I have never before been so affected by colour, as I have been in Morocco. I find it seeping into my dreams, leading me down narrow terracotta pathways to giant lanterns of red and gold, piles of scented spices and leather in every colour imaginable, (and some I never imagined!). 

From the coast to the desert colour finds you in Morocco. With a landscape of sand and sky as a backdrop, Moroccans of all backgrounds have woven colour and beauty into their arts and crafts.

Together on this very special experience we will travel down some dusty laneways to explore seductive old souks with working artisans, tanneries, women’s cooperatives for carpets and argan oil, as well as seeing offerings from new Moroccan designers.

Also “Shop Till You Drop Morocco” is not just a shopping tour. This trip is a cultural immersion, a sight seeing tour, a giving back opportunity and a girly getaway, it ticks a lot of boxes as the ultimate holiday

EXCITING INCLUSIONS

  • 7 Nights accommodation (4 nights Marrakech 3 nights Essaouira)

  • All breakfasts

  • Airport transfers and private transport to and from Essaouira

  • Tour with professional shopper in Essaouria

  • Cooking Class Amal not for profit supporting women 

  • Bespoke perfume making class – Le Musee du Parfum 

  • Entry to Women’s and Photographic Museum Marrakech

  • High Tea at the Mamounia Hotel Marrakesh

  • Visit to the Secret Garden in the Marakech Medina

  • Visit local souks, cooperatives and factories

 

  • Airfares to and from Morocco

  • Lunches and Dinners, (prices for these can vary from very cheap to western prices depending on where you are eating. Alcohol is more expensive than at home, consider buying some duty free) Allow $100 a day for meals and incidentals.

  • Personal purchases and shipping costs if considering large purchases. The best and cheapest solution however is purchasing excess baggage. Leave lots of room in your bags!

  • Tipping, we suggest $15 per person per day and collect this at the beginning of the trip to be distributed amongst out drivers, hotel staff and guides. 

  • Travel Insurance (which is compulsory and must be purchased within 14 days of paying your deposit for your trip. This protects you in the event you need to cancel your booking)

ITINERARY

Today is set aside just to arrive, there are no activities planned. As we have a full week ahead for you today is put aside for rest and relaxation after your journey. However, if you are feeling adventurous we are staying in the hip and happening area of Hivernage and Guilez, modern Marrakech. The wide, French-era streets of Gueliz are home to upscale Moroccan and European restaurants, cabarets and chic bars, as well as art galleries and mainstream fashion stores. Hivernage is known more for its night life, with a casino, cocktail lounges, hotel dance clubs and global restaurants with live music. You can safely wander at your leisure taking in the modern magic of Marrakech or just have a cocktail by the pool, you choose, its your holiday xx

Image result for argan oil essaouiraToday we head to the coast to Essaouria, the old port town of Mogador, mystical in every way, part beach getaway, part ancient medina, part fishing village. The perfect place to start our Morocaan shopping adventure. On the way we stop at one of the many Argon Oil Co-operatives with ubiquitous goats in trees. Sampling the products, and smelling their nutty essence.

 

Image result for cafe vagabond essaouira

Then onto lunch at Ocean Vagabond, offering a large menu of international cuisine, Ocean Vagabond is a small restaurant located in a pretty garden right next to the beach; an idyll surrounded by lush trees and plants. The interior is designed with a Caribbean theme, featuring rustic wicker furniture and authentic artwork adorning the walls. Guests can enjoy an array of sumptuous meals here, from duck breast with candied mango, to Toulouse sausage and lentils, whilst watching energetic kite surfers, enthusiastic camel riders and wild horses right on the beach.

 

After lunch you have time for an optional horse or camel ride along the beach and then we will settle into our accommodation at Villa Maroc. After a quick 30 minute nap we will head out for an orientation walk of the local area. This may include a glass of wine in a rooftop bar and conclude with some dinner and live music. 

