Posted on May 17, 2017
Morocco: Myspoclife’s Favorite Things
There is so much to see and do in Morocco. People come to surf, buy rugs or eat a great tajine. When Bean and I travel, we come to relax and experience the country as the citizens do. Often, we are the only foreigners where ever we happen to be. People are always staring at us. It is still a little uncomfortable, but we are getting used to it. We don’t plan to stop traveling anytime soon, so we must accept it as normal. Every day is an adventure in Morocco. These are some of the activities we found to be the most memorable.
1. Le Jardin Zoologic de Rabat– The Zoo. We have been so busy traveling and seeing new sites that we haven’t taken the time to find a zoo. Most of the cities we have visited didn’t have one. When we were on the farm, there wasn’t a need for the zoo. The animals were already there. It has been cold as well. Why go to the zoo in the cold? The animals don’t even like the cold. That would not have been any fun.
On Bean’s birthday, we took the bus to the outskirts of Rabat and walked to the zoo. When we arrived, there were not many people. We headed straight for The Lions of the Atlas mountains. I have never seen so many lions in one zoo before. There were not just two or four lions, there was a whole pride of them. They were beautiful.
The zoo was not much different from other zoos. It was clean and well-kept. I liked that they kept the animals in their natural habitat. They did not build big elaborate buildings for animals that did not belong in the African climate. All of the animals have room to roam and live, mimicking in the wild. We loved the funky chicken with crazy hair,the black swans and the hippopotamuses. Bean especially loved the foxes.
Stopping to eat lunch, there was a great wave of school children taking over the picnic area. We shared a table with a nice family who welcomed us to share their food. We declined because we had just eaten. They welcomed us to Morocco. The best part of the day for Bean was when she played in the children’s park. She ran, made friends and used more energy than I would have imagined she had, considering how hot the day was. Even though we were clearly not locals, the zoo trip was definitely one of the best things we did in Rabat.
2. Ourika Valley- This is a very well-known tourist destination from Marrakech. Many people enjoy going to see the waterfalls and sitting besides the babbling river coming down from the mountain. Tourist attraction or not,I wanted to do it. The car ride from Marrakech through the valley was enjoyable. The driver wasn’t talkative. I looked out the window and enjoyed seeing how the scenery changed. We stopped for the traditional Berber home tour that I believe all the tour agents are required to show the tourists. Our driver asked me if I was interested in seeing anything else or if I was only interested in getting to the waterfalls. I told him that I was not there to shop, I only wanted to get the valley. He took us straight there.
Once we arrived, we had the option of hiring a guide to get to the first cascade, or waterfall. I didn’t think it was necessary because there were so many other groups of people headed up the mountain. We could just follow them. Once we got started, I understood quickly that my actions were very usual. There were no mothers trekking up the mountain with their children! We did it anyway.
There were rocky ledges, small streams, restaurants and merchants on the way to the top. We passed the same groups many times. I would take a break with Bean. They would pass by. Their guide and many others would ask us to join the group. I would politely decline. I could hear people wondering why as “the guides are not expensive”. Climbing to the first waterfall was an activity that I wanted to do on my own…with Bean.
The way up was not particularly dangerous. Most of the path was clear. Sometimes you had to figure it out which way was the best. It was not isolated. People were going up or coming down all the time. I wanted to have my adventure. I feel like tourist are often made to feel they can’t do things on their own and need to depend on other people. Well, we did it.
We made it all the way to the top of the first waterfall. It was lovely. I was so proud of us for doing it by ourselves. I kinda wanted to keep going, but Bean was tired. She saw enough mountains, rocks and water to last her the rest of the trip. I know I will return another day and hike all the cascades again.
There is one more adventure that we both love immensely. I would love to write about it now,but I feel my posts have been long and are getting longer. In an effort to write a blog post and not a book, I will save the rest for next week.