Displaying items by tag: flight to sahara
Morocco honeymoon: the ideal getaway destination in 2021.
The one trip you will remember for the rest of your marriage. Why Morocco ? Riads straight out of 1001 nights. A small plane ride to land you next to the Sahara. Tea with the nomads. A lunch on top of the dunes just you, your loved one and your private butler. More than mere glamping. Village markets and secret kasbahs. Romance complimented by authenticity- that's our idea of a honeymoon in Morocco. Picture yourselves watching sunrise over the Sahara dunes: there's no better place to forget all about travel bans, mask wearing or loosing someone close.
Our idea of a honeymoon tour in Morocco doesn't follow a set itinerary. Think of it rather as connecting different private local experiences and encounters with secret, intimate, authentic accommodations, within your budget and time available. Naturally, we offer a few sample itineraries on our website, to help set some kind of initial structure. Yet, for such a special occasion, why not tailor and customize each and every detail ? While favoring the privacy, remoteness and unique local experiences ?
Best Time of Year for a Morocco honeymoon
Overall, the country is best visited all year round. But to strike that fine balance between privacy, relaxation, the right temperatures and adventure, we'd recommend any time between October and May, avoiding if possible Easter and Christmas holidays, when Morocco sees quite an increase in the number of tourists. If you are willing to forego the Sahara desert, Morocco offers plenty to experience and see even during summer. Or maybe temperatures of over 40 Celsius don't scare you. Whatever your dates, send us an enquiry . With 15 years of in- country presence, we will tailor your honeymoon so as to get the best out of your time and budget.
How Much Does a Morocco Honeymoon cost ?
It depends on the planning. Would you like to have your base in one location ( Marrakech or Fez) and move around from there or would you rather tour Morocco and include Marrakech, Fez and the Sahara, among others ? If the latter, a private 8 day tour with most expenses included starts at 1000 USD per person, with 3 star accommodation and can climb all the way to 4000 USD per person and more, with lodging at the likes of La Mamounia and a VIP 30 square meter luxury tent in the Sahara, including ensuite bathroom. It also depends on how much you wish to splash. Morocco is not an expensive country, when compared to Italy or Spain, but if you wish to treat yourselves to a hot air balloon ride or a hammam and massage treatment, it can quickly put a dent in your budget. Marrakech can equally be expensive in terms of accommodation and eating out, but even here you'll be able to get decent value for money.
Accommodation matters: The Best Riads, Lodges, Desert camps and boutique hotels in Morocco.
One reason for Morocco being such a popular destination is the design and location of the different riads, desert camps and other eco- lodges. From itinerant desert camps to luscious, lavish riads and eco- lodges running without electricity, the creativity is almost infinite. For a honeymoon though, we'd recommend favoring those places where privacy is almost guaranteed. The last thing you wish on your honeymoon is fractious children bomb- diving in the pool next to your sun- lounge or having to queue for buffet dining. You can find our favorite hideaways by scrolling down to the end of the article.
How Many Days Should You Spend in Morocco ?
To allow for adventure and relaxation, but also immerse yourselves into the local culture ? A minimum of 7- 8 days. 9- 10 days is ideal, if you can afford the time and the budget. What is too much ? Over 2 weeks. You'd need at least 2-3 days in each Marrakech and / or Fez. The Sahara is a 9- 10 hour drive from either of those two cities, so minimum a 4 day return trip with one overnight half way both on the way there and the way back.
Must do’s on a Honeymoon in Morocco
Marrakech or Fez, Marrakech being the more sensual, cosmopolitan, fashionable while Fez being the more traditional, authentic, discreet. Personally, nothing beats a walk in the medina of Fez. With no motorbikes or other modern wares in sight, it's traveling in time , the bygone era of Harun El Rashid and Aladdin... The Sahara dunes are a must, of course. It would spoil the experience if you didn't stay in a camp deep inside the dunes. And you'd probably want to go for an upgraded tent, with private toilets and showers. While Marrakech, Fez and the Sahara are obvious choices, I believe it's the local experiences that make a honeymoon unique in Morocco. Naturally, it's near impossible to schedule meeting water diviners or snake charmers in the Anti Atlas and share a cup of tea with them or visit a local's home. Most importantly though, a good local agent will design an itinerary where those experiences are likely to happen and they haven't been corrupted by the passage of mass tourism. An area rarely explored by travel agents and tourists altogether is Morocco's south- west, all the way from Zagora to the east to Guelmin to the west. Century- old fortresses, rock engravings, arresting gorges where gazelles sometimes scurry to quench their thirst, baking bread in the village oven with the local ladies, make up for unforgettable memories.
