A city with a rich history, a vibrant culture and delicious food – Marrakech offers endless possibilities for travelers. Here are some of the popular places to visit and activities to do during your time on the IVHQ Morocco - Marrakech program.
In and Around Marrakech
Medina of Marrakech
The medina is a lively, compact area of Marrakech made of maze-like streets that showcase vibrant colours, delicious scents, and plenty of opportunities to shop. Bargaining is very common when purchasing goods in these areas, including ceramics, jewellery, clothing, babouches, and food. The Marrakech Medina was founded in 1070-72 by the Almoravids, and was considered a political, economic and cultural center in the city. Within the walls several historical monuments can be found, including: the Koutoubiya Mosque, the Kasbah, monumental doors and gardens, the Bandia Palace, Saadian Tombs, as well as the Ben Youssef Madrasa.
The Jardin Majorelle provides a tranquil refuge from the busy streets of Marrakech. French painter, Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) dedicated forty years of hard work and passion to creating an enchanting garden in the heart of the “Ochre City”. Known as one of the most visited sites in Morocco, individuals from all over the world can enjoy a peaceful and inspiring tour of the garden and the adjoining museum which highlights the history of the Imazighen or Berber community. The Jardin Majorelle is conveniently open every day of the year.
Ben Youssef Madrasa
The Ben Youssef Madrasa is a former Islamic college which was named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf, who expanded the city of Marrakech and its local and global influence considerably. Visitors from all over the world flock to this architectural and educational site which was founded in the 14th century. As one of the largest Madrasa’s in Marrakech, you can explore the prayer room, dormitory, and many other rooms for hours, immersing yourself in the revolutionary landmark that once housed and educated upwards of 900 students.
If you are a “foodie” then you are in for a treat! Moroccan cuisine is made of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber influence and meals are always infused with an extensive variety of spices and flavours, many of which hail from various regions of Morocco. Meals typically begin with a series of hot and cold salads, followed by savory stew composed of sliced meat, poultry or fish combined with vegetables and fruit, which is slow-cooked in a tagine. Up next you can expect a lamb of chicken dish, followed by a couscous topped with meat and vegetables. Meals then finish with a sweet mint tea, which is considered a staple in the Moroccan diet.
Volunteers can take extended weekends to experience the best cuisine that Morocco has to offer, from the Medina in Rabat which offers a wide variety of street vendors selling mouth-watering confections to the fine dining opportunities in Casablanca. Morocco is a haven for volunteers who love great cuisine! There are cooking classes in every region which combine a passion for food with interesting sightseeing excursions and you’ll learn the best local secrets.
As most locals will tell you, the best Moroccan food is found at home, not in restaurants, so unless you can wrangle an invite to a local’s home, your best bet is to dive into the maze-like medinas and head to the food souks. Head over to Djemaa el-Fna and surrounding streets for the best street cuisine, and be sure to follow the succulent scents through maze-like streets to indulge in as many culinary delights as your appetite can handle.
Adventure Outdoor Activities
Volunteers who are interested in travelling outside of Marrakech for a long weekend or an extended period before or after their placement, have the opportunity to adventure tours through the Atlas Mountains and out into the Sahara Desert. Volunteers will travel via 4x4 vehicles through the hills and desert, and they will also have the opportunity to travel via camel back through the desert, which is often a highlight for many participants. Volunteers often travel through a local Berber farming village, and can enjoy lunch in a Berber village with a local family.
Walking Tours Nature
Volunteers who have an affinity for majestic architecture will undoubtedly jump at the opportunity to explore the sights, smells and sounds of the vibrant city that is Marrakech. Walking tours are available, and for the more adventure-seeking volunteers, Segway tours are a sure-fire way to weave through the bustling streets of Marrakech.
Volunteers who love the outdoors should strap on some comfortable shoes to explore the neighboring Atlas Mountain range, which stretches from the Atlantic Coast to Tunisia. Qualified mountain guides are available to lead you on treks through ancient paths, terraced pastures and through traditional Amazigh villages, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about local customs and traditions of the Berber decedents, indigenous to North Africa.
If you would like more details on any of these locations or activities, our local team in Marrakech can assist you once you are registered onto the IVHQ Marrakech program.
To apply for the program or explore the volunteering opportunities available in Marrakech, visit our Volunteer in Morocco - Marrakech page.