Rustic Pathways | Morocco

Video and Photos

About

Rustic Pathways’ programs in Morocco encompass the breadth of this gorgeous country with visits to jaw-dropping sights such as the Cascades d’Ouzoud waterfall and Hassan II Mosque. Traveling to the indigenous Amazigh villages of the Atlas Mountains will expose photography students learn to rich cultural traditions and service students work on community-based projects focused on education, agriculture, and cultural preservation.

Iconic images of camels trekking across the desert fall far short of capturing what Morocco is really like. From the red sands of the Sahara to the crashing waves of the coast and the fragrant spice stands of Jamaâ El-Fna market in Marrakech, Morocco is a country you have to see firsthand to truly understand.

Questions & Answers

Day-to-day routines varied quite a bit: some days we spent a lot of time in transit, other days we spent the days out and about exploring the various surroundings. For what it’s worth, mealtimes were fairly standard and consistent, even if the rest of our days weren’t. Beyond this, depending on the location, we sometimes had more structure in our days, with organized activities or group...

Reviews

96%
based on 12 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 12 of 12
Default avatar
Brandon
10/10

Incredible Moroccan Wanderer Experience

This summer was the best summer of my life and I owe it all to Rustic Pathways. If I could give a higher rating than 10, I would.

First of all, I never would have considered going to Morocco, had I not traveled with Rustic Pathways in the past. After doing two prior trips, I realized I wanted to go somewhere that was unlike any place I would ever go. Morocco hit that on the nose.

From the first day at the quaint guesthouse in Sbiti, I knew I was in for an incredible journey. Doing service there opened up my eyes to a whole new world. It brought me the greatest amount of joy to see the smiles on the village kids' faces as we helped build them a new part of their school. From the casual high five to an elaborate handshake that they taught me, I will never forget them.

Next, we embarked on our journey to the Sahara, stopping at Ait-Ben-Haddou, the filming site of Gladiator. Though the journey took two days it was far beyond worth it. The Sahara is the coolest place I have ever been to! We were all jovial as we sat atop camels and admired the massive sand dunes all around us. We tried our hand at sandboarding, (which I was pretty good at) and stayed up talking and staring at the stars for hours. I cannot stress enough how amazing this place was and the whole time there I was just in awe.

From the Sahara, we made our way to Marrakech, but not without stopping in Dades and at Terres D'Amanar. The drive through Dades Gorge was breathtaking and I had an amazing time on the zip lines and ropes course at Terres D'Amanar. When we got to the Red City, I was immediately impressed by the bustling Jemaa El Fna Square. From the hundreds of vendors to the snake charmers it was such an exciting place to walk around. Our time in Marrakech was spent shopping in the medina, eating great food, and viewing the historical sites.

We finished the trip in the European feeling town of Essaouira. Here we had two super fun surfing lessons on a perfect beginner beach. We spent our final night buying gifts for each other for "Secret Tzatziki" and then ended with a super posh restaurant with great food and live music, the perfect ending.

The leaders were so knowledgeable and fun, yet safety was their number one priority.

Once again, this trip was the best trip of my life. The entire group became so close so quickly and we still talk every day, 3 months later. This program is an absolute must if you want lasting memories and friendships.

How can this program be improved?
While we went to so many places, I would have loved for this program to be a little longer and go to Chefchaouen and Tangier.
Yes, I recommend this program
Alice
Alice
10/10

Souks and Service, Morocco

My Souks and Service program was absolutely life-changing. If you are interested in full cultural immersion and a great deal of service and hard work, this is the program for you. Every moment, from Atlas Mountain village to bustling Marrakech, left me in awe that I was building relationships and having a lasting impact on people living 4,000 miles away from me. One of the things I am most thankful for during the program were my Rustic leaders, who worked incredibly well with our group. With their help, we were able to have rich and eye-opening discussions, get to know everyone on a deeper level, and fully immerse ourselves in a culture we hadn't even heard of until we stepped off the plane. Having such knowledgable and open minded leaders really set the stage for fruitful service learning and an unforgettable experience.

By the end of this trip, your eyes will be opened to the endless benefits and lessons of travel, and become more aware of who you are and who you will become as a person as a student of the world.

How can this program be improved?
More time spent with the locals!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Sara
10/10

Rustic Pathways: Moroccan Advanced Photography Workshop

On this trip I dove deep into the belief system surrounding Islamic faith and the Arabic language. In Morocco I was able to explore the roots of stereotypes to promote peace and build empathy by engaging with Muslims in Morocco. I traveled across Morocco for 16 days to twelve different cities and the Sahara Dessert with ten other students and a professional photographer and was able to develop a portfolio that captures the diversity of the beautiful country and learn new skills to develop as a better photographer. I created a documentary series focused on changing the negative perspectives the world has towards Islam through positive engagement and understanding cultural and religious differences while emphasizing the peace and wonder of the community. I had the absolute best time and I could not recommend Rustic more! After going on two trips with this program it has shown me how amazing the world is and how I can create my own impact on the world through experiencing new cultures and new places.

