SOS Animaux Marrakech (Helga Heidrich) - An animal shelter near the city where you can meet Sonny Boy the 3 legged dog, Ali Baba the camel, Barbary Apes, Donkeys and numerous other residents that were once abandoned or abused. There are many attractions in Marrakech, but for us this animal sanctuary, together with the Saffron Paradise, are the 2 things that every ethical traveller must see.
The Saffron Paradise - An organic garden and authentic saffron farm in an idylic Ourika setting just outside of Marrakech, run by the charming and honest Christine Ferrari. The best place in Marrakech to buy real Saffron and to see just how good a garden can be if nature is allowed to reset the balance.
La Sultana - Luxury rooftop restaurant serving traditional Moroccan food. It's a nice place to be at sunset and you can wander around the very ornate riad after your drinks/meals.
Earth Cafe - The only pure vegetarian/vegan cafe in Marrakech. Beautiful setting within the souk and a very relaxed, well designed interior with excellent photography lining the walls.
Ksar Essaoussan - Traditional Moroccan food served in a classy, homely atmosphere for a very reasonable price (about £25 for a multi course meal, fantastic service included). Very Photography Friendly and they provide a guide free of charge to get you to and from your Riad, which is handy as the souk can be very confusing to negotiate after dark.
Riad Kniza - A Riad that also serves the best traditional Moroccan food in Marrakech. The Pastilla is superb. Very Photography Friendly.
Kui Zin - A welcoming and great value cafe in the souk which is good for lunch or dinner. The food is Moroccan/Western/Asian style and they serve the best homemade bread and cakes we tasted in Morocco.
Cafe Clock - Moroccan/Western style of food served in an arty setting. English speaking staff and regular events. Very Photography Friendly.
Riad Dar Baraka - Situated in the most authentic and friendly district of the old city - Doukkala - this Riad is very quiet, has English speaking staff and the best roof terrace we've experienced in Marrakech (it's 3 tiers are painted the colour of the desert and have a view of both sunrise and sunset. It's just a 10 minute walk from the bus station, or the taxi can drop you off 5 minutes walk away.
Riad Noga - A tranquil Riad just 10 minutes walk from the main square, serving the best breakfast in town on a roof terrace above a swimming pool. The staff are genuine and are, as the Riad itself is, very Photography Friendly. There's also the bonus of sharing your space with Kline the parrot and the Riad's resident tortoise, and of staying in a Riad where the owners understand the value of consistency
Marrakech can offer unique accommodation in the form of 'Riads' - old merchants houses converted into boutique hotels the like of which you'll only find in Morocco - high quality, good value food, a pleasant climate, cheap transport links to Europe and plenty of material to interest and inspire photographers. It could easily be the Number 1 city tourism destination in the world (if a few changes were made) and we whole heartedly recommend you visit the city for a few days. But before we get onto the good news we have to deal with some issues that we believe concern all visitors to Morocco. Most if not all guidebooks gloss over what we're about to say but please consider this; 96% of visitors to Marrakech say they will never return to the city. That's a remarkable statistic considering what a rewarding destination the city has the potential to be but having spent a month there ourselves we totally understand it. We don't want you to be part of that 96% so we're going to try to prepare you for what you're going to encounter by doing what other guides don't which is, simply, telling you the truth. Hopefully that means you can ride and ignore the bad and enjoy the good. Click Here to Read More.
The bottom line is, if you stay in the city for more than three or four days then you’ll start to notice how every morning you’re meeting somebody who considers it their job to suck the joy out of your day. It's a problem that goes away if you throw money at it and don't want anything else than to re-enforce your Arabian Nights stereotyped fantasy so if you're travelling with a fat wallet good on you, hire an expensive guide who'll show you the standard sites and warn everybody else off - it's better to be bitten by a single mosquito than a swarm! But if you're just a normal traveller with an average budget then you need to consider how you're going to deal with having the posibility of hassle, hostility and negativity infect every single day...
