I’ve been meaning to write this blog for ages but somehow I just don’t know where to start… this was an absolutely amazing holiday and putting it into words is quite a struggle.
We booked a holiday to Morocco because we wanted to go somewhere warm but we also wanted to introduce the children to a different culture. Before we decided on Morocco we decided our first adventure-travel-type family holiday would be with Intrepid Travel. We’ve heard so much amazing feedback so decided to test them out for ourselves. They offer family exclusive trips so we knew we’d be surrounded by like-minded people and wouldn’t suffer from the always-being-at-the-back-syndrome because we had children. Plus I think it’s nice for children to meet new friends (and for the adults to have adult company too!) So we picked the Morocco Family Adventure Holiday.
In short this holiday was amazing, more than amazing, absolutely bloody brilliant. It was FULL to the brim but also somehow massively relaxing. We drove miles but it wasn’t stressful because someone else was deciding when to leave and planning the journey. We visited so many places but it wasn’t overwhelming because we had a personal guide (Mohammed – you’re the best!) We relaxed in the most beautiful places on earth and we ate incredibly delicious food.
Our adventure started with a trek up into the High Atlas Mountains. We drove to the village of Imlil, the largest village in the Mizane Valley. Steep-tiered fields of produce , both common and uncommon to us and various kinds of fruit line the valley sides, their terraces edged with purple iris. From Imlil we trekked up to the small village of Aroumd. The beautiful caps were still completely snow covered and the further we went the less people there were. We stayed with a local family who made us a very comfy bed for the night (with a ton of blankets because boy was it cold!) They showed us how to make bread and we shared it with some sweet Moroccan mint tea. It was heaven. We walked down to the local village to meet the locals. The children played football together and as the sun blazed I sat on the rooftop of our homestay and felt as close to paradise as I think I’ve ever been.
After an amazing stay here we headed for Zaouite Ifergan which included the most picturesque drive through some Berber villages and a stop in one of the oldest mosques in the High Altas Mountains where we learnt about the Saadian dynasty. We continued our drive across the mountains via the Tizi n Tast which will gave us the most incredible view of the largest plain of Sous (a must visit!)
Our next stay was in the most beautiful Riad with a pool and amazing orange trees (seriously, I was sun bathing and picking/eating oranges at the same time – heaven!) During our stay here we rode donkeys through the palms, we visited Taroudant (known as Little Marrakesh), and we cooked Couscous with the locals. Generosity is something that comes very naturally to Moroccans. I will never forget the warmth that these people showed us. Fatima (the lady in the blue) told us that what was hers is ours and we would always be welcome at her door. An incredible philosophy for life.
After a well earned few days at the Riad we travelled up the coast to Sidi Kaouki where a fleet of camels were awaiting us. This was a real highlight of the trip. We rode (plodded??) across the sand dunes. The wind blew and the view across the ocean was breathtaking. Finally we arrived at our next stay, Essaouira. On the way we visited an Argan factory where we met the local ladies who make hair products from the Argan nut. We saw how they crack each nut by hand to extract the inner nut.
Essaouira is a former Portuguese trading colony and was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations. The town faces a group of rocky islands called the Mogador (sounds like Lord of the Rings right?) and is surrounded by an expanse of sandy beaches and dunes. It’s still a busy fishing port, and its pretty harbour is filled with tiny colourful fishing boats which go out early every morning – it’s the perfect place to watch the world go by. The children loved it here and I think one day we will return.
After a few days here we headed back to Marrakesh for an incredible finale to our tour. Marrakesh is an explosion of your senses. The colours, sounds, smells are insane and I loved every moment. We drank the most delicious orange juice, we watched snake charmers, we bartered, we held pythons and we drank in the energy this amazing city has to give. It’s exhausting but it’s incredible. I will return one day for sure.
A special mention to the other families we travelled with. Each and every one of them made our trip very special. Two very special boys from New Zealand found a very special place in the hearts of Harry and Grace with whom they played with for hours.
Morocco is a wonderful country full of incredible people. There is a real sense of positivity, of gratitude, of openness. This is a trip we will never forget, thank you Morocco, thank you Intrepid and thank you Mohammed, the best tour guide you could ever ask for.