MY MOROCCO

When I first set foot in Morocco as a young backpacker in 1964, I was captivated by the ever changing desert and mountain scenery and the pageantry of traditional life. This amour fou has never entirely cooled and in a lifetime of travels, I still consider this rugged, individual, shoulder of north-west Africa — al-Maghrib al-Aqsa— to be one of the most exotic places on earth. Just a couple of hours drive inland from long Atlantic beaches is the hot, red bled dotted with dramatic, sun-baked ksour —fortified Berber villages — and a medieval world that long ago vanished from Europe: this was my imagined land of Aladdin and his magic lamp —in fact the sorcerer of the folktale was himself from the Maghreb …

This is my favourite photo of Morocco. It was early April, the High Atlas were still covered in snow and the plains outside Marrakech were carpeted in poppies.

 

I came upon this Blue Man searching for his camel. Would he mind my taking a picture? Not at all. It was south of Merzouga, on the edge of the Sahara

 

The river Ziz snakes round ancient kasbahs and lush oases in the Tafilalet, a magical region in the Deep South of Morocco.

 

Chechouen is a Rif Mountain town of extraordinary light and colour. Its tiled roof houses are a rustic fusion of Hispano-Moorish architecture.

 

Wish I knew the name of this pristine lake in the Middle Atlas. It was getting late and the road was bad so I took just one picture before heading back to civilisation.

 

I call this image the “Eye on the Street”. The window was in a house I passed while wandering about the ancient medina in Marrakech.

 

It is customary for shopkeepers in the souqs to display their wares outside, as well as in. Can’t you almost smell the tubs of spices and the baskets of potpourri?

 

Classic Moroccan food is an amalgam of Berber cooking and imperial food from the Abbasid courts of Baghdad. I had this delicious tajine for lunch.

 

Women traders in the market in Tafraoute, a town in the Anti-Atlas peopled by Ammeln Berbers who cultivate olives, dates and especially almonds.

 

What news are these elderly men exchanging in Marrakech? Two are engrossed in gossip, but the middle man has spotted my camera.

 

Many tourists overlook Casablanca but it as much part of the history of Morocco as Fez or Marrakech. A treasure-house of 1930’s architecture, it also has some of the best restaurants outside France.

 

Berber farmers still use an ancient device to measure water in this crumbling agadir near Tata, a region near the Algerian border untouched by tourism.

 

A rack of cotton scarves on sale in the oasis town of Zagora. The original blue is worn by nomads. Other colours are popular with tourists.

 

About Travels with My Hat

Australian photojournalist and author. Used London as a base for nearly forty years while freelancing in the Middle East, Arabian peninsular, Africa and South Asia. Have written and illustrated more than a dozen books and travel guides. Operates a well regarded religious images stock photo library: www.worldreligions.co.uk. Live in Leura in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.
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2 Responses to MY MOROCCO

  1. WOW what a great article about Morocco :)

    feel free to visit my own blog where i share the best marrakech destinations…

    cheers.

  2. Thank you. I miss Morocco and wrote this piece with love.

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