How Do You Get to Morocco from the US ?
Royal Air Maroc flies direct from New York and Miami to Casablanca. Based on our 11 years of feedback from guests, the flight and onboard service are decent enough. Delta, American and some other companies fly to Europe where there are plenty of connections with Morocco, especially from Spain, France and Italy, but also from Germany, Netherlands and the UK. We encourage you to first fly into southern Spain if you can afford a few days in Andalucia, where a stir of Morocco still lingers in the architecture, cuisine and local traditions. Connections with Marrakech, Rabat and Casablanca are available from Seville, Malaga and Valencia and the flight takes a little over one hour.
Morocco Packing List
There really isn't much that you can't purchase locally, if you forgot to pack it, whether it is sun screen, straw hats or iPhone charger. Unless you are into hardcore trekking or Bitcoin mining, you should pack as light as you feel comfortable, especially if you consider moving around the country. If you decide for a private Morocco tour, things are different. With pick- up from and drop off to the airport and a large boot that goes with the Toyota 4x4, you can almost pack your whole wardrobe. Do remember to leave some empty space in your suitcases if you plan to shop around. And even if you don't. Over the years, we've seen a few converts.
Privacy over Popularity
Jemaa El Fna square ? Majorelle Gardens ? Game of Thrones location ? Yes, we think they should be on everyone's Best Places to visit Morocco travel list. But remember, you are likely to jostle with many other travelers. You may want to intersperse those with lengthy moments of privacy. How ? Even within the madness of Marrakech's medina and its hustle and bustle you can find islets of tranquility. It can be your own Riad. It can be in the gardens of La Mamounia, if you happen to be there at sunset. And don't always believe the titles. Le Jardin Secret is not really secret. But most of the time, privacy and exploration will reward couples outside the big cities, on the way to or from the Sahara desert.
Adventure and Relaxation
As carefully as we curate every private tour to suit and exceed our guests' expectations, their most cherished memories are those special spontaneous moments on their trip. Impromptu visit to a local family that turned into lunch or an unexpected climb up to a brow from where a beguiling panorama unfolded, it's easy to always look for the next best experience. Relaxation should be factored in, and by that we don't mean a visit to the spa every other day. It may entail spending more than just one overnight at each location, so as to avoid packing every morning and unpacking every evening. Or cut out social media and being ‘connected to the world’. It may imply spending the morning by the pool and put off that thought of locating the most intricate bronze lamp in the whole souk. At least for a while.
Is Morocco Safe ?
In a nutshell, yes. Recent years have proven that Europe and other parts of the world are less likely to preclude or forestall a terrorist attack. Years ago, a special division has been created ( dubbed Moroccan FBI) whose one and only mission is to make sure that there is no terrorist threat present on Moroccan territory. The BCIJ is frequently consulted by French and European secret services on matters of security and data sharing. In terms of petty crime, Marrakech or Fez rank much better than other tourism hubs like Barcelona or Paris, largely because tourism is one of Morocco's main bread earners and most citizens mean tourists well, from the local policeman to the taxi driver and master craftsman. Moreover, in the light of the recent Covid pandemic, Morocco is the most successful African country in terms of its vaccination campaign, trailing just behind France, Spain or Italy. As of summer 2021, most of the Morocco travel restrictions are now lifted.
Where to eat out
Although Morocco is still to boast its first Michelin star restaurant, the local food scene in the big cities will satisfy the most demanding gourmets, its influences being French, Italian, Thai and naturally, Moroccan, among others. Our personal favorites are: Fez: Dar Hatim ( Moroccan ), Dar Roumana ( Moroccan/ French); Marrakech: Dar Rhizlane ( French / International), Al Fassia ( Moroccan), L'O a la bouche ( French). This list is by no means definitive, as the restaurant scene in Morocco sees a high turnover. We try and test and rank local restaurants as often as we can, bar a worldwide pandemic.
