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Tarfaya Culture and History

Tarfaya is a city, previously also known as Villa Bens during the Spanish period, located in the Laâyoune Province of the Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra region of southwestern Morocco. It is a port town on the Atlantic coast, close to Cape Juby, which shares its name with the southern region of Morocco, and is located 890 km southwest of Rabat. According ot the 2004 census, Tarfaya has a population of 5,615, the smallest of the four municipalities of the region, but it is the only one outside of the disputed Western Sahara.

File:Casa Mar Fortress in Tarfaya 2011.jpg
In the 1920s, the French commercial air carrier Aéropostale constructed an airfield here. A small monument now stands at that site to honour the air carrier, its pilots in general and the French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in particular. He served as station manager here during his career as an airmail pilot.

Tarfaya was occupied by the British in 1882, when they built a trading post called Casa del Mar. The building is currently in a state of complete disrepair. The Sahrawi tribes[which?] then solicited the intervention of Sultan Hassan I who negotiated the withdrawal of the British in 1885 by acquiring their trading office[citation needed]. In 1912 the territory of Tarfaya, then named Cape Juby, was occupied by Spain as part of the Spanish Sahara. The greater Cape Juby region plus Tarfaya were unified with Morocco in 1958, at the end of the Ifni War.

The wreck of Assalama
In early 2008, a ferry service was established between Tarfaya and Puerto del Rosario[citation needed]. The car ferry Assalama, operated by the shipping company Naviera Armas made the trip three times a week[citation needed]. It was the first ferry service between the Canary Islands and the coast of Africa[citation needed]. The anticipated car traffic between the Canaries and Morocco provided a modest economic upturn for the town.

This ferry service was, however, halted due to an accident on 30 April 2008, during a botched maneuver in the port. The ferry struck a sandbar and later sank in shallow water near Tarfaya. The Panama registered passenger ferry Assalama was wrecked after leaving Tarfaya in poor weather. The vessel was about five miles offshore when high seas washed over its deck and it began to list and be carried back to shore. 

Passengers and crew were successfully evacuated by Tarfaya fishermen as the ferry only had 2 obsolete lifeboats for 113 passengers after the ship beached on a sandbank just off the port entrance. Approximately 80,000 litres of fuel oil were spilt, severely damaging the local fishing industry. No compensations have been given for the loss of belongings or vehicles in the incident.

File:Paseo Maritimo en Tarfaya (Marruecos).jpg
Tarfaya's association with Aéropostale began in 1927. The airmail carrier, based in Toulouse, France, was founded by French industrialist Pierre-Georges Latécoère, who envisioned an air route connecting France to its French colonies in Africa. Latécoère firmly believed in the future of aviation as a means of commercial transportation and communication between people.
The nearby Cape Juby airfield was an important refueling and stopover station for Aéropostale. Author-aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was named its station manager in 1927. There he remained for 18 months, on occasion negotiating with the rebellious Moorish tribes to release his imprisoned pilots, as he wrote in his first novel, Southern Mail.
On 28 September 2004 a museum opened in honour of the memory of Aéropostale, Saint-Exupéry and its pilots, supported notably by the city of Toulouse and French aircraft maker Airbus. The museum was inaugurated by renowned aviation journalist Bernard Chabbert, whose father was also part of Aéropostale's history.

Tarfaya: the city that inspired The Little Prince

Tarfaya: the city that inspired The Little Prince
Tarfaya: the city that inspired The Little Prince

Throughout the world, The Little Prince is considered one of the most read books. It has been translated into more than two hundred languages, and has been considered by critics as the most read book after the Quran and the Bible.

Most readers know of the story and the writer, but they seldom know that the writer was inspired by Trafaya, the little city in the south of Morocco that stands on two oceans; the Atlantic Ocean and the ocean of the desert.
In 1927, Antoine de Saint-Exupery arrived to Tarfaya as a representative of the air postal company he worked for. Between 1927 and 1929, Exupery spent eighteen months in the heart of the Sahara. The time he spent in the desert inspired the French poet to write his famous literary work a year before his death in 1943.

During his stay in the desert of Tarfaya, Saint-Exupery built good relations with the people of the region and its natural elements. He received inspiration from the nights, the stars, the moon, the dunes, the weather and the beauty of the Sahara. The nature of the Sahara positively impacted the poetic mind and the literary imagination of the pilot and watered his creative skills to write.

“The Little Prince is a poetic tale, self-illustrated in watercolors, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince that has fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes societal criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world.”

Philosophically speaking, The Little Prince stands for the little child and the little philosopher inside every human being who never stops asking questions about life, being and living, and who always chases answers and solutions to our existential dilemma on earth as humans.

We keep growing up, changing ages, stages, places on the road of living, but many of us seem to be unsatisfied with the answers we get from adults about the meaning of life. This is what pushes us continuously to enrich our experience and to build our knowledge, identities and personalities.

Saint-Exupery did not write his novel while he was in Tarfaya. He waited for nearly fourteen years for his memories and imagination to settle into his mind and flourish. Fourteen years was enough to produce a great piece of art and to attract a great number of readers all over the world and in all languages.

The desert, the stars, the dunes, the snakes and the search for the sheep and a well inside the desert are elements that are well exploited, literarily and poetically, by the writer in The Little Prince.

On page forty-eight, the snake declares, “this is the desert. There are no people in the desert. The earth is large”. Then the the Little Prince clearly claims his love of the desert in page sixty-two when he said, “I have always loved the desert. One sits on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, and hears nothing. Yet, through the silence something throbs, and gleams”.
Of course, this is the context of inspiration and creativity that poets search and strive for. Many poets long to be in the middle of nowhere, where they hear nothing and have the opportunity to listen to their inner voices of writing and creating.

“All men love the stars”, The Little Prince answered, “but they are not the same thing for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others, they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For businessman, they were wealth. But all these stars are silent.”

According to Mr Mrabih Rabo Sadat Chbahto, president of Tarfaya’s Friends Association, “Saint-Exupery has been inspired by Trafaya and by the period of time he spent in our city. For us, The Little Prince would never be written if Saint-Exupery hadn’t been here. The desert, the stars, the ocean, the sand dunes and the wisdom of the people of the desert have inspired the writer and this can be seen by the readers of the Little Prince”.

Tarfaya has not forgotten its writer and every year the city organizes the festival of The Little Prince on the ocean. It is an opportunity to meet the family of Saint-Exupery, and to converse with his national and international readers and famous literary critics who come to Tarfaya to celebrate Saint- Exupery. People come from all over the world to praise the pilot, poet, writer and man who wrote The Little Prince, and most importantly to discover the city that inspired this world renowned story.

