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High School Summer Adventure & Volunteering

 

CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT AND VOLUNTEERING WORK MOROCCO TOUR

 

22 DAYS IN THE RIF REGION, HIGH ATLAS AND THE SAHARA

 

Experience the melting pot of African, Middle Eastern, and European influences on Moroccan culture.  Explore the cities’s diverse neighborhoods, street markets, and ancient medina. Learn about Amazigh (also known as Berber) and Arab cultures while you explore the nation’s rich history and modern society, learn to cook traditional meals, and try your hand at time-honored Moroccan arts. Discover ancient ruins and meander through the markets in the cities of Tangier, Tetouan, Chefchaouen, Berkan, Fez, and Marrakesh. Ride camels across the sandy dunes of the Sahara.

Your Experiment continues to unfold as you spend sometimes in a rural community, immersed in the daily life of a Moroccan family. Share couscous and mint tea with your family and play soccer with local youth. During this period, you and your group will participate in a community service project, such as planting trees, painting a school, or teaching English to children. Local experts will introduce your group to aspects of current Moroccan society, including religion and gender roles.

Travel the country and meet with artists in Fez on your way to Marrakesh, where you will see storytellers, snake charmers, acrobats, and other street performers in the famous Jamaa el Fna Square. Explore ancient port cities along Morocco’s coast and enjoy a picnic at the ruins of the first-century Roman city of Volubilis. Stroll sandy beaches, visit the Todgha Gorge, and visit remote villages in the High and Middle Atlas mountains.  Return to Casablanca for your flight home.

Day 1 : Casablanca -Tangier

Arrival to Casablanca airport. Our driver will be waiting for you. Transfer to visit of Hassan II mosque if time allows. Hassan II Mosque visit is one of the largest mosque in the world with a gigantic glass floor for over 24000 worshippers. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters.  Its location looking out to the Atlantic gives it an exceptional beauty.  After the visit, head towards the pearl of the North of Morocco, Tangier. B&B accommodation in Tangier in a hotel.

Day 2 : Tangier Exploration & Cultural Exchange

Breakfast at your hotel in Tangier, visit of a women and child association named Darna. The association main goal is to protect women and children in difficult situation. The students will interact with members of the association and explain the association goals. Then, participate in a cooking class at the association’s restaurants as well as have a weaving workshop. Have lunch at the association restaurant. Later, start visit of the old medina, the top attraction of Tangier. It's confined by the walls of a 15th-century Portuguese fortress. Continue with a panoramic visit of the most attractive places in Tangier, Cap Spartel where the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Hercules Cave, the deepest and largest cave in north Africa. Dinner and accommodation in a Riad in Tanger.

Day 3: Tangier-Tetouan- Bouhachem Park

After breakfast, transfer to Tetouan. Tetouan the white dove of the north is a small city in northern Morocco with a unique heritage of Andalusian and Arab cultures making this whitewashed and green tiled city is one of the gems of Morocco. Explore Tetouan old medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old medina was once a pirate hub and the capital of Spain during colonial times. It was a shelter for Jews, Moors, and Moriscos who escaped the Spanish inquisition and many people in the city still speak Spanish. After the visit, lunch at a local restaurant in the medina.

Transfer to Mouly Abdeslam village, a rustic village, located in Larache region in the regional park of Bouhachem. In this small village you will do your volunteering project with the locals. The project service tackles environmental issues: environment pollution caused by trash. Your project is helping the locals understands the bad impact of the trash on environment.

Upon arrival to the eco lodge, a warm welcome by the host family, Mint tea and local crepes, are served. After relaxing a bit, take a walk around the village, meeting the locals, and exploring the

Day 4: Service Project - Chefchaouen

After breakfast, the group will help the community on environmental issues in the park. A very big issue threatening environment is trash that the locals throw outside their home.

The service project is to educate people about the important role of protecting the environment, teach the locals about how to treat trash and classifying it and how to transform some of it and use it as fertilizer. Together with the locals, they will collect the trash in the forest. Lunch at the ecolodge, and continuation of the service.

