Monday, August 19, 2013

Morocco's Heatwave Set to Continue - Where to Swim

The weeks of hot weather across Morocco are set to continue until at least the end of August. Long range weather predictions are all suggesting that the first break may be on August 24 in Marrakech, when rain is a possibility.

Marrakech temperatures are going to remain high with tops around 40 or 41 degrees Celsius.

Fez will continue hot with temperatures in the high 30s. Rain is not expected in Fez until August 30th

Temperatures will be particularly hot from Wednesday this week through to the weekend with highs over 40 degrees Celsius a possibility.

Escaping the heat has caused thousands to head to the beaches, rivers and swimming pools.

Local swimming pools have been extremely crowded as have resorts near Fez such as Sidi Harazem, the famous oasis Moroccan between Fez and Taza. This mineral water is reputed to have healing properties for the liver and kidneys. Many spa visitors come , not just to swim, but to drink the water while praying to Sidi Harazem, the patron saint of springs. It is a still water with low mineral magnesium bicarbonate. It is marketed by the spa water company (Sotherma).

Sidi Harazem

While the Medina in Marrakech has a large number of swimming pools for visitors, Fez is not so lucky and there has been an unfortunate grab fro profits by some pool owners that has caused people to look further afield. One of the previously popular pools at Riad Alkantara has always been on the expensive side but now is charging adults 150 dirhams to swim and children 75. As one mother with three young children told The View from Fez, "Fifty dirhams to go for a swim would be reasonable... but 150 for me and then 225 for my children? That's just plain wrong."

Another mother said she had been shocked when the Riad tried to charge her for bringing in her two year old daughter.

Alkantara now over priced?
According to Michele Reeves from Plan-it-Fez, cheaper alternatives are the pool at La Perla on the road to Meknes where prices are 100 for adults and 50 for children.

The pool of cold spring water at the Hotel Reda
Also worth considering is the the large pool at the Hotel Reda, just 7 kilometres from Fez. This is the place to go if you want a natural spring-fed pool (there is a small amount of chlorine added for health reasons) with crystal clear cold water. Below the pool the water flows back into the river where swimming is popular with local children.  Prices at Hotel Reda are extremely reasonable with admission price being around  40 or 50 dirham and 10 dirhams cheaper for children.

The Green Diamond - Diamant Vert 
Finally there is Diamant Vert - which is reasonably priced but gets mixed reviews for service and water quality. However it is fun for kids who enjoy water slides. Hotel Complexe Touristique Diamant Vert Km 5, Route d'ain Chkaf, Fès.

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'abdul muHib said...

You forgot Diamant Vert!

The View from Fez said...

Fixed - Thanks

Anonymous said...

Agree, Al Kantara is now phenomenally overpriced. We arrived as a group of 7 and they said "due to new management" they were not flexible with the 150MD price.
We went to Merenid pool overlooking the whole of Fez instead.

Disagree with La Perla -this is misleading as it will cost over 150MD just to get there, not including pool entry fee.