Geography Trip to Morocco
5 days from £700pp
Based on 40 students with 4 free teachers places, 30 students with 3 free teacher places or 20 students with 2 free teacher places
If you were painting a picture of the perfect location for a geographer to explore, there is plenty you would want to include. You would probably sketch rugged coastlines and towering mountains, expanding cities and rich red deserts, winding rivers, caves and powerful waterfalls, side by side, creating a rich tapestry of geographic wonder.
But it is hard to believe that such a place exists. Whilst some continents may include all these qualities, can one small country provide them all?
The answer is yes; Morocco!
Morocco is often remembered for its delicious and spicy cuisine and exquisite Moorish aesthetics. But geographically, Morocco is superior!
Morocco is a geographer’s fantasy and a melting pot of contrasting landscapes. In just five days your students could explore a number of diverse landscapes, allowing them to tick many geography curricula links off their lists.
This itinerary shows students the stark contrast between life in the growing city of Marrakesh and life in its neighbouring mountains.
All of our itineraries are bespoke, so if you want to also include some of Morocco’s other settings such as deserts and coastlines, we can tailor-make an itinerary that suits you.
With a short flight time of only three and half hours from the UK, you don’t have to travel far to experience a complete contrast to UK life and Marrakesh is a fantastic place to start.
After arriving in Marrakesh Menara Airport, your group will be met by your experienced guide. They will take you to your accommodation in the ancient medina of Marrakesh.
The Medina of Marrakesh (sometimes known as the red city) was founded in 1070. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage list because of its collage of historic monuments and the fact that it has been a hub for western Muslim culture for so long.
You will begin your exploration with an evening visit to Marrakesh’s Medina quarters favourite square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. The bustling square is alive with diners, shoppers, story tellers and singers, as tourists and locals alike come here to visit the lively markets and walk in the footsteps of those who gathered here a thousand years ago.
Exploring the City
Student’s day will begin where they left off, in the Red City. This part of Marrakesh is so nicknamed because of the clay buildings that characterise it.
Students will begin their day with a guided horse-drawn caliche tour around the ancient city walls. Horse and carriages were commonly used to navigate the narrow streets of Marrakesh Medina long before modern cars were introduced. Student’s will get to see the most popular sites of Red City as well as Palm Grove of Marrakesh.
Palm Grove is considered an up-market place to live and stay in Marrakesh and is a fantastic demonstration of the economic development of Morocco in recent history. The area is a great source of wealth for the entire city, with the famous palm trees being used for wood and dates.
The rest of the afternoon gives students the chance to get to know Morocco’s fourth biggest city.
Choose to carry out field studies on the human geography of this constantly developing city or pick up some local goods in the souks, experience a local Berber Apothecary, try some local cuisine and simply explore the enchanting city.
For your evening entertainment you will head back to Jemaa el-Fnaa square and witness the spectacle of local entertainers competing for your attention. From snake charmers and fortune tellers to acrobats and dancers, you can enjoy an array of evening entertainment for free.
The diverse food stalls mean that you will be able to pick up your showtime snacks. Try a stuffed date or Kaab el Ghazal, a delicious crescent shaped light pastry, filled with almond paste, orange flower water and cinnamon.
Exploring the Mountains
On day 3, the journey becomes just as much a part of the itinerary as the destination itself. As students leave the hustle and bustle of the city and head to the quiet of the mountains, they will see the developments and changes of the landscape due to modern farming, the impacts of the increase in tourism and demonstrations of how water supply can be a challenge in such a dry country. Students will look out for evidence of water irrigation techniques and terracing as people have learnt to adapt to the difficult terrain.
As you wind up the mountains, you will reach your home for the next couple of days, the High Atlas Village of Imlil.
You will find the village a tranquil place, despite its proximity from the city you awoke in. The village is a physical geographer’s dream, as plate tectonics, fold mountain formations, volcanic rocks and tilted and folded uplifting strata are all clearly visible in this rugged landscape. You will also see the mighty Mount
Toubkal in the background, which is 4165m tall, making it the highest mountain in North Africa.
Life in the village is very different from city life and your school group will begin to analyse the stark contrasts between the two. Students will also be able to gauge how locals use the mountains to their advantage and survive in such remote settings.
Trekking, Field Studies or Community Work
Day 4 gives you the option of three unforgettable activities.
Students can spend the day Trekking, where, with the help of a mountain guide you will hike from Imlil through the mountainous environment. Students will enjoy a Berber style picnic lunch whilst they take in the awe-inspiring views that surround them. The mountains form a physical barrier between the long coastlines in the West and the vast dessert in the East and, for many, are a lifeline as the source of several of Morocco’s rivers.
Students can opt to carry out some fascinating fieldwork. There is a wide range of topics that can be covered in the mountains. As well as considering the contrast from the city, students will also be able to investigate flooding and hazards in mountainous areas, river morphology, tourism and eco-tourism, cold environments, rural settlement, micro-climates or ecosystems.
You can decide to carry out some community work. Students can choose a project which aims to give back to the local people and the mountains they call home. These projects could range from ensuring safe water supply to the village, repairing footpaths, clearing litter and irrigation channels or working with local children to learn through play.
No matter which of the three you decide, students will definitely leave having felt like they have got to know the mountains of Morocco’s importance to the people who live here and the significance of the mountains to the land itself.
Students will have time to pick up some souvenirs from locals in the village, before weaving back down the mountains and into the city for the final time.