Cary Duncan, Morocco’s Leading Landscape Architect & Garden Designer, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Cary Duncan, Landscape Architect & Garden Designer

Jeanette Lowdon, Garden Enthusiast covers Cary Duncan’s work across Morocco’s private and public green spaces. Lowdon recently had the opportunity to interview the well known Landscape Architect, Carey Duncan, at Cafe La Poste in Marrakech. Sitting on the colonial style porch savoring a gourmet lunch, Duncan chatted about her life in Morocco and her honorable achievements within the development, restoration and garden design field in Morocco.

Carey Duncan, a South African native, was first struck by Landscape Architecture while attending school in Johannesburg with its beautiful gardens bordered by a wild urban nature reserve. Her father also fueled her passion as she watched him create a paradise out of an old rubbish dump in the garden of the house he built and lived in for 45 years.

This inspiration led her to receive her bachelors degree in Town and Regional Planning in South Africa before attending Cornell University in the United States to get a double masters in City and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture.

While in University Duncan met her future husband, a Moroccan studying on a grant from USAID and the government of Morocco. After graduation she went back to South Africa for two years and worked as a private consultant in the fields of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture. She later married and joined her new husband in Morocco.

Tresco Abbey Gardens Scilly, England

In 1992, after arriving in Morocco Duncan discovered that locals were not familiar with the field of Landscape Architecture. Concerned about the possibility of Cary being able to work in her chosen field, her sister came to Morocco with a British Homes and Gardens magazine in hand. Inside the magazine was an announcement for an international competition to design a Mediterranean garden in the Tresco Abbey Botanic Gardens on the Isles of Scilly, England. It was the first major intervention in the garden in 100 years. Duncan came up with a design which she remembers thinking, “it’s not earth shattering, but it works.” Following her instinct, she created it and won first prize. Her confidence was strengthened which encouraged her to continue her work which resulted in her winning contracts for  projects in Morocco.

Carey has had a few selective favorite projects that she considers key to her career. Most notably is the rehabilitation of the mineral spring esplanade in Sidi Harazem, which was her first major public project. Renovating the gardens of Palais Marshan and designing the Esplanade of the Presidential Palace in Nouakchott and later the gardens of the Residence, were also challenges that she enjoyed. This set her up to work on the Jardins Exotiques in Bouknadel, a project that took several years of intensive on site work. Since then, she has worked on a variety of restoration projects, in Fes, Rabat and Oujda, often with the collaboration of architect, Fadel Guerraoui. Cary’s top project on her list is an open space network in the small town of Oued Zem near Khouribga.

Andalusian Garden, Sidi Bouknadel Rabat

One of the larger and more well known projects Duncan worked on was the Rehabilitation Project of the Exotic Gardens, Sidi Bouknadel for the Foundation Mohamed VI set up for Environmental Protection of Morocco’s heritage sites.

The Exotic Gardens Sidi Bouknadal in Sale, is set on a 18 acre plot of land originally bought by Marcel Francois in the 1940s. For over 4 years Duncan worked to restore the garden to its former glory as in the days of its creator, Marcel François. The gardens were completely run down, bridges disappeared, eroding paths and the incredible plants and trees had received no maintenance for decades. The bridges, paths, walls, monticules had to be entirely redone”, says Duncan. With very little information or photos, Duncan and her colleagues relied on descriptions from the old gardeners who were still on the site and on interpretation of some of the ruins that were left. Most of the plants were original and were restored with care. Adapting to modern technology and contemporary requirements, the project began.

Duncan recalls, Marcel François used to design decorations for aquariums. You can sense this as you walk through the garden, where he takes you down into a subsurface cave, gliding past monticules that look like termite mounds, and then up into the tree tops on swinging bridges – the visitor experiences several strata just as fish does in an aquarium.”

Another restoration project Duncan worked on was the The Jardin D’essais in Rabat originally laid out by JN Forestier in 1924. The ancient garden of Colonial Rabat is one of the green spaces that structure the city of Rabat as laid out by Prost. “It was initially a garden to test new varieties of fruit trees and how imported ones could be acclimatised” says Duncan. Organized along a central perspective with a series of rectangular gardens grafted onto either side of the central path, a series of themes are presented, based on the original trials that were conducted by INRA at the time.

