Fancy immersing yourself into the heart of Moroccan culture but not sure how to go about organising it? Why don’t you consider volunteering out there!
This previous summer, I spent a few weeks out in Morocco volunteering with Uber Volunteers (and no, it has nothing to do with the taxi company). We spent time volunteering in schools teaching English, painting the walls of schools and rural communities, visiting orphanages and even got sent home with a complimentary t-shirt – although, they had spelt Morocco with two r’s on the back.
Volunteering is a great way of helping out the local community and is really appreciated by the very hospitable local people, who can provide you with an equally beneficial experience by introducing you to their culture, lifestyle and traditional food and drinks, including tajines and Moroccan tea.
Searching online you will find endless volunteering abroad opportunities, however most will leave you needing another other student loan to cover the costs. But Uber Volunteers is a really affordable company, and provides you with accommodation during your stay, as well as helping you organise daily travel, excursions and anything else you may need. Whilst out there you stay in a communal house with the other volunteers on the programme, so it’s also a great chance to make some friends you can experience Morocco with!
Aside from the volunteering, there is plenty of balance with free time where I had evenings and weekends free to explore Morocco and go on excursions. The best of these experiences were …
1) A night in the Sahara desert:
Getting to spend the night in the Sahara desert was undoubtedly the best experience I had whilst in Morocco. It started with a bus ride from the centre of Marrakech, during which there are numerous stops along the way, including at Ait Benhaddou – a Game of Thrones filming location! Once you reach the outskirts of the Sahara, you spend around an hour riding a camel into the desert (which I advise buying a head scarf for in case you get caught in a sand storm like us). Once there, you are met by Berbers who then cook and play music for you, before spending the night watching a star-filled sky and an incredible sunrise in the morning.
2) Vising Ouzoud Waterfalls:
Another amazing trip to do whilst in Morocco is visiting the Ouzoud waterfalls. Once there, you can receive a guided tour of the waterfalls where you are offered the opportunity to ride a raft around the main waterfalls before going swimming the waters. You can even feed some monkeys on the paths surrounding the waterfalls. The views at the waterfalls are incredible and definitely worth the trip.
These are just a small example of the excursion opportunities, with others including quad biking, overnight stays in a coastal town, a chance to visit the Yves Saint Laurent gardens and climbing Mount Toubkal. Visiting the souks is a must when visiting Morocco, where you can get lost in the endless amounts of market stalls and even try your hand at bargaining for some souvenirs if you fancy. Your experience of the markets will not be complete without trying the freshly made orange juice, who even let you hop in the cart for a picture (maybe a candid for Instagram?).
Marrakesh can be an extremely busy place, but my visit was during the month of Ramadan meaning that it was a lot quieter – so, maybe if you fancy it being a little calmer, try visiting during this time! Overall, Morocco is an incredible place with lots to offer, so if you think you can handle the heat make sure you visit to experience it for yourselves!