After that transfer to Chefchaouen crossing the Bouhachem regional park with its gorgeous views, dinner and overnight in a hotel in Chefchaouen

Day 5: Chefchaouen - Waterfalls -Chefchaouen

Have breakfast and take the road to Akchour for a hike to the waterfalls,4hr hiking, picnic lunch aside the river, enjoy swimming and after that transfer to Chefchaouen Guided visit, full board accommodation in a hotel in Chefchaouen

Day 6 : Zawiya School Service 

Breakfast and transfer to Zawiya village in the Rif Mountains. It is where the next service is. Check in and tea and Moroccan pastry, explanations about the service projects options in the village. Later, have lunch, free time and then preparation for the service projects, visiting the local school and small hospital. Project tasks are likely to include the basic renovation of a school building, painting, fixing windows and doors, mixed with cultural exchange lessons and games with the local children! Dinner and accommodation at the guesthouse in zawiya

Day 7 : Zawiya- School Service Continued

Breakfast and finish the work, lunch and short hike to see the sunset over the Rif mountains.  Full board accommodation in the guesthouse in the village

Day 8 :  Berber Ceramic Workshop 

Breakfast and drive to a village in the Rif for a cultural exchange with artisanal pottery workshop, the group is invited to take part in the workshop, lunch with the local family.  After that drive to the village of Zawiya, dinner and accommodation.

Day 9 : Al Houcaima - Nadour - Berkane

Breakfast and drive along the Rif to Berkan where the next service project will be. Berkane is considered the capital of the orange fruit industry of Morocco, and high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables are plentiful year-round. It is very close to Saïdia, a popular beach resort town on the Mediterranean, as well as Tafoughalt, a small village in the nearby mountains known for its healthy air and herb markets.

Service project in this village in a farm, helping crops plantation. Full board accommodation with the host family at Tafoughalt.

Day 10 : Service Project at Tafoghalt

 After breakfast, the group will service in the farm, helping the host family in their farm with plantation crops of the season. Full board accommodation with the host family.

Day 11 : Berkan - Volubilis - Moulay Driss - Fes

After breakfast start your expedition from the Rif to the UENSCO World Heritage site, Fes.   Head south to Volubilis, ruins of a Roman city in Morocco. Visit of the ruins city and continue to Moulay Idriss, the oldest town in Morocco, founded by Moulay Idriss I in 789, having fled Mecca because of religious and tribal conflicts. The Idrisid dynasty was founded in this town. Take your lunch in a local restaurant in Mouly Driss and end your today in Fez. Diner and overnight in a riad in Fes Medina.

Day 12 : Fes Guided Historical Visit 

Breakfast at your riad and tour the oldest medinas of the world declared by UNISCO as world heritage. In the tour you will explore the Merenid Tombs of Fes, the Musée des Armes located in an old fortress built by Moulay Hassan I. Visit the University of al-Karaouine, the university in the world that was founded by a lady Fatima Al Fihriya. Then, visit Dar el-Magana, a 14th century water clock and Zaouia el Tijaniya, the shrine and tomb of Ahmed el Tijani.

You will also visit the Najjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Craft located in a beautifully restored fundouk, an old style of hotel for traders.

Lunch will be in the medina in a restaurant that serves delicious Fessi food.  

After lunch, visit the Musée Dar el-Batha to see the remarkable collections of pottery, woodwork, leather-work, and manuscripts from the nineteenth century.

Discover the royal palace and many interesting neighborhoods such as the Jewish Mellah, and the Ville Nouvelle. Explore the  Medrasa Bou Inania, an Islamic school founded by Abu Inan Faris that is gorgeously ornamented .

Visit University of al-Karaouine. Founded in 859, by a lady whose name Fatima Al Fihriya. This university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world, and is considered the oldest university in the world. Dinner and accommodation at a Riad in Fes medina.

Day 13 :  Fes - Marrakesh

Early morning around 7:30, have breakfast and drive to Marrakesh, stop on the way, for lunch,  hotel check in in the medina of Marrakesh.

Guided visit of the Marrakesh medina. Explore this charming area on foot. In Djemaa el Fna, you will visit the famous 12th century Koutoubia Mosque. The guide will take you through the intricate streets and alleys of the Djemaa el Fna. Dinner and accommodation at your Riad in the medina

Day 14 : Marrakesh -Imlil Service Project 

Today, after breakfast transfer to your project site at  around 10am departure from Marrakech for a pleasant drive south winding your way through Tahnaoute and Moulay Brahim gorges, then Asni town where the weekly Berber market every Saturday, then you arrive to Imlil village (1750m). From Imlil you will set up a 45minutes walk up to the Berber village of Armed, which is built on the foot heal of the highest pick in north Africa Toubkal (4167m) , and the second highest pick in Africa after Kilimanjaro , your lunch will be served at the guest house in the heart of the village with an amazing view of the atlas mountain peaks , after lunch the group will going to visit the school , the project site , to have an idea about the service they will be doing the following day.

Day 15 : Marrakesh- Imlil Service - Marrakesh

Breakfast and get ready for the service project in the Berber village Armed in Imlil. Project tasks are likely to include the basic renovation of a school building, painting, fixing windows and doors, mixed with cultural exchange lessons and games with the local children!

Have lunch with a local family and drive back to Marrakesh to further explore Marrakesh. End the tour in your Riad, have dinner and spend the night there.

