I had always wanted to visit Morocco, so when the plane landed you can imagine my excitement, seeing Morocco and it’s horses! Our driver met us and off we went into Marrakech. The city was alive with colours, the rugs, the scarves, the food, the spices. (Oh, the spices. I am a foodie as you will learn.) Fresh fruit of all kinds. It was late April so harvest was bountiful.
The cuisine in Morocco is carefully crafted and full of flavour. The ornate bread baskets were placed at the table along with the colourful ceramic dishes everything was served on. I never got tired of having Tagine, the local clay baked stews. Lamb, fish, beef.. slowly roasted with fresh prunes, plump sultanas, steamed apricots and the sweet root vegetables.
One of my favourite stops was the Selman Hotel. Over the top luxury with stables in the back gardens. Luscious green grass and horses grazing poolside. Idyllic. Paddock length fountains. Did I mention the world class Arabians? Upon entering the barn, you immediately knew where you were from the architecture. Painted red walls, the columns, the open doorways. It was in fact, a horse palace.
And of course the National Stud in Marrakech was a must see. We photographed a number of stunning Arabian Stallions, not one wasn’t a beautiful depiction of it’s breed.
We carried on to the coast of Essaouira. This north African town is full of life, yet somewhat remote and oddly quiet. Sandy white beaches, vivid green ocean along the Atlantic coast, people windsurfing, kite skiing, and camels and horse riding. (You knew there’d be camels and horses at some point.)
If you love seafood, you’ll love Essaouira. Before dawn the fishing boats arrive at the docks, the local restaurants are the first to filter in, stocking up for the day. The cats hang around waiting for the fisherman to throw them a fresh meal, and they do. The dockside outdoor restaurants offer a great selection of fish and shellfish for you to choose from, and they’ll cook them up for you and serve you picnic lunch style by the ocean. It doesn’t get much fresher.
Further along the coast were the grey rock, 18th-century seafront ramparts called the Skala de la Kasbah. These are stone sea walls and brass cannons running the waters edge. I was blessed to have my hotel room right at the wall, so with my windows wide open I got to hear the waves thrash and batter the coastline as a muted roar every night, lulling me to sleep like a fancy meditation tape.. On those nights I never wanted to leave.
Then, out to the Sahara..trekking across the Atlas mountains in all their beauty, stopping to enjoy Tagine and a mint tea at a small mountainside restaurant. We ate outside and took in the view of the mountains and the families going about their daily routine. Ouarzazat, the Hollywood of Morocco, an oasis in the middle of the desert, was the destination. The landscape was spectacular. Mountains, palm trees, mountain streams as clear as glass, green, green grasses and surrounded by desert as far as the eye could see. Here is where we were able to photograph Arabians and Barbs and their handlers in full native regalia.
An amazing experience from start to finish, definitely a place I would love to return. I would highly recommend the experience. If only for the food.. and a mint tea.