We arrive in Marrakech in the afternoon and transfer straight to our Gite in Toubkal National Park where we spend the next 3 nights. Our Gite is located about 1800 metres above sea level and surrounded by mountains - you can just see the peak of Mount Toubkal from the Gite balcony.
Day 2 - 3
The focus of these two days will be the Toubkal village projects. It is necessary to keep the itinerary fairly flexible considering the laidback lifestyle in this part of the world. Our group may be split up into different activities dependent on group size and skills (if any!). Please note the nature of our volunteer work may change on arrival according to the village needs but we are most likely to be working on improving village irrigation and reservoir systems. Andy will contact you prior to departure with a more up to date list of activities.
We leave Imlil and head south for the small town of Olad Berhil in the Souss valley. En route we head over the Tizi'n'Test, Morocco's second highest pass. We pause for a picnic lunch towards the top to enjoy the splendid views to the south. The Souss region is renowned for its fertility and our beautiful Riad is no exception with its abundance of orange and grapefruit groves. There will be time for a relaxing afternoon and a dip in the Riad's pool.
Today we transfer to Essaouira on what is our longest days driving. The day however is not rushed and there will be plenty of time to relax in the charming seaside port of Essaouira, before staying overnight in a traditional Riad Hotel.
Today we make our way to Tafedna for our second project destination. This region is the only area in Morocco where Argane trees can grow, which make the high quality Argane oil that is used in local cooking and the cosmetics industry. Previous work here has been undertaken on establishing the new village women's Argane cooperative as well as the village school. If previous experience is anything to go by, we will be entertained with an incredible lunch! We will also have the opportunity to purchase some of the locally made Argane products directly benefitting the women of the community.
All our work this week is complete and we can enjoy some well -deserved free time in Essaouira. This charming town dates back to the 15th Century and was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, Essaouira is extremely relaxed with whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan's workshops, boatyards and fishermen. There are also many pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants to sample. At some point Andy will insist on you accompanying him to the legendary Italian ice cream and hot chocolate shop! CH (B)
We leave Essaouira in the morning for the 3 hour drive back to Marrakech where if flight timings permit we will have a couple of hours for lunch and pottering around the Souks for some last minute shopping. You may need to reserve another transfer should your flight leave earlier from Marrakech than the group flight. For those on group flights, these depart in the afternoon and will arrive in the UK the same day.