Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. The trip starts with a welcome meeting at 6 pm – please check the hotel reception for information about where and when it will be. After the meeting there’s the option of joining your leader and fellow travellers for dinner. Afterwards, be sure to check out Djemaa el Fna, the lively town square in the centre of the Medina. Huge crowds converge at night to see singers, drummers, dancers, fortune tellers, jugglers and even old medicine men and dentists mingling together in what has been called the ‘greatest spectacle on earth’. If you arrive in town with some time up your sleeve before the trip starts, perhaps admire the outside view of the Koutoubia Mosque and its famous minaret, or discover the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). Also well worth a look is the architecture of the Palais Bahia, the ruins of the Palais Badi, and the recently uncovered Saadian tombs in the Medina.
Bou Tharar village
Board your private transport and settle in for the journey to Bout Tharar village (approximately 7 hours). You’ll be hosted by local women, and there will be some Berber music and local songs to enjoy. A tasty, traditional repast will be waiting for you on arrival. Your accommodation is a beautiful terra cotta gite (rural guesthouse). From here, the views of the surrounding hills are superb, and you’ll be greeted with warm hospitality from the local family who run the establishment.
Set off on a hike from Bout Tharar village to Agouti Village (approximately 5–6 hours). We’ll be walking in a westbound direction, passing through villages and meeting some of the locals on the way. In the afternoon, learn how to prepare some specialty dishes at a cooking demonstration. This is a really unique opportunity so get involved and learn some new skills to take back home. Perhaps the most important part of the evening is watching how couscous is prepared in a traditional way. It’s a classic and characterful component of Maghrebi cuisine. Its rice-like softness is perfect for soaking up the rich and buttery slow-cooked tagines found all over Morocco. The locals will show you the tricks to getting it just right.
Set off on a morning walk through Agouti Gorge, crossing through Almdoun Village to get to Amejgag (approximately 5–6 hours). The scenery is beautiful along the way, and sometimes the dramatic red walls of the gorge give the feeling of being on another planet. Note the detail of the striped mineral deposits in the landscape while your leader provides some background information on the area along the way. At some point during today’s hike you will need to cross a river. Depending on the water levels, you may need to roll up your trousers and take your shoes off. Our experienced leader will make sure to find the best place to cross, but come prepared to get a little wet. After arriving in Amejgag Village, gain insight into an age-old craft by attending a weaving workshop run by a local ladies’ cooperative. Put your skills in to practice and try the ancient art of weaving yourself. All under a watchful eye of some local experts. Afterwards, there will be a walk through the village to see some of the interesting architecture.
This morning enjoy a traditional Moroccan breakfast comprised of a comforting homemade soup, tea, coffee, and (most importantly) olive oil served with Moroccan bread. Get involved in preparing this flatbread, or otherwise known as khobz, which is widespread and almost synonymous with Moroccan food. There’s nothing like making and tasting the real thing under the guidance of those who do it best. Set off to Issoummar, trekking through more of Morocco’s spectacular deserted landscape. The route crosses small hills and leads to Timtda village, where we’ll take a break and enjoy a picnic lunch. From there, climb 200 metres uphill to the Tissardan pass, which offers a fantastic view of the M’Goun Valley. Then descend 300 metres to Issoummar village, where we’ll spend the night. This afternoon listen to traditional folk tales and play music with the local women inside the guesthouse. Singing is a big part of local music so expect to sing along with your female host and perhaps try wearing traditional dress. This isn’t a performance, but rather a unique opportunity to get involved and be a part of the experience.
Follow the M’Goun River back to Boutghrar (approximately 5–6 hours). You’ll most likely see a few local farmers going about their daily business along the way. After lunch, visit a farm and learn some traditional farming skills that have been practiced in this part of Morocco for centuries (such as milking, battering the milk, and bringing some herbs from the farm to feed the animals). Make sure you take a chance to feed the animals. For many Moroccan families, animals are a very important part of their lives. More often than not, the wealth of the family depends on their livestock. After a long but rewarding day, take some time to rest before joining your fellow women in trying on some traditional makeup – perhaps henna and kohl. You might already have learned about these skills earlier in the trip, but today’s evening is special for a different reason. After having your dress picked out and make up done for you, set out to attend special, local party, imitating a Berber wedding. Make the most of this special event while enjoying a final dinner with the rest of the group.
Return to Marrakech today. On the way, there will be a stop at Ait Benhaddou to check out the beautiful mudbrick ksar there. Retaining its thousand-year-old allure, the ksar is southern Moroccan architecture at its finest. Unsurprisingly, this UNESCO-protected marvel has been used as a backdrop in a number of famous films, such as Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. Once back in Marrakech, make the most of your final night with your fellow female adventurers, perhaps heading out on the town for a last taste of tagine and mint tea, or some more time in the always entertaining Djemaa el-Fna town square.
Bid farewell to your travel companions as the trip comes to an end today.
Dinner with music and local songs workshop
Weaving cooperative visit
Traditional Moroccan breakfast preparation workshop
Local folklore workshop
Berber make-up workshop