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Marrakech & Sahara Desert In Morocco

Hello friends! We are Luisa and Douglas. Our journey together started in the most unexpected city in the world, Las Vegas. From there we overcame a 3 year long distance relationship. Living in separate continents. Coming from different cultures, traditions, food, and lifestyles. We quickly fell in love, got married in Vegas, named our little puppy Vegas, and discovered our true passion: Creating experiences. Together.

This world is big, and life here is short. So we do not like to sit still. We want to explore as much as possible and capture as many love stories as we can along the way. Our bucket list is always growing. Our cameras are always capturing moments that will live forever. Our hearts are so full of love, for each other, and everyone we meet on our adventures.

Want to follow along? Here are a few places we have been blessed to explore, with many more to come!!!


When Nicole and Chad asked us to capture their engagement pictures in Morocco, a couple of weeks before their trip, we knew this would be a once in a lifetime experience! So we extended existing trip from Sardinia over France to Marrakech and Erg Chebi in the Sahara Desert.

After a short flight from Nice to Marrakech, we took a taxi into the Medina. Marrakech, like many other Moroccan cities, has an old town, called a Medina (similar to a city center) with markets, vendors, restaurants and Riads (which are the hotels). The Medina is surrounded by a city wall. All the fancy and luxurious hotels and neighborhoods are typically located outside of those walls. We all wanted to have the full experience, and that is exactly what we got! Tiny cobbled stone roads, or should we say alleyways, packed with vendors. Selling herbs, seasonings, tea, raw meats, colorful carpets, clothes, playful lights and ceramics (it is a good thing we travel light, carry on only). Lots of locals, children and few tourists squeeze through the tiny streets. It is so easy to get lost. Which we did, almost every time we tried to walk around in the Medina by ourselves, despite downloading offline maps. Exploring the city this way allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the culture and all the beautiful architecture that otherwise we would have never seen.

Upon arrival, and in typical Moroccan fashion, we were kindly welcomed on the rooftop lounge at our Riad Lena & Spa with homemade hot Maghrebi mint tea and pastries. Douglas does not like tea, but after trying a sip, he absolutely LOVED it! Our Riad had one of the most beautiful pools, decorated with playful tiles and palm trees surrounding the spa area. Located in a courtyard, right in the middle of the building. We also got to visit Nicole & Chad’s Riad Al Jazira. Absolutely breathtaking. White walls. Red roses. The picture perfect location for part of their engagement session!

We visited a couple of popular hotspots, like a secret garden Le Jardin Secret, the Koutoubia Mosque, and took a brief look from the outside at Ben Youssef Mosque, as we were not allowed to go in. Later that night, we took an adventurous trip to Jemaa el-Fnaa. The biggest square. With hundreds, if not thousands of vendors. Food stands. All kinds of Animals. It was packed. It felt like the entire city was there. Making music. Entertaining. Grilling. Eating. Celebrating. And Enjoying life.

After a short nights rest we were picked up by our awesome driver Shukran from Top Desert Tour. The five of us, two suitcases, four carry-ons, and lots of water packed into one SUV for three days, and no AC. The car actually had AC, but it was too cold for Shukran. He is used to +100F (40C) and gets the chills with everything below 100. LOL. So most of the time we rolled down our windows, and soaked in all the breathtaking landscapes Morocco has to offer. We drove up, down, and through the Atlas mountains, visiting tiny villages. Bought and ate fresh watermelon and cherries along the way. The countryside was out of this world! Donkeys carrying the hay from the fields or water from the well. We got to see how Argan oil, Argan “Nutella”, and Argan honey was made, and of course we tried all of it! YUM. We drank more tea all while admiring two ladies teaching us how they make rugs from sheep and camel wool. We dug up our own fossils, bought some beautiful rocks, and even got to feed wild monkeys! What about the food? No burgers or pizza on this trip, we went traditional all the way! Tajines! Beef, chicken, lamb or goat meat with vegetables and couscous or potatoes, cooked in clay pottery over an open flame for hours. It tastes sooo good, and a healthy choice while traveling 🙂

Let’s talk about the Sahara Desert! We could barely contain our excitement as the horizon started to show endless dunes of sand. We were almost there. Shukran drove us to our luxurious campsite right in the middle of the dunes. It was a good thing we did not rent a car, expert drivers only in these sand dunes! Our tent had a king size bed, it’s own bathroom with running water, a shower and a toilet! This was definitely the best GLAMPING experience yet! To top it all off, we all rode camels through the desert during sunset!!! What better place to take Nicole & Chad’s engagement pictures than right here, in the Sahara Desert! It was picture perfect!

