April 16, 2024

The Magic of Morocco

Morocco is a land of vibrant culture and colour. Tripwired's Michael Gebicki channels the Berbers and Tuaregs.

It’s late in the evening when we finally arrive at our desert camp deep in southern Morocco. It’s been a huge journey, two hours in a four-wheel drive from where we turned off the road at Foum Zguid to cross a parched, stony wilderness that morphed into the ochre sands of the Sahara. There’s ice, a miracle, and we gulp down chilled drinks handed out by Bobo, the camp boss. 

Three musicians in embroidered indigo robes, heads wrapped in the enormous cheche turbans of the Tuareg Berbers, are warming up in the camp’s inner circle of tents. It’s desert blues, also known as Tuareg rock, cascading electric guitars punctuated by a thumping tende drum. They’re stopped for the night, on their way home from a wedding. 

We sprawl on carpets and cushions spread out in front of the fire that lights the trio, bare feet in the still warm sand, listening to the mesmerising music while a butter moon rises in the night sky. It’s a fragment from Tripwired’s 18-day, small-group tour of Morocco, which we’ll be repeating in 2024, starting October 3. From Casablanca we’ll head for the coast to explore El Jadida and Essaouira, a walled trading city built by Europeans, once a hangout for the rock stars of the 60s and 70s, now transformed into a pocket-sized city of cafes and boutiques. 

We’ll spiral high to cross the Atlas Mountains and descend to the Berber kasbahs and mud-brick villages on the southern side, visiting the date palm oasis towns in the shadow of the Anti-Atlas Mountains. After two nights at our luxury desert camp, we’ll recross the Atlas Mountains to mingle with acrobats, Gnaoua musicians, fortune tellers, trance healers and food stalls in Marrakech’s Djemaa el Fna, shop for exotic souvenirs in the labyrinthine souks and visit Jardin Majorelle, an exotic walled garden created by Yves Saint Laurent. It's a journey punctuated with colour, music and the soul-stealing moments of vibrant and exotic culture, with a touch of luxury all the way.

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