KeeKee's Big Adventures Family Travel Podcast
KeeKee's Big Adventures Family Travel Podcast
Morocco Vacation with Kids with Travel Mom Meryem

Travel Mom Meryem and founder of Qarrya Retreats joins us to talk all about planning your Morocco Vacation with Kids. Morocco is her homeland so she knows it well. And she creates amazing experiences for others to discover the country through her retreats.

I had the great pleasure of joining one of her May retreats and I can’t wait to go back.

For more family vacation ideas, check out all the podcast episodes. Adventure Awaits!

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Tell Us About Yourself.

I am the founder of Qarrya Retreats, a company that organizes yoga, wellness, and adventure retreats in Morocco, which is my homeland. That’s where I was born and raised. I currently live in New York City and we have a little boy who’s one year old. Our number one favorite thing to do as a family is to travel.

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Tell Us About Morocco.

Morocco is a country in the Northwest parts of Africa. It’s unique in that it has a big European as well as Arab influence. In the north, we have the Mediterranean Sea and the Rif Mountains. On the west, we have the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, we have the famous Sahara Desert, and running in the middle we have the Atlas Mountains. So, it’s very diverse in terms of landscapes and nature, but also in terms of population.

The original inhabitants of Morocco are the Amazigh most famously known as the Berber. They came from all over Africa to make Morocco in addition to the Arabs coming from the east, and Europeans coming from the north. This makes it very diverse racially, culturally, historically religiously, and that impacts everything…our food, our traditions, our architecture, our crafts, and our language. That’s what makes it so rich and interesting.

A lot of people know Morocco for Marrakesh, the Mykonos of Morocco. But there’s so much more even to Marrakesh itself as a city. Morocco has what we call Imperial cities. There are four of them…Rabat, Fez, Meknes, and Marrakech. All four were at some point capitals of Morocco. So historically they’re very, very rich in architecture and they each have crafts, and their local cuisine as do other cities in Morocco.

Morocco was founded in the eighth century and had many dynasties. Each dynasty came with its own influence and with its own traditions and languages. It was also a French and Spanish protectorate from the early 20th century and got its independence in the fifties. So then, more new languages, new traditions, and food influences.

When you listen to us speak Moroccan, which is the dialect we speak in Morocco, it’s a very hard dialect. It’s so hard to learn because it doesn’t really have any rules because of all the influences. It has words in Arabic, French, Spanish, some Portuguese, and some Amazigh dialects. So just that gives you an idea about like how many cultures, have influenced Morocco as a country.

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Morocco Vacation for Families

It’s a great family destination because there are so many activities and something for everyone.

From a kid’s perspective, if you go to Marrakesh and you can ride a camel in the rocky desert on the outskirts of Marrakech. If you go to Jemaa El-Fna Square, which is a UN heritage site in the Medina where you see all the performers, the jugglers, the snake charmers. You also try new foods, hear another language, and see people that look different from you. And that’s just Marrakech. You can go south and surf in the sand dunes or ride a hot air balloon like KeeKee.

Another thing that makes it a great family destination is Moroccans by nature love kids. So, everyone is going to be very friendly which will make your kid’s experience even better. Everyone speaks English and it’s very easy and everyone is very accommodating.

Childcare is also very easy to find. Most hotels will be able to find you a babysitter and it’s not very costly. It’s something that could be affordable for the evening or the afternoon or even someone who can stay with you throughout the whole trip. When my husband and I got married in Morocco, a lot of our friends came with kids. It was very easy for them to be at the wedding and have fun throughout the night because they could have someone watching their kids.

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Traveling to and around Morocco.

There are direct flights from New York including a daily direct flight to Casablanca with Royal Air Maroc and American Airlines. It’s about a six-and-a-half-hour flight basically shorter than going to Paris, for example.

Morocco is not a big country, so it’s relatively easy to drive around. From Casablanca to Marrakech is just over two and a half hours. It is very easy to hire professional drivers and cars.

Trains are also very easy. There are fast trains that for example, go from Casablanca to Tangier in an hour. So, you can see the north and see the Mediterranean part and get on the train and go to Casablanca or to Marrakesh.

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Is Morocco a safe place to visit?

Morocco is safe. It’s a country where there is not a lot of crime. It’s still a developing country, but people are generally very happy with what they have. Everyone has food on the table and a roof over their head. You don’t really see a lot of people in need.

There is also a lot of tourist police. They aren’t wearing uniforms and they’re in all the touristic places watching and making sure the tourists are safe and ensuring everything is smooth and no one is disturbing anyone’s piece and experience. All these things make it easy and safe.

How should you plan a Morocco Vacation with Kids?

It really depends on the type of family, but if it’s your first trip, I always tell people not to spend a lot of time in Casablanca. I know it sounds exotic which comes from the movie, but it wasn’t even filmed in Casablanca. The only interesting thing to see is the Hassan II Mosque which is built on the water. It’s beautiful.

So, if you land in Casablanca, spend a day maybe two there but other than that is a busy city. It’s a business city. There’s not much to do. Nice restaurants and bars, but nothing you wouldn’t really find anywhere else.

From there, I’d say you would go to Marrakech and spend a couple of days in and around Marrakech. You can explore the city as well as the Agafay Desert, the rocky desert outside of Marrakesh, the Atlas Mountains, the Ourika Valley, and Ozoud Falls. You can do all these things in a couple of days or in a week.

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Morocco Vacation with Kids

From there you could go to Essaouira, which is on the coast two and half hours from Marrakech. It’s one of my favorite coastal cities in Morocco. It used to be a Portuguese port, and it still has ramparts and cannons. Parts of a game of Thrones were filmed there. It’s a beautiful town with lots of seafood, it’s all white and blue. They have their own type of music. It’s known for being a very artsy cool hippie place back in the seventies. Jimmy Hendrix used to live there. It’s one of those places that are very slow and very cool and very chill.

You can kite surf, or you can drive an hour and take surfing lessons. You can ride horses on the beach, and you can see wineries. And like any other city in Morocco, it has its own medina with its own souks.

Then if you have more time, you can go south to the Sahara Desert. However, this does involve a lot of driving. So, if you’re traveling with kids depends on what age they are and how much they like sitting in a car. You could do up to five hours of driving, maybe six a day. Once you get there though it’s stunning. And the kids will love it…sandboarding in the desert, staying in a luxury tent, seeing the stars at night, and waking up at sunrise. There’s literally nothing like it.

There’s also Fes and Tangier in the north. It really depends on how long you have and how many people and what type of experiences you’re looking for.

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Morocco Vacation with Kids

Why is it important to travel with your kids?

My question is why would it not be important? It’s the best thing you can do for them. Especially young kids between the day they’re born until they’re five years old are the phase where the brain develops the most. And for them to be able to be fully immersed in new cultures, it’s the best kindergarten experience you can offer them. Trying new foods, and new cultures, and meeting people that look different from them.

It makes kids more social, more compassionate in the long run, more understanding, and fearless. It opens up so many doors and makes them really citizens of the world. And in the long run as an adult, you can make decisions with such a wider angle than if you stayed in your comfort zone.

It is the most important thing you can offer to your child.


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Learn more about Meryem’s Qarrya Retreats on their website and follow them on Instagram.

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For more family vacation inspiration, tune in to all the podcast episodes.  Adventure Awaits!