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Kids in the Kasbah

Minimum Age 5 years

This trip is a great introduction to Morocco – you will experience Marrakech, visit a small Berber village in the foothills of the Atlas mountains and then visit the fabulous beaches of Agadir and Essouira.

A fantastic adventure for families with children aged 5 years upwards. Leave everyday life behind as you wander the twisting alleyways of an ancient Medina, a crowded souk full of colourful pottery, carpets, fabrics, shoes, spices, metalware and all sorts of surprises. In the square you will see the famous colourful water-sellers, you can buy fresh orange juice and you can see snake charmers and story tellers, henna painters and performers. Then as the evening descends the square is transformed into a night time fast food exotic style market.

This short adventure provides a fabulous introduction to the exciting highlights of Marrakech, the experience of life in a Berber village hidden away in the folds of the Atlas mountains, before you head off to the Atlantic coast for beach time in Agadir, camel rides and beach picnic at the old pirate hide out of Essouira.

The trip starts and ends in Marrakech.

This is not a solely single parent family adventure but the holiday provides a fabulous introduction to Morocco, a beautiful and exciting country.

Kids in the Kasbah

Day 1 – Fly to Marrakech

After your flight, you transfer to your first night’s accommodation and check in. Even today the name Marrakech conjures up images of scenes from the Arabian Nights: alleyways, souks, stalls and markets. This remarkable city, dating from the 11th century, never fails to satisfy the curiosity of adventurous travellers. The graceful architecture of the renowned Koutabia Mineret, dominates the skyline.

Hotel Gomassine – 1 night – Swimming pool.

The hotel is situated in Marrakech City Centre. It is about a 30 minute walk to the main square Djemaa al Fna (or a short taxi ride) but close to local shops and restaurants.

Day 2 – Drive to Ifergame; cross Atlas Mountains

You start your adventure with a bus journey across the Atlas Mountains rising to a height of 2092 m at the Tizi-n-Test Pass. On the way you can visit the 12th century mosque Tinmal. Your destination is Ifergane, a pleasant village in the foothills of the mountains, and home to the Berber people who inhabited the land centuries before the Arabs arrived 1,200 or so years ago. These proud people still speak a separate language, which consists of three man dialects. Arabic is gaining an ever-increasing foothold, but most people, especially the young, speak some French too.  The overall journey time today is approximately 6 to 7 hours – it is the longest travelling day of the trip. With the fading sun dipping below the mountains, you will undoubtedly find yourselves sipping a traditionally prepared glass of sweet mint tea while you wait for your evening meal to be served. The sound of the muezzin can often be heard giving the call to prayer.

Riad Arganier D’Or (AAA) – 2 nights – Swimming Pool – Breakfast included.

Day 3 – Ibergane; Atlas village & oasis walks

This day will start with a relaxing morning, giving you the opportunity to walk and to enjoy the fresh air and the scenery. You can stroll through the oasis and there are local villages to explore.  The oasis is full of palm trees and streams of water giving an exotic feel to the area. You can have a go at riding a donkey around the fields.  Afterwards a short drive takes you to Taroudante city (approx. 30 mins) where you visit the tanneries. The distinctive smell of the tanneries is noticeable from a distance. Moroccan leather goods are very popular and here you can learn how the animal skins are cured to produce the leather

Day 4 – Agadir & Beach time

Today you continue driving through the fertile Souss plain alongside many vegetable and fruit farms, crossing the Argan tree forest where you might see goats climbing the trees. You continue on towards Taghazoute beach on the Atlantic coast, where you have a picnic lunch (approx 1 1/2 hours). This is a popular spot for beach lovers, and it is not hard to see why. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the wide sandy beach and Atlantic waves at Agadir, where you spend the night.

Tagadirt Appart Hotel (AA) – 1 night – Breakfast included.

Day 5 – Essouira: camel ride & picnic on the beach

You travel up the coast to Didi Kaouki (approx. 2 1/2 hours), where a real treat awaits you; you mount camels to ride across the expansive sand dunes – enjoying the view from this moving vantage point is a great feeling. Having worked up an appetite, you enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach before you get back in the bus to continue on to Essouira (approx. 30 mins.). Arriving in Essaouira you find yourselves in one of Morocco’s most attractive coastal cities. The wild waves of the Atlantic crash remorselessly onto the rocky coastline of this old pirates’ hideout. Portugese, Berber and French battlements encircle the maze of narrow lanes with tiny cafes looking out onto small squares. Two fortresses look out over the ocean, and on an offshore island stands another, even larger castle.  As befits a sea port, the pace of life is more relaxed here, and the whitewashed streets lend a seemingly Mediterranean air to the city.