Batha Garden, Fes

The famous Dar Batha in Fez was restored by Duncan in 2005 as part of a tourist trail in the heart of the Fez old Medina. Duncan worked with Cotecno and Architect Raffael Gorjux from Italy recreating the Andalusian Garden while keeping existing large trees, but replanting the undergrowth which was either bare or overtaken by weeds, and revitalizing the existing planting. “It was particularly difficult as the current legislation for preserving historic monuments does not take into account the changing nature of gardens over time and the requirement to prune, shape and weed. So a committee had to convene almost every time we needed to pull out a weed!” says Duncan.

Duncan has collaborated with a number of Landscape Architects from several different countries on various projects, in order to bring local knowledge and expertise to hand. After 20 years here she claims, “I am considered a local!”  Duncan says, “The most interesting of these partnerships was with Hart Howerton from San Francisco. It was a very exciting and difficult project given the complicated topography and the difficulties surrounding the preservation of the mythic argan trees on the site.”

When asked about how has she educated the nurserymen in plant choices Duncan says “The nursery industry in Morocco has developed a lot in the last 20 years, but there is still a long way to go. It is ironic that a lot of indigenous plant species are not available in cultivation for landscape use. After slowly hammering away at growers, and with the growth of demand, we are starting to see local species being cultivated for sale as landscape plants.”

When asked what does she see as the future for Landscape Architects in Morocco hold, Cary’s face lit  up with excitement. Duncan stated “About a year ago, the few Landscape Architects that there are in Morocco formed a professional association: “L’Association des Architectes-paysagistes du Maroc” (AAPM).

As the Secretary General for the AAPM Duncan states “We would ideally like to have our profession given recognition and a scale of fees agreed upon and made known to the general public.  We need to promote our profession which is not officially recognized in Morocco”. Presently, they have made great strides in their goal by gaining membership in the IFLA – the International Federation of Landscape Architects. Duncan spoke with passion saying “We do want to strive for the separation of client – designer – and contractor to ensure quality landscapes for our clients, but for the country in general as well.”

The “local” as she is now known in Morocco has given so much of herself in the 20 years that she has been working in Morocco as a Landscape Architect. She is now fully booked each week as she travels to a different city nearly every day.

Morocco is very lucky to have this talented woman at the helm of this business. She is a role model for all students of Landscape Architecture and City and Regional Planning. Anyone would be lucky to be graced by her wealth of knowledge and expertise in this field.

For more information about Garden Designers in Morocco or Gardens of Morocco Tour 

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities,Seaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of Morocco,Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best ofMarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Abderrazzak Benchaabane Ethnobotanist & Marrakech Garden Designer, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Abderrazal Benchaabane, Ethnobotanist & Garden Designer

Jeanette Lowdon gets up close with Abderrazzak Benchaabane, an Ethnobotanist & Morocco’s leading Garden Designer.  On a chilly Saturday morning in winter Lowdon had the fortuitous opportunity to  interview Abderrazzak Benchaabane at his private estate in the Palmeraie of Marrakech. The setting was Abderrazzak’s expansive gardens and contemporary museum located on one-hectare within the luxurious Marrakech palmerie.

Abderrazzak Benchaabane is a Marrakech legend. Quiet and soft spoken, this renowned Garden Designer, Ethnobotanist, Perfumer, Teacher, Photographer, Writer, Garden Restorer and Publisher has created a landmark place for himself within the world of the “red hamra” city. An academic who gained his doctorate in botanical ecology from Semlalia Faculty of Sciences at Marrakech’s Cadi Ayyad University, Benchaabane is currently a Botany and Ecology professor at the University of Marrakech.

Jardins Du Maroc Magazine

Founder of the Jardins du Maroc Magazine (Gardens of Morocco) and the Festival Jardin’Art (Garden Art Festival) in Marrakech, Abderrazzak Benchaabane continues to have big dreams for his beloved Morocco. Both of which were created to give public awareness to the importance of the garden in life and for the education to the protection of their environment. His passion of giving back to Morocco and to teach the youth to respect and understand their land can be seen in his tireless efforts to create projects that educate and share his dream. “My passion is a spiritual project, not a business project,” claims Benchaabane.

