Meknes is an hour away from Fez by bus and has a mellowed down vibe. You can visit the royal granary that was built by a sultan to stable and feed 12,000 horses. A short taxi ride away is the partially excavated Roman town of Volubilis, founded by Berbers in the 3rd century BC and grew to be the Roman capital of Mauritania in the 1st century AD.
We headed to the coast to enjoy fresh oysters in the quiet village of Oualidia and rented a quad to explore the natural lava caves on the beach. You can buy oysters right in the street from peddlers riding bicycles with baskets of oysters and lemons strapped to the handlebars.
Next was the larger seaport town of Essaouira with it’s ramparts, medina, long stretches of beaches and lots of wind surfers in the summertime. I thought the water was too cold in November but Ian did some body surfing.
We decided to head inland and rented a car in Marrakesh. A decent deal at $300 for 8 days. Getting out of the city was hectic with the horsedrawn buggies, scooters and drivers in every lane but we made it. A night plus another day of driving got us all the way to the famous fortified village of Ait Ben Haddou. Plenty of movies have been shot here including Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile, The Mummy, Gladiator, Prince of Persia and parts of Game of Thrones.
Next up- The Sahara Desert!