As an introduction to photography in Marrakech, and indeed Morocco, we'd advise you to look at the following article that appeared in The Guardian newspaper in 2013 - 'Marrakech: The city that distrusts photographers'
It makes interesting reading. Out of the five Magnum photographers commissioned to create work in the city only Susan Meiselas had any success. Bearing in mind these Magnum people are some of the best photographers in the world, all of us lesser practitioners should take note of, and try to learn from, their failure. Susan's project involved payment for images in the form of either money or original prints and this should tell you something very important about local attitudes towards photographers. In short, if a photographer with limited time wants to practice street photography in Marrakech they've either got to get their wallet out and pay for their images or they've got to get more creative than the Magnum people were!
During our stay we preferred to try to get creative. And that involved, first of all, discussing exactly what we wanted out of our trip. Elaborate interiors? Yes. Interesting portraits? Yes, but only if freely given in a good spirit. Inspiration from local photographers? Yes. Photos of lifeless old ruins, poor people doing Medieval jobs and concepts invented by Colonial Romantics over a century ago that could possibly have us held up on charges of mindless Orientalism or simply enforcing harmless but overworked stereotypes? Absolutely not. Busy market scenes? Mmm, the markets/souks are certainly photogenic, but they're also where the Magnum folks faced aggression and negativity and we're in the city to have a good time, not problems...
And that last point is very important. There are no doubt countless excellent reasons why many of the Morrocan people you'll come across as a tourist will treat you in a way that you'll consider unkind but if you're in the city for a few days and just want to enjoy your hard earnt holiday, none of these reasons will be of great interest to you. Yes, it must be hard for the market traders to earn a living and yes, it can't be easy having tourists sticking a camera in their face every day without even attempting a conversation and then there's the fact that Islam, the religion that most locals follow, doesn't look kindly on creating images of living things, whether that involves painting, sculpture or photography. But Marrakech has set itself up as a destination that wants to welcome even more tourists of all nationalities so what do the locals honestly think they could do; invite us in, take our money and also dictate every single term of engagement? There's got to be some give and take...
You've worked hard for your holiday and it just so happens that like most tourists you enjoy photography when you travel, so shouldn't you be able to express yourself in a way that pleases you, for a few days at least, without locals (the same locals who make a living from you being there) trying to make you feel rotten every time your raise your camera to your eye? We believe so. From our own trip to Marrakech we wanted minimal hassle and confrontation, for our visit to benefit others as well as ourselves, to respect local traditions as long as the people holding them acted worthy of our respect and, if possible, to take some half-decent photographs. It wasn't enough to get portraits of people we'd paid to smile and pose for us though, we wanted images of people we'd had some pleasant interaction with. And as for the interiors it was important that they were of places we'd enjoyed spending time in, rather than locations where we'd been constantly interupted and bothered by 'guides' saying "What you want? You from Britain? Ah, fish and chips. Come to see my uncle's shop. No? Ok, you want to go to the tanneries?...No? Come this way, that way closed, nothing there to see, come this way, you give me 20 dirham."
Our solution was, firstly, to stay in traditional Riads which would not only provide us with very comfortable accommodation but also plenty of good material for our cameras. That way we could make images in peace of authentic architecture. Secondly, we'd try to eat in photogenic locations now and again where we could get to know the staff and then make portraits of them if they were willing. Thirdly, we'd seek out alternatives to the regular tourist attractions, places where people welcomed us with a smile rather than overcharged or hassled us. The packed crowds and scowling guardians of the famous Majorelle Gardens? No thanks, we'd rather the organic gardens and genuinely warm feeling of The Paradise of Saffron...
Based on our own experiences, our advice to you for a fun and very rewarding four days in Marrakech - if you don't have a guide and want to enjoy what the city actually has to offer rather than what the guidebooks tell you it offers - is as follows:
Day 1; Get a taxi in from the airport or bus station, have your Riad arrange it. Yes, you can haggle for one yourself but do you really want to start your trip arguing with somebody who'll then drop you a long way from your Riad because they're angry for some reason? Spend the rest of the morning at the photographic exhibitions at the MMPVA. Have lunch nearby at Cafe Clock where you can meet local creative people and perhaps catch another photography exhibition. In the afternoon photograph and enjoy your Riad, then go for dinner somewhere like Riad Kniza or Ksar Essaoussan, where the surroundings are magnificent, the food exceptional and the staff very friendly and happy to pose for your camera.
