As-Salaam-Alaikum

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 11 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 Marrakesh, 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.

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.



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tuareg Mats - Moroccan Berber Carpets

I'm pretty obsessed with these Tuareg Mats, they are so earthy and powerful.  Any area or room is instantly transformed into a chic strong statement.  Photos below are from Fredieric Fekkai's holiday home the famous hairdresser and beauty stylist from France.  They give you an idea of how these mats just about go with anything.

They are made from palm fronds and camel or goat skin.  Some of the women's weavings are incredibly intricate in design.  Many have ancient symbols woven into them.


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Made by the Tuaregs of Mauritania and Sahara leading down to Niger and Nigeria.  These mats are  traditionally made by the nomads for their tents (some even have a lovely smoky smell).  They are very durable and roll easy for the caravans when moving on.  The Tuaregs are often called the blue men because of the Indigo they wear.  The indigo acts as a sun screen and insect repellant.

At our Camp in the Sahara Desert we work with the nomads and their way of life, when deciding to visit us in our stunning dunes you can have the opportunity of learning about their culture and desert life.







Below you can see a close up of the leather weaving and small knots made.



At Moroccan Berber Carpets we have a new stock with a range of beautiful pieces - this is rare because they are now becoming hard to find, especially the vintage ones which are beautifully worn.  These Tuarge mats just get better with age.






Send us an email if you would like a list of our current stock or enquire with size specifications


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bespoke Beni Ouarain and Berber Carpets - made to measure

We are making some beautiful bespoke Beni Ouarain Carpets - many designers and architects need these beautiful carpets made to measure - often square.  The new Beni Ouarain Berber Carpets are made from 100% wool.  They originated in the Beni Ouarain region in the middle Atlas of Morocco.  The carpets were originally made with a long insulating pile for families to sleep on.  They kept out the cold very well.  Many vintage and new Beni Ouarain are being made with a shorted pile.  We say they have a summer and winter side, turning them over in the summer enables the dirt and dust to fall out, a natural cleaning method.  The wool with its linolin makes them particularly stain protected as the liquid doesn't soak in.

We have a wonderful supply of Moroccan and Berber carpets both new and vintage depending on your taste and requirements, from Boujad, Azilal, kilims, Beni Mguild.  We also adore the Tuareg mats made from reid and leather, woven in intricate designs. 

Message us if you are looking for something or need it to be made to sepcification.  You may also want to stay at our boutique hotel Zamzam and go on a buying tour with us so that you can choose your own Moroccan carpet.







Sunday, October 15, 2017

Moroccan Eggs - Berber Omlette - Riad Zamzam, Marrakech Medina

This morning I decided to cook Berber eggs it is made with chopped tomato, garlic and Khlia (a dried meat preserved in fat) like the french with the duck confit, where it is stored in the jar in fat.  The Khlia is quite strong tasting so you don't need much and it needs to be cut fine.  It tastes a bit cheesy but is delicious with eggs.  Its slightly reminiscent of black truffle.

The first photo shows cooking down the tomatos, with pink himalayan salt, garlic and the khalia.



 Next you beat the eggs with some pepper and pour over into the pan and cook on low.



Then enjoy this wonderful rich omlette with some warm bread and mint tea.  Another favourite with breakfast now is an orange and avocado smoothy.  Try it, its soooo good.

Request these when you come to stay at Riad Zamzam & Spa

Friday, October 13, 2017

Yves Saint Laurent Tribute - Jema El Fnaa - 13 October Marrakesh

Tonight in the Jema El Fnaa from 7.30pm.

A film tribute to Yves Saint Laurent will be show on a big screen.  The film about 60 minutes is a compliation of the images of Yves Saint Laurent's inspiration - Majorelle Gardens, the Moroccan capes, the Sahara desert.  Many sequences of Marrakesh and photos never seen before will be included in the film.

The event will be moderated by Mountassir Skalli in the presence of the Honorary Committee of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum soon to open.  The committee made up of famous personalities from the world of art and fashion.

The museum will create a hub of tourism for Marrakech and further the cultural facination of this great Moroccan city.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

New Marrakech Restaurant opening - Le Trou Au Mur

I'm very excited to have been invited to a tasting at the new restaurant in Marrakech - Le Trou Au Mur (The Hole at the Wall)  - Chic, laid back, fun and intimate but, above all, totally serious about food.

I'll be feeding back more on food and decor after my visit.  The menu is a combination of International and Moroccan Cuisine.


Le Trou Au Mur is fully licensed and will be open 18.00-00.00 every day except Tuesdays, from October 18! 

www.letrouaumur.com

Sample Menu looks fantastic and super fun.











