Wednesday, 25 February 2015


With our 2015 Moroccan schedules well up and running we are as usual off to a great start. In fact if you want to join one of our remaining Spring/Summer tours you have just one choice left…….. Only TWO vehicle places remain on our APRIL Classic Tour………Yes, just TWO vehicle places remain on the April Tour and that’s it before we return for our “Autumn/Winter” season  that runs every month from September ‘till December…….and some of those dates are already FULL.

We often get asked…….Yes dogs are welcome on any of our Moroccan tours. In fact my own [Jimmy] is such a regular that he “speaks” more Arabic than English! …….
With the long range weather forecasts showing perfect conditions, low-cost everything and diesel fuel currently at 8.35 dh [59p] and even lower in the south at 39p ltr and our tour costs unchanged at 2014 rates is there a better time to visit Morocco?
Summer sees us touring Andalusia, but you can find out more about that elsewhere.

Many who have joined one of our tours will know that we are generally able to lay our hands on some very interesting and palatable wines……. particularly the home-brewed found in the lowlands of the High Atlas Mountains, but thats another story.

In fact Moroccans consumed approximately 70 million liters of the homemade alcoholic beverage known as Mahya [water of life] in 2014.
According to an investigation carried out by La Vie Eco, this liquor is manufactured by around twenty distilleries based in Casablanca, El Jadida, Essaouira and other small cities. The producers are legally authorized and are regularly paying their taxes but according to the Association of Grape Producers in Morocco, most distillers do not meet market standards in the production and marketing of spirits.

At least 40 brands, manufactured in a traditional manner, are sold at prices ranging from 60 to 90 dirhams [per liter depending on the concentration of alcohol]  The low prices of these kinds of alcohol make them a better choice for consumers compared to the high prices of imported beverages or beverages manufactured by professionals.
Locally known as “Mahya,” [water of life], the homemade spirit is a clear, colorless alcohol produced by means of fermenting and distilling of fruits. The liquor is distributed by “Guerraba,” a Moroccan term for alcohol sellers in the black market.

Like I said, we know a man who etc etc etc……….

This wonderful photograph by Achraf Ben Haida shows a Moroccan woman taking part in a tbourida of "fantasia". During a moussem or festival with a fantasia, it is still uncommon to see women riders. Originally, the fantasia was the preserve of men and grew from a fighting technique developed by the Arabs to surprise the enemy. This technique was, for example, used by Arab troops to conquer Spain in the 8th century.
Dental tourism is not a big thing in Morocco, despite the high number of highly qualified dentists, many of whom have trained in France. The cost of good dentistry is remarkably inexpensive by European standards and many surgeries have all the modern equipment one would expect - but there are problems.
On the other side of the ledger there are some dubious practitioners. According to the National Order of Dentists, Morocco is home to over 3,300 fake dentists, 1,800 of which are illegal even as only dental technicians. The Order of Dentists has asked the authorities to take urgent measures to deal with the fakes, claiming they are endangering "the image of the Moroccan dentistry.  

When checks were run by representatives of the Ministries of Interior and Health on illegal dentistry, it found conditions of "deplorable hygiene and sterilisation equipment" putting patients at risk of being contaminated with serious diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis or even AIDS .

In some cases, drugs and pharmaceuticals were found in these "offices" that should have been "exclusively" for dentists. These fake dentists specifically target the neighbourhoods where the population does not necessarily know the difference between a real and a fake dentist.
Then there is the problem of rural dentistry. Just imagine, living with your family in an isolated fishing village or remote mountain area with no dentists, a high sugar diet, no toothbrushes and no fluoride tooth paste. You don't need to be a dentist to imagine the consequences, but the dental neglect has shocked experienced dentists from overseas.

A group of English dentists has been working over the last five years to alleviate the problem and though they admit it is only a small contribution to a large problem, they are making a profound difference to those they assist. The Dental Mavericks charity aims at providing dental care in remote areas of the world.

To celebrate 5 years of service in Morocco Dental Mavericks is running a Mount Toubkal Fundraiser to assist in building a dental room and dental chair for their Teeth For Life Programme in Khizana - It runs from May 9th to May 12th 2015. To find out more about how you can donate or assist, visit their website

Take a look at these interesting videos about Morocco.  The first mostly features the coast around Essaouira and the town [port] itself……shame about the choice of background music! 
There is an old Moroccan proverb that says “Morocco is a cold country with  a hot sun”. Well we found that to be true on our very recent Feb tour. Generally the weather was perfect, particularly in the desert region, but we did have some snow….did I say some? That should have been “a lot”……… although it had minimal effect on our journey it added a new dimension to an already spectacular scenery.
Again shame about the background music.
Just a few photos taken on the last tour………With no comment.



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