Rustic Pathways has been running programs in Africa since 1996 and now offers a variety of programs across five countries on the continent. The richness and diversity of Africa offers many different opportunities for service and exploration and we are excited to expand into North Africa with community service and touring programs in Morocco. From doing service in high mountain villages to riding camels in the Sahara Desert and relaxing along the Mediterranean Coast, our programs here offer a great look at this vibrant country.
We custom design our Journeys to meet your school’s requirements, so please contact us to discuss the type of experience you are looking for. As a general guide, here are some of the potential elements of your Journey through Morocco:
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Rustic Pathways has developed various long-term partnerships with communities and local organisations in Morocco.
Some of our service projects that you could support include:
Atlas Cultural Foundation (ACF): Set in a Berber village nestled in the Zawiya Ahansal Valley of the High Atlas Mountains is the base for one of our major service projects in the region. ACF is a US non-profit organization with the mission of collaborating with rural Moroccans in order to improve their quality of life in the fields of cultural preservation, community education, and public health. All of our projects are tailored to most effectively meet the needs of the community. Past projects have entailed work in the following capacities: community garden maintenance, participation in the elementary school tutoring program, construction of community center, and/or restoration of a historic granary in the village.
Ourikt Village: The project is part of an initiative undertaken by the Ourikt Development Association, a group of Amazighi men and women dedicated to improving education, agriculture, and the economy of Ourikt. This village is one of many that line the Tighza Valley at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains, the largest mountain range in North Africa. The project may entail running a camp for students or digging irrigation canals in the wheat fields with local villagers.
Discover the unique culture of this vibrant country as you bask in the artistic ambiance of the white-walled coastal city of Essaouira and wander through the maze of colorful souqs and riads in Marrakech. You may like to incorporate some of the following experiences into your Journey:
D’Jemaa al-Fna: Wander the UNESCO-acclaimed thousand-year-old market where you can watch snake charmers mesmerize their cobras and vendors hawk their wares. See everything from whale vertebrae and acrobats to ostrich eggs and orange juice stands! The mosque will sound a call to prayer as smoke from kabob stands billows overhead in this frenetic market.
Chefchaouen: Discover the chic blue-washed medina of Chefchaouen, exploring the markets and climbing to a local mosque to watch the sunset over the valley.
Hassan II Mosque: As a rite of passage, students can take a tour of the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world and the only one in Morocco open to non-Muslims.
Ait Benhaddou: Spend a night in the UNESCO World Heritage site you might recognize from films such as Gladiator and The Mummy.
Photography Expeditions: Travel across Morocco and develop a portfolio that captures the diversity of the country and your skills as a photographer. Guided by professional photographers, you’ll have both private and group lessons to improve your technique.
Essaouira: Drive to the Atlantic coast to the funky beach town of Essaouira. Hang out in the white-walled medina and watch the seagulls overhead in the town known for its annual Gnaoua Music Festival. Stroll through the friendly European-style streets, barter for sunglasses, handicrafts, and textiles while munching on a delicious crepe from a street-side vendor.
Adventure and challenge is inherent to every Journey, however, if you are looking to physically challenge your students through a specific activity, you may opt to include:
Cascade d’Ouzoud falls: A triple-tiered waterfall teeming with Barbary apes and good places to take a refreshing dip.
Hiking, souqs & soccer: Students have the opportunity to hike to nearby villages, explore surrounding landscapes, visit the weekly souqs (markets) and play soccer games with local youth.
Paradise Beach: A pristine beach along the Atlantic coast where students enjoy a day at the beach, playing games and enjoying fresh juices.
Akchour & Bridge of God: Head to Akchour and embark on a 2.5 hour hike to a stunning waterfall and swim in the cool pools below. Have a picnic lunch before hiking through incredibly scenic terrain to reach the “Bridge of God,” a naturally formed archway carved into the jutting canyon.
Camels in the Sahara: Ride in a camel caravan into the iconic sand dunes of the Sahara desert and sleep in a Bedouin camp. Gather round for tea and Berber cuisine and explore the vast African desert. Try your hand at sandboarding (optional) before soaking in the star-studded sky and nodding off to sleep.
Terres D’Amanar eco-park: Terres D’Amanar is a high-ropes and zip-lining eco-park in the High Atlas Mountains. The group will experience the adrenaline of the zip-lines and high-ropes course in addition to the many team-building games that will test the students’ communication skills.
Surfing or windsurfing: Students can try their hand at these sports in the beach town of Essaouira.
There are various accommodation options that we can offer in Morocco; it depends on how “rustic” you would like your Journey to be.
Guesthouse: Students stay in a local inn called a ‘gitte’, which is similar to a guesthouse.
Homestays: Students can homestay with local families in the villages we stay in.
Bedouin camp: Set in the Sahara desert, this camp is basic but a truly great experience camping our in the world’s largest non-polar desert.
Arrive in Casablanca and meet your Rustic Pathways Program Leaders. Get to know members of your group in the afternoon at Bin El Ouidane Lake, a majestic crystalline lake that reflects the beauty of the surrounding mountains where you’ll stay the night.
Depart for a quaint Berber village nestled in the High Atlas Mountains, the largest mountain range in North Africa.
Start learning French by practicing with locals before heading to the service site to work on grassroots projects designed and implemented in partnership with the local community. Service could include participating in English language enrichment activities with children in a local school, helping with a construction project in the village, or assisting local farmers with their harvest. Spend your evenings as a group discussing your service, its impact on the community and you, and reflecting on the experience.
Weave your way through the towering peaks of the High Atlas Mountains toward the red city of Marrakech. Stop at Cascades d’Ouzoud Waterfall for lunch and take a short hike.
Experience Marrakech and its bustling souqs full of fascinating wares—everything from magic boxes to ostrich eggs and whale vertebrae. Visit Ben Youssef Madrasa, Bahia Palace, and an authentic spice shop. Conclude your day with dinner in Jamaâ El-Fna square, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Weave your way through the stands to find a good seat and enjoy a warm bowl of soup, skewers, and mint tea.
Drive to the airport in Casablanca, where your flight home awaits you.
Please chat to us if you have any special requests that you would like included in your Journey.
There is nothing too big, small, or out-of-the-box that we can’t handle.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start designing your Journey!
We would be delighted to partner with your school to support the global education of your students.