Gnawa or Knawa - Great Music Masters in Morocco

Gnawa or Ganoua is the superb music that came up from Africa.  The musicians use metal castanets with the music (this is to remind them of the slaves chains) the trance like music is played with a Gamberi guitar.  This guitar is self taught there is no music for it and it only has 3 strings.  You could say each individual 'Melem' plays music of his soul.  Each year there is a fantastic Gnawa Festival in Essaouira, really worth going to.

Not many people know but this music has come from the centre of Nigeria a city called Kano.  It's origins are Hawsa language and Kano is the Hawsa Centre of Nigeria.  Originally the music was called Knawa.

The Gamberi is a deep guitar and listening to masters is incredible.  No wonder Jimmy Hendrix loved Essaouira.  If you get a chance go to see a full Gnawa performance with the traditional acrobats it is really worth it.

The 4 Seasons Hotel in Marrakech has a good player but it is more background music than the real thing.  You can ask him wh…

Zaouia El Abassia the historical neighbourhood of our Boutique Riad Hotel - Riad Zamzam

Our riad is pretty special - it was an old fortune tellers house and a Gnawa House.  So our Gnawa riad is also in the most spiritual quarter of the Medina, the area of Sidi Bel Abbess.  Sir Bel Abbess is the most famous saint of the 7 saints of Marrakesh. former teacher he was completely devoted to islam, he helped the beggars and the blind people and they are still helped today. 

While the medersa (Koranic school) and the mosque date to 1605, the fountain and the zaouia (shrine) and mosque are older. The facade of the fountain of sidi Bel abbes is covered with stucco and zellij it is worth a visit and is also on the route from Riad Zamzam to the centre of the Medina and the souks.  You will then walk through Bab Tagherzout, here you will find wonderful street food and also the only road running through the middle of the Medina where cars can pass.  It is a big taxi drop off point too because of this and there is a wonderful restaurant there called I Limoni, just 5 minutes walk for Ria…

Yoga Retreat Centre Marrakech

We have 2 centres for yoga retreat groups in Morocco.  Either Marrakech only at Zamzam Riad & Spa or combine a tour through Morocco to our Yoga Camp Adounia in the Sahara desert.  The combined locations create and incredible journey of the mind and soul.  Both locations have yoga mats and blankets and dietary trained chefs.

We normally start with juice and fruit in the morning before practise.  Our spa team are an excellent inclusion and you can also take the ladies to the Sahara Camp too.  Message me for a bespoke itinerary to suite your yoga or wellness programme.

We have just launched our Morocco Retreats site.  This features a number of Authenic Morocco Tours and later this week I will be listing the retreat programmes.

Vegan and Vegetarian Catering and Meals in Marrakech

The wonderful chef Ilham at Zamzam Riad has been trained by Cashew Catering, a group of Vegan chefs in Brighton.

If you are looking for a vegetarian or vegan hotel then we are your people.

Emma and Ilham work closely together to create delicious gourmet vegan specialities such as raw chocolate vegan cheese cake with a nut base and cashew nut vegan cheese.

If you are looking for vegan food in Marrakech or vegan and vegetarians for a vegetarian wedding or event just send us an email for vegan menu suggestions.

Vegetarian and Vegan diets in Marrakesh are catered for at our boutique riad hotel who also offers a fun and exciting vegan cooking course.  Pop in and create some wonderful vegan Moroccan food.

We are also an exceptional Marrakesh retreat centre for vegetarian and vegan Morocco retreats.  Wonderful cleansing juices and nut milks as well as nut butters to create delicious Moroccan vegan meals.

2020 Christmas & New Year In the Sahara Desert of Morocco

With this exciting time heading towards 2020 and starting another decade why not book a once in a lifetime experience with us.

Arrive into the sun of Marrakech airport where you are met by our drivers and taken to the magical Zamzam Riad & Spa.  Enjoy exploring the Medina for a couple of days and lounging in our Spa or head straight off with your Desert Driver and luxury land cruiser to explore the different tribes and cultures in the South of Morocco.

This is a truly Authentic Moroccan Tour, which takes you over the stunning Atlas Mountains to Ait Ben Haddou (the incredible Unesco Heritage Site) explore the ksar with our knowledgeable guide Ali, reeling in the history of this ancient caravan pause.

Head off the next day down the Draa Valley with it's regal palms and biblical setting before heading off road into the Sahara.  The journey is incredible and you experience so much on this route, before arriving at Erg Birtam and our special Camp Adounia set in stunning dunes.