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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Morocco - Kids Can Go Too!

This Fall we decided to venture to Morocco for our family vacation. To be honest, this destination brought a lot of firsts for us on our international travels with kids. I’ll break it down to the some of the high level pieces below, but then you can dive in more to the specific destinations that we visited through the other Morocco Trip posts.


People are Super Friendly to Kids

Before going, we had heard that Morocco was super kid friendly; and we saw nothing but that while here. The people see the kids and they quickly smile, including the salespeople at the markets. In fact, I would argue that we have probably been hassled less here because we have kids. Typically traffic doesn’t yield to pedestrians in places like Morocco, but we have had a few vehicles who have stopped and let us cross the road because we have strollers. Also, I have lost count of how many people have come up to the kids to put their hands on their heads and given them blessings - most of the time in Arabic or French, but one time we did have a man provide his blessings in English. In addition, they are typically helpful with picking up strollers and helping us get them from place to place if ground conditions aren’t ideal. They even got a ride with the luggage in Fes!


However, one thing that wasn’t super kid friendly was lack to playgrounds. We typically try to take at least one playground break during a day of travelling with the kids. However, we had a hard time finding playgrounds. However, part of this may have been the locations that we stayed, as they were mostly the old Medinas, which are too tight of a space for a playground. We did run across some playgrounds as we were driving by, but weren’t able to stop. The other difficulty was the heat. Especially in Marrakech, we came across a couple of playgrounds we thought about going to, but you could basically only go early in the morning or after sunset, or if would be too hot. However, we did come across occasional kids rides that you could pay a small price for and all the animals....especially the cats....were a hit with the kids!


2nd World Destination

For the most part, our travels with kids have been to mostly first world destinations - probably the exception to that may have been Cuba, but there is so much tailored to tourists there that you can make it more ‘first world’ if need be. However, the kids have been exposed to all different things - nomads living in tents, chickens being carried through the markets, beggars along the streets, and just general dirtiness that comes along with traveling to some of these types of destinations. However, what always amazes me is that they never seemed phased by it. They don’t really make any comments about it or complain much about the inconveniences of it.....other than an occasional smelly washroom or squatting potty. :-)


Change in Accommodation

Typically we stay in AirBnbs because it provides the comforts of home and pretty much a full size apartment with bedrooms and a kitchen. However, this trip (while we did stay in a couple toward the end) we mostly stayed in traditional Riads or hotels. Riads are like a traditional Moroccan house where there is main area/courtyard in the middle surrounded by rooms. However, this means you’re in a older house with poor sound barriers and in close proximity to other guests. Our kids can definitely be loud at times and this proved to be a tough part of the trip for us, as Alex is extremely sensitive to them making noise when there are other tourists around. Needless to say this was a bit of a thorn in our trip. However, one of the other things we missed was the kitchen. Kids love to snack and it was hard not to have access to food at all different times when they want to snack. Plus, while the kids do a fairly good job of trying new foods - and the tangines were delicious here - sometimes they just need the familiarity of home.


First Organized Tour

We also typically don’t go on tours or guided visits with the kids when travelling. However, with the trip out to the Sahara Desert, it seemed like a tour was the way to go, especially with the long distance of the journey. We did make an effort to make sure that we were the only guests with the guide, as we wanted to have a little flexibility with needing to stop to use the toilet, meals, etc. However, the tour ended up being a little more structured than we had originally thought. There were certain places they had organized for lunch stops and the times were off schedule from our typical eating routine. Lunches were closer to 2 p.m. and dinners were at 8 or 8:30 p.m., which is tough for kids who try to be in bed by 8-8:30. While our guide was wonderful with us needing to stop occasionally for toilet breaks and for snacks, we did feel a little more pressure to adhere to a certain schedule than we typically do when travelling with the kids. Plus the fact that there were a lot of long days in the car, made it difficult. However, seeing the excitement of the kids on the camels and playing with shear joy in the sand dunes did make up for it.



Most Attractions Had an Entry Fee for Kids

Maybe we were just spoiled with going to Turkey last year where there was no entry fee at attractions, but in Morocco many sites had an entry fee for children under 12 years old. While it was slightly cheaper than the adult price, I was a little surprised the price was the same whether the child was 11 years old or 2 years old.


Strollers were a Necessity

While many of the old Medinas had cobblestone streets and the surfaces weren’t always smooth, we still found having a small umbrella stroller essential for the kids. Our umbrella strollers were able to power through most of it! Even for our almost 6 year-old it is a lot of walking and it allows them to have a break without having to carry them or take tons of breaks. Plus on the days where it was super hot, it gave them some protection from the sun and they didn’t easily wear out from walking. However, emphasis is on a small umbrella stroller; as the walkways can be narrow in parts and some of the larger city markets can get crowded and congested. A typical North American stroller would definitely be too large in some of these areas. The strollers were also helpful in the Marrakech Medina where motorbikes share the same small pathway as pedestrians, so it helped us keep the kids contained and safe from the motor bike traffic there.

A Different Level of Vehicle Safety

If you plan to travel around Morocco but want to maintain all the proper vehicle car seat standards as in North America, then Morocco probably isn’t your place.....or you need to plan to bring your own car seat. With all the travelling we did we didn’t want to lug along 2 car seats, so we kind of risked it this trip. When we did our trek to the desert the company provided a car seat for our son, but not our 5 year old daughter saying that she would be okay. We probably could have pressed the issue more, but decided not to. The car seat did have the harness which was great for our son, but when you tried to buckle it into the back seat, I wouldn’t have said it was completely secure like they are back home. Our daughter ended up just wearing the lower strap of the seat belt.


Side Note: We were also creative with the dual purposing of the shesh to keep his head from drooping.....ha ha!


However, we did rent a vehicle for 3 days a the end of our trip and AVIS car rental did have two harness car seats for us. This was great because as we were new drivers in this foreign country, we felt more secure with them being in car seats. We also found the public buses packed in the bigger cities, so we always opted to take a taxi, which in those cases once again the kids were just sitting in the backseat. But it’s just the way that things work here - we saw local kids just standing in the back seats of vehicles and some even sticking their heads out the windows. We just had to make clear to our daughter that this was only an exception for when we were in Morocco.


Below was our itinerary of our trip:

  • Sept. 26-28: Depart Calgary and Fly to Paris; Spend night & explore city before catching evening flight to Marrakech.

  • Sunday, Sept. 29 - Tuesday, October 1: Marrakech

  • Wednesday, October 2 - Saturday, October 5: 4x4 Tour to Sahara Desert

  • Sunday, October 6 - Tuesday, October 8: Fes/Meknes | Drive & Night in Chefchauoen

  • Wednesday, October 9: Morning/Early Afternoon in Chefchauoen/Drive to Tangier

  • Thursday, October 10-Friday, October 11: Tangier | Evening Flight back to Paris

  • Saturday, October 12: Transfer airports and fly back to Calgary

I will follow with more posts about each of these destinations within Morocco! If you do Morocco with kids, you can definitely claim 'adventure' status. ;-)

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