HEAD OUT & LIVE IT UP
Dar Zitouna is just 25 mins from the vibrant souks and restaurants of Marrakech, and the famous Jema El Fnaa square, home of storytellers and snake charmers.
“It was so easy to get out and about and we enjoyed a whole array of excursions from golf to mountain trekking. These were all organised by Mustapha, the house manager, who was incredibly helpful”
Morocco combines contrast, colour and mystery. On arrival you are plunged into a culture and a lifestyle utterly unlike anything that you have ever experienced before, a mystery tour of a land of endless surprises, enchantment and enduring fascination. Challenging terrain, dramatic scenery, deserted mountain trails, deep mountain lakes, fertile valleys, and ancient Berber villages lost in the landscape; all are to be found on Dar Zitouna’s doorstep.
Whether it be golf among the sand dunes, tennis on the estate in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains, shopping or dinner in the ancient medina, the choice of activities is almost endless.
Trips into Marrakech
The ideal place to begin a visit to Marrakesh is in the Jema El Fnaa square. To the south towers the Koutoubia Mosque, the symbol of Marrakech. To the north lie the labyrinthine souks.
Here you will find spices, lanterns, leatherwork, carpets, glasswork, and just about anything else your heart desires. Be prepared to haggle for your treasures, though. The first price quoted is often that of a European boutique, so feign dismay and counter with something like a third of the offered price. Laugh and joke your way through the ensuing outrage, reluctantly increment your offer, and you may well end up with a bargain.
As far as restaurants go, you really are spoiled for choice. We love the roof terrace at El Fenn, the courtyard tables at La Maison Arabe, and the relaxed chic of Beldi Country Club, to name just a few. Again, Mustapha will be happy to recommend and book.
Walking or Trekking in the Atlas Mountains
Dar Zitouna lies close to the Ourika Valley, the gateway into the High Atlas Mountains, whose foothills start just seven kilometres away. A short walk along a local trail, a day’s walk and picnic beside a mountain lake, or a two-day trek with over-night bivouac stay; all can be arranged.
For the motor enthusiast, Morocco has some stunning opportunities for quad and 4×4 driving. Whether precarious mountain tracks are your preference, or a 4×4 across the desert dunes, there are thousands of routes that can give enthusiasts a memorable challenge. Hire a 4×4 privately or ask Mustapha to organise a vehicle with a guide.
There are several beaches about 2 ½ hours drive away, which make a fabulous day trip. Our favourite is Ouilidia. This world heritage site is famous for its lagoon and oyster farms. You can take a boat from the beach to the oyster beds where you will see herons, cormorants, oystercatchers and — if you are lucky — flamingos. Follow this with a private fish barbeque cooked for you on the beach. The fish is as fresh as you will find anywhere and you can choose from oysters, prawns, crab, lobster, sole and sardines.
Domesticated camels have been a feature of Morocco since before the Middle Ages, when Marrakech was an important trading post on trans-Saharan routes that connected Morocco with Arica’s Gold Coast. At your request, your own personal camel caravan can be delivered right to Dar Zitouna’s door, and take you for an hour’s trek around the estate. And you won’t need to part with a peck of salt to pay for it, just a very reasonable 200 Dhs per camel.
Marrakech enjoys several championship golf courses, all of which are a short drive away, making Dar Zitouna the perfect venue for a golfing holiday.
The Royal Golf de Marrakech (18 hole – 6200m – par 72) is the oldest course and enjoyed by Winston Churchill.
The Palmeraie Golf Club (18 holes – 6214m – par 72) a wonderful course created by Robert Trent Jones.
Golf d’Amelkis (18 holes – 6115m – par 72) and is home to the Moroccan Open. Enjoy a great lunch afterwards at Amanjena Hotel.
Al Maaden – (18-holes – 6569m – par 72) is a championship course designed by the famous architect Kyle Philips who has managed to associate the spirit of the Moroccan oasis with an amazing Scottish touch.