Family Adventures in Morocco: 10 tips for an Unforgettable Family Holiday!
Updated: Jun 16
"It was the most incredible family vacation ever!" I read an email from my fellow traveler the day after my return, and my heart swelled with joy at the heartfelt compliment.
Planning a family holiday can be quite a challenge. Finding the perfect balance between engaging activities, safety, and enjoyment for both kids and parents can feel like solving a complex puzzle. But fear not! I've discovered the ideal destination for an unforgettable family adventure: Morocco. Surprising, isn't it? Over the past three years, I've tested it several times, and it never fails to amaze me!
The first time I brought children to Morocco was three years ago. Matheo, a lively five-year-old, and his seven-year-old sister Anne, along with their parents, embarked on a journey filled with wonder. When they returned, their excitement was contagious.
The kids had chatted with musicians in Jemaa-El-Fnaa Square, enjoyed enchanting mule rides in the towering Atlas Mountains, and shed tears when it was time to pack their bags and head home. To this day, they eagerly ask their parents when they'll visit Morocco again!
Inspired by their experience, more families joined our adventure, and we brainstormed ways to fine-tune the perfect family holiday in Morocco. Along the way, we embarked on numerous amazing adventures with children, and I've compiled the 10 most useful tips to help you create lasting memories with your own family!
Tip 1: Avoid long car journeys
While Morocco may appear small on the African map, don't let its size deceive you. It's twice the size of Germany! For instance, if you're planning a trip to the unique sand dunes of the Sahara, make sure to allocate at least six days, or even more, to explore the fascinating areas along the way. Southern Morocco boasts diverse landscapes and rich cultural experiences that will captivate your family while sparing them from long hours in the car.
If time is limited but you don't want to miss the desert experience, consider the Agafay Desert as an alternative. Although it lacks the typical sand dunes, this rocky area near Marrakech offers luxurious Bedouin camps where you can spend the night. Your children can enjoy camel rides and witness breathtaking sunrises over the majestic High Atlas Mountains. Kids don't mind if it's the Sahara or another desert; what matters is that they feel like true nomads, free to frolic around the campfire and make friends with their new camel companions. And for the adults, the photos captured during sunrise or sunset in Agafay will become cherished memories on the family calendar.
Tip 2: Embrace the mountains of Morocco
If your children aren't avid hikers and find hills mundane, Morocco might just change their perspective. How, you ask? By introducing them to the magic of mountains and the joy of hiking with the help of adorable, sure-footed mules.
While your children embark on an unforgettable mule adventure, you, as parents, can pursue your own sporting ambitions without worrying about adjusting the pace to your little ones or enduring complaints about endless uphill climbs. As you reach the summit, a delightful picnic awaits, featuring an array of delectable treats. This culinary surprise is the icing on the cake, ensuring your children's satisfaction.
Mules are patient, calm, and even photogenic companions during your mountain escapades.
Tip 3: Foster connections with the locals
One of the first things I noticed in Morocco was the unwavering adoration Moroccans have for children. In this country, little ones are treated as beloved demigods. Moroccans shower them with affection and forgiveness, creating a nurturing environment that inspires warmth and kindness. Unlike strict schedules, Moroccan children don't have to adhere to early bedtimes or keep their voices hushed on trains. If they don't like a meal, the locals will happily prepare something else.
It's not uncommon for a stranger in line at a bakery to lovingly stroke a child's hair. Moroccans extend the same kindness to your children as they do to their own. This genuine hospitality leaves a lasting impression on kids, fostering beautiful memories and connections that they carry with them long after leaving Morocco.
Tip 4: Let kids be kids amongst Moroccan children
Much like adults, Moroccan children possess a natural friendliness and curiosity. They quickly befriend your kids, transcending language barriers effortlessly. In fact, children often communicate with each other more efficiently than adults.
Whether it's a spirited game of football or marbles, which Moroccan village children still enjoy, a comprehensive dictionary is unnecessary. Your children will revel in the shared joy of play, forging bonds that transcend culture and language.
Tip 5: Encourage exploration through hands-on experiences
Children thrive on activities rather than lengthy sightseeing and historical explanations. They crave the opportunity to immerse themselves fully in the experience, to touch, and to try everything.