How can this program be improved?
It was perfect and I had the best 16 days of my entire life!
Yes, I recommend this program
Emily
10/10

Amazing Souqs and Service Adventure!

I was on Rustic Pathway's Souqs and Service program to Morocco from June 26-July 10, and I was in very good hands even before I got to my home airport on the way to our gateway airport. I was scheduled to land in New York (where we were to meet out group to fly to morocco) significantly earlier than any one else, and I was in contact with the airport coordinator before I even took off to New York. They assured that I was in good hands the whole time.
I was one of the unfortunate ones and was sick almost the entire duration of my trip, which was just due to the drastic change in diet, and being in a new place. It was never anything too major and I was still able to participate in everything almost the entire time because my program leaders (and one of the airport coordinators at JFK) kept me in great hands. It was good to know that my health was always a priority, and they stuck to it and did whatever they needed to to keep me as healthy as possible the entire trip.
As for on the trip itself, I had two of the best weeks of my entire life. This trip left a major impact on my views of Moroccan and Muslim cultures, and an impact on me as a human being in today's society. We spent about a week in a small village in the High Atlas Mountains called Zaouia Ahansal and worked very hard with The Atlas Cultural Foundation there. Our week in Zaouia was definitely the highlight of my trip. I was slightly shocked on the accommodations we had there, I knew what to expect, and Rustic's website was good at explaining exactly what we would have access to, but it still came as a bit of a shock to me. The closest thing I am able to relate our stay in Zaouia to would be "glamping". The community service we took part in was so much fun. Much more fun than I was expecting. We never worked too hard, but we got things done, and we had fun bonding with our group and the locals while doing it. One thing I did not expect with our service was the amount of breaks we took, and they weren't just stop for 15 seconds for water, they were full on 5-10 minutes, sit down and drink a cup of tea every 30 minutes. Especially during construction, it almost didn't feel productive. It wasn't strenuous work either, I moved a large pile of rocks. each rock weighed only a couple pounds and it was quite easy work. We also helped out with gardening in the community garden, and tutoring kids in the community center with games and activities. In the evenings and free time, we would go back to the guest house and take naps, play games, and hang out with the people of the house.
Zaouia was by far my favorite part of the trip, but I loved the rest also, we went to 3 other cities, Marrakech, Rabat, and Chefchaoen. We spent 3 days in Marrakech wandering the souqs, learning calligraphy, talking with local teenagers, getting henna, and my favorite, eating the food! I am a huge "foodie" and getting to eat a completely different type of cuisine for two whole weeks, I was in heaven. I will say, the souqs are not designed for people with ADHD. I can say from experience. There is so many smells, people walking buy, people asking for money, people trying to get you to buy stuff, motorcycles and scooters (vespas), donkeys and carts, did I mention smells, both good, and bad, you have to keep an eye out for your program leaders, and your group, I had a friend staying in Marrakech at the time, so I would be looking for them occasionally, and I was trying to shop and buy things. There is a reason the souqs are called sensory overload, and it's true.
Rabat was fun, but it was fast and not near as interesting as everywhere else. If vague tours of international governments are your thing, then you'll enjoy this, but me personally, it wasn't my thing.
Finally Chefchaoen. Only the best city on the planet, the blue city. The way they set up the Chefchaoen itineraire was perfect. And my program leaders changed things up a bit and told us to lead and they would point us in the right direction we got lost, some guided us being in charge. kind of. Chefchaoen was definitely towards the top of the best parts of my trip. We ate at some really great restaurants, did some fun activities, and it was a fantastic place to watch the final moroccan sunset with my 13 new best friends.
Overall, I had such an incredible experience in Morocco with Rustic Pathways. This was a trip I will not soon forget.

How can this program be improved?
A more specific itinerary on the website.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alondra
10/10

Moroccan Wanderer

Amazing program with amazing group leaders. I received a full scholarship for this program through a wonderful opportunity and had an amazing time. Morocco has so much to offer with a very diverse geography. I would definitely recommend it and it teaches so much about Islam which is also amazing. I had the opportunity to stay in the Saharan desert overnight and watch the stars and go sand surfing. It was really amazing and my Moroccan group leaders were very knowledgeable and open people who I bonded with really well.