After a French breakfast or crepes, croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee we will be fueled up for our shopping tour with Arianna! An experienced stylist and a personal shopper from Rome. She is passionate about her job and has fun doing it! She loves finding hidden gems and can spend hours looking for unique handcrafts. Colours, fabrics and ethnic jewellery are her addiction and, of course, food! She also knows where to find the best coffee!! We’ll visit artisans labs, tailors and accessories shops while you’ll discover more about ethnic jewellery and Moroccan handicrafts. You’ll see the hidden treasures of Essaouira while choosing the best products for you. To conclude, as a cherry on top, we’ll go to a traditional herbalist’ shop where to find natural products for your beauty care.

 

Then tonight we are in for a cinematic treat at “La Maison du Cinema” a lovely little cafe come cinema within walking distance to our hotel. We will dine whilst watching an evening show. Each night a film is selected from famous cult movies, from classics of the history of cinema, from last season’s releases — from animation to musicals, from thrillers to comedy, from romantic to dramatic. 

 

Related imageToday is a free day to wander. Start perhaps with an early morning walk along the promenade. Or head to the bustling port filled with salty seaman and squawking seagulls, wonderful photography opportunities of blue timber boats and ramparts abound. 

Wander local galleries and cobblestones paths full of all of history and colour, spices, jewellery, carpets you name it you can find it. Indulge perhaps in purchasing a lovely little silver teapot bejeweled with a tassel, what about a super soft suede jacket or some babouches (Moroccan slippers) in any and every colour. 

Take some time for yourself this afternoon and visit the Hammam (Moroccan bathhouse and steam-room) add a massage or facial, indulge, you are on holidays! Then return back to our romantic villa for a mint tea on the rooftop.

Join the group for an intimate dinner at the villa restaurant where everything is homemade! The cuisine is creative and delicious, and offers refined dishes, with souiris accents, with the products of this region where fish and argan oil compose a symphony with perfect chords. In order to offer our customers originality, comfort and well-being, restaurant lounges have replaced the large impersonal room. Dinners are served in small independent salons. Each day, a different menu, proposed with a choice of fish, meat, or vegetarian, will allow you to taste the Moroccan cuisine and the specialties of the region. It is the markets of Essaouira, with their fine products of the land and the sea, which inspired the Mistress of home Cornelia Hendry, to create new recipes combining Moroccan tradition and international know-how, for a healthy and refined cuisine.

This morning we make our way back to Marrakech and arrive just in time for lunch at my favourite Rooftop Terrace Cafe – Terrace Des Epices. Where can have delicious olive tapenade, Bruchetta of sardines and chermola and chocolate pastilla. This modern building in the heart of the Medina also houses several boutiques, and a place to buy amazing olive oil. You can also get a henna tattoo whilst snacking on a sweet treat from the patisserie.

Our dreamy Riad is only a 3 minute walk away so after lunch we check in and then after time for a quick dip in the shallow pool on the terrace we regroup for our Bespoke perfume making class! You will get to make your very own scent and name it yourself at this cute and quirky perfume museum.

Image result for photographie museum marrakechAfter so many splendid smells we may need to change the focus to sights with a trip to the La Maison De Photographie. My favourite little museum as it captures the true history of African Morocco in black and white, for some reason a small tear always escapes my eyes at this museum. We have time for an afternoon “Nos Nos” (short black with milk served in a small glass) on the rooftop terrace overlooking the Atlas Mountains. 

Then back to our Riad to freshen up before heading out to one of the very fine restaurants just close by for dinner. 

Today is for exploring the souqs (shops)! The medina is the old historic part of town with high stone walls and is divided into Quartiers. Each quartier has a mosque, a hammam (bathhouse), a communal bread oven, a madrasa (educational institution) and a water fountain, which all serve the local community.

Souks are the traditional marketplaces and are often divided into sections for the various trades. You’ll see herbalists, spice sellers, metal workers, tanners, and food markets congregated on trade-specific streets.

There are so many wonderful women’s cooperatives and museums within walking distance to our accommodation as well as leather workers, metal workers, spice traders, jewelers, wood carvers, cobblers and so much more …..