Abderrazak''s Intimate Maroc

A gifted photographer, Benchaabane left the big city behind and traveled the Sahara along with other desert regions of the world to capture the intense emotions born out of the silence only the desert can evoke. Since 1981 Abderrazzak Benchaabane’s photographs have been featured in many expositions and galleries throughout Morocco and Europe. His photographs have been recently published in a book called “Intimate Morocco” and are on permanent display at the museum. Through his black and white photographs, Benchaabane shares his inside view of his country, Morocco, through his eyes. Each image echoes his roots of Morocco, evoking emotion-induced feelings of the love he has with his country.

Abderrazzak Benchaabane was approached in 1998 by Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Berger, the owners of the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech, to survey the planting and to provide the Latin names of its plants. After cataloging 120 varieties of plants and careful inspection of the grounds Benchaabane then made a complete restoration of the gardens including a new system for irrigation and to honor its creator, Jacques Majorelle, Benchaabane added new varieties from Majorelle’s chosen plant families raising the total varieties grown in the garden to 325. 10 years later the restoration was complete giving new life to the gardens. Benchaabane now acts as director of the charitable trust set up to protect the Majorelle Gardens.

Abderrazak Benchaabane, Creator of Perfume

Later in 2001 Yves St. Laurent requested  Benchaabane to develop a perfume that represented the Majorelle Garden. As Benchaabane  describes it, he went from “The Kingdom of Silence to the Kingdom of Fragrances.” As a child he watched his mother teach his sisters the art of collecting, drying and preserving medicinal plants for traditional healing.  His mother sometimes would say “the plants protect the body and move away the bad spirits.”

The plants his mother collected were being gathered in the ceremonial way accompanied by traditional singing, then dried and placed in glass bottles. Some were preserved in their powder form and others preserved in honey or olive oil.  His mothers inspirations led him to write a book on Moroccan medicinal and aromatic plants of the High Atlas Mountains.

The plant world his mother created intrigued him just as much as the souks in Marrakech. At the time the master herbalists and healers of traditional and medicinal medicine were in the Marrakech Medina. There one could find exotic spices, incense and resins from exotic countries and far off lands. Benchaabane’s mentor in Botany taught him the role of the nose in the identification of plants, explaining that each plant has its own perfume.

In the majority of Moroccan gardens roses and oranges are grown and in every home a mixture of exotic spices that are brought from Mecca. Sandalwood, amber and musk are used as an incense in Mosques and for special occasions such as festivals, marriages and childbirth. From here, the journey began to create “Jardin Majorelle” fragrance.

Abderrazak Benchaabane, Creator of Soir De Marrakech

Benchaabane credits his knowledge and acumen for creating fragrances to Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Berger and Gilles Toledano.  Later in 2001 seeing the success of Jardin Majorelle fragrance Yves St. Laurent encouraged Benchaabane to create his own perfume collection. His first fragrance in the collection called Soir de Marrakech is a blend of amber, musk, vanilla, patchouli, jasmine, orange and lemon flowers. Soir de Marrakech is the ultimate expression of life in Marrakech, says Benchaabane. His fragrance collection to date has now grown to 10. He describes the process as “ Pure joy in creating my perfumes, sharing my dreams, emotions and love in a bottle.  Just another facet of sharing the art of life here in Morocco!”

Once the restoration of Majorelle Gardens was completed Benchaabane decided to form the magazine Jardins Du Maroc to share his passions for the gardens of Morocco and around the world. The first issue published in 2005 was an immediate success. The magazine’s primary objective is to introduce readers to the talents of Moroccan gardeners, landscapers, architects and to portray garden lovers, garden designers and artists. As the director and editor, the majority of the magazine contains contributions by him with features on both Moroccan gardens and gardens from around the world.

