Making Memories in Morocco

For a week in March, Lancing College geographers ventured 1,893 miles from Lancing to Marrakech for the Easter trip to Morocco. Our pupils' voyage began on 22 March, returning a week later on 28 March. During their brief exploration of Morocco, pupils participated in a range of activities, traditions, and tasks - all designed to deepen their understanding of the geography, both human and natural, of Morocco. 

Sixth Former, Holly M, writes about her experience below.

Day One: Arriving in Marrakech

We arrived in Marrakech and after checking in to our hotel we left to walk into the city. On the way we got a sense of the place and discovered how many motorcycles drive down the narrow streets with pedestrians.  A stop to admire the Koutoubia Mosque was included on our walk followed by a visit to the Medina Herbal apothecary, where we were shown various spices, and cosmetic products that they produce there. We learnt about the importance of the argan oil production to Morocco as well as the traditional importance of some of the products such as ‘small doctor’ a bag of spices for clearing colds, which we were told could be found in any household. After that we had some time to explore the souks and gained some ‘experience’ in haggling. The markets were an exciting cultural experience, as were the snake charmers in the Jemaa El-Fnaa square. We then headed back to the hotel and had our first (of many!) tagines. 


Day Two: Venturing through the Atlas Mountains

The morning of the 23rd, we got back into the bus and met our wonderful tour guide Latifa, who was a big part of our trip. We drove from Marrakech through the Atlas Mountains, taking in the countryside, and landscape. We stopped to see the Canal du Rocade, a key water supply to Marrakech and Latifa explained to us the importance of water due to its scarcity, and the ways in which water is irrigated in Morocco. For lunch we stopped in Taddert for our second tagine. That afternoon we visited the Ait Benhaddou Kasbar world heritage site, a setting which has been used for many filming sets. Then we headed to Ouarzazate for our second night before going into the desert.


Day Three: Across the Desert

The next morning on our way to Zagora we stopped at a date farm. The owner showed us how he manages the water. As well as growing dates, the farm produced broad beans and carrots. He climbed a palm tree and showed us how he manually pollinates the female flowers with the stigmas from the male palm trees. We learnt that the taller palm trees were the female ones, able to grow the dates and that the male palm trees were the shorter ones.  We then headed on to Zagora where we would meet our methods of travel for the journey, camels. After successfully getting onto the camels, we rode into the desert where we would stay in a camp for the night. Later we all climbed a dune to watch the sunset before heading back down to the camp for our fourth tagine. After eating dinner in the tent, we gathered around a campfire for traditional entertainment by the people who ran the camp, involving drums, singing and dancing. The teachers particularly enjoyed this part of the trip! The night we spent in the desert was definitely a bucket list moment and not something any of us will forget soon.


Day Four: Sunrise and Dunes

We woke up early after a rather cold night, to watch the sunrise from the dunes before breakfast. We then got back on the camels and reconnected with the bus. We spent the afternoon visiting Tamegroute, a subterranean village, where they handmake clay and pottery in outdoor kilns. The different shades of green and blue were explained to us, and the process of walking to where the river is for the clay to make the pottery. We arrived back in Ouarzazate, before making our way back to Marrakech the next evening. The next day we visited a female-run argan oil factory where we could see the way they crushed the argan nut, after which we returned to Marrakech for our final night.


Day Five: Tasting Traditions

The last day was spent at the Douar Ouled Elguern village, a very rural and traditional settlement. When we arrived, we had some breakfast and traditional Moroccan mint tea, before splitting into groups to help make bread, couscous or tagine. Others helped to make bricks. After lunch we spent the afternoon with the children who lived in the village. They showed us games like hide and seek, football, and handshakes. As well as this we drew on the ground with them. We continued to the airport, before flying home. Our field trip to Morocco was unforgettable and was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.

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