Having breakfast at the home of this Berber Mom who lives in the Ourika Valley was one of my favorite moments here in Marrakech. Yes, we had the ubiquitous mint tea and ate some freshly baked pita bread. Hey, when you're this hungry, you'd eat ANYTHING (like me). What? Me - greedy? Will you pleeease stop telling everyone this? :-)
The Berbers are the original tribe people who first lived in Morocco... and some of them are still living in the Ourika Valley today... about a 1 hour's drive away from bustling Marrakech. The majority of modern day Moroccans (approx. 40% of them) are pure Berber with another 35% of Berber ancestry...
The Berbers are an indigenous group of North-West African non-Arab tribal people and you can find them living in areas of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It is believed that they inhabited North Africa as early as 3000 B.C. Confused? Yeah, me too.
Don't worry... just remember that they are a really nice bunch of people! :-)) Really.
Fantasia of Chez Ali is a place where you get to dine in royal tents and have dancers from all over morroco dancing infront of you in their lovely colourful clothes....then you get the chance to watch the traditional folklore horse back riding with colorful display of horsemanship.
And make sure you starve yourself before going their because they serve you soup,then half a lamb barbequed(yes I know it`s a lot) and then Cuscus(moroccan national dish)then fruits.
Don`t forget to take your vedio camera with you,unfortunatly we didn`t,there are lots of action going to happen that only photos are NOT enough! Anything you feel comfortable in,but I have to whisper something to you,beacuse my husband and I where very well dressed our giude managed to get us the front Royal seats,where we could see the horsemen the best;-)
If your visiting marrakish by winter have a jacket with you it gets cold in the night and it`s an out door dining.
The well kept secret..Finally revealed !
The best barbecue restaurant That all the old Marrakchi know,maybe it would seam as a secret,but fortunatly now all barbecue lovers can be satisfied with the most famous typical restaurant in Marrakech.
Worth discovering on your next trip to Marrakech.
museum in a beautiful building
Dar Si Said is worth to visit, not only because of the museum, but also because the building itself. It has the typical characteristics of the houses in this area.
At the first floor is a nicely decorated room with a abundant carved and painted wooden ceiling. In this museum of Morrocan art you can see a collection of silver jewellery, old muskets, carpets and other local handicrafts.
At least once on your wanderings around Marrakesh, You'll probably be 'invited' into a Berber Pharmacy. They vary in style, from the 'clinical' brightly lit shop, where the staff wear white coats, to the stalls in the souks, with the outside being festooned with parts of dead birds, reptiles and animals. Some of these have live terrapins and chameleons etc in tanks.
Whichever establishment you venture into, the routine is much the same - jars of spices (cumin, ginger, cardamom, Ras El Hanout -35 spice mix, etc) are opened for you to sniff, perfumed waxes are rubbed onto your skin, black cumin seeds are tipped into a muslin square, then held against one of your nostrils "for the snoring"! Mint tea " Moroccan Whiskey", Argan oil "For the wrinkles"! Arnica oil "for the bruises" Flower oils, soaps, incense, semi precious rocks, black olive oil soap "for the shower, then scrub off" (I guess this is used in the Hamman) henna, and lots more besides are flourished in front of you.
This was the first Berber pharmacy I went into, the pharmacist was quite knowledgeable. As I'm a nurse, I was quite interested in finding out about some of the remedies that are prescribed for various ailments.
I bought about 50gm of the 35 spice mix for 50dh.
Later, visiting other pharmacies, I knew 'the sales talk' and was able to just ask for the items I wanted.
I was given a pot of berber lipstick by one stall holder, after buying some argan oil and rose face cream. (These worked wonders on my skin!!)
I kept seeing small bundles of a dried plant in these places, as I passed one stall, I asked the owner what it was, he explained it was a Berber toothbrush, and proceeded to present me with one as a gift!