Morocco, Travel companies and tours, Travel diary

Moroccan magic: my first day in Marrakesh

I set off solo for Morocco, to meet my Travel Talk tour group. I panicked at the last minute, as we flew towards the city. We were flying over mountains, and fields, and I started worrying maybe there was nothing here. The bustling city I imagined might only exist in my head.

Flying into Marrakesh from the air

We touched down at the airport, and I was impressed by how much warmer it was as soon as I got off the plane. Morocco is one country I would recommend giving it everything you have to be first in the line for immigration. I dawdled, and ended up waiting two hours.

I was collected by Travel Talk, and headed with some others in my group for our hotel. It was luxurious, far nicer than this wee backpacker is used to! Built around a central pool, it was exactly as I pictured a Moroccan hotel would look, all beautiful red clay and long curtains billowing in the breeze.

Poolside at the Kasbah Hotel Marrakesh

I ventured to the Jardin Marjorelle, better known as the YSL garden, with a few girls on the tour. The reception booked us a taxi, and we walked outside to be greeted by the driver of a yellow Mercedes, that had seen better days. The interior was worn leather, and we realised as we headed for the gardens that all the taxis are old Mercs. It’s like they took the fleet of a country’s old taxis, like they had taken London’s old black cabs.

Our driver was not impressed when he realised we only wanted to go as far as the garden. Suddenly he could only speak French, his perfect English fell out the window as we drove! He tried to offer to drive us to Agadir, a few hundred kilometres away. I did note that the prices quoted actually weren’t too bad, if you ever did get stuck for trans-Morocco transport!

YSL garden in Marrakesh, Morocco

The YSL garden is absolutely stunning. The brightly painted buildings and pots are a contrast against the vivid greens of the cacti and flowers. It is a beautiful spot for a bit of quiet, away from the bustling city.

We went back to the hotel to meet our guide, Abdoul. He is a king amongst humble men, an absolute legend. Everyone that does this tour, he is their highlight. He took us to a local place for dinner, where we seriously pigged out. We were set back 120 dirham, which is about £8, for a four course meal.

We got back to the hotel late that night, and my swipe card for the door wouldn’t work. After a few trips back to reception to sort it, I finally opened my door…to someone in my bed! I felt like I’d just come across Goldilocks. I assumed the girl I was rooming with just had too much stuff, turns out it was hers plus the other girls bags. Oops. Goldilocks refused to get up, so back to reception I went, to explain their stuff-up, and check into Goldilocks’ suite. Oh the joys of travel!

My first impression of Morocco was a fabulous one. The Kasbah hotel Travel Talk uses is incredible. If this all sounds like a bit of you, you can book onto the Adventure Morocco tour here. I’ve convinced about ten friends to do this tour and everyone has had the best trip of their lives. I promise you won’t be disappointed!


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