Day 2; Visit Helga's animal sanctuary in the morning. Arrive back in central Marrakech mid afternoon and visit the Ensemble Artisanal shopping complex. The shops here are all fixed price, they have all the goods you're likely to find in the main markets/souks and there's no hassle if you get your camera out. Nearby is the shop Kif Kif, run by Stef, an honest French lady who designs great clothes, jewelry and bags with the help of talented local crafts people. In the evening treat yourself to an evening rooftop dinner at La Sultana, another very photogenic location.
Day 3; Visit the souks of central Marrakech early in the day to see the metal workers go about their business. You'll probably be sick of the hassle that comes with visiting the souks within a couple of hours by which time it's best to escape to the Ben Youssef Merdersa, the Maison de la Photography and the excellent and friendly Kui-Zin restaurant. Visit Jemma el Fna about 9pm to see the square at it's best. It's lit up well by the gas lamps of the food stalls but dark enough for you to retreat into the shadows when the hawkers get too bothersome.
Day 4; Visit The Paradise of Saffron in the morning. In the afternoon walk through the main alleyway leading to Bab Doukkala, a friendly district where you'll find every sort of local shop but not a single one selling tourist tat. If you didn't visit Riad Kniza or Ksar Essaoussan for dinner on your first night then do so tonight. You shouldn't leave Marrakech without eating at, and photographing, both of these places.
Points to note;
Contact Trusted People and businesses (such as Hassan the driver - email@example.com - Tel; +212 667 545 32 from abroad - and the local company Marrakech Riads) before you visit, via what you'll read on our page or through other people who've actually been to Marrakech and who don't have a service to sell you.
Reconsider what it is you want to get out of a trip to Morocco. Perhaps replace the souks with fine dining? Marrakech offers excellent eateries and equally good Riads/Hotels; you won’t be disappointed if you forget about whatever you thought Marrakech was like and instead spend your time moving from Riad to restaurant to organic garden or animal shelter.
Understand that most people who approach you in the street will never, ever allow whatever transaction that follows to end in a pleasant manner. If you don't pay, they'll shout. If you do pay, it'll never be enough.
Shoot RAW if you can. It’ll help with many situations (Marrakech is a city of high contrasts, almost every scene will have extreme areas of light and dark) including the extreme low light situations you’re going to encounter when you shoot at night in restaurants. Also expect to have to play about with your white balance at night as many of the restaurants have a mix of tungsten and fluorescent lighting which will add a colour cast. Or if you’re like us and frequently forget to change your white balance setting then expect to do a little Photoshop editing afterwards to take the yellow cast away.
The Tanneries - If you don't want to see poor people working a job that involves handling toxic, carcinogenic chemicals without any protection, if you don't want to support an industry that pollutes Morocco's rivers, if you want to avoid getting near the worst of the city touts, who hang around the leather making districts hassling tourists to an inch of their sanity and finally, if you don't want to take the same old photos that everybody else does - of underpaid men standing in vats of colourful chemicals - just so you can easily illustrate how different Marrakech is to home, then definately stay away from the tanneries.
The Tagine is Moroccan cooking’s' signature dish. Understand though that it's a style of cooking rather than any particular combinations of flavours and it requires all of the ingredients to be cooked together over a low heat for around 2 hours. If a restaurant allows you to order one fresh and brings it to you inside fifteen minutes, it's never going to be as good as it can be. The best place that we found to eat Tagine in Morocco, after four months of eating out every night, was the Kasbah Tebi in Ait Ben Haddou, which is a four hour drive from Marrakech and a destination worth a few days. In Marrakech, however, decent Tagine and Pastilla (another Moroccan signature dish) can be had at the Ksar Essaoussan or the Riad Kniza. If you happen to want to eat vegetarian or vegan then the Kniza staff have the experience to serve this.
