A quick flight from Malaga made Morocco an easy destination to visit from our home base in Spain. Lily has a friend from school that is from Morocco so she was very excited to visit. I wanted to plan something different than just staying in the city and decided to do a camp in the Sahara Desert!
We planned our week in Morocco with Emma of Riad Zamzam and Camp Adounia and she helped arrange an amazing week for us. She and her team took care of everything from our stay at her riad, to arranging our private driver to the desert and all the stops and tours along the way.
Where We Stayed
Our trip started with 2 nights in Marrakech at Riad Zamzam. Like most riads it is tucked away in the medina with little to no signage to indicate where it is. Emma arranged for a driver to pick us up from the airport and drive us to the medina then Zacchariah from the riad met us to bring us to the hotel.
The medina is a bustling place but once you step into the riad the sounds drift away and you are greeted to a peaceful oasis. Each of the suites were beautifully furnished and uniquely decorated. We had the ground floor suite which was huge for our family of four.
The stay includes a delicious Moroccan breakfast. You can let the staff know if you will be staying for lunch or dinner and they can make arrangements.
Guided Medina Tour
The riad arranged for us to have a guided medina tour to get a taste of the city. We visited Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Marrakech Museum, the Souks and Jemaa el-Fnaa.
After our tour we enjoyed lunch on the terrace at Riad Omar. They have a large set lunch menu and we had so much delicious food with a view of the Koutoubia Mosque.
Things got a little hairy when our guide told us the tour was finished and that we would need to get back to the riad on our own. We were anxious because we had assumed we would be taken back and didn’t even have a map! We managed to find a tuk tuk driver that could get us relatively close to the riad and we were able to figure out the rest of the way on our own. TIP: make sure you get your bearings and figure out where you are in the medina. While it is common and expected to get a little lost, to avoid being heckled make sure you are confident and know where you’re going. By the next day we had walked around the medina enough to get around without help.
A Moroccan hammam is such a unique experience. Traditional hammams (steam rooms) are public and there are women’s and men’s ones usually located in the medina. Boutique hotels like Riad Zamzam offer private facilities for the experience. I had one on after our medina tour and the girls joined me for a wash.
While it was a shock while it was happening, I felt completely rejuvenated when it was over. After a couple of months of travel and different water conditions my skin needed a good scrub and felt so smooth and fresh after. In hindsight I should have booked another one for our return from the Sahara to get all the sand off!
We arranged to have a family cooking class to learn some traditional Moroccan recipes. We made Moroccan salads, cheese brewats and lamb tagine! The class was very hands on and the girls had so much fun. We even cooked our tagine on a Majmar, a traditional charcoal brazier!
After the dishes were finished we ate on the rooftop terrace and enjoyed the evening breeze and savoured our creations. We had to be in bed early to prepare for our drive into the desert! Stay tuned for part 2!
Disclaimer: We received a media discount from Riad Zamzam and Camp Adounia in exchange for an unbiased review of our experience. As always, opinions are my own.