Tamellalte, the Forgotten Town – Short Story

Tamellalte, the Forgotten Town – Short Story
That time, I woke up early. I had looked at the sky. And then I looked at the other side of the river through the window. I was looking at buses and cars that were interrupted by the bray of a donkey going by. It was a cold day but with breezy weather. It was still an hour and half left until breakfast time. My mother had already woken up and she managed, as usual, to go to the orchards to bring the herbs for the sheep and cows. My little brother was still sleeping. He was laughing at my face even though he was asleep. He never looked at the window to the other world. Luckily, he was not tall enough to do so; but he would be able to very soon. I made no noise that might make him up. He was there until the sun burnt his face then he would wake up. As I had finished praying, my mother came out in her traditional dress, scythe in one hand and a piece of case in the other. It was a very nice morning. The vapor from amalal (the traditional kitchens) was scattered over the whole town; the smell of broth could be tested everywhere. People came out of their houses one by one like squirrels. Most of them, if not all, went to Igran (orchards); there life would be.

As I accompanied my mother to the orchards, a very deep attractive silence appealed to me to go ahead and goroaming across the orchards. But there was a furious sound of barking. It was of dogs. Dogs my mother feared too much. In fact our region was of countless dogs, but let them be. No way. I remembered her meticulous advice that she told me once. “Look my son; life is of difficulties; everybody has his raison d’être which he is made to fulfill but enemies and dogs are always barking at him. So never ever gaze at barking dogs; they are less mighty once you neglect them, however numerous they are.” I could not understand why she feared dogs and at the same time inspired me with encouragement and confidence.

Once my mother dispersed, got into the orchard, and hid behind the tall corn, I went to the river side. On my way to the river, I came across four girl-students but did not talk to them. They kept gazing at me. They were shivering from the cold. They were crossing the deep dark river, but they were happy. The school was six kilometres from their hometown. I could not control my anger after witnessing that scene of young girls crossing the lethal deep river of Draa. Abruptly I came back to the orchard. I sat under a date palm. I tried to contemplate the advice of my mother; I thought of it fastidiously and for a long time…. She was right. Dogs. She meant perhaps the ones with did not bark sound but that would bite at any occasion.

Tamellalte was bitten. I was really obsessed in my mind with many problems facing it. Tamellalte was really a forgotten town. I could not do more than confess that we had not yet been treated as human beings. WE WERE FORGOTTEN. I always asked some questions which drove me crazy; they should be answered however. What was the problem with those innocent students crossing the river? Why were we not able to have the infrastructure like those on the other side of which my little brother was not aware? Why the mitigating, undermining, neglecting, forgetting and dehumanising of us? Were those pregnant women who were in labour and were taken on mule-back doomed to death just because they were on the other side –the forgotten side- where technology and means of transportation were of negligible importance? I would never forget the woman who wanted to give birth to a child, was in labour, and went to the hospital on her feet; at the end, a nurse told her that she was not in labour and accordingly not about to give birth; she left the hospital, felt giddy and gave birth luckily in the house of a woman she had been acquainted with before.
Who was to blame? Of course, the one who was not a part of the problem could be a part of the solution. We wanted to feel that we were human. Who would change our status quo? Was it my mother who still believed that we were born to be so? Or was it the leader of the region who outsmarted and flattered people and described them as generous, benign, patient, and the like? I could not swallow at ease what I had been told that some girl-students on their way to the school were blackmailed and racially taunted as well as sexually harassed by the gangs. The other scapegoat was the one who came to celebrate the Eid (a religious holiday) with his family; he unfortunately was stoned and laid sick for three weeks. Circa 2000, Tamellalte did not have a concrete bridge; they had a bridge made of the logs of date palms. Once there was flood, the whole town would be isolated.

Out of the blue, my mother arrived from the orchard with a heavy load of herbs. She could read wrath in my face. She asked about what made me pale. I said “Dogs mom,” “Dogs mom,” “Dogs mom.” “But I did not hear their bark,” said my mother. You were made to hear them mom and because you were forgotten and in a forgotten town.

BM Events organized its first event for the benefit of Children

On July 13, Princess Lala Zineb inaugurated BM Events’ first event in Morocco at Villa Jawhara in Rabat, alongside its founder Yassine Abouyaala and many influential political and artistic figures from Morocco and abroad.
BM Events organized its first event for the benefit of Children
On this occasion, BM Events organized, in collaboration with a number of media agencies, its first event entitled, “La Nuit du Beldi” (an evening of traditional attire), for the benefit of Lala Meriem Center for Children Protection.

The goal was to bring awareness to the needs of these children in hopes of granting them the help and attention they need. Nabila Kilani hosted the event with a number of honorary guests, namely Moroccan actress Latifa Ahrar, the actress Wassila Subhi, Anas al-Baz, Farid Rajraji and the journalist Imane Kada.

In an atmosphere typical of the holy month of Ramadan, the invitees broke their fast right before the kick-off of the sublime fashion exhibition planned for the event.

The designers who showcased their magnificent work included, Meriem Belkhayat, Abdul Hanin Alruah, Safaa Ebrahimi, Amani Giati, Abdulwahab Bnhdo, and Abdul Wahad Belghazi.

The ceremony also featured singing performances, offered by two talented young Moroccan singers, Yousra Saouf, one of the most fascinating voices who participated in Arab Idol’s second edition, and Mourad Bouriki, the winner of The Voice’s previous edition.

When Yassine Abouyaala was asked about his impressions on the even the told MWN, “I am so delighted and particularly honored by the presence of HH Lala Zineb. I would like to congratulate the BM Events team thanks to whom the hard work paid off greatly.”

“I hope that the people who attended the event will visit the Center to give hand to these children. They do need our help,” he added.

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Moroccan Ramadan Cuisine: a recipe for Lsan Teer cookies

Moroccan Ramadan Cuisine: a recipe for Lsan Teer cookies
Lsan Teer, (bird’s tongue) known also as Wdinat Lghzal (gazelle’s ears) is a sweet honeyed Moroccan cookie served in snacks along with Moroccan mint tea. These golden brown sweets are also served in Lftour meal during Ramadan. Like Chebbakia, Lsan Teer is very sweet with diagonal cuts that gave it a nice shape.
It is a deep rooted custom in Moroccan culture that families serve cookies before principal meals in special occasions like weddings and other festivities.  Halwat Lsan teer is always served for these events along with other Moroccan authentic cookies like Lfekkas, Briwat and Kaab Lghzal.
Because of its high amount of sugar, and its special place in Moroccan cuisine, Moroccan families make it an essential element for Lftour meal during Ramdan.


1 kg of white flour.
15 cl melt butter.
2 eggs.
1 baking powder.
A little of vanilla.

wdinat leghzal

1tbsp orange blossom
(Enough water for kneading)
Oil for frying.