Festival Jardin'Art

Benchaabane wanted to offer something to Moroccans who cannot afford to purchase the magazine or who read French therefore in 2007 he created the Jardin’Art festival in Marrakech (Garden of Art Festival). Jardin’Art festival is held each spring in Marrakech under the patronage of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. The Jardin’Art attracts an increasing number of visitors and participants each year. Jardin’Art aims to bring together artists,landscapers,landscape architects,garden designers and growers along with booths dedicated to environmental education and Eco-tourism. There are also temporary gardens built by the children from local schools which encourages them to represent in their designs the sort of environments that surround them. By educating the younger generations, Benchaabane hopes to accomplish his mission to link the preservation of nature and the planet.

Musee de l’Art Marrakech

Recently opened is the Musee de l’Art (Museum of Art of Living) in Marrakech. The museum was created to fill a gap in cultural activities and offer new ongoing exhibitions for Moroccans as well as tourists. The goal is to continue to use the museum space to create cultural programs for the residents in the Medina and visitors to balance out the cultural divide that the Medina of Marrakech currently faces. Benchaabane feels by offering the youth a place for concerts, meetings with writers, seminars on art and poets it will help open the gap for new talent among young Marrakechi’s.

Benchaabane’s newest project combines art with nature at his Musee de la Palmeraie (Museum of the Palm). Since its opening in May 2011 the museum has attracted more than 3000 visitors worldwide. Located on a 150 year old restored French farm on one hectare outside the city of Marrakech is a museum and several majestic gardens. Musee de la Palmeraie is clearly dedicated to nature and art with its one-hundred year old mature palms, an Andalusian garden, a cactus garden, aquatic garden, perfumed rose garden, potager garden and sixty year old olive and orange orchards all dotted with local artisans sculptures and garden art.

Abderrazak Benchaabane, Palmeraie Gardens Marrakech

For the Andalusian Garden he took the natural divide in the orchards and created a water feature. He says “the water is like a mirror, reflecting the lite to the museum”. An Andalusian and Saharan shaded seating area are set amongst the rose gardens, orchards, and Mediterranean aquatic garden with its Koi fish. The Andalusian area with its tiled steps and the Sahara area with its earthen piste wall calls one to come, rest and contemplate the serenity of this magical place.

The cactus garden was planted 10 years ago with 40 kinds of cactus from Morocco, South Africa, USA, South America and Mexico.  All the locally grown cactus came from his mentor, a German engineer of Agriculture here in Morocco.

Within the converted stables and piste buildings on the property Benchaabane houses his private collection “unknown” Moroccan artists from the 1970’s, a workshop area for children, a private collection of his own photographs, paintings, photographs, calligraphy and sculptures along with the permanent collection of contemporary art from more than 50 Moroccan artists. One special photograph worth seeing is Le Maroc en Noir et Blanc taken in 1981 in Essaouira.

In the museum boutique the money raised from the sales of books, some of them authored by him go to the childrens workshops that are held regularly at the museum for the nearby village children. The workshops are taught by artists and are free to the children. Benchaabane felt it was a way for the children to learn a craft near their home as some may not have the means to go the city for lessons.

A project due to open in the near future is Benchaabane’s Ourika Valley Ecology farm. He has completed the 30,000 palm planting plan. His dream is to plant and create a space for children to learn about an ecology farm. “Too many children are growing up in cities and don’t know a farm. The 3 hectare farm will be a living museum with a kitchen garden and saffron garden. On the farm there is an old house and an an old traditional argan oil press”.

Asked what is the future for plant growers in Morocco: Benchaabane replied ” The growers and designers are organizing themselves to introduce new varieties that have adapted to the climate changes using new technologies “. Fifteen years ago Benchaabane was the first one to introduce the dry garden to Morocco. Now he is teaching the growers what works best in a dry climate for garden design.

When asked what is the future is of Moroccan gardens he replied, “It is highly related to the implication of the state and the people. The state are the owners of the gardens and the mayors and municipalities need to do two things to preserve gardens “to organize and take care of the gardens of Morocco” and “to educate the people on the value of plants – especially the new generation.”

