We absolutely love Morocco, from its stunning landscapes, to its fresh, seasonal foods and its incredible artisan crafts. We chatted with our local guide Adil to see what he loves most about his country, and why he wants to share it with the world. Here’s what he had to say, from the eyes of a local.
1. It’s Africa, but it’s not Africa
Morocco is in many ways a stunning country. It is nestled on the northwestern tip of Africa, separated from the rest of the continent by the towering Atlas Mountains and by the Sahara desert. Its climate, geography, and history are all more closely related to the Mediterranean than to the rest of Africa, and for this reason visitors are often struck by the odd sensation of having not quite reached Africa.
2. It’s open minded and progressive
Morocco is a proud Muslim country but also very Westernized and open minded, a fact that makes it interesting and more appealing to travelers that wants to discover the Arab and African world but not worry about any strict Islamic laws when it comes to a day to day life. Many ethnicities and religions live together here in peace. For travelers, it’s very safe. Trains and buses are easy to use, locals are hospitable and friendly, and women can feel comfortable traveling solo or with company.
3. It's a haven for social change
Social change in Morocco has made a lot of progress in the past 15 years, which puts Morocco in an advantage from its African and North African countries. On one hand, the youth are now more aware of the need of innovation and creation, making projects. At the same time, many groups are working hard to preserve artisan traditions, like at the Berber textile co-op that we support which empowers rural women, the backbone of their local communities.
4. Its cultural heritage is unique
I'm proud to be a Moroccan especially being born and raised in the great Sahara desert. Morocco is a land of many cultures and ethnicities. So many civilizations have passed through here and left their print, from the native Berbers and their textile traditions, to the language and religion of the Moors, to the culinary influences of the French. This Morocco incredibly unique in term of cultural and historical heritage.
5. Farm-to-table is the norm
Most of us Moroccans probably take this for granted, but food is incredibly fresh here especially compared to much of the globalized Western model. We get our bread fresh-baked every morning (often delivered to our door!), and the streets and roadsides abound with seasonal produce like pomegranates, figs, dates, oranges, eggplant and squash. If you have any fresh cheese, olives or herbs with your meal they probably came from down the road. And meat is typically fresh butchered – in fact, one of our guests during our Morocco Yoga Retreat took a cooking class, and included in the ingredients that they bought at the market was a live chicken! (Which of course the seller butchered for them, thankfully.)
Interested in experiencing Morocco for yourself? Join our Morocco itinerary this year!