I am very excited about my new photography workshop in Morocco. The course will start in Imlil, a small town in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains and the first day will be spent trekking. At the end of March the almond blossom will be out although the peaks will still be capped with snow. We will spend two days in the mountains before moving on to Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. Here we’ll explore the souks and the lively fishing port; so much to see and I am looking forward to the results of photography in the harbour, so much blue. A trip to a traditional Berber market is an absolute must and we shall also get the chance to visit a women’s cooperative where they produce argon oil.
For our last three days we will explore the ancient Medina of Marrakech with its historic palaces and gardens and soak in the sights, sounds and smells of this ancient city.
The duration: nine days and eight nights.
Dates: Saturday 17 March until Sunday 25 March 2018
Location: The Atlas Mountains, Essaouria and Marrakech.
The cost: The price per person for the workshop is £1,450.00.
The price includes: Photographic tuition, accommodation and breakfast, 5 evening meals and one lunch, entrance charges, transport during the workshop and transfers to and from the airport if travelling on the recommended flight:
Not included: Flights to and from Marrakech, personal/travel insurance, meals that are not mentioned in the itinerary and gratuities
I shall arrange for you to be met at Marrakech Airport and taken to Imlil, a mountain village in the Atlas Mountains. Our base for two nights will be the Riad dar Imlil, a luxury guesthouse near the river where we will have dinner on both evenings. We shall have the afternoon to explore the village with its breathtaking views of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in The Atlas Mountains.
Pack a reliable pair of walking boots, as our first day will be spent trekking in the mountains with plenty of stops to take pictures and have lunch, which is included. By mid March, spring will be under way and the almond and cherry blossom will be flowering. If we are lucky there might be blankets of pink scabious and brilliant blue gentians for us to photograph too.
We shall continue our trip with a two-hour drive to the blustery city of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. The town’s name means ‘little picture’ in Arabic and it was the setting for Orson Welle’s1952 film of Othello. We shall be staying in Ryad Watier right in the heart of the Medina – the walled Arabic part of town. On two nights we will have supper at the ryad (included in the price).
Breakfasts on the roof of Ryad Watier are legendary, so we’ll make an early morning trip to photograph the harbour with its vibrant blue fishing boats and greedy gulls and return to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast. Essaouira is enchanting with its colourful souks selling everything from carpets and cloths to spices and traditional tagines. It’s easy to get around on foot and we’ll spend the rest of the day in town.
We’ll be going to the weekly Berber market in the village of Ida Ougard, a forty minute drive away. This is a local market serving the community and it is a great place to people watch. Walk past the donkey park and you’ll find Berbers, dressed in their traditional djellabas, selling everything from haircuts to sheep or just catching up with the latest gossip. In the afternoon, we hope to visit a women’s cooperative where argan oil is produced
We’re off to Marrakech. It is divided into two cities - the ancient and the new - and we’ll be staying in the old Medina in the Riad Marraplace, a traditional Moroccan hotel which has all the guest rooms overlooking its trademark courtyard. The afternoon is the best time of day to capture the exquisite light and we’ll be visiting Bahia Palace with its famous marbled courtyard and amazing floor to ceiling decorations.
Be prepared for an early start to get to the Jardin Marjorelle for opening time. This cobalt blue villa and stunning botanical gardens was restored and gifted to Marrakech by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, to save it from property developers. Later, we’ll return to the old city to marvel at the Saadian tombs behind the Kasbah Mosque. And then, in the early evening when it really comes to life, we shall join all the locals to wander round The Jemaa El Fna, the city’s main meeting place, with its street entertainers and aromatic food stalls.
Marrakesh’s tanneries have employed families for as long as the Medina has been in existence. Brace yourself for its sights and pungent smells. Afterwards, in complete contrast, we’ll step back in time to the Ali ben Youssef Medersa - a Koranic learning centre founded six centuries ago. Finally, our trip would not be complete without a visit to the Maison de la Photographie, which houses a collection of vintage Moroccan photos dating from l870 to l950s.
In the morning, your flights permitting, we’ll have a look at all your favourite images taken during the week, before heading off to Marrakech airport and home with a camera full of wonderful photographs and a head full of memories. The itinerary may be subject to alteration. I have factored in plenty of free time and we may also be able to return to previous locations if people wish.