One afternoon in the Moroccan jungle – the oasis Jnane Tamsna near Marrakech, Morocco

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Morocco is a strange country. It is an unexpected mix of gorgeous mountains, sand dunes, numerous oases with palms, imperial cities with hectic life, colorful medinas and markets that literally blow your mind. On the tenth day of this adventure we had experienced all shades of the above experiences and not only, and we were heading for a two-day visit to the place where all guides pointed – Marrakech.

In a small lyrical deviation we will mention that while organizing our trip, we really wanted to experience and feel as many different things and feelings as possible. We wanted to live in both the traditional budget riads and the luxury hotels. To eat on the market, with the berbers in the mountain and in the modern restaurants in the cities. And somehow we ordered our plan in a way that the last couple of days we dedicated to the more contemporary and western-style experiences rather that the traditional Morocco.

In the day before Marrakech we were here - trekking in the High Atlas mountains
In the day before Marrakech we were here – trekking in the High Atlas mountains

So, after three very emotional days in the High Atlas Mountains, where we lived in small berber villages and walked over 20 km through the mountains at more than 2000 m above the sea level, we arrived for a lunch in Marrakech, or actually just outside Marrakech. We had arranged a lunch in Jnane Tamsna hotel in the Palmeraie district, a palm oasis with more than 100 000 palm trees, inhabited mostly with luxury hotels and villas but not lacking traditional neighbourhoods with local population as well.

The entrance to Jnane Tamsna, a hotel near Marrakech, Morocco
The entrance to Jnane Tamsna, a hotel near Marrakech, Morocco

What is Jnane Tamsna?

It took us an hour and half to drive the 60 km from the mountains to Marrakech. We passed through crazy Marrakech traffic and 10 minutes later the navigation took us to a small neighbourhood with walking children, adults, cats and chicken along the streets. Finally, just beneath it was the gate to Jnane Tamsna, surrounded by tall stone wall, as many similar places in Morocco. A few hundred metres later, behind the numerous palm trees and olive trees, we spotted the yellowish buildings of the hotel.

The yellowish buildings of Jnane Tamsna hotel near Marrakech, Morocco
The yellowish buildings of Jnane Tamsna
One of the cozy lounges at the hotel
One of the cozy lounges at the hotel

Jnana Tamsna is an estate with 5 villas, surrounded by 9 acres of greenery and gardens. Before our arrival in Morocco we tried to organize a night in the hotel but no rooms were available. The hotel complex is relatively small. They have a total of 27 rooms that can accommodate up to 60 people. One very nice thing is that the villas are separated from each other with a lot of greenery. So you can find privacy for yourself or your group of friends at any time.

The rooftop terrace
The rooftop terrace
Elena and the pool with roses
Elena and the pool with roses

There are 5 pools within the estate, two of which are heated in the colder seasons. A very nice particularity of Moroccan climate is that in November you can have two seasons. During the day it may be like summer, up to 30 degrees and wonderful for sunbaths. Then in the night the temperatures are low enough to enjoy the coziness of a lit fireplace.

The central pool of Jnane Tamsna, luxury hotel in Marrakech Morocco
The central pool of Jnane Tamsna
The salt water pool
The salt water pool

The gardens of Jnane Tamsna

It was a pleasure to escape the deserted landscapes we had been seeing within the past days and immerse ourselves in gardens and greenery. The view was quite close to what we are imagining for a jungle, despite we have never been in a real jungle. Tall palm trees, lower bushes and numerous other plants all around. Only that everything in this jungle was neatly ordered in beautiful beds with various plants. In the gardens of Jnane Tamsna they grow literally everything that can be grown in the area – date palms, olive trees, more than 10 aloe species and numerous herbs. The production from the gardens is organic and goes straight to the restaurant of the hotel.

