Are you a Slow Traveller? Curious about the concept? Never heard about it before? Well this style of travelling is swiftly growing in popularity and Morocco is the ideal destination to practise it.
Linking to the concepts of mindfulness and sustainable travel, Slow Travel is the polar opposite of the ‘cram-it-all-in four-cities-in five-days’ style of holidaymaking. Instead, it’s about connecting with where you are – the people, the customs, the culture. It’s about looking deeper than surface impressions and really getting to know where you’re staying by talking with locals and engaging in their lives.
Of course, Morocco is a perfect place for Slow Travel. While places like the Jemma El-Fnaa in Marrakech and the streets of Casablanca are famous for being a whirlwind of bustle and sensation, Morocco’s rich culture and heritage reward those who take the time to really understand it.
Tips for Slow Travel.
Put away the list of everywhere you want to see. In fact, bin it. Slow Travel is about one thing at a time.
Stop. Look. Breathe. Take in everything that’s in front of you, behind you, around you.
Forget the clock, there is only now. Imprint everything in your memory. Be aware of the sights, sounds, smells and feelings that are touching you in every moment.
Talk to locals. Morocco is one of the most hospitable places in the world and you will be warmly welcomed. Don’t be surprised if you’re welcomed into someone’s home and offered a meal. Shopkeepers will often conduct their business with you over a pot of mint tea – enjoy it!
Places for Slow Travel
You can practice Slow Travel anywhere, but here are a few recommendations for places where it will definitely reward you.
The Sahara. Nobody rushes in the desert. In one of the most visually stunning places on Earth, take a two-day trek amongst the dunes with an official tour guide. Discover the ways of the nomads that live there, watch the sun set over the sand and see stars in a way you have never done before.
A short distance from Meknes are the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 3rd century BC. Unlike the tourist-choked Colosseum in Rome, it’s very easy to wander this site at your own pace. Ruined columns, a recognisable amphitheatre and triumphal arch are there to be studied, but arguably the almost perfectly preserved mosaics are the highlight here and it gives an undeniable thrill to feel the link to the Romans who first walked on this ground two thousand years ago.
The cafés of Tangier are the epitome of Slow Travel. For decades, if not more, these iconic establishments have been places where people meet, drink tea and watch the world go by, for hours at a time. Evoke the spirit of Burroughs, Bowles and Matisse in this northern city.
The souks of Morocco are possibly the last place you’d think of when it comes to Slow Travel, yet it’s here you can find the artisans that produce the fine crafts that Morocco is famous for. Watching these experts work is beguiling enough, but many companies arrange tuition courses and you can spend hours or even days learning skills that have been passed down through countless generations.