Hope Ave Abroad: Morocco

Marrakech

We hung our hats: Riad Kbour & Chou

A million stars. A picture perfect place to call home, and we felt like family.

 

We ate: My favorites were Le Jardin & Latitude 31

 

At first, I’ll be honest, it was overwhelming. The city is so busy, the air filled with the smell of fuel, spices, leather, fish, and the sounds of constant bartering in Arabic and French. The youngsters are persistent, and determined to guide you around the Medina and demand payment in return.

 

But there was no denying that it was beautiful.

The Marrakech Medina is nearly a thousand years old. The first walls were built in 1122, and the energy of the ages of humanity still vibrate within it’s tight-walled alleys.

 

If you’ve ever imagined being deep inside a maze, that’s the Medina. We went in circles again and again until we finally surrendered to the fact that getting lost is inevitable, and also an important part of the Medina experience. It wasn’t until day 5 or 6 that I felt I finally knew my way around.

The Sahara

We hung our hats: Luxury Camp Chebbi

There are many options for camps around the Erg Chebbi dune, and certainly more affordable options as well.

We ate: Berber Pizza at Cafe Nora in Merzouga. It's a must-have!

We almost didn’t go to the Sahara. The idea of a full day’s drive to the Algerian border (where you’ll find Erg Chebbi) nearly steered us away from the idea all together.

The best way I can describe what I felt as Nick and I stood and stared out at the endless coral desert, was this sense that I may never see anything like this again.

 

You’re in the moment and you realize — Woah. This is what they mean by “once in a lifetime.”

 

And to think - we ALMOST didn’t go.

Climbing

We hung our hats: Hotel/Restaurant Argana in Tafraoute

A perfect climbing hostel. The rooms were clean (and cheap!) The breakfasts on the patio were great and the staff was helpful.

If I’ll be back for anything in Morocco, it’s the climbing and the surfing.  

 

4 hours of winding roads separate the best waves and the most memorable rock I’ve ever experienced.

 

We chose the Jebel el Kest range because of its many traditional climbing options (no bolts or anchors in this area, and it will be necessary to bring all gear from home as there are no climbing shops there either.) 

Tafraoute welcomes climbers and is one of the youngest and cleanest towns in Morocco. I enjoyed every minute there, and the climbing in the surrounding area was unforgettable.

 

Bring twin 70m ropes and a double rack - nuts and offsets are useful.

 

 

Surfing

We hung our hats: Olo Surf Nature, Imsouane

 

We ate: Lunches and smoothies at Olo are great. We also liked the Auberge Cafe Restaurant for dinners.

I think my heart exploded on these perfect surf days. Imagine Malibu with no rocks and no people, glassy and quiet at 7am. The gentle waves break at the point, and depending on swell size they either reform or continue for the longest continuous wave I’ve ever seen.

...I'll be back for more of this. 

All photography:

Nick Kalisz

 IG: @nickkalisz

 

Love you :)