Last updated on November 26th, 2022 at 04:45 pm
These colourful and quirky gardens are a relatively new feature in Marrakech’s tourist landscape. Work began on this Morocco garden in 2010 and it was opened to the public in 2016. It’s right in the middle of fairly barren land which makes this magical garden world even more special.
Make sure you put Anima Garden at the top of your ‘things to do in Marrakech’ list!
What is Anima Garden?
Anima Garden is the brainchild of Andre Heller, a multi-media Austrian artist born in 1947. He lives and works in both Vienna and Marrakech. His vision for the garden was one of peace and you certainly get a sense of that here. Andre Heller’s garden is also an opportunity to embrace other cultures (by way of art). Heller’s use of colour and eccentricity creates an environment of energy, fun and joy.
And if you’re wondering about the word Anima’s meaning, it’s a concept introduced by Swiss psycho-analyst Carl Jung. It refers to a person’s soul; their true inner self. Clearly, this is what Heller wants us to embrace in Anima Garden Marrakech.
Heller has worked to ensure that these gardens in Marrakech are based upon a sustainable model. The production of Anima Garden has also created hundreds of employment opportunities for Marrakech residents.
How to get to Anima Garden
Anima Garden is a 30 to 40 minute drive south from central Marrakech so unless you have hired your own car, your best bet is to take the Anima Garden shuttle. You can book this via the Anima website. Anima request that you book 24 hours ahead if possible, although it’s still worth requesting the shuttle with less time to go than this. We requested the shuttle around 18 hours ahead and received confirmation of our places.
The Anima Garden shuttle leaves from the Koutoubia Mosque car park at 9.30am and 2.30pm
The minibus was full when we arrived. However, they had another vehicle available for extra passengers and the drivers didn’t leave until they ensured everyone was on board.
You do not need to book the Anima Garden Shuttle for your return journey back to the city. Just head to the ticket kiosk area in advance of the 1pm or 5.30pm return times.
In July and August (Marrakech’s hottest months) the shuttle may not run as regularly so make sure to check the Anima website before you book.
Anima Garden is open every day (except for during Eid) from 9am till 6pm.
How much is the entrance to Anima Garden?
Adult tickets for Anima Garden are 120 DH. Children over 12 years old are 60 DH. Children under 12 years old can gain entrance to the gardens for free. If you are driving to Anima Garden yourself, you can buy tickets easily enough when you get there. There’s no need to book in advance, unless you want to take the Anima shuttle bus – this you need to reserve in advance and they may ask to see your e-tickets in advance of boarding the minibus, giving priority to those who already have tickets booked for the Garden.
How long do you need to see Anima Garden?
How long you want to spend at Anima Garden really depends on how much time you’ve got and how long you want to relax away from the city. The garden measures 2 hectares (5 acres) – smaller than you might at first think. Its’ twists and turns make it seem deceptively large. It makes good use of space and it won’t take you long to make your way around. However, the intrigue of these Marrakech gardens ensures that you will want to go back and wander around several times – taking in some of the things you might have missed the first time.
Personally, we felt that arriving at 10am when the Anima garden shuttle arrived, and leaving when the first shuttle departed at 1pm allowed us the right amount of time (half a day) to enjoy the garden at leisure and relax at the café before heading back. A full day here, unless you bring a good book and chill out in one of the hammocks (which would actually be a great idea), might feel a bit long – for kids, at least.
Is there a café at Anima Garden?
There’s a wonderful café at Anima Garden – the Paul Bowles café. Paul Bowles was an American writer who spent much of his life living in Morocco.
You’ll naturally come across the café as you wander the paths of the garden. There’s a small museum/ art gallery next to it. There’s also a fabulous rooftop with views of the Atlas mountains and a birds eye view of the gardens that’s worth popping up to see. As there was little to no shade up on the rooftop, we opted to eat downstairs where there were tables with umbrellas and some cover.
The café has a small but appetising menu. You’ll find toasted paninis, moroccan pancakes, coffee and cake, smoothies and fresh juice – it’s good quality food and some of the ingredients are sourced from the garden itself and the surrounding area.
The Art at Anima Garden
With works by Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin, Andre Heller’s garden is about more than just looking pretty. Heller has discussed that one of his objectives was to make a statement about social challenge and western and eastern values. You’ll find Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ portraying the importance of contemplation and a painted ark which symbolises the refugee crisis.
There are both local and international themes in relation to the art in Andre Heller’s garden. When you enter the garden, you’ll be met with three striking African sculptures. Further along, you’ll find an Asian style fountain and pavilion, painted in a dramatic red, offsetting the green foliage perfectly. A stripy teepee rises up against the backdrop of the blue sky and Atlas mountains and there are palm trees and benches dotted around the garden which also feature the same stripy theme.
The garden is playful in its use of art which is one of the things that makes it so great for families. There’s a large-eyed face popping out of the ivy with plants for hair, and hammocks in hidden spots waiting to be discovered. There’s a giant mosaic head which unexpectedly sprays water at you as you walk past. All of this adds to the element of surprise and delight as you wonder what’s around each corner.
The Plants at Anima Garden
There are over 250 different species of plants in this Morocco garden. You’ll be met with the delicate scent of Jasmine and confronted with a variety of cacti in all different shapes and sizes. As the plants have had an opportunity to mature since the garden was first established, there’s a sense of being enveloped in the garden – whether it’s by a giant cactus, the tall bamboo lined paths or the palm trees which provide a canopy overhead.
Gardening enthusiasts and lovers of nature will love identifying all of the different plants in this garden – and those who are perhaps not so knowledgeable (me!) can just enjoy the beauty of the garden.
Is Anima Garden good for kids?
Anima garden is great for kids – it’s colourful and fun but what they’ll love most is the ability to get lost (and jump out at you when you’re not expecting it)! There are lots of winding paths which twist and turn, leading you into nooks and crannies like a maze. And of course, children love mazes! There are no signposts – you just let your senses guide you and allow yourself to be surprised at every turn by all the fragrant flowers and unusual artwork! Kids will love what’s on offer in the cafe too.
Make sure you put Anima Garden on your Marrakech itinerary for some respite from the busy city and lots of fun. You won’t regret it.
For more information on the best things to do in Marrakech with kids, pop on over to this article: 12 Best Things to do in Marrakech with Kids.