Why An African Overland Tour?

Why An African Overland Tour?

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher sent us home with a homework assignment to “draw your perfect vacation”, and I was able to finish faster than any assignment we’d been given in the past. I ran to my room as soon as my parents unstrapped my car seat, and grabbed the crayons. For almost an hour I worked, scribbling furiously until I revealed to my Mom the masterpiece I had created. On the page sat a brown and green landscape with a crudely drawn lion and giraffe on one side, a bright yellow sun and a hauntingly accurate self-portrait of myself, holding a pair of binoculars with a huge smile on my face. I was flanked by what appears to be a small dog, but probably was a monkey. At the top, written across the cloudless sky was one word:

Safari.

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Oh, Hammama! Our Moroccan Hammam Experiences

Oh, Hammama! Our Moroccan Hammam Experiences

You’ve gotten a massage, right? They all share basically the same tenets. Soft music. A dark room. Your face in a hole that is a little bit too tight. Constantly wondering if the masseuse is going to bend down and take a bite out of your butt. Massages are pretty much the same in most areas of the world. But when you’re traveling to many countries throughout the world, there is an interesting addition that comes before the massage experience. You can even have it singularly, although most tourists will have it combined with a massage, and while it has many names and different traditions throughout the world, we’re going to focus on the Moroccan form: Hammam.

Just like massage parlors, there are varying levels of hammams, from the public versions with locals washing each other and chatting over who just moved into the neighborhood to high end chateaus with rose petals, heated towels and nary a Moroccan in sight. These can run you anywhere from 20 to 2000 dirham ($2-$200) for a hammam and massage. Hammam is technically the word for the steam room where your shower and scrub will take place, but most places it was simply the word used for the entire experience, because it’s like going to the movies, no one would ever say to you “Excuse me, hypothetical person, I am going to the movies to while there I will be seeing Santa’s Slay starring Bill Goldberg,” they’re just going to the movies to see an awesome movie. You’re just going to the hammam. It’s understood what’s happening there. Well it’s going to be, once I explain it to you.

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The Best Bite In Marrakech That No One Will Tell You About

The Best Bite In Marrakech That No One Will Tell You About

Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square of Marrakech can be an intimidating place. You won't need to make eye contact with a vendor to initiate a constant stream of "Hello, hello, hello, hello"; women will simply grab your hand and begin drawing a henna tattoo if you do not pull away fast enough. At any time of the day in the heart of the Red City, there are musicians playing instruments you did not know existed, Ray-Bans being hocked for prices too low to be profitable, fresh squeezed juices being brought forth from fruit on demand, monkeys to sit on your shoulder for a small pittance of dirhams, and locals playing carnival games where the prize appear to be a liter of soda; all of which can be overwhelming, especially when Jemaa el-Fnaa is usually the first place you see when you arrive in the medina of Marrakech. "Is it always this busy?" I asked to the guide walking us to our riad, and he grinned back at me "My friend, this is not busy. Not busy at all."

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Behind The Moroccan Souks With Marrakech Food Tours

Behind The Moroccan Souks With Marrakech Food Tours

Allow me to dispel some rumors that you may hear from local shopkeepers while you are walking the souks in Marrakech. There is no special auction today at the tanneries because of an unnamed festival which is ending today. No, the museum is not closed today. Whichever way the shop owner is pointing you, that's not the right way. And, most importantly, if you remember nothing else, remember this: The price they are offering you is not a special price. It's not a democratic price. Unfortunately, it's probably twice the amount they would have accepted for that Berber scarf you just had to have.

No matter how many warnings you read in blogs just like this one, you will most likely be fooled in the souks; you will make a mistake, you will pay thirty dirham and then realize that five would have done the trick. Because you are a tourist, a stranger in a strange land, and no matter how much you try to "live, eat, and drink like a local", you will need some help to truly find all that Marrakech has to offer. That's where Marrakech Food Tours comes in. 

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