For more information about Abderrazzak Benchaabane & The Majorelle Gardens 

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Abderrazzak Benchaabane, Abderrazzak Benchaabane Ethnobotanist, Abderrazzak Benchaabane Garden Designer, Jardins De Maroc, Majorelle Gardens, Palmeraie of Marrakech, Marrakech Garden Designer, Yves Saint Laurent, Soir De Marrakech, Morocco Tours, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

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The Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Majorelle Gardens, Cactus Gardens

The Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, Morocco previously the Jardin Bou Saf, bears its name from its original creator, Jacques Majorelle, the French expatriate artist who was born in Nancy France in 1886. Jacques Majorelle was the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. In 1947 he opened his gardens to the public and during this time also painted a magnificent ceiling space at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with gardens and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote, “The Birds.”

Jacque Majorelle, Designer & Founder, Majorelle Gardens

Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nancy in 1901 and later in 1919 he went to Marrakech, Morocco to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years using special color of blue which he used extensively in the garden that is named after him, Majorelle Blue. Jacques Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries. As a collector of unique plants from five continents Jacque Majorelle left to Saint Laurent one of the more unique collections of flore and fauna of this era as well as a place of inspiration and contemplation. Even though Morocco is no longer under the French protectorate, this originally French creation is one of the most beloved areas in Morocco.

The power of the blue Majorelle is long lived and permeates the essence of what it means to live and see color in Marrakech.

When visiting it is important to take advantage of optimal morning light. The atmosphere of the Majorelle Gardens evokes a sense of peace in a garden designed, composed and colored like a painting. Moorish and Art Deco inspired structures with their bold color palettes are assembled among a vast, opulent array of exotic plants and trees collected from the far reaches of the world.

Nenuphar Flower, Majorelle Gardens

The courageous use of color, the famous Majorelle blue paint used in his architectural design enlivens the garden and acts as a strong backdrop to his plant collection of over 1800 types of cacti, 400 species of palms and other rare varieties of the time. This bold action revolutionized the way in which gardens were to be viewed. The blue pavilion with a raised island set amidst water lilies is the most famous photographed section of the garden. An elaborate system of water canals connect the planted areas and infuse the garden with its sight and sound. The contrasting effects of light and shadow are repeatedly played against each other capturing the harsh sunlight and transforming it into a tamed element that defies any known example. Majorelle’s greatest work of art is his garden.

For information about the Majorelle Gardens or a Morocco Gardens Tour.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Majorelle Gardens, Jacques Majorelle, Garden Tours Marrakech, Garden Tours Morocco, Morocco Garden Vacations, Morocco Tours, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

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The Jnane Sbil Garden in Fes, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Jnane Sbil Gardens, Fes

Created in the 18th century by Sultan Moulay Abdallah, the Jnane Sbil Garden is a jewel of the Arab Andalusian tradition, extending over 7.5 hectares located in the heart of Fes. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious gardens in Fes, the ancient artistic and intellectual capital of Morocco. Because of its historical importance, great care was taken to restore this Fes garden to its original design and after four years of detailed restoration and renovation of the heirloom plants, the hydraulic systems and the famous waterwheel, the project was completed and re-opened in June 2010.

Jnane Sbil Gardens, Entrance, Fes

Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, continuing in the Foundation’s policy of historical park and garden preservation decided to rehabilitate Jnane Sbil in 2006. The park which surrounded by ramparts and the Borj has been faithfully restored to its origins with an update to its green space.

The restoration of Jnane Sbil included the rehabilitation of heirloom plants and old hydraulic systems, fountains, water canals and windmills. The majestic central tree lined alley and the bamboo garden were also restored along with the Washington path being reconstructed. A fragrance garden in the southeast area, reminiscent of the Fes gardens that captivates visitors was also created. Buildings adjacent buildings to host the public, a refreshment area and restrooms were also included in the restoration.

This project reinforces this city of Fes, a UNESCO World Heritage sites’ cultural potential and its destiny as an international tourism destination, while benefitting the population.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

 

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Kasbah Oudaia & Andalusian Gardens, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Kasbah Ouadia Gardens Rabat

Kasbah Des Oudaia in Morocco also referred to as Kasbah Oudaya or Kasbah Udaya, is located at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river opposite of Salé. Kasbah Oudaia has been the citadel of the Alhmohads, Merinids and Andalusians in Rabat. Its location on a rocky outcrop high above the level of the river is an imposing site especially for the pirates of days gone by.

