Monday, 4 February 2019

DISCOVERING SOUTHERN MOROCCO


When we speak of southern Morocco, we can imagine the desert and the beginning of the Sahara. But this region of Morocco has very varied landscapes, which gradually pass from the high Atlas mountains to the desert. On the roads of southern Morocco, we meet palm groves, old kasbah and other traditional houses but also gorges or beautiful valleys.
There is a lot to see in this region of Morocco and even if it is not huge, it does not run fast and it is necessary to provide time to discover this region of Morocco.
In this post, I give you some tips to make a good trip in southern Morocco while resting.

Where To Start Your Roadtrip?

For me, the best place to start a trip in southern Morocco is Marrakech. The city is served by low cost airlines and this allows to find a cheap flight.
Marrakech is a little less than 200 km from Ouarzazate, a real entry into southern Morocco. The road between Marrakech and Ouarzazate passes through the Atlas and the Tizi n'Tichka (a pass of a little over 2000 meters). Allow 4 to 5 hours for this trip.
Depart from Marrakech (and therefore come back for the return flight) and also a good solution to discover the city if you do not know it. 
The offer of hotels or riads is very wide. Booking a nice hotel in Marrakech allows to rest 2/3 days after a roadtrip and before leaving Morocco. There are luxury riads in Marrakech where you can relax in beautiful oriental decorations. A beautiful experience to finish a stay in Morocco!
The city is beautiful but for me, it goes further and further from the real Morocco, I spoke in this post dedicated to Marrakech .
It is also possible to reach southern Morocco from other cities such as Agadir but the journey will be longer.
Prepare your road trip!
Are you going on a road trip to Morocco soon? I invite you to read my ticket to prepare his road trip to Morocco .
I mention all the points related to the preparation of his trip, from the car rental to the route to remember.

Car Essential?

Everyone will have their vision on the issue. 
For me, the car is not essential but almost ;-)
As soon as you get away from big cities, the frequency of buses is much lower and making all trips by public transport will take a lot of time and comfort will not be there. 
In addition, this rural region of Morocco must be discovered in depth and not only on the edges of the national road. To go to the small villages, to go through the gorges or the valleys, the car is essential.
Alternatively, find a taxi by the day. It is possible but in the end it will cost you more than a rental car! In addition, for those who are not necessarily reassured for driving in Morocco, on the roads of southern Morocco, there is very little car and it is done very well in passenger vehicle, the 4 × 4 is not required, at least for a first trip to this region.
By cons, if you start your roadtrip in Marrakech, pay attention to traffic in Marrakech. It's dense, it's going fast, there are people everywhere. It is necessary to be vigilant but one accustoms very quickly ;-)

What To Visit In Southern Morocco?

As mentioned above, southern Morocco is a very rich region. There are many things to see and discover.
This part of the ticket is not intended to list all the points of interest of southern Morocco in an exhaustive manner but just to show you the variety of landscapes that are found in this region. 
This region of Morocco also allows to discover a rural Morocco and to meet families living mainly from agriculture.
A rural Morocco
Southern Morocco is a rural region. There are few cities and they are much smaller than cities like Fez, Tangier, Rabat, ... Ouarzazate does not count for example a little less than 100,000 inhabitants.
There are many villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings. 
I recommend you stop at the palm of Skoura, one of the most beautiful palm groves of Morocco, at the foot of the Atlas. The palm grove is inhabited and there are many families living from agriculture in the palm grove.
Gorges and valleys
This region of Morocco has a fairly varied terrain. The foothills of the Atlas are that there are gorgeous gorges and valleys.
Todra Gorge (pronounced Todra) are very pleased to make a small stop. The Dades Valley is beautiful. Plan to travel a long time, the roads are winding, time goes very quickly ;-)
Jbel Saghro is the highest point of the Anti Atlas and culminates at 2700 meters above sea level. It is an arid region with rock formations that remind you of Monument Valley, less grandiose all the same, it must be recognized.
It is a very sparsely populated area. It is the ideal place in the area for trekking or walking. Allow a lot of time because the most beautiful places are not in the immediate vicinity of the national road! 
One of my favorites in southern Morocco!
The dunes of the Sahara
Flagship landscape of southern Morocco: the desert of sand. Before the dunes of the Sahara, the landscape is already desert for a lot of kilometers but it is not sand dunes that are for many the only synonym of the desert.
I spoke previously on this blog possibilities to see dunes in Morocco and go to the Moroccan desert . I recommend Merzouga, easy to reach and with beautiful dunes. 
Plan to spend a night in the desert or at a nearby hostel to enjoy the colors of the dunes at sunrise/sunset. Memories that will always be engraved in mind for a long time!
If you go to Morocco, really think about a road trip in this region, for the nature side, it is the most beautiful region of Morocco!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

