Painting holiday in Morocco

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Date
Price
Basis
04 Oct 2020
1250
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 04 Oct 2020 departure
'Free from' Food:
We are happy to say that we are able to cater for vegetarians and vegans. Being a dairy-free vegetarian myself I know how difficult it is to explain your dietary requirements in different countries. That is why we make sure we are able to cater for vegans and vegetarians.
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
In common with many parts of the world, both developed and developing, single-use plastic is a real issue in Morocco as plastic bags are routinely given with every purchase in shops and from street food vendors. For many years I have been trying to lead by example and always refuse carrier bags. I make every effort to minimise the occasions where they would be necessary and make sure my guets follow on this. When I refuse a plastic bag I always explain why I am doing so, often generating a lively conversation. Moreover these plastic bags often end up flying around the desert as litter, in a country with inadequate rubbish collection. When I visit beautiful and remote locations with and without my clients I aim to leave them cleaner than I found them in terms of litter and would not allow any client to drop litter, either intentionally or otherwise.

In most countries, education is key when it comes to the environment and where education is poor, leading by example is sometimes the most effective tool and can lead to small changes in local behaviour.

The hotels and auberges we use in the desert regions are made of adobe, a local and sustainable material which is warm in winter and cool in summer. They are built in traditional local style and decorated with locally produced handicrafts such as rugs and ceramics, many of which are very old.
While the accommodation is 'comfortable' and 'sumptious' in terms of decor it is not 'luxury' and I actively avoid hotels and rooms with air-con. Where necessary a fan is always my preference.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Travel in Morocco is always about the people, and it is usually a pretty full-on, absorbing cultural experience. From the beginning I make it very clear to my clients that we guests are in a fascinating country whose customs and traditions might differ from ours. An open mind, tolerance, curiosity and respect are paramount on these trips, to enjoy them to the full and foster good relations with the people we meet.

We use a local, self-employed driver and stay in locally owned and run accommodation, employing local people. We eat from local restaurants and cafes, and buy food from local sellers and markets.

The small group size facilitates approachability and interaction with the locals, with mutual benefit. Conversations are encouraged where appropriate, as is purchasing from small establishments or individuals rather than bigger shops.

There is often the option to visit both a desert handicraft co-operative and a cultural music experience during the trip.

Climate

5 Reviews of Painting holiday in Morocco

5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
4
1
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Reviewed on 30 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The Sahara desert. The vastness of it, the thorny trees, the surprising tough little tufts of vegetation. Driving across the sands to an oasis, an oasis that has likely been inhabited for 10,000 years. At our first painting stop in the Sahara, the driver was wandering around and found a fossil ammonite just laying on the ground. I ended up with it, and it, and the heart-shaped rock given me by the other driver, are my favorite treasures.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Pack a small kit of your favorite remedies for stomach ills, bug bites, allergies, and other remedies. I had no idea that there is no pink bismuth (pepto-bismol) outside the USA. We couldn't find ginger candies anywhere, but mints are available for queasiness. Learn to use Google Translate. It got us over some otherwise difficult moments. And the trip covers a lot of ground. We were busy all day, and all tired out after supper. Oh, and stairs. There are stairs everywhere; most buildings are three stores tall with a terrace on the roof. Take them one step at a time.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I think the travel industry greatly benefits the Berbers, who are disadvantaged compared with the more urban people. I talked to three young Berbers in Marrakesh who were selling phone cards, all of whom have applied for the US immigration lottery. I was very happy to support the Berber Womens' tea house in Ait Benadu. Many of the places we stayed were locally owned and we met and talked to the owners. I think our tour was a direct benefit to the local people. The government is improving the roads, and improved roads open up the rural areas to more markets, especially for produce and fruits and things needing refrigeration.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The most amazing trip I've ever taken. In particular, sketching at Mary's well-selected locations meant we saw all the same places, but had at least an hour to really look at and appreciate each stop.

