A Week in Morocco: My Spontaneous 1st Trip to Africa

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Living here in Europe, I’ve become quite the victim of spontaneous purchases.

Sometimes it’ll be a train ticket here or there, maybe a nice shirt when I’m out shopping…

Other times, I seem to lose my mind and do crazy things, as I recently did when I got myself a shiny plane ticket bound for Morocco.

After all, there was a RyanAir seat sale! It would have been irresponsible for me not to.

At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.

Save this 1 week in Morocco post for later!

You’ll be glad you did.

Fast forward to the end of January, and there I was in a plane over the Sahara, with the biggest, dorkiest smile on my face.

Stepping off the plane onto the tarmac, I became a giddy mess.

Morocco has been one of my dream trips for so long and here it was: “MARRAKECH MENARA”, before my eyes in giant block letters. It hit me right then… Guys, I was in Africa.

Could life get any better?

We cleared customs rather quickly and soon found ourselves in a cushy shuttle, en route to our hostel for the night. There’s a lot of stereotypes about Moroccan drivers out there, and I can confirm that they are 100% true.

“It’s crazy right? Like Playstation game!” laughed our driver as he weaved in and out through the mess of cars.

While I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of being Grand Theft Auto’d through the streets of Marrakech, I laughed along, eyes glued to the buzzing streets just outside.

The sun had just set, but you could already tell that the city was coming alive.

Hordes of people filtered through the streets, and clustered around us were countless cars and motorbikes.

I felt like I had been transported to a whole new world… that is, until we drove past a KFC. Nothing like ol’ Colonel Sanders to bring you back to Earth, that’s for sure.

When we got out of the car, we were thrown head first into the deep end.

Let one thing be clear: walking around Marrakech at first can be overwhelming. Streets are narrow, winding, and many seemingly lead nowhere…

BUT once you get the hang of things (and master not getting run over), it really is a wildly beautiful city that draws you in with its delicious food, beautiful sights and ah-mazing tile work.

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
Tile game on point inside the Bahia Palace.

Our first two days were dedicated to sightseeing.

Marrakech is a really special city.

Some might call it overly touristic or chaotic, but if you go in with the right mindset and a working knowledge of common scams, then you’re set to have an amazing time. 

From the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa Square (crowded with snake charmers, monkeys and vendors) to the winding maze of souks in the Medina, there is something exciting to see at every turn.

This is how we spent our first few days – exploring and absorbing the unrivalled insanity of Marrakech.

Two special highlights for me were the Bahia Palace and Marjorelle Garden.

Both offered beautiful and tranquil escapes from the incessant chaos of the city.

The Bahia (AKA the beautiful) is a 19th century palace that boasts gorgeous courtyards and lavish architecture, while the Marjorelle Garden is a real life oasis, a botanical garden filled with greenery and abundant splashes of electric blue.

The photo opps were endless… and I really couldn’t resist!

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.


Of course, one of the most exciting bits of Marrakech was getting to peruse the markets of the Medina.

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
My travel buddy K ‘souk’ing it all in.

Scarves, shoes, spices, silverware…

These markets had all kinds of goods in abundance.

By the end of the trip, I was essentially a haggling addict.

Trust me, I took a lot of joy in calling out shopkeepers on their tourist prices (which were often 10x or more the final price they would sell for).

The greatest compliment I received was when one of them told me I was haggling like a real Berber woman.

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
the face of a master haggler.

The rest of our time was spent enjoying the day trips and excursions offered through our hostel.

We did three in total, and I loved every single one.

I was constantly pinching myself, asking if there was any way this trip could get better, and to my (happy) surprise, it consistently did.

First of all – we rode camels.

I repeat: WE GOT TO RIDE CAMELS! And yes, it was just as cool and bumpy and awesome as I always imagined…

Yes, this happened1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
Yes, this happened.

Our camel guides were probably no more than 12 years old, but they were pretty ideal companions for our 1.5 hour stroll through the grove.

They helped us capture tons of great moments on camera, and also offered up a few fun facts along the way (my friend’s camel was pregnant!).

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
Posing with my handsome steed, Michael

The day after, we took a trip to the beautiful seaside city of Essaouira. 

