About Maddie S
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Sep 2014
Hello! I'm Maddie- a native NYer whose Wanderlust has taken her abroad again and again. Having lived in six countries, and visiting others for school, work, leisure, and sport, I've adopted many localities, and am an admirer of a great many more. An avid scholar of language and culture, I hope to keep expanding my travel repertoire, and sharing great stories with the rest of the travel community. To give you some background on my travels, I spent months each year since childhood in Old Montreal, where part of my family lives. Summers were spent visiting folks in Ft. Lauderdale and L.A. My first big trip outside of the US on my own was to Australia & New Zealand at 12- I caught the bug early! I then moved to Japan where I studied for part of high school & uni. I am very familiar with Japanese cities, Sapporo and Osaka especially. Some of my favourite travel destinations include Goreme, Dubai, Marrakech, and Queenstown. (Plans for 2015 include China & Uganda!) Nice to meet you!
Geologic Formations, Deserts
Hiking & Camping Tours
Ski & Snowboard Areas
Neighborhoods, Flea & Street Markets, Valleys
Lessons & Workshops
One of the best day trips from Marrakech is a visit to the Sahara Desert. While most of the desert is flatland, the craggy landscape at the dunes of Erg Chebbi come to life in vivid shades of peach, orange, and gold. Take a camel ride, watch the sun rise or set, have a bonfire dinner by nightfall, or stay overnight under a blanket of stars in a Berber tent. It does not get much further off the beaten path than a land without paths, and with multiple sightseeing tours and accommodation options available to visitors, you can have your pick of whether you want to experience a few hours of culture, food, exploration, or stargazing out on Erg Chebbi.
Visiting the Erg Chigaga region of the Sahara offers you an entirely different type of day trip. Traveling through Essaouira to reach it (where Argan oil is made), a visit to the township for coffee and culture is a great way to precede a trek into the dessert, either by camel or RV. The camps for visitors around Erg Chigaga are quite luxurious, and accommodate everything from day trips to overnight stays. See the desert and engage in traditional music, dance, food, and entertainment, depending on your time, tour, and interests. Guides in the Erg Chigaga region can also enlighten you on the history and customs of the area, offering an all-around experience if you venture outside of Marrakech to visit the sandy dunes.
Another short day trip from Marrakech, Agadir is a port city situated along the Atlantic, where the sand, wind, and surf can cool you down after a few days of browsing the souks or soaking up the desert heat. With cooler temperatures and more breeze than Marrakech's city center, the two-hour trip to the long swathes of clean beaches here are recommended for those who enjoy swimming, surfing, marina bars, clubs, and nightlife. With the Kasbah mountains as your backdrop and a promenade filled with restaurants and boutiques, a visit to Agadir Beach is perfect for those who want a relaxing break from trekking and touring while still enjoying the natural beauty close to Marrakech.
The Atlas Mountains are a must-see destination for nature lovers when visiting Morocco. With Amizmiz Trekking, you will be taken far from the more touristy trails and locales, on a day of eco-tourism, where customizable visits allow you to match your tour to your skill level, needs, and available time. You will visit a Berber village, have tea, a meal, sit for the application of henna and kohl, explore a rural souk, or meet local families — all within the gorgeous altitudes of the Altas, and with an informative guide who can tell you about the history, customs, and culture of the area.
Also in the Atlas Mountains, Setti Fatma is known for its breathtaking waterfalls. Three hours from Marrakech city center, a visit to Setti Fatma will take an entire day, but is worth it for serious climbers, adventurers, and nature lovers. The village itself, in rural Ourika Valley, is welcoming to visitors, with shops, cafes, and restaurants each with welcoming locals and many with riverfront views. You can either explore the waterfall at the lowest altitude yourself, or hire a guide to take you up to see the full channel of seven, where there are steeper and rougher climbs to be had — and more rewarding views.
Oukaimeden is Marrakech's ski resort town. Located extremely high up in the Atlas Mountains, Oukaimeden remains naturally snowy throughout the year, summer included. This allows visitors to be at the beach or in the desert one day, and hit the slopes the next! If you want a surreal experience, from out of the sun and into the chilly tundra, Oukaimeden is for you. Equipment rentals are provided in the town, and the slopes welcome everyone - from beginners to masters - to come and enjoy a day surrounded by expansive natural beauty.
For a shorter and more cultural visit to the Atlas Mountains, visit Ourika Valley. Only an hour away from Marrakech by car, here you can enjoy the shops and restaurants in Ourika, dine out on the river, and see the base of a fabulous circuit of waterfalls. The mix of wet rocks, misty mountain breezes, and Berber culture make this destination feel easy-going, local, and peaceful, while offering a lot to explore for a wide range of interests.
The National Park at the base of the Atlas Mountains can be best explored with Toubkal Guided Day Tours. Day tours can be customized to include other locations mentioned in this guide, or, for a less rigorous day out, simply get picked up by Toubkal at your hotel and driven to the lower altitude villages and valleys, to take in the natural beauty of the parklands, sip mint tea among wild monkeys, enjoy traditional Moroccan cooking, or soak up some of the most scenic, rural views. Toubkal offers the most assiduous climbers the best guides for the job, while also giving visitors who want all of the scenery without any of the hassle a wonderfully simple way to enjoy the Atlas range.
At L'atelier Faim d'Epices, experience true Moroccan cooking in Marrakech — from scratch! At the culinary school, you will be treated to a blind tasting of spices before your day begins, where you will be put to the test of making curries, salads, and traditional breads, all under the expert instruction and guidance of the staff. You will get to partake of your feast on the school's terrace, surrounded by olive trees and the lively conversation of your classmates. Of course, you will also be given the recipes to take home, as well as plenty of photo opportunities afforded by the school itself. Bon Appétit!
Maison de la Photographie is a photography museum in the city center with a private collection of over 8,000 photographs that express and explore Morroco's history between 1870-1950. A hidden gem, the museum also includes the first color film reel of the High-Atlas Mountains in full color, helpful staff who are knowledgeable about the collection, and a rooftop cafe with a stunning view of Marrakech. A great place to take a breather from the bustle of the city streets and your busy itinerary.