Salam Aleikum

Hi, i'm writing this blog page to share information with all you wanderlust souls out there. Living in Morocco comes with lots of bizarre and unexpected events, which i thought you may enjoy reading about and sharing in the laughter.

My family and I moved to Marrakech 6 years ago from London. The beginning of a huge adventure for us. Choosing which country was right for us to live in had been an extremely long and tiring process. Having made a choice to move to Marrakech, was in itself a big box ticked. We had two criteria lists, one for our business (opening and running a guesthouse) and one for personal. On top of this it had to feel right at a soul level for my husband and I, both who are from very different backgrounds.

Phase two of our journey then began. Setting up home in Morocco, also a non English speaking country with a very different culture to ours. Marrakech is a real melting pot of; languages, tribes, rich, poor, city slickers, country peasants. It sometimes reminds me of that place Luke Skywalker went to, to buy that space ship, with all those different intergalactic aliens. (Any one know what it was called?) After months of beauroctratic paperwork, rendez vous with people who don't turn up and renting from an unpleasant woman for a large amount of money, we bought ourselves a villa. This was not in the plan as we didn't want to tie up our capital in a home. I now realise it is one of the best things we could have done. When you've had a really difficult day here to be able to close the door and relax in your own place really balances you.

Zamzam Riad & Spa was eventually created out of love and we hope you will come and stay and be pampered in our luxury boutique riad.

Creating the Guest House

We had decided to buy land and build a country guesthouse as per our business plan, about 10 double rooms and suites. The dream was to create a holistic retreat and build our house on the same plot. We were going to have an organic vegetable garden and provide a Moroccan Spa.

Land in Marrakech particularly, went mad. Prices going up daily, lots of people fishing but not really wanting to sell. There is also a problem here of title. ie not much land is titled and to buy land without a title is very difficult, unless you have a lot of time on your hands and like a gamble. We looked at more land than you can shake a stick at, drank more mint tea than you can imagine and got totally no where. It can take weeks to even get a price. You may be being shown a piece of land that isn't for sale or has already been sold. After a year of this my husband said 'that is it!, we are buying a riad!'

I had a total nervous breakdown and couldn't talk to anyone for three days. He then said this doesn't have to be the end.......

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gypsetgirl, article on 'Restival' at Camp Adounia in November 2015

The Restival in Morocco’s stunning Sahara Desert in November is an event not to miss. Happening November 14 – 20, it’s a hybrid of a retreat, attunement with nature in a desert paradise and a chance to celebrate and connect. According to the festival organizers, “[It’s] for those who are looking for a digital detox, a break to inspire creativity, an opportunity to be in one of the most natural unspoilt places on earth.”
I’m super excited to be part of this festival’s premiere. It has the vibe of Burning Man, but better. Burning Man may be iconic, but it has grown into a huge festival with more than 70,000 attendees, hordes of motorhomes, noise, traffic and gas powered generators. It’s lost the intimacy it offered in the earlier years.
On the other hand, the setting of Restival is located in Moroccan sand dunes not far from the stunning Atlas Mountains. The activities are both thrilling and soul inspiring while the spa treatments are perfectly hedonistic. And the thought that I’ll be spending the nights in a beautiful, deluxe, bedouin style tent under the stars is a dream.
photo courtesy of
Here’s a close up look at what Caroline Jones, event founder and developer of the clothing and accessories brand Bazaar Bohemian has in store:


photo courtesy of
Sandboarding is available during the week to get your adrenaline pumped. And if you think flying down steep sand dunes is too much, you’ll wish you opted for sandboarding after you take a camel ride instead. Those camels are stubborn, temperamental creatures.


This is where Restival shines. After all, the goal is for festival goers to recharge and detox from the stress of hectic, daily life. The activities include:
  • Sunrise events 
  • Biodynamic dance
  • Kundalini and Hatha Yoga
  • Energy healing


There’s a variety of how to gatherings and workshops that inspire creativity, living simply and taking the Restival experience home and living it:
  • Creative writing workshops
  • How to juice
  • How to switch off and switch on
  • How to wear a turban and other desert chic styling tips
  • How to use essential oils


What makes the festival most unique is its setting in Morocco. The organizers have mini-trips planned to visit nomadic tribes and enjoy the final night’s sunset at Ait Ben Haddou, a fortified city protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The location has been famously seen in Game of Thrones, Alexander and Gladiator.


