MOROCCO HANDCRAFTS TOUR

 

2023 tours sold out!  2024 dates and prices coming soon

Embroidery, mosaic tiling, leatherwork, traditional carpets and rugs, hands-on workshops and handcraft experiences, artisan studios, ancient souks, medieval medinas, stunning scenery, Moroccan culture!

Are you enthralled by Moroccan textiles and handcrafts? Have you always wanted to visit this fascinating African-Arab-European-Islamic country?  Join this women’s only, small group of like-minded textile and handcraft enthusiasts for the experience of a lifetime, travelling to Morocco to explore specialist handcraft and textile museums, enjoying four hands-on workshops, visiting artisan studios, indulging in fabulous handicraft and textiles shopping, exploring magnificent scenery and architecture and experiencing traditional Moroccan culture. Plus, so much more.

This 16 day women’s textiles tour is fully escorted by retreat|recreate host Susan Rees-Osborne and our fabulous local Moroccan guide. We commence in famous Casablanca, home of the architecturally stunning Hassan II Mosque – we’ll enjoy a guided tour of this extraordinary building. Next we’ll travel to Morocco’s capital Rabat with its breathtakingly beautiful Kashbah of the Oudaias, and visit the exquisite and UNESCO World Heritage listed ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis nearby before spending the night in the historic town of Meknes. We’ll explore the Meknes square and the tiny lanes of the medina and maybe even try a camel burger for lunch! Moving on, we head north to the enchanting town of Chefchaouen for a couple of days. Chefchaouen is known as The Blue Pearl due to its pretty blue-washed medina. We’ll relax here, explore and perhaps seek out some of Morocco’s finest carpets woven from wool sourced in the nearby in the Rif mountains. The sound of the call to prayer floating over this magical little town is something you’ll remember forever.

The next highlight of our tour is spending a few days in Fes. Dodging laden donkeys, we’ll wander the tiny lanes of the sprawling Fes medina with its handcraft souks and tanneries virtually unchanged from medieval times. A guided artisan tour of the medina will allow us a very special behind-the-scenes experience, visiting various handcraft studios featuring leather workers, copper etchers, wood carvers, weavers and the famous dyers quarter with its 11th century tanneries. A hands-on workshop in Fes in zellige mosaics promises to be a highlight of the trip. We’ll also head to a rural Sunday market and lunch with the women of a local carpet weaving co-operative, providing the opportunity for deeper discussion and cultural exchange.

Leaving Fes we head to the Sahara desert! We’ll travel through the Atlas Mountains and the Route of a Thousand Kasbahs, following in the steps of the camel trains that once plied these ancient roads, passing endless palm groves, stopping at desert oases and visiting womens’ carpet and embroidery co-operatives along the way. While in the Sahara we’ll have the experience of a lifetime – a sunset camel ride to a remote desert camp where we’ll sleep in luxury tents under the stars and enjoy traditional Amazigh (Berber) hospitality. Continuing through the desert we’ll reach the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ait Ben Haddou whose kasbahs and stunning scenery may be familiar to you from dozens of Hollywood films and TV series. While in Ait Ben Haddou we’ll enjoy a botanical dyeing session with the women from a local carpet co-op.

Lastly, we arrive in our final destination – the pink city; beautiful, bustling Marrakech. We’ll explore its medina and the famous public square Jemaa el Fna where snake charmers and storytellers enthral the crowds. We’ll tour the best local carpet and handcraft museums and visit a co-operative where disabled women are supported to earn a living from their embroidery and seamstress skills. We’ll take a traditional embroidery class in Marrakech with some of these very accomplished local women and finally on our penultimate day, a leatherwork class during which we’ll each create our own pair of babouches (traditional Moroccan leather slippers). Our time here also includes a visit to the stunning Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech and its associated museum of traditional Amazigh (Berber) culture, exquisite dress and textiles. The nearby Yves Saint Laurent gallery is also a treat not to be missed.  

Join us!

