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An amazing trip off the beaten track in Marrakech

Written on : 26 April 2018

The Red City continues to stir up the curiosity of travellers from around the world with its mix of culture, legends and incredible landscapes. Indeed, it sports sites, essential and known to all, but also many treasures that few know and imagine. To discover them, you have to go out of the city and venture into the desert landscapes to find amazing places and simply marvel at such beauties.

The saffron paradise

The saffron paradise

At the foot of the mountains, your getaway outside Marrakech leads you to the Paradise Safran. At the heart of an organic plantation, the mistress of the place, Christine Ferrari offers curious travellers and lovers of beautiful finds to discover the secrets of this "red treasure" so coveted. Falling under the spell of Morocco, this Swiss woman created the Boutouil Takateret farm in which she gathered fruit trees, flowers and herbs scented with medicinal properties, used to produce essential oils. It is only about thirty kilometres away that you can escape the frenetic Red City to let you go stroll barefoot in the paths of gardens to a wellness area that grants you only good.

In addition, from October to November, the saffron plant celebrates the harvest period and allows visitors to attend the process of gathering, pruning and drying carefully hand-made by the women of the village. At this moment, the flowers of Crocus Sativus have bloomed to give purple hues in a most seductive setting. And, throughout the year, the owner offers to discover a museum around saffron and an informative seminar on this popular spice used in culinary specialities around the world. Before letting you go to the Ourika Valley, you will have the honour of enjoying a tasty cup of saffron tea and also bring back this incredible product.

The Anima Garden by André Heller

One of the most beautiful and fanciful gardens in the world opens its doors for an unusual journey to a "return to paradise". And, André Heller, known for his art and his many literary and staged works, is the artist who imagined this place of peace. Indeed, it is after having spent his childhood in the former large imperial park of Schoenbrunn in Austria and more particularly in his famous greenhouse of plants coming from the four corners of the world, that this artist wished to create a luxuriant space with a harmony perfect between nature and art in Morocco.

On the road to Ourika, on a plot of 8 hectares, straight from his imagination, he conceptualised a journey between the contemporary and the old, and also between Africa and Asia. In the wish to realise a paradise garden, he imagined a staging that calls for escape and appeasement in a unique setting. Thus, it is bougainvillea, banana, palm and cacti that face amazing works of African statues and Masai warriors in very colourful touches. And, on hot summer days, look for freshness in this plant space or even in one of the 3 exhibition rooms in the garden, close to Café Paul Bowles, ideal for a sweet break.

In reference to great artists and regions of the world, it is really the consecration of a dream in which the creator has left his soul, as reflected by the name of the garden "Anima".

Lake Lalla Takerkoust and the Agafay Desert

About thirty kilometres South of Marrakech, in the middle of a plain with a view of the Atlas Mountains, Lake Lalla Takerkoust is a unique place of its kind. The favourite place for Marrakchis for a family picnic on Sundays far from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is a place full of tranquillity where nature has preserved its wild imprint. This natural wonder bears the name of the Holy Protector whose mosque was located precisely on the current location of the lake. And, once, the people came to offer offerings on their mausoleum for the fertility of women. Overall, the lake is an amazing cool spot near Marrakech that allows you to escape for a day.

During the summer, travellers and locals come together to enjoy a range of activities in the water: pedal boat, windsurf, boat, kayak or jet ski. Similarly, you can enjoy tasty restaurants such as Le Flouka or Relais du Lac for simple local cuisine. In addition, you can go around on a quad, motorcycle or even on foot for beautiful hikes to discover small Berber villages and arid landscapes. Towards the turtle valley and the desert plateaus of the High Atlas, the route offers a mesmerising contrast from the desert gates to the green valleys of the Ourika to the majestic peaks of the Atlas.

In particular, on the first heights of the massif of High Atlas, the desert of Agafay is ideal for hikes on horseback or on foot. Neighbouring the lake, its white dunes lined with eucalyptus, vineyards and olive trees are a delight. By 4x4, quad, camel or the top of a balloon, you can discover the charming Berber villages that hide in the heart of the land.

Dar El Sadaka: a Moroccan art of living

Dar El Sadaka: a Moroccan art of living

Enjoy the previous discoveries, there is a unique and original architecture in the heart of the Palmeraie of Marrakech, that of Dar El Sadaka. Over the years, this luxurious property has shaped its reputation in the eyes of the world by offering a fanciful concept for a typical stay. Indeed, you will have the chance to stay among animal sculptures of monkeys, giraffes and animals of all kinds, carried out at different scales and within exceptional architectural constructions with perceptions of time and space honoured and revisited with a singular contemporary art.

Moreover, besides the eccentric decoration, the Dar is still a luxurious villa which offers all the comfort dreamed for a stay in Marrakech. With a hammam, a swimming pool, and a private tennis court, this artist's house is ideal to welcome 17 people and let them enjoy a unique experience thanks to a caring and highly qualified team of house staff.

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