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.



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Zamzam Boutique - Moroccan Cusions


I'm so into these gorgeous Moroccan cusions. There are some wonderful colours out there and I particularly love the big rectangular ones which look gorgeous on a bed adding extra texture and colour. This embroidery can also be made on large rectangular poufs which are stunning.

In the top photo you can see one of my Juju hats from the Cameroon, I just love love them. They are used for ceremonies by tribal elders and I have been waiting for a year for them to come, they are finally here!! and I have been so over excited by them. I have a citrus lemon one which I didn't like at first but it looks stunning like a giant sunflower on the wall. Being born in Uganda and growing up in Nigeria the deapth of my soul is in African art but it looks so good mixing it with modern textiles and design.

I spent a long time in Cameroon as a child we used to go for our Christmas holidays there. It's a very special place. Yaounde has a large gardens which is the sister garden to the famous Kew Gardens in London. They do a plant exchange between the two of rare and tropical plants.

Cameroon is a home to a diversity of chiefdoms, kingdoms and villages in the grasslands of the beautifully forested volcanic mountains of Cameroon. Some of the most important tribes include the Bamoun in the East, the Bamileke in the South and the Tikar east of the Bamoun. During royal court affairs, the celebrants of these kingdoms wear a spectacular headdress known as the Tyn or Juju hat.
The hat is worn by the chiefs, senior dignitaries, prominent officials and important dancers.

These large normally bright hats consists of multi-colored bird feathers. The feathers are carefully sewn onto a raffia fiber base, covered with material on the outside that splays out into a huge circle. When not in use between festivities, the Tyn hat can be neatly folded in on itself for easy storage. The feathers are utilized as rare objects of beauty, as a symbol of prosperity and for the wealth of positive qualities associated with birds.

We had a beautiful cream one in the Zamzam salon but slowly slowly the birds re-claimed the feathers until one day there was just the raffia and wood frame left, so they are definately to be stored inside away from birds!

I particularly love the black and grey and also the deep gold seen below. I can make you any size, just email me for prices - zamzamriad@gmail.com
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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!