Characterised by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert, Morocco should definitely be on everyone’s travel list. Summer is here in full force, and we are buzzing with lots of interesting travels experiences. Join us in exploring Marrakech, Morocco through the experience of students and style bloggers; Momo Hassan-Odukale and Aisha Juanita Arden.
Where did you travel from?
How long did it take you?
3 and a half hours by plane
Describe the drive from the airport to your hotel in one word
Tell us a bit about why you are there
Holiday, adventure, escape.
Crazily enough it was actually a free holiday that we won! It sounds insane and neither of us really believed anyone ever won holiday competitions but we did! It was set up by a new travel app called Yonder, which one of our friends created. We had a choice of 5 destinations and Morocco was definitely at the top of our list. The other options were central European countries and we both just wanted to experience, and see, something starkly different.
Favourite topic: Food
Anyone who knows us knows how obsessed we are with eating, so we tried everything on offer. The fresh juices in the market, the brochettes (Kebabs) the fancier restaurants which served traditional Moroccan food, in the most exquisite settings. In the most traditional Moroccan restaurant we went to, we got a panic stricken look from the waiter when we asked if they served Shawarma, but funnily enough the best thing we ate was a shawarma in a seaside town outside of Marrakech that we visited.
Definitely pay Salama a visit, its in the central square, beautiful setting has a rooftop with great drinks and shisha, and happy hour from 5pm onwards.
What kinds of things did you pack to wear?
Well we both love styling clothes and creating stories or moods with our styling. So we packed things in context to the environments we would be in, we kind of got our outfits to either match or contrast against the burnt rose coloured walls, or the stark mountain views we had seen in pictures.
For the activities like hiking, and quad bike riding we packed plain ol T shirts and trousers. However, we kept in mind we were gong to a conservative Muslim country during Ramadan. Sometimes the heat was just kinda unbearable, so we would take a scarf and cover ourselves if we wore shorter tops and things and just whip the scarves away when no one was watching. It got to be a game actually and we would go out in shorts but cover it with a wraparound skirt then whip the skirt off for a quick pic when heads were turned. To be honest we saw a lot of tourists in next to nothing and no one paid them too much attention. We packed a lot of loose or flared trousers, trainers, mules, boots.
In terms of accessories we heard how good the markets were, so bought loads of jewellery out there, rings and bangles which we’re now obsessed with.
Did you soak up any art/culture?
We definitely wanted to see more, but because it was Ramadan the timing of when museums or amazing Palaces were open could be tricky but what we saw we loved.
The souks in the market place were a really great experience, we are both used to environments of haggling and hustling in our respective countries (Nigeria and Kenya) But we agreed the level here was different, and the people undeniably charming.
What were some of your favourite sightings?
The “Jardin Majorelle” where the YSL museum was is definitely high up on our list. We both were sceptical and thought it may be overrated but the gardens are so well kept and after being in the city centre in the heat it just felt like this surreal beautiful oasis. The architecture generally is so stunning and distinctive, we were constantly stopping by places we were walking past to ask what the building was.
Which places and things in Morocco would you recommend?
Definitely the YSL gardens, but also get out of the city, even if you think trekking isn’t your thing , hiking up the mountain was amazing. Essaouira the seaside town was gorgeous. On the way you see goats climbing trees and all sorts so the 3 hour journey isn’t dull at all.
Quad biking was a great and hilarious experience, one of us drove into a thorn bush but emerged unharmed, but our driver was convinced we needed to recuperate after that, and we stopped in a traditional Berber village. Where he took us into a house full of sleeping people and gave us pancakes and Mint tea (by the way everyone gives you Mint tea everywhere you go). It was honestly so random and fun.
We never found out the name of it but our taxi driver insisted on dropping us by a “great site”. Which was this huge desert garden place, with just rows and rows of trees and cactuses that went on forever and a dried lake. We just got on the back of a camel (Aisha’s worst nightmare) and ambled around. It was honestly like being in the middle of nowhere in a good way.
Where is your next stop?
Well we’ll be going to different places for Momo it will be Nigeria then LA and for Aisha Ethiopia, but we’re both very spontaneous and will probably go somewhere else in-between.
What does travelling mean to you?
An absolute necessity. It’s so essential to both of us it was such a big part of our lives growing up and its just about immersing yourself completely in something new, or different, or just reminding yourself how much there is to see in the world
Momo Hassan-Odukale studies Fashion Communication at Central St Martins, London while Aisha Juanita Arden studies Anthropology and Law at London School of Economics. They’re both currently exploring and documenting their encounters with contemporary art, fashion and culture and we cant wait to see what they do with their collective experience.