TRAVEL: DUBAI

When I was little, I wanted to be an archaeologist , tour guide or even stewardess to discover the world . It was my ultimate dream . Finally I went to a whole other area, but it does not mean that I lost the desire to discover the world.
One of my best childhood friends, Shyra , went to live in Dubai about 8 years ago. And in 2009 , after a rather annoying breakup , I told myself it was time for me to visit him, just to change my mind. What better after a heartache than to afford a good vacation well deserved ! And here I am to discover this sumptuous city of the United Arab Emirates:
DUBAI

And you know what, I was completely dazzled by this majestic city sparkling with lights , fireworks ... Since that year, I went there 6 times, I even wanted to settle there for everything to tell you, but professional projects came to disrupt my plans.
So some people say to themselves:
- No, too superficial for me, I prefer simple things
I can totally understand you , but Dubai attracts a lot of curiosity. Because of all the hustle and bustle around this city, people always end up wondering:
But what the hell is going on in Dubai ???
You must know that Dubai is in permanent evolution, it is the city of superlatives and a thousand and one follies , where everything seems possible. They still want to do more, be the biggest , the most imposing , the first !!! And they succeed !!! And in addition, they are really lucky, they are even spoiled weather, since in Dubai it is sunny all year long 😉
  • The only 7-star hotel in the world built on the sea: the Burj'al'Arab with its helicopter runway at the top. I went there once with my friend Shyra. They have a lot of security there, which is the happiness of all these celebrities or powerful businessmen who seek tranquility . If you do not have a relative who lives in the hotel, where you do not sleep, it is almost impossible to enter the Burj al Arab hotel complex . Fortunately Shyra knew a friend, and this one let us squat his suite while he was in business meeting. The interior decoration of the hotel is predominantly gilded, yellow and blue , andHer suite , how to tell you, was royal !!! The decoration, heavy, with large seats, gilded ornaments, columns, carpets, marble. In short, very royal, you have to like the style. On 2 floors, it had about 4 bedrooms upstairs , and 3 large living rooms on the ground floor, with a large kitchen , and I do not tell you the number of bathrooms , it was much bigger than my Parisian apartment. Without talking to you about the view , on the 23rd floor, which overlooked all Dubai by a bay window.We then put on our swimsuits and went to laze on the beach, filled with deck chairs and bed, where nice waiters stood ready to bring us the best of services.
dubai11-495x387BurjAlArab_AtriumBurj Al Arab-Sky-Bar2
  • You have also heard about this great tower, the tallest in the world : the Burj Khalifa (828m) rising above the city as a finger of honor at other world tours .
36689469
  • It is in this tower that we can find the hotel Armani . Much more modern and stricter than Burj'al'Arab , predominantly black and brown.
ph Max Montingelli © sgparmani-hotel-dubai
  • As well as the Armani club , very dark nightclub with a giant screen all along the wall.
armani_11_gallery
  • There is also the Italian restaurant Armani on the ground floor, very chic, very quiet, refined, the food is delicious.

  • And we also find the highest restaurant in Dubai, the Atmosphere, which is located on the 123rdfloor, with a crazy view of all of Dubai.

  • Level shopping , it is served, there are several shopping centers including the largest in the world (of course): the Dubai Mall , just at the foot of Burj Khalifa . Besides if you go shopping in a Mall, cover your shoulders mydemoiselles, the law forbids us bare shoulders, and they distribute leaflets in the mall to warn you.
F201301060829057386272571
F201301060828511179127767
  • there is even an ice rink inside, it is here that I learned to skate the first time in my life . Finally, learn is a big word since I am completely zero!
6689481
  • Their cinemas are downright equipped with ultra comfortable seats , and please, you can alsoorder food , chicken wings for example, during the movie:
CINEMA3
  • In another mall, the Emirates Mall , there is a ski resort . You can ski in the desert, the first year I went there, the "Ski Dubai" had just been created, I was completely enthralled by such an idea, a ski resort in Dubai , and there It's freezing cold !!! :
4dubai
  • The Atlantis is the perfect hotel for families. It's like a city in the city, you can find everything from restaurants to fast food, shops, a giant aquarium , and you have an AQUAVENTURE theme park right at your fingertips. I had fun well elsewhere !
134572259120121113-051127.Full7f090fc4b110ba0222152a3e2167e7bf
  • And to continue in originality, in Dubai you can find a series of about 300 islands representing the continents, each plot selling for millions of dollars.
Artificial_Archipelagos, _Dubai, _United_Arab_Emirates_ISS022-E-024940_lrg
  • They are even building the world's largest underwater hotel
hotel-submarine-dubaihotel-submarine-dubai2
What made me happy in Dubai , as a big eater that I am, is that everything is good, the restaurants are really worth seeing . And club level, I had great evenings. You should know that they all close at 3am so if you want to go out, that you have minimum 21 years (legal majority) be operational from 23h.
Did you know that most restaurants and clubs are in hotels? In fact in Dubai , only hotels can sell alcohol . You will never find it in self-service, in supermarkets for example. Moreover if you want alcohol, I advise you, when you arrive at the airport, to buy a bottle duty free , it will be cheaper than the hotel. Especially since some hotels do not sell alcohol. One day I arrived in Dubai on my birthday with a friend. We arrived late so we decided to stay in the hotel room and toast with my girlfriends, except that we had to toast with orange juice ,there was no alcohol in the mini bar or room service !!!
  • Level restaurant, I recommend the Buddha bar near the Marina, Japanese atmosphere cozy , very spacious on two floors, with places a little more isolated if you do not want to eat in the great room:
BBAR ANIMATED ROOM
  • Zuma, is an excellent Japanese restaurant , very famous, besides it must be done several days to see week in advance to reserve a table, but it's really worth it and for the place, and for the food and for the atmosphere:
welcomevoid1_1_44216800
  • Okko, very good Japanese restaurant that my dear friend Shyra made me discover recently. A lot of atmosphere, a lot of people, and the food is succulent:
1979636852bild9