Choose your Riad carefully. You'll be spending more time in it than you think. Some Riads, like those managed by Marrakech Riads, are very ornate, symmetrical and busy in their wall decor and provide plenty of material for your camera in an environment that will allow you to play and pose to your hearts content without any locals frowning at you or demanding money because you're standing in front of their building. The foreign run Riad Noga, on the other hand, has a more relaxed feel to it's decor and is very consistent in it's high standards. The breakfast, for example, is excellent and served with a genuine smile and it's like that every day, which is not as common in Morocco as you'd like. We can personally vouch for the authenticity, honesty and friendliness of Riad Baraka, Riad Noga and Riad Sahara Nour. If you choose to stay elsewhere, and you might as there are nearly 800 Riads in Marrakech, then understand that it can be very difficult to locate many of them in the maze of alleyways and part of their service should be to send somebody to a pre-arranged point to meet you when you're first arriving and guide you to the door.
If you need directions, or help, always ask a pharmacist. They all speak French and often English and they've got better things to do than try to cheat you. If you can't find a pharmacist then as a last resort ask a woman rather than a man.
People - When we think back to our time in Marrakech the memories that provide us with pleasure invariably involve the following people. Deal with them if you can.
Helga from the SOS animal sanctuary, Christine from the Saffron Paradise and Hassan, Rosemary and Abdou who took us there. Rosemary is without doubt the most entertaining, interesting storyteller in Marrakech (although she wouldn't title herself as such) and it was wonderful to meet Hassan and Abdou, both honest Moroccans who adore animals.
Kamal and Mohammed from the Riad Kniza. We were only in these chaps' company for a few hours but we shall remember their grace and kindness for years.
The staff of Riad Noga, the Ksar Essaoussan, la Maison de la Photographie and Cafe Clock, all of whom treated us as human beings rather than as if we were walking, desensitized ATM's.i
In 2016 The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts (MMPVA) will open in its new home: an impressive space designed by Sir David Chipperfield that'll house a permanent collection of lens-based art from the 19th Century to the present day in addition to a programme of contemporary art exhibitions. Located just outside Marrakech it'll be the largest freestanding museum in the world dedicated to photography. For the moment, however, you can find it in the Badi Palace, a short walk from the Jemma el Fna and itself worthy of a visit to see the huge ruins and flocks of storks that nest atop them. When we visited there was an excellent retrospective exhibition by Don McCullin and an interesting collection by five Moroccan photographers that helped us understand more about what we might and might not wish to achieve with our own street photography whilst in Marrakech (the lack of faces/eye contact on show was telling).
To discover more about the Marrakech Museum of Photography see our film below (that shows an interview with the MMPVA's Cultural Director Mostafa Aghrib), or visit mmpva.org
The Maison de la Photographie is just a ten minute walk from Ben Youssef Medersa and very easy to find with the aid of google maps or the maps offered for free by either Riad Baraka or Noga. The staff offered us warm welcomes both times we visited, the postcards and prints on sale in the shop are the same price or cheaper than you'll find in the souks and there's a decent cafe on the roof terrace too. The photographs on show are all excellent and present a picture of Morocco from the mid 19th century to around the 1950's. We found the images, especially the more arty ones that made great use of the light and shadows that are going to be such a feature of your image making in Morocco, inspirational and if you're looking to get fired up with ideas before you take on the souk, the mountains or the desert then pay this place a visit first. Don't worry if you don't speak French, the staff speak English and many of the explanation notes you'll find beneath the photos are in English.
To discover more about the Maison de la Photographie see our film (which shows excerpts from a tour we did with the excellent museum guide Mohamed Ajib), or visit http://maisondelaphotographie.ma/
The Helga Heidrich Foundation (SOS Animaux) is an animal rescue shelter situated near Marrakech in Morocco. You can visit it easily in half a day, get some great photos, play with cute puppies and kittens, feed donkeys and Ali Baba the camel and above all financially support this very worthwhile sanctuary. Hassan can drive you there as although it's only half hour drive from the centre of the city it's not easy to get there by public transport, he can be contacted as follows; Email; firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel; +212 667 545 32 from abroad, and 06 67 75 45 32 from inside Morocco. Helga doesn’t charge for visits but any donation you can offer will greatly help feed the animals (just to feed all the animals costs around 5,000 Euro per month). Consider buying a bag of carrots and bananas before you go, Ali Baba, the donkeys and the monkeys love them. Hassan can help with getting this food at the village you pass just before you arrive at the shelter. We loved our visit there, along with The Safron Paradise it was the highlight of our Marrakech stay.
