WATCH: Meander through the magic of Marrakesh

2018-07-14 16:30 - Saara Mowlana
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Jeremy Irons, A-list actor, sat down to talk about a city he loves - Marrakesh in Morocco. However, he did accidentally phrase it to be a country, but he was not wrong about its beauty.

He was right about the architecture, colours and atmosphere though, as the place is absolutely breathtaking.

Visiting the 'Red City' as it is called, can be quite the culture shock - thanks to the various caged wildlife, people riding on camels, the souks (which are traditional narrow shopping streets) and the town's iconic snake charmers.

Ceramic shopping in #Marrakech ?? ??: @lamochiladesara #architectanddesign

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READ: Morocco tops 11-million mark in record tourism year

Another of Marrakesh's stunning trademarks are the 'Riads' - traditional mansions inhabited by the city's wealthy elite and are based on Roman villas. The structure has an open central garden courtyard surrounded by high walls and, of course, the world's rich and famous can also rent these beautiful houses.

The town looks very traditional and as Arab as it gets, nature is embedded in everyday life - which adds to the allure.

The aesthetics of the place are so impressive, the city has served as the setting and decor for numerous films and series - from classics like 'Lawrence of Arabia' and Hitchcock's 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' to more recent work like the first two seasons of 'Game of Thrones' and James Bond's latest adventure, 'Spectre'.

Yunkai from Game of Thrones

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DID YOU KNOW: In Morocco, a blue tourist town is turning green?

Because of the many movies that are shot in the city - many big name actors and stars can be found traipsing about its streets and elsewhere in Morocco.  

The one thing about Marrakesh and Morocco that stood out for actor Jason Isaacs, who has filmed twice in the region (for 'Black Hawk Down' in 2001 and for 'Green Zone' in 2007 and 2008) for several months at a time, was the Moroccan people. 

"The thing that I remember mostly is the Moroccan people. There's a kind of warmth and hospitality and accessibility that people - it feels less alien than it looks at first sight," Isaacs explained.

The 'Red City' looks exactly how one would imagine a place from the book 'One Thousand and One Arabian Nights' - if only slightly more modern. Just because it is located near the Sahara Desert, don't expect it to be seering hot - in the winter temperatures can drop below zero degrees, however, these are rare occasions.  The summers are nice and not as unbearable as you might be anticipating. 

CHECK OUT THIS Quick Guide: Magical Morocco

The favourable climate combined with the breathtaking scenery keeps drawing in tons of tourists, A-listers and filmmakers. So Marrakesh is very much the place to be. 

"Marrakesh is one of the nicest cities in Morocco. Polite, the weather, the people - in fact, it has a real feeling of being somewhere else, and as one travels now you find that less and less," said Irons who has filmed in the region twice. 

Plan Your Trip to Marrakech, Morocco: 

  • Do SA residents need a visa: South Africans are required to apply for a visa - read more on that here. Prices range - Single Entry: R327, Multiple Entries: R 491. Passport must be valid at least 6 months after return date.
  • Currency & exchange rate: The Moroccan Dirham (MAD). 1 MAD = R1.40 (currently)
  • Main Airport: Marrakech Menara Airport
  • Airlines that travel there: Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Air France, KLM, Air Europa etc. Search for flights here.