For garnish:

1 kg of honey.

 Way of preparation:

1. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, vanilla and salt.
2. Add butter and eggs then mix well.
3. Add water little by little and knead well by hands until you get smooth and cohesive dough (it shouldn’t be sticky.)
4. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
5. Now, you will pull off pieces of dough to form small balls.
6. This is a good time to heat up the comal or a skillet. Set it at medium to high heat.
7. On your oily work surface, work one at a time, remove each piece of dough and pat till it becomes thin.
8. Lay your tortilla on the hot comal or skillet. It takes just a few seconds to cook. Flip to the other side.
9. When they are done, cover them with a plastic paper to keep them soft.
10. In a small bowl, mix a half cup of water and 1 tbsp of flour.
11. Roll the tortilla and put some mixture of flour and water in the last tip of tortilla and close it.
12. Do the same with other tortillas.
13. Cut the rolled tortillas diagonally to form good shapes.
14. Heat oil and fry the pieces until their color is golden.
15. Dip them in honey and let them drain then sprinkle sesame on them.

Morocco Eid Al-Kabir

Eid Al-Adha, called in Morocco Eid Al-Kabir, refers to ‘The Great Eid’ and is a famous and religious festival that is celebrated all over the Islamic world. It is celebrated on the tenth of Dhou Al-hijja each lunar year of the Islamic calendar.

Religiously speaking, the root of this festival goes back to Abramham, who is deemed the father of all the Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Abraham saw in a dream God reveling to him that he should sacrifice his son Ishmael. He took his son to the mountain far from his mother so as to achieve God’s promise. As soon as Abraham put the knife on his son’s neck to slaughter him, God called him loudly from the seventh sky to take back his command. Then, God substituted Ishmael with a sheep. In Christianity and Judaism, Abraham’s son who would have been slaughtered was Isaac. Anyhow, this was just short summary of the story behind the Great Eid that is to be celebrated in the next few days.

The sacrifice is Sunna of the Prophet Mohammed. It was legitimated by God, through the Prophet, as an offer for forgiveness of sins and for getting closer to God’s mercy. The sacrifice is not circumscribed to just sheep, as the majority of people understand. However, the sacrifice is of Halal animals more broadly, that can be slaughtered on the Great Eid in order to approach the Almighty God. It must be done under certain conditions and at a specific time and place. Therefore, it should be kept in mind that the sheep is not the only animal that can be slaughtered in the Great Eid; other animals too, such as the camel, cow, and goat can be sacrificed. Thus, there is no requirement to perform the Eid only with sheep; other choices are religiously and economically acceptable. All of them have one result: to bring closeness to God.

In Morocco, the Great Eid has taken social, economic, and customary dimensions. When the Eid draws near its fixed day, families and individuals start seeking the suitable sheep to sacrifice. Despite the fact that the slaughter is not mandatory upon those who cannot come up with the money for it, several poor families borrow money in order to buy a sheep or goat for the Eid.

In the Moroccan cities sheep is the most common animal that is slaughtered, while in the villages the goat is the animal that is most commonly slaughtered. In the morning of the Great Eid, Muslims dress up their Jellaba and Jabador or put on the best attire available, and they go to the mosque or to the Mussala (an open-air space outside the cities and villages) in order to make the prayer of Eid.

After they pray, they perform the sacrifice ritual. In the evening of the Eid, families visit each other. The Great Eid is the day of happiness when families have various ways of cooking delicious dishes of meat based on their traditions. This religious holiday goes on for three days.

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Most Popular Moroccan Desserts Recipes

Most Popular Moroccan Desserts Recipes

Moroccan soups are tasty and fortifying and are accompanied during Ramadan with an assortment of sugary sweets to boost energy levels after a day of fasting  The Ramadan fast is broken with harira a lentil and tomato based soup. dates and dried figs and  chebakia, which are flower-shaped cookies soaked in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Sweets are an integral part of the social aspect of Ramadan and the ftour meal.

Stuffed Dates include Orange flower water and cinnamon which are used to flavor the almond paste filling. Makrout with Dates and Honey is another special occasion sweet which is popular in Ramadan. A mild date paste is enclosed in a log of semolina dough, then the  cookies are sliced, fried and dipped in honey.

Almond Briouats are made by folding almond paste flavored with orange flower water and cinnamon within warqa dough. The pastries are fried and then soaked briefly in honey.  Cheese briouats are foiled with cream cheese filling. Herbs or hot peppers can be added for more flavor.

Hssoua Belboua is barley soup with milk. It combines barley grits with milk to yield a rich, creamy soup that’s both nutritious and satisfying.  There is also Semolina soup with milk, anise seeds and honey.

After the soup comes a variety of breads such as msemen and rghayif (layered flatbreads cooked in a skillet); puffed, pita breadlike rounds called batbout; and perhaps some harcha, an unleavened flatbread, sometimes made with cornmeal. Arrayed with them on the table are marmalades, butter, and cheeses, often including the fresh cheese jben. There are bowls of olives and others of hard-boiled eggs, which are peeled and then dipped in ground cumin or black pepper. Moroccans living along the Atlantic coast will also serve fried fish, usually sardines.

Another  favorite are triangular or cylindrical phyllo briouats. Briouats, are pan-fried—not baked—to golden deliciousness. Some are savory, stuffed with fresh cheese and finished with a drizzle of honey, while others are sweet, filled with crushed almonds, sugar, and spices.

Sweets reappear at the end of the ftour meal. Platters are piled with cookies, among them twice-baked Moroccan Tea Biscuits known as fekkas with their lovely scent of orange-flower water.”Treats such as m’hanncha, called “snake cake” for its concentric circles, are another representative dessert. Dates reappear on the table, this time stuffed, often with a homemade almond paste.

Sellou is a  Moroccan sweet  served during Ramadan made from toasted sesames, fried almonds and flour that has been browned in the oven.

For More Information on Moroccan Ramadan Sweets and Islamic Holidays

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Almond Briouats are made by folding almond paste flavored with orange flower water and cinnamon within warqa dough. The pastries are fried and then soaked briefly in honey.  Cheese briouats are foiled with cream cheese filling. Herbs or hot peppers can be added for more flavor.
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Moroccan Desserts, Cookies, Pastries and Sweets

Moroccan Desserts, Cookies, Pastries and Sweets
Fresh fruit is the traditional ending to a Moroccan meal, but you'll want to have lots of Moroccan cookies and pastries on hand to go with afternoon tea or coffee. From rich almond pastries like m'hencha to crunchy biscotti-like fekkas, there's sure to be a traditional Moroccan cookie recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The French introduced waffles (gaufres) to Morocco, where you can find them in bakeries or sold by vendors as a snack or street food. Instead of syrup, they're often served with a dusting of powdered sugar, whipped cream or a drizzle of chocolate sauce or Nutella.

