On this brisk six-day excursion through Morocco, you'll not only visit highlights like the bazaars of Marrakesh and the villages of the Atlas mountains, but you'll do so while volunteering. Working with NGOs and non-profits throughout this trip is a great way to give back while also enjoying the adventure of a lifetime in one of Africa's most exotic, diverse, and culturally distinct countries.

Highlights

  • Hit the streets of Marrakesh on bicycle and food tours
  • Work with non-profits helping young people and women
  • Try Berber cuisine and take a food tour of Marrakesh

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Marrakesh Marrakesh
Day 2 Bicycle Tour of Marrakesh, Visit the Amal Non-Profit Center Marrakesh
Day 3 Transfer to the Atlas Mountains, Work With NGOs, Discover Berber Cuisine Imlil
Day 4 Visit the Eve Branson Foundation, Carpet Weaving Workshop Imlil
Day 5 Transfer to Marrakesh, Guided Food Tour Marrakesh
Day 6 Depart Marrakesh  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Marrakesh

Jemaa el-Fnaa square, in Marrakesh
Welcome to Morocco! This north African country is a colorful hodgepodge of Arab, Jewish, and Berber influences, but its proximity to Spain and a history of French colonization imbue it with a distinctly European feel. You'll experience all of this when you arrive in Marrakesh. This former imperial city is the second largest in the country and is always abuzz with activity. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in the city. After checking in, you can rest or venture out for a city tour.

Day 2: Bicycle Tour of Marrakesh, Visit the Amal Non-Profit Center

Hit the streets of Marrakesh on a bicycle
See Marrakesh the green way today on a pikala (bicycle) ride around the city. This tour company was created by a Dutch cycling enthusiast in partnership with local students, who will be your guides on this four-hour excursion. Ride around some of the most iconic landmarks like Jemaa el-Fnaa square and the Koutoubia Mosque, which dates to 1147. Supporting this company is also a good cause because it trains local youths to work as guides and bicycle mechanics. 

After the ride, you'll head northwest to the neighborhood of Guéliz and visit the Amal Center. This non-profit is a training center that serves disadvantaged Moroccan women through job training at their on-site restaurant. Over the course of two hours, you'll learn about the good work this group is doing to help women enhance their job skills, close the unemployment gap, and achieve social and economic stability. Maybe you'll even get to be there for Friday couscous!

Day 3: Transfer to the Atlas Mountains, Work With NGOs, Discover Berber Cuisine

Villages and peaks in Toubkal National Park
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In the morning, you'll leave the arid plains of Marrakesh for the peaks of the High Atlas mountain range. The drive to the mountain town of Imlil takes about 1.5 hours, with stops on the way to enjoy the scenery. First up is the town of Asni, known for its terraced fields and the lively souk (market) held each Saturday. Then, stop at Moulay Brahim Gorge before continuing to Imlil. Located in Toubkal National Park, this protected area is home to Morocco's highest peak, Mount Toubkal (13,671 ft/4,167 m).

After getting settled, you'll begin two days of volunteering with community projects. First, spend three hours at Association Toubkal Développement, which works with villages in Toubkal National Park. This NGO does many things, from coordinating volunteer projects to organizing youth activities and advocating for local women. During your visit, you'll participate in various activities involving visiting local schools, stopping at a women's weaving co-op, and meeting with Berber villagers.

Later you'll sit down with locals to discover their cuisine. Berbers are descendants of nomadic tribes of the High Atlas, and their food is specific to this region. It's rustic, simple, and delicious, incorporating barley, sheep and goat milk, butter, honey, and meat. Your tasty education involves a visit to a local Berber house, where over two hours, you'll take tea with your hosts and participate in a cooking lesson and bread-baking workshop. One of the highlight dishes is belboula couscous, made with tomatoes, chickpeas, turnips, and zucchini.

Day 4: Visit the Eve Branson Foundation, Carpet Weaving Workshop

A Berber woman at her traditional loom

Today, you'll spend three hours at the Eve Branson Foundation. This small non-profit was founded by Eve Branson, mother of British magnate Richard Branson. Its mission is to create opportunities for local people in the High Atlas region through artisan training programs and various educational, environmental, and healthcare initiatives. You'll donate your time and energy to help build a study center for disadvantaged local youth.

After helping out at the foundation, you'll visit with local women to see the process of traditional carpet weaving. This offers a fascinating insight into a cornerstone of Berber culture. Rug-making is vital to these communities, which you'll witness firsthand when visiting with the women and their families. You'll even get to help out with the weaving.

Day 5: Transfer to Marrakesh, Guided Food Tour

Sample Moroccan tajines

 

Meet your driver this morning for the return trip to Marrakesh. Once you've checked in to your hotel, you'll head out for a three-hour private food tour of the medina quarter that will excite the senses. Follow your tastebuds down the alleyways as you pass market stalls laden with fresh produce, olives, meats, and baskets overflowing with colorful spices. You'll taste traditional delicacies that range from unique sugary confections to savory tajine (stew cooked in a clay pot). Along the way, your guide will offer insight into Morocco's essential ingredients, cooking techniques, and culinary culture. 

Day 6: Depart Marrakesh

Koutoubia Mosque, in Marrakesh

In the morning, your driver will transfer you from the hotel to the airport, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels! 

More Great Morocco Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Morocco? Check out these other Morocco itineraries, explore more ways to spend six days in Morocco, and learn about the best time to visit Morocco.

Map

Map of Volunteering in Morocco: Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains  - 6 Days
Map of Volunteering in Morocco: Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains - 6 Days