Reviewed on 26 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The landscapes - desert and mountains - are very beautiful. The Oasis at M'Harech was a delight - peaceful and serene. Zagora - Chez Ali - a paradise garden and a garden house to stay in was lovely. Swimming in a cold pool.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


There is not much room for luggage - you need to pack light - cabin luggage and a small day pack perhaps - but the good news is that the air is warm and dry and you can wash underwear, T shirts or light trousers - wring out and roll them in a towel to suck out the excess moisture - and they will normally dry overnight. I found a light soft sweater, silk or cotton scarf, some cotton socks and light packable windproof coat was enough for the cooler places. Take sunscreen and a hat or scarf, because some sketching opportunities don't have shade. The tap water is mostly ok so a refillable bottle is useful - or two because it's warm and dry - easy to get dehydrated. Make sure you read Mary King's 'Is This Holiday For You?' document and her lists of what to take. You will spend a lot of time in a packed 4x4 car with people you have never met before. Parts of the drive are very bendy - winding mountain roads - and parts are off-road and very rocky/bumpy. Take car-sickness remedies if you think you may need them. (And imodium.) People often do have a smattering of English - in hotels. But if you can use a few Berber words -'thank you' for example - it is usually appreciated. Or brush up your French or Spanish.P ools are not heated because it's warm enough not to heat them but you may find them cold.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The group is small and is not a standard tour; it would usually consist of people who respect the locals, their culture and the environment, who are willing to immerse themselves in the Moroccan experience; this hopefully means that any negative impact (of European visitors on the landscape and culture of these out-of-the-way places) is lessened. Our spending probably did benefit the local economy. It was also some kind of contact opportunity between white Europeans and Moroccans living in isolated places - which was friendly and hopefully of benefit both ways. Environment - you use petrol to get around and it's a long trip - but public transport isn't really an option to such isolated places - so unless you want to take weeks doing the journey by camel, using the car is unavoidable. Plastics, In order to reduce our plastic footprint, Mary advises quite rightly that you can drink the water in Morocco and I started off drinking the local tap water in two refillable bottles and it tasted fine and I was perfectly ok with it. I would have done this for the whole trip (except at Skoura where they advise you not to) but unfortunately, I got very ill after some rice at a cafe and didn't really recover fully for the rest of the trip. I lost confidence and changed to bottled water - mainly because the fizzy stuff helped my stomach. But the Moroccans themselves seem to have mountains of plastic water bottles everywhere.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was well organised and well thought out with useful art excercises to try at each place. The food was limited in variety but usually delicious. Beds hard but clean and comfortable and always a shower and ensuite bathroom. There were pools in three places which was wonderful.

Reviewed on 29 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Staying in and sketching in the kasbah of Tamnougalt

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for scrambling up and down hillsides to get the best sketching view. Some of the accommodations might not be up to the standards they are used
to. It's best to be expecting some difficult conditions regarding wind, sun, dust and long car rides. Being adaptable and in good physical condition is important.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We definitely benefited local people by paying for their goods and services.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I would rate it as challenging but rewarding.

Reviewed on 14 Nov 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Wow! Was it spending the night in a Kasbah? Was it sitting at the top of a mountain nestled in to sketch a breathtaking view? Was it lunch in the the desert with mint tea on an open fire? Was it the incredible scenery? Was it sharing a tagine with a small group of like minded people? Seriously The whole trip was exciting and memorable!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go for it! If you are an artist or just want to learn to sketch, the scenery is so inspiring! If you are worried about travelling alone, no need to be. The trip is vey well organized and Mary is great! As soon as you meet your group you will be totally comfortable!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The tour company employs local guides, encourages small restaurant owners and local business.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Personally I would rate it a 5 star, but this is for the type of travel I enjoy. The
accommodations may be a 3 star for some people. They are very clean, authentic and have character, but they are not high class hotels. You have your own room with your own bathroom. In my case they were perfect. I prefer this type of accommodations.

Reviewed on 08 Apr 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing some really remote and beautiful regions of Morocco

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


It is so well organised you can just relax and enjoy it. A hat is a good idea though.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. The tour used a local driver and we stayed in small guest houses run by local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. Trip of a lifetime

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