To discover more about SOS Animaux Marrakech, see the gallery and our film below, or visit www.fhh-sos-animaux.com
After you’ve visited Helga’s animal sanctuary there is, in our opinion, just one other place worth seeking out in the vicinity of Marrakech, and that’s the eco-friendly gardens of Le Paradis du Saffron. If you do nothing else during your visit to the red city you must spend some quality time at this lovely farm and garden. You can find saffron farms in many locations in Morocco, but a farm that actually produces real saffron, doesn’t rip you off or offer a hard pressure sales environment and is run along organic guidelines by an absolutely charming host?You might be surprised to learn that over 85% of the saffron on offer across the world is fake. So how do you tell the difference, if you’re looking to use this delicate spice to flavour your food and want the real stuff rather than the rubbish that too many vendors try to pass off to the gullible or uniformed? Firstly, you visit Christine’s farm and take her tour! It’s only 5 Euro and it’s brilliant. Hassan, who offers a taxi service that we recommend, can take you to the farm, email him on email@example.com.
To discover more about Safron Paradise please see our film below or visit www.paradis-du-safran.com
The Ensemble Artisanal is just along the main road from Koutoubia Mosque. There are around 25 shops inside a cool calm open air centre over two floors and the entrance hall is spectacularly carved - excellent for your cameras. Prices are fixed and everything is government controlled so you don't have to worry about the stall holders overcharging you, roughing you up or somehow treating you like an idiot like they often do in the souks. It's the first place you should visit if you're looking to shop in Marrakech. Lamia got a nice dress there, just as well priced as it would have been in the souks but straight from the tailor, who was happy to talk about how he made it and also happy to pose for photos. There are also clean toilets here and no young lads hanging around giving you hassle or trying to get you to visit the tanneries. Nearby is one of the best independent shops in Marrakech called Kif Kif. It's run by Stef, a French designer who lives in the old city. It's also fixed price and employs local women who might otherwise have no way to earn money. Both places get 5 out of 5 for friendliness and they're a must for anybody visiting Marrakech in search of well made, fairly priced goods. To discover more about Ensemble Artisanal and Kif Kif see our film below or visit www.kifkifbystef.com
To get your fill of beautiful Islamic architecture, and to escape from the hassle that will surround you in the souk, visit the Ben Youssef Merdersa. Sit outside, first of all, on the shaded stone bench, and people watch. It's the only place in the souk that you can do so outside of a cafe and it's where we got some of our best street photography done. For some reason hustlers are reluctant to bother you when you're sat still and we didn't have anybody else moan at us for taking photos of a scene that they happened to be walking through, which was a rariety in Morocco. Once inside buy your ticket and get past the ticket collector who's real job is to hustle you into paying even more for a fifteen minute tour, and then relax. Our photos show a building with very few people in but you'll have to hang around a bit to recreate these scenes as Ben Youssef is a stop on the package tour circuit. Perhaps visit during lunctime, when the tourists are busy picking over the buffet, if you want the place to yourself. Overall the hassle is minimal and you're free to relex, take photos, enjoy the tranquility and, if you want to pay more, visit the museum and cafe next door.