Most Romantic Sahara camp
Not only do you deserve a romantic camp, but ideally, a remote one, with plenty of privacy to admire sunset and sunrise from a top of a dune, the view unencumbered. With Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga, the two dunes locations, we'd urge you to consider the latter. Yes, maybe the dunes of Erg Chebbi are taller, but you are never sheltered from the risk of crossing paths with herds of tourists on a camel group ride or a quad bike outing. In contrast, the dunes of Erg Chigaga are more remote, less transited, possibly due to being simply less accessible. By bus, that is. Not for nothing, Dar Ahlam chose this location for their itinerant camp. Our favorite must be Azalai Camp with its white canvas tents, vintage suitcases and leather club armchairs, like stepping onto the set of Out of Africa...
Below, we have selected a few of those addresses that we think best embody the secret hideaway spirit. You can select all or a few of them and have us design a private customized tour around these properties and some hand- picked experiences. They are not limited to honeymooners only. Some couples may merely desire to find themselves again and reconnect with each other. Cut out the white noise around. Yes, that includes social media and being ‘connected to the world’. But that's entirely up to you. The only limit is your budget and the time you can take off to travel around Morocco.
The house of dreams. And it will certainly fulfill some. More than that, it will consistently leave you rapt. Wonder. Experience. Enchant. The French owner used to create private events in Paris, so the last thing he wished for is a 5 star resort inside a palm grove. What if someone knew your favorite color was purple and you'd arrive in your room to find everything is purple ? What if you didn't know where or what your next meal is going to be ? Perhaps it will be a candlelit table in a tiny room in the labyrinth that you didn’t know existed. Or a set up dining area showing up out of nowhere, complete with your butler, up in the High Atlas, by the riverbed. This 15 suite hideaway sits at the foot of the High Atlas mountains, nested within the 4500- acre palm grove of Skoura. Part of the wonder of staying here is learning the way back to your room. With a staff of 100, you can get an idea of how personal the attention and service is going to be. In the image- based world we live in, where information is instant, this is a world of secrets. A house of dreams. It would make little sense staying here less than two nights, arriving late evening and departing early after breakfast the next day. Magic needs time to operate. If you wish to know more about it, please click here.
DAR ZAHIA GARDEN
Marc Belli has just realized his dream: to build sleeping cabins in the rural plot he owns facing the Atlas mountains. If he shares with many of his contemporaries a desire to get back to nature, Marc, a French photographer and art director, is also victim to a certain nostalgia for the ‘paradise garden’ of his youth: that of his grandmother’s villa, where he spent his holidays. Covering nearly 4,000sq m, this narrow plot is enclosed by a rammed-clay wall. It is reached by a dusty track edged by thorn bushes and cacti. Another surprise awaits beyond the patio: an electric-blue raised swimming pool that seems to stretch as far as the eye can see.
Picturesque pathways dotted with garden seats wind through the fragrant, bushy undergrowth, opening the way through the eucalyptus, pomegranate, citrus, olive and fig trees, aloes, succulents and more. At the far end of the garden, buried among the vegetation, are the five cabins open to guests. Wooden cubes, the cabins are reminiscent of Balinese gazebos or small Japanese tea houses and have been fabricated out of local materials.
South of Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast and north of Agadir lies the small village of Tafedna. This feels remote and at first, it's hard to see the sandy beach, tucked among the Argan cliffs that makes any encounter with the waves of the Atlantic uniquely memorable.
Therein lies Tasgua- Yan, a charming 14-room guest house overlooking the sea, its walls forged out of local stone and timber. The white washed walls and blue framed windows reminisce of the Greek islands rather than Morocco. You come here to disconnect from the world. Take long walks along the deserted beach or through the argan forest. Sit by the fire place or the turquoise pool with your favorite novel. Swim in the ocean. Linger on for dinner over fresh fish and a glass of vin gris. Let time pass. By the Atlantic, in the middle of nowhere. Literally.
If one could have only one thing, one reason only to visit Morocco, this would be it: a night at Azalai Desert Camp in the dunes of Erg Chigaga. Let your driver arrange for a camel ride just before entering the dunes so you arrive in style at the camp, right about sunset. Four large white canvas tents and three slightly smaller ones, complement each other so that one might think he's on his own in the desert. Two VIP tents, further away, come with their own dedicated butler, club leather armchairs and lounge- library. Inside you'll find king-sized wrought-iron beds, quality mattresses, finest bedspreads, mosquito nets and Fes - ceramic water basins. Berber rugs cover the uneven rattan floors. King-sized beds are heavy with blankets and brocade covers – necessary in the winter – and light is provided by tin battery-powered lanterns. Bathrooms are provided with eco- toilets and pump showers with hot water. Dinner is served by candlelight, wreathed by lanterns placed meticulously atop the dunes. The four course set menu regularly starts with harira soup, Moroccan briouates, continues with a hearty beef or lamb tagine and ends with a French desert. The hardest is to leave.