Kasbah Oudaia was built during the reign of the Almohads. When the Almohads had captured Rabat and destroyed the kasbah of the Almoravids in the town, they began reconstructing it in AH 544 / AD 1150. They added a palace and a mosque and named it al-Mahdiyya, after their ancestor al-Mahdi Ibn Tumart. After the death of Yaqub-al-Mansur (AH 595 / AD 1199) the kasbah was deserted.

Bab Oudaia is the principal gateway to the Kasbah – one of the most striking sights in Rabat and certainly one of the most beautiful external Moorish monuments. The gate was built by the Almohad Sultan, Yacoub al Mansour, in 1195. Its purpose was more ceremonial than defensive, designed for a grand entrance into the Kasbah and its souks and the nearby Sultan palace.

The gate, massive as though it may appear at first inception, is not unusual in its size for an Almohad monument. It is striking for its harmony and the sheer simplicity and beauty of its decoration. The basic feature is the arch, composed of three different designs: the basic horseshoe, a check-and-shoulder design and finally a band of geometric ornamentation.

Kasbah Ouadia Gate

After passing through the grand door, ,Bab Oudaia, one will immediately reach an  striking quarter, the Kasbah des Oudaias. The Kasbah is the original citadel of the Almohad, Merinid and subsequent Andalusian towns in Rabat. Here, you can see the Kasbah Mosque – the oldest mosque in the city, built around 1050 and subsequently rebuilt in the 18th century.

When you enter the grounds of Oudaia you immediately notice the Andalusian influence. Everything here reminds one of Spain, walls uniformly covered with lime, blue everywhere, the cobbled streets, the massive doors to colored moldings and wrought iron. The formal structured Andalusian style gardens are bordered with red hibiscus, hedges, morning glories, brugmansias, date palms and orange trees with a long harbored walkway covered in grape vines.

The Kasbah Oudaia stands out within a beautiful and quiet residential area surrounded by white and blue painted houses decorated with flowers. Kasbah Oudaia has become a haven for artists, attracted by the beauty of the site as much as by its soothing tranquility.

Kasbah Ouadaia Andalusian Gardens

South of Bab Ouadaia, is the Palace Museum and Andalusian Gardens. The Palace was built in the seventeenth-century by Moulay Ismail, the first Almohad sultan to unify the country. Today, it showcases exhibits of Moroccan art and culture. A vast central patio gives access to private quarters and reception rooms containing the exhibits. There is a hall containing oriental rugs made in Rabat, an exhibition hall for musical instruments and a salon reserved for customs and rituals.

The old palace grounds are occupied by the beautiful Andalusian Gardens. Although true to Andalusian traditions, with its flowering annuals and beds of shrubs, the gardens were actually constructed by the French in the twentieth-century. The gardens are a shady retreat, with a profusion of daturas, oleanders, orange, lemon and banana trees.

When visiting Kasbah Ouadia, make sure to have tea and pastries at Café Maure set on the grounds of the Kasbah Oudaia with a majestic view of the river.

For more information about Gardens Tours Morocco and Kasbah Oudaia Rabat Tours

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.


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Visit Sidi Bouknadal Exotic Gardens, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Sidi Bouknadal Garden

In 1951, Marcel François, a French horticultural engineer acquired 4 hectares of flat and exposed land in Sale, Morocco. Ten years later he opened to the public his childhood dream, Sidi Bouknadel Exotic Gardens, a horticultural and artistic achievement, listed among the wonders of nature and now classified as a national cultural heritage site since 2003. The Sidi Bouknadal Gardens outside of Rabat are a composition of exuberant creativity and technical ability. Francois, traveled all over the world collecting plants as far away as China, South Asia, the Savannah, Congo, Japan, Brazil and Polynesia. He then set about duplicating these gardens at Sidi Bouknadal by incorporating landscape, habitat and climate in his plant compositions.

Sidi Bouknadal, Polynesian Garden

The gardens are divided into three areas: a reception area, horticultural production area and finally, by far the most impressive, the garden area. All through the garden there are secret passages, an aviary, waterfalls, swamps, pools, fountains, bridges and walkways to lead you through the various gardens.

