Spanning from the coniferous forests of Azrou and Ifrane to the desert sands of Merzouga, Morocco is a land that enjoys a plethora of plant and animal life. This is a sight that students and interns had the opportunity to take in last weekend on their way to the city of Merzouga through Roots Academy’s travel program, Roots Travel. Stopping in the cities of Azrou, Ifrane, and Midelt, participants put their language and cultural knowledge to practice while reveling in the allure of Morocco’s varied natural environment.
Departing Rabat around 2:00 pm on Friday, September 16th , the group traveled 2.5 hours before making their first stop in Azrou. Here, they greeted a troop of monkeys. Taking its name from the Tamazight word for “rock,” the alpine village of Azrou is known for its cedar forests, hiking trails, and fish farming industry. Moreover, it is a trade hub for villagers from surrounding areas looking to sell their goods at the local souk (market). Visitors to this city can take in its authenticity while interacting with the Barbary macaque apes that roam the streets. See Roots students doing just that during their weekend getaway with RootsTravel.
The group stopped to rest at a riad located outside of the city of Midelt after a long day of travel. Here, they enjoyed a traditional Moroccan dinner consisting of a salad and squash soup appetizer, a tajine entree, and a locally-sourced fruit bowl for dessert. Afterwards, students had the chance to take a dip in the pool or spend a relaxing evening at the riad’s cafe.
With facilities such as a prehistoric forest, a walking path, and a lake, the group opted to explore the riad grounds before continuing on the four-hour trip towards their final destination – Merzouga. The drive between Midelt and Merzouga is filled with winding paths, high peaks, and breathtaking scenery. More importantly, it provides a chance for group bonding through songs and games as you can see from the footage below!
The group finally arrived to Merzouga around 4pm on Saturday afternoon where their mode of transportation changed from bus to camel in a matter of minutes! Riding camelback to their campsite, participants stopped to take pictures of the sunset, relax in the warm sand, and race each other by skiing on a mountain of desert sand.
The next morning, the students and interns opted to watch the sunrise over the sands of the Moroccan desert before breakfast and departure. They then gathered for one final meal with their hosts before continuing on the journey back to Rabat.
Located just twenty minutes north of the city of Azrou, Ifrane is known for its charming city center as well as its role as home of the esteemed University Al-Akhawayn. In the winter, locals travel to the city to enjoy the ski slopes made by heavy snowfall. Roots Travel participants took in the cozy fall vibes of the city center during their trip back to Rabat.
At Roots, one of our main goals is to provide opportunities for cross-cultural understanding through language exchange, a task that was accomplished during this Roots Travel organized trip. Students and interns from all over the world, namely the US, Turkey, and France, were able to bond by practicing their Arabic language skills in an exciting and welcoming setting, exchanging words and ideas about in each other’s cultures in the process. If this sounds like an experience for you, follow us on Instagram or Facebook to learn about other upcoming Roots Travel opportunities. You do not want to miss out!