Image result for Artisanal Women of MarrakechWe have the Cooperative Artisanale des Femmes de Marrakesh – A showcase for Marrakesh’s women mâalems (master artisans), the cooperative is eye-opening and a total bargain. Original, handcrafted designs include handbags made from water bottle caps wrapped in wool, hand-knitted kessa (hammam gloves) and black-and-white kaftans edged with red silk embroidery. Ask cooperative director Souad Boudeiry about getting tunics and dresses tailor-made.

Al Kawtar is a cooperative for physically disabled women. It’s mission is to promote the independence of disabled women so they can rely on themselves and earn a living. They make handcrafted homewares and clothing. Their motto is DIS-ability is not a LACK of ability. Be strong. Be courageous.

The Women’s Museum, the first of its kind in Morocco and in North Africa, it is a permanent centre for the arts. The space is entirely dedicated to the history and culture of the Moroccan woman, her daily life, and her creativity.

The Kaftan museum ‘Histoire de Caftan by Diamantine’, is really a must see for those who are intrigued by the beauty of modest Moroccan fashion. Diamantine are an established atelier company, first stepping onto the scene 15 years ago. They now take the lead in terms of traditional and elegant Moroccan garments, with outlets cropping up in Morocco, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In 2015 they were awarded ” Best Brand of Moroccan Franchise” by the Ambassador of Moroccan Culture.

During our wandering of Museums, Souqs and Cooperatives we may take respite in the secret garden for a cup of tea and some quiet reflection time. 

tea_time_francaisThen around 4pm for a late lunch/early dinner will will make our way to the Royal Mansour for a truly special afternoon tea. On a balcony overlooking the iconic Marrakesh Koutoubia Mosque or in the cosy La Table restaurant, afternoon tea at the Royal Mansour is always sensational. You will discover the awe-inspiring creations dreamt up by the talented pastry chef of the Royal Mansour Marrakech. Frozen delights, fruit delicacies, chocolate compositions, caramelised sensations and crisp-fondant mouthfuls play their part in this beautiful and delicious performance. The Royal Mansour also offers the delights of foie gras terrine and Norwegian smoked salmon with chive cream. The journey may be sweet but it lacks no salt… Club sandwiches, burgers and other savoury creations are served alongside homemade sorbets and ice creams.

Image result for amal cooking class9 – 1.30pm today we head out of the medina to a neighbourhood area of Marrakech for a cooking class with Amal, a non-profit association, empowering women through culinary skills. Amal’s goal is personal transformation through job and life skills development for our trainees, a stepping stone to economic and social stability.

Their program offers women from disadvantaged backgrounds a platform where they can enhance their capacities and learn new skills. When trainees are selected they start a six-month training program to learn all aspects of work in a professional kitchen in order to secure a job. At completion, Amal graduates gain financial independence through their skilled work in restaurants, hotels, riads and private homes.

Amal’s customers and clients are a key source of financial support the training programs Amal runs. When you learn to make Moroccan tajine alongside our expert chefs you are making a difference in the lives of the women we train.

On our way back to the Medina we will stop at the Ensemble Artisinal for any last minute shopping. This cooperative has a little bit of everything in an easy to navigate building with courtyard. 

For our last meal together we will head to Dar Yacout – The Yacout, an institution in Marrakech, was created among the first in the medina, more than twenty years ago, by Mohamed Zkhiri who presides over the destinies of this luxurious address. Enchanting decor, private lounges, breathtaking panoramic views from the terrace on the medina and Koutoubia Marrakech. Table of high gastronomic tradition, menu with the fantastic succession of flavours and service at the height of this beautiful house. *Self Pay – Moroccan tasting menu with drink 700 Dirham per person

Image result for dar yacout restaurant

The tour concludes after a leisurely breakfast, you have time for one last wander around the Medina before check out at 12pm. If you are departing from Marrakech airport later in the day please don’t worry you can leave your bags at the Riad, have lunch and your airport transfer is included when you leave. 

