PMGY volunteer in Morocco participants are lucky enough to be based in the medieval coastal city of Rabat. Relatively undiscovered, those who do venture there are in for a right treat.
Morocco’s capital is a gem of a city that combines the old with the new: a place where Moroccan history spectacularly collides with modern life. Unlike the hustle and bustle of other Moroccan cities, in Rabat, you are left to go about your business – and to watch everyone else go about theirs in peace. Being blissfully ignored on the streets gives you space and time to discover the hidden depths of this fascinating city.
Participants generally volunteer on a Monday-Friday basis and the weekends are free to relax or travel further afield. As our volunteers will testify, the wider travel opportunities are extremely important to the whole experience and it is something we certainly recommend. Our local team are able to arrange activities, transport and accommodation but please note this is usually an independent experience outside of the core program.
PMGY volunteers are based in the heart of Rabat’s Old Quarter, commonly known as the Medina. The medina has an authentic feel to it, characterised by maze-like streets and traditional markets (souks). You can also find beautiful landmarks like the Grand Mosque and the Moulay Sliman Mosque here. The medina is small enough to be explored in half a day but large enough to make getting lost a possibility. The main market street is Rue Souika, with local shopping on its western stretch and shops geared to tourists in the eastern Souq-as-Sebbat.
KASBAH LES OUDAIAS
This site occupies the oldest part of the city and commands powerful views over the river and ocean from its cliff-top perch. The Kasbah is predominately residential. The narrow streets are lined with whitewashed houses, most of which were built by Muslim refugees from Spain. It’s a tranquil and picturesque place to wander and there’s no need for a guide. There are scenic views over the river and ocean from the Plateforme du Semaphore and the attractive Andalusian Gardens at its southern edge are a popular meeting point for locals to relax.
LE TOUR HASSAN
Rabat’s most famous and prominent landmark, Le Tour Hassan towers above the Bou Regreg estuary and is surrounded by well-tended gardens. It was originally part of an ambitious Almohad project to build the world’s second-largest mosque (after Samarra in Iraq). However, unfortunately, it’s patron Sultan, Yacoub al-Mansour, died before the building was complete. It turned out his successors did not have the same passion for the project, so the planned 60m tall minaret tower was abandoned halway at just 44m.
Exotic and hypnotic, the magical city of Marrakech mixes Islamic artwork with souks stacked high with spices, leather and lanterns. There are so many things to do in Marrakech, but it’s the whirl of orange blossom, sticky dates, donkeys and carpet sellers, mint tea and snake charmers enmeshed in the tight labyrinthine streets that have lured visitors to the Red City for years. Outside the 12th-century city ramparts is the French-founded New City (Ville Nouvelle) with its stylish boutiques, art galleries, alfresco cafés, restaurants, and hip spots for barflies.
The vast and glorious Sahara Desert is a must do while in Morocco. The Sahara is the largest hot desert and the third largest desert in the world after Antartica and the Arctic. The Sahara is 9.2 million sq km. Travel through the stunning Atlas Mountains to reach the edge of the Sahara where you can set off by camel to a desert camp deep in the dunes. Learn to tie a turban to keep the desert sun off your face and add a little flair to your photos! Tuck into a traditional Moroccan meal under the stars, listening to stories about life in this region.