Just five minutes walk from the royal palace and ten minutes from Bab Doukkala and the main bus station, in a very relaxed part of the medina, the quiet alleyways leading to Dar Baraka and Karam (they are two separate places to stay, under the same management of Marrakech Riads and joined by a connecting door) ready you for the utter tranquility that awaits inside the Baraka. Outside our room began a rambling three level terrace, to me this was the finest roof terrace of all those I’ve experienced in Marrakech. A mini maze of walls and steps painted the colour of the Sahara desert sheltered a variety of white cushioned divans, chairs, sun loungers, straw hats and shady corners. We ate breakfast here and also lay watching the stars before bed. It was a haven of peace, a sun trap and a visual treat – white cushions and tented coverings sandwiched between orange walls, muted floor rugs and deep blue sky. We had a look round the other Marrakech Riads properties one day, all seemed lovely. It’s a well run company in our experience, honest and reliable. To discover more about the Riad Baraka please see our images below, read our extensive review here or visit www.marrakech-riads.com
The Riad Noga, one of the best and most well known of the 800 Riads that you can find in Marrakech and found at the end of a long, quiet alleyway just ten minutes walk from Jemma el Fna, greets you with the smell of flowers and an atmosphere of complete tranquility. A classy, romantic feel inhabits the Noga’s pastel coloured interior; freshly cut roses occupy every vase and spare vessel, the staff are friendly, consistent in their actions and attentive but discreet and birdsong filters down from the plants that hang down from the roof terrace, their faint chirps echoing through the poolside colonnade. Breakfast at the Noga is a wonderful affair. The deep pile cushions on the rooftop terrace chairs are incredibly comfortable and encourage dalliance. Fresh coffee, hot water for tea, milk, a mix of condiments (strawberry and fig conserve, marmalade and honey) and butter for french style fresh bread and crepes, a choice of eggs – we had omelettes and sometimes hard boiled – yoghurt, muesli and fresh orange juice. Try as we might we could never finish what was served to our table.
The Earth Cafe is Marrakech's only pure vegetarian and vegan cafe. If you're trying to maintain a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle whilst travelling and want to eat at a place where the chef understands what it means to be vegetarian or vegan (not using chicken stock in the vegetable tagine, for instance, 'because it gives it some flavour...', etc) then the Earth cafe is for you. Diffused light, streaming through the bamboo lattice matting that acts as a ceiling, flood the deep red and orange painted courtyard. Huge marrows, pumpkins and crates of grapefruit line the corridor and stairs (much of the vegetables and fruit used in the cafe are grown on their own farm just outside of Marrakech) and a mix of contemporary and antique photos - most of them for sale (as are handmade soup and tagine bowls) - decorate the walls. Everything served at the Earth Cafe is very healthy and nutritious. Minimal oil is used in all the dishes and there is lashings of taste and intelligent flavour combinations. I would have preferred a little more textural crunch to my food, but if you like things soft and good for you, you'll love the Earth Cafe.
No one is going to say that this food reminds them of home (unless they're from, perhaps, Seattle or San Francisco or have foodie, ecologically minded parents who trod the overland route to India in the 60's). It's a product of an inventive chef looking to change and mix things up a bit and serve food that is good for your body (and the world; the veg are grown pesticide free) in the process. Most of the cafés in Marrakech rely heavily on the spices and tastes that Moroccan cooking is well known for such as cumin, cinnamon and citrus but it's not like that here. It's more a mix of French, Moroccan, American and Thai so I guess it's better just to call it 'world' food served in a very chilled, friendly atmosphere.
Vegan Friendly? 5/5
Vegetarian Friendly? 5/5
To discover more, please visit http://www.earthcafemarrakech.com/
Marrakech has several excellent venues in which to have a memorable dining experience but for us none can match the class, fine cuisine and overall atmosphere of the Riad Kniza. In a word, it’s magnificent. The Kniza is a palace of well designed, subtle luxury. After you enter a corridor leads to a larger courtyard bordered by an ornate fountain and two dining rooms decorated with opulent curtains, sofas and paintings and spectacular chandeliers. It was a great joy to photograph such surroundings in a peaceful, refined atmosphere. Our waiter, Mohammed, and the Riad owner, Kamal, are two of the friendliest, geunuinely decent men we met in Marrakech and the food was first class (the best Pastilla in Morocco, in our opinion). Please, if you’re in Marrakech, treat yourself to an evening meal at the Riad Kniza and if you can afford it, stay there as well and enjoy the very best of Moroccan hospitality every night of your holiday.
