Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Extracts from: Marrakesh for second-timers

Marrakech is perfectly positioned for a spot of adventure. There are spectacular valleys leading up to the snow capped High Atlas Mountains, remote villages where Berber shepherds still live a traditional way of live, and less than three hours away, there is terrific windsurfing at Essouira.

How about a nine-day "Moroccan Experience"?
You start in Marrakech, and then head off in a 4WD vehicle across the 7,400ft high Tizi-n-Tichka pass to the remarkable Kasbah at Ait Benhaddou. This magnificent 15th century stronghold is built on steep rock overlooking a river and was used as a film set for the Gladiator and more recently Prince of Persia. Next it's southwest to the red-walled market town of Taroudant, with its refreshingly tourist-free alleyways and souks.

After another scenic mountain drive, you're in the Anti Atlas range, where you'll stay for a night in a small Berber village (with accommodation in basic communal rooms). Sipping mint tea at sunset in such a peaceful and remote setting is an unforgettable experience.

On the way to the coast you'll see the iconic sight of what looks like goats growing on trees ­ actually they climb the Argan trees for its fruit. You've a couple of days in to chill in the atmospheric coastal town of Essaouira, before heading back to Marrakech, with enough time to shop, before catching flying home.
by Sunday Times travel expert Richard Green

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