Everything about this place was an absolute dream. From the warm toasty weather to the salty ocean air, our time here was a welcome break from the insanity of Marrakech.

It was around noon when we arrived, so the first order of business was lunch, where we indulged in an epic patio feast.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the city’s blue and white streets, hunting for treasures in the markets and of course, digging our toes into Essaouira’s soft, sandy beaches.

It was absolute perfection (despite the crazy wind!).

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.


Our last excursion took us to the highest waterfalls in Northern Africa: Ouzoud Falls. We had to hike for 45 minutes with a guide before actually reaching the falls, but once we got there, wow. 

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
How incredible is Mother Nature?

We had plenty of stops for photos, and even took a boat ride to see them up close.

This experience was topped off with a delicious tagine lunch and a very scenic walk back to our coach.

Some of the others from our group spotted wild monkeys as we walked, but I must have been too fixated on the waterfalls to notice!

Can you blame me…?

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
Casual little boat ride.

And on one last note, I must cast the spotlight on Moroccan food.

I can officially confirm that Morocco knows its way around a meal. 

From mouthwatering tagines to fluffy mounds of couscous, I ate like a queen this entire week.

I drank more freshly squeezed orange juice than water, but hey, at 40 cents per cup, how could I not?

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.

It is painfully impossible to sum up this trip in words and photos, but I hope I did it some justice!

Quite honestly, this was one of my favourite trips from the past year.

My only regret is not having time to explore some cities in the North.

Of course, as I always say – it just means I need to go back.

1 week Morocco itinerary + trip inspiration. Great guide for fun activities in Morocco, places to see and activity suggestions for Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Ouzoud Falls.
See you again soon, Morocco!

Travelling to Morocco soon? You might also find these posts helpful…

My 14 Best Tips for Safety in Morocco + Common Scams

A Guide on What to Wear in Morocco + a Free Packing List

18 Super Important Must-Knows Before You Travel to Morocco

The Glittering Magic of Morocco (in Photos)

1 Week in Morocco (Travel Diary)


 


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52 thoughts on “A Week in Morocco: My Spontaneous 1st Trip to Africa”

  1. I agree, Morocco is incredibly beautiful, however the food was one of the biggest disappointments for us!

    It’s not that it wasn’t tasty, but after a couple of weeks it became very repetitive (aside from the occasional gem).

    Once we hit the coast, it was a welcome relief to be able to get some fresh seafood! πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • Haha I can see where you’re coming from… a few weeks of nothing but tagine and couscous would probably drive me insane. Luckily we had a break in Essaouira (where the seafood was amazing!!) so I didn’t get a chance to grow tired of the food!

      Reply
  2. You look ecstatic- and rightly so! Morocco is stunning, got to love a place with freshly squeezed juice at 40 cents. Can’t wait to ride a camel myself and see such a stunning waterfall!

    Reply
  3. haha! I’ve to agree, Europe is so centrally located and offers such brilliant ease of access to residents/citizens, it’s got to be one of the best places to make base out of. I love how some of these ancient parts of the world, like Morocco, have the most interesting markets ever!

    Reply
    • Yes! I love visiting markets everywhere I go because I feel like it really gives you a sense of that city’s culture. Morocco was no exception πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • Haha the whole ‘walk away’ tactic usually works… If they’re not willing to lower the price to what you want, just walk off and they’ll often give in. Also especially in Morocco, the prices they give you can be 7-10x the actual price they’re willing to sell it for, so what I found was helpful was telling them straight up “I’ve been here a couple days… I know how much things are worth. I got that scarf at another stall for x euros” haha. Letting them know you’re not another gullible tourist tends to be very helpful!

      Reply
  4. Wow! You are living my Morocco dream. If I will fly to Africa that’s the first country that I would love to visit. I love the architecture. You rode a camel that’s awesome and I never thought thay they have that awesome waterfalls πŸ™‚

    Reply
  5. I loved Morrocco! My first visit was a cross the sea by ferry. It was an incredible journey and your pictures brought back so many memories!

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    • From Spain, I assume? That must have been such a cool trip. I’d love to head back and see the Northern part of the country someday.

