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Asilah, Morocco
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Beach
 
 
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Asilah, Morocco

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

The fortified village of Asilah (also spelled Assilah) is a great base for family travelers touring northwest Morocco. Not only is this seaside town ideally positioned, Asilah boasts great beaches and offers a soft intro to both food and culture. Situated on Morocco's north Atlantic coast, Asilah is less than 1 hour from Tangier and just 90 minutes from the bird sanctuary at Moulay Bousselham. The sandy beaches to the north and south are easily accessed and safe for swimming. The wee whitewashed medina is easy to navigate. The small, but thriving, artist community adds a touch of color. Ties to a long Spanish dominion are omnipresent - blue doors, wrought iron windows and Spanish cuisine. What's more, this tranquil port town has far fewer faux guides than most Moroccan cities.
Barbary Pirates
Barbary pirates terrorized the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic coast of Europe for nearly four centuries to 1830. They captured European and American ships and kidnapped sailors. Barbary pirates looted vessels and held crews for ransom. They raided coastal villages and sold Christians into slavery. Barbary pirates plied the seas in sailing ships and galleys. They used cannons and scimitars to instill panic. Barbary pirates fought hand-to-hand and often tortured their victims. They operated from port towns in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia, the part of North Africa known as the Barbary Coast. Barbary pirates, in truth privateers, weren't outlaws at home. They were financed by local merchants and backed by the government. Famous Barbary pirates include the Barbarossa or red-bearded brothers, Mulai Ahmed el Raisuni (also known as Raisuli), and English-born Captain John Ward.
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Travel Trivia
Which of the following animals are you likely to spot on an African safari: