Photo: Agadir to Essaouira Road, most pics of me taken by @lemanieg

Diva Self Drive Morocco Road Trip.  Your very own Diva shares her tips for a successful, enjoyable and fun trip around Morocco.

First of all, hire a car!  I know this seems obvious but you will be surprised at how easy and carefree driving around is in Morocco!  I hired the car at the airport along with my friend Melanie and we drove straight to Marrakesh, parked up in a secure car park right outside the Medina for 6 euros a night.

Diva Road Trip, the start of our trip in Marrakesh

Marrakesh to Agadir:

Next day, hopped in the car and drove to Agadir for lunch.  The road was a new motorway with hardly any traffic and views of the countryside along the way.

Photo: Stop and chat to some donkeys along the way!

An easy 3 hour drive from Marrakesh to Agadir, a large part on a motorway and we arrived at the seafront of Agadir just in time for lunch.

Delicious Seafood Salad for lunch in Agadir

Another 20 minutes and we arrived at our hotel resort Paradis Plage.  This is set on a fabulous beach and we enjoyed a relaxing couple of days chilling doing Yoga, riding along the beach, Melanie enjoyed surfing.  This is the perfect location for surfing and surfers flock to this part of Morocco to enjoy the waves!

Delighted with my choice of a self-drive hire car!  The best way to see the country in my opinion, I love the freedom to choose where to go and what to do!

On the Road from Agadir to Essaouira

Agadir to Essaouira:

This road is just a joy to drive along.  You will enjoy spectacular sea views and literally step back in time in rural Morocco.  Again the roads are good with very few cars.  As a farmers wife, I particularly enjoyed the rural life and found the old fashioned farming methods and machinery fascinating.

Fun to stop at little market towns along the way

Then you can stop off and explore the markets along the way.  Nearly every little town had something interesting going on.  We felt totally relaxed and safe at all times and everyone was really nice along the way!  The people of Morocco are a delight.

Stocking up on some fruit for the journey

I have never seen Argan trees or Argan oil being produced before and this is the only area of morocco in which you will find these unusual trees.

Spot the Goats clambering in the trees

There are lots of little roadside stalls selling Argan oil as you approach Essouaira but you might be better to wait and buy the oil from a respected producer in Essouaira.

Spot the Camel under the heap of Straw?

Beware speed cameras though!  I confess to receiving a Speeding fine along this road.  Unfortunately the sun was in my eyes and I mistook the policeman for a potential roadside bandit!  I speeded up when I spotted him which was not the best idea to be honest.  All ended well and he saw the funny side in the end and we continued on our way.

Arrived safely in Essouaira!

A few days in fabulous Essaouira,  read my Essouaira blog to find out more, and we continued on to the Ourika Valley in the Atlas Mountains.

View of the High Atlas Mountains

Essouaira to Ourika Valley, Atlas Mountains:

This was quite a trek and involved driving through Marrakesh again!  It would have taken us around 4 hours if we hadn’t got lost trying to find the Kasbah.  I think we put the wrong co-ordinates into the Sat-Nav maybe, not really sure what went wrong! We arrived on market day too….

This was the only time we went off road along some tracks but it was well worth the clic and we loved our stay in the mountains!

Atlas Mountains near Kasbah Bab Ourika 

The views were amazing as was the hiking, Hamman and lunch in a Berber Village.  A thoroughly enjoyable stay in the mountains!

The views from Kasbah Bab Ourika in the Atlas Mountains

Some of our videos!  We managed to keep our sense of humour along the way!

And the Kasbah kindly rescued us in the end!

Kasbah Bab Ourika

What a way to end my Diva Road Trip around Morocco! I loved a short stay at Kasbah Bab Ourika in the Atlas Mountains, overlooking the Ourika Valley and will be back.  We drove from Essaouira to the Kasbah enjoying the sights and sounds of rural Morocco along the way.

The Kasbah has a magical setting in breathtaking mountain scenery.  It is a joy to relax, unwind and breath in the mountain air.  The perfect retreat after a hectic stay in the Medina of Essouaira.

Gardens at Kasbah Bab Ourika

The setting and the gardens are a highlight here.  What a treat to find such beautiful gardens high up in the mountains!  Enjoy the outdoor swimming Pool and Hammam.  I stayed in a suite decorated in a simple Berber style, making good use of local materials and fabric.  Simple but chic.

Enjoy a mountain view from the bed in the morning, open the doors and step out into a sweet little private garden to enjoy your morning tea!

Private little Garden outside the suite at Kasbah Bab Ourika

We asked for twin beds but there was the option of a larger bed. The bathroom with a shower was simple but functional.

Bedroom at Kasbah Bab Ourika

Enjoy meals in the charming Courtyard restaurant.

Charming Restaurant setting

We enjoyed breakfast on the terrace and tried a Berber Omelette, which was delicious and you should try when you visit.

Terrace for Breakfast

Hiking:

I would definitely recommend a hike with a local guide arranged by the Kasbah.  Hassan was a wonderful guide for our two hour hike followed by lunch in a Berber house cooked by a Berber family which was delicious and a very unique experience.