Waffles are quite easy to make at home, which is really the best way to enjoy these tasty batter cakes. Consider replacing all or some of the white flour with whole wheat flour. If offering the waffles as a base for a savory topping, omit the vanilla and reduce the sugar to 1 or 2 teaspoons.

The recipe calls for folding beaten egg whites into the batter; this yields a lighter textured waffle. If you prefer a denser waffle, simply use the whole eggs when mixing the wet ingredients.

Note that the yield may vary according to your waffle iron. Serve the waffles for breakfast, tea time or when breaking the fast in Ramadan.

For other French-influenced tea time or breakfast treats, also try the Crepes or Beignets recipes.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8 waffles, approx. 4" x 6"


3 eggs, separated
250 g (2 cups) all purpose flour
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
85 g (6 tablespoons) melted butter or vegetable oil
355 ml (1 1/2 cups) milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat together the egg yolks, melted butter, milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir just until well-blended, but not smooth. The batter will be lumpy; this is okay.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter until evenly incorporated.

Preheat your waffle iron. When ready, spoon batter onto the iron and cook the waffles until golden brown. Serve as the waffles come off the iron, or transfer the waffles to a rack to cool. Note that the waffles will soften and lose their crisp exterior as they cool.

To warm and crisp cooled waffles, preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C). Place the waffles directly on the oven rack, not in a pan, and heat just until hot to the touch, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice.
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Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan cuisine is extremely refined through interactions and exchanges of Morocco with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Moroccan cuisine has been subject to Berber, Arab, and Arab influences. The cooks in the royal cuisine of Fes, Meknes, Marrakech, Rabat and Tetouan refined over the centuries and created the basis of what is known as Moroccan cuisine today.

Morocco produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and even some tropical countries. Common meats are beef, mutton and lamb, chicken, camel, rabbit and seafood, which are the basis for the kitchen. Characteristic flavors include lemon pickle, cold-pressed, unrefined olive oil and dried fruits. It is also known to be much stronger than the spicy cuisine of the Middle East.

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan cuisine. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients - like Tiliouine saffron, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez - are locally sourced. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), Kamoun (cumin), kharkoum (turmeric), skinjbir (ginger), Libzar (pepper), tahmira (paprika), anise seeds, sesame seeds, qesbour (cilantro) and Zaafran beldi (saffron). Common herbs include mint and maadnous (parsley).

Lunch is the main meal, except during the holy month of Ramadan. A typical meal begins with a series of hot and cold salads, followed by a tagine. The bread is eaten at every meal. Often, for a formal meal, a lamb or chicken dish, followed by couscous topped with meat and vegetables. A cup of mint tea usually ends the meal. Moroccans often eat with their hands and use bread as a utensil. The consumption of pork and alcohol are considered haram, and are forbidden by Muslim dietary restrictions.
The main Berber Moroccan dish most people are familiar with couscous, old national delicacy. Beef is the meat most commonly eaten red Morocco. Lamb is also consumed, but as store Northern sheep breeds most of their fat in their tails, Moroccan lamb Africa does not have the pungent flavor than lamb and mutton in the West. Poultry is also very common, and use of seafood is increasing in Moroccan cuisine. Among the most famous Moroccan Berber dishes are Couscous, Pastilla (also spelled Bsteeya or Bestilla), Tajine, tanjia and harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered as a dish itself and is served as such or with dates especially during the month of Ramadan. The consumption of pork is prohibited under Sharia, the religious law of Islam.

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La cuisine marocaine

La cuisine marocaine est extrêmement raffiné, grâce à des interactions et des échanges du Maroc avec d'autres cultures et nations au cours des siècles. La cuisine marocaine a fait l'objet d'berbère, arabe, et les influences arabes. Les cuisiniers dans la cuisine royale de Fès, Meknès, Marrakech, Rabat et Tétouan affinés au fil des siècles et a créé la base de ce qui est connu comme la cuisine marocaine aujourd'hui.
Le Maroc produit une large gamme de fruits et légumes méditerranéens et même certains les pays tropicaux. Viandes communs sont le bœuf, le mouton et l'agneau, le poulet, le chameau, le lapin et fruits de mer, qui servent de base pour la cuisine. Arômes caractéristiques comprennent citron cornichon, pressée à froid, l'huile d'olive non raffinée et fruits secs. Il est également connu pour être beaucoup plus fortement épicée que la cuisine du Moyen-Orient.

Les épices sont largement utilisés dans la cuisine marocaine. Bien que les épices ont été importées au Maroc depuis des milliers d'années, de nombreux ingrédients - comme le safran de Tiliouine, la menthe et les olives de Meknès, et les oranges et les citrons de Fès - sont d'origine locale. Épices communs incluent karfa (cannelle), Kamoun (cumin), kharkoum (curcuma), skinjbir (gingembre), Libzar (poivre), tahmira (paprika), graines d'anis, les graines de sésame, qesbour (coriandre) et Zaafran beldi (safran) . Herbes courantes comprennent la menthe et maadnous (persil).

Le repas de midi est le repas principal, sauf pendant le mois sacré du Ramadan. Un repas typique commence par une série de salades chaudes et froides, suivis par un tajine. Le pain est consommé à chaque repas. Souvent, pour un repas formel, un agneau ou de poulet plat, qui sera suivi par couscous garni de viande et de légumes. Une tasse de thé à la menthe se termine généralement le repas. Marocains mangent souvent avec leurs mains et d'utiliser le pain comme un ustensile. La consommation de viande de porc et l'alcool sont considérés comme haram, et sont interdits par les restrictions alimentaires musulmanes.
Le principal berbère marocain plat plupart des gens sont familiers avec le couscous, le vieux délicatesse national. Le boeuf est la viande la plus couramment consommés rouge au Maroc. Lamb est également consommé, mais comme magasin d'Afrique du Nord races ovines plus de leur graisse dans leurs queues, agneau marocain n'a pas la saveur piquante que l'agneau et le mouton de l'Ouest ont. La volaille est également très fréquente, et l'utilisation des fruits de mer est en augmentation dans la cuisine marocaine. Parmi les plus célèbres plats berbères marocains sont Couscous, Pastilla (également orthographié Bsteeya ou Bestilla), Tajine, Tanjia et Harira. Bien que cette dernière est une soupe, il est considéré comme un plat en soi et est servi tel quel ou avec des dates en particulier pendant le mois de Ramadan. La consommation de porc est interdite conformément à la charia, les lois religieuses de l'Islam.

Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan cuisine is extremely refined, thanks to Morocco's interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Moroccan cuisine has been subject to Berber, Moorish, and Arab influences. The cooks in the royal kitchens of Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh, Rabat and Tetouan refined it over the centuries and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today.

Morocco produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and even some tropical ones. Common meats include beef, mutton and lamb, chicken, camel, rabbit and seafood, which serve as a base for the cuisine. Characteristic flavorings include lemon pickle, cold-pressed, unrefined olive oil and dried fruits. It is also known for being far more heavily spiced than Middle Eastern cuisine.

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. Although spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients — like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez — are home-grown. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), kamoun (cumin), kharkoum (turmeric), skinjbir (ginger), libzar (pepper), tahmira (paprika), anise seed, sesame seeds, qesbour (coriander), and zaafran beldi (saffron). Common herbs include mint and maadnous (parsley).

The midday meal is the main meal, except during the holy month of Ramadan. A typical meal begins with a series of hot and cold salads, followed by a tagine. Bread is eaten with every meal. Often, for a formal meal, a lamb or chicken dish is next, followed by couscous topped with meat and vegetables. A cup of sweet mint tea usually ends the meal. Moroccans often eat with their hands and use bread as a utensil. The consumption of pork and alcohol are considered Haraam, and are prohibited per Muslim dietary restrictions.
The main Moroccan Berber dish most people are familiar with is couscous, the old national delicacy. Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco. Lamb is also consumed, but as North African sheep breeds store most of their fat in their tails, Moroccan lamb does not have the pungent flavour that Western lamb and mutton have. Poultry is also very common, and the use of seafood is increasing in Moroccan food. Among the most famous Moroccan Berber dishes are Couscous, Pastilla (also spelled Bsteeya or Bestilla), Tajine, Tanjia and Harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered as a dish in itself and is served as such or with dates especially during the month of Ramadan. Pork consumption is forbidden in accordance with Sharia, religious laws of Islam.

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Travel Essentials | Taroudant, Morocco

In our Summer Travel issue, which hit newsstands on Sunday, Christopher Petkanas waxes poetic about Taroudant, an out-of-the-way, stylish haven from Morocco’s well-trodden tourist route. Here’s where to stay, eat and sleep in this remote market town.

View Travel Essentials Taroudant, Morocco in a larger map


DarZahia | Just about 150 miles from Marrakesh, this four-bedroom guesthouse is a traditional mud building. Its clay walls reflect the area’s historic architectural style, and its patios brim with lush jasmine plants. From here, venture out on hiking or horseback riding excursions, or visit the nearby Turkish baths. 175 derb Chrif, Taroudant 83000, Maroc; 011-212-15-341-6223;

Dar al Hossoun | At this property covered in desert gardens, join the peacocks in the gardens, take a swim in one of the pools, bathe in a traditional Turkish bath, enjoy traditional Moroccan rejuvenation remedies at the spa, or learn the basics of traditional Moroccan cooking in the kitchen. 011-212-66-502-8274;

La Gazelle D’Or | This privately owned hotel exudes luxury and opulence amid the backdrop of rustic Taroudant. But despite almost palace-like accommodations — the intricately decorated lobby with antique furnishings — the 30-room resort has a laid-back feel, and breakfast is served as late as you wish. La Gazelle d’Or B.P. 260; 011-212-52-885-2039;

Aziyade Taroudant | Sip traditional Moroccan mint tea on the pink clay balconies here while taking in the Atlas mountain ranges. This small hotel is only a few miles from the city’s markets, where guests can shop for local foods and crafts. 358 Jnan si Moussa Derb Akka; 011-212-67-762-075;


The souks | Smaller, but notably cheaper than the markets in Marrakesh, Taroudant’s souks are also known for sellers who are a bit less aggressive and friendlier toward shoppers and browsers than their counterparts in the more touristy Moroccan towns.

Ramparts | Stroll along the reinforced mud walls that surround the city. In the late afternoon and early evening, the walls’ colors change with the position of the sun.

The Souss Massa National Park | Just a short ride from the city and along the Atlantic Ocean, this bird-watching preserve is a good excuse to see what’s outside the city. Catch glimpses of yellow wagtails, greater flamingos, spoonbills and red-necked nightjars at a park that was founded to protect endangered birds.


Riad Maryam Restaurant | Hotel dining rooms appear to be the go-to destinations for culinary experiences in Taroudant. This restaurant, with its traditional tagines and homegrown citrus fruits, has the right amount of local flair for, say, a last meal in the city. 140 Db Maalem Mohamed, Bd Mohamed V; 011-212-66-612-7285;

Dar Zitoune Restaurant | A must for vegetarians, who can munch on dishes created with produce — oranges, lemons, papayas, olives and herbs — straight from its gardens. Boutarial El Berrania, 83000 Taroudant, Maroc; 011-212-52-855-1141;

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Lost in Time,Far from Morocco’s well-trodden tourist

Far from Morocco’s well-trodden tourist route lies Taroudant, a remote market town where a colorful group of expats have create a most stylish haven. See the interactive slide show

As they often have, Jacques and Bernadette Chirac spent the All Saints Day break last year at La Gazelle d’Or hotel in the small southern Moroccan city of Taroudant. Based on reports in the French media, however, it was not much of a holiday for the former first couple. A story in the newsweekly Le Point had Madame Chirac berating her husband in public (“You’re nothing but the rustling wings of an insect,” she is said to have informed him.) According to another story, in Le Monde, when their daughter Claude read that “le Palais” — meaning Morocco’s King Mohammed VI — often picks up the Chiracs’ bill at the hotel, she went into damage-control mode, promptly canceling the five rooms they had reserved for Christmas.

It was a rare flicker in the floodlights for Taroudant, which nudges the Sahara and is set on a lush agricultural plain that crashes into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Connoisseurs of the Arab Mediterranean find the place heaven, but it is not to every taste. Unlike Marrakesh, 140 miles to the north, there are no stoplights here, no branded hotels, no expats living out Scheherazade fantasies in glittery riads. The sole noteworthy monument is the nearly five miles of beautiful pisé, or rammed-earth, ramparts wrapping the medina. Knotted bundles of lamb tripe dry on lines in the open air, and cheerfully painted horse-drawn buggies are not used mostly by tourists, as one might expect, but by locals as a cheap alternative to taxis. Winters are made for palm-grove picnics in shirtsleeves, but summers are too chokingly hot for even a bikini. If you want to buy wine, say, or cheese or crème fraîche, you have to go to Agadir, an hour away on the Atlantic coast.

While serious development is now under way outside the medina, most of the population is still jammed inside the city’s crenelated walls. As such, Taroudant retains the inscrutable aura of the small caravan trading outpost it was in the 16th century.

