I recently returned from a very enjoyable trip to Fes, Morocco organized by Kritzlynn Al-Taib of Hidden Morocco Tours. The focus of this trip was the International Festival of Sacred Music. The festival presents outstanding representative groups of traditional musicians from all over the world, this year focusing upon the “Spirit of Africa” and how the music and musical instruments have influenced music throughout the world. There was a cornucopia of performances throughout each day and evening and it was inspirational. Visit this page for an account of the week’s activities. www.fez-riads.com
I could go on and on about the charms and seductiveness of Fes, but if you visit Hidden Morocco’s Tours web site, www.hiddenmoroccotours.com you will be introduced to not only its charm but the other hidden Morocco treasures Kritz can introduce you to.
However I would like to take a moment to comment upon quality of the experience that Kritz brings to her program offerings. I have always been a solo traveler and this was my first trip with a group. It was her charming way with the people of the country, her attention to detail, her preparedness, flexibility and sensitivity to the individual interests and needs of the group that truly impressed me. I felt part of a group but also able to “fly solo”.
She has a profound knowledge of the culture, history and traditions of Morocco and has researched and identified the more authentic aspects of this diverse country. Her fluency in Arabic gained over her 35 years of living and travelling in Muslim countries and the Middle East served like a magic wand opening so many doors to us. Most importantly we sailed though all the cumbersome layers of bureaucracy one encounters as a tourist.
As I sat at a little out of the way place watching the visitors to Fes standing with guidebook in hand, map in the other and a look of utter bewilderment on their faces and with limited language skills to boot, or the larger groups being herded by a tour guide rapidly through the Medina, monuments and visiting shops and restaurants that cater to these totally unprepared tourists I was feeling rather smug.
Kritz is an accomplished chef and this comes in handy as she has researched and checked out a variety of restaurants with more authentic, well prepared dishes catering to vegetarians and vegans as well.
This holds true for our accommodations We stayed at the Riad Tizwa which was just on the edge of the Medina, and with easy access to most of the concert venues. We had the entire Riad to ourselves in spacious rooms/en-suite, lovely terrace for breakfasts and rest and traditional décor. Our meals in the Riad were very good, our breakfasts sumptuous. The staff headed by Miriam, did all in their power to make us comfortable, and well looked after, and worked so well with Kritz. Once again her knowledge of the language eased the way at every turn, although the staff of course spoke French and some English.
It was a truly a relaxing, interesting and enjoyable experience. Time permitting I hope to join her in Asillah a short distance from Tangiers along the Atlantic coast where each year they have an international contemporary art event. We would be staying in a lovely B&B nearby.
Another outstanding trip with Kritzlynn Al Taib to the stunning Auberge in Chefchaouen…..she is the most accommodating and skilled guide you could ever wish to be with and her attention to her client group is simply astounding …….the costs of her trips are so reasonable and pay for themselves with her bargaining skills in the Medina and to top it all she is patient knowledgeable and great fun to be with ….sure she runs on Duracell batteries, as her enthusiasm energy and knowledge of the area made my trip not only a wonderful experience of a lifetime, but also a true learning experience about Moroccan life and the history of this stunning area ……I am addicted and will be saving for my next trip to this wonderful country knowing that I am in safe hands and cosseted throughout my stay. My grateful thanks to you for making my trip worry free Kritz …..you are a star !!!!!
This is to say a big thank you for the fabulous Moroccan trip!
I think the whole thing was well organised, the picnic lunch on the ferry, the journey from door to door & all the activities arranged for us once in Chefchaouen. It was an adventurous trip, to visit a culture most of us knew nothing about. I felt we were looked after the whole time without the feeling of the “group tour”. It was a journey with friends & the small group meant you cleverly enabled everyone to feel involved in the decision making, not an easy task!
I loved the Auberge with it’s individual decor. My room was pretty, spotlessly clean, comfortable & had lots of space, my own shower room & the nice touches of mineral water & fresh fruit were very welcome . The ambiance was tranquil , the food excellent, especially breakfast and the staff were all so friendly and always there when we needed them.
There was a good mix of activities & time to chill out at regular intervals. I loved the walk because we had the chance to ask lots of questions, not just about the countryside but also about the people, politics, economics etc , it gave us a real value added experience.
The journey up into the high mountains was something I will never forget, views above the clouds, tiny hamlets, rough tracks to see the real Rif (& the Kif, in huge quantities!) .The Souk was terrific, colours, scent filled air, the busy traders, buildings that took one’s breath away with stunning exteriors & pretty planted corners. In the middle of all this, the ancient Kasbah majestic above all the hustle. Did I mention the shops? beautiful textiles, jewelry, metalwork, ceramics, spices & dyes, shoes & clothes, all offering individually hand crafted or made or grown merchandise. Bargaining with your help made the whole event special & the things I have brought home with me all have a story to tell.I have photos as reminders and nothing will ever take away the wonder of it all, a brilliant trip that will always be with me.
Thank you, I will return with you on another tour soon.
Kritz made everything so easy, speaking Arabic, and looking after us all so well. We felt so safe, and had a memorable journey. It was my first journey into North Africa and I have so many wonderful memories to take home to New Zealand. Next time I visit Europe I will be setting time aside to do another trip with Kritz, this time to Fez.
I want to thank you once again for the wonderful trip to Chefchaouen in the Riff mountains of Morocco. The town was not to be missed, trips into the Medina revealed something different each time. Thank you Kritz for always being there when we needed you, answering our never ending questions and giving us an insight into another culture, only a fraction of which we could have absorbed without you.