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Morocco travel video: Essaouira, Argan oil & cooking classes! Berber Cultural Center family homestay.

Big wood doors Morocco, Essaouira

Morocco road trip and travel video — let’s do it!

My friends and I continued our journey from Marrakesh to Essaouira, where we relaxed in the beach town and saw the famous tree-climbing goats. We then met women running an argan oil collective, and stayed with a Berber family that gave us cooking lessons. 

All these eye-opening adventures are featured in our new travel video about Morocco. (Produced by the amazing Borderless Media.)

We wanted to put the focus on women in this country, running businesses and carving out their own paths. Please take a minute to watch the episode above and here — we appreciate your support!

morocco stray cats, kitten

None of our Morocco travels would have been possible (especially in a single day!) without our expert guides, Plan-It Fez.

Our driver highly recommended Essaouira, a seaside town about 2.5 hours away. He was spot on: Essaouira turned out to be one of the highlights of our Morocco journey.

walled city, Essaouira palm trees

We drove down a long stretch of beach, and immediately sensed the laid-back hippie vibe. No wonder Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley loved Essaouira (we saw his face on a few buildings here!)

This port city has a history that goes back to prehistoric times. It was taken by the Portuguese in the 16th century, and surrounded by fortress walls. 

Essaouira street vendors, colorful moroccan market

Outfit Of The Day: Top by Cameo The Label, and black pants by Armani.

Today, Essaouira still feels like a Medieval city. We wandered the streets sandwiched by tall stone walls, and browsed for colorful handicrafts in the kasbah.

moroccan cats, Essaouira

We saw quite a few cats along the way! They stayed true to the Essaouira vibe, relaxing among the camel-skin purses.

Essaouira beach, waves, resort town

Moroccans love to come here for honeymoons and getaways. I spotted this woman sitting on the medina wall, looking out at the sea.

morocco food vendors,

We stopped for mint tea at a restaurant by the beach. The view from above: timeless.

game of thrones morocco set locations

Game of Thrones is partially filmed in Morocco (for the scenes with Daenerys the Dragon queen — remember my photoshoot inspired by her in Iceland?) Essaouira’s medina and fortress towers look like the sets from the HBO series.

Essaouira tunnels, morocco beach town

Flying carpets and cobblestone tunnels. Morocco gets my imagination going.

morocco ceramics, art stores

Where else in the world can you come across a scene like this? One of the many joys of travel is being able to see, hear and breathe it all for yourself.

girl traveling in morocco, travel blogger

We enjoyed leisurely walking around Essaouira and seeing the arts and crafts for sale in the streets.

Outfit details: My black crop top is by Cameo The Label, and the silky pants are Armani.

morocco sleeping cat in street

Fez and Marrakesh’s vendors can be a bit aggressive, getting in your face and hounding you to buy something.

Essaouira, in contrast, is a laid-back experience. You can browse items as peacefully as this sleeping cat, without feeling pressured.

fez hat store, rainbow morocco

So many fez hats to choose from! I can’t get over the amount of colors and textures in a single frame.

mogador Essaouira street art

I found giant double-doors to pose with, next to street art that read “Mogadooor!”

Good thing we had our Plan-It Fez guide/driver with us to explain the meaning behind the pun. The Portuguese couldn’t pronounce the town’s name, so they called it Mogador. (What an ominous , Tolkien-worthy title!)

morocco goats on trees

We piled back into the van and continued the road trip. Do my eyes betray me… or are those goats standing on top of tree branches? 

tree climbing goats morocco

There’s no Photoshop here. Moroccan goats can scramble up argan trees, and feed on the leaves while balancing on the branches!

Morocco is rich with plantations of these short argan trees.

argan oil woman collective

We stopped by an argan oil collective, run by Berber women. They showed us how they turn the nut of the fruit into oil, using a manual process. Fantastic to see these ladies working together and running a business, like the bakery that we saw with Plan-It Fez.

berber women making argan oil

Recently, argan oil has become a favorite ingredient for beauty products. It’s rich in natural oils and vitamins, which keeps your hair and skin silky.