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    • Thanks Kevin! And really? I’m surprised to hear that. I assumed Ouzoud Falls were one of the biggest attractions near Marrakech haha.

      Reply
    • Wow three months! That’s amazing. I really want to head back sometime and spend longer there… maybe see some cities in the North πŸ™‚ And thank you. I actually use Lightroom to process my photos.

      Reply
  6. I love the camel photo….awesome shot! Where did you do your camel ride, and did they provide you with the attire? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey Victoria, yes they provided us with the attire! And we did one of those packaged tours from Marrakech that every company seems to be selling. It was a camel ride in the ‘palm grove’ I believe, only 15-20 minutes drive from Marrakech.

      Reply
  7. Thank you for sharing! I got inspired by your post and am planning a trip this upcoming December/January ! I was wondering what hostel did you stay at??

    Reply
    • Ahhh so awesome, Andrea! You’re gonna love Marrakech. I stayed at the Kif-Kif Marrakech and it was fine (and super super cheap) but it’s definitely very backpacky and some of the staff can be a bit odd. It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re big on luxury, comfort and cleanliness, then Kif Kif is probably not the best choice. It is really social though and the rooftop is amazing.

      Reply
  8. Hello Christina,

    Really glad to know you are happy with your Morocco little adventure tour, I like the way your Camel smile back to you and that your buddy is ‘Souk’ing it all in :-). Welcome back next time with new tour maybe from the North (Tangier, Chefchaouen & Fes) down to the southern Morocco Sahara Desert to meet the desert with pure soft dunes. Spend the night under the stars in a private camp.
    Keep up the great work,
    Happy Travel

    Reply
    • Ohh my gosh you’re gonna love it. I just booked a trip to go back for my birthday this year in December (but this time, to Fes!) Can’t wait πŸ™‚

      Reply
  9. Thanks for sharing, Morocco is a marvelous Countery, I was very impressed with Iddir who is the owner of Marvelous Morocco Tours and who was also my guide for my three-day tour from Fez to Marrakech. Not only is Iddir incredibly knowledgeable about the area, he is also an experienced and smooth driver through rough terrain and winding roads. He carefully prepares the travel for you knowing when to stop and how long to spend at each cultural site. As a history lover, he will share his insights about the history of Morocco and its current political landscape. I thoroughly enjoyed discussing the history and culture with him during the dinners, and the conversations on the road. The desert trek on the camel was pretty uncomfortable due to the saddle, but the scenery was gorgeous! Hassan , Iddir’s brother (the owner of the desert camp) was also very friendly and kind. Hassan cooked an incredible meal, one of the best I had in Morocco! Iddir’s family was very kind and welcoming to foreigners. It was a pleasure to meet them! I was a female solo traveler and felt very comfortable throughout the trip. Iddir was very kind to take photos of me at the landmarks. If I can make it back to Morocco, I will definitely contact Iddir ( Marvelous-moroccotours.com ) for another tour!

    Reply
  10. Were you there in February? We are planning a February trip to Marrakech and Essaouira also, and I wasn’t sure how warm it would actually be. I’ve heard Essaouria is pretty windy?

    Reply
    • Hi Christina, my memory is fuzzy now but it was either end of January or beginning of Feb! YES Essaouira was lovely but really windy and it gets pretty cold at night in Marrkaech too. I would definitely bring a jacket with you!

      Reply
  11. Hi Christina,

    Thanks for writing this really helpful post. I was wondering how you travelled from city to city. It seems like the trains could be a good option? I am planning a trip this fall, but I’m still working out the logistics. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Andrea, for this trip, we only left Marrakech on day trips and booked those day trips through a tour operator that our riad owner knew. On a separate trip, I took buses and it was fine! I don’t have any experience with trains though, sorry!

      Reply
  12. This was a wonderful post. I am traveling to Morocco next Monday and this was just what I wanted to red to prepare myself. Safe future travels!!

    Reply
  13. Christina, first of all, should thank for sharing such a wonderful post, it looks you have completely merged with a great culture of Morocco, it is not mere sightseeing, pics are truly wonderful and inspiring.

    Reply

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