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Morocco - Magical For Holidays
Everyone, from child in arms to the most adventurous toughie, can find something to suit in Morocco. It's a country with not only dripping with cultural curiosities and scenic marvels but also bristling with physical challenges and offbeat opportunities.

Morocco Skiing

Skiing, for instance. The best-known area in Morocco is Oukaimeden, 74 km from Marrakesh, where the main ski months are from mid-December until about end-March, sometimes even later. Snow ploughs keep the roads clear and new ski lifts help to keep things running seamlessly for skiers. Accommodation can be had in rented chalets. Not for the faint-hearted is Tazaghart, a rough, even dangerous place to ski, frequented mainly by professionals with heavy insurance cover for repatriation and injury and equally heavy equipment such as beacons and GPS. Mount Azurki, at 3,600 metres, is perhaps the best skiing area in the country, where trails of over 1,000 metres snake down from the top. Again, this area is for the highly skilled skier only.

Morocco Wild Life

And then there's wildlife watching. The Lac du Sidi Bourhaba is a freshwater lake near Kenitra, where bird watchers and other wildlife enthusiasts walk out on the causeway that spikes out into the lake. Frogs and toads are plentiful in this unspoilt environment and it is not unusual to see marsh harriers swooping down to snap up the beautifully coloured dragonflies. The warbler, the crested coot and the kite may accompany you on your early morning or late afternoon stroll along the narrow banks of the lake. In winter, especially in February, you are almost certain to spot flamingos and godwits. A rarer find is the African marsh owl. In spring the area blooms with brooms, crocuses and marigolds.

Morocco Birds & Beaches

About 22 km from Kenitra are the well-known Plage des Nations and Jardins Exotiques, situated on the road that runs along the coastline. The bird watching in these areas is less rich but the beach is a wonderful place to retreat to around midday. Plage des Nations, named in honour of the diplomatic families that frequent the beach, is great for surfing but the currents are strong and it's not suitable for lone swimmers unfamiliar with its vagaries. Women in bikinis have a more hassle-free time here than elsewhere in Morocco. The Jardins Exotiques, just five km from the beach, were established by a Frenchman named François in the 1950s, but were neglected until the late 1980s, when the Moroccan government began restoring them. Now the gardens are aglow with beautiful and exotic plant life found nowhere else in North Africa.

Morocco Art & Culture

About 45 km outside Meknes is the small town of Khemisset, created by the French with a view to promoting harmony between the Berber tribes of the region. The town's market, or souk, which occurs every Tuesday, is famous for its splendid Berber carpets made in the surrounding villages. Only some 15 km from Khemisset is Lake Roumi, known as Dayet Er Roumi. It is an area rich in birds and lived in by shepherds. In the summer, children swim here, whereas in springtime you could find you have the whole place to yourself. The lake is stocked with fish for the fishing season, but you need to apply to the water and forest office in Khemisset to obtain a daily permit (about £6 per person).

Morocco Adventure

Travellers who are looking for spectacular scenery, where your main activity will be dropping your jaw in awe, should take the road from Meknes to Azrou. Along the road you'll encounter the famous Paysage d'Ito, a volcanic region with an amazing view of the whole area – all the way to Meknes, on a clear day. Nearby Ifrane boasts cedar forests and fossil and mineral stands on cliffs with stunning panoramic views over the whole Azrou valley. Meknes, once Morocco's capital city, is surrounded by rich, fertile ground, lakes and forests, where travellers can enjoy a peaceful retreat.

The Atlas Mountains and the desert beyond are Morocco's true glory, described by one traveller as "lots of different colours of nothing". Camel trekking, kitesurfing, windsurfing, walking, mule trekking (prices start from about £6 per mule and about £9 per guide), climbing and viewing prehistoric rock carvings are among the other active delights of a visit to Morocco.

Of course, Morocco is not all landscape and legwork. There are the souks, the festivals, the mosques and minarets of the capital and other cities, the musicians and snake charmers, the horse-drawn cabs, the shops selling handmade shoes and carpets, the historic landmarks and ancient buildings – enough for a year or two, let alone a brief holiday in this astonishing country.
About the Author
© 2006 Harish Kohli. Harish Kohli is an avid traveller who likes to share good adventure travel ideas with others. He is also CEO of AwimAway.com where he can help tailor-make an experiential or adventure holiday for you.
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