Zoom as Zoom can!
Marrakesh is a very touristy place and so the locals know that there will be pictures taken. Especially on Djemaa el Fna you will want to take pics of the artists, snake charmers and acrobats - and they will definitely come up to you and ask for money! With a good tele objective/zoom you can avoid much of the hassle!
Best rental car company yet - Jawad's Malta Car
After all the cars Ive rented either via my various Moroccan acquaintances and connections using their connections or me keeping and using those connections Ive found a company through Moroccan friends I work with in London that have proved to be the best so far - well many companies are much the same - haggle the price or accept a price that still not happy with - that you know you could get cheaper elsewhere but the right connections are not involved!; take the car that youve been told is a new car when making the booking but on pickup can see that its not;
One of the reasons for choosing Marrakech is that it is one of the cheaper locations for rental cars, along with Agadir - Fes and Tangier from all experiences and trials is pretty much a no go area if you want a decent car at a decent price. We did rent once from Meknes through friends of the family but even for a 2 week rental they still charged 300 dirham a day.
Jawad doesnt really speak english but he has a friend with the business that does and will get involved if you dont speak french. They are happy to meet you at the airport or wherever for pick up and will do all the arrangements there and then to leave you with the car so less time is wasted - eg other companies that Ive used that do pickup have taken us to their office to do all the transactions there and getting in and out of traffic means another hour used to get your car organised.
As with all rental car hire theres a special tax involved if you want to use your credit card for care hire - which is a really high tax - so its actually best to pay in cash - your credit card will still be swiped for the security deposit though. Check the policy for what excess is involved and whether you have to pay more to reduce it but in most cases if its not possible to reduce then using online companies such as www.excess4carehire.com which do individual trip or annual policies to reduce excess to zero.
From my journal:
'The Marrakech city tour starts with a visit to Menara Gardens which is a large olive grove with trees 300 years old, and a 600x600 feet pool with an ordinary looking pavilion. Also present is a mediocre snake charmer and lots of souvenir sellers.'
In the south-west part of the medina nextdoor to the Kasbah Mosque are the Saadian Tombs, signposted as " Tombeaux Saadiens".
This necropolis is started by Ahmed Mansour, the second Saadian sultan, in the 16th century, on the side of an older part of the cemetary, which was reserved for descendants of the Prophet.
The mausoleum is divided in three halls. Ahmed Mansour and 65 of his successors and close family are buried under the two main structures.
Marakesh - Jewel of the south
We checked in for our flight at Cape Town International Airport and flew
to Marrakesh, with a schedulated stop at Casablanca. Casablanca Airport is very impressive, and provided a good start to our trip to Morocco. I had the pleasure of spending a full week in this lovely, intriguing city.
Pearl of the South, Jewel of the South, The Rose City -- just a few of the nicknames Marrakesh has acquired over the years. The pearl and the jewel symbolize its importance as the center of Morocco ever since it was a trading and resting place on the crossroads of ancient caravan routes from Timbuktu. The rose attests to a city still painted entirely in salmon pink, in keeping with the red-clay earth below. Once called Morocco City by foreign travelers, Marrakesh eventually lent its name to the country itself. Part Berber, part Arab, part African, Marrakesh is the heartbeat of Morocco, where palaces and monuments of unrivaled refinement sit calmly alongside the snake charmers and Gnaouan drums pulsing constantly from Djemýa el Fna Square -- the most exuberant marketplace in the world.
Virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages, Marrakesh's solid ramparts encircle and protect its mysterious labyrinthine medina, which hides sultans' palaces, the ornate mansions of rich merchants, and some of the most colorful bazaars in the Arab world. Late in the afternoon, Moroccans as well as foreigners crowd the Djemýa el Fna to hear storytellers and musicians perform, be wooed by herbalists and acrobats, and watch smoke rise from the outdoor food stalls as vendors whip up a wild array of fried fish, meats, salads, and such Moroccan delicacies as lamb or beef stewed in an earthenware pot and left in hot ashes all day.
This intoxicating city is for the eyes -- a place where even the refined elements have a roughness to them, yet what is rough has its own refinement. Apart from the many things to see and do, one of the most refreshing things about Marrakesh is that time slows down here. The helter-skelter of mopeds, Mercedes, donkey carts, and pedestrians in the streets is really just a mirage; beneath it all, you can feel a languor in the way people walk, the way they take time to stop and talk to each other, conducting their daily affairs much as their ancestors did. With its dramatic beauty and unhurried rhythm, the Jewel of the South can beckon even the most seasoned traveler to stop moving and stay forever.