AZALAI BEACH COTTAGE
You really have to know your way to get here. About 20 minutes drive from the dreamy village of Oualidia, the road overhangs the tomato parcels juxtaposing the beach. An unassuming turn and a few miles of off- road take you to the gates of Azalai Cottage. Strong on the heels of Azalai Desert Lodge, arguably the smartest guest house south of Ouarzazate, Bouchaib, the French- born Moroccan owner, an accomplished architect himself, entrusted Helene Bartholdi to create something altogether different. The Out- Of- Africa feel was replaced by something much more Mediterranean, almost Aix-en- Provence vibe, with the occasional Berber carpet thrown- in. Five rooms, two suites and two bungalows all face the Atlantic and the gradient makes it that everyone gets a sea- view. Between the villa and the beach, a generous pool blends smoothly with the garden’s palm grove, near a shaded beach hut providing a bounty of fine shell fish cuisine to be enjoyed under the cool swaying shade of the palm fronds. The well stocked library and board games make up for the lack of any TV or wifi.
TOUR DES FAUCONS
In the 1960's, long before budget airlines and Trip Advisor, Morocco started to attract a particular kind of crowd. Fashion moguls, actors, artists and writers, settled here or had a secondary home, a Paradise Lost retreat from the disenchantment with a more and more mechanical Europe. Their villas were the epitome of design, mixing the Moroccan- inspired carpets, zellij, fountains or woodwork with modern European art, African masks, Andalusian gardens and Italian chandeliers. La Tour des Faucons is such a place, located just outside Taroudant, but Karl, the very down- to- earth German owner, doesn't throw any opulent parties. What he likes to do nowadays is welcome guests and have good company. The art collection on display should be protected with infra- red laser at night. But don't think for a second that you'll be spending the night in a museum. The suites are immense and fully functional with floor heating and reversible A/C. The bathrooms seem to come out of Architectural Digest. There is a 30 meter long pool to keep you fit, if you manage to not get lost in the gardens. Be there at the right time of year and you can join in to harvest the olives or oranges.
Short on time while in Marrakech and you don't want to miss the desert experience ? Well, you have Agafay desert, just 45 minutes drive away. In all honesty, Agafay desert is not really a desert. It's a startling revelation, as one is surrounded by nothing but biscuit-colored waves of rock that stretch as far as the eye can see; an isolated palm tree flapping its fronds and a couple of camels grazing peacefully add to the illusion. La Pause is a rustic retreat where you can both get back to nature and keep your comfort intact. And what better example than the wood burning stoves that stand guard keeping the chilly air of those winter nights away from the open fronted rooms ? There is no electricity and scarcely any mobile reception. But perhaps snoozing, stargazing and staring into space are not your thing. Well, worry not. Camel riding, buggy racing, Arab caligraphy, massages or a cooking class can all be arranged on site. The rooms are built of pisé (adobe and straw mix) and the stylish lodges are sublimely illuminated by candles and oil lamps. You will find a sumptuous king sized bed, a strong shower, low sofas, rugs and cushions, plus fireplaces and a patio sun-lounger for morning mint teas. Their comfortably arranged Berber tents let you enjoy magical moments and beautiful evenings under the stars, whilst listening to the captivating and hypnotic rhythms of traditional Gnawa music.
Juan, an international photographer, wanted to blend his love of photography, India and the Sahara and Casa Juan is the offspring. In the middle of nowehere, this is as remote as you can get, on the edge of the Sahara. Given the coordinates, it is hard to imagine you'd find a manager that speaks fluent English. Or refined Moroccan cuisine. Finding the place is like a treasure hunt. You will sometimes be met by Juan himself and get your luggage carried to your room by donkey. You will truly appreciate having a 4x4 here as you'll need to cross a few small dunes to make it to the house. I've hardly ever stayed in a hotel where the names of the rooms encapsulated this well their respective names: Africa, India ... From the rooms and the public areas, it is clear that the owner has travelled all over the world and has decorated the spaces with some sublime photos and very rare artfacts. Abdel , Hamid and the rest of the team could not make you feel more welcome. Just go up those stairs and come out on the roof terrace to awe at the setting sun over the palm grove and the dunes...