If you are joining the Magic in Morocco Tour, then get ready to catch the train to Casablanca, this is a comfortable 2.5 hour train journey which will have us drinking wine on the Casablanca foreshore by sunset. 

PRICE IN $AUD

SINGLE ROOM – $3350

TWINSHARE – $2750

Yes I want to shop! Book me in!!

You have two payment options for this trip. To pay a $750 deposit and the remainder 75 days prior to the start of the tour or to organise a payment plan. 

Deposits can be paid via Direct Bank Transfer or via PayPal.

If you pay via PayPal you can use your credit card.

Up until 75 days before the start of the tour a $750 non-refundable deposit will be retained.  For between 75 days and 45 days,  50% will be forfeited.  For less than 45 days or for no shows the entire amount will be retained as we would have already had to pay for accommodation, transport, flights and activities, and this money will not be returned to us.  Once the tour has commenced no monies will be returned to you.  This is why travel insurance is compulsory.

 

The Dirham is officially designated as a closed currency meaning it can only be traded within Morocco ,however, Dirhams are being sold and bought in travel agencies and at major airports in several countries. The import and export of the currency is tolerated up to a limit of 1000DH. You can also use Euros in most hotels and shops, it is widely accepted. It is recommended to bring some Euros with you, perhaps €300 to get you started, currency we can change in the city. If you require cash straight away arriving in Morocco please use the ATM at the airport not the money changer as they can be dishonest. If they do have Moroccan Dirhams at your airport before you leave it is not recommended to get more than 1000 Dirhams as being a closed currency they do not like you to bring moeny in and out of the country. Usually up to 1000 is accepted but we cannot guarantee this. 

  • Do not change money at the Marrakesh airport (they are terrible!)

  • Do bring Euros

  • Do not bring Australian Dollars

  • Do bring credit cards and use ATM’s

The average daily temperature in the months of October linger around 25 degrees Celsius. This average includes a potential low of 18 degrees Celsius, which often occurs during the night, and a high of 30 degrees Celsius. Getting prepared for the anticipated high will be the important factor to consider when packing and planning your holiday.

Q.  Where do I fly in and out of?

A. Marrakech Menara Airport.

There are no direct long-distance flights to Marrakech from Australia or the USA, you will have to stop on the way. Morocco is easy to access from the UK and Europe. Check www.skyscanner.com for your options.

Q. What dates and times should I fly in/out of Marrakech?

A. You need to arrive on the 6th of October 2020. We have included a complimentary nights accommodation for you on the first night just to settle in, there is no sightseeing planned for this day it is just a rest day. *Please do not arrive a day early this is not necessary.

Please arrange your departure for anytime on the 13th of October. We are just a 30 minute drive to the airport. 

Q. What sort of rooms are available?

A. We have both single and twinshare rooms available. The single room has the supplement included. If you choose twinshare and are not travelling with a friend we will do our best to find you a roommate however in the event noone else is seeking a twinshare roommate then the single room rate will apply. We hope you understand. *Please note that snorers, smokers or people who wear CPAP machines when sleeping must disclose this when booking as this could impact other peoples sleep and they need to be aware of this. **Also please note we cannot guarantee compatibility of roommates, for example you may be of different ages or nationalities, however mostly when we do match people up they get on well and its only for a short period of time. Some people have even made lifelong friendships.

Q. What is the maximum group size?

A. We are expecting around 8 participants. 

Q. What will the food be like?

A. I’m sure most people are aware that Moroccans use Tagines to cook, (as they don’t have electic or gas ovens). They cook each meal from scratch so note it can take time. The other common food in Morocco is couscous. For a country that was previously colonised by the French its a shame there isn’t more French influence in the cooking. You can see the French flavours however at breakfast when we carb load croissants, brioche, cake, crepes and anything else made from gluten. Fruits salad, yogurt and fresh juice also available. *Please note this is not a trip for the coeliacs and in fact on these tours we are unable to accommodate complex dietary requirements or allergies. We have tried to in the past however local people do not understand the requirements and we don’t want to be responsible for people being unwell and we just can’t guarantee that the kitchens will get it right. I have to say meat eaters find it easier and have more variety than vegetarians in Morocco as they are predominantly a meat eating country. On most menus you can also find pasta and soups, unfortunately fresh salads are rare as these vegetables cannot be grown locally. *Only drink bottled water

