Morocco is a doorway to one of the most exotic continents on earth - Africa. From the shoreline of the Atlantic ocean to the peak of the high Atlas mountains, the landscape is just a backdrop to one of the most diverse countries in all of Africa.
It has a unique blend of cultures, languages, religion and cuisine and it stands as an oasis of diverse customs and traditions that have heavily influenced Africa for centuries.
Morocco’s history stretches back almost a millennium. From the Amazigh dynasty (plural is Imazighen) more than 1000 years ago up to its restoration as a sovereign nation from the French protectorate, Morocco is an exotic country filled with culture and tradition.
At the heart of this nation’s cultural heritage, is its music. To explore the music of Morocco would be a voyage unlike any other.
Moroccon music continues to weave threads into the fabric of today’s melodies.
One of the most revered musicians in Morocco is Abdelwahab Doukkali. Emotion plays a key role in his music where he expresses the feelings that ordinary people are unable to express themselves. You can find much of his music in famous bars around the city such as Le Cabestan, Brooklyn Bar and Le Jefferson. And by the way, you should definitely visit the bars I just mentioned. You won’t find anything quite like them in all of Morocco.
This brings me nicely onto my new top pick in Morocco: Casablanca. Casablanca is the birthplace of Abdelwahab Doukkali and is home to the bars mentioned above.
The city is a remarkable blend of modern architecture with old world charm. It has a unique fusion of 21st century life with ancient Islamic heritage. In the city, a perfect representation of Morocco’s commitment to heritage and reputation can be found at one of the largest and most exquisite mosques ever built - known as Hassan II.
Built around the Atlantic ocean, the mosque is a must-visit for curious visitors who want to get an insight into the ancient spiritual traditions that still thrive in Morocco.
Not only is it a beautiful mosque, it is one of the largest in the world.
To the West of Tangier is the Atlantic ocean with the Mediterranean on the East, while Spain lies on the north. While Morocco is the gateway to Africa, Tangier is the entrance to this amazing country. The city’s origins date back to 500 AD. Over the centuries, the Romans, Arabs, French and many other countries have all controlled Tangier in some way or another before it was restored to Morocco in 1956.
Tangier is now a modern, thriving city hub best known for its Amazigh culture. The Imazighen people of Morocco have their own special language called Tamazight or Berber, which is one of the official languages in Morocco. In Tangier you can find many exotic street bazaars selling traditional clothes, jewelry and accessories. If you are in Tangier, don’t forget to visit the Caves of Hercules. These ancient caves have links to Greek mythology and are located next to the summer palace of the King of Morocco. There are two cave openings located here - one which faces the sea, and the other faces the land.
The reef mountains are Morocco’s northernmost mountain range. The highest peak rises over 2,000 metres above sea level and they are home to the Amazigh people. Nestled at the feet of these mountains is Chefchaouen - which is known as the jewel of the reef mountains.
This city has the power and seduction to lure tourists back into a far flung history.
Narrow side streets welcome you into Chefchaouen and as early as 5am you can hear the iconic Muslim prayer call.
As you approach the city, dust descends on the Medina. Then as you go deeper into the heart of the region, you’ll see a plethora of colorful buildings and street musicians that bring the area to life.
Many of the buildings here are painted Moroccon blue, which is said to symbolize the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life. The colors dates back all the way to 1471. It is a tradition that is maintained in the present day and many local women often get together to repaint any fading colors.
Here in Chefchaouen you can see dances such as the tea tray dance, where street performers balance on top of gasses, with a heavy tray on top of their head and carry out their dance moves.
But the truth is, this is just a fraction of the cultural gems you can experience in Chefchaouen. It is a city so rich and vibrant that it’s impossible to get bored or tired of it.
If you ever venture to Morocco, be sure to put Chefchaouen on your list.
This blog only scratches the surface of the awesome things to do in Morocco. I haven’t even touched on the adventures across the Sahara desert, majestic city palaces and Roman ruins that also reside here.
If you come to Morocco to experience something different, you will definitely find it here. It’s unlike anything you’re likely to experience elsewhere in Africa or the world and it will certainly leave an impression on you for many years to come.
So it you want your first taste of Africa and an ancient culture that has lasted for more than a millennium, there is no other place to be.
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Janine is a copywriter and marketing manager from England, with a background in journalism. She runs a popular travel blog called janinesjourneys.com and a Youtube blog where she shares her top tips and travel advice with other travelers. As a digital nomad, Janine spends most of her time exploring new places, creating dynamic marketing campaigns on behalf of other companies, and producing inspirational content about travel and photography and she represents a number of different entrepreneurs and startups. She also has a passion for helping people to reach their full potential.