Exploring Morocco with My Dog

My adventure in morocco

Nestled at the crossroads of Africa and the Mediterranean, Morocco seduced me with the diversity of its landscapes, ranging from the Sahara Desert to the towering peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Renowned for its souks and intricate mosaic architecture, Morocco unveils a beautiful tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty that has fascinated me for months. Whether wandering the labyrinthine medinas or savoring the flavors of its renowned cuisine, Morocco promised me a sensory journey.

Getting to Morocco with your dog

I’ve decided to travel to Morocco with my van, Goliath, accompanied by Laos, my dog. Firstly, it’s important to note that some dogs in Morocco may still carry rabies, though it’s a rare occurrence. Ensure that your dog’s vaccinations, specifically for rabies, are up to date. If you don’t already have one, conduct a serology test with your vet before departure (bear in mind that the results may take up to a week to arrive). Ask your vet to record the deworming medication on your dog’s health record, as both Moroccan and Spanish customs will inspect it. Obtain a certificate of good health from your vet before boarding.

When I made the decision to embark on the journey with my van, I had to take a ferry. The process is straightforward; head to the port of Algeciras in Spain and purchase a ticket there (there are many port from which you can take the ferry, Algeciras was the closest to Morocco). Locals might offer to assist you in obtaining a ticket through their contacts, and while they may ask for a commission, there’s no obligation to provide one (otherwise, you might find yourself giving money frequently throughout your journey).

The round-trip cost me approximately €230. The return ticket is ‘open,’ allowing flexibility for your return as you can use it at any time. This flexibility is especially useful when your exact return date is uncertain. I decided to arrive in Ceuta instead of Tanger.

the blue medina: Chefchaouen

This small city is not far from Ceuta, where I arrived with the ferry. It’s one of the most famous cities in Morocco, and I soon understood why. It’s incredibly beautiful, and people are not overly persistent in their selling efforts compared to the souks or other places. At least, I didn’t feel overwhelmed there. You might come across some stray dogs and many cats. They are not dangerous, but I preferred to keep a distance from cats, especially. We wouldn’t want our dog to get scratched on the snout and potentially carry any diseases.

I believe you’ll appreciate the colors more at sunset or on a cloudy day, as the sun tends to wash out the blue hues significantly. Photography wasn’t my focus here, so I didn’t mind much. However, I spent a whole afternoon exploring and chatting with locals. I had my first cup of tea there with a very kind person who was making bracelets. Avoid making purchases in this city; prices are definitely inflated. It’s better to buy your souvenirs somewhere less famous. 

Abandoned village

The whole trip, I used Park4night to find quiet spots where to sleep in Morocco. You must know that it’s quiet hard to find spots with no people around. There is always someone ready to stumble in the middle of nowhere! On my way down the south, I found a spot which said that there are some ruins close to the « parking » where you can sleep. A young boy made me visit (and asked some money after). I took some photos as it was the first time I saw something like this! 

On our way south

On the way down to the desert, I planned to stop at a few locations. Something I didn’t expect was the frequent police stops; they were really everywhere. Make sure to always have your passport and the tourist visa you’ll obtain at customs. Most of the journey is not particularly interesting, but as you approach the mountains, you’ll discover beautiful spots with breathtaking views. Some Moroccans will attempt to sell you minerals. It’s okay to buy some, but be cautious not to get scammed; these items shouldn’t cost more than a few dirhams (approximately 1 euro is equal to 10 dirhams). I kinda liked the appearance of the shops; they seem to pop up out of nowhere.

The Sahara desert

The Sahara covers several countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania. In Morocco, all you have to do is visit Merzouga to see the sand dunes. This desert is very popular in Morocco, with many tourists visiting in 4x4s, buggies, camels, etc. Personally, I preferred to use my feet to cross some of the dunes.

I quickly understood how to walk in the desert: follow the ridges and above all don’t walk straight ahead, otherwise you run out of breath very quickly. Some of the dunes are dozens of metres high, which isn’t easy to climb!

Laos loved the sand, and Morocco’s hot, dry climate was perfect for his joints. Not many people know this, but Laos will be 9 this year. There wasn’t much wind, if any, when I ventured into the desert. If the weather had been windy, I think a pair of dog glasses is essential to protect them.

When it comes to photography, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, you’ll need to give your lenses and cameras a thorough cleaning, because sand gets in everywhere! In fact, every morning we had to sweep the van clean of the sand that Laos and I brought back from the desert. I think there must still be a bit left in places. There are a lot of creative possibilities in the desert, I think I stuck to my guns a bit too much on this trip, but I hope to explore other possibilities the next time I go there.

One of the first photos I took in the desert was this one. I used the 105mm to bring the dunes of Laos closer together, and create this perspective effect, something I do quite often after all. As I was taking my photos, two motorbikes came out from between the dunes and passed quite close to Laos, so you have to be extra vigilant and not hesitate to venture further into the desert to be safe.

Toudgha gorges

This hike takes around 4 hours, and it’s quite uphill at first, but once you get to the top it’s all flat or downhill, and at the end you arrive in a tourist village well before the tight squeeze. On the way up, I came across Berber women coming down from the mountains holding their donkeys. On their backs were products that they were going to sell in the village, in order to buy what they couldn’t get in the mountains. There are many gorges in Morocco, but in winter most of them are less interesting because there is no water in the rivers.

On the road

On the way to Legzira beach, we stopped by a lake with lots of birds. The trees were so beautiful that I had to capture something with Laos as the sunset reflected beautifully on the water.

Legzira beach

This beach, filled with giant arches, is an 11-hour drive from the desert of Merzouga. You can enjoy the beach to yourself in the morning; however, in the evening, regardless of the season, tourists take rides on camels and buggies until sunset, which can be pretty annoying because this place is not that big. Also, there are a few dogs where I parked with the van. We took the time to introduce ourselves with Laos, and everything went smoothly. Once again, don’t forget to give the dogs food and water.

The rocky arches are incredibly big! I loved the fact that you could see the sunset through the arch. There are other arches, but one fell down a few years ago, and the others are quite difficult to reach in my opinion, so I didn’t try to get there. When you visit Legzira, be sure to explore the entirety of the beach for truly astonishing sights.


Ouzoud waterfalls

These waterfalls are easily reachable; the hike takes approximately 30 minutes to walk down (since the parking is at the top) and 45 minutes to go up, depending on your physical level. This waterfall is now one of my favorites; the surroundings are incredibly beautiful, and you’ll also encounter monkeys greeting you during the hike.

When you arrive down at the waterfall, you can pay to get closer with a kind of boat, but it’s really unnecessary as you can already get quite close by yourself. There is no barrier or restriction. I loved the greenery around, contrasting perfectly with the orange rocks. 

Final thoughts

This journey proved to be lengthy and exhausting, not just for me but also for Laos. Despite basking in the sun for a month, the return trip through Spain presented challenges with dense fog and persistent rain—quite disheartening, to say the least. Returning to Europe brought a mix of emotions; as a solo woman traveler, I felt relieved to be back, able to walk my dog without causing concern among passersby. However, I find myself already yearning for the boundless kindness of the Moroccan people, the otherworldly landscapes, the sun (yes, once again), and the profound sense of freedom that enveloped me there.

I hope you found some valuable information in this post, and who knows, maybe you’ll find us in the desert in 2024! 

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