So, why not take a different approach to city tours? Instead of visiting palaces and museums, venture into the workshops of traditional craftsmen. If you stumble upon a talented weaver, your children can try their hand at weaving fabrics firsthand. They can even peek under the hood of Moroccan culinary preparations or learn the art of baking bread. Morocco's workshops offer endless opportunities for adventure.
Apart from being an exhilarating experience, such tours will leave your children as stars among their friends and impress their teachers when they share their newfound knowledge and experiences!
Tip 6: Embrace flexibility in dining options
Do you often find yourself torn between wanting to indulge in exotic dishes while your children crave familiar favorites like pizza or spaghetti? Here's the good news: Morocco has a solution. You can confidently approach the waiter in a restaurant and request a simple pizza for your little ones. They will gladly oblige and happily fetch it from a nearby stall.
Alternatively, you can bring your own food to restaurants. Moroccans don't create unnecessary problems when there are simple solutions at hand. Instead, they seize the opportunity to please others. Their accommodating nature ensures a seamless dining experience for your family.
Tip 7: Choose accommodation where kids can have their own fun
Finding a balance between quality family time and personal relaxation can be challenging during a holiday. Ideally, children should be able to entertain themselves safely, allowing parents some respite. However, this can be difficult in many city accommodations where letting children roam the streets alone poses risks.
Thankfully, Morocco offers diverse lodging options with expansive gardens where children can play freely under your watchful eye. One particular favorite of mine is the Ourika Valley's family villas. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, swimming pools, and exotic flora, these villas are a paradise for both adults and children.
Tip 8: Delight your children with aquatic wonders
Water worlds are a source of endless joy for young travelers, and Morocco, with its abundant sunshine, boasts some truly enchanting aquatic paradises.
Oasiria, located near Marrakech, is a delightful water world that caters to both young and old. With dozens of swimming pools, charming gardens, and numerous restaurants, it promises an unforgettable experience. Once your kids make friends at the kids' club, you might find yourself with some unexpected free time. So why not seize the opportunity to relax under the shade of a date palm, engrossed in a good book?
Tip 9: Time your visit wisely for your family holiday
You certainly don't want to risk sunstroke on your family vacation, especially when traveling with children. It's crucial to choose the right time to visit different regions in Morocco, considering the varying temperatures and weather conditions.
During the summer, the northern parts of Morocco are ideal for exploration. The weather is pleasant, and you can avoid the scorching heat of the south, where temperatures can reach up to a blistering 50°C. Save the Sahara for the winter months when the weather is more suitable for desert adventures. In my opinion, the most enchanting time to visit Morocco is in the early spring or autumn months. Picture almond and orange trees in bloom, while you bask in the gentle warmth of the sun!
Tip 10: Unleash the spirit of adventure with Moroccan attire
What child doesn't dream of becoming Aladdin or Scheherazade, if only for a little while? The unique clothing, intricately wrapped turbans, and long, vibrant "jellaba" coats often captivate young travelers in Morocco. So why not indulge their imagination?
As you wander through the cities or venture towards the Sahara, you'll come across numerous shops showcasing traditional Moroccan attire. If the shop owner is accommodating, they'll gladly let your children try on different outfits and happily pose for photographs, even if you don't make a substantial purchase. In such cases, it's customary to leave a small tip as a gesture of appreciation for their kindness.
Even better, consider purchasing a turban or other Moroccan accessories as a memento. Not only will your children delight in their new garb, but you'll also have the satisfaction of supporting local merchants.
Still unsure whether a trip to Morocco will captivate your children's hearts? Reach out to me, and I'll gladly provide you with a special children's itinerary that has been tried and tested on numerous occasions, always with resounding success.
Embarking on a family holiday to Morocco can be a thrilling and rewarding experience for both you and your children. With a careful blend of activities, cultural immersion, and delightful surprises, Morocco offers a perfect playground for young explorers. From the bustling markets of Marrakech to the breathtaking landscapes of the Atlas Mountains and the enchanting Sahara Desert, this captivating country is bound to create unforgettable memories for your family!
So, dust off your travel plans and get ready for an extraordinary adventure! Follow these ten reliable tips to make the most out of your family holiday in Morocco and watch your children's faces light up with joy and wonder!