A few kilometers out of Rabat, and close to Kenitra, someone decided to build a tropical garden.
Surprisingly luxurious in such an arid country, the gardens are a good solution for a brake in your trip and to rest from urban agitation
There were farm stands along the road outside town, selling all sorts of things. The one we stopped at is run by a nice woman who brings her child with her. She had juju nuts, eggs, honey, snails, and live chickens, turkeys and guinea hens. The birds were all staked out with ties on their legs. Her donkey carries all the goods back and forth, but she leaves the tent set up. This is her spot.
There is a government-owned cork forest outside Rabat. Cork matures in 7 years, but the tree has layers at different stages. Every few years another layer will be ready to harvest. The “acorns” from the cork tree are edible, I was told, but I didn't try one.
The Chellah Necropolis is just outside Rabat. A Roman town had been located here, and after it was abandoned, the Almohad Dynasty started using the site as a necropolis. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake destroyed most of the site, and only one minaret (from 1339) survived. You can still see the remains of the Koranic school, the Black Sultan’s mausoleum, and some small shrines.
The elaborate carvings on ruined walls, and the bits of decorative tile, give a sense of Chellah's former beauty. Storks have built nests there, so watch for them also.
Take a taxi and visit the Artisan Village [Valimar] beyond Sale. It is good even just to wander around and see the variety of goods for sale. The pottery is made on the site, and small items make good gifts to take home as gifts or souvenirs and they don't cost very much. See my Shopping tips.
Carpets and vases or pots tend to have geometric designs in keeping with the Islamic style of art which forbids representing living things.
The trip to the village is nice too.
The Necropolis of Shellah contains the ruins of several tombs in a lovely yet neglected park with exuberant vegetation and many different species of birds.
The view on the Rabat's river estuary is also fantastic. This river, the Bou Regreg translates as 'father of reflexion'. Isn't it a beatiful name for a river?
The impressive city walls are best seen in the south of the city, perhaps on a visit to the old Roman settlement at Chellah. Unlike in other cities, the walls don't surround the medina only they also extend to other parts of the Ville Nouvelle.
After visiting the Kasbah, make your way to the Andalucian gardens which are set at the entrance/exit of the Kasbah for a bit of relaxation time. Created in the 20th century by the French colonial authorities. There is also a museum of Moroccan arts found in the gardens.
The Oudaias Kasbah dates back to the 11th century, which was a fortress built to protect the Oudaias. Today hundreds of rich families both local and foreigners live inside the Kasbah; each house is richly decorated with hand painted doors, colourful flowers, and fancy ornaments. The walls are painted in a calming blue colour to keep the mosquitos away, which also gives it a very cool atmosphere. At the end of the Kasbah there's a magnificent view of the ocean and the city of Salé. It may be a good idea to hire a guide to take you around as it's full of winding, narrow streets, but set a price beforehand as we got ripped off!
I was strolling around Roman ruins of Sala Colonna in Chellah. I saw this minaret in the background with a stork's nest on the top which is the landmark of Chellah and Rabat. Hmm... each visitor takes similar picture there.
There was funeral mosque of Merinides in Chellah but they are only its ruins, not well preserved by, still existing, and famous minaret.
This edifice put up in Chellah is a typical Moroccan koubba. This one was white while sometimes koubbas had green or yellow dome. It was a local chapel (house of prayer) or better to say a small mausoleum (a grave) built to pay tribute either famous locals or saints. Its doors were closed.
There are numerous, old, less or more neglected graves among olive trees close to the southern corner of the Chellah's walls.
The rich and famous of the past, like sultan families were burried in seperate tombs placed traditionally below the ground level. The white, stone graves, which luckily survived till now, are richly decorated in Arabic calighaphy and Islamic patterns.
I used to see nestles of white storks on top of either telephone poles or roofs of houses in Poland. Well, "Polish" storks do not fly away to Morocco but through Sicily to Tunisiai n winter. These ones in Morocco maybe "French" or "British".
Numerous white storks of Chellah nestle on a top of mosque minaret and ruined walls. There is a huge, very tall tree with a few nestles in southern corner of the Chellah. It's a pity I didn't take more and better pictures of storks and their nestles.
When I passed by ancient Roman ruins of Sala Colonna, in Chellah, I entered the green space of the walled settlement. The relatively small gardens contain trees, a lot of bushes and few flowers and are maintained in, say, a little bit wild, English style. As it was getting hot I enjoyed a walk in a shadow although there were no benches to sit down. The best were numerous colorful butterflies which occupied some bushes in bloom.
The most characteristic and famous picture of Chellah is this stork's nest put up on the top of the minaret of the funeral mosque of the Merinides. I was lucky to observe two adult white storks although with no children.
Generally I must underline that after busy and crowded Rabat, Chellah was a place of peace and quiet with almost no visitors but many singing loudly birds and colorful butterflies.