Marrakech, Morocco – June 19 – One of the more extraordinary advantages of travel by private jet is that we can travel between destinations so much more easily and efficiently than commercial flights. This was very true with our 7:30 AM departure from a remote wildlife park in Botswana’s northern Kalahari Desert and our 8:00 PM arrival into Marrakech, Morocco, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. A fairly long travel day for us … but it was made easy in our private jet. We enjoyed some good dining on our way and we got to celebrate a birthday on board incl. birthday songs, scrumptious cake and ‘bubbly’ champagne.
We stayed at the iconic palatial La Mamounia … a sumptuous historic hotel property of the world set amid magnificent green flowering gardens and towering palm trees. La Mamounia has been host to almost all European royalty over the past century, as well as to American presidents and British prime ministers. Today, it’s a favored ‘escape’ for the jetset. Our guests enjoyed large suites with balconies overlooking the magnificent gardens and lagoon size swimming pool.
Our two days in Marrakech included interesting days of touring with Alami, our excellent local guide. Initially, we toured this historic pinkish-red city surrounded by ancient (restored) ramparts protecting the original Medina (old city) and Souk (huge market area). Throughout the tour, the high Atlas Mountains looked beautiful as a backdrop to the city. Morocco is African by geography but has an interesting mix of Middle Eastern / European in culture. We visited the old historic Bahia Palace, beautifully preserved and restored, as well as the brand-new Selman Palace, home to the beautiful world-champion Arabian Thoroughbred horses. We ventured into the sprawling Souk and to this city’s Medieval University. The afternoon heat took over and most returned to the serene surrounds of La Mamounia … a few hardy’ continue on through the maze of small streets in the Souk and out into the large UNESCO World Heritage Square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. Later that afternoon, our transportation was by horse and carriage which took us around the small alleys of the Medina (old city) and back into the Souk. Here we enjoy rooftop sunset cocktails at Dar Yacout looking over the city followed by a most lavish Moroccan banquet dinner.
Our other day was a leisurely trip into the ‘high Atlas’ … an easy scenic day out from Marrakech and up into the dramatic valleys of the Atlas Mountains … the highest peaks still covered with some snow. We headed for the mountain village of Asni, a Berber community, and here we visited a school – bringing with us all kinds of useful school supplies as gifts for the young children. We continued to see a Women’s group weaving and embroidery project, as well as a teenage boys’ woodworking workshop. The standard of their work is outstandingly good. Impressive to us all. We continued up the steep valley to enjoy lunch at Kasbah Tamadot, the luxury hillside hotel of Sir Richard Branson commanding spectacular visits up into the mountains and down the river valleys. A delicious lunch on the edge of a high cliff with magnificent views and breezes was enjoyed by all. Later, ahead of the afternoon mountain rainstorm, we headed back down the mountains to Marrakech.
That evening was our time for ‘farewell’ as our Lakani ‘African & Indian Ocean’ luxury jet tour draws to a close. La Mamounia was our lovely venue for our private party, starting with cocktail reception on a private elevated terrace at sunset overlooking the gardens and continuing into our own tented ballroom. A delicious dinner with a Moroccan flair, a small local band, and the fun of a beautiful Moroccan belly-dancer was all prepared for our arrival. The whole evening was a rather spectacular extraordinary experience… entirely fitting for this extraordinary Lakani private jet tour.
We have come a long way on our travels … we’ve seen many ‘far away’ places, we’ve loved our adventures. In consensus, we all agree that it’s ultimately all the people along our way that have made this trip extremely special for us. We all came with differing expectations and excitements … all have been met and exceeded. We are a most fortunate few to have ever had this chance, this incredible opportunity, these weeks of the most ‘extraordinary experiences’ around Africa and the Indian Ocean.
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