Family Adventures in Morocco
For a family holiday that is truly unique, look no further than Morocco. A short flight takes you to the doorstep of a different world, a maze of bustling souks, ancient Kasbahs and rugged mountainscapes which are bound to enthral and excite even the youngest of imaginations. From the exotic intrigue of Marrakech, to the old pirate port of Essaouira and the shifting sand dunes of the Sahara, Morocco is a playground for children.
Morocco is so full of wonder for little ones. It is a land of contrasts, warm hospitality and unique experiences which the whole family can enjoy. The kaleidoscopic colours of the Medina, the windswept coastline of the Atlantic and the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains are all as different and as spectacular as each other. The best time to visit Morocco is arguably before the fierce heat of summer takes its toll, or after it has subsided. Travelling during half term in February, May and October makes for a brilliant getaway with the whole family in tow.
Marrakech is a knock-your-socks-off city for both young and old. Fall under the spell of its story book charm by navigating its labyrinth of lively souks on a treasure hunt or witnessing Djemaa el-Fna square become abuzz with the performances of magicians, snake charmers, storytellers and musicians. The Four Seasons Marrakech has established itself as one of the most exclusive resorts for families in the city. Its Kids For All Seasons Program is great for little ones, and the Young Adult Centre is ideal for teens, ensuring all members of the family are entertained. The city’s Mandarin Oriental is another fantastic option for families, taking the hassle out of travelling with youngsters. From the moment you check in on camel back or roll up your sleeves in the onsite organic vegetable garden, a stay at the Mandarin Oriental is a great way to introduce kids to the real Morocco. Slightly further out of town, the Fawakay Villas are great for young families. Its menagerie of animals and host of activities designed for younger guests are perfect for keeping tiny travellers entertained.
Ensconcing yourself and your family in the Atlas Mountains for a few days showcases yet another side to Morocco. Take a cookery lesson and learn the nuances of authentic Berber cuisine, or trek through the dramatic scenery with adventurous teens. Kasbah Tamadot is a brilliant base camp during your stay, go fossil hunting in the mountains, search the hotel’s grounds for its resident peahens and tortoises, and hunker down to a movie night under the stars for the ultimate family stay.
On the coast, teens will be kept entertained with surf lessons whilst strolls along the beach are a fantastic way to blow off the cobwebs and escape from the colourful chaos of Marrakech. Here, life plods along at donkey pace and it is a great place to factor in some relaxation on your family holiday. The Sofitel Essaouira Mogador is home to a dedicated children’s villa, which offers a seemingly never ending itinerary of fun and educational activities to keep kids busy during their stay.
Further afield, let the tales of Lawrence of Arabia come alive in the Sahara. Sleeping under the stars, coming face to face with camels, and enjoying the adrenaline fuelled activities that the desert has to offer are the key ingredients to an unforgettable family holiday. Whilst travelling to the desert by jeep is perhaps best for older children, direct flights to the outpost of Ouarzazate from Paris or Casablanca allow you to cut out the hefty journey. Whilst getting there is all part of the experience, it is arriving at a Bedouin Camp and spending the night in the heart of the desert that is the real tick off the bucket list.
Home to winding, cobbled alleys and breath-taking buildings, Morocco's Blue City, Chefchaouen, is a delight to explore. Its architecture is a wonderful mix of Andalucian and Moorish styles and you'll come across some mouth-watering meals - be sure to try the fresh goats' cheese! Spend time wandering around the medina, and keep an eye out for the superb views of the Rif Mountains. This is also a safe option for families travelling with children of all ages and is a calm reprieve from the chaotic hustle and bustle of cities in Morocco.
Step back in time and explore the ruins of Volubilis, a Roman town dating back to the 3rd century BC and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient city has been carefully excavated to reveal original mosaic floors, and impressive Roman architecture, still standing to this day. After wandering among the ancient stones, visit a nearby local farm to taste a selection of Roman dishes, using recipes documented in Latin by Apicius and Cato. Enjoy your delicious meal before heading to Moulay Idriss, the spiritual heart of Morocco. This picturesque town is one of Morocco's main pilgrimage sites and non-Muslims have only recently been allowed to visit, ensuring Moulay Idriss' authentic, traditional way of life has been preserved.
Situated in the heart of Marrakech's lush Palmeraie, Dar Zemora is an opulent oasis of tranquillity, brilliantly located for easy access into the buzzing medina. This intimate six-bedroom hotel stylishly combines a traditional Moroccan and contemporary feel. Children are very welcome at Dar Zemora where personal service is at its best. The Pavilion Pool Suite has two bedrooms and is ideal for families, especially as it is slightly separate from the main hotel and is set in its own garden with private swimming pool. The hotel can arrange special meals for children and babysitting is available on request.
Leave the city behind as you drive through the fields of olive trees towards Demnat, stopping to admire the impressive Imi n'Ifri natural bridge with a glass of mint tea. Continue through green valleys and pay a visit to a traditional water mill before enjoying a Berber lunch next to the Cascades d'Ouzoud and soaking up the views. This is a great opportunity for your family to get active and explore the beautiful nature in the region.