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Char Glacy MN'09, Exploring Morocco

Updated: Sep 6, 2020

Morocco offers many interesting opportunities for exploration, and not just the souks, riads and great food. I spent a month there between February and March. Most would say I spend my time only looking at birds, but Morocco awakened other interests long retired since I started birding. The love of archeology took hold with two visits to Volubilis and a day wandering around Lixus. Once a thriving Roman province, Volubilis served as the “bread basket” of Rome and wild animal purveyor for the coliseum. It remains one of the best archeological sites in Morocco. Beautiful mosaics in situ can be seen throughout the site and the ruins give a sense of what life must have been like, especially for the privileged. Lixus ruins emerge from a hill at the bend of the Loukkos River on the western coast of Morocco. We pulled the car over to get a sense of the entire site. No other visitors were there and we were free to explore with a young student guide, whose grandfather was one of the original excavators. There is a theater that still shows a wee bit of original red paint, garum-making facilities, and a basilica. A fantastic mosaic is now covered to protect it from looters. Another, mostly unknown but fascinating site is the Mzora Stone Circles, rarely visited and a megalithic mystery. The circle consists of 168 remaining stones and the tallest reaches more than 5 meters. Needless to say, I made my companions enthusiastically go to one of one of Morocco's prime birdwatching habitats and North Africa's most important wetland. At Merja Zerga we hired an ornithologist and a fishing boat for a morning of birding in the Lagoon.

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