Inclusions

  • 15 nights/16 days accommodation as per the itinerary
  • meals as per the itinerary (daily breakfasts, 4 lunches, 8 dinners, drinks not included)
  • local English speaking guide and retreat|recreate host throughout the tour
  • all transport, sightseeing attractions (museums, galleries, etc) and excursions as per the itinerary
  • four hands-on textile/handcraft experiences
  • $50 donation to a local women’s charity
  • arrival airport transfer

Not included in price

  • international airfares
  • travel insurance (required)
  • early check in or late check out
  • meals and drinks not included in the itinerary
  • personal spending (laundry, phone, souvenirs etc)
  • tips
  • departure airport transfer

Things to note

  • The tour comprises 15 nights/16 days. The itinerary is a full one to ensure value for money, however some free periods are built in. The opportunity exists to extend your trip by extra nights at our hotel in Casablanca before, and/or at our riad in Marrakech after the tour;
  • Transport is by private air conditioned coach, the occasional taxi and camel;
  • Cultural, environmental and economically sustainable travel is important to us. To this end, we: engage local city guides; patronise local women’s co-operatives, social enterprises, not-for-profits and fair trade associations where possible. We provide as many opportunities as possible to buy directly from artisans, cutting out the middle man where we can. A $50 donation to a local women’s charity is part of your tour cost – we choose a different charity for each tour. We partner with a well-respected and well-resourced local tour operator whose values align with ours;
  • Accommodation – a range of carefully chosen accommdations ranging from 2 star to 5 star, including several beautiful riads (traditional Moroccan houses built around a central courtyard) and kasbahs, a comfortable business style hotel in Casablanca, a simple but charming rustic guesthouse, and a night in a luxury desert camp (with proper beds and ensuite bathroom facilities). Please note the single supplement does not apply at the desert camp and you will be paired with another traveller;
  • Is this trip right for you? Please consider your mobility and fitness levels  to determine if this trip is right for you.  This tour is not for you if your fitness is compromised or you use mobility aids. The tour involves:
      • walking tours in city medinas; you must be able to keep up with the group
      • a walking tour of an archaeological site of Roman ruins over rough, uneven terrain
      • a couple of moderate hikes (optional)
      • a walking tour of Ait Ben Haddou featuring many steps (Ait Ben Haddou is a hilltop fortress)
      • time in museums and galleries
      • most of our accommodations have stairs (no elevators) with our rooms usually on second and third floors
      • two camel rides. Guests who don’t wish to ride a camel may choose to walk alongside the camel train, however please note that walking on sand dunes can be challenging
      • several long days of travel in a private air conditioned coach through mountain terrain (with adequate rest, meal and bathroom stops)
      • the occasional squat toilet will be encountered in rural areas;
      • you need to be able to embark and disembark from the bus without assistance
      • you need to be able to manage your own luggage at airports, on and off the coach and between our accommodations
  • our group size is 14 women maximum;
  • retreat|recreate’s tour groups comprise women from all over the globe and embrace all ages (over 18), ethnicities, orientations and personalities. Flexibility and a sense of humour are essential when travelling as part of a group.

To request the Information Pack (itinerary, bookings form etc) for this tour when it’s available, or to register an Expression of Interest for any of our other tours, please email us via the contact page.

The trip was meticulously researched, well organised and run smoothly by our retreat|recreate host Susan and our Moroccan guide Khaled. My fellow travellers were a fun and flexible group and a delight to travel with. It was an incredible and varied itinerary taking in many major cultural sites but with a primary focus on interacting with, and supporting, local crafts people. We visited many places and people that an independent traveller would simply not find. The tour took us to museums, palaces, local markets and most importantly people’s workplaces and homes. Visiting weaving, embroidery, carpet making and leather workshops and co-operatives were craft highlights. Impromptu stops included basket workshops, olive processing co-operatives and camel milk tasting, as well as collecting fresh cactus-silk fibres. The hands-on workshops were informative and fun. Everywhere we went we were genuinely welcomed with warm smiles and, of course, glasses of mint tea. A truly memorable trip – highly recommended for anyone interested in the crafts and cultures of Morocco. Gail – Morocco 2022 (and India 2020)

My experience in Morocco with retreat|recreate was exceptional and exceeded all of my expectations. This was my first experience with group tour travel. I enjoyed being in a small group of women. The size of the group allowed us to experience museums, markets and cultural visits easily and without delays. Having a local guide and driver was invaluable. Susan, our tour leader, was gracious, knowledgeable and provided just the right structure for the group. I am planning on traveling with retreat|recreate in 2023. Jayme – Morocco 2022

I had a wonderful trip with more amazing experiences than I could have hoped for. Morocco has been a destination on my travel list and to be able to take a tour with a textile focus alongside women with similar interests made for a delightful holiday. Once again Susan and Susan, thank you for showing me Morocco. I would love to join retreat|recreate again on another trip somewhere if the planets align.  Wendy – Morocco 2019