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Tuesday, 17 November 2015 12:00 AM

James Bond on Holiday in Morocco

OK … in Spectre he wasn’t exactly taking a holiday during his trip in Morocco but yet another film decided to incorporate Morocco into their script.

A long line of films (Bourne series, Gladiator etc) have based at part of their story of filming explicitly or otherwise in Morocco. Much of the filming is done towards the desert and Morocco has large studios near Ait Ben Haddou, but Spectre went further in to the desert towards Merzouga.

Morocco is Spectacular

Whether you are just on holiday or hiding your secret base for world domination Morocco is a great choice.

Obviously the weather is generally great – sunny and warm, or just sunny in the winter months. But do talk to our experts at Naturally Morocco as weather is not perfect all the time and it can even snow at times (e.g. the High Atlas in winter).

The scenery is stunning – typical film shots include Moroccan souks and desert, but the mountains are equally stunning and where you holiday is up to your preference. A desert scene is something to remember for a long time as you camp by an evening fire near your tent after an afternoon’s trek on camel into the dunes.

Riads, riads, riads

Every film with Morocco in its plot has to show off the beauty of a riad (“L’Americain” in Spectre), in much the same way that any film in London has to show Big Ben. A riad is a traditional family house in a medina with rooms on a couple of floors surrounding a central courtyard. Not only does the house layout give a film a special intimate feeling but riads are often full of Moroccan character – rich intricate woodwork and luscious colourful plasterwork – which gives a film plot a great backdrop.

Today a large number have been converted into boutique hotels (typically 4 - 8 bedrooms, but occasionally a number of riads have been linked together to form larger hotels whilst preserving their special character), which allows you to enjoy this Moroccan history as the basis for your holiday.

Naturally Morocco specialises in riad (and Kasbah) accommodation and to find the right one for your holiday. Not all riads have been renovated in a Moroccan style, a number have a more modern décor, but they still retain the intimate feel.

Spectre Flaws

Just to be pedantic for a moment so that you do not get misled by the latest Bond film.

Water is a scare resource in Morocco, so you have to be a baddie to be watering your green garden in the middle of the desert (or perhaps they are using “grey water”).

The train into the desert use by Bond isn’t a very handy way to get from Tangiers into the desert (towards Merzouga). The train in question is the “Oriental Desert Express” which runs from Oujda (near the border, a long way from Tangiers) due south to Bouarfa in the desert. Although through stunning scenery, the train has a very infrequent service, is often cancelled, and is difficult to get to from most other typical holiday spots. Bond should have used a train from Tangiers to Marrakech then on by 4x4, much more sensible....