  • the Scho cho, Japanese restaurant in the open air , it is here that people go on Sunday evening, very pleasant, good atmosphere with the party restaurant and the party bar which always welcomes many people:
shocho_1_innerbig
  • the Cavalli, a sumptuous Italian restaurant with these large crystal chandeliers, often offers a show during dinner. The place turns into a very chic club after the restaurant. Located in the Fairmont Hotel , this   is my favorite place to go out at night And the ladies' room is just amazing, a large living room, we could spend the evening so it's cozy with these hairdressers, these seats where we can chat while we re pampered quietly:

  • The Act, which is located in the Shangri La Hotel, is a charming restaurant with Peruvian cuisine , and turns into a club from 23h offering spectacular shows throughout the night. I had a great evening on a Monday night, very good atmosphere, and the shows are incredible, not to be missed:
IMG_9982
  • the Cirque au soir, which is located in the Fairmont hotel , under the C avalli , is a club a little more popular and bigger than the Act but the show is also nice to see:

  • the 360 ​​° is an outdoor lounge bar , in a circle located on the water, and as its name suggests it offers us a sumptuous 360 ° view, nothing better to watch the sunset over the ocean, with a view of the Burj al Arab also and the Jumeirah Beach (hotel shaped wave). Very nice place to smoke a shisha on the bed with DJ and good atmosphere:
360-1
  • Looking for a place to walk in Dubai , go to the Marina , in the south, this is the place where the port is in the middle of all the great tours as weird as each other, you will find a lot bar and nice restaurant in a very pleasant setting:
dubai marina
  • And if you go further south, you have a path on JBR called The Walk Located between public beaches and Jumeirah residences, you will find several shops , pharmacies  and restaurants open between 8am and 11pm, including a subway open 24/24. It is a place where tourists and locals mix perfectly.
thewalkdubai
  • Amidst all this modernity, passing a swim in the sea or a business meeting to are designer boutiques , to a round of golf at a great Japanese restaurant , there are souks that plunge us in the past of the city and seduce us by their simplicity and their atmosphere.
madinat-jumeirah-souk-interior-shopping-hero
  • Level Hotel , I very much appreciated the Al Qasr Hotel , very close to the Burj al Arab , it gives a direct access to the souks Medinat . What I particularly appreciated is the fact of going in small boat (where golf car if we prefer to stay on earth) to his own room:
010213-18-front-with-fountain10002111
  • the Ritz Carlton on JBR is super nice, in the south of Dubai, and the service is really on top. For a little anecdote, my friend Claire had one day forgotten her shoes in the taxi that brought us back to the hotel, she realized that 30 minutes later, we were asked at the reception if the customers got behind we would not have left his shoes, unfortunately no, but 5h after, clear has recovered. The hotel staff managed to find the taxi through the hotel's entrance camera, and called the taxi companies ... in short, they were successful! Claires was happy to be able to have her shoes so much to go out at night. In addition they have an excellent Spa ...
ritz-carlton-dubai-1Ritz_Dubai_00138_Gallery
Of course there are many other very nice hotels such as Al Murooj Rotana , Jumeirah beach ... Actually in Dubai it is difficult to feel bad. Everything is done for the comfort of tourists. Even in the residences, there is a certain comfort, each building of residence with its own swimming pool, its gym and its spa for the lucky ones.
And I did not tell you about these beaches of fine sand , this warm sea of ​​the Arabian Gulf , this winter sun , this sky always blue , these cheap taxis , these ballads in dromedaries , by boat , or in jet ski ... Yes, I love this city !!!

It's decided, the next time I go back there, it's to test the 4x4 rides in the desert dunes.
adventure-tours-desert-safari-snap