My name is Oussama Hassouni. I’m a Moroccan photographer. I work in most of the popular tourist cities across the country, in particular Chefchaouen – “the blue pearl”. This amazing destination (along with a few others) is one of the best places to visit in Morocco.
I started in photography 3 years ago just from taking photos on my phone. Then one day I was messaged by a lady who loved my photos. She asked me to be her photographer in Chefchaouen. At that time, I had no camera and no money to buy one.
Nonetheless, I said yes to her and ended up borrowing money to buy a camera. My first photo session was pretty amazing. From then on, I have had a huge passion for photography.
As well as photography, I love to travel throughout Morocco. It exposes me to new types of people and new places. Travel gives me energy on a personal level and also opens my eyes to see how other people live. It reminds me that the life I’m living isn’t the only one I could live.
The Incredibly Rich and Diverse Culture of Morocco
The Moroccan culture is so attractive and interesting to discover. Especially because each region of Morocco has been influenced by a mixture of Berber, Islamic, European and Jewish cultures.
You can feel this multicultural melting pot when you travel from the north, to the middle and then to the south. The difference in architecture and local people is amazing to experience.
Moroccans can also speak many different languages such as Arabic, Berber and a variety of European languages like French, Spanish and English. I’m so proud to be Moroccan and share in the rich culture, history and traditions of this country.
My Favourite Place in Morocco: Chefchaouen
Over the last five years, I have traveled all across Morocco. From north to south, east to west and everything in between. I’ve driven, caught buses and even hitchhiked at times! Still, there is so much more that I want to see and travel deeper to discover hidden aspects of places.
As you can probably tell by now, my favourite place in Morocco is the blue pearl, Chefchaouen. This place has given me so much and helped me realise my dream to be a global photographer. It all started when my Chefchaouen photos went viral on Instagram.
These photos got featured on big pages such as @wonderful_places (13.3 million followers) and @earthfocus (4.6 million followers). My Chefchaouen photos also got featured in Forbes Magazine in a list of The Most Epic Travel Photos From 2019.
There are so many wonderful things to do in this city. For starters, I recommend watching the sunrise/sunset from the top of the mountain in front of a small mosque called Bouzaafer. When the sun drops I recommend walking around the old city at night. It’s so amazing!
The story of why the houses of Chefchaouen are painted blue is an interesting one. It happened when Jewish people were living there after they fled Nazi Germany in 1930 and they started painting their homes blue.
After they left, Moroccans actually liked the colour and started to paint all the houses blue too. This is one theory but there are other theories as well.
Best Places to Visit in Morocco
For me, the best places to visit in Morocco in addition to Chefchaouen are the Sahara Desert, Old Town in Fez and Anti-Atlas (Little Atlas) mountain range.
Sleeping in the Sahara Desert is one of the best experiences anywhere in the world. The sunrises and sunsets (not to mention the star-gazing as well) are simply incredible. Sit around the camp-fire, ride camels and eat some delicious traditional cuisine on a tour of the Sahara.
The Old Town in Fez is such an underrated destination in Morocco. One of the most fun things to do here is to get lost in the tiny backstreet’s and then pay a local kid or guide 5 USD to help you get out! You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get lost in this place. P.S. Google Maps doesn’t work here.
A bonus place that you have to visit in Fez is the Chouara Tannery. You can feel the history of this place despite the fact that the smell is quite hard on the nostrils! I recommend taking a couple of mints with you when you go inside the tannery.
All in all, Fez is a must visit if you come to Morocco. Time here seems to stand still in the Old Medina. If you came to Fez 30 years ago and returned now, you would find it exactly how you left it. For me, Fez is the soul of Morocco. That’s why it’s one of the best places to visit in Morocco.
Now, If you want to experience a different side to Morocco, I recommend a road trip in Anti-Atlas (Little Atlas). The best places to visit are Oum Er-Rbia, Aguelmame Aziza, Lac Ouiouane, Azrou and Ifran.
In the winter, you will feel like you’re in the middle of Canada or a European country because of the amount of snow and lakes.
Best Memories in Morocco: Hitchhiking Up the Road
My best travel memories in Morocco always come from hitchhiking and I’ve had a lot of amazing experiences along the way. One that has a special place in my heart was a trip I did from my city Salé to the Sahara Desert, more than 2000km on a round-trip back in 2016.
The kindness of the Sahara people is unbelievable. I arrived in a city called Agdz late at night. A guy welcomed me in his home for the night. The next morning he wouldn’t let me leave, so I stayed with him for 3 days.
He showed me all the beautiful places in his city and I’m proud to still call him a friend today. This story shows just how friendly Moroccan are – especially the Sahara people.
Tips for your Visit to Morocco
The food is one of the highlights of Morocco. Try to eat in the streets in every city you visit. Each city has its own unique food and flavours. Like in Marrakech, you absolutely must try Tajine in the Jama El f’na Market.
When it comes to practical tips I recommend the following: always negotiate the price, respect the locals, keep small change and tips in your pocket, prepare to buy a lot of souvenirs, take a bus from www.ctm.ma and book a train from www.oncf-voyages.ma.
Thanks for reading my article on the best places to visit in Morocco including Chefchaouen. I hope to see you there one day soon!