The first time in my life that I would leave my family for about 4 months! I was so excited.
I’ve chosen to do my internship in Morocco. It was my biggest dream! I’ve found a blog of another French girl who did her internship in the ecolodge Sawadi. I have read the blog and I really wanted to do my internship there.
March was the month of a big new adventure for me! It was so difficult to leave my family, but I had to look forward. I went to the sun, my favourite country and a beautiful hotel! 🙂
Before telling about my best memories, I’m going to tell you more about the ecolodge Sawadi.
Sawadi is a paradise hidden in a huge palm grove situated in South Morocco, in the small town Skoura. The ecolodge, in other words a hotel where sustainability and ecology are the biggest aim, is a big domain with 20 rooms spread over several kasbahs, all handmade and decorated in Berber style. There are double rooms and family rooms with or without their own terrace and chimney.
On the domain you can find a swimming pool, a playground, panoramic terraces, a spa and hammam, meadows with vegetables and fruit trees and a farm with farm animals! Every tourist can go wherever they want.
Like I said before, there are a lot of vegetables and fruits in the gardens. Turnips, pumpkins, sorghum, alfalfa, dates, apples, peaches, grapes and pomegranates. All those dishes are served with fresh products from the garden. This is a big asset for the hotel. You get typical Moroccan food but also French dishes, delicious! 🙂
The products you get as breakfast are also fresh from the garden. What do you think about a homemade yoghurt and a fresh fruit juice? Or bread with jam made by the girls? Yes, all those products are made at Sawadi. They even sell their soap and Calendula oil which are super for your skin.
During your stay you can do lots and lots of nice things. You can choose to stay at the pool and relax or you can explore the region. Sawadi offers excursions to the palm grove of Skoura, Sidi Flah, the Dades Gorges, the Rose Valley,… (I will tell you more about it later 😉 )
My first days were calm. I had the time to accustom and to get to know the hotel and my colleagues who were so warm and friendly. My bosses Philippe and Catherine explained me my tasks I had to accomplish during my internship and it was actually quite a lot. In my first weeks I had to convince travel agencies and tour operators from Belgium to cooperate with us and ultimately attract more Belgian tourists to Sawadi. It wasn’t easy but I had a nice working place so I didn’t complain. 🙂
My other tasks were: serve the breakfast, serve the dinner, reception, answer incomming mails and calls and maintain the Facebook page of the ecolodge.
I’m happy! After serving breakfast, I could accompany my colleague Said and two Belgian tourists for a bike tour in the palm grove! Finally I would discover my region Skoura. We visited the known Kasbah Amridil which is situated 2 km from the town and you have to know that Sawadi is 7km from the town. We have got a guide who explained us the history of the kasbah. It was impressive!! A must do when you are in Skoura 😉 This monument was a fortress that protected a whole village against enemies. There were a lot of spaces with small windows to hold the warmth outside. They used those to sleep, to cook, to hold their animals and as a refrigerator. We could not imagine that nowadays 😉 A kasbah normally has 4 towers, but this one had 5. The 5th one was used as a toilet 😀 On the upper terrace, you have a beautiful view over the whole palm grove of Skoura. Oh yes, one tip! If you want to do this bike tour, don’t forget it isn’t easy and it’s a tour of 15km!! I can assure you, I was dead after the excursion. We had rain, a lot of wind and hills which goes up and down. But I was very happy after it 🙂
My second memory I will never forget is the marriage of my two lovely colleagues Abdelilah and Khadija. You have to know that a marriage in Skoura takes about 7 days ! During this week, they get a visit from the family and friends. The day I was invited, was the day the bride would have her first night with her groom and from then, the couple lives officially together. I was so over the moon that I could attend this beautiful occasion. I sat under a big tent with the families who danced and sang. The couple came in and out the tent and every time with another beautiful outfit. It was so impressive. Everybody wanted to take a picture with the bride and the groom. After the party it was time for the gifts. The groom was already home and the bride was surrounded by the family. She was blindfolded. Her sisters called the names of the guests and what the gift was when meanwhile the mother was greasing her hair with henna (that’s the tradition). Finally the time came to drop her off at the house of her new husband. It was 4 am in the morning when I was in bed, so tired but oh they looked so happy!