Vegan Friendly? 1/5
Vegetarian Friendly? 3/5
To discover more, please visit http://www.riadkniza.com/
Handy if you're visiting the MMPVA or the Saadian Tombs, the Cafe Clock serves up a tasty mix of Moroccan and Western food. It's more expensive than the cafes on Jemma el Fna but for your extra dirham you'll get tasty food, zero hassle, English speaking staff and there's regular entertainment laid on, such as storytelling and music, that you can watch in peace. There are also, we're told, regular exhibitions to see on it's white walls. If you’ve experienced Cafe Clock in Fes then don’t worry, this branch in Marrakech is far friendlier. It’s also worth saying that if you’re looking to get involved in the local art scene – perhaps you want to exhibit your work or showcase it in some way, or just meet up with other artists – then Cafe Clock is a fine place to do so in Marrakech. A side issue for travelling photographers is that the staff are all happy to pose for photos, so you can practice your portraits whilst you eat without the bad feeling or general hassle that usually accompanies making portraits of locals in Marrakech.
Vegan Friendly? 2/5
Vegetarian Friendly? 5/5
To discover more, please visit http://marrakech.cafeclock.com/
The Ksar Essaoussan offered us a traditional evening that we’d recommend to everybody. Excellently cooked and presented food, well priced too (our four course meals cost the equivalent of just £20 each), delightful service and incredibly beautiful surroundings that will entertain any photographer or artist. The restaurant is on the ground floor, spreading outwards from the fountain that dominates the centre of the patio to the 4 alcoves that give off it. Upstairs is a fine view over the patio and another well furnished room to look at which the staff encourage you to visit. This is a great opportunity for photographers to see the inside of a luxury local town house, and take photos at their leisure. When we returned downstairs one of the waiters offered us water from a huge silver teapot in which to wash our hands. It’s worth highlighting that the staff at the Ksar Essaoussan were among the most welcoming of all the Moroccan restaurants we visited in Marrakech, they had a genuine warmth that can’t be faked, and which we appreciated very much.
Vegan Friendly? 1/5
Vegetarian Friendly? 3/5
To discover more, please visit http://www.essaoussane.com/
La Sultana, a highly rated restaurant within the 5 star hotel of the same name, is situated very near to the Saadian Tombs, about a twenty minute walk south of the Jemma el Fna in the old Jewish area of Marrakech. We advise you arrive for dinner early, say 7pm, and linger over cocktails under the lattice roof; with the white linen drapes blowing gently and the sun setting behind the minarets and turrets of the medina, it has the making of an Arabian Nights fantasy. We had a multi course, three hour dining experience and didn’t feel overfed as we left and this was ok by us; when the ingredients, cooking and presentation is this good you don’t need bulk. We felt that we’d had a glimpse into a seldom seen world by dining at La Sultana, it was worth the expense and the photographic opportunities were unlimited. Most of the staff were happy to be photographed (a few asked us not to show their faces, which was fair enough) and the location itself is a dream; not just the rooftop, but the corridors you pass through on the way to and from the street.
Vegan Friendly? 1/5
Vegetarian Friendly? 3/5
To discover more, please visit http://lasultanahotels.com/
Ideally placed as either a lunch or dinner stop after a tour of the souks, Kui Zin offers an inventive mix of foods served in a relaxed atmosphere. There are other cafes in the medina but none, in our experience, are as friendly or clean as Kui-Zin or offer as interesting a mix of dishes. They also have free wifi and a choice of sitting by the large windows and watching the medina life go by or moving towards the back and blocking out the bustle altogether. The staff speak great English and were polite and helpful. During our evening at Kui-Zin they gave us good service, attending to us if we needed anything but leaving us alone when we wanted that. A simple thing, but so many restaurants in Morocco don’t get this right. Happy to say that Kui-Zin do. The desserts are homemade and customers are encouraged to choose the exact dessert they want from the chiller cabinet. It’s easy to see why Kui Zin is so highly rated on Trip Advisor. Excellent service, good value food (created using organically grown local herbs) and there’s a wealth of material to occupy your camera whilst you relax afterwards.
Vegan Friendly? 2/5
Vegetarian Friendly? 5/5
To discover more, please visit www.kui-zin.com/
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