Hotel Souiri – 2 nights – Breakfast included.

Day 6- Essouira

This morning you can stroll around the lively old port, which is full of colour and interest. The early morning is the best time – when fishermen can be seen bringing in their catch or mending their nets. The harbour was once the lair of pirates who sailed out to plunder richly laden ships that passed along the coast – after all, this was the main trade route round the Cape of Good Hope to Western Europe. It later became a fee port, when it had a small international community of merchants. The cosmopolitan mixture of different influences makes it a wonderful place to explore – and it is full of visual surprises. The whole day is free to relax and wander as you please. Take a leisurely stroll along the ramparts, visit the little workshops which specialise in ornate inlaid work using thuya wood (a local conifer), spend time on the glorious beach or enjoy a meal of freshly-cooked sardines down on the quayside or in one of the beach cafes.

Day 7 – Drive to Marrakech; city tour

Leaving Essouira behind, you journey inland by private transfer charter bus to Marrakech; this will take approx. 3 hours. In the afternoon head off on a walking tour of the centre which takes in the main sights and make your way into the sprawling souk. As is usual in a souk, individual trades and crafts are concentrated in one street or area, so the shoemakers are all next to each other, as are the jewellers, the potters, weavers, etc., making it easy to find what you are looking for. This is the best place in Morocco to sharpen your bargaining skills and you are almost certain to be tempted by some of the extraordinary variety of merchandise on display, perhaps a pair of traditional Moroccan slippers or some exotic spices.

The Djemaa el Fna provides the throbbing atmosphere of a medieval fair – it always seems full of life and transforms in the evening into a food fair, which continues late into the night.  In this grand open square at the heart of the medina, snake charmers and jugglers are among those who vie to entertain you. In the evening wonderful smells waft by as food stalls cook up their local delicacies.  Each time of the day seems to carry a distinct character, so do keep going back for more.

Hotel Gomassine – 1 night – Breakfast included – Swimming pool.

Day 8 – Fly Home

Transfer from the hotel to the airport for the return flight home.

Breakfast included.

Top Tips

Don’t change money in the street in Morocco – it is both illegal and dangerous

Mineral water in Morocco is often referred to by brand name: Sidi Harazem, Sidi Ali or the naturally sparkling Oulmes. They’re cheap and you can get them anywhere.

Moroccan food is very good, not expensive and vegetarians will have no problem finding delicious food to eat.

Some interesting reading

Your child’s health abroad by Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth (Bradt publications).

Travel with Children by Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

A year in Marrakech by Peter Mayne

For younger readers

The Batchelor and the Bean by Shelley Fowles

Tales from Morocco by Denya Johnson-Davies

Travelling Solo in Morocco by Bettina Gutheridge

Useful phrases

French is widely spoken throughout Morocco, but if you’d like to try some Arabic, her are a few phrases to get you started:

God willing – Insh Allah

Thank you – Shukran

Alwa – yes

La – no

Accommodation Ratings

We use a variety of accommodation and wherever possible we try to ensure that this is in keeping with the itinerary, and in line with our Responsible Tourism policy. To give you a feel for the standard, we have provided an accommodation grading for each night. These are intended as a guide and are not based on star ratings so there will be variations within each grade: AA – Hotels, Lodges or guesthouses usually with en suite facilities. These are generally simple hotels with adequate amenities. Whilst comfort levels are perfectly acceptable, there are generally no added facilities.

Rooming at hotels

If you’re a family of 2 you’ll be accommodated in a twin room. If you’re a family of three you will usually be accommodated in a triple room. If you’re a family of four you’ll probably be accommodated in two twin rooms and we’ll do our best to ensure they’re as near as possible. We cannot always guarantee a triple room. If a triple room is not available, an adult from your family will automatically be roomed with a fellow adult member of the group of the same sex. If you prefer to have a room of your own we can sometimes offer a single room for the entire trip or on selected nights within a trip. However a single room supplement applies, enquire for details.

Clothing and footwear

Morocco is a Muslim country, tight, skimpy clothing should be avoided out of respect for local customs, especially in the smaller, more remote villages. Loose, knee-length shorts are usually acceptable but women should avoid tight, low-cut T-shirts and shoulders should be covered. Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store. Windproof & waterproof outer shell (i.e. lightweight jacket/kagoul) warm mid-layer (fleece or wool) for cool mornings and evenings. Lightweight walking trail boots, trainers, sandals for relaxing. Swimming gear. Sun-hat. Sleeping bag (3/4 season). Torch. Towel. Sunglasses. Sunscreen and lipsalve. Water bottle. Personal first aid kit. Insect repellent. Toilet paper. A laundry service may be available in some hotels, but we recommend you take travel detergent so you can wash clothes as you choose.

