I recently set out on a two week reconnaissance mission to Morocco with the objective of searching for new routes and making deeper connections with the locals. I accomplished my goal and we are excited to announce we have redesigned our trips to Morocco
, including new expert local guides who are your personal connection to the people and places you visit. Also expect to see plenty more photos and incredible stories from my trip to Morocco.
This was my second trip to Morocco, but the difference this time was the accompaniment of a local guide. With his help I found some extraordinary places which gave deeper insight into the culture, traditions and history of this marvelous country. From incredible adventure activities like sandboarding in the Sahara to authentic cultural experiences such as dinner with local Berbers, it was truly a trip of a lifetime. I sincerely hope everyone gets the chance to explore and experience Morocco in the same way I got to. Now for the part you've been waiting for, here are ten photos from my trip that are sure to make you smile.
Futbol is the only language I need to know: Since I don't speak Arabic and my French is not great, it was sometimes difficult to communicate with the locals. Luckily for me soccer is an international language. We made a stop in Azrou to visit a women's co-op and upon arrival I couldn't help but notice the kids playing soccer behind the co-op. After meeting the women I asked my guide to see if they would allow me to play with them. I think they were a little skeptical if I could play at first, since I showed up wheeling a ton of camera gear. But once the match started and they saw I could play it was on! Everyone had a fantastic time and I was so inspired by their kindness that I ran up to the local market and got them a new soccer ball.
2. Monkey Business: This was my 'Nat Geo' moment of the trip. While driving through the Atlas Mountains I stumbled upon a troop of macaques, which I hadn't expected to see during my trip. I ended up getting to hang out with a troop of them for quite some time and was lucky enough to snap this photo of a baby sticking his tongue out.
3. Are you talking to me? I met this dromedary camel (one hump) while in the Erg Chebbi Dunes in the Sahara Desert. I traveled by camel out to the dunes at sunset, gazed at the stars from the desert camp and then woke up in the morning to this guy yelling at me. I took this photo around 6 am, so maybe he hadn't had his coffee yet...
4. Thanks for the ride! Yes, I kissed a camel. I had to say thank you for hauling me and all my camera gear out to the desert camp. There is another story behind this photo, but you'll have to check back for that one.
5. Where's the snow? Your eyes aren't deceiving you, there really is a ski/snowboard shop in the middle of the Sahara Desert. I rented a snowboard from this shop and headed to the nearest dunes I could find. Being in the middle of the Sahara with a snowboard was one of the most ironically funny moments of my life. I put a link to the video of me sandboarding at the bottom of this blog.
6. Share the love: I had a couple of personal goals for my trip to Morocco and one of them was to help some children that really needed/deserved it. For this trip I decided to stuff my bag with school supplies to hand out along the way. My guide took me to a school in Rissani that he knew could use the love. This was the highlight of my trip and I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw these kids light up with smiles. They weren't just excited to get new school supplies, but just excited that I wanted to meet them. They were all chanting "merci monsieur" (thank you sir) and it almost puts tears in my eyes remembering how incredible of an experience this was. I saw a Justin Bieber notebook while shopping for supplies and thought it would make for a funny photo. So here you have it!
7. On the move: These delightful smiles belong to a nomadic family that I came across while hiking in the Todra Gorge. It was fascinating to see how the nomads live, definitely not something you see everyday in the States.
8. Got a toothache? You're in luck, there just happens to be someone selling teeth in the middle of the souk in Marrakech. Thankfully I didn't need his services for this trip, but I did get a kick out of it. There are some pretty interesting things to be found in Marrakech!
9. Getting the shot:
I find humor in the fact that when the builders and architects constructed Ben Youssef Madrasa as an Islamic school in the 14th century, they never imagined people walking around with cameras snapping photos. I think this photo does a good job of blending the old with the new.
9. Magic Carpets: Fez is well known for their traditional hand-woven rugs, but I hadn't known they still made magic carpets that could fly....
10. Thank You!
This friendly face belongs to Kamal, my guide during my adventures in Morocco
. I'm sharing this photo not just because his smile should put one on your face, but because he put a smile on my face throughout the entire trip. I have done my share of traveling and I've also guided trips around the world and I can say that Kamal is one of the greatest guides I've ever met. His knowledge of Morocco is outstanding and he does a great job of conveying his expertise and personal experience. I can't say enough good things about Kamal and I had a blast spending time with him.
That is it for now, I hope these photos put a big smile on your face.
Your friendly adventurer,
Video of me Sandboarding in the Sahara Desert