“We’re a lot less in the real world here,” says Chris O’Byrne, a French journalist who owns the Aziyade maison d’hôte and worked in Paris for many years for the lifestyle magazine Côté Sud. “There’s not a lot going on. That’s the point. You need an interest in nature if you want to live in Taroudant, and a rich interior life. There are days when I would kill for a bookstore or museum.”

The very absence of basic institutions and services has helped preserve the city, making it a magnet in recent years for a tightknit population of expats. This group is larger, more competitive and more concerned with niceties like placement and finger bowls than one might guess. Taroudant society is still recovering from the 2011 death of the hyper-realist Chilean painter Claudio Bravo, whose palace in the countryside was the scene of dinners where the caviar and foie gras flowed like mint tea. Gone is the ballast he supplied. But life goes on, almost as hectic.

“In Taroudant you need an agenda just for your social engagements,” says Mina Sarrat, a Moroccan real estate agent who steers foreigners through the minefield of buying property locally. Due to common law, you can own the dirt an argan tree is planted in, but not the tree itself, and be a legitimate title holder without the title to prove it.

“You meet the most improbable people here,” she adds, “people you wouldn’t meet anywhere else. Socially we live at 100 miles an hour, and we have our own highly functioning grapevine: ‘le téléphone Arabe.’ I tell you, you tell Chris, Chris tells. . . . ”

Architecturally, Taroudant has little of the pedigree of other Moroccan cities. It squeaked through the nation’s years as a French protectorate, from 1912 to 1956, without the addition of the kind of European-style “ville nouvelle” that sprung up in Rabat, Fez and Casablanca.

“During heavy rains, I’ve seen some of the old pisé buildings collapse like sand castles,” O’Byrne says. While stretches of the ancient ramparts have been rebuilt to match the originals, much of the rest of the city is a bland essay in concrete and cinder blocks. Nonetheless, O’Byrne’s crowd prefers the bombed-out lots of their medina and (relative) modesty of their homes to what they view as the Orientalist excess encountered elsewhere. The cult of decay — finding beauty in blight, in even urban banality — has a long tradition in Morocco. A certain flyblown quality gave frissons to generations of aesthetes, from the socialite David Herbert to the illustrator Pierre Le-Tan.

The town’s humility is the basis for an operatic strain of chauvinism among the foreign set. “Those poor Marrakeshi with their bling bling, they have no idea how to live,” says the Belgian decorator Christophe Decarpentrie, who moved here part-time in 2002 with his partner in life and business, Abel Naessens. Between them they own four houses with a total of 22 bedrooms in Taroudant, for no other reason than they bore easily, can afford them and love lending them out to friends. Decarpentrie rules the beau monde in Taroudant. He styles himself a sort of pasha, and people treat him like one.

“A wealthy Brazilian woman came to stay with me,” he recalls. “She was traveling with a four-wheel drive for the country and a limousine for the city. ‘Where are the boutiques?’ she asked. She hadn’t even unpacked.” The next day, she was gone.

Even when Farah Pahlavi hosts a party, Decarpentrie says, simplicity is the rule. Though Pahlavi was exiled along with her husband, the Shah, in the 1979 Iranian revolution, everyone addresses her as Shahbanou anyway, as if she were still on the throne.

“Even if she is always surrounded by a Persian court and our king treats her like she still reigns, the way Farah entertains is so understated, so chic,” Decarpentrie says. “The staff eat first, then the guests are served, and after that we all dance together — the waiters, the gardeners — too much fun!” He adds: “She loves it here because she says it reminds her of her childhood in Tehran in the ’40s and ’50s.”

Although the exalted style of living practiced by some Westerners evokes the days of French colonialism, the first among them began debarking as recently as 1999. “If there were four cars in Taroudant back then, that was a lot,” Karl Morcher remembers. Drunk on the place’s scrappy charms, Morcher, an ageless, worldly, voluptuously idle character of a type once common in Morocco, and his partner, Abdelmajid Dkhil, later built a vast compound on the outskirts of town, where they live in rooms of perfect Balzacian proportions filled with Jean-Michel Frank furniture, Berber carvings and Dadaist paintings.

Arnaud Maurières and Eric Ossart parachuted into Taroudant the same year, trailing their fame as garden designers who revolutionized public plantings in France by replacing grannyish pointillist flower beds with fluid, meadowlike compositions. After restoring a riad for themselves in the medina, Maurières, who is brisk and vivid, and Ossart, enigmatic and detached, received commissions for gardens and rammed-earth houses and renovations from Pahlavi, the horticultural magnate Henri Delbard and the owners of Dar Zahia, a handsome bed and breakfast.

“We are plant people who never thought of becoming architects, until Taroudant,” Maurières says. The complicity between habitat and landscape in the region convinced him and Ossart they had something to offer. The couple went on to build a second home next to Pahlavi’s in a ritzy “suburb” bristling with olive orchards, located a five-minute bicycle ride from town. The compound was later sold to Ollivier Verra, a Frenchman who transformed it into a six-room hotel, Dar Al Hossoun. A succession of six courtyards planted with Maurières and Ossart’s signature arrangements of aloes, agaves, grasses and cactuses revolves like a cloister around the 15 rectilinear structures with flat roofs. What looks at first like a huge, dry, derelict swimming pool squatted by wild vegetation is in fact a sunken garden filled with bananas and papayas that were carefully chosen to shade tender exotics.

The hotel is a game-changer for Taroudant. La Gazelle d’Or, established in 1961, is no longer a monopoly. Rita Bennis, the Gazelle’s Moroccan owner, grew up in the feudal opulence of Tazi Palace in Rabat and made her “real first money,” she told Le Point, in business with Adnan Khashoggi. If Taroudant was on anyone’s radar before now, it’s because of Bennis, but her world-class hotel’s draconian policies — you need a reservation even to have a drink — have made her a polarizing, even feared figure.

Whatever the squabbles du jour, Roudanis (as residents of Taroudant are called) are one in their attraction to the town’s mystical sense of isolation. And now, with the extraordinary Dar Al Hossoun, and its owner who is committed to giving his guests the full Taroudant experience, the rest of us are invited in on the secret, as long as it lasts.

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House Hunting in ... Morocco

House Hunting in ... Morocco
Ingrid Pullar for The New York Times
A traditional Moroccan house with five bedroom suites is on the market for $1.3 million. More Photos »

This traditional Moroccan house, known as a riad, has 4,300 square feet of space over two floors surrounding an enclosed courtyard. Dating to the 19th century, it has five bedroom suites and a multilevel roof terrace with views of the minarets of the medina, or old city, of Marrakesh, according to Younes Cherkaoui, an agent with Mauresque Immobilier, which has the listing. Built by a respected local family and called Riad L’Aziza, the house was restored about 12 years ago; it now serves as a guesthouse and is being sold furnished.