The weather in the Sahara is unpredictable. It’s sometimes hot and sunny, other times windy and nights can be unseasonably cold. Mix this with a day of sandboarding or sand golf and a girl just needs some spa time to recharge and get the sand out of all the nooks and crannies. Restival offers a full menu of spa treatments, hammocks throughout the eco site to chillax and a very special daily Hammam.
If you’ve never heard of a Hammam, you’re missing out. It’s an Arab or Turkish bath that has been a cultural and ritualistic tradition in the Islamic world for more than a thousand years. The Hammam experience entails soaking in pools of varying temperatures from warm to hot to very cold while sipping tea. It’s a quiet, spiritual experience. The purpose, according to Islamic traditions, is to purify the body before prayer. But the health benefits are great as well. The steam and distinct temperature changes are great for your skin and circulation.
a traditional hammam

The Nightly Grand Finale

The best close of all each night is brought to you by the universe. The festival location is in the middle of nowhere. There are more stars in the sky than empty space. To enjoy the stargazing with new and old friends, Touareg musicians play, sing and invite you to dance around the campfire.
photo courtesy of
The Restival is a well thought out and memorable event that caters to everyone with a love for the simple, good things in life. For more info on the festival, visit the Restival website. Who’s coming?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

RESTIVAL launches as a New Creative, Nomadic Gathering in the Sahara Desert - Morocco

RESTIVAL, a visionary fusion sitting somewhere between a Retreat and a Festival, is launching this November in the Sahara Desert, Morocco. 

This utterly new experience runs from 14-20 November 2015 and invites people to find the space and creativity to re-charge and re-connect with their inner landscape, whilst sharing cultural and creative experiences with a new and modern 'tribe'. 

Founded by experiential producer, Caroline Jones, she says, “I had the desire to create an experience where people can open up, share and disconnect from the technological and societal pressures of our globalised world. Restival was grounded in repeated requests from friends in the media to create an anti-festival.”

Appealing to adventurous spirits, Restival is a space in the Sahara where individuals can find the freedom to explore and unwind, guided by some very cool contributors such as Morning Gloryville, Ripe and Ready, Seymour Space Paris and artist Boris Hoppek - amongst others. 

The programme will include a mix of art and writing workshops, music from local tribes, astronomy, story telling, morning raves, biodynamic transformational dance with Heart Core, yoga, meditation and mindfulness, creative discovery, a film night and tour to the find the nomads in the desert.   

Restival will take place at eco-lux Camp Adounia, set in the majestic dunes of the Sahara Desert. Access from Marrakech is by 4x4s winding through the Atlas mountains, via the Tizi-n-Tichka pass and the UNESCO world heritage site, the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, descending along the Draa Valley into the desert camp.

Prices start from £1000 per person for 5 nights all-inclusive based on sharing a tent. Return flights are not included.

For all enquiries and bookings, visit and complete the online form.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ecological Yoga Camp Desert Morocco and Beach Morocco

Camp Adounia is a brilliant retreat location for yoga teachers looking to bring their followers to Morocco.  Both programmes start at Zamzam Riad & Spa in Marrakech Medina.  The programmes normally start with an introduction an a hammam before heading off in landcruisers and our professional drivers to Ait Ben Haddou.  Exploring the magical kasbahs and the drive through the Atlas Mountains gives a real feeling of adventure to go with your inward exploration.  Two or 3 days at the camp in amazing sand dunes, wonderful silence and really getting away from it all is a brilliant place to practise yoga and meditation. 

Our chefs are vegetarian trained and used to special diets and juicing.  We have all mats and equipment on site and our excellent Spa Team are will you to pamper an nurture you along the way.

We can also advertise your retreats on our page for further information or call Emma to discuss 00212 661215062

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Luxury Beach Camp - Essaouira, Morocco - Family cheap holidays

Our Beach Camp is ready and open for clients. With 2 flights a week from London Luton and just 20 minutes from Essaouira airport.  Fly in for a long weekend in the sun, with surfing, camel, treks, horseriding on the beach, fishing and even a visit to a local argan village.  Alternatively fly into Marrakech and do a summer special package with Zamzam Riad & Spa only 2 hours from the luxury beach camp.