How can this program be improved?
Not as many long bus rides but otherwise amazing (still enjoyed the bus rides).
Yes, I recommend this program
Gaston
10/10

Wandering with the wanderers

I enrolled for the Moroccan Wanderer program with not a lot of expectations about what would happen during the program. Since it was a different culture and program to what I am used to I did not know what to expect. But as soon as I arrived in Morocco I knew it was going to be an amazing experience.
I arrived in Casablanca the day before because I was travelling from Colombia to Morocco via Madrid (I am Venezuelan but live in Colombia). I met my program leaders that night and met my group the next day at the Hassan II Mosque. Then we drove to Marrakesh and spent three days there getting to know the city which was amazing and very beautiful. Then we left for Ourikt the village were we would do our comunity service it was a very nice experience to get to know the locals and help them with the ongoing project for the school with the locals. Then we spent a night at an old Kasbah in Nkob wich was very pretty and the people there were extremely nice and helpful. Then we went to Merzouga wich was the place were we would leave our stuff prior to the night that we spent in the Sahara. The Sahara is something amazing it is like from another planet, it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and I got to ride on my favourite animal: The Camel. After that experience we headed to the Toudra Gorge in the High Atlas. We satyed in a beautiful place and had a very cool hike around the area. After that we left to Ait Benhadou which is an old fortress town near Ouarzazate. We had fun exploring the fortress and getting to know about "The Hollywood of Morocco". Then it was the last stop towards Esaouira a beatiful beach town were we had great food and very nice Landscapes also we went to a fair. The last day we drove to casablanca and my group left back to their homes and I stayed one more night with the rustic team at a hotel in Casablanca.
This definetly was one of the best experiences of my life.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Leah
8/10

Morocco Trip

Going to Morocco was definitely the highlight of my summer. Morocco was exotic to me and fascinating. The most exciting part was seeing and meeting new people. I also brushed up on my Arabic skills! If I had another opportunity to go back to Morocco I would 100% take it! When I was there I ate delicious food like couscous and chicken just thinking about it makes me hungry. I went on the trip with my best friend and had a great time.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Hannah
7/10

Awesome itinerary and leaders!! But...

My experience in Morocco was truly eye opening. I saw everything from the crazy markets of Marrakech to the serene villages of the Atlas Mountains. The Rustic group leaders are absolutely inspiring people! The only downside of the trip was that I couldn't really relate to a lot of the teens in the group (wealthy, East Coast kids). But overall amazing!

How can this program be improved?
Maybe have trips where kids who earn scholarships to go are together. It creates an awkward dynamic when one student is only there because they were given an amazing scholarship and everyone else just paid out of pocket (and have been for several years). This is nothing against the students who choose to go on Rustic trips! It just would have made me more comfortable.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
K
10/10

Photography in Morocco

I absolutely loved this trip. The local guides were so kind and open about their culture. The country is muslim, and I had so many questions that they were happy to answer, even the difficult ones! I improved my photography both by shooting, and by the interesting discussions we had about the morality of street shooting when some people don't want to be shot. While not everyone on the trip is going to be a life long friend, everyone on the trip was a pleasure to be with, and I am glad to have met. I highly recommend this photography trip in morocco, for explorers and artists alike.

How can this program be improved?
I wish we could have spent more time in marrakech. For such an iconic city, we only got one night.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Shana
10/10

Trip of a Lifetime!

My son had so much fun and he learned so much. He matured and grew in his confidence so much. This company kept in touch and even sent a few pics to let me know how the trip was going. They were so helpful and I felt my son was safe the whole time. He will definitely be returning.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Emanuela
10/10

One of the most eyeopening experiences of my life

This experience was one of the most eyeopening and life changing experiences of my life. Although living in the Zawita ahansal village was challenging it taught me to never take my life for granted. Also, it lead me to realize how unecessary material objects are and how, rather, love and the kindness of the human spirit are the true key to happiness and well being.

How can this program be improved?
I would not stay in Rabat for one night. Atleast find another location to sleep at (possibly a riad).
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Akshay
10/10

Incredible Trip

As amazing of a country as Morocco is, the thing that really made my Moroccan Wanderer adventure was the people it was with. The other students were awesome, but that's very subjective. The people that are much less so [subjective] are the guides/counselors. They were, for me, truly incredible. Due to them, this trip was much more educational, in ways that I never would have imagined before it, compared to other trips I've been on.

One of the biggest highlights was spending a night in the Sahara desert. It's the kind of experience that you'd never imagine yourself having: the kind of thing that only exists in movies. Thus, when the experience is actually had, it feels even greater than anything a movie could show. We rode camels in and out of the desert (which, in itself made me feel like Lawrence of Arabia), stargazed from the top of a tall sand dune, and went sandboarding. Combined, these formed an unforgettable experience.

The service project that we did in Zawiya Alhansal was also a vital and memorable part of the trip. We taught English and art in a small school for two days, then spent a lot of time playing soccer with the kids there and helping design a library in one of the schools. While this certainly didn't designate the overall adventure a service trip, it did give it a bit more meaning and impact that distinguishes it from a vacation.

Overall, this trip was something I would recommend to everyone and anyone, with my only advice being to be careful about health, as I did get sick.

How can this program be improved?
I would spend more time in Zawiya Ahansal and perhaps forget one night in one of the locations, ideally the Dades Gorge, which, despite being a beautiful place, was the one place where we were unable to do the only thing we had the chance to do there: hike.

Doing this would widen the impact of the trip and allow even more bonding with the locals.
Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

About Rustic Pathways

Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on...