Sunday, October 8, 2017

New flights from Marrakech to Ouarzazate starting in November 2017 with Royal Air Maroc

The Sahara Desert Camp Adounia is now even easier to reach - flights are commencing over the Atlas Mountains between Marrakech and Ouarzazate - you will then be able to stay a night and explore Ait Ben Haddou or continue your journey directly with landcruiser and driver down into the Sahara - cutting a 9 hour journey into a 5 hour journey for those who want to do less road.

Come down to Tagonite and Mhamid and see the real Sahara - a desert still unpacked with camps unlike Mazouga - here you can feel and experience the real Sahara in a fully respecting Eco Camp.  Visit the ancient kasbahs of Mhamid, the wonderful museum and women's cooperatives.  We encourage clients to bring clothes and school equipment for the nomad school.  email team@campadounia.com for more information and follow us on facebook for more information on the region and Moroccan tours - https://web.facebook.com/saharacampmorocco/

. Three flights per week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
. Flights at 300 DH fixed price

The Moroccan National Tourism Office (ONMT) and Royal Air Morocco launched a new air route from ouarzazate to Marrakech. As of November 11, the two tourist cities will be connected by 3 flights per week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). Flights, lasting only 40 minutes, will be operated with a capacity of 70 seats.

Flights are offered at fixed rates: 300 DH the one-way trip to economic class (Back-to-back: 600 DH); and 600 DH ) Flights are already available for sale at https://www.royalairmaroc.com/ma-en/ in the company's commercial agencies and on the travel agency network.

This new service is part of the actions actions to enhance the attractiveness of the region region and make it more accessible from Marrakech. This link will allow foreign tourists to enrich their stay in Marrakech, through the discovery of the town of ouarzazate, a few minutes from flight, and enjoy plenty of tourist attractions in the region such as kelaat m ' Gouna, the gorges of dadès and zagora, to Only 300 DHS TTC.

In addition, the Marrakech-ouarzazate air route strengthens the company's domestic network, which now has 23 links connecting the various cities of the kingdom, as part of its commitment to the territorial development service of the kingdom. Meeting the expectations of's economic and tourist operators, the inauguration of this line follows the joint efforts of the onmt, Royal Air Maroc and the-Tafilalet region, as well as all tourism professionals.

Thanks to this line, ouarzazate will be directly connected to the first tourist centre of Morocco, in this case marrakech considered to be one of the capitals of international tourism and will thus benefit from its attractiveness. The Ochre City hosts more than 2 million tourists per year.

As a reminder, 154.677 tourists visited la province from January to July 2017. an increase of 41 % over the same period of the previous year. A good performance thanks to the promotion efforts of the region and tourism professionals in collaboration with the Moroccan National Tourism Office (ONMT) and the efforts of Royal Air Morocco. During this period, the national company increased the frequency of its Casablanca-Ouarzazate line from 5 TO 8 frequencies per week so that the city could be better connected to the 90 international destinations of Royal Air Maroc via its hub in Casablanca.
Flight schedules (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
From Marrakech:
- 16 H45- Arrival at 17 h25
From Ouarzazate:
- 18 H05- Arrival at 18

Friday, September 15, 2017

New Season at Camp Adounia - Sahara Desert Morocco

We are excited to be launching our new season and 4th year of Camp Adounia 'Life'.  Twinned together with our Zamzam Riad the 6 or 7 day tour down to the Sahara is unforgettable giving you a chance to experience the whole of Morocco.



The ancient Medina of Marrakech is where our hotel is based in a magical riad.  Here you can take a tour of the Medina with a guide or enrol in one of our fun cooking courses which includes a trip to the local market to buy your vegetables, spices and meat.  Enjoy a glass of wine as you learn how to make simple tagines or more difficult pasteries such as briouattes filled with cheese or msemen.


After your tour of the souk enjoy a dip in our pool or relax with our brilliant spa ladies and their natural treatments including a cleanse in the hammam leaving you feeling born again.



Our partners AXS can take you up to the mountains for a day on their super Giant bikes - the scenery is breathtaking and you get a chance to see how the Berbers live.  With full concierge at Zamzam Riad & Spa there is loads to see and do.
Combined with a Moroccan tour over the Atlas Mountains to Ait Ben Haddou and then into the Sahara to our camp - this wonderful week is a holiday to remember.  This experience is superb with children they get so much out of it.  We pride ourselves on providing a real travel experience.





A chance to explore these magical kasbahs.


Listen to music around the campfire under a million desert stars.


Explore our magnificent dunes and go sandboarding.



For more information or bespoke itineraries please email me - team@campadounia.com or give me a call 00212661215062





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 at that time, 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 we 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....... It wasn't I have now built an Ecological Camp Adounia in the Sahara Desert!