carpets. Words: Tim Abrahams
There are international airports at Casablanca. Tangier and Agadir. or if you're travelling through Europe you can catch a ferry from Algeciras in Spain to Tangier and Ceuta. Airlines to contact include Air France. Air Algiers. British Airways. Iberia. KLM. Royal Air Marco and Lufthansa.
Travel agents worth visiting for independent travel include STA Travel (020 7361 6144). USlT Campus Travel (0870 240 1010) and Trailfinders (0141 353 2224). Tour operators specialising in Morocco include Panorama (01273 427777. www.panoramaholidays.co.uk),
Steppes East (01285 810267. www.steppeseast.co.uk). Amoun Travel (020 7402 3100), Cadogan Holidays (01703 828304) and Sunway Holidays (01628 660001).
PLACES TO VISIT
As well as Marrakesh. highlights include the Cities of Rabat. Meknes and Fez. Tangier's proximity to Europe has made it a magnet for artists and writers including Tennessee Williams. William Burroughs and Jean Genet and since Casab/anca was immortalised on celluloid. it too has drawn visitors with its mix of Art Deco and neo-Moorish architecture. Outwith the cities. Todra Gorge in the High Atlas mountains is one of the country's natural highlights, while Essaouira has one of
the best unspoilt beaches drawing crowds of surfers, and has a colourful history which saw the likes of .Jimi Hendrix hanging out there.
Morocco has plenty of festivals worth coinciding your visit with. but dates can vary so contact the Moroccan Tourist Office before travelling. June is a popular month for festivals: the Essaouira Festival celebrates the music and dancing of the Gnaouas — recognisable by their tasselled hats. Marrakesh Popular Arts Festival transforms the city for ten days as musicians. acrobats and stOrytellers celebrate traditional folk arts. while the Fez Sacred Music Festival draws musicians from around the world. in September. the Imiichil Engagement Feast sees Berber people from the Atlas mountain range gather together to find a husband or wife. Wearing traditional dress. this search for suitors is accompanied by lively celebrations.
The Moroccan National Tourist Ofﬁce produces a brochure and can be contacted at 205 Regent Street.
London W1 R 7DE. 0207 437 0073. www.tourism.in.morocco.com. The web can be a valuable source of info.
especially www.roughguides.com and www.lonelyplanet.com. Other sites worth a visit are www.maroc.net, www.morocco.com and www.lexicorient.com/morocco/
Excess bagga e
Festivals, f/ig ts and fabulous fares
LATEST NEWS FROM Go is that as well as redesigning its website. customers With ntl digital TV Will soon be able to buy flights thrOugh the box. They've also Just launched their summer schedule to Copen- hagen, With return flights from Stansted starting at £78. More details on www.go-fly.com ACTION PACKED HOLIDAYS to South Africa are currently on offer from STA Travel. Choose between the ‘Shark Diving Shocker' with four days diving from £822, check out the big cats on the ‘Cheeta Charmer’ from £698 or tour the Cape Peninsula on the ‘PenguIn-tastlc' trip from £540. Log onto www.statravel.co.uk or call 0131 226 7747 for details.
PLANS ARE UNDERWAY to build the world's highest railway across the Tibetan plateau. but as it's not due for completion until 2010. Peru remains the record-holder with its Lima to Huancayo line (4781 metres above sea level). Journey Latin America is a specialist in the field. and if you want to find out more about travelling through Peru
contact the company on 020 8747 8315 Or wwwpurneylatm america.co.uk
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for an excuse to go skiing, check out the offers on www.1ski.com where self-drive deals (prices include accom- modation and ferry crossing) include a week in La Tania for £154, while extreme snow sport fans might prefer a week in Chamonix for £164. The website also includes an events guide, expert advice from extreme skier Dan Egan and access to 200 live webcams at ski resorts.
IN SCOTLAND THE Aberdeen and Grampian area has been rebranded as “Castle and Whisky' c0untry. If the romantic architecture or the lure of whisky trails appeals to you. you can get a brochure by calling 01224 632727 or log onto www.agtb.0rg EASYJET HAS TEAMED up with octopustravel.com to offer accommodation to its customers online. There are over 13,000 hotels available worldwide and Easyiet guarantees to match or beat the prices of any registered on-Iine travel agents. More details at www.easy]et.com
TRAVEL WRITING GAVIN BELL
Somewhere Over The Rainbow: Travels In South Africa (Abacus £7.99) 0.00
Gavin Bell was a foreign correspondent based In
Johannesburg in the
dying days of apartheid. Just under a decade later he returns to this prickly
humorous country to
travel from north to south and examine the state of the South African Dream
"3 l‘ M
\ll\il\\iil ié‘ .9»«>~
to become, in the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a ‘Rainbow Nation’.
Bell’s warm and funny Journal works on quite a few levels, one of course to examine the polemlcs of progress In a multicultural state. but also as a personal journey for Bell himself from directed journalist to open-minded traveller. Bell Is seeing the real essence of this amazing country for the first time by simply not pursuing a story. Bell has a wonderfully clean style that can only come from years of condensed communication and if his prologue alone does not hook you, you have no heart. (Paul Dale)
1—15 Mar 2001 THE LIST 107