Day 16:  Marrakesh - Essaouira - Marrakesh

Breakfast at your Riad.  Drive to the former Portuguese fishing village of Essaouira passing by roadside towns and Berber village. Essaouira previously known as Mogador by European sailors and traders, is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakesh-Safi, on the Atlantic coast. Visit of the medieval town Essaouira with its lovely white-washed and blue houses and learn about the local tradition and enjoy the fresh seafood. After lunch, continue the visit. Return to Marrakesh in the evening. Dinner and accommodation in a Riad in Marrakesh

Day 17: Marrakesh-  Ait Ben hadou- -Ouarzazate - Kalaa M'Gun- -Boumalen Dades 

Breakfast at your riad and start your journey towards Boumalen Dades. you will pass the olive fields of the Oued Zat as you ascend to the Tizi n’Tichka pass (2260-meter-high) that will take you through spectacular mountainous land. Along the road you will see panoramic sights of the High Atlas Mountains as well as rich valleys, colorful villages, and striking geology

Explore Ait Benhaddou kasbah which is located at 32 km from Ouarzazate.  It is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. The site has been declared as a world heritage by UNESCO and many movies has been filmed there:  Lawrence of Arabia, Sodom and Gomorrah and Jesus of Nazareth. Ait Benhaddou was a caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. Most of the town’s inhabitants immigrated to other nearby villages and only few families still live within.

Visit to Ouarzazate film studio, the Moroccan Hollywood where many famous movies were filmed. Continue to Kellaa Megoun ‘ Rose Valley’ and visit of local cooperatives of Roses local product.

Continue to Dades Gorge, Dades Gorge is carved through the walls of the High Atlas Mountains by the Dades River. It has stunning views which is best seen in the morning when the sun reaches the bottom of the canyon. Driving along you will pass fertile agricultural fields, riverbanks, and several fortified Ksours.

Full board accommodation in Boumalen at a hotel in Boumalen.

Day 18: Dades-–Tinghir- Errachidia- Risani -Merzouga

Breakfast at your riad . Take the road to Merzouga.  On the way to Merzouga, visit of Todra Gorge. A stop for lunch at the desert town Rissani that dates back to the ancient Alawi Dynasty. Continue your journey to Merzouga via Erfoud to enjoy the panoramic view from the top of the Borj-Est that rises 935 m to see panoramic views over the town and its palm dunes. 

Erfoud is an vigorous city with gorgeous surrounding landscapes filled with oases, dunes, and rocky mountains. Arrival to Merzouga and before sunset venture out on a 1-hour camel ride to watch the sunset in the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Your Berber guide will lead you through the golden dune where you can enjoy taking pictures the endless rolling dunes of golden. Diiner and overnight at the heart of the desert in a camp.

Day 19 : Merzouga - Ziz Valley Project Service 

Breakfast and the journey to Ziz valley starts. In this oasis valley, you’ll have lunch with women cooperative producing various local product derived from dates. They will demonstrate how they originate those products. Later you will visit a local family and have tea with our local host at his family’s traditional Moroccan home. This is your chance to learn about Moroccan family life,

Later enjoy engaging work with women cooperative helping them with their dates product packaging

 This valley is the biggest date-producing region in Morocco. And you will be surprised to see there are 283 recognized varieties of date grown in the country, the most delicious (and expensive) of which are known as Mejhoul. After a relaxing night in the hotel, dinner and overnight in a hotel in Ziz valley

Day 20 : Ziz Valley– Skoura

Get up early and go for short hike in the palmary oasis where to explore the local traditions and know-how of ancestors about irrigating the palm trees, lunch with a local family host.

After that take the road to Skoura, driving along what is usually known as the Road of One Thousand Kasbahs, you’ll see a spectacular view of a vast valley scattered with small oases and hundreds of ancient fortifications. The sand-colored walls of the kasbahs hold a unique historical treasure within.

In the little village of skoura dotted with palm tree groves, you will find one kasbah that stands out from the rest. The Kasbah Amridil, originally built in the 17th century, is one of Morocco’s most iconic living museums. It has withstood the test of time, making it the ideal setting for an insight into the ancient traditions of kasbah life. Dinner and accommodation in a riad in Skoura

DAY 21: Skoura -Marrakesh

Breakfast and take the road to Marrakesh, a journey along a former caravan route across the Atlas Mountains. The beauty of the journey lies in the scenery: natural landscape—desert, palm trees, and mountains, small villages and a smattering of sheep. Free lunch on your way back to Marrakesh. Dinner and accommodation in riad in the medina of marrakesh

Day 22: Marrakesh – Casablanca Airport

Transfer to Casablanca after breakfast

WELCOME TO MOROCCO

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