Classic reads: Lords of the Atlas by Gavin Maxwell

Lords of the Atlas_Marrakesh_Morocco

This book, which has the sub-title ‘The Rise and Fall of the House of Glaoua 1893-1956’, is set in the medieval city of Marrakesh. It tells the tale of ambitious warlord brothers from the High Atlas Mountains and their rise to great power in Morocco in the early 20th century. A page-turner, Maxwell balances ostentation, mystery and terror in equal measure.

Lords of the Atlas was first published in 1966, then again by the British publishing house Eland in 2004. The Publisher, Barnaby Rogerson, has this to say about the book:

“Beware, ‘Lords of the Atlas’ can instil a desperate craving for Morocco and the red-walled city of Marrakech. I drunk too deeply, too young, from a magic potion composed of Gavin Maxwell’s ‘Lords of the Atlas’ and Delacroix’s ‘Arab Tax’, and have been obsessed by Morocco ever since.”

You can read an extract of the book here: http://www.travelbooks.co.uk/extract.asp?id=71

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Bird watching trips from Marrakech

bridwatchers'guide marrakech

Home to coasts, islands, wadis, plains, forests, mountains and deserts – with such terrain it’s no surprise that Morocco is a bird-watchers paradise. You can easily travel to see birds on a day trip, or else overnight if more time is required.

You could start by heading out towards the Oukaimeden valley where a world of bird watching opens up. Resident and migrant species exist in abundance in this valley. Grab a pair of binoculars and a good bird watching book and look out for Woodchat Shrike, Common Crossbill, Hawfinch, Brambling, House, Rock and Cirl Buntings.

In amongst the rocky slopes, if you’re lucky, you may spot Blue Rock Thrush and the Levaillant’s Woodpecker.

Up at the ski resort at Oukaimeden (80km from Marrakech), it is sometimes possible to spot the Crimson-winged Finch (November to May), or the elusive Rock Sparrow, Water Pipit and Horned Lark.

Further afield, around the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, you might see the Tristram’s Warbler, raptors and Short-toed Snake Eagles. Ouarzazate is the place to head to for the chance to view the Ruddy Shelduck, and Long-billed Crested Lark, Eurasian Spoonbill and a selection of waders.

A decent book for bird-watching in Morocco is: http://www.nhbs.com/a_birdwatchers_guide_to_morocco_tefno_4859.html

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A Month in Marrakech

andy Harris Moroccan cookery book Marrakesh

We suspect that Andy Harris probably spent a little longer than a month researching and eating his way around Marrakech in order to produce this fabulous cookbook. Published by Australian publishers Hardie Grant, this book is for sale worldwide via Amazon and features all the different tastes and culinary diversity that Marrakech has to offer.

The excellent food photography by David Loftus makes the recipes incredibly appealing. We especially like the way that the book is laid out – starting with breakfast through to desserts. Also, many of the recipes featured include ingredients that you are likely to have at home, as well as some harder-to-find together items which can be found nowadays in most big city supermarkets and specialist shops. Recipes include things you’d expect like stuffed baby vegetables, harissa, mint tea and green bean salad, and things you might not, like Figs with Almond Milk Ice Cream and Orange Flower Donuts. Delicious!

You can order the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk

 

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