A country straddling two diverse continents, struggling to define its identity for centuries, steeped in history, and blessed with otherworldly landscapes certainly makes for an intriguing voyage. Torn between its oriental and occidental cultures, it is a continually shifting civilisation, which has played pivotal roles in many of history’s most critical events. After dreaming about this destination for years, we finally had the opportunity to visit, and before we had even left, we were already mentally planning our next trip to this wonderful country.
When we saw a special from ITT for a guided tour of Morocco, our curiosity was peaked. Neither of us had been on a guided holiday before, usually preferring to find our way through foreign lands independently, but decided to give it a go, hoping to benefit from the knowledge of local guides. While it had some pros, after this trip we decided that organised travel isn’t for us, and we’ve shared some of our thoughts below.
After reading tales from a thousand and one nights, images immediately spring to mind of vibrant colours and exotic flavours, vast deserts and bustling town squares, towering minarets with echoing calls to prayer, and above all, a deep-seated mystery that’s just waiting to be solved. Although Marrakesh is in North Africa and not the Middle East, its Arab influence over the years gives it an undeniably Arabian atmosphere, and this is the city that reeks of magic more than any other. It is the gateway to the Sahara, home to the incomparable Djemaa El Fna Square, and a city that everyone should visit at some point in their lives.
If you’re into history and old-world charm, Fez is the place for you. The old city or Medina, is the oldest, intact, medieval town in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most of the things we enjoyed were in the medina itself, but see below for our list of experiences and sights to enjoy when you visit.
Rabat is the capital of Morocco, and lies along the Atlantic coast. It doesn’t often come up on most peoples’ Moroccan itinerary, and after visiting we can see why. Compared to other cities, Rabat is hardly memorable. However, we visited as part of our guided tour and did see some things of interest.
While transportation technology has come a long way since the inception of steam trains in the 1800s, there’s something romantic about stepping on board that transports you to another era. Reefsteamers and Friends of the Rail, host frequent train trips to various destinations, such as Magaliesburg, Cullinan, Heidelburg, and Irene. Check their websites for more information regarding routes, timetables, and prices.
We opted to join Friends of the Rail on a daytrip to Cullinan,
Alongside the trendy stores and innovative eateries of Melville, lies the vast Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, a lovely green space with magnificent views of the Johannesburg skyline in the distance. Bordered by Beyers Naude Drive, and with secure parking available at Mark’s Park on Judith Road, it is easily accessible to all.
Gumbalimba Park is one of the best places to get in touch with the natural wonders of Roatan. Home to capuchin monkeys and a myriad of iguanas, colourful macaws and cheery hummingbirds, it gives you the opportunity to get close to all these creatures, before venturing out to explore the wonders that lie below. They offer an exciting zipline, in addition to the water-based activities which include snuba, kayaking, snorkelling, and sea-treks.
As with Mexico, Honduras also hosts a significant portion of the Meso-American Reef and you can’t go wrong with a scuba diving or snorkelling excursion. For people who aren’t certified, there’s also a snuba, which gives you the freedom to explore deeper than snorkelling without the hassle of dragging around an oxygen tank.
There are tons of adventurous activities on offer from the Belize port, and we chose the cave tubing since we had never done anything like it before. It wasn’t as adventurous as we had hoped it would be, and the only strenuous part of the day was walking with our tubes from the start to the actual caves. It was still a nice day out, and if you’re travelling with a fun group of people, you’ll have a blast.