goats in a tree

LEGEND

* Easy to get to, but takes a bit more effort.
** Perhaps a bit out of your way, but worth it.
*** Strap up your boots. But MUCH easier than Nepal or the Machu Picchu Trail.
**** Not necessarily easy, but places like this are where dinner party stories are created.


**** Dakhla

The Vibe – Remote windsurfing mecca with a frontier-like energy.
Where – The deep south, a two and a half hour flight from Casablanca. Forget about driving.
Why Go – To see the sand of the Sahara where it meets the waters of the Atlantic.
For – Kite surfers, windsurfers, board surfers, and beach lovers.
Insider’s Tip – At Duna Blanca, if you are lucky, you can swim with the dolphins and perhaps meet a seal.

** El Jadida

The Vibe – Sleepy former Portuguese-fortified town on the Atlantic.
Where – An hour and 15-minute drive from Casablanca’s airport.
Why Go – For a leisurely stroll through the Portuguese-built citadel and cistern.
For – Anyone looking for a good excuse to take the old coastal road.
Insider’s Tip – Equestrians might wish to check out the annual Salon du Cheval, normally held in October.

* Ifrane

The Vibe – Swiss Alps meets Morocco.
Where – An hour and a half drive from Fes en route to the Sahara.
Why Go – To be able to say you have skied in Africa.
For – Skiers (and for those who want to stretch their legs on the road to the Sahara).
Insider’s Tip – Please don’t feed the Barbary apes.

** Moulay Bousselham and the Blue Lagoon

The Vibe – Large coastal lagoon thronged with thousands of wild fowl, waders, and flamingos.
Where – Northern Morocco on the Atlantic (An hour and a half north of Rabat)
Why Go – Merdja Zerga, or Blue Lagoon, is home to the rare African Marsh Owl, flamingos, white storks, glossy ibis, and over 100 other mostly-migratory species and, in winter up to 30,000 ducks.
For – Serious birdwatchers. December through March is the best time to visit.
Insider’s Tip – If you’ve ventured this far north, don’t miss Asilah.

**** Nkob

The Vibe – Extremely remote Saharan oasis.
Where – Between Merzouga and Zagora along a largely untraveled road.
Why Go – Gorgeous kasbahs and open desert.
For – Adventurers. And those who love the open road – getting there is half the fun.
Insider’s Tip – Buy a “chain” of Moroccan donuts (sfenj) from a roadside vendor for breakfast.

* Oualidia

The Vibe – Coastal village with a large lagoon and a tiny beach.
Where – A two-hour drive from Casablanca and three from Marrakech.
Why Go – For calm (in the off-season, anyway) and, as any Moroccan will tell you, for the oysters.
For – The chilled-out at heart.
Insider’s Tip – Avoid the summer, when town and beach are overrun by vacationing Moroccans.

** Sefrou

The Vibe – Traditional Moroccan market town.
Where – A 30-minute drive southeast from Fes on the slopes of the Middle Atlas Mountains.
Why Go – To see a less touristy market town and medina, and for Jewish heritage.
For – Those less focused on monuments and more on immersion.
Insider’s Tip – Come for the annual Cherry Harvest Festival, normally in early June.

**** Sidi Ifni

The Vibe – Somewhere between a really sleepy little city and a ghost town.
Where – A two-hour drive south of Agadir.
Why Go – Crumbling Spanish colonial architecture.
For – For those whose “off the beaten path” is further “off” than most.
Insider’s Tip – Early morning and dusk will, without fail, produce brilliant photographs.

*** Tafraoute

The Vibe – Pretty red kasbahs in the Berber heartland of the Anti-Atlas Mountains.
Where – A two and a half hour drive south of Taroudant.
Why Go – Beautiful mountain scenery – the best of the best views.
For – Hikers and photographers.
Insider’s Tip – Check out the weekly Wednesday market.

* Taroudant

The Vibe – Ancient walled city and market town.
Where – A five-hour drive south of Marrakech over stunning mountain roads full of hairpin turns, or three hours on a faster bypass.
Why Go – The drive there is half the fun, and you are rewarded by getting to experience the hustle and bustle of a traditional market town.
For – Those who don’t believe us when we say that goats really do climb trees.
Insider’s Tip – The best argan trees (the goats agree) are on the road to Tioute.


NOT EXACTLY FURTHER AFIELD, BUT WE THOUGHT YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW:

Agadir

The Vibe – Mass-market beach resort for Europeans (in winter) and Moroccans (in summer).
Where – On the Atlantic, three hours southwest of Marrakech.
Why Go – Wide, sandy beaches, chilly Atlantic waters, and plenty of nightclubs.
For – Beach lovers and party animals.
Insider’s Tip – Wake up early for the daily fish auction.