Snow isn’t the first thing you think of when you picture Morocco, but with four mountain ranges crossing the kingdom there are plenty of places at high altitude where the white stuff falls. One of these is Oukaimeden, the highest ski resort in Africa at 2,600 metres above sea level. 45 miles from Marrakech, as well as skiing it offers sledging for families, sightseeing trips, and there’s even a golf course currently under construction! Ifrane (pictured – credit: ssaw tawahd) is in the Middle Atlas mountains, and was established during the French administration in 1929, hence the ‘Alpine’ style of the town.
A must-visit for all fashionistas, the doors to the Yves St Laurent museum in Marrakech opened in October this year. Over 4,000 exhibits showcasing highlights from the designer’s collections are displayed within a purpose-built museum in the city that Yves St Laurent first visited in 1966. Alongside the clothing collection, a vast collection of drawings and photographs also illustrate the fashion house’s history.
Explore the oldest library in the world in Fez, recently reopened after extensive renovation. Founded by Fatima al-Fihri in the 9th century, the Al-Qarawiyyin Library sits alongside the Qarawiyyin University, the oldest higher education institute in the world. With direct flights from London Gatwick twice a week, Fez also the largest pedestrianized zone in the world with its bustling medina full of authentic fondouks, riads, artisan craft and traditional food stalls.
It’s been 75 years since the film Casablanca hit the silver screen. Whilst the replica Rick’s Café continues to be a top draw for tourists to the city, it has much more to offer including the only Jewish Museum in the Arab-speaking world. Providing a new home for objects collected from abandoned synagogues around the kingdom, the museum also traces the history of Judaism in Morocco which dates back to the 6th century and shows the influences of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi traditions.
Essaouira has become increasingly popular with British travellers in recent years, with its glorious beaches, historic Scala and great value accommodation and dining offer. These factors, along with direct flights from London Luton, make it easy to see why Lonely Planet have tipped Morocco’s Windy City as one of their Best Destinations for 2018. Book your trip now and beat the crowds!
Morocco is a world leader in the fight against climate change, not least as the location of the biggest solar power complex in the world, Noor 1. Situated outside Ouarzazate, the 450 hectare site is visible from space and has been connected to the Moroccan power grid since February 2016, delivery 370 Gwh per year. With investment of £132 million committed to 110 new projects launching in 2018 as part of Morocco’s ‘Green Plan’, the kingdom is at the forefront of sustainable development and environmental action.
Planning a round of golf this weekend? Where better than Morocco, winner of the 2017 African Best Golf Destination of the Year? You’ll be spoilt for choice between sandy links courses on the coast, and championship greens just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the medina. No need to wrap up against the chill – average temperatures in December is 18 degrees with nine hours of sunshine.
Today’s the most popular day for work Christmas parties in the UK, so to get you in the mood for dancing, here’s Moroccan producer RedOne’s newest track. Featuring American singer Dinah Jane, Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee and Moroccan rapper French Montana, the track also samples dancefloor classic Modjo’s ‘Lady (Hear Me Tonight)’.
Falling 110 metres over three drops, the Ouzoud Waterfalls are some of the most spectacular in the whole of Africa. At the top the falls the plateau is covered with tall olive trees, while at the bottom the six cascades pour into a limpid pool which is a gorgeous place to swim. In late afternoon as the sun dips, sparkling rainbows are thrown up and the light twinkles off the wet rocks. Easily reachable from Marrakech, the Ouzoud Waterfalls are a sight that everyone should see.
For 80 years, Fodor’s Travel has been a trusted resource offering expert travel advice for every stage of a traveller’s trip. Top of their Go List for 2018 is Morocco’s Red City: “With a view of the towering Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is a dreamy maze of spice-scented streets filled with vendors, cafes, and hidden palaces. It’s a city full of secrets and the best way to explore it is by getting lost.”
Standing proud over 1,000 feet above the crashing waves of the Atlantic, the lighthouse of Cape Spartel watches over the Strait of Gibraltar. This is officially the most North Western point of Africa. Below the tower are the Caves of Hercules, reputed to be the place where the Greek rested before taking up his eleventh task.
(Cave photo by Diego Delso)
Morocco is the world’s best spa destination, according to the World Spa Awards 2017 which took place on Sunday 10th December. Day spa Harem, in Marrakech, won Africa’s Best Day Spa for the quality of its offer combined with its donation of 80% of profits to a local charity which supports young girls with their education and careers. Whether it’s an oasis of calm in the middle of the medina, or a rural retreat, Morocco is good for the mind and the soul, and now it’s official!
Photo of La Sultana Spa