September 8, 2002 – Casablanca – Rabat




At around 7:30, I say goodbye and thank you to Dominique for the first day in Morocco. I have to take the train at Casa Port to reach Rabat. Casa Port is the second major railway station in Casablanca (near the United Nations square) and the main station for the train going to Rabat whereas all the other destinations in Morocco are better served from Casa Voyageurs. In less than one hour I am in Rabat, the streets are empty and that sounds logical because it is only 9am and the working day is just starting there. Some shops are opened as well as some cafés but the city seems deserted. I go straightaway to the medina where I am supposed to find a hotel for the night but, for the first time in my recent travels, there is no vacancy. They all told me to come back at noon but I really need to leave my bag and they don’t accept it. I really have to read carefully the guidebook to find something else. Finally I found the Hotel Mamounia where there is a single room for me and I am very happy to leave the bag and to take a shower. With this, I will be able to start the visit of the city.


I start the visit with the Oudaias kasbah where little streets are painted in blue and white, a real haven. Just behind the kasbah and facing the Ocean, there is an esplanade that offers a great view on the beaches, the Oued (river) and Salé (the white city) on the other side.

Oudaias kasbah


On the other side of the oued : the city of Salé


I walk deep in the medina, the souks are almost desert in the beginning of the afternoon but it will be different in late afternoon. Suddenly, I see a food booth at a corner of the street so I stop to buy 2 sandwiches with eggplants, some tomato juice on it and of course cumin, what a meal for only 3 DH!! I don’t know yet that I will stick to this type of sandwich for a lot of days, it is so delicious. In Morocco or generally in middle east, the temperature is so high that you don’t feel the necessity to eat a lot during the day so I will stick to one meal in the evening and from time to time a little sandwich at noon.

Ramparts of the Oudaias  kasbah


I go back to the kasbah in order to visit the museum and the garden that surrounds the place. In different rooms, you can see local clothes wear by men and women in a Berber style. There are also numerous jewels displayed nearly everywhere and explanations about the use of which type of jewel for precise occasion (daily life, marriage, feasts…) The main attraction of the museum is the bronze room that enables the visitor to see the jewelry in Morocco from the very beginning, a lesson of history.


I resume my wandering in the souks streets and I stop from time to time to admire the architecture, the shops and the way of life, very different from what I see everyday in Europe. After two glasses of orange juice on the street, I decide to go to see the famous Hassan tower and the mausoleum where Hassan II and Mohammed V are buried. The tower should be 60m high but the construction ends at 45m. The side facing the ocean has a different color due to the salt. Two cracks from previous earthquakes are clearly visible on one side of the tower.

Hassan tower


The esplanade of the mausoleum is pretty huge with the rest of the columns which could have been part of a major mosque if there wasn’t the earthquake some centuries ago. The white mausoleum cannot be missed on one side, the place is guarded day and night by the Royal guard as well as the entrances of the esplanade. Inside, the central tomb is the one of Mohammed V whereas the tomb of his son Hassan II is on the left. A gallery enables the visitors to have a complete view on the tombs.

Mohammed V mausoleum


Mohammed V tomb in the middle and Hassan II in the corner


From the mausoleum, I try to find my way to the museum of Rabat. It is not really easy to find but with patience and the help of Moroccans it was ok. The museum in itself is not that interesting but there are numerous pieces of Roman time that are visible in one major part of the museum. It is in fact a general idea of what I will see in Volubilis in a few days.


Then I want to see the Royal palace where Mohammed VI lives among other fantastic palaces through Morocco. The complex is huge, the gardens that surround the park are really beautiful and so green even in September. The avenues leading to the palace main square and entrance are lined with well-pruned trees. The complex is well guarded, as I tried to take a little street that goes next to the palace wall, a policeman quickly come to me to invite me to return to the main avenue. The gates of the palace are impressive.

Royal palace entrance


From the Royal palace, I join the Chellah necropole behind the southern ramparts of the city. The place is the rest of the Roman city of Sala Colonia. The walls with the ochre color contrats with the white color of the city of Salé or the one in the kasbah.

Chellah necropole


I go back to the hotel just to relax a few minutes before returning to the festive atmosphere of the medina. It is really difficult to wander in the streets in late afternoon, there are so many people there!!! On my way I observe the hubbub of the buyers and the incessant calls of shopkeepers to vaunt their goods. I also taste some pastries, it is so good…I will spend a lot of time wandering with no goal but the one to discover the neighborhood.


Tonight I will have the diner next to the local market at the café de la jeunesse that has a small terrace but with a great view on the intersection of Mohammed V street and souk Semara street. The menu is the same everywhere for tourists but for me it will be brochettes with fries and rice with a coke. There are also many tajines for nearly nothing.


After such a good meal, last wandering in the medina before going back to the hotel.


Main expenses of the day :

Train Casablanca – Rabat: 29.50 DH

Hotel Mamounia: 60 DH for a single, 90 DH for a double and 120 DH for 3 beds

Museum of the kasbah entrance: 20 DH

Unofficial guide at the mausoleum: 20 DH

Drinks (water, soft drinks, tea…) + evening meal: 45 DH





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D1 : Luxembourg – Paris – Casablanca

D2 : Casablanca – Rabat

D3 : Rabat – Meknes

D4 : Meknes – Volubilis – Meknes

D5 : Meknes - Fes

D6 : Fes

D7 : Merzouga

D8 : Merzouga – Tinehrir

D9 : Tinehrir – Ouarzazate – Marrakesh

D10 : Marrakesh

D11 : Marrakesh – Imlil

D12 : Imlil – Toubkal refuge

D13 : Refuge – 4167m –Tizi Ouanoums

D14 : Tizi Ouanoums – Amsouzert

D15 : Amsouzert – Azib Likemt

D16 : Azib Likemt – Tacheddirt

D17 : Tacheddirt – Imlil – Marrakesh

D18 : Marrakesh – Essaouira

D19 : Essaouira – El Jadida – Tangier

D20 : Tangier

D21 : Tangier – Chefchaouen

D22 : Chefchaouen – Casablanca

D23 : Casablanca – Paris – Luxembourg




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Last update: December 2002

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