*As seen in The Logbook
Morocco is a multifaceted land of many parts and many sides. Look in one direction and all the way to the horizon appears quiet and peaceful and eternal and look in another and it is a bustling, hustling hive of activity. Richer in culture, history, food and adventure than many locations on earth these timeless lands possess an untameable spirit. From the noisy, colourful cities to the sublime horizon of biscuit coloured sands, Morocco is one of the most awe inspiring places in the world.
And, with such a long history, in such a timeless land, it takes an experienced guide to show newcomers and regular visitors alike the gems hiding within these narrow alleyways and between these flowing dunes. After all, the desert is a land best explored with a person who knows their way.
We spoke with founder Abdsamad Naciri who created Samatours Morocco to provide engaging and memorable experiences for national and international travellers alike.
“Morocco is a dynamic country with lasting traditions aligned with modernity,” he reveals, “Our aim is to provide visitors with an alliance of these two elements across different Moroccan landscapes and cities.”
AN INSIDER’S MOROCCO
Working with a dynamic and highly experienced team, clients are engaged from the very start of the tours and discover that they are intrinsically connected to the founder and therefor offer a unique perspective.
Abdsamad grew up in the city of Zagora, one of the gateways to the great desert of south eastern Morocco, the vast and perilous Sahara. As a child of one of the great traditional families of Zaouia al Baraka, the historical district of the city, he was raised in the purest Moroccan tradition.
As his father was a farmer, the family developed a connection with nature and an understanding of the seasons and a respect for the desert.
“Our family derived its income from the production of dates and cereals,” he explains, “These were grown in a traditional way in the palm grove of Zagora which is the largest in Morocco. We also bred various animals and as children learnt very early on the importance of staying in harmony with the land.”
Like many others, as he grew up, drought and a rural exodus pushed any ideas of being a professional farmer out of Abdsamad’s mind. Quickly attracted by the North he identified the incredible value of his homeland and the saw how tourists are always overwhelmed by it when they first arrived.
“There is nowhere else in the world like Morocco,” he explains, “A passion for the country blooms in every tourist that visits but I was able to offer them a perspective that they would not have gotten elsewhere.”
As such, Samatours could offer tourists an insight into the ancestral traditions and family customs of the area, highlighting the source of the famous generosity and hospitality of the Moroccans who, as desert people, know the importance of karma and generosity. While not excluding the regular touristic sights of the country he did not want tourists to feel that they were spending their “adventure in a foreign land” being surrounded by more tourists.
Combining this understanding with a comprehensive service for travellers, including the arranging of accommodation and travel as well as great advice on the best places to go to get that real “home grown” flavour, Samatours immediately became very popular for those wanting a proper taste.
THE WHOLE PICTURE
Today, working with a young, motivated and highly professional team Samatours provides a full and complete view of Morocco. The guides revel in the range of history, culture and landscape that is available to discover and delight in surprising their clients.
There are two circuits, leaving Marrakesh and Ouarzazate, providing 4×4 treks across the country to Essaouira, Ourika Valley, Ououd Waterfalls and Tahanaout and Takerkouste.
Marrakesh is a former imperial city in western Morocco and a major economic centre which is home to mosques, palaces and gardens. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with maze-like alleys where thriving marketplaces sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewellery. A symbol of the city, and visible for miles, is the Moorish minaret of 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque.
The city of Ouarzazate is south of Morocco’s High Atlas mountains and is considered to be the gateway to the Sahara Desert. Its huge Taourirt Kasbah, home to a 19th-century palace, has views over the rugged local landscape which features in several movies. Northwest is the fortified red-earth city of Aït Ben Haddou. Northeast is the rocky Todra Gorge. A road winds southeast through the Draa Valley’s lush palm groves to the desert.
The white and blue city of Atlantic: Essaouira Mogador
Locally, Amogdul means “well kept” which is the name of the Berber patron saint of the city Sidi Mogdoul then called Mogdoura by the Portgais, Mogador by the Spaniards and finally “Mogador” by the French. Then it became “Es-Saouira” which in Arabic means “fortified place”, in reference to the plan of Théodore Cornut who was a French engineer who was mandated to the project in 1764 by the Sultan Alaouite Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah.
The fortified white and blue city is packed with history and is the rendezvous point of artists and musicians. A vaulted passage leads to the best craftsmen market in Morocco producing exceptional work on thuya magnifying glass. Argan oil is also a specialty in Essaouira and visitors are invited to visit potters craftsmen for a discovery of a unique and traditional knowledge of Morocco: the Tadelakt which is based on lime and comes with extraordinary colours. Lunch is taken at the harbour or in a typical restaurant in the medina.
The waterfalls of Ouzoud are located 210km from Marrakech , these cascades of Ouzoud are one of the most beautiful sites of the Middle Atlas. They throw themselves into a bowl of limestone rocks in the midst of lush vegetation where whole families of macaque monkeys live, playing and eating in the large carob trees, snacking on the tasty fruits they find there.
KASBAHS AND OASIS IN 7 DAYS
Discover the depths of the country and the hospitality of the inhabitants in this wonderful circuit of the desert. Visiting the amazing oasis of Morocco and crossing the desert on the backs of camels. Then, enjoy a glass of mint tea while surrounded by the dunes.
THE IMPERIAL CITIES
In the cities, guests discover the history, the culture, the customs of Morocco as well as the splendid works of architecture which defy the erosion of time and nature. From the ocher city to the great metropolis and the cultural capital of Fes via the ruins of the Roman Empire.
Abdsamad believes in providing his guests with the best experience but takes this on as a personal endeavour. Morocco is famous for its welcoming hospitality and generosity and he sees himself as an ambassador to this.
“Sharing culture is how we create lasting relationships that bridge countries, peoples and societies together,” he explains, “Afterall, the world has a story, and everyone plays a part in it.”
PRICE: see website
ADDRESS: N°11Residence Lacarellle Menara Rue de la base Aerienne، Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
TELPHONE: +212 611-271047