No one likes to drag their kids half way around the world on a family holiday and have their kids bored out of their minds. Has this ever happened to you? As a young boy, I had the opportunity to snorkel in the Seychelles and explore the Masai Mara in Kenya! My parents were amazing at planning activities that the 3 of us would enjoy.
When the kids are whining, even the perfect destination can be ruined.
How can you avoid that from happening in Morocco?
In 2001, I packed my family up and headed off to Morocco. An adventure of a lifetime! My kids had the opportunity to experience the real Morocco. Here are 5 things that our family loved in Morocco and I am sure your kids will too.
Sahara Desert – Night Under the Stars
Enjoy a camel ride on the dunes[/caption]By far one of our families most popular activities was heading down to the desert for a few nights. The kids loved to run free! One of my daughters described it as “a giant sandbox.”
Almost every year, we would set off from Fes and head to Merzouga (Erg Chebbi). Although it was an 8 hour drive to the dunes, it was well worth the trip. The adventure started when we jumped into the 4×4 land-cruisers in Erfoud and set off across the barren land. If you have time, make sure to spend 2 nights at the edge of the dunes. The first night can be spent at the little inn on the edge of the dune (something like Auberge Dune Dor). Your kids will love climbing the dunes, swimming in the pool, and enjoying the amazing scenery.
In the afternoon of the 2nd day, you could head off on a 2 hour camel trek into the middle of the dunes. Stopping along the way for the sunset, your kids will enjoy something that few kids their age experience. Your family will spend the night in the Berber tents and enjoy a hot Moroccan tagine for dinner. Although they might not sleep like Kings, they will remember the trip for ever.
Fes Medina – The world of Mazes
Another amazing family experience is visiting the ancient medina of Fes. Many have described Fes as “sensory overload.” As you head off deep into the medina of Fes, you will experience life as it was 1000 years ago. With no cars allowed on the narrow streets, your kids will get a glimpse of life from the ancient civilizations.
The Fes Medina has so many amazing sites like the tanneries, vegetable markets, potters and more. If you are looking for an activity that your kids will love, make sure you stop at the Berber pharmacy. This hole in the wall shop is decorated with spices and natural remedies of all kinds. Your host will explain the use of argon oil, jasmine, and other fantastic spices. For a very interactive experience, make sure you ask about the Berber pharmacy.
Day in the Life of a Berber
If you are looking for another brilliant cultural experience, you should definitely include “The Day in the Life of a Berber” on your trip. This fantastic hands-on experience is based about 1.5 hours from Marrakech in a tiny little Berber village. Your host Mohammed and has family will allow you to learn and discover what it is like to live in a Berber village. You can choose to do this as a day trip from Marrakech OR even spend the night in the Berber village. I would recommend staying the night!
The Day in the Life of a Berber is like nothing else in Morocco. Your hosts will teach you how to make bread in the clay oven, you’ll enjoy cooking a brilliant chicken tagine, and your group will participate in the tea making contest. If you want a cultural experience, make sure you add The Day in the Life of a Berber to your tour package.
Marrakech Jemaa El-Fna – The entertainers square
As Marrakech has become the tourism capital of Morocco, we must include an experience from this amazing city. My family loved heading down to the famous square! During they day the square has a few snake charmers and performers, but at night it comes to life.
Our family always would eat at booth #81! Our friends in #81 would prepare some grilled shish kebabs, french fries, salads and more. For just a few dirhams, we could enjoy a wonderful meal at the Jemaa el-Fna. After dinner, we would wander through the crowds trying to get a glimpse at the local flavored entertainment.
Just a note of caution: Make sure you warn you kids to hold on to cameras, ipods, and phones as they wander through the crowds of people.
Cooking Class – Flavors of Morocco
The final family friendly activity that I will recommend is trying a cooking class in Fes or Marrakech. Some of the classes start with a walk in the vegetable market (souk). You will learn about the different vegetable and spices used in Moroccan cooking. Once you have finished your shopping experience, you will head back for the class.
Each class is slightly different, but you will learn to prepare salads and tagines. Make sure to bring your notebook along to write down the amazing recipes. Some of the classes will provide you with a recipe booklet to take home with you. After you have finished preparing the delicious foods, you will get to taste all that you have created.
Ask the kids to document the trip with photos! They will capture sights that you may never be able to see.