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Only a three-hour flight from London, atmospheric Marrakesh, Morocco, is arguably the nearest exotic city to the capital.

Here’s what you can’t miss - enjoy!

Djemaa el Fna, the main square

Main square Djemaa el Fna is alive with storytellers, snake-charmers and fruit stalls by day. When the sun goes down, hundreds of open-air food stalls pop up and the square is filled with plumes of smoke, infused with sizzling spices. Traders will vie for your attention, promising that their food is the best.

Souk (market) shopping

Just off Djemaa el Fna is the city’s inimitable jumble of colourful souks (markets), which sell everything from dazzling lamps and jewellery, to spices and perfumes.

You could easily spend your entire Marrakesh sojourn wandering, haggling and purchasing your way through the colourful stalls and shops, an assault on the senses (and the wallet, too).

Traditional Moroccan food

Choose from traditional tagines and cous cous to local hariba soup, or for the more adventurous, sheep’s head or monkey brains.

Tagine is the name of both the stew and the conical dish in which it is cooked. This Moroccan meal consists of vegetables, fruit, nuts and meat cooked slowly over a charcoal fire and is typically eaten with bread.

Photograph the mosques of Marrakesh

You’ll see the minaret of the famous Koutoubia mosque from just about every corner of Marrakesh.

This symbol of the city is actually only 77m high, but the local topography and the rules of the city mean no other building can rise above it. Built in a traditional Almohad style, it’s particularly beautiful at dusk as the sun sets and the faithful are called to prayer.

Mint tea in a cafe

Mint tea with plenty of sugar, also known as Berber whisky, is the drink of choice in Morocco and is served in glasses. It will be offered to you in cafés and restaurants, and also every time you buy something in the souks or make a new friend.

The Atlas mountains

Escape the city and take a day trip to the Atlas Mountains, which are just over an hour’s drive from Marrakesh. With their snow-peaked tips and traditional villages, it’s a world away from the frenetic city.

Hire a local guide for a tour on the mountain paths and stroll through the tightly knit communities. The Berber villages of Oukaïmeden and Imlil offer insight into the local way of life; you never know, you may even be invited into someone’s home for mint tea.

Important information on Marrakesh


WHEN TO GO: Spring and autumn are best – summer can be very hot and winter too chilly.
GETTING THERE: Fly direct with Ryanair and EasyJet.
VISAS: South Africans need a visa, while Australians and New Zealanders can stay for three months without one.
CURRENCY: Morocco dirham.
LANGUAGE: French and Arabic, but English is spoken widely.
GETTING AROUND: Taxis are cheap and the easiest way to explore, but agree the fare beforehand.


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48 hours in Marrakesh, Morocco: Must-see sights, shopping, and the best places to eat
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