OTHER ACTIVITIES


Whilst undoubtedly history and the desert tend to dominate first trips to Morocco there are a whole host of other activities that can be built into and enhance any trip depending on your interests.

In our opinion Morocco is not just a vacation but also an adventure. Some of the other activities we can arrange for you are listed below. However if there is something you are interested in not shown just ask.

For the more adventurous

For the more adventurous, usually organised as part of your stay in Marrakech, there are any number of activities to try some of which are:

  • Hot air ballooning – must be pre-booked
  • Zip-wire over gorge and exhilarating tree top walk – 30 minutes from Marrakech
  • 4 x 4 driving, quad biking and dune buggies in the stony desert at Agafay
  • Side car tour of Marrakech
  • Cycle tours – city tour or on or off road in the Atlas mountains

Agafay stone desert

If you are visiting Marrakech and don’t have time or the will to travel to the Sahara, we can offer you an alternative that will give you a desert experience without the long journey.  Agafay is a stone desert found only a 40 km drive from Marrakech.  You can visit Agafay for the day however we would recommend staying overnight at a luxury desert camp for the full experience.  One of our favourite camps even has a heated swimming pool!

Whilst it is not the Sahara with its endless sand and massive dunes, Agafay does have a similar feel of solitude and complete isolation.   We would suggest arriving late afternoon and taking a camel trek at sunset.  This is far better and much more authentic than the alternative camel treks on offer in Marrakech.   In the evening enjoy a romantic candle lit dinner under the stars  before retiring to your luxury tent with en suite bathroom.

There are lots of activities available during the day at Agafay including:

  • Camel ride
  • Camel treks with lunch
  • Quad biking
  • Buggies
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain biking
  • 4 x 4 Safari
  • Relaxing massage
  • Lunch at one of the camps

Bird watching

Morocco is a great country for bird watching with around 480 species of birds either make their home in Morocco or pass through on their migratory routes. This makes Morocco the best country in the North Africa, Europe and the Middle East for bird watching.

Morocco is probably best known for White Stork (Ciconia Ciconia) which can be found all over. Nests on minarets, houses, Kasbahs and any tall structure including antennae are classic sightings in Morocco. These nests are generally beautiful, catchy and photogenic and enjoyed by birders and non-birders alike!

If you would like to build in a day or two of serious bird watching to your tour this can be arranged. There are good places within easy reach of most of our tours where you can watch a variety of birds – from coastal wetlands on the coast, national parks, The High Atlas with its background of mountain scenery to Dades Gorge which is a good stop on the way to the desert.

So if you’re interested in seeing Bald Ibis, pink flamingos, warblers, larks, ospreys, spoonbills and any number of other birds as part of your tour let us know.

Cycling

Your stay in Marrakech offers the best opportunities for cycling tours when in Morocco.  These cater for the intrepid off road and on road bikers in the Atlas Mountains to the more gentle city tours of Marrakech.  Options are available for mountain bikes, road bikes and e-bikes.

Example all day mountain bike tour in the Atlas Mountains (full day)

Starting at Imlil you will ascending to the mountain top village Tamatert. Winding your way up the zig-zag route through the Tiz n’Tamatert pass at an altitude of 2300 meters high, we’ll enjoy a panoramic view of the Toubkal peak and Sublime mountain. From the pass its either single track or off-road along the amazing Imnan Valley with lovely views over the cultivated terraces and through traditional Berber villages.  After lunch stop in Arg the descent continues to Asni for a tea break and return to Marrakech. Other tours begin at Azgour (1500m) and can also include a stop for lunch with a local Berber family.

Example Marrakech City Bike Tour (half day)

Pedal winding lanes and grand boulevards on a 3-hour bike tour of Marrakech taking in the iconic sights the exotic imperial city. Ride alongside a local guide as you explore the fortified walls of the King’s palace and admire the Koutoubia mosque’s towering minaret. Immerse yourself in the vibrant bustle of the medina then pause for freshly-squeezed juice in Djemaa el-Fna, whose snake charmers, dancers and storytellers are a vivid glimpse of Moroccan culture. Alternatively head out of the city to the Palmeraie district with its Palm trees and resident camels.

Fishing

There are plenty of opportunities at  Casblanca, Essaouira or Agadir for a great day’s fishing from the beach or at sea. If however you would like something a little different and well off the beaten track then how about heading south of Agadir staying in Guelim and exploring the unspoiled Mireleft, Sidi Ifni and Plage Blanche where you will encounter few tourists and will often be able to enjoy your catch freshly cooked on the beach.

