Morocco short break retreat
Description of Morocco short break retreat
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As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetThis trip is run entirely by our Destination Management Company in Morocco (DMC), who are serious advocates of our environmental values. For instance, they recycle in their offices (not yet common practice in Morocco), host clean-up treks in the Atlas Mountains and volunteer in the villages around Marrakech by helping locals to build water channelling systems. Our suppliers share our frustrations at plastic waste, and so together we provide our travellers with canvas bags to be used throughout (and after) the trip. We also suggest that passengers use refillable water bottles, and our leaders will suggest purchasing bigger bottles of water to store in our vehicle or accommodation.
On this retreat you will be staying in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. Exploring surroundings that feel beyond the reach of the modern world carries a huge responsibility. On the included walk you will navigate boulders and crags, running streams, and pass through traditional Berber villages on the way, waving to the villagers as they go about their daily lives. While we learn about local daily life, it is important to not disturb it, and to not leave the trace behind. Therefore, we travel in a small group of maximum 12 people (8-9 on average) and we also educate; our leaders, our suppliers and friends. Our team in Morocco organises a yearly Supplier Conference, where we can share and discuss common environmental problems and solutions.
PeopleThe High Atlas Mountains are our second home on this trip. It’s important to understand that this area is still very focused on keeping local traditions alive. Religion also plays a very important role in the everyday lives of the local people here. When introducing our travellers to these places, we want to make sure no one behaves in a disrespectful way, either consciously or unconsciously. To help avoid this, we pre-educate our clients about customs in the region and ensure our local leader explains these ahead of starting the trip. In addition, during common dinners with our hosts in Ouirgane, there’s time to talk about the similarities and differences between our cultures, customs and traditions. These sorts of discussions lead to a deeper mutual understanding and more respectful behaviour. This somewhat unplanned activity is highly valued by travellers and our local hosts alike.
You will also have many chances to talk to local people of the region. On second day of the trip, we finish our walk with a lunch shared with Berber family. Not only you will have a chance to taste an amazing and authentic food cooked at home but also, to share it with a family, means to become friends with them. On a next day, you will help to keep the tradition alive by taking part in a demonstration of how to make Morocco’s signature tea, using mint grown right in the garden of our accommodation. Mint tea, called a Berber whisky by many, is a way to share a moment with local people in Morocco. It is the way local people say: Welcome friend! After initial cuppa, enjoy another part of this cooking class, including bread baking and, of course, traditional tagine. There is nothing better to connect people than shared food.
On your way back to Marrakech, you will stop at an project – which your trip helps support – called Education For All. Founded in 2007, EFA currently supports 192 girls across five safe boarding houses, each of which is managed by local house mothers. The girls also have access to books and computers, receive three meals a day and have access to additional study support. All girls return home to their families every weekend. The results of this program have been impressive, with the girls' grades almost double the
national average. EFA's work is also changing cultural attitudes where families who previously kept their daughters at home are now enthusiastic to support their daughter’s education. Our travellers will be able to learn more about the initiative from our trained local leaders. Although it’s worth mentioning that we don’t visit the project itself, so as not to disturb the girls from their studies and everyday lives.