Marrakesh with children
A snake charmer entertains a young audience at Dejemaa el-Fna. (Doug McKinlay/LPI)
Labyrinthine Marrakesh is a great place for kids: there’s plenty to see and do, and plenty of room for little imaginations to run wild.
Kids will gaze in wonderment at fairy-tale souq scenes: potion sellers trading concoctions straight out of Harry Potter, old tins being hammered into Aladdin-esque lamps, cupboard-sized shops packed with spangled slippers worthy of Cinderella. Take them shopping for spells and charms at Rabha Qedima and let them squeal with grossed-out glee among snake charmers and snail sellers in the Djemaa el-Fna.
As well as potions, you can buy just about anything in Marrakesh you need for children, but you should bring any special foods required and high-factor sunscreen. Disposable nappies are readily available and cost around Dh25 for 10. UHT, pasteurised and powdered milk are also widely available.
For fantastic photo-op family adventures, head to the Palmeraie for camel safaris, pony rides and bowling. A 15-minute camel ride costs around Dh30 to Dh50; for a dromedary adventure followed by Moroccan pancakes, check out the tours offered by Kasbah Le Mirage. There is no shortage of horse and pony stables in Marrakesh, but for rides in the countryside, contact Sabots de l'Ourika.
Marrakesh's facilities are not always ideal for kids. If you are travelling with tiny tots, think twice about staying in a riad: plunge pools, steep steps and low electrical outlets are not child friendly. Sound reverberates in intimate riad quarters, too - so bear in mind that while staff may dote on your children, fellow guests may not take so kindly to the company of boisterous littluns.
Children under two years of age stay free of charge at most hotels. Kids from 2 to 12 sharing a room with their parents usually stay for 50% of the adult rate.
If you are after reasonable toilet and bathroom facilities, aim to stay in midrange or top-end hotels.
To avoid stomach upsets, stick to purified or bottled water. Choose restaurants carefully; steer clear of salads and stick to piping-hot tajines, couscous, soups and omelettes. Markets here are full of delicious fruit and veggies, but be sure to wash or peel them before you tuck in.
Heading out for a night on the tiles? Although there are few formal babysitting services in Marrakesh, babysitting can usually be arranged through top-end hotels. If you want an English-speaking babysitter, be sure to make a specific request when booking.