Presentation of the destination
Témara is a laid-back coastal city situated directly south of the capital Rabat’s sprawl on the Atlantic coast. With a population of 250,000, the town enjoys beautiful beaches and a small port, and is twinned with the French town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The town was established in the 12th century by Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mumin, who built a beautiful mosque here. Later leaders fortified the town, and today the settlement has two industrial areas as well as a thriving social scene downtown. Locals speak French and Moroccan Arabic as well as Berber languages. The currency is the Moroccan dirham, and the climate is hot in summer but cools down significantly in winter.
Points of interests / things to see
No trip to Témara would be complete without spending some time exploring the waterfront and soaking up the rays on the beaches of this seafront city. Potter around the small port to see the little blue fishing vessels that take hardy Moroccan fishermen out into the Atlantic Ocean to catch your dinner. The boats are manoeuvred in and out of the water by ancient tractors that seem constantly in need of being fixed. Smugglers Beach (Contrabandiers Beach) and Golden Sand Beach (Sables d’Or) are ideal stop for families, as the gentle slope of the sand means children can play in the shallows quite safely, and venders of fruit, water and beach toys make their way up and down the sand. Bring your own umbrella and plenty of sun cream as the African sun can be intense. As evening falls take a wander along La Corniche, the oceanfront path offering incredible views of the sunset. And if you're visiting in winter, the crashing Atlantic waves and wheeling seagulls make a trip to the seafront a bracing experience.
Right at the heart of modern Témara lies the old kasbah, a military fortification constructed by the Almohad rulers of the city at the start of their reign in the 12th century, and developed by subsequent leaders until Moulay Abdul-Aziz completed it around the beginning of the 20th century. This 72 hectare site contains a beautiful old mosque, the mausoleum of Sidi Lahcen and other historical buildings, all contained within its 6.5 m high walls. Kasbahs once formed the very heart of old Moroccan cities, providing a palatial home for the ruler, a vantage point from which to survey the surrounding area and a place of refuge in times of siege. The presence of elaborate kasbahs such as the one in Témara indicate great wealth, and in fact the Almohad Dynasty who constructed this one were an incredibly powerful Berber-Muslim family who once ruled much of the Atlas Mountains. Take a stroll around this ancient site where towering palm trees peek over the battlements to get a sense of their power.
Morocco is renowned for its stunning Arabian horses, with their distinctive fine-featured faces, proud arched necks and conker-glossy coats. The light and fast Barb or Berber horse was first bred here too, and Berber people are still immensely proud of their speed and fiery temperament. The Royal School of Cavalry in Témara is home to an internationally renowned stable of some of Morocco's finest horses. In 2004 this school hosted the 16th World Military Championship equestrian sports contest, with riders from four continents arriving here to compete. Stables have a capacity of around 300 horses, and there is a riding school with a stand of 300 seats, two classrooms and various other equine facilities, including a farrier’s yard, tack and leather workshop and a tailor. Enter under the grand triple-arched sandstone gate to experience the finest Moroccan horsemanship and admire some of the most beautiful horses in the country. The Royal School of Cavalry also offers trekking along the lovely Atlantic coast, so both amateurs and professionals can get their equine fix. Explore the beaches or head inland, either way you’ll fall in love with these stunning steeds.
Travel back in time through the mists of Paleolithic and Neolithic history with a trip to El Harhoura II Cave. El Harhoura II is part of a complex of caves that line the coast between Casablanca and Rabat. This fascinating place is tucked away near the beautiful El Harhoura beach, in between Témara and Rabat. The cave is particularly important to archaeologists for the evidence found there of early human habitations, as well as the presence of human bones, midden remains such as shells, and evidence of stone tools and early farming. Climate researchers have also carbon-dated rodent bones found in a succession of sedimentary layers on the cave floor, in order to learn more about periods of aridity and humidity during the past. One reason these studies have been so important is that they shed light on the relationship between climatic variations and the success of Homo sapiens in Africa, helping us understand how we came to dominate the globe. Follow in the footsteps of our ancestors and explore the area around the cave, as there’s a beautiful forest nearby.