We have our own beach for miles clean and excellent for beach walking.  The lovely staff including our resident chef are ready to cater to all dietary needs.  Dine under the stars listening to the rolling waves or our nomad musicians around a camp fire.  Fresh fish is bought daily to the camp by local fisherman and produce is bought locally.

Our eco tents are full of luxury sheets, mattresses, hammam towels and hot and cold washing facilities.  Our eco toilets are handcrafted out of wood and all toiletries are ecological as well.

Email me for more information and summer deals at Camp Adounia or phone 00212 (0) 661215062

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Philanthropic tours - Visiting the Desert Nomads with Camp Adounia

Visiting the Sahara Desert is an amazing experience of it's own.  Sitting under millions of stars at night and enjoying the stillness in view and energy is something else.  It's a wonderful remembering of time gone by when we were all living in harmony with the land and the same cycle. You cannot help but feel profoundly moved by the experience of earthing and getting away from all electrical and other polutions.

In conjunction with Magestic Disorder Magazine they have been awarded a space at 'Voice for Change Exhibition in London' for their piece on Desert Nomads with Camp Adounia please come to the 'Private View' on 14 January 2015 in London.

At our Ecological Camp in the Sahara, Camp Adounia we have set up a Fare Trade project with the Berber Nomads of the Desert.  Not only can you enjoy the wonderful dunes and energy of the Sahara but you can come on a Real Tour with us to visit the Berber Nomads.
 The Nomads in the Sahara lead an incredible life, one of hardship and meditation.  They live off the land with survival skills forgotten by modern man.
 We encourage our guests to bring books and pencils for the children.  Often when we meet as a team with the Nomads we take some of these gifts for the children, the rest we donate to the School in Mhamid.
 The Desert Nomads are so pleased to welcome our visit providing mint tea in their carefully crafted tents made out of pieces of old fabric and sticks.  Nothing goes to waste and they live within a life of no waste, everything is used and has a purpose.  Communication and visits are important to the Nomads a way of receiving information and finding out the news.
 With so little money, which is often the way, these Nomads are so generous on our visits and always insist on making bread and offering this to us for our journey.  They make wonderful crafts out of nothing as well, which has started our Nomad Project of Fairtrade with them.  It's such a joy and an education to share mint tea and talk about the challenges of daily life and the changes of the earth and its effect on their existence.
 Above photo you can see their humble bathroom or hammam.  I have never in my life seen such organisation, all their clothes neatly put into storage bags, one for each member of the family.

 Bread making with cloths.

 The Desert Nomads still weave their hand made Nomad tents or Bivouac from camel and goat hair on a traditional wooden loom.  It's a great education for a family to visit the Sahara and really get to exchange and learn from the Sahara culture.  A tour with Camp Adounia is not just camels, sand dunes and turbans, but we hope that you will leave the Sahara Desert of Morocco with a real understanding of its culture, history and challenges.

 The wonderfully crafted Nomad tents with hanging cuboard.
 Water storage wrapped in hessian cloth to keep it cool by evaporation from the dry heat.

For more information on a Real Sahara Tour and adventure email us at or telephone Emma 00212 661215062

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Moroccan Berber Carpets - Beni Ouarain Rugs and much more in Marrakesh

I'm very excited to launch my new online carpet store with other very sexy finds including some stunning handira, embroidered cusions and poufs and colourful leather poufs.

Zamzam Riad our hotel and Camp Adounia our comfortable beach and desert camp are on the website too because its a good way for you to see the carpets and interiors in a live situation.

Most of you following this blog know of my love affair with Beni Ouarain carpets and Azilal rugs from the Berber mountain regions of high and middle Atas in Morocco so I hope you will enjoy having a look around this site at my stock which will now be regularly updated.

On the site you can also see weight as well as size and it automatically gives you a shipping quote for your country with DHL.

Enjoy and email me if you need more information or call me to book a carpet trip.