My lovely partner hates the English weather. I am quite a fan of our seasons but he lived in the Australian tropics for nearly 7 years and then moved back to the UK for love. That didn’t work out so he got with me. Just kidding. When I got an email from Jack’s Flight Club saying that tickets to Marrakech were going for £60, knowing how much he hates our English weather, I thought that this would get me in the good books for sure. One week of Moroccan blue skies and 25 degrees in November would definitely help us get through those winter months.
Here are the most useful tips and advice from our trip.
Moroccans love kids
The thing that is fantastic about going to Marrakech with a toddler is that Moroccan people love children. It allows for interactions with locals that you probably wouldn’t have if you went there without kids as people respond so positively to families.
It is also completely acceptable, as all the Moroccan families do it, to have your children out with you in the evening.
Walking around you will see buggies everywhere and so, if you dare to ditch your normal routine, you can head out in the early evening with your toddler in tow and no one will bat an eye.
The evening buzz is fantastic and it’s so good to see the markets at night in all their glory – the smell of the food and the throng of people. In other cities, you might feel you should all be tucked up in bed but here it feels relaxed and friendly and the sight of another child out is a welcome and happy addition for all.
(Starter of 10 salads at Restaurant le Marrakchi)
I can honestly say it’s the best place I’ve taken my child out to eat as the waiters and waitresses made me feel like my daughter was the best thing since sliced bread. I have experienced on occasions in other countries (the UK included) that her presence in the restaurant was a bit of nuisance, but in Marrakech, they loved the young energy in the room and it was just a delight.
Moroccan’s spoil their kids rotten and when J got bored of sitting at the dinner table and started running up and down between tables, my attempts to rugby tackle her and bring her back to her seat were met by waiters protesting with, “leave her she’s fine she’s just having fun”. I explained I’d like her to learn to sit and wait till everyone’s finished and they scoffed saying ‘Why would you? Look how adorable she is! Leave her to play everyone is enjoying watching her’. At these moments I didn’t think she was being all that adorable, more like a complete pain in the bum, but it did make me feel more relaxed while we were attempting to finish off lunch.
The food was absolutely amazing. It was so different from the Morrocan food I’d previously experienced, so much more delicious. If J found the food too deliciously flavoursome (kids love bland don’t they?) there was also simple couscous she could chow down on.
The hard sell
One irritating thing to deal with is feeling like a walking wallet. This can become grating but you have to accept it and let it wash over you if you want to enjoy the delights of the city. Be mindful that some street sellers will try to put things in your child’s hand, at first saying that they are giving it to your child for free, and then moments later asking for money for it. You then, often out of principle more than anything else, have to prize said toy out of your child’s hands while they get upset and the seller implies you are really crappy parents for not buying it for her. I was at first being very English about it and laughing but by day four I became ninja-like at coming in-between the sellers’ items and my daughter’s squidgy hand while stating clearly that I didn’t want it. We do have a really crappy falling-apart camel as a result of this selling technique – J maintained too good a grip on that one.
Plenty of Moroccan kisses
J is a blondie which got her a whole heap of attention. She is a sociable girl and seemed to enjoy the attention and while she had a few women coming up to her and kissing her on the cheek she didn’t seem bothered but I could see how this might be tricky for some kids that aren’t such show-offs. The owners of our riad told us that the locals think blond children look like angels and they love them – it is purely appreciation and affection. If you want to avoid this bring a rucksack to carry your toddler out of kissing reach.
Places to stay
You may well have heard of people traveling to Morroco and staying in a riad. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house with a courtyard garden in the center of the building and they were the stately homes of the wealthiest citizens. The bedrooms are around the courtyard over several floors.
I had read somewhere that it’s not usual for families to stay in riads preferring instead to stay in hotels. I thought, balls to this, as I thought a big advantage of staying in a riad is that it would enable us to be amongst the hustle and bustle but within easy reach of home for nap time. Another bonus was our riad, Riad Thycas, had a lovely rooftop terrace and offered food. We had a room on the ground floor and the tables were in view of our door. We had a couple of fantastic evening meals served to us by the wonderful owners in full knowledge that J was sleeping soundly. It was one of the most relaxed meals I’ve had since she was born. We at a delicious traditional tajine of chicken, lemon, and olive. Bliss.
Be aware, if you are staying in the Medina it is illegal for them to sell alcohol, there are only a few specific bars that sell booze.
Getting out of the city
When we went they had not had any rain, which made walking around the streets quite a dusty experience and I was concerned at just how much dust J was consuming. We escaped the dust for a day in a taxi out of the city to a hotel called Villa Manzil la Tortue. We called them in advance and they arranged a pick up for us. As it was the low season they gave us a great deal of around €15 each to use their facilities and a three-course set menu. The food was really good and J loved to splash around in the shallow part of the pool. They also had rabbits and chicken she could look at. The French owners are very relaxed so don’t expect them to be too on it when it comes to potential drink orders but the place is beautiful and the food was very nice.
Another fantastic thing about Marrakech is that I didn’t feel so panicky about our fair little girl managing the beating sun as the city is set up for avoiding the heat and provides lots of shade. Although it was 30 degrees on our first day it felt very comfortable while we wore cool clothing and stuck out like sore thumbs amongst the locals wearing coats.
All in all, I would recommend a trip to Marrakech with a toddler. We had a great time and it was so lovely to get some winter sun.
The details –
We stayed at –
We ate at –
Best lunch – Cafe el Badia
Great dinner – Restaurant le Marrakchi (the best dish was the Tanjia).
We flew with –
If a holiday seems a long way off and you would like is a few hours break get in touch with The Mummy Company and we can provide you with some home help so you catch up on laundry or sleep, whatever you may need. Go to themummycompany.blog for more information or call on 01303 621 165.
We look forward to hearing from you!