For this week’s Stamped, Chinasa Anukam, a Nigerian content creator, walks us through her unique, unforgettable trip to Morocco. She tells us about how much she loved Moroccan culture, the people and the experience as a whole.
I’ve been privileged to do quite a bit of travelling in my life. I’ve visited Italy, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ghana and Jamaica, to name a few. I decided to take this trip to Morocco because I’ve been wanting to travel to more African countries, and Morocco has always struck me as a place that’s rich in culture. I knew it would be a good experience.
Also, I always joke that the cold and winter are God’s punishment for the white man’s sins, so I prefer to go to warm countries and not involve myself with that struggle. So in March, my oldest childhood friend and I headed to Morocco for a week, and it was incredible.
In Morocco, we went to Marrakech and Casablanca, but we spent more time in Marrakech. It was good that we visited both because it’s not often that you find two cities in the same country that are so different from one another. Casablanca is a metropolitan city with a lot of high rises, while Marrakech is a lot more traditional.
When we landed in Marrakech, our driver was waiting outside with a sign that had our names on it, but when we wanted to take the classic picture with the driver and the sign, he refused and said it was against his religion. I found this really interesting and confirmed online that it was actually a thing.
On our first day in Marrakech, we went to a market called Jemaa el-Fna square. It was just as crazy as the markets in Nigeria, and that’s saying something. There were people touching us and trying to direct us to their stores, which would have been strange if we didn’t grow up in Nigeria. We went around 10 PM, and it felt a bit like a festival. There were instruments and music, and people of all ages were dancing in groups.
I really loved how bubbly and vibrant everywhere was; they have a real sense of community in Marrakech. We also went to Cuisine De Terroir, a really nice rooftop restaurant in the area that had traditional Moroccan food. I particularly liked the Moroccan tajine.
We got lost for a bit when we were heading back because we stayed in riads, hotels constructed in the middle of residential buildings. All these buildings, including the riads, look really similar. It’s a lot like a maze, and Google Maps wasn’t helpful because it isn’t very updated in this region. After a while of asking for directions and a few locals trying to take advantage of our tourist naivety, we eventually got back to our riad.
On our second day in Marrakech, we went on a desert tour. We went camelback riding and were treated to an amazing show. There were belly dancers, fire eaters, snake charmers and so much more. A lot was going on, but it was all super exciting. One thing nobody told us about Morocco, though, is how dynamic the weather is. There can be a lot of sunlight and heat in the morning, and in the evening, it’s freezing. Whenever I sent my friends pictures of me in a winter coat, they thought I was mad. Even though I despise the cold, I was able to survive.
The next day did not exactly go as planned. We intended to rent a car, and they told my friend to pick it up by 10 AM, but she thought that was just a suggestion. We got to the car rental much later than that, and there was no car. They said they had cancelled it because we were late; clearly, African time isn’t a thing in Morocco.
We had to wait there for many hours to get a car and all our plans were effectively delayed. There was this restaurant my friend really wanted to try, but when we went there, it was closed. We decided to drive around and find somewhere else. We ended up at L’Auberge Espagnole, a restaurant that slowly turned into a nightclub as the night went on. At some point, people just started climbing on tables and dancing. The music was really nice and the food was great, too. It seemed like we had left Morocco for a bit because we had gotten used to seeing women fully clothed and covered up, but here, people were dressed in crop tops and mini skirts. It was a really nice and fascinating night.
The following day, we went to the Yves Saint Lauren museum and Jardin Majorelle. The former is a museum dedicated to the works of Yves Saint Lauren, while the latter is one of the most beautiful gardens you will see in Africa. Then we stopped by a palace called Bahia Palace. It was truly exquisite.
On day five of our Moroccan trip, we took a 3-hour drive to Casablanca. The trip was smooth and seamless, and it left me wondering why inter-state travel in Nigeria is so stressful. We initially took time to rest because we were quite knackered from the trip and Marrakech.
In Casablanca, we visited the most beautiful mosque I’ve ever seen, Hassan II Mosque. Every part of the building was designed to perfection; I can honestly say that pictures do not do it justice. We also went to a beautiful park called the Arab League Park and a magnificent cathedral in the area that was still under construction. We spent a lot of time at Hyatt Regency, which was the hotel we were staying at; it was huge and had a lot of things for us to do. We went back to Marrakech the next day.
For our last day in Morocco, we visited the historic Saadian Tombs. You can literally feel the rich history when you go there. We also made our way to The Secret Garden in Marrakech, and just like Jardin Majorelle, it’s a very beautiful garden filled with a magnificent and diverse array of flowers. At this point, it’s clear that we were being the best tourists we could be. This was effectively the last thing we did in Morocco before we made our way to the airport for our flight back to Nigeria.
I really enjoyed my trip to Morocco, and I’m sure I’ve made that abundantly clear. The people in the country are so friendly and warm, and that really added to our experience. I love how cultural Marrakech is. You can really see Moroccan culture and history in everything there, from the food to the architecture. There’s also a very high level of security in Morocco and that was very important to us.
The only thing we struggled with was the language barrier, but I assure you that it didn’t get in the way of us having an amazing time in Morocco. I’ll always recommend Morocco to anyone that asks me because it’s a truly magnificent place to visit; I will definitely be going back.