Back at the camp, we were served a four course meal followed by the beating of drums as we all sat together around a campfire, listening to our guides sing traditional songs. The last thing we remember that night was laying underneath a sky. Full of stars. Counting shooting stars. And admiring the milky way. Hours later we woke up right were we left off, under the Milky Way. For the first time we were able to see it so clearly with our own eyes instead a long exposure with the camera. A moment we will never forget!

Our Tips:

As a US or German citizen, you do not need a Visa to visit Morocco as a tourist. The currency, Dirham (MAD), is roughly a 1:10 conversion from USD to MAD. We exchanged most of our money at the airport in Marrakech, but you can also get money at any ATM. In the larger cities, we were able to use our “travel credit cards” as they have no foreign transaction fees. We try to use them exclusively for our international travels unless cash is absolutely necessary (Douglas loves collecting all the points and cashback). Everyone at the airport was super nice, but be prepared for long lines at immigration upon arrival. We waited around 1.5 hours, and had one last quick security check before leaving the airport.

Remember:

To always check if you are allowed to bring all of your gear on your travels, especially Drones. They are banned in Morocco, and airport security will take them from you!


Our Trip To Marrakech And The Sahara Desert In Morocco

  • Airport:
  • Hotels:
  • Restaurants:
    • Marrakech: El Fenn has an awesome roof top bar and the food is amazing! You can even drink their water and eat fresh veggies and fruits as they use purified water. Remember to make reservations! We ate at one other restaurant at the Jemaa el-Fnaa, but we cannot recall the name. Order Tajines! You won’t regret it!!!
    • Desert Tour: For lunch and snacks we usually stopped in small cities and villages at our own cost. However, dinner at the hotel on our first night was included in the tour package. As was dinner and breakfast in the Sahara Desert. All restaurants were great and had a traditional menu, so we stayed consistent and ordered different Tajines everywhere we went.
    • Fes: We only stayed the night before our flight back home and ate at Palais Amani. Great food and nice atmosphere. You need to make reservations! If you have the time, come here for a spa experience! It’s supposed to be amazing!!!
  • Erg Chebi Luxurious Desert Tour With Top Desert from Marrakech to Fes:
    • We took the 3 day tour which allows you to camp overnight for 1 night in the Sahara Desert (longer, 7 day or customized trips are also available). Keep in mind the travel time between Marrakech to the Sahara and back to Fes can take anywhere between 7-10hrs each way with all the stops, etc.
    • Day 1: We drove from Marrakech – Tizi n’Tichka Pass – Telouet – Ait Benhaddou Kasbah – Ouarzazate – Skoura – Dades Gorge. You pass through the Atlas mountains and stop many times for breathtaking landscapes! We also stopped for the Argan Oil. You can buy fossils and rocks everywhere. They look very cool! Our tip: Do not buy the super colorful rocks. The ones colored in bright pinks, red, blues, and greens will fade.
    • Day 2: Driving from Dades Gorge – Todra Gorge – Rissani to Erg Chebbi Luxury Desert Camp. Beautiful scenery, old villages, fresh watermelons, and more Tajines 🙂 We stopped at a super cool Fossil place a few miles before the desert. It was so fun! And we even got to dig for our own fossils in the ground. And as we said before, the Sahara Desert, is just breathtaking! The camp is super awesome! A little hot. But they have plenty of water 😉
    • Day 3: More driving from Erg Chebbi Luxury Desert Camp – Errachidia – Midelt – Azrou – Ifrane to Fes. The best part of this drive: the wild monkeys. They are just hanging out in the trees. Next to the road. Waiting for us. To feed them with peanuts. So cute! Be careful. They like to grab the entire bag!

Want to see the next trip from our bucket list? Click here to continue reading about White Sands National Monument In New Mexico, USA

 

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