In just over 3 hours from the UK lies the most exotic country of kasbahs, ancient alleyways packed full of colourful spices and leather goods, orange sand dunes replete with majestic camels and Bedouin tents, an endless wind-swept coastline, enticing rugged mountains and lush valleys inviting trekkers or mule riders to explore. Welcome to Morocco!
This is the land where haggling is a must, where you need to take that spare bag with you for all those glorious souvenirs you will bring back. Delicious meals are cooked in a tagine, locals beam welcoming smiles and the sun shines over a stunning, ever-changing landscape. The call to prayer is omnipresent reminding you that you are not in Europe but are very welcome to come and witness a totally different world. Spend time in Morocco with kids and you’ll discover that westerners – particularly youngsters – are greeted with open arms and a warm ‘Salaam Aleikum’.
The beauty of Morocco is that you can return time and time again to the fabulous country and still find something different to do, somewhere else to explore. Nevertheless, here’s our Top 10 family friendly activities (there may be another Top 10 at a later date!), all of which we’ve done with our own children. Alternatively, check out our Family holidays in Morocco section to find out more.
Morocco with kids Top 10
1 – Ride camels in the Sahara Desert
Lawrence of Arabia eat your heart out. This is proper camel ‘driving’ stuff. Plod your way on the back of a docile hump through the picture-perfect sand dunes of the Sahara. Cue endless photo opportunities of camel silhouettes, roly polies in the sand (which of course gets everywhere), Bedouin tents on the horizon, mint tea in the sunset, drumming lessons in the wilderness and the unique opportunity for all ages to try their hand (?) at sandboarding. It’s a soft landing. The 4am wake up call to watch the sunrise is not to be missed.
2 – Trekking the Berber villages of the Atlas Mountains
Even the most jaded of walkers will love this option – because it is mule-supported! Enjoy stunning vistas of mountains, lush valleys, picturesque villages, olive groves and date plantations whilst meandering at low altitude in the Atlas Mountains. Lunch with local families and enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice en route to your simple overnight accommodation. Or take day walks from your hotel in the company of friendly Berber guides. Walk as long – or as short – as the children want. But believe us – with a mule to hand you will find it easy. Stubborn or not… See our Morocco Family short-break.
3 – Take a Fes city tour
A crazy maze of alleyways will leave you lost and gloriously confused in this fascinating city. But having a guide to hand will steer you through the sights – the royal palace, the endless mosques, the Jewish and Muslim Quarters and of course the souks. Your guide may even stop to barter for his own household goods along the way. This is the real deal so get the kids haggling for that trinket, that ‘must-have’ teapot, scarf, wallet (or inevitable key-ring) and act like a local. Less hassle than Marrakech and less tourists too. Check out Café Clock for the camel burgers. See our Highlights of Morocco example itinerary which includes a Fes city tour.
4 – Roasting marshmallows in the Agafy Desert
A mere 40 minutes from Marrakech and you find yourself in the utter peace of the Agafy Desert. Endless horizons beckon to be explored – whether on quad bike (keeping the teens happy), camel, foot, mountain bike or donkey. Enjoy sundowners round the campfire, let the kids roast marshmallows and fall asleep beneath canvas (with en suite facilities). Ask us about the camps that offer swimming pool options – surely the ultimate kid-friendly desert camp.
5 – Relax in a riad in Marrakech
Think boutique hotels at mid-range prices. Roof-top terraces and pools. Tranquil central courtyards. Exquisitely decorated rooms and relaxing central areas. All behind an imposing and ornate entrance door. The lighting may be a little dim and the mosaic-lined sink leak a little but you will never forget that breakfast overlooking the roofs of this ancient city or the peace as you escape the bustle of the souk outside. Dip pools will cool the kids off and the better riads serve that all important beer for the parents.
6 – Summit Mt Toubkal
At 4167m, Mount Toubkal is the highest mountain in North Africa. Achieved in just two days it takes little out of a holiday although we would recommend a short acclimatisation programme, trekking through the lower valleys before ascending to the overnight Neltner Hut. Scree, boulder fields and even snow fields (except high summer) greet you en route to the summit, a pleasantly wide plateau with views over the Atlas range, the villages below and even the Sahara. This is probably not suitable for those under 10yrs or little used to Lake District peaks. However Mount Toubkal is still an accessible mountain for most ages, with help from mules up to the refuge, and a fantastic ‘tick’ for all budding mountaineers. Check out our family trekking holidays if you are all keen hikers.
7 – Wade the Todra and Dades Gorges
Between Fes and Marrakech lies some stunning scenery, not least of which are the Todra and Dades Gorges. The sheer walls of Todra Gorge rise impressively from the lush valley floor and kids will love wading through the shallow waters, stretching their legs after the inevitable journey there, cooling off in waterfights and boulder-hopping across the river and even under the bridges. For added (albeit slightly nerve-wracking) fun, try body surfing the gentle rapids in the neighbouring Dades Gorge. Stay at the fabulous Hotel Babylon for exceptional accommodation, service, food and evening entertainment.
8 – Get lost in the Kasbah of Ait Benhadou
This ancient citadel, built on the hillside out of mud houses, forms part of the ‘Route of 1000 Kasbahs’, a dramatic road where barren desert landscapes give way to lush oases and adobe villages. No map required, let the children be your guide as they meander their way past the shopsellers and village dwellers to the top of this famous film spot. Plenty of cairn-building fun and stupendous views to be had. Don’t miss the stepping stones back over to your riad on the other side of the river. See our Morocco Family short-break for a sample Morocco with kids holiday that includes Ait Benhadou.
9 – Explore Essaouira
Wind-swept beaches, Sahara-esque sand dunes (well, nearly), endless shopping opportunities, westernised restaurants (for when you are a little tired of tagines), quad biking, kite-surfing, camel rides to overnight beach camps and picture-perfect shots of fishing vessels coming into harbour. Moules frites anyone? This long-standing Atlantic coast Portuguese town has been on the hippie trail since Hendrix and is a must-see as part of any Morocco with kids holiday.
Accommodation ranges from exquisite city centre riads to family-friendly hotels with pools a short walk along the promenade. Our fave is the Riad Baoussala, a laid-back sprawling complex of rambling old buildings which you and your children will never want to leave. See our Highlights of Morocco example itinerary for details of a trip that includes Essaouira.
10 – Make a splash in pools, pools and more pools
You can take the child out of England but… all they really want is a pool. We can find you swimming pools on the coast at Essaouira, multi-pool hotels in the High Atlas Mountains, pools right next to the Sahara at Merzouga, dip pools on the roof-top in Marrakech and Fes (though they’ll be too busy haggling for cool souvenirs to swim) and even, unbelievably, pools in the barren Agafy Desert. So pack those water guns and head south to Morocco!
More about Morocco with kids
There are many more cool activities to enjoy in Morocco with kids, so watch this space. In the meantime if you want to read about the types of trips you can enjoy with the family, head to our section on Morocco family holidays and example Morocco itineraries. You can also find out more here about the places to visit in Morocco and the best time to travel, and your children may enjoy these fun Morocco facts by Science Kids. If your family are keen hikers, talk to Helene about trekking to the Roof of North Africa, Mount Toubkal with children.
To speak with one of our family experts and to start planning your own perfect itinerary in Morocco with kids, simply call us during office hours on 01728 752751. Or use our website contact form to let us know what you and family would like to do and see in Morocco. We’d love to hear from you.
Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel