Traveller stories: Travelling to Morocco After the Earthquake

Leather shopping in Fes | Jac Lofts
Leather shopping in Fes | Jac Lofts

A Change of Plans

I’m fresh off the plane from Morocco and a few people are surprised that I didn't cancel my travel plans, asking if it's safe to travel there after the recent earthquake. 

I was due to land in Marrakech 3 days after the earthquake to begin an 11-day private Moroccan adventure. I chose to cut it down to a 7-day trip, flying into Tangier instead, and picking up my existing plans from there. 

Only a few further days on, travellers were able to enjoy the Marrakech Medina as before and for hikes in the Atlas Mountains, there have always been numerous routes to choose from so there is no need to avoid this spectacular area.

Despite hearing so much about the earthquake on the news, travel in Morocco felt very normal and as welcoming as ever. Places that had temporarily closed were quick to re-open.

Rabat Medina |  <i>Jac Lofts</i> Chefchaouen Kasbah |  <i>Jac Lofts</i> Fes tanneries |  <i>Jac Lofts</i>

The Earthquake's Effect

I discovered that the people who have been most affected live in remote, small, villages in the Atlas Mountains where few tourists venture.

Outside of Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, there had been little, if any, physical damage or disruption but still they faced cancellations from travellers which greatly impacted their livelihood. So they were keen to move on - and even more excited to see our faces.

Carpet shopping in Chefchaouen |  <i>Jac Lofts</i> Cats of Chefchaouen |  <i>Jac Lofts</i> Cosy rooftop of Riad Cherifa in Chefchaouen |  <i>Jac Lofts</i>

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

It is absolutely safe to still travel there and tourism is an industry that supports so many local people in Morocco. The message I got whilst I was there is: "Please continue to visit & experience this magical destination".

Highlights and tips for travelling to Morocco: 

Check your airline baggage allowance and bring an extra suitcase to take home, the shopping is next level in Morocco!

Leather bags and sandals. Carpets and cushions. Tagines and other decorative ceramics, copper pots and silver jewellery. Spices & perfumes and argan oil. Baskets. 

The stalls themselves are a beautiful sight. And talking and haggling with your seller is all part of the experience – ask your guide, or hotel or look at blogs online to get a rough idea of what to pay for certain things and then have fun! Ultimately, if you like it, the price you’re happy to pay is the right one.

Architecture, doorways, tiles 
In our briefing on the first day, our guide warned us to watch our footing and ensure we look down so we don't trip over on steps or uneven ground. I thought this seemed unnecessary until I found myself constantly distracted staring at yet another magnificent intricate doorway or ceiling.

Mint tea 
Enjoying mint tea is a ritual in Morocco. The pretty glass cups, filled with hot sweet tea and stuffed with mint - morning, noon and night you’ll be offered mint tea and even watching it be poured for you is fun.

This is how you pour tea in Morocco |  <i>Jac Lofts</i>

When the server brings the distinctive clay pot to your table and lifts the lid on the bubbling hot tagine, you know you’re in for something special. There are more varieties of tagine than I ever imagined and so many seafood options once you’re in the north of the country like swordfish tagine and anchovy tagine, always with a serving of fresh round bread to tear up and dip into the dish along with a big bowl of delicious olives.

Staying in a riad is such a unique Moroccan experience. Essentially a guesthouse, here you are warmly welcomed by your hosts, staying in often old and intricately decorated homes. The many dishes at breakfast are a delight.


Riad Cherifa in Chefchaouen |  <i>Jac Lofts</i> Breakfast, Morocco style |  <i>Jac Lofts</i> Great local tour guide in Morocco |  <i>Jac Lofts</i>


traveller story, Morocco

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