Traveling to the North of Africa, I didn't know what to expect. Coming from the same continent, I assumed it would be similar to South Africa, with all our tall skyscrapers, urbane sidewalks, modern cities and general mall-hopping culture. Well, I was in for a culture shock. Morocco is a country built upon a compelling history, where the opulent buildings and ancient avenues of the past still stand as it did centuries ago. Chaotic city streets, traffic jams made up of motorcycles and horse carriages, and tiny alley way markets where you can buy everything from your daily fruit and veg, freshly baked pastries to baby clothes, wedding decor, copper pots and pans or even a new sofa. An exotic explosion to the senses, I was immersed in the captivating customs, tantalizing food, rich heritage and diverse landscapes: sandy deserts on one side, the vast Atlantic ocean on the other and spirited old cities everywhere in between. These are some photos I captured on my recent trip there.

The Royal Palace in Fes, Dar el Makhzen, is still used as the King's residence when he visits the city. It provides a great example of the ornate architectural design that is prominent in Morocco. It's well worth a view just to see those grandiose golden doors up close.

A birds-eye view over the cream and beige Imperial city of Fes, a maze of over 9000 narrow streets, each one looking remarkably similar to the last, this is one place you do not want to get lost in! Legend has it that a tourist once went missing in the labyrinthine medina (old city) and only found his way out 3 months later...with a new wife in tow.

1. The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, which is the third largest in the world. 2. You can stop by for a drink at Rick's Cafe, the hub made famous in the movie, 'Casablanca'. 3. Our hotel overlooking the city of Rabat. 4. Laying sight upon the red stoned minaret of Koutoubia is a sure sign that we had reached Marrakech. 5. A lavishly dressed guard keeps a look-out at a Mausoleum of a former King in Rabat.

The famous Jemaa el-Fna Square in Marrakech comes alive as the sun sets. This exuberant souk is where you will find snake charmers, folk dancers, tarot-card readers, music-makers, astrologists, herbalists & traditional healers. Seeing it on the Travel Channel and actually being there in the pandemonian are two completely different things. The market has an electric vibe, teeming with locals & tourists, eager to catch a glance of one of the 'professional posers' or have a taste of the inviting native cuisine from one of the countless food stalls. You can also shop for uniquely Moroccan souvenirs like a fez (the hat, not the city;), fragrant spices, argan hair oil at half the price, antique silver teapots & a Djellaba kaftan.

The vibrant culture, art and colours of Morocco. We spent time in the vast medina browsing for quaint antiquities and exquisite handwoven Persian rugs, one of which will set you back over €4000. One of the most memorable evenings was spent in an ancient riad-turned-guesthouse, where we served a delicious tagine and entertained by the sashaying moves of belly dancers to the ethnic sounds of folk singers dressed in traditional garb.

Red sands and a forest of greenery pave the Ulrika Valley, a place that the Berber villagers call home amidst the Atlas Mountains.

*All photos taken by me.


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