Spring 2023 in Marrakech
SPRING in Marrakech is one of the most popular times to visit. But just what is it that makes it so special?
Sunshine has got to be at the top of the list. While much of Europe struggles to warm up after winter, spring arrives early here in North Africa. By March, the temperature in Marrakech is usually around 25C during the day (rising to around 30C if we get a few warm days) with at least eight hours of sunshine a day. During early spring, the nights can still be a bit chilly – and we can also get the odd day of rain until April – so you’ll need some layers for the evenings. Bring a raincoat too just in case. By May, the thermometer is hitting 30C most days and the nights are warm. All this plus blue skies equals the perfect antidote to the winter blues.
The warm weather means that Morocco is bursting with fresh produce by springtime. And a network of organic food producers in the area around Marrakech are working with a new generation of the city’s chefs to create food bursting with flavour. We get two seasons of soft fruits for instance – one in spring and another in autumn. The vegetable carts in the medina are also laden with everything from broad beans and peas, to sweetcorn and pomegranates during spring.
Marrakech explodes with colour at this time of year. Purple jacaranda and yellow mimosa trees bloom, bougainvillea in white, lilac and hot pink tumbles down walls. It’s also the season when the orange trees blossom so the air is heavy with perfume. All this creates a beautiful floral backdrop to any stay. Add in a visit to the Majorelle Gardens for the ultimate horticultural fix.
From village harvest celebrations to dancing in a crowd under desert stars, spring is when many of Morocco’s most loved festivals take place. Here’s our pick:
Tafraoute Almond Festival mid-Feb
Almond production is concentrated around Tafraoute in the south west of Morocco and each year the community gathers to pay thanks. Underneath almond trees heavy with blossom, storytellers, musicians and dancers join with local people to honour a traditional way of life. We can’t give you an exact date but the festival is usually held in the second week of February.
Transaraha 4-8 May 2023
The Saharan desert provides the backdrop to this dance festival. Travel down to Merzouga – gateway to the majestic dunes of Erg Chebbi – where DJs play under the stars. Music is a key element of this five-day event but there’s also culture, art and ‘an awareness of the interconnectedness of everything’. More information here.
Festival of Roses Mid-may
The M’Goun Valley is famous for its roses and the Festival of Roses in the town of El Kelaat M’Gouna celebrates them. Thousands of people congregate to watch dancers, musicians – and the crowning of the Princess of the Roses. There’s also delicious food and, of course, roses. More information here and here.
Gnaoua World Music Festival 22-24 June
The laid back beach town of Essaouira turns into a giant stage for this annual event which sees musicians playing everything from traditional gnaoua to jazz. The action centres on the town’s main square. And if you want a break from the music, just head to the beach.
THE EXTENDED TRIPS
While many people visit Marrakech for a long weekend, spring is the perfect time to book end a few nights in the city with seeing more of Morocco. Top of our list for spring is the Sahara desert. By the time summer comes, the desert is too hot to visit. During the winter, the nights can get super cold. But during spring, it’s perfect. Travel south over the Atlas Mountains and through some incredible terrain filled with dramatic gorges and lush palm groves on the way down through Morocco. Then ride by camel into the Sahara desert, stay the night in a tented camp and wake up to watch sunrise over the dunes at daybreak. Magical.