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Returning from Morocco Trip #23

Date: September 30, 2021 | By: Ashish Sanghrajka | Category: Travel Blog

Dear Advisor Partners,

I just got back from a magical time in Morocco, as I mentioned before, this was my 23rd visit there! I loved getting off the beaten track like usual to the untouched parts of the country. I want to tell you about my experience, while also walking you through what you need to get there. First, and this never gets old, is the face of the person meeting you on arrival, with a smile ear-to-ear made of part gratitude, part excitement, and part love of their profession. Guides and drivers around the world are so happy to be getting back to work, seeing the world open up, and knowing that they get to be back to their desired profession. Many guides and drivers found other work during the pandemic to help provide for their families, not able to do what they loved doing most. I had our team help put together a video of the experience which you can watch here.

Back to my arrival. The fast-track arrival was definitely a nice touch in Casablanca, something I highly recommend for anyone arriving, as you avoid the lines forming around the gate where your documents are checked and you avoid the second line in the immigration hall as you pass through in a designated area. Current rules for Morocco say fully vaccinated guests may arrive with proof of vaccination, no PCR test required. Unfortunately, not all airport or airline staff know this, and I was still asked for my PCR test by Air France staff. We always encourage travelers to get a PCR test before going, even if the destination doesn’t require it, and carry it with you for an added assurance of hassle-free travel. As I had both the vaccine card and PCR test, regardless of the current regulations, each stop was seamless. Once in the country, the cities are alive! I spent little time in Marrakech, as my love of Morocco lies more towards the south and in the very north, however, what I saw was just amazing.

If you want updates on hotels, please let me know. I stayed at: Amanjena, La Mamounia, Dar Al Houssan, Michelifan Resort, Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay, and Four Seasons Casablanca.

The journey south begins heading through the narrow lanes combined with highways to Taroudant, sometimes referred to as the New Marrakech. I’ve been through here before and always loved how local it all feels, right down to the impressive gardens that my rural hotel was built around. Everything you eat is fresh and grown originally, with a local twist you won’t find anywhere else. As you drive through Taroudant, you pass a medina that seems like a miniature version of the one on Marrakech, complete with the riads stacked 4 stories high, and it includes the customary traffic circle. It was here that I had what still consider a highlight of my journey, visiting a granary called Itoghayn. Dating back to the 12th century, it is possibly the first banking system in the world, with everything written on wooden scrolls in order to preserve the test of time. Let me add that I love getting to places where Google Earth just can’t find. Normally I have the latitude and longitude lines accessible, however, in this case, I actually had to add the point! It was a proud moment, made me feel like I was writing my own algorithm.

After a brief stop in Marrakech, it’s off to Ifran, 1 hour away from Fez. If you have been to Banff, Canada, or Vail, Colorado, then the resort here is for you. This is where the Rocky Mountains experience meets the Moroccan landscape, golf, ski slope, and all. The golf course belongs to the royal family, and I can neither confirm nor deny that a divot was left on the hole 9 tee box! While the stay here is not Moroccan in style, it is certainly welcoming with the largest spa in Africa, with the feel of a log cabin in the mountains. Combine this with an amazing General Manager who launched his career at the Royal Mansour. Keep heading north and we arrive at Tamouda Bay which has, and I confirmed this, the strongest masseuses I have ever met. This is where you come to do nothing, literally. With the private beach on one corner, and the lavish grounds surrounding you on the other… the hidden tip has to be that this is the best Thai food I have had outside of Asia or my favorite locations locally. So, if you are coming to Morocco and you enjoyed Tajin and want something different, this is your place! The journey ends like most do, in Casablanca, however as in life, the journey outweighs the final destination.

How fast does one have to go to feel a thrill? Well, anyone that knows me knows I LOVE cars, love racing them, love geeking out on them. The fastest I ever drove was 216mph in a Koenigsegg CCX-R running on biofuel. Now I’ve been on bullet trains before in Japan and other places and it is thrilling, however not nearly as thrilling as riding the first and only bullet train in all of Africa, the Al Boraq, named aptly. Traveling at 186mph (300kph) takes a 5-hour drive down to a 1 min 58-second journey that revolutionizes how you combine Rabat and Tangiers and offers a glimpse of the future of what overland travel in Morocco could hold.  That one train ride was the exclamation point on my journey, what will be yours?

For some thrilling ideas for your next journey, feel free to explore our page on Morocco, full of expertly designed sample itineraries.

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