It is one of my greatest ambitions in life to transform my city-situated apartment into a jungle. I’m well on my way to filling every sunny nook with a variety of hearty (see: hard to kill) plants – Zanzibar Gems, Sansevierias, Hanging Philodendrons, and countless succulents. No lie, it takes me almost an hour to water all of them and I get a little angsty when I have to leave them for longer than a week. I imagine that this is the way dog owners do about getting home to walk their pets which is why I maintain I can’t own a pet.
I didn’t expect that Marrakech – infamously known as the Red City – in north Africa, would enable my plant addiction but surprisingly, there were hidden pockets of oases all over the city for me to get overly excited over. I wanted to share my verdant discoveries with other self-professed “crazy plant ladies” who are considering Marrakech as their next destination to conquer.
Most of the spots on this list have the revealing word “jardin” in it which is a dead giveaway as to why it made this list….
RIAD JARDIN SECRET To Stay
Riads are characterized as having an interior garden or courtyard so it’s the perfect choice of accommodations for the plant-obsessed! From a nondescript alleyway in old Marrakech, you enter the sturdy doors of Riad Jardin Secret into a literal paradise made up of elegant Parisian taste and towering palm trees that extend past the open rooftop. Private corners, plush with canvas pillows surrounds lush foliage that provides shade for a mischievous kitten and the thatched, wooden home of turtle who’s adventures you can observe over an elaborate Moroccan breakfast, complete with homemade pastries, jam and freshly squeeze orange juice.
Address: 43- 46 Arset Aouzal، Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Costs: Prices range from $158 - $374
Visit Henna Art Café right around the corner to indulge in some traditional Moroccan snacks like the pulled lamb sandwich while you get authentic henna designs applied to your hands. Best part is that all the proceeds go to the education of poor women. For some luxury of to Maison L’Arabe across the street (on the other side) for saffron mushroom risotto and chocolate cream brûlée.
LE JARDIN To Eat
The owner Kamal Laftimi, who’s other spots include the infamous Nomad and Café Des Épices, commissioned interior architect Anna Favier to create an oasis of Le Jardin, located within a beautifully renovated 16th Century building. The vibe, as well as the menu, is a perfect blend of 1960s and 70s Moroccan and European chic that you can enjoy kefta tangine, harira soup, and mint tea in various nooks of varying shades of green or out on the emerald-tiled terrace amid the abundant greenery.
If you’re tangine-d and coucous-d out I Limoni is a restaurant with an Italian flair that will also satisfying the crazy plant lady in you as it’s situated in a cozy courtyard full of lemon trees. Perfect spot to enjoy a ravioli with lemon cream. La Trattoria is a more romantic option for Italian fare where the tables surround a pool in a courtyard teeming with flowers and plants.
JARDÍN MAJORELLE To See
This twelve-acre botanical garden is on pretty much every “must-see” list for Marrakech and I can’t disagree. While Jardin Majorelle is widely known as the studio and a source of inspiration for the famed designer Yves Saint-Laurent, this overgrown jungle of exotic trees and plants with vivid yellow and cobalt blue painted building was originally created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle and also contains the gorgeous Islamic Art Museum that houses traditional Berber costume, jewelry, and other various artifacts to peruse. Get lost along the winding, vine-laden paths, lined with impress cacti.
Address: Rue Yves Saint Laurent، Marrakesh 40090, Morocco
Open: 8am - 5:30pm
Costs: $9 entry to garden / $4 entry to museum
CYBER PARK ARSAT MOULAY ABDESLAM To Relax:
I feel like Marrakech is trying to make up for the overwhelming heat in the summer and being surrounded by vast desert by incorporating expansive parks and formal parks throughout the city. Dating back to the 18th century, catch some shade against the blazing Morocco sun at Cyber Park, an 8-hectare royal garden that is complete with wifi. A short walk from the chaos of Jemaa el-Fnaa square, it features fountains, manicured hedges, and a calm atmosphere to take a languid stroll.
Address: Avenue Mohammed VI, Marrakech 40020, Morocco
Recommended length of visit: 1 hour
Costs: No entry fee
OUZOUD WATERFALLS IN THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS Daytrip
While this day trip is full of natural beauty made my bucket list, unfortunately we didn’t have the time to venture to the Ouzoud Waterfalls a reality. But if you have the time, trek to this natural wonder of Morocco in a 4x4 or a minivan and is a reasonable two and a half hour trip (versus the ten hour ride to the desert) which gives you plenty of time to admire water plunging over rugged cliffs and catch sight of the rainbows that appear over the cascades. While you hike to the top of one of north Africa’s highest natural waterfalls, keep an eye out for a glimpse of macaque monkeys or Barbary apes that congregate by the water.
You can organize you trip so that you are picked up straight from where you’re staying in Marrakech and the trip usually lasts approximately 9 hours.