Sidi Bouknadal, Clivia Flower

Sidi Bouknadal is the perfect place to visit in Morocco if you are a botanist, a gardner, a garden enthusiast or looking for the perfect side trip from Rabat. At Sidi Bouknadal one can study exotic planet from around the world, go for a walk or picnic in Mamora forest among the eucalyptus trees, cork, and other Aleppo pines.

Not far from the banks of the Bouregreg, that often takes on an air of the French Riviera, this Jardin Exotic is a one of a kind Morocco tour option.

For more information about Gardens Tours Morocco and Sidi Bouknadal Exotic Garden Tours

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Travel Exploration Morocco Now Offering Gardens of Morocco Tour, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Islamic Garden Morocco

Travel Exploration Morocco has a few new additions to our special tour offerings this 2012 season. The new tours are “Majestic Gardens of Morocco” and “Gardens of  Marrakech”, both offering extension options. The “Gardens of Morocco” tours offer an extension option to the Tarodaunt and Agadir region. What distinguishes Travel Exploration’s new tours from others is that it specifically caters to garden enthusiasts, botanists and gardeners because it takes a true look at the majestic gardens of the Maghreb.

The Gardens of Morocco tour takes visitors on a unique journey to the Imperial Cities of Morocco while giving them a taste of Islamic, Andalusian, Moorish, Art Deco and Sultans gardens. This tour also gives travelers a chance to connect with the local culture through discovering historic sites, museums, mosques, old cities and traditional cuisine.

The Majestic Gardens of Morocco offers guests 10 days and 9 glorious nights whereby they can explore the sites and sounds of Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, Marrakech, the Ourika Valley and Ouirgane region.

Agdal Gardens, Marrakech

The Majestic Gardens of Morocco tour begins in Casablanca at the stunning Hassan II Mosque which lies at the foot of the Atlantic ocean, then visitors continue the road to the exotic Sidi Bouknadal Garden outside of Rabat. Topped by afternoon sweets and mint tea at Cafe Maure. An evening at Sofitel Le Jardin Des Roses and a welcome dinner by candlelight in the gardens offers travelers a great way to start off their gardening vacation to the Morocco.  Rabat holds its beauty with some of the most historic architecture in the country as well as gardens.

Travelers on the Majestic Gardens of Morocco tour can also plan on visiting gardens in the medieval walled city (old medina) of Fes, a visit to the Imperial city of Meknes, the Roman ruins of Volubilis, After taking in the living museum of Fes the next stop will be the “red hamra” city of Marrakech, home to artists, writers and the chic. Marrakech’s gardens are top notch and will be seen when light is at its best. Visits to the Majorelle Garden, La Mamounia Garden, the Koutoubia Gardens, the Bahia Palace and Gardens are just a few of the green spaces on this tour.

A charming ending to the Majestic Gardens of Morocco tour includes a visit to Nectarome in the Ourika Valley, harmonizing foot baths, lunch at the Flower Power cafe and then an overnight at La Roseraie in Ouirgane.

Kelech Horse & Carriage, Marrakech

10 full days and 9 nights of beautiful 5 Star garden Riads and Hotels, luxury transport, airport transfers, 14 excellent meals with a variety of traditional and contemporary Moroccan cuisine (breakfast daily at your Riad or Hotel, welcome dinner, lunch at a palace restaurant in Fes and farewell dinner), 4 Guided Historical Tours in the Imperial Cities, 8 Guided Garden Tours by a Botanist, Nurserymen and Herbalist, Garden & Monument Entrances Fees, plus exquisite sights, shopping time in the souks and a kelech horse and carriage ride in Marrakech.

Visit https://gardentoursmorocco.wordpress.com/majestic-gardens-of-morocco-tour/ to see the complete itinerary.

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration in the USA at 1 (800) 787-8806 or in Morocco 1 (212)618-88-26-81 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Filed under Garden Tours Marrakech, Gardens in Morocco, Gardens Tours Morocco, Majestic Garden Tours, Morocco Garden Vacations, Travel to Morocco