Tipping

For better or worse, tipping is an accepted part of everyday life in Morocco, although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. And you should remember that tourism is of vital importance to many people and a few dirhams can make a lot of difference to them. Your Group Leader will be able to give you an idea of when and how much is appropriate, or you can use the following as a guide:

Local guide 10-15 MAD per person

Driver – 8-10 MAD per day per person

Porters / hotel staff 5-10 MAD per piece of luggage

As a general guide allow around £20 per person, including children for this trip.

Your Guide – if you wish to reward your local group leader in recognition for their contribution, towards your overall enjoyment of the holiday, a guideline would be £1-£2 per person per day.

Currency Morocco

Moroccan dirham (MAD). Sterling (other than Scottish & Northern Ireland notes) or US dollars (clean and untorn notes) can be exchanges with ease. It is prohibited to export or import dirhams so you will need to get money in Morocco – we recommend taking plenty of GBP or US dollars with you to change. But cards can also be used to get cash especially in Marrakech. As in June 2014 there were 13.8 dirhams to the £ sterling.

Local Costs Morocco

Average costs are given for guidance only and vary widely according to location and type of establishment.

Coffee/tea 8-15 MAD

Soft drink 10-20 MAD

Medium Beer 20-40 MAD

Bottle of water 8-20 MAD

Local snack lunch 60-100 MAD

3 course-dinner (reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant) 80-220 MAD.

Visas and Permits

Holders of UK & IRL passports do not require a visa. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the end date of the trip.

Vaccinations – Morocco

The following are recommended:

Hepatitis A

Polio

Typhoid

Tetanus

Visit www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk for up to date information.  We also recommend checking with your GP or specialist Travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.

Your Price includes:

7 nights accommodation in comfortable Hotels (7nts)

Transport: by minibus, on foot and by camel.

Meals: 7 breakfasts.

International flights from London and the elements as listed in the itinerary along with the services of a Group Leader. (Supplements may apply subject to flight costs at the time of booking). Enquire for alternative flight options.

Also available as a Land Only holiday if you prefer to get your own flights, say from a regional airport (we can advise you on this). The hotel at the start and end of the holiday are just a short taxi ride from the airport or we can organise a private transfer for you.

Morocco Kids in the Kasbah Dates and Prices

Travel Dates Nights Adult Child 5-17 Notes
Sat 21 Oct – Sat 28 Oct 2017 7 £745 £675
Sat 28 Oct – Sat 4 Nov 2017 7 £745 £675
Sat 24 Mar – Sat 31 Mar 2018 7 £785 £700
Sat 31 Mar – Sat 7 Apr 2018 7 £785 £700
Sat 7 Apr – Sat 14 Apr 2018 7 £785 £700
Sat 14 Apr – Sat 21 Apr 2018 7 £785 £700
Sat 21 Jul – Sat 28 Jul 2018 7 £445 £399 Land only- please enquire for flight inclusive prices
Sat 28 Jul – Sat 4 Aug 2018 7 £445 £399 Land only- please enquire for flight inclusive prices
Sat 4 Aug – Sat 11 Aug 2018 7 £445 £399 Land only- please enquire for flight inclusive prices
Sat 15 Sept – Sat 22 Sept 2018 7 £445 £399 Land only- please enquire for flight inclusive prices
Tues 18 Sept – Tues 25 Sept 2018 7 £445 £399 Land only- please enquire for flight inclusive prices
Sat 20 Oct – Sat 27 Oct 2018 7 £445 £399 Land only- please enquire for flight inclusive prices
Sat 22 Dec – Sat 29 Dec 2018 7 £445 £399 Land only- please enquire for flight inclusive prices

Flights available from Manchester or London Gatwick

Trip was great

The trip was great. I liked that we had several days away from the big cities and stayed in smaller hotels so the kids could hang out together while the adults sat and talked. Everything we saw and did was beautiful and interesting for all ages.

I would rate the holiday as 4 stars – only the drive on the Monday through the Atlas Mountains was long for the kids.

The most inspirational moment was visiting the Berber home. They were friendly and lunch was amazing. The entire day was wonderful. Beautiful donkey ride and the hotel we stayed at for 2 nights was the best by far.

The group leader was great. Very patient and friendly.

Highly recommend the trip and will definitely join similar excursions in the near future.

Stephanie

June 2015

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