Abdou, a colleague of mine, invited me to go to the farm with him. On the way to the farm he explained me which vegetables and spices I could find in the gardens. That was very interesting because there were so many kinds spread all over the domain. We arrived at the farm, it was pretty big. I’ve seen donkeys, cats, dogs, rabbits, sheep and lambs, chickens, ducks, cows, pigeons, a goose, goats, a turkey and even beehives! It was incredible. Sawadi cooks with the eggs and make yoghurt and butter with the milk.
The 18th of April it’s my birthday and the day that my mother and grandmother would arrive at Sawadi. I was so excited to see them because I really missed them! It was their first time in Morocco and they were very curious. In the first place they came here to relax and enjoy the sun. But I had planned a few excursions for them. Our first jaunt was a tour in the palm grove to discover the region. We didn’t took a car but a tricycle! It is a motorcycle with a big trunk were you can sit in. In Morocco you will see those means of transport everywhere and not just 2 people in the back, but more than 10! We had a great time and after that we felt it on our but 😉 After a ride of 30min, we arrived at the Kasbah Amridil. We did a guided tour and my mother and grandmother were impressed. We also drunk a tea with the team of the Kasbah. After this great day, we went back to Sawadi.
A few days later, I planned our second excursion. We shared a car with two other tourists till Kasbah Chems in the Rose Valley (where my friend lives 🙂 ) We had lunch with them and after that they continued their trip. It was a beautiful day, so we went for a walk through the gardens. My friend Said took us to the most precious places of the region and my mother and grandmother were impressed. It was their first time they saw nature in this way, untouched! We closed the day with a delicious tagine in the Berber tent. My mother and grandmother were really happy to be there. The next day we went to the Dades Valley by car. Again my family was so impressed by the beauty of the landscapes. To end our trip, Said took us to the most famous part of the Valley, were we had a beautiful view. We had some beautiful times together, but unfortunately it was the end of their vacation. I was very hard to let them go.
One month later, my father and stepmother came to Sawadi. I was so happy to have my family with me and to share some moments with them. My parents had their own car so that was much easier for us to move. They took me to Sidi Flah, a beautiful piece of nature where a river flows through. It’s about 15min from the center of Skoura. We let the car behind us and we started to walk along the river. It was beautiful. The water was so clear that you could see through it. Normally you can spot turtles, but unfortunately we didn’t saw them. This place is so peaceful and calm. After that we drove to Ouarzazate, but we made a stop at a huge lake. We sat there for while and enjoyed the silence. We ended the day at Ouarzazate.
And of course my parents and I went to the Rose Valley 🙂 It was Mai so the roses were in bloom. Wauw you see roses everywhere! Mohamed took us for a nice walk through the rose gardens. I never saw so many roses at one place. I definitely recommend it to everybody who loves to walk and who wants to disappear from the stressy world. We were very relaxed and happy. It was breathtaking.
We ended our trip in the Dades Gorges. We took lunch together on a very nice place with a view over the valley. Yes I know I went frequently to the gorges. It’s because I love the region. It’s a beautiful place for nice walks through the gardens, fruit trees and along the river.
In the last part of my blog, I would like to thank my incredible colleagues. During those 3 months I was with them every day. We worked, laughed, cried, ate together. They were my new family! Since the first day, they accepted me. I was invited several times in their homes for a cup of tea or tagine. They introduced me to their family. They are so amazing!!! Thank you so much my loves for those beautiful memories we created together. My last days I spent with them. I went from the one house, to the other for dinner and henna 🙂
I also want to thank Julie, another girl who did her internship in Skoura. We found each other on the right time. She was there for me and I was there for her. When we needed a pep talk, she came to me. She is an amazing girl ! Hope to see you again one day sweaty 😉
For more info about Sawadi, take a look on their website: http://www.sawadi.ma or you can contact me 🙂
I put more photos of my experience in Skoura in my gallery, so don’t hesitate to take a look!