Q. what are Moroccan people like?

A. The people of Morocco are kind, warm, and well known around the world for their hospitality. A Moroccan, after having just met you, will invite you to his home for a feast of all they have to give, even if they are of meager means. They value building personal relationships, and want to help others for the sake of it, not always for their own personal gain. Family is important to Moroccans and you will often find extended family gathering for meals, tea, and visits. Moroccans will often ask you about the health and well-being of your own family, even if they have never met them. They have a genuine interest in concern for other people. Personal honor and respect is most important to Moroccans so crossing these lines can quickly turn a valuable relationship sour almost immediately.

You will find many men and woman wearing the traditional djellaba, a long hooded robe worn over their clothes. Women add the hijab, or head covering in a sign of submission to God. For special occasions, a caftan replaces the djellaba. The main difference between the two is that a caftan is made of more expensive fabrics and does not include the traditional hood. It is also adorned with lace, embroidery beading of bright colors. You will find just as many men and women among the younger generation wearing Western style clothing such as T-shirts and jeans and modern suits.

Q. Do I require a visa to enter Morocco?

A. Most countries do not require a visa to enter Morocco, (This includes Australia, New Zealand, Britain, United States, Canada, Other EU countries). You do however require a passport valid for more than 6 months and a return or exiting plane ticket.

Q. I have never travelled to a an exotic country like Morocco before, will I experience culture shock?

A. Yes but in the very best way. Morocco is extremely old, beautiful and romantic. The people are predominately Arabs and very friendly. There are however lots of hawkers or touts which can become tiresome. Always remain polite and respectful and your trip should be a pleasant one. Like most Muslim countries you will see a lot more men than women, as women are predominantly at home. Morocco is a modern, cosmopolitan country in many ways and people really want to encourage tourists and do their best to accommodate us. *Please wear appropriate clothing for a Muslim country ie cover shoulders and knees.

Q. How much money will I need?

A. Well, that depends on your shopping habits! You will need to allocate around $15 per meal lunches and dinners and then add on extra for personal spending. Alcohol is always more expensive in countries where people don’t drink and is taxed highly. I tell people to bring around 500 Euro’s to change on arrival, (not at the airport as they have terrible rates but we will find you a money changer in the city. Then bring a credit card for the other larger spending.

Q. Can I add extra days or extra tours to this trip? *Note above we do not suggest you come early unless you have something specific in mind.

A. Yep, you sure can. You can join us in Spain and Portugal before this trip or stay on to see more of Morocco on our Magic in Morocco Tour

Q. I think I wanna come….but it is a big decision and I am not 100% sure, can I talk it over with you and see if it is right for me?

A. Yes, I think that is a great idea. You don’t know me and I want you to! Please view previous testimonial here to get an idea of what our past guest have to say about us and also if you just flick me an email to tammie@vibrantwomen.com.au I will arrange a time to call you or just give me a call – (+61) 0459247122 this works for Whatsapp too.

Q. Ok, I SO wanna come, how do I book?! How much is the deposit?? What’s the process please???

A. Great! You can just complete the registration form here from there we will send you a confirmation email outlining what is covered in the trip, answering any questions and provide you with payment options. Once you have paid the depsoit or commenced a payment plan then we will send you the trip notes and any other documentation you need to prepare for your journey. We are available to help you every step of the way.

Q. I’m nervous about arranging my flights, can you help me?

A. We use Donna McHugh from Wauchope Travel to arrange all of our flights please contact her on (+61) 02 65852288 or email info@wauchopetravel.com.au Donna can arrange flights to and from anywhere in the world and she knows our itineraries.

I love colour and exotic places! Book me in!!
YOUR GUIDES

*Please note that organising tours so far in advance means that sometimes the program has to change due to changes in flight schedules or for other unforeseen reasons, please allow for this.