Marrakech: An overview - Part 28

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Marrakech: An overview - Part 28

Road trips out of Marrakech

If you are staying in Marrakech for a longer period then some of the trips that are detailed below are well worth the effort. A lot will depend on how you want to travel, the best option is in your own car but of course this will be the most expensive. The plus side is that you decide the timing of where and how long you want to stop. These trips are a minimum of overnight but allowing three or four days would be a better option.

As you head out of Marrakech there are two main routes to consider. Both are good place to sight see so if you can only do one then read these sections to decide which is best suited to you. One route heads in a South Westerly direction while the other heads to the South East.

The high altitude Tizi-n-Test Pass is the westerly of the two great passes over the Atlas Mountains. This area is warily crossed by the R203 highway to Taroudant. Even though the distance between the two cities is only 138 miles or 223 km, the road’s convoluted hairpins demand such care from motorists that the journey can take up to five hours. This, of course, does not take into account all the time you’ll to stop off along the route at the many highlights along the way. If you don’t have your own vehicle or grand taxi, you can make the trip by public transport. The buses depart from Marrakech early each morning and take around eight hours to make the total journey to Taroudant.

One of the sights that you will see time and time again on this trip are the groves of Argan trees. At first glance you may mistake them as they are similar in appearance to olive trees, but are only found only in southwestern Morocco. They bear a fruit from which oil can be extracted by splitting, roasting and pressing the nuts. The local people use it as a medicine. However outside the country they are also a staple of beauty and massage industries. The best use in my opinion is when it’s drizzled on couscous as it tastes delicious.

The first place you can stop on this trip is Tahanoute which is the administrative centre and is just a 20 minute drive south of Marrakech. The old village has row upon row of red clay buildings which are surrounding a massive rock. This is sheltering the shrine of Sidi Mohammed El Kebir, whose festival is celebrated at Mouloud, the Prophet’s birthday, every Tuesday, there is a market held here. It was the subject of Winston Churchill’s last painting in 1958.

Continued in part 29

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Page added on: 27 May 2018
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