For many people living in Morocco, fishing is a way of life.  Fishing in Morocco takes place in inland rivers and lakes as well as on the wide-open seas.

The lake fishing is season limited to May and June however, in our view the more memorable experiences are to be found at the coast where waters are teeming with life and the season not as strictly monitored. Morocco has not suffered from the over-fishing that has affected other parts of the world. From Tangiers in the North to Dakhla in the South there are opportunities to fish for sea bass, bream, mullet as well as larger fish like tuna, swordfish, marlin, grouper and barracuda.

Golf

If golf is your thing why not try some of the many stunning courses that Morocco has to offer. There are 14 courses in Marrakech alone, with others in or near Casablanca, Rabat, Essaouira, Fez, Meknes, Agadir and Tangiers. We can provide club hire so you don’t need to bring your clubs with you if you prefer. You may wish to fit in a round of golf to break up one of our other tours or if you want to play more how about and an Imperial Cities with golf tour combining culture, history and golf. Alternatively we would be happy to organise a golf tour for you through our sister company More Than Golf Marrakech (www.morethangolfmarrakech.co.uk)!

Health & Beauty

As part of your trip to Morocco we would highly recommend taking a traditional Moroccan Hamman, a massage or another of a myriad of beauty and therapy treatments on offer.

For locals, visiting the hammam is a social occasion and an opportunity to spend time with friends away from work, kids and all other responsibilities. Everyone has a go-to hammam and each one has a unique atmosphere. From communal facilities with separate days or hours for men and women, to private spa-oriented treatments in hotels, visitors can experience a spectrum.

2-3 hours should be allowed for visiting a hamman. The ritual consists of both a body and mind cleansing. The hamman starts by applying a thin layer of black soap all over your body then after resting for about 5 to 10 minutes it’s followed by rinsing with lots of water. The staff will then scrape all the dead skin from your body with a kessa glove (loufa). You will be amazed by the resulting dead skin left on the tile after the treatment. After that a purifying rhassoul mask is applied that will absorb all impurities from your skin while mineralising the epiderm with essential mineral elements.  In the most luxurious hammams they will end the session by rehydrating your skin with pure argan oil. At the end you will be served a drink of mint tea and hopefully feel better for the experience!

Many of our recommended hotels have a hamman/spa in-house and we will pre-book treatments for you to avoid disappointment whilst on-site. What better way could there be to relax after a hard day of sight-seeing or haggling in the souks.

Hiking & Trekking

Whether you are looking for a half or one day hike as part of your tour or a 7 day trekking holiday we can assist you.

It can be hard work but there is definitely something to be said for the way that trekking allows you to experience a country such as Morocco. Taking your time to walk from place to place can open your eyes to the beauty of a landscape or give you time to take in the culture or people you are experiencing. It gives your travels a leisurely, comfortable pace and helps you make the most of your time.

The landscape in Morocco is varied and ranges from high mountains to vast deserts to the beautiful coast. These unusual contrasts are part of what make the Moroccan landscape as unique and special as what it is and, if you are up for the challenge, a trek up the Atlas Mountains will have you gasping for breath and looking for your camera. There are always ways to make the experience as pleasant as possible including mules to carry luggage and equipment and guides who can give you incredible insight into this intrinsically beautiful country.

Trekking in Morocco is definitely one of the better ways to explore the world of the mountain Berber tribes. These tribes have always lived in remote parts of the country and are relatively unaffected by other civilizations and global trends. Life is simple here – with woman gathering at the wells to draw water and shepherds tending their flocks on the mountainsides. The pace of life is slow but generous and the people seem rested and whole. Trekking not only makes you privy to their lifestyles but also helps you to understand that there is pleasure in simplicity and that family is important no matter where or how you live.

So whether you are looking for a mountain, coastal or desert experience trekking experience if you have the time we can build this into your schedule.

Horse riding

If you know your horses then you will understand that riding a Barb or an Arab through the mountains, deserts or along the beaches would be a fabulous way to explore the wilderness and culture of rural Morocco. Whether you would like to experience breath taking views in the Atlas mountains, the heat of the Sahara or the wild unspoiled beaches interspersed with date palms, sand dunes and rocky peaks with views over the ocean, the choice is yours.

Horse riding is available for a few hours or a few days with luxury hotel or tented accommodation to relax tired muscles. There are riding schools near many of the locations featured in our other tours including Marrakech and Essaouira. Some of the longer tours do require reasonable riding skills to make the most of the experience.