The courtyard, divided into four symmetrical plant beds with a central fountain, has walkways, columns and other plaster-covered surfaces set with elaborate terra-cotta tilework of blue, green, gold and cream. Rooms opening onto the courtyard on the ground floor include a Moorish living room bordered with delicately carved plaster designs and a carved cedar ceiling. Nearby are three bedroom suites with tiled walls; their bathrooms are walled in colorful plaster. The ground floor also has an office and a kitchen with a service entrance.

The second floor has two bedroom suites, each with a fireplace and a private terrace. The salmon-colored roof terrace has three open-air living and dining rooms at different levels, along with an area for sunbathing and a spa room. Arched doorways and transoms of intricately carved cedar are found throughout the house, as are stained glass, ornate ironwork and traditional Moroccan sconces and rugs.

The riad is in the center of Marrakesh in the medina, about a five-minute walk from the main square, Jemaa El Fna. Riad L’Aziza is about 20 minutes from the international airport, Mr. Cherkaoui said.


In the five years leading to the international financial crisis in 2008, house prices in Morocco rose 35 to 40 percent; since the crisis they have settled in at 20 to 30 percent below their peak, said Loïc Raboteau, the head of the French and North Africa Law Department at the law firm Kobalt Law in London.

Foreign buyers typically constitute about 10 percent of the residential real estate market, and many prospective buyers have had a “wait-and-see” attitude about North Africa since the crisis, compounded since then by the turmoil of the Arab Spring, which started in 2011, said Soraya Fahim, a manager of the residential department at the brokerage CBRE in Morocco.

Tourist areas like Marrakesh and Tangier area have been the hardest hit. But the Moroccan government’s demonstrated stability and the passage of new fiscal policies have had an encouraging effect on foreign buyers, particularly from France, Ms. Fahim said.

According to Mr. Raboteau, prices in Marrakesh last year decreased by 1.7 percent while remaining stable nationally; the number of property transactions countrywide increased by 7.8 percent.

The highest-end properties are selling for about 2,500 euros per square meter currently, or about $300 a square foot, said James Price, the head of the international development team for the brokerage Knight Frank. Riad L’Aziza is priced in this range.


Most foreign buyers tend to come from France, Belgium and Switzerland, Ms. Fahim said. “We’ve also noticed recently some demand coming from countries like Russia and the United Kingdom,” she added.

Moroccans living abroad also constitute an important group of buyers and investors.


There are no restrictions on foreign buyers, Mr. Raboteau said. The process resembles that of France, in that notaries handle most aspects of the transaction, though foreign buyers would be advised to hire an independent lawyer as well.

“Don’t expect the notary will give you legal advice,” Mr. Raboteau said. “His role is to check the identity of the parties, draft and register the deeds.”

Buyers can expect to pay about 6 percent of the sale price in taxes and fees, he said. Mortgages are available, with a down payment of at least 30 percent.

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Best Things To Do in Morocco

What are the best things to do when visiting Morocco? Below is a list of the top 12 things I highly recommend you attempt to do while on vacation in Morocco. Activities include: a relaxing scrub at a local hammam, a cooking class, skiing, surfing, and getting lost trying to find the Fes tanneries. Eat a kebab alongside snake charmers in the Marrakech medina and stroll the blue streets of Chefchaouen. Read on to discover many other things I recommend you try to do during your vacation in Morocco.

Click on the headings below for more in depth information on each "Thing to do in Morocco".

Visit the Tanneries in Fes

© Sjaak Zijlma
Fes is famous for its leather products and most of them come from the leather bazaar (souq) in old Fes. The tanneries have been in operation since medieval times and little has changed, which makes them absolutely fascinating to visit.

To see the tanneries, you have to head into a leather shop filled to the brim with handbags, jackets and slippers. This is not just an excuse for your guide to make a commission off of your visit; the best views are from these shops. Sprigs of fresh mint are essential when you visit the tanneries since the animal hides are stinky, and the pigeon poop they're treated in doesn't help.

More about Fes and Photos of the Tanneries...

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Les bains de l'alhambra
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Stroll through the Blue Streets of Chefchaouen

© Anouk Zijlma
Chefchaouen is situated in the heart of Morocco's Rif Mountains. Chefchaouen (sometimes called Chaouen) is relaxed, with very affordable accommodations, and above all, quite stunning to look at. The streets and most of the buildings in the old part of town (medina) are painted a most brilliant sky blue. The mountains which you can see at the end of every cobbled street are rugged and majestic. The clear mountain light just adds a magical touch to the place. It's my favorite place to stroll, shop and sip mint tea in Morocco, the key thing is to avoid the Spanish tourists who have discovered its charms. Read more...

Learn To Cook Traditional Moroccan Food

© Anouk Zijlma
The cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by native Berber cuisine, Arabic Andalusian cuisine, Turkish cuisine, and Middle Eastern cuisine brought by the Arabs. French influence came later and the fusion between traditional Moroccan and French cuisine is at the heart of many of the fine-dining experiences in Morocco today. Several Riads offer cooking classes in Marrakech, Fes and Essaouira. Typically, a half-day cooking workshop will offer you the chance to purchase fresh ingredients from the market, and then make a traditional tagine and a couscous dish. It's a lovely way to immerse yourself in Morocco's culture. Click here for recommendations on cooking courses in Morocco.

Steam in a Traditonal Hammam

© Anouk Zijlma
The hammam is a public steam bath in Morocco. Hammams used to be the only place people could come to bathe and scrub, since a private bathroom in a house or apartment was a luxury few could afford. There are fewer hammams now since modern plumbing means people can bathe in their own homes. Getting a good scrub at a local hammam is a wonderful, eye-opening cultural experience. It offers women travelers in particular a good chance to meet and chat with local women. There are upscale hammams in Riads and luxury hotels, that offer more Western style massages and scrubs, while still using local products. I prefer the working class variety, usually found near mosques...Read more

Have Dinner at the Djemma el Fna

Chloe Grant
The Djemma el Fna is really the heart of Marrakech. It is a large central square in the old city (Medina). At the end of the afternoon the Djemma el Fna transforms into an entertainers paradise -- if you're in to snake charming, juggling, music and that sort of thing. Snack stalls are replaced with stalls offering more substantial fare and the square comes alive with entertainment that hasn't changed much since medieval times.

The Djemma el Fna is surrounded by cafe's overlooking the square so you can just relax and watch the world go by if you're tired of jostling the crowds below. Be prepared to be asked for money when you take photos of the performers and stop to watch the entertainment.