Through the gardens of Jnane Tamsna
Through the gardens of Jnane Tamsna
A part of the flora in the Jnane Tamsna gardens
A part of the flora in the Jnane Tamsna gardens

They also have natural fauna, mostly lizards, turtles and hedgehogs. They are very proud with their hedgehogs, because hedgehogs are a sign of a healthy garden.

Maria walking through the beautiful gardens. The dress and the hat are locally designed and made
Maria walking through the beautiful gardens. The dress and the hat are locally designed and made

Lunch at Jnane Tamsna

During our visit we learned that it was currently the olive picking season and they were producing large quantities of olive oil. We also tried natural fresh olives which we found hard to appreciate, probably because we are so used to marinated and processed olives that we cannot even recognize the taste of fresh olives. However, the olive oil we were served was outstanding.

Our lunch corner in the gardens of Jnane Tamsna
Our lunch corner in the gardens of Jnane Tamsna

We also have to mention that we had lunch in no actual restaurant but on a few cozy tables, neatly arranged by one of the pools. We had booked in advance so we found a table for 4 waiting for us. The atmosphere was very cozy and nice, almost like a picnic, under the natural music of bird songs.

The lunch menu at Jnane Tamsna was not long and is different every day, depending on the fresh production of the day. That day it was one salad (tabbouleh with chickpeas and mint, quite unusual but very delicious), a 4 different main courses (among them fish, lamb chops, lentils sausage) and crème Brulee for dessert.

Tabbouleh with chickpeas and mint, Jnane Tamsna,, Marrakech, Morocco
Tabbouleh with chickpeas and mint, Jnane Tamsna, Marrakech, Morocco
The lamb chops
The lamb chops
The delicious fish that our family ordered
The delicious fish that our family ordered

We had a wonderful meal on the cozy glass tables and thought that the afternoon spent here was a really nice escape from the noise, colours and smells of Morocco.

Finally, the stunning Creme Brulee - Jnane Tamsna hotel, Marrakech
Finally, the stunning Creme Brulee

The prices of the lunch menu in the restaurant are quite reasonable, regarding the quality of the food. While travelling through Morocco we witnessed quite more expensive restaurants lacking any of the qualities of this place. For what he had during our lunch, the prices were really good. In our following articles we will tell you how in Morocco you can eat for 15 dirhams and for 300 dirhams (10 dirhams are 1 euro), but the high price is not always proportional to the quality.

Jnane Tamsna – a little more history

Jnane Tamsna is a creation of some of those people who arrived in Morocco many years ago for some occasion and then refused to leave at all. Indeed there are quite many of these in Morocco, mostly from French and Spanish origin. So, the owners of Jnane Tamsna are Meryanne Loum-Martin, a Paris lawyer from French and Senegalese origin, and her husband Gary Martin, a well-known American cultural anthropologist and ethnobotanist. The whole place was created by their designs and inspiration.

One of the cosiest places in the hotel
One of the cosiest places in the hotel
Maria and the archs of Jnane Tamsna
Maria and the archs of Jnane Tamsna

Meryanne, a passionate designer, moved from Paris to Marrakech in the 1980s and since then her life is almost entirely related to this country. She is responsible for the architecture and interior design of the whole complex. Moreover, she has an art workshop where she creates various pieces of art inspired by North Africa.

And despite she is busy with multiple things, she greets each guest at Jnane Tamsna, including us, despite we were only visiting for lunch.

Our team and Meryanne
Our team and Meryanne

Later we took a walk with her daughter Thais and their dog Smokie who they adopted 3 years ago.

Maria, Thais, Andrey and Smokie
Maria, Thais, Andrey and Smokie

And the had to pronounce name of the hotel means “Big Garden” – quite proper for what you will find there.


If you are not heading to Morocco soon but wish to try Moroccan cuisine, we can recommend a very nice place in Sofia, Bulgaria – Annette Moroccan restaurant. we have previously shared our thoughts about it here.

 In our Instagram account we share more photos and thoughts from our trips and daily life, so if you are curious, follow us there, too.

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