Moroco Desert Tours Blog

February 17, 2017

Family Holidays in Morocco

Family holidays in Morocco is a fantastic way to break away from the quotidien life. With just a short flight from the UK (big plus with children in mind), low prices (important when everything is multiplied by 3,4,5…) and a very tangible sense of adventure and cultural contrast, Morocco offers a welcome opportunity to break away from the norm.

With that in mind, this collection of family holidays in Morocco has been created for adventurous, active and culturally interested families. These are not children’s holidays, but adult holidays that children will enjoy. Accommodation has been carefully selected, to ensure that you can have an indulgent rich, cultural experience, without having to be too self conscious of noise and disturbing others.

Families consistently point to their time in Marrakech and in particular the Atlas Mountains as the real highlights of their holiday. We find many families also love the iconic opportunity to ride camels and of course spend some time relaxing at the beach at the end of their trip.
In Marrakech, accommodation is split between the medina (old town) and the Palmeraie (out of town resorts). The Palmeraie is great for families who want a relaxing base with swimming pools and loads of space, making forays into Marrakech for the day. However, we usually find ourselves recommending that families stay in the medina. This is for 2 reasons, firstly, the best time to explore the souks is in the mornings (when it is cool) and early evenings (when the central square comes alive with street performers), something you are unlikely to do if you are having to get taxis in and out of town. And secondly, because staying in a traditional riad is so very much part of the experience of Marrakech, enjoying breakfast on the roof terrace, whiling away an afternoon with a book in the shady courtyard or opening the huge ornate wooden doors and retreating from the madness of the souks into an oasis of calm. We constantly visit and revisit riads in Marrakech on the lookout for those suitable for families, preferring small properties with friendly hosts, small pools, rooftop terraces and family suites. This combination if surprisingly rare in Marrakech. Due to the architecture of the riads, there is only usually space for a small plunge pool at best.

In the Atlas Mountains, we love to recommend families consider our multi-day mule treks. Nowhere else is it so affordable to head out on a multiday trek as a family and we find the addition of mules for children to ride and the sense of contrast found in the countless small traditional Berber villages really brings the trekking alive for kids, even those who normally grumble at the thought of a walk. In most cases a multiday trek in the Atlas Mountains does mean pretty basic accommodation (think sleeping bags and shared basic bathrooms or camping), so if this is not your thing we would recommend staying in a nice guesthouse and heading out on day walks or mountain biking. It is important for families to understand that virtually all accommodation options with pools in the Atlas Mountains are located in the foothills with less spectacular views and walking on the doorstep, so you either need to decide to compromise location and views to get a pool or sacrifice the pool (we usually recommend latter). On our multiday and day treks, we have a fantastic team of local Berber guides and always send out a cook to prepare a delicious Berber picnic on the trail, there is nothing like sipping mint tea and a hot tagine with stunning mountain views after a morning of walking.

We find heading out to the Sahara Desert and riding a camel are high on the list for many families planning a holiday to Morocco. The important thing to understand about this is that the best place to do this is deep in the Sahara and a good 12 hours’ driving time each way from Marrakech – not something you would want to consider without the best part of a week to dedicate (in which case you have the grounds for a fantastic family road trip). For families short on time we often recommend heading to Ait Benhaddou over the Atlas Mountains and at the start of the stony desert. Although you don’t get the classic desert dunes experience, what you do get is the stunning ruined trading Kasbahs of Ait Benhaddou and Kasbah Telouet, and the opportunity to head out on an authentic camel trek. Ait Benhaddou is a 4 hour drive each way from Marrakech. It is also possible to ride camels outside Marrakech and on the Coast. This tends to be very touristy. We sometimes arrange camel treks in the Agafay desert, a small stoney desert outside Marrakech and along the deserted beaches of the Atlantic Coast.

Which brings us neatly to the Atlantic Coast. We recommend the Atlantic Coast for short City breaks (Essaouira) or for relaxing beach time at the end of the holiday. Being the Atlantic, the beaches tend to be vast expanses of sand and can be subject to wind and waves. For this reason, families are usually best with a swimming pool at their accommodation on the Coast. There are several fantastic options; Rebali Riads and Paradis Plage are two of our favourite recommendations for families. The Coast is particularly good for families who like to surf, body board or kite surf.

 

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