I have been using argan oil in my hair for years, and also love argan oil body butter for moisturizing. Even if you can’t be in Morocco, you can find organic argan products online (click below):

argan oil store morocco

The nut is also rich in vitamin E. After grinding and filtering, Moroccans love to dip bread in the oil, or drizzle it over couscous and salads.

camel rides morocco marrakesh

The road trip was a pleasure thanks to our driver Lotfi, who entranced us with stories of Moroccan culture, and even gave us a CD of Berber folk music. He stopped by a viewpoint, and a camel came to say hello.

morocco road trip, desert landscape

We drove further through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Finally, we arrived for a very special stay at the Berber Cultural Center in the village of Imintanoute (about 3 hours from Marrakesh).

berber mint tea, cultural center

This cozy, home-style stay is run by Mohamed and his family. The facilities are safe and secure, and the family goes all out to offer warm Moroccan hospitality.

We sat on the carpets and drank mint tea, made in the Berber way by Khalid (rinsed and poured from up high).

morocco travel video, tv crew filming

Filming, always. You can see this scene in action, in our new travel video about Berber culture and traditions.

berber cultural center hostel, accomodations

We enjoyed getting to know the sweet family — all the adults spoke fluent English, and the children were curious and playful. This little girl was fascinated with Melissa’s iPhone camera, and then ran around the picturesque courtyard with her dad.

berber moroccan food cooking class

The Berbers are the indigenous people of North Africa — many of them have light colored eyes!

One of my favorite ways to learn about culture is by taking cooking lessons. The family showed me how to prepare goat stew with turmeric and other spices, heated in a tagine.

goat tagine cooking lessons morocco

I followed along with the cutting and layering of ingredients such as onions. The tagine is heated with coals — we let the food simmer, stirring it from time to time.

bread making class morocco

Meanwhile, Melissa learned how to roll and pat bread in the Berber way.

baking bread outdoor oven morocco

We took the dough outdoors, and it was baked in a stone oven. Such a joy to experience the Berber lifestyle for a day!

berber cultural center dinner tagine

The best part was sitting with the family to share the feast. Melissa was the “Bread Queen,” meaning it was her duty to break and pass bread to everyone at the table.

moroccan berber boy

Then we went to look at the clear night sky dotted with constellations — and saw a shooting star. 

If you are in Marrakesh, I hope you’ll consider spending at least a night at the Berber Cultural Center in Imintanoute. It’s a rewarding and immersive experience, and we were glad to support this kind family-run hotel. Make a funny face at the boy Anir for us!

moroccan berber breakfast, homestay

I leave you with this peaceful scene from breakfast, where we shared fresh-made bread dipped in argan oil and the freshest jams and butter, washed down with mint tea.

Thanks to Plan-It Fez Tours, we met so many lovely people and got immersed in Berber culture. It was well worth having them as our guides, as there was no way we could have seen / done all this in a day, on our own. I encourage you to look them up when you visit Morocco, as they can customize a trip for you too.

PS — please take a minute to watch our Morocco travel video — I hope you enjoy our work! 

SHARE & COMMENT

Filed Under Fashion, Morocco
37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Love this!

    • Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Your videos get more and more epic… as do our adventures!

  2. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to visit Morroco someday

    • Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      You’d love it!

  3. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Amazighe*

  4. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    nice!

  5. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    i can’t wait to go back again

  6. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I loved Morocco.

  7. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Love that crazy place.

  8. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Cool Travel Photos

  9. Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    ♡〜٩(^▿^)۶〜♡

  10. Posted January 13, 2016 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    You got to see the goats in trees!

    • Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Yeah! Such a surreal sight.

  11. Posted January 13, 2016 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    XOXO

  12. Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    great video…great photographer…<3

    • Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Borderless Media is the best!

  13. Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    JUST TOP ! WELL DONE VIDEO

    • Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Thanks Philona!

  14. Posted January 14, 2016 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    Such beautiful fotos. I love the….goats in the tree :D

  15. Posted January 14, 2016 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    I use Argan oil too.

    • Posted January 14, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Always use it in my hair

  16. Posted January 16, 2016 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Loved seeing Morocco through your eyes.

  17. Posted January 16, 2016 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    :) bae

  18. Posted January 16, 2016 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    Indeed magic!

  19. Posted January 16, 2016 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    love your hair color!

  20. Posted January 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    We enjoyed hosting you and share a bit!

  21. Posted January 18, 2016 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    If you have an opportunity, go by all means. Beautiful and fascinating country.

    • Posted January 19, 2016 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      Loved it here.

  22. Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    we did…. Merrakesh at midnight, wide awake in the hot desert

  23. Posted January 19, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Loved the post! Very interesting..particularly the ‘bird’-goats!

    • Posted January 20, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed! More stories from Maroc coming up :-)

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