family business which has been running tours around Europe and the Middle East in old school buses since the 60s. Maroc ‘N’ Roll is the original and possibly one of the most action packed trips they offer.
It seemed like an opportunity too good to miss.
I was intrigued by this small family business which has been running tours around Europe and the Middle East in old school buses since the 60s.
After meeting my fellow adventurers at the airport along with our guides and driver, our trip began in the windy city of Essaouira on Morocco’s west coast. Here we had a go at quad biking and horse riding which both involved taking in beautiful views of the beach and sand dunes. We also sampled a bit of the nightlife and had fun dancing and listening to live music on the rooftop terrace of Taros bar.
Next we travelled to the bustling and vibrant city of Marrakesh, where we haggled in the souks and enjoyed the delights of the main square, which came alive at night with drumming and snake charmers. A surprise thunderstorm also made our experience of the city more interesting, as in a matter of minutes the weather shifted from unbearable heat to torrential rain and we had to wade through the streets to get back to our hotel.
The next day we drove an hour into the Atlas mountains where we began our ascent of Mount Toubkal, which at 14,000ft is the highest mountain in North Africa. The trek took us through Berber villages and up into goat-populated hills. The first day we journeyed to base camp, and from there we rose at 4am the next day to continue on to the summit. I struggled a bit with altitude sickness, but when I made it to the top the sense of achievement was almost overwhelming and it all seemed worth it for the breathtaking views.
Once we’d scrambled down the mountain and were back in Marrakesh we decided to soothe our aching muscles by visiting a traditional Moroccan spa known as a Hammam. This involved getting naked in a steamy room, being lathered in oils, and enjoying a nice massage. It wasn’t until afterwards that we realised the boys’ experience had been less relaxing and more traumatising since they’d been offered massages of the happy ending variety!
We had one last night in Marrakesh and slept on the rooftop of our hotel, lulled to sleep by the humdrum of the traffic and the calls to prayer. The next day we drove a few hours east to Cascades d’Ouzoud; a stunning collection of waterfalls. Here we camped out under the stars and were treated to some delicious traditional couscous and tagine. For the more thrill-seeking amongst us there was the option to jump off the waterfalls but I just preferred swimming in the shallows and chilling with a good book.
After a couple of days we were on the move again and this time we drove to Ait Benhaddou, also known as the Hollywood of Morocco. Here we had a hotel in the desert with a pool exclusively to ourselves which added to the feeling of peaceful isolation. From here we were able to explore some of the set of Gladiator and see where parts of Game Of Thrones had been filmed.
We had one last night in Marrakesh and slept on the rooftop of our hotel, lulled to sleep by the humdrum of the traffic and the calls to prayer.
Next we journeyed to Todra Gorge and continued on to Merzouga, where for only 300dh (£25) we were able to go on a camel trek into the Sahara which included our evening meal. Like Lawrence of Arabia we rode into the desert astride our camels, wearing scarves around our faces to protect us from the wind and the sand. I was one of only a few of us who managed to get up at 4am the next day to see the sunrise over the dunes. It was definitely worth the early wake up call.
That same day we drove south, where we stopped to camp out overnight in a pine forest. The stark contrast in environment made me realise just how vast and varied Morocco is in terms of its landscapes. In the morning we fed some wild monkeys who weren’t scared to take fruit from our hands.
Our trip ended in the beautiful town of Chefchaouen, which is nestled in the Rif mountains and instantly recognisable by its blue and white buildings. From here we had a day trip to Paradise falls in Akchour, which is a collection of streams flanked by red rocks. This provided the perfect setting for us to all wind down and reflect after a couple of weeks of non-stop action.
I would definitely recommend Maroc ‘N’ Roll to anyone. If you want to fully experience the variety which Morocco has to offer, gain a local’s perspective and make some great friends then this is the trip for you.