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Ryad Dyor

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Taking the Family on Holiday? Morocco Loves Kids!
Taking the kids on holiday is no mean feat by anyone’s standards. From packing to parking to putting up a beach umbrella, nothing is simple and everything seems to require at least six hands on deck. This is not normally a problem for most mums, who tend to have, rather magically, at least seven fully-functioning limbs on any given day. Which is lucky, because deckhands don’t tend to cum a plenty in parenting holiday land. Unruly children are not usually tolerated by the sun-lounging massive, unless penned in behind the kid’s club electric fencing where the sign tells us to “deposit” our offspring. “No, thank you very much”, we exclaim in horror, safe in the knowledge that our motley crew are sufficiently well trained to remain in tow. Add a different environment, however; new smells, sights, sounds and surroundings into baby’s oh-so-structured daily routine and, no matter the number of body parts you claim to posses, you could quickly find yourself deep in the heart of Screamville Central with nothing but some duty-free wet wipes to ease the pain.

Given this, the city of Marrakech with its bustling souks and pungent air may not, at first, appear to be the best destination for a tribe of feral mini-me’s. Still, we are a brave family so Morocco it was. We booked a traditional Marrakech riad hotel in the Medina to keep things simple and made an excited list of souk-style household must-haves to bring back home. But before I could exhale and flop all seven weary limbs, movie-star style, on the supremely large bed of the luxury suite we most definitely deserved, there was said packing and parking to be successfully navigated.

The sight alone of suitcases coming out of seasonal storage can make me break out into a cold sweat. While the kids run around the house wearing swimwear as hats I deliberate on everything from mosquito repellant to how much cotton wool to bring, or if cotton wool is even relevant where we are going, or if cotton wool is even relevant at all! And all this before we’ve even reached the check-in queues! All hail the single parent holiday makers. How they safely and single-handedly transport their kids to and from distant lands, through an actual airport, I’ll never know. That, put simply, requires superhuman powers.

But once past those first few fearful moments at baggage claim, praying for the buggy to appear, you may be pleasantly surprised by Marrakesh. Why? Moroccans, it seems, absolutely LOVE children. To begin with queue jumping was a given. No more impromptu Shakespearean meltdowns needed from our wannabe one-year old to fast track it through immigration. Immigration opened up its smiling doors and ushered us through before the swarm of sweating singletons could say “shopping”. In fact everywhere we went the locals broke out into huge beaming smiles and made loving bee-lines for the baby.

The kids were mesmerized by the Medina’s marketplaces but the stall-holders seemed mesmerized by them, cooing and clucking at my bewildered bunch in their mother tongue. You might be cynical enough to believe these were underhand haggling tactics by the souk’s salesmen but no – this was genuine love! From the snake-charmers and street performers of the famous Djemaa Del Fna square to the grandma’s and great-grandma’s going about their daily business, everybody had a special welcome for our little people. Even the camel whose back we rode. I could have sworn he winked at my 7-year old on meeting.

So forget cotton wool, my top tip on travelling to Marrakech with kids is go with an open heart. Just make sure you save some duty free wet-wipes for the slightly more amorous of admirers.

And in hail of the abovementioned, super-powered single mum’s out there, you’ll be pleased to hear, the “100% Mamans” association in Morocco’s capital city recently launched an online community radio station dedicated to safeguarding the rights of single mothers. Gotta love that.



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1 Driba Jdida, Sidi Ben Slimane، Marrakech 40000, Morocco
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