In our view the best experiences are to be had either in the High Atlas or on the beach.

Moroccan Cooking

A great experience whilst in Morocco is to attend a cooking class and learn to prepare exotic Moroccan dishes that are big on flavour, aroma and spice. Many of the classes are preceded by a trip with the cook to a local souk to purchase the ingredients required for your lesson. Pretty much all classes finish by eating the meal you have prepared.

There are any number of cooking classes that can be built into your schedule whilst in Morocco. Some of our favourites are below.

Your riad

Many of our featured riads offer cooking lessons – typically these will be a trip to the market to purchase ingredients and cooking with the in-house chef in your Riad.

Riad Laroussa, one of our favourite riad in Fez is a great example of this and offers free cooking lessons to guests. The Riad is equipped with a huge kitchen where our chef will gladly have you discover the legendary Fassi cuisine. More than a formal cooking lesson, it is about sharing a day in a Moroccan kitchen with the cooks and learning how to prepare the day’s meal (all kinds of traditional appetisers, tagines, couscous and some desserts).

Clock Kitchen, Café Clock – Marrakech, Fez, Chefchaouen

Café Clock has 3 locations with its stated purpose to enable visitors’ easy access to the amazing and diverse culture of Morocco through music, art and cuisine. There are both Moroccan cooking and Bread baking/Patisserie classes on offer.

Amal – Marrakech

The Amal Center is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the empowerment of disadvantaged women through restaurant training and job placement.
Amal’s ultimate goal is personal transformation and developing job and life skills for our trainees to eventually achieve economic and social stability. Amal offers both cooking and baking classes in Targa, just outside Marrakech.

Maison D’Arabe – Marrakech

La Maison Arabe offers daily cooking classes at its state of the art cooking school next to the hotel in the Marrakech Medina. They have also recently opened a new cooking school, located in private gardens just outside the city. The school is set in an organic kitchen garden, so participants can pick vegetables and herbs they’ll use to season their delicious Moroccan tagines. There is also a traditional wood-fired bread oven where guests can watch as delicious Moroccan flat bread known as tanourt is baked by placing the dough along the oven’s heated clay walls. The cooking classes are run by the dadas (traditional cooks) of La Maison Arabe, who have been sharing their culinary secrets with thousands of guests over the years.

Lalla Abouch Arganic Farm – Essaouira

Lalla Abouch is a small farm is located 25 Km south of Essaouira, in the heart of the Haha region. Products are cultivated and processed using local materials and traditional techniques always looked over by the caring eye of Argan Abouch, a hundred years old argan tree. The farm offers a fantastic cooking experience
 introducing guests to some of the most typical and authentic Berber dishes.

Family Cooking Class – (available at most destinations)

Would you like to some time in a Moroccan family house for of culinary indulgence? A guide will take you to visit the local market providing explanations regarding products, traditions and customs. You will then be taken to a typical house where you will be welcomed with open arms and authentic Moroccan hospitality. Over the next few hours you will be taught how to cook a tasty meal of local dishes. Your host will share stories about food, family and life in Morocco. Once your masterpieces are ready, you will savor the real taste of Moroccan family cooking.

Moroccan food tours

If you prefer not to have to cook your own meal then there are plenty of food tours available in all the main cities to give you a real flavour of Moroccan food. These include:

  • Gourmet food tours ( a different course in 3 riads, transported by tuk-tuk)
  • Tasting trails (visit the souks and taste traditional Moroccan food) – walking tour
  • Street food tours – walking tour

Photography

Morocco’s geographical contrasts its architecture, colour and its people and wildlife make this a fascinating country to photograph. From Fez, to Marrakech, the blue city of Chefchaouen, the Roman ruins of Volubilis, the port of Essaouira, the Atlas mountains, the Sahara desert with its beautiful dunes and night skies, the list of photographic opportunities is endless.

We can organise anything from 1 day courses to 5-10 days photographic tours with a guide and tutor.

Surfing

The sport of surfing has slowly gained momentum in Morocco and there are now a number of surf schools and destinations the most popular of which are at Taghazout near Agadir, Oualidia and Essaouira.

The best time for surfing in Morocco is during the late autumn and the winter months. Swells are consistent and the air is reasonably warm. In summer there are many flat spells and the waves are uneventful. There is hardly any overcrowding and there are good waves around every corner.

For the even more intrepid the winds in Essaouira ensure ideal kite surfing conditions. Windsurfing and diving are also available.