More about Marrakech and Photos of Marrakech

Overnight in the Sahara Desert

Eugene Reshetov
Morocco's Sahara desert is a magical place to spend a few nights. The most popular area to explore is the breathtaking Saharan sandscape in little place called Merzouga, just south of Erfoud. The Erg Chebbi dunes may look familiar if you've seen SATC2, The Mummy, or Sahara. The Erg Chebbi is about 450 miles from Marrakech. There's a small airport about 80 miles from Erfoud, with twice weekly flights from Casablanca. The best way to get around and explore is by camel, although 4x4's are popular if you fancy yourself a rally driver.

You can opt for a bedouin tent in the dunes, or a luxury tent at the Auberge Kasbah Tombouctou. Time your trip for spring and you may even see flamingos in a large seasonal lake close to Merzouga.

Surf in Morocco

© Getty Images
Morocco has long attracted surfers to its Atlantic breakers. A popular time to surf is during the winter months when swells are consistently good and the water and air temperatures are still quite mild. Taghazoute is the most popular surfing town, just north of Agadir. There are numerous spots to serve close to town and several surf shops and hotels to choose from. Check out: Surf Berbere and Moroccan Surf Adventures. The town appears to be getting rundown, so check current trip reports.

Surfers and kite-surfers also head to the beaches around the lovely town of Essaouira, but the waves are not as consistent. This may be the place to check out if you just want to try it out. Dakhla is also popular with kite-surfers.

Find Peace in the Majorelle Gardens

Anouk Zijlma
The Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech are filled with rare plants, bright colors and peace. The botanical gardens are situated north-west of the Medina of Marrakech, about a 30 minute walk. (Stop by the wholesale market en route to see mountains of dates, nuts and grains getting bought and sold).

The Majorelle Gardens were designed by a French painter Jacques Majorelle who settled in Marrakech in 1919. In 1980, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent repurchased the gardens and faithfully restored them. Majorelle's workshop is now a small Museum dedicated to Islamic Art. Yves Saint Laurent died in June, 2008 and had his ashes scattered in the Majorelle Gardens.

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Trek the High Atlas

The Atlas Mountains stretch over 1500 miles, from Morocco's West Coast to Tunisia. The High Atlas in Morocco is home to North Africa's highest peak, Jebel Toubkal (4,167 m). Most treks start from Imlil, an hour drive from Marrakech. You can trek year round, but the best time to go is April-May. There are simple accommodations available and you don't have to go with a guide, but it is recommended.

The Ourika Valley offers the perfect day tour from Marrakesh. The Ourika Valley slopes gently alongside the Ourika river, resulting in beautiful views from small Berber villages. The Ourika Valley ends in Setti Fatma, home of the Seven Waterfalls. It's also possible to combine this trek with a visit to the magnificent Ksar Ait Ben Haddou.

Stay in a Riad

Riad Kniza, Marrakech, Morocco
Riads are traditional homes converted into hotels, and I would never stay anywhere else when visiting Morocco. Most are situated in the walled cities of Fes and Marrakech, so you are right in the heart of the bustle. Inside, Riad's are simply beautiful, tiled masterpieces of architecture. Most will have a fountain in the center of a courtyard, with the rooms built on two levels or so above. Check into the option of a rooftop terrace for breakfast, a lovely way to start the day, overlooking the alleys and minarets. If you're visiting Morocco in the summer, opt for a Riad with a pool or plunge pool to cool off in the heat of the mid-afternoon. Here are some recommendations for Riads in Fes and Marrakech, or check out Riads Morocco web site.

Ski in Morocco

© Tore Kjeilen
I'm not suggesting you should travel to Morocco specifically to ski, but skiing in Africa is just a cool idea in my books. Oukaimeden lies just south of Marrakech (46 miles) in the High Atlas Mountains and is usually covered in snow in January and February. There are ski lifts (you can also use a donkey) and skis to rent but don't expect high quality. There are a few places to eat snacks and two hotels to overnight at. Oukaimeden is an easy day trip from Marrakech and will cost you about $40 to get to by taxi.

Mischliffen is a ski area near the town of Ifrane in the Middle Atlas Mountains (close to Fes and Meknes). There are ski lifts but they don't always work. The easiest way to get there is to take a taxi from Ifrane (6 miles away).

Visit the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

© Anouk Zijlma
Casablanca is often just a quick one nighter for most people visiting Morocco. But that should be just enough to nip into a petit taxi and head to the Hassan II Mosque. It took 6,000 traditional Moroccan artisans, five years to build this magnificent mosque, with its intricate mosaics, stone and marble floors and columns, sculpted plaster moldings, carved and painted wood ceilings. It's the largest mosque in the world, with room for more than 100,000 worshipers.

It's really quite something to spend an hour or so walking around. Non-muslims are not allowed inside, but there's plenty to marvel at on the outside. Unfortunately the sea air is not being kind and it's very expensive to maintain. Hopefully its beauty will continue to hold up.

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Amine Mrani

Amine Mrani

Amine el mrani

Il est né à Casablanca le 04 Avril 1978, d’une famille de couturiers : mère, père, tante, oncle, grands parents… très jeune commence à s’intéresser à la couture et à dessiner des croquis qu’il réalise pour la clientèle déjà habituée à la maison de couture de la ville de Meknès dirigée par Mme Houria Berriah, La maman d’Amine MRANI.Il entame des études de haute couture et en parallèle présente ses collections au Maroc et à l’international.


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Tendance Caftan 2014 amine Mrani

The shop  will offer:
- ready to wear Deluxe (caftans,  evening dresses )
- Rental kaftans and evening wear.
Style Fatna KOOLI is a mixture of East and West. His caftans trimmings are enhanced while retaining both a  commitment  to the traditional splendor, embroidery, holes for the greatest happiness  of women  here and elsewhere. Fatna KOOLI was designated as "stylistOfficial  Miss  Maghreb  2006. " Selected will Miss Haute couture kaftans designed and signed by Fatna KOOLI. creation, sale, rental couture caftans on  offers authentic caftans, caftans with originality and excellently well done. All his caftans are noble material. In its showroom and  workshop  it offers: - bespoke creations - the sale of luxury ready to wear - holiday couture caftan - wedding dresses caftanisées.

Couture caftan: Zahaara by haute couture caftan, jewelry

 respecteuse modern traditions offers a wide collection of caftans, jilbab, jabador, etc. ...... and expertise that you will shine at every event in your life. 
ZAHAARA-HAUTE-COUTURE was born from the meeting of 2 women loving fashion traditional  Moroccan  and HASNA is its creator. 's creations HASNA, suggests a serene beauty with its pastel colors, its shimmering background organza, velvet and satin, to draw with fluidity and nobility . Creative opts for the  effects  of transparency, layering fabrics to emphasize its modern lines with subtlety while preserving the authentic taste of tradition.Volumes  single  are available on all sober, refined, boosted blows embroidery, glitter trimmings and rich in color.

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