Textiles & Handcrafts of Morocco
24 March – 7 April 2019
Weaving, embroidery, 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 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 15 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. As this is the only mosque in Morocco that permits non-Muslims to visit, we’ll start our adventure here with 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 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, visit a fabulous museum of traditional textiles and culture 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 which are woven 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. We’ll also visit an embroidery workshop and a carpet weavers co-operative outside Fes. Two hands-on workshops in Fes in bookbinding and needle-woven button-making promise to be a highlight of the trip. We’ll also enjoy lunch with the women of the button weaving 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 a women’s weaving and embroidery co-operative run by Franciscan nuns. 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. During our days in the desert we’ll seek out textile co-ops and artisan studios wherever possible.
Lastly, we arrive in our final destination – the pink city; beautiful, bustling, exotic Marrakech. We’ll explore its medina and the neighbouring famous 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 also take a traditional embroidery class in Marrakech with some of the very accomplished local women. 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.
We warmly invite you to join us on this fabulous textile adventure!
- 14 nights accommodation as per the itinerary
- meals as per the itinerary (daily breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners)
- local English speaking guide throughout the tour
- all transport, sightseeing attractions (museums, galleries, etc) and excursions as per the itinerary
- three hands-on textile/handcraft workshops and classes
- arrival airport transfer
- international airfares
- travel insurance (required)
- early check in or late check out
- meals and drinks not included in the itinerary
- personal spending
- departure airport transfer (this can be arranged at additional cost)
Things to note
- The tour comprises 14 nights/15 days and operates from 24 March – 7 April 2019. 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. (You are of course free to book your own pre/post tour accommodation elsewhere, however please note that the arrival airport transfer might not be included in the price if you book pre-tour accommodation at a hotel other than the Casablanca tour hotel);
- 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 guides; use public transport where possible; patronise local women’s co-ops, social enterprises, not-for-profits and fair trade associations where possible; include a carbon offset in the tour price. We partner with a globally recognised, well-respected tour operator whose values align with ours, and have the peace of mind that comes from working with a well-resourced, reputable company;
- Accommodation – we stay in some beautiful and carefully chosen riads (traditional Moroccan houses built around a central courtyard), a couple of comfortable hotels, a guesthouse and a night in a comfortable desert camp (with proper beds and bathroom facilities). TripAdvisor rates our hotels and riads at approximately 3-4 star. The desert camp and guesthouse accommodation are simpler but perfectly comfortable. Please note the single supplement does not apply at the desert camp or guesthouse accommodation;
- Is this trip right for you? Please consider your mobility and fitness levels to determine if this trip is right for you. The tour includes some travel on public transport (trains) and also involves some walking. 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, ethnicities and personalities. Flexibility and a sense of humour are encouraged when travelling as part of a group.
Here’s what our travellers had to say about this trip:
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
I’ve had the good fortune to travel overseas four times. I’ve enjoyed travelling alone and with my eldest daughter, but my tour of Morocco with retreat|recreate has been the most wonderful travel experience of my life. The itinerary was excellent, the other women on the tour were great company and the accommodation was very comfortable and well appointed. All ran smoothly with two Susans, our terrific guide Khaled and driver Anwar. I cannot recommend this tour and retreat|recreate highly enough. Sue – Morocco 2019