Views of the Atlas Mountains on my hike

The food was delicious and vegetarian as we requested.  Definitely a terrific experience!

Walking through Berber Village

Lunch with a Berber family

My drive back to Marrakesh airport was very easy and straight forward and it took me 45 minutes.  Kasbah Bab Ourika is a lovely mountain retreat but within easy access of Marrakesh.  I would recommend hiring a car and driving yourself around in Morocco, we were 2 women and felt safe and happy for the entire trip.  The people of Morocco are a delight.

Kasbah Bab Ourika

Information:

Kasbah Hab Ourika, Ourika Valley, Tnin Ourika, Morocco tel: +212668749547

http://www.kasbahbabourika.com

 

Beautiful Atlas Mountains, Morocco

My 5 Top Tips for a Trip to the Atlas Mountains.  Are you taking a trip to Marrakesh?  Make time to get out to the Atlas Mountains.  They are only a two hour drive from the city and so breathtaking,  I would not miss the chance to get out there and see for yourself.

I took a couple of day trips out from Marrakesh, but next visit I will definitely go and stay out in the mountains at Kasbah Tarandot.  More later!

TIP No.1:

Hire a car and driver to show take you into the mountains.  We went with Ali Bouramdane from ATM Journey   and enjoyed a memorable day exploring the mountains.  The morning was spent winding our way up higher and higher,  stopping to take in the view on the way.

Ali from ATM Journey

The road from Marrakesh to the mountains

An easy drive into the mountains, one long road ahead.

Spot Goats, Donkeys and wonderful views en route.

Top Tip No.2:

I ‘borrowed’ this bike for a photo!

If you hire a car and drive yourself watch out for speed traps!  I have never seen so many police catching speeding motorists, they have very strict speeding laws.  Also, make sure you buckle up or prepare for an on the spot fine.

Morocco is perfectly safe with well maintained cars and good roads.  It was a pleasant surprise. Just make sure you stick to the speed limit.

Top Tip No.3:

Ignore all the warnings you have read!  I avoided Morocco for years after being told ‘You will be hassled all the time, and it is not safe!’  and ‘It is so dirty everywhere’, ‘Marie, you will hate it!’.  Well, regular Divalicious readers know just what a pampered Princess I can be and I just loved it!  My advice is ignore all those warnings.  If a street vendor tries to sell you something (remember the poor chap is just trying to earn a crust for goodness sake!)  Do NOT engage in conversation, politely ignore.

I felt perfectly safe at all times, was not hassled in any way.  Morocco is a surprisingly enlightened country compared with others in the region and Marrakesh is a wonderful melting pot of cultures.  The people are a delight and you will love them!  This comes from a tall blond who doesn’t exactly blend in with the locals.

Top Tip No.4:

Kasbah Tamadot:

Visit Kasbah Tamadot.  This is a very special place, above and beyond Diva expectations.  Friends of mine stayed there and recommended a visit.  I was not disappointed and I will be back to stay.  The location is magical and the hotel is a perfect mountain retreat in every way.  The staff are a delight.  The hotel, with its Berber tent suite accommodation is just a heavenly, with exquisitely tasteful design and spectacular mountain views.  I almost cried  and clung to the gatepost when it was time to leave! (I didn’t really, but you know what I mean?)

Lunch with a view anyone?

Start saving now, it is worth every penny!  The suites, designed in the style of traditional berber tents, are the epitome of understated chic.

Kasbah Tarandot

Suite with a view of the mountains

Everywhere at Kasbah Tamadot is super chic, it is impossible to take a bad photo.  Lunch was simple but delicious.

Kasbah Tamadot, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

I enjoyed meeting the resident pets, including Camels, Goats, Donkeys, Mules and even Peacocks.

Even the Camels are friendly at Kasbah Tamadot!

TIP No.5:

Hike in the Atlas Mountains!  Whether you make time for a post prandial stroll or a two day trek, just walk and breathe in the pure mountain air and enjoy the views!

After lunch, we asked the hotel for advice on a suitable short hike.  They were amazing and provided us with water, a map and even a guide to set us off along the right track.  We were invited to shower on our return.  Such wonderful hospitality considering we only stopped for lunch!

Hike with a view at Kasbah Tamadot

I look forward to returning to http://www.kasbahtamadot.com

After lunch we clambered back into the 4 x 4 and Ali drove on to a Lake about another 20 minutes further into the mountains.

We were really tired by this time, the fresh mountain air, a good lunch and hike completely finished us off. Ali drove us serenely back down the mountain to Marrakesh and a nap before dinner!

Ali Bouramdane from ATM Journey:

It is not easy taking pot luck and finding a guide in a new destination.  Ali was a delight.  A  good and safe drive, comfortable 4 x 4 and informative too!  I recommend a trip with ATM journey whether it be for a day trip or for a longer excursion around Morocco.

Book A Trip:

I am already planning my return trip to see more of Morocco and will travel around the country with ATM journey.

http://www.atmjourney.com