Go wild at the Rabat Zoo, just northwest of Témara and a must-see destination for anyone staying in the area. The zoo houses over 1,200 species of bird, 800 species of mammal and many other fantastic furry or feathery friends. Bird lovers can come up close with a mighty Golden Eagle, meet colourful parrots or marvel at the graceful ostriches. Chimpanzees and hippos, Egyptian cobras and mighty elephants, flamingos, giraffes and cheetahs all seem well at home here, but there are also some surprisingly non-African animals about: llamas from Peru, ponies from Shetland and even Scottish Angus cattle. There’s also an educational zoo, where children can get up close to stroke silky mohair goats and quacking mallard ducks, learning about farming and meat production as well. There's also a range of great snacks for any ravenous beasts you might be travelling with, as various food kiosks offer everything from candyfloss and hamburgers to pizza and ice cream. You can plan your visit and buy your ticket online at the website http://rabatzoo.ma/ (in Arabic and French). Address: Annexe 23eme, Ceinture Vert, Cité Yacoub El Mansour, Rabat.
Romantic Casablanca is only an hour's drive from Rabat, and its breezy French colonial vibe, welcoming attitude to tourists and beautiful medina make it a perennial tourist favourite. Stop off in Bouznika for swimming, surfing or golfing if that's your thing, or just while away some time in a trendy cafe drinking mint tea. It’s just an hour from Rabat by train.
Right on the outskirts of Rabat lies the fantastic Roman necropolis of Chellah, or Sala Colonia. The most ancient human settlement in the area, Chellah is situated at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river, where Phoenicians and Carthaginians most likely built an earlier settlement, and is a jumble of explorable ruins and storks nests. There's a fantastic jazz festival held here every June, see the website for details http://www.jazzauchellah.com/2010/accueil.php. Otherwise, entrance is 10Dh.
Just two hours from Témara, Fes is the spiritual and culinary capital of Morocco, offering incredible religious architecture and the most sublime tajines in a lush agricultural setting. The city is incredibly old, dating back 1,200 years, and has a very stoic attitude to change. Old Fes is a riot of colour and noise, spices and donkeys, heat and dust, and utterly beguiling. Take a visit to the tannery or relax in one of the sumptuous hammams. Trains from Rabat take 2.5 hours and cost around 75 – 100Dh.
Head inland to Meknes on the A2 road and discover a Unesco-listed town that’s full of surprises. The architecture is a harmonious blend of Islamic and European styles, and in the 17th century was once the capital of Morocco. A relative lack of tourists means you'll enjoy reasonable prices and less hassle, and from Meknes it's just a short hop to the remarkable Roman ruins of Volubilis. Trains from Rabat take 2.5 hours and cost around 65Dh.
How to get there ?
Témara is one of the two dormitory cities of Rabat, the Moroccan capital, which make it easily accessible from abroad. Rabat is well served by train, four hours from Marrakesh, 2.5 hours from Fes and just an hour from Casablanca. Rabat is also extremely well connected by bus with routes running to nearly every town in the country, although many of these buses do not stop the central bus station and so you need to exercise and ingenuity to work out which is the correct stop. Most tourists fly into nearby Casablanca, as it slightly better connected to international destinations than Rabat–Salé Airport, which only flies to Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, London-Stansted and a few smaller destinations. Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport has a much more extensive list of destinations. When travelling around Témara avoid the white Mercedes Grand taxis, as they are both expensive and unsafe compared to the blue petit taxis, although in any case you should insist upon the meter. Avoid driving, as Morocco has the second-highest rate of traffic accidents in the world, although there are plenty of walkable areas in the city such as the Corniche.
Hotels in Temara (Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer)
Appartement Sahl Rhone
Résidence Riad Assalam Immeuble 2 Appartement 2
12000 - Temara
Hay Oued Eddahab, Avenue du Caire, Rue Laarach 14 Lotissement Foutouh
12000 - Temara
Indicative price : 36 EUR - 38 EUR
Lot 241 lotissement Nemsia (Lazrak), Avenue Mohamed V
12010 - Temara
Indicative price : 29.25 EUR - 39 EUR
Villa Témara Plage
Résidence Ennassim - Avenue Moustapha Assayeh
12000 - Temara
Résidence Riyad Harhoura
Résidence Riyad Harhoura Immeuble 3 Appartement 1
12014 - Temara
Indicative price : 60 EUR - 60 EUR
Le Calme a Temara
10 Lotissement Comatrav 1 Oued Eddahab
12000 - Temara
Indicative price : 19.6 EUR - 31.5 EUR
Beautiful sunny craft villa, Harhoura
12040 - Temara
99 HAY ABBADI rue sidi kacem
12000 - Temara
Indicative price : 30.08 EUR - 55 EUR
Villa Front de Mer
Résidence ennassime Temara , rabat
12040 - Temara
Avenue Moulay Ismail
10160 - Temara
Indicative price : 120 EUR - 120 EUR