What I like about Morocco is the variety of the trip: from the high mountains to the beach and from the busy souks to the tranquility of the desert. In Morocco, it is very easy to drive a car yourself. The roads are (relatively) good. The distance between places can be tough sometimes, but having the iPad and the Nintendo in the backseat it’s manageable.
Fancy taking a tour to Morocco with the kids? I have summed up a couple of recommendations for you!
So much more fun than going to the supermarket. Visit a local market to do your groceries! Give the kids a list and some money and let them choose their own meal. When it comes to fish or meat, my advice to you is to arrange them yourself. You can buy them fresh at the market, which can be a bit challenging.
Fatima cooks great
Taking a cooking workshop at locals is highly recommended! We went cooking with Fatima. After all the hustle and bustle in the city of Marrakech, it was very pleasing to arrive in Fatima’s garden. It was an oasis of peace. At this lovely place with olive and citrus trees, she taught us the tips and tricks of the Moroccan cuisine with great enthusiasm. Chicken, peppers, garlic, tomato, coriander, onion, and of course lots of herbs including Ras-el-hanout. Everything went into the tajine, which we had to blow ourselves. We had a wonderful afternoon with Fatima, her daughter and the ladies who helped her. And the food? Nowhere else have we had such a delicious tajine dish!
Of course I have to admit it is a tourist spot, but it is so much fun! And not only for the kids. We drove on the back of a camel across the Sahara! With a real bedouin scarf on our heads, followed by another family, we hobbled in a row from Zagora to the camping site. Each person on his own camel (except for our youngest son, who was allowed to stay with daddy). It was very peaceful, surrounded by sand only. Later that evening, we were sitting around the camp fire singing songs with the camel boys, while the children were playing on the sand under the moonlight. Almost paradise…
Discover the souk!
Left, right, right, right again, left again. We played the game ‘Search in the Souk’ endlessly with the kids. The streets were like a maze, so each time one of us was allowed to choose a different direction, so we wandered through the souks for hours. In Marrakesh, Taroudant and Essaouira, there are beautiful souks where you can enjoy the delicious smells and colours and negotiate for a pair of leather slippers or a typical Moroccan tray with tea glasses.
Hiking in a mountain village
We wandered through a narrow mountain with a local guide, passing babbling streams. We climbed up high rocks into the green valley. We saw houses in caves and were lucky to meet a Berber family on their way from the Middle Atlas to the High Atlas. Wandering with a guide is a real adventure and it can also be very educational for the kids.
At the end of our journey, we went to the sea in the authentic fishing village Essaouira. This was very different from the touristic coast in Agadir. With our flip flops in our hands, we walked to the harbour. We squeezed our noses shut and enjoyed the sight when the wooden boats arrived with fresh fish. The same fish a fisherman put on the BBQ for us in the evening. We walked through beautiful alleys with white houses and blue shutters. Essouira has been openhearted for other cultures and religions for centuries and that is still noticeable by its hospitality. A visit to this lovely colourful fishing village should not be forgotten during your tour of Morocco.
Getting tired of of the busy crowds, the dust and the noise of Marrakech? We treated ourselves with a great luxury experience in La Mamounia, the most luxurious hotel of Marrakech. This hotel is located just outside of the Medina on Avenue Bab Jdid near the Koutoubia Mosque and the garden. The former palace that Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah gave to one of his sons, has been beautifully restored and transformed into a beautiful hotel. Our budget did not allow us to spend a night in the hotel with 3 children, but we did enjoy a delicious lunch and felt like royal princesses.
It is the national drink of Morocco: mint tea! Although I prefer to enjoy a delicious white wine on most holidays, on this trip I drank gallons of sweet mint tea or atay deeyal naanaa in Arabic. (Nanaa means ‘gift from Allah’). Drinking tea is a social activity in Morocco and refusing a cup of mint tea is regarded as an insult. Our kids considered it a real experience when a waiter would pour the tea elegantly from a great height into the tea glasses. So this holiday there was no such thing as wine: every day we drank a tiny glass of tea on a terrace.
Back in time
We drove in about 6 hours From Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains. We passed small villages with mud houses and loaded donkey trolleys. After driving through very high and twisty mountain roads, we arrived in Ait-Ben-Haddou; one of the largest kasbah’s in Morocco, which was used as a setting for Games of Thrones, Lawrence of Arabia, Dunya and Desie and the Gladiator. To get to the Berber kasbah, we had to pass the river by jumping with sandbags. It felt like we were explorers ourselves in this ancient Middle Ages city.