Lonely Planet Writer

Just back from: Morocco

Cory Lee riding a camel in a specially adapted saddle Cory Lee riding a camel in a specially adapted saddle © Cory Lee

Cory Lee, travel blogger at Curb Free with Cory Lee and Lonely Planet Pathfinder, recently returned from an unforgettable trip to Morocco.

Tell us more… I’m just back from Morocco, where I led a wheelchair accessible group tour (I use a motorised wheelchair in my everyday life) in conjunction with Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants, a company that specialises in wheelchair-friendly tours. Morocco isn’t the most accessible country in the world, but with a sense of adventure, we made it work and had a fantastic trip. From wandering through the medina in Fez to seeing the sand dunes in the Sahara Desert, by the end of my 12 days in Morocco it had become one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited.

Good grub? Morocco is full of great food! Must-eats include couscous and Moroccan salad, and you should prepare to be offered mint tea every time you go into a shop, hotel or restaurant. The tea is delicious, so I was always ecstatic to drink more of it. The one dish that I liked more than anything though, and ate at least once per day, was vegetable tagine. Tagine is cooked and served in a conical-shaped dish, and you can get lamb, chicken, meatballs or a variety of other meats in it.

A spread of traditional Moroccan salad dishes Don't miss tucking into a traditional Moroccan salad © Cory Lee

You’d be a muppet to miss… Rolling through Djemaa El Fna square in Marrakesh. I know that it is infamous for pickpockets, hagglers and snake charmers, but it’s unlike anywhere else in the world and must be visited at least once. Yes, there are snake charmers (and plenty of them), but you’ll also see monkeys, henna tattoo artists, and you can grab a fresh juice if you like from one of the local vendors. Compared to other parts of Marrakesh, Djemaa El Fna is like being on a different planet.

Quintessential experience? After visiting the imperial cities of Morocco, I headed to the Sahara Desert. It’s about a nine- or 10-hour drive from Marrakesh, but totally worth it. To get to Jaimas Madu, our camp in the desert, we rode over some epic sand dunes in a Land Cruiser and it felt like I was in a real life video game with some of the best views ever! Once at the camp, I even got to ride a camel thanks to a specially adapted camel saddle made by Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants. My whole desert adventure was the experience of a lifetime and I was able to do things that I never thought were possible.

A rug shop in Morocco Forget the fridge magnet, a Moroccan rug is an unbeatable souvenir © Cory Lee

Get any souvenirs? Before visiting Morocco, I never thought that I’d purchase a rug while there, but that changed as soon as I entered a rug shop in the town of Rissani. The whole rug buying process was quite a spectacle, with hot tea being served and dozens of rugs being unfolded just for me to look at – negotiating the final price was an event in itself. The rug that I purchased was made by a Berber woman over the course of an entire year and it now sits proudly in my home. I might not have necessarily needed it, but there’s really no souvenir quite like a Moroccan rug.

What struck me most was... how helpful everyone was. If a place wasn’t fully wheelchair accessible, the locals would go out of their way to assist. One time a shop owner found a wooden board to lay down over a step, so that I could get inside. Another time, after seeing that a fellow wheelchair user in my tour group needed help with cutting up her meat, the waiter rushed over and did it for her with a smile on his face. Accessibility in Morocco may not be perfect, but the people sure do make it feel accommodating.

Cory Lee travelled to Morocco with support from Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants. Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage. For more information on accessible travel, check out our free Accessible Travel guides and resources.

Want more behind-the-scenes adventures? Find out what Associate Product Director Angela Tinson got up to on her recent trip to Nepal.