A trip to Morocco starts with the vibrant melting pot of cultures found in Marrakech. Home to opulent Arabic Palaces, tranquil gardens and lively markets, it is the perfect introduction into Moroccan life. The rich aromas filling the air with the scent of spice are an intoxicating welcome for the first-time explorer. The lively Djemma el Fna Square offers many a unique charm, even before you venture into the labyrinth of tiny streets which make up Marrakech’s world-renowned souks. Pupils will enjoy the opportunity to try haggling for exotic spices, colourful fabrics or perhaps more realistically the latest trainers or footy shirts! You soon learn that Moroccan people are endearing.
Leave the bustle of the city behind and you soon enter a world of towering peaks, idyllic valleys and isolated villages, found in the far-stretching Atlas Mountain Range. Trekking through the Atlas, is both rewarding and challenging. Pupils will escape modern life, exam pressures and creature comforts to enter a humbling region of captivating scenery and timeless mountain villages - home to centuries-old Berber communities.
Detailed preparation will help pupils test themselves through point-to-point trekking, with routes reaching altitudes of up to 3,000 metres, chosen from a variety of trekking routes best fitting the physical challenges for pupils. The High Atlas mountain range is dominated by the highest peak in North Africa, Mount Toubkal (4,100 metres). En route towards the summit, picturesque villages dot a variety of trekking routes between high mountain passes and deep river valleys.
The lush greens of the verdant foothills soon change to deep oranges and reds of the dryer zones, higher in altitude and formed from sands of the Sahara, which over years have penetrated the Atlas. Higher further to jaw dropping white capped peaks of the High Atlas, dominated by Mount Toubkal and further west, the jagged summit of Mount Mgoun.
Pupils can identify the geological traits that make the Atlas worthwhile exploring, whilst discovering centuries old farming and irrigation techniques which help produce Morocco’s wealth of natural harvest each year; much of which ends up in supermarkets here in the UK. Living alongside the communities who choose to live in this beautiful, yet challenging mountain environment creates friendships and will develop pupils’ understanding of world communities.
For groups considering adding a project element to a trek in the Atlas, a number of long-lasting options supporting infrastructure, village development and teaching children are very possible, providing pupils with the opportunity to live, work and support rural communities across the Atlas.
Morocco is close enough to reach by departing the UK in the morning and arriving by lunchtime. Thereafter, it is a world away from home, providing an exciting and inspirational option for school groups to explore.
Explore all our suggested itineraries and projects for school groups in Morocco.