Morocco Textiles and Handcrafts Tour
29 March – 13 April 2021
Embroidery, mosaic tiling, leatherwork, traditional carpets and rugs, hands-on workshops, artisan studios, ancient souks, medieval medinas, traditional handcrafts, Moroccan culture!
Are you enthralled by Moroccan textiles and handcrafts? Have you always wanted to visit this fascinating African-yet-Arab-yet-European-yet-Islamic country? Join our 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, enjoy four hands-on workshops, visit artisan studios, indulge in fabulous handicraft and textiles shopping, explore magnificent scenery and architecture and experience traditional Moroccan culture. Plus, so much more.
This 16 day women’s textiles tour is hosted by retreat|recreate and fully escorted by a local Moroccan English-speaking 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. A hands-on workshops in Fes in bookbinding promises to be a highlight of the trip. We’ll also head to a rural Sunday market and meet the women of a local carpet co-op, providing the opportunity for deeper discussion and cultural exchange.
Leaving Fes we head to the Sahara desert! We’ll travel the famous 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 tents under the stars and enjoy traditional 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, exotic 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 museums and visit a handcraft co-op 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 the very accomplished local women and a zellige (mosaic tiles) class on our penultimate day. 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.
AUD $4900 per person (single supplement is $900)
Included in price
- 15 nights accommodation as per the itinerary
- meals as per the itinerary (daily breakfasts, 4 lunches, 8 dinners)
- local English speaking guide throughout the tour
- all transport, sightseeing attractions (museums, galleries, etc) and excursions as per the itinerary
- four hands-on textile/handcraft workshops and classes
- $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)
- 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 train, private air conditioned coach, 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-ops, 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 – we stay in some beautiful and carefully chosen kasbahs and riads (traditional Moroccan houses built around a central courtyard), a comfortable hotel in Casablanca, and a night in a luxury desert camp (with proper beds and ensuite bathroom facilities). TripAdvisor rates our hotels and riads mostly at approximately 3-4 star except the desert camp which is 5 star. Please note the single supplement may not apply at the desert camp as tent numbers may be limited and you may 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. The tour involves several city walking tours including over uneven ground, time spent in museums and galleries, and most of our accommodations have stairs (not elevators). Guests need to be able to embark and disembark from trains and coaches without assistance, and keep up with the group. The trip includes a camel ride. Guests who don’t wish to ride a camel may choose to walk alongside the camel train. Participants need to be able to manage their own luggage;
- our group size is approximately 12 women;
- 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 or register an Expression of Interest for any of our other tours, please email us via the contact page.