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Morocco t[rave]l Guide

Morocco is the country of colours and fraquances. Musk, amber, rose and other sweet smells are filling the dry dessert air with an oriental flair. But Morocco is also the country of festivals. The absence of clubs is this country is offset with a huge amount of open air events. This article features Morocco’s best festivals and what to do before or after.

This article is available as podcast on SoundcloudSpotify and iTunes.

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The Best Electronic Music Festivals in Morocco

Atlas Electronic
in August / September 2020 (tbc) in Marrakech
About 2000 people dive into a world of community-driven development, collaboration and cross-cultural exchange. During the four days, the festival brings talent from all around the world to Marrakech.

Beat Hotel
19-22 March 2020 in Marrakech
The four day festival ranges a broad variety of different electronic genres that are accompanied by sunset live shows, daytime pool sessions, and culinary highlights, such as pop-up restaurants.

Bel’Air Festival Marrakech  
July 2020 (tbc) in Marrakech
The intimate two days festival brings 14 artists onto two stages, featuring house and techno music.

Moga Festival
11-13 October 2019 in Essaouira
The contemporary dance music & digital arts festival brings melodic tunes of Monolink, Madmotormiquel, Konstantin Sibold and Blond:ish to the harbour city.

Origins Fest
July 2020 in Marrakech / Winter edition in December 2019
The unexpected and different to many other festival’s line-up of ten DJs is surrounded by a contemporary art exhibition.

Oasis Festival
September 2020 (tbc) in Marrakech
The most famous festival of Morocco took place in it’s fifth edition 2019 at Fellah Hotel with acts like Seth Troxler, Dixon and Amelie Lens. Moroko Loko also brought local acts to the venue. We visited the festival and recorded an interview with Amine K, Morocco’s ambassador of electronic music. Tune in here. Oasis_Festival2_Morocco_techno_travel_tunes&wings

Find about more about the current artists, promoters and events as well as some background information about the techno culture in Morocco within the podcast episode with Jalil Bourekba, a producer, DJ and music lover from Morocco.

What to do before and after Moroccos Festivals: A Road-Trip to the Desert of Morocco

The days before or after a festival are predestined for a trip through the country to get to know the culture and people better. Rich culture, a down-to-earth way of living and the beauty of the desert are waiting for you. A trip to the Sahara can be a spiritual experience that connects you with your inner core. A magical journey that deepens the connection to the country and opens your heart for the musical vibes during the festival.

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You already see them in Marrakech, reaching up to the sky and standing like a natural border in the South-East of the city: The Atlas Mountains. Take your friends with you, rent a 4×4 and start the adventure. As it gets up to 40°C during summer months, this trip is recommended for the months between autumn and spring. The recommended route, if you are driving by yourself is:

Day one: Marrakech – Telouet – Aït-Ben-Haddou
Day two: Aït-Ben-Haddou – Ourzazate – Agdz – Zagora – M’Hamid
Day three: Mhamid – Tamegroute – Aït-Ben-Haddou
Day four: Aït-Ben-Haddou – Marrakech

During those four days you will experience a constantly changing and versatile landscape that reaches from a green and lush Oasis to the red mountains and the sandy desert.   Ground_Morocco_techno_travel_tunes&wingsRoadtrip3_Morocco_techno_travel_tunes&wings

This cultural experience also comes with a lot of local Moroccan mint tea and different variations of tajines – the traditional clay pot that reveals tender and aromatic chicken, beef, vegetable and couscous dishes.

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The route starts with crossing the Atlas Mountains. During the first hours of your road trip you will pass small villages and small towns like Tizi n’Tichka, Tamdakht, Telouet and Tighza. The road used to be the caravan route from the Sahara over the Atlas Mountain to Marrakech. On the route you’ll also pass many fortresses, the so called Kasbahs. One Kasbah you might want to visit and combine with a short mint-tea-break is the Kasbah de Telouet.

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It’s a one hour drive from Telouet to your next destination Aït-Ben-Haddou in the High Atlas. The city not only belongs to the UNESCO World Heritages, but is a famous movie scene. The Mummy, Gladiator, Games Of Thrones and other famous movies were shot here. Take a walk through the ‘ksar’ and enjoy the view from the top.

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You’ll probably be a bit exhausted after the drive through the Atlas and the variety of new impressions. Take a break at the beautiful boutique hotel Riad Caravane. Behind it’s walls you have the chance to come down, to relax, to jump into the pool and to enjoy a tasty tajine. The handwriting of the French owner Andrea can be found in every detail and ensures recharging up your batteries in the ‘safe heaven’.

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After a breakfast with local ingredients your journey goes on in direction of Mhamid. You’ll pass Ourzazate, with it’s famous film studios, Agdz and Zagora, where you might want to spend your lunch break at Villa Zagora.

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From Zagora you’ll recognise the change of the landscape while coming closer and closer to the Sahara. Signs on the way to M’Hamid advise you to make sure you are carrying enough water with you and how to get along with this environment, that is not the natural habitat of humans. And suddenly you start to think again of the basics in life and forget about the everyday life and the allegedly challenges that come with civilisation, office jobs and big cities.

M’Hamid is the town where the street ends and the Sahara takes over everything.

Khalid is a local guide, nomad and founder of DesertBrise Travel. With his agency he accompanies guest to the Sahara and creates unbelievable experiences, such as camel trekking and desert yoga retreats. The best time to spend one or more nights in the Sahara is from September to May. Khalid will drive you about two to three hours off-road through the desert to Erg Chegaga, die biggest desert of Morocco, on the border to Algeria. You will enjoy the magical sunset, an evening with local music in the camp site, a night under the stars, an indescribable sunrise and a life changing experience. The silence of the Sahara is unique, something you never experienced before. It’s the pure life that reminds us of the essence of who we are in the core of humanity. In an environment that is not our natural habitat, we come back to our core needs. And this somehow frees our mind. It’s about the circle of life, the phases of day and night and our origin and basic needs. One not only is in the nature, but recognises itself as part of it. 

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After his life changing experience with new views on life, take one or two days to travel back to Marrakech and civilisation. This is when you realise why slow travel is not only good for the environment, but also for your mind and body to process the new experiences. You may want to stop at Tamegroute and marvel at the handcrafted green pottery or all places you spotted during your way to M’Hamid the first days.

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Should you want to extend your stay in Marrakech and spend more days there, you’ll find the best restaurants and more here.

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What are your favourite spots and festivals in Morocco? Join us in the closed community for techno&travel lovers worldwide and share your thoughts with likeminded people.

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