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.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Education for All - Morocco - Zamzam sponsored NGO

We received the following invitation a few weeks ago to support one of the charities that we support at Zamzam. We were very excited to see the good work that was being done and to visit the boarding house for poor girls that had been built and was being run, it is called Dar Asni:

Dar Asni Open Day
Join us to celebrate the girls’ successes,
and our first anniversary!
“World change starts with educated children.”
Sunday 26th April, 2009
11.00hrs - Girls’ Boarding House, Asni
13.00hrs – Kasbah du Toubkal, Imlil
Come for coffee, meet the girls and visit Dar Asni
Afterwards an invitation to a charity Mechouie lunch at
Kasbah du Toubkal
All proceeds go to “Education for All Morocco”.
(Or contact Mike McHugo, e-mail: )

Any one interested in getting involved or donating directly to this great cause should go to the link below,
The girls are chosen through a selection process of Education For All. The selection criteria is mainly poverty and drive to achieve.

Once the girls are awarded a place. They are welcomed to the boarding house where they stay as one big family with the carers and their school fees are paid to the local school. The house was clean and amazingly had a common room with 3 computers connected to the internet for them to use with their homework etc.
The girls are each given a bunk bed in a dorm and a wardbrobe. They are very proud to have their own wardrobe and as you can see are immaculately tidy. A lesson for our own kids to learn. Respect your space.

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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!