Volunteering in Morocco

Morocco placement details

Volunteer in Morocco helping children within the historical walled city of Marrakech. Below you will find everything you need to know from what to expect, how to prepare with advice on health, money and how to keep yourself safe.

Please note for returning volunteers, from November 2019, this programme has now downsized and is no longer a large group volunteer project. Volunteers should arrive prepared to submerse themselves in the local culture which may require living with local families and organising free time activities and eating out, independently.


What can I do in Morocco?

The Morocco program offers a volunteer schedule organised by a dedicated volunteer coordinator. They are there to help you feel relaxed and escort you to projects.

Join them at the assigned meeting point, which is usually the bus stop or taxi rank a short walk from the accommodation.

Unlike other programmes, volunteers usually attend different types of projects during their stay which provide services for children between the ages of 7 and 12 who have limited access to quality education or interaction with caring adults.

Volunteers fill the gap with simple organised games and informal learning, often through art and crafts which provides one to one attention that the children so desperately need. Some children will also have learning difficulties or be behind their peers due to problems at home.

Volunteers at the baby orphanage. Luckily most of the children find families before long.

Most project work is done in small groups at tables. Here volunteers with a small group at a boys orphanage in Marrakesh.

Can I work with babies and infants?

Volunteers have the opportunity to visit a baby orphanage where there aren’t enough staff to be able to provide essential physical contact that babies require in the first few months of life. Enjoy cuddling and playing with the babies and young children who desperately need human contact at this vital stage before it’s too late.

Can I do practical and hands on work?

Painting is great fun and helps brighten up the children’s learning environments. There’s often an opportunity to get involved with painting and decorating,from simple clean ups to large colourful murals for the children to enjoy. You might like to bring a brush and a design to copy.

Can I do sport?

Some projects offer lots of space for volunteers to organise active games such as football to rounders but even the smallest location has a space large enough for skipping or practising football skills although this may not always be a safe or convenient space such as a hallway, patio or you may need to use the indoor space.

In the summer there are sometimes also opportunities to take the children swimming both for fun and to practise if they’ve never learned to swim before – the perfect activity for a hot day!

Work with the homeless

This is a truly satisfying Feed the Homeless programme which is usually available once a week so that volunteers can buy and prepare a meal to give out on the street. Allow £3 – £7.

Can I work in orphanages?

Some projects offer activities for children living in orphanages and care homes. Not all of these children have lost parents, they simply have no blood relatives in a position to care for them.

Some have been abandoned entirely to fend for themselves and others have been handed over into the state’s care. Unlike the babies at the baby home, most of whom will be adopted by loving families, it’s harder for older children to find a new family.

Children without stable carers struggle at school and will often under perform. Following regular one to one attention and praise from our volunteers, children’s confidence and life chances are greatly improved.

It’s difficult to impress on volunteers how important and precious their personal input is – for the children with no families, time spent in the company of friendly adults who pose no threat is invaluable in helping them adjust to the adult world.

We advise all volunteers to visit all projects with open hearts and patience because each and every minute counts for these children.

Can I set up my own activity?

It’s always possible to organise an activity of your choice – your co-ordinator will help organise the children for you so they know what you’re planning and what they need to do.

Previous volunteers have taught dance, chess, bingo and organised fun tournaments.

Do I need teaching experience?

No – in fact, most volunteering is play/activity based rather than formal teaching. Most of our volunteers have little or no experience so they share the activity sessions usually sitting in pairs with another volunteer at tables with 3-5 children.

Your coordinator may have some ideas and equipment but often supplies run out so try to bring some things from home – face paints are 100% the top fun activity for the younger children! For a quick guide on how to teach a small group English read our guide for novice TEFL teachers.

Can I volunteer away from Marrakesh?

Visits to the Berber villages in the Atlas mountains are always popular. In the summer these are often on the schedule every week. Most trips last a full day including travelling time. Some are far enough to require an overnight stop.

The bus fare is about £5 – £15 return and takes 2.5 hours. These can often be exciting rides into the mountains or desert, followed by trekking through traditional villages where at the final and largest village volunteers organise a two hour or longer fun-filled activity session for children who rarely receive visitors from ‘the outside world’, that is what it can seem like. We feel the experience of Morocco off-the-beaten-track working with isolated children can make up for any travel time and expense.

At the end of the session, toys, games and resources are sometimes donated.

There are also projects occasionally on the coast in Casablanca and Agadir. Speak to your volunteer co-ordinator about any forthcoming projects that you might be interested in.

Painting is great fun and helps brighten up children’s learning environments.


Enjoying time at a pool with children who would not otherwise have an opportunity.

Free time in Morocco

There is plenty of time to explore Marrakesh and take a tour both at the weekend and midweek between project visits.


Camel adventure in the sahara desert.

Camel trek through the dunes

Price from just £70

Probably the number one excursion for all participating volunteers. Enjoy a leisurely guided afternoon camel ride over the shifting sands spending the night in a traditional Bedouin tent amongst the dunes.

Best to wear trousers and a sweater for when the sun sets whatever the daytime weather to be more comfortable.Cost from £70. Ask coordinator on arrival how to book and the meeting point.


OV volunteers pose for a photo in front of the Ouzoud waterfalls.

Ouzoud waterfalls

Price from £16

High in the Grand Atlas, the falls are a popular day trip from Marrakech. A shady walk through olive trees takes you to the bottom of the falls where you can join a raft to get a closer view of the cascades and get wet. Most visitors swim afterwards so don’t forget to take your swim wear and a towel.

“Best day we had in Morocco!”

Ask coordinator for cost and meeting point.


The main square at night. Within walking distance of the volunteer houses, this is the heart of Marrakech!

Jemma El Fna

Cost of drink £1, snack, £2

This is the hot spot of Marrakech and the entrance to the alleyways of the souks and Medina where the volunteer houses are located. During the day the square offers fresh juice stalls, snake charmers and water sellers but as the sun sets the square comes alive with story tellers, magicians and hot food stalls.

Surrounding the square are a number of cafes to enjoy a mint tea whilst watching the proceedings in the square. Things quieten down between 9 and 10pm.


OV volunteers enjoy a traditional mint tea at the Berber House in the hills, a popular day trip.

Berber House

Price from just £15

If you can only do one activity during your stay and cannot stretch to a camel trek – make an overnight visit to the Berber House. Take a masterclass in Moroccan, sorry, Berber cuisine (the Berbers consider themselves Berbers first, Moroccan second) ride a donkey enjoy a ‘proper’ mint tea (not to be confused with the ‘mint teas’ served to tourists in the main square in Marrakech) with traditional music and dancing in the heart of Berber country.

Before your trip back to Marrakech the following morning, a leisurely breakfast of pancakes and honey is served. Recommended.

Include: transport, overnight stay and two meals.


Take a break on a hot day at a pool close by.

Swimming pool for a hot day

Price from just £5

Volunteers often go in groups on day or afternoon off to swim and relax. 10 mins by taxi, £2- £3 or 50p each if sharing between 4.

Address: 44, Bd El Yarmouk, Place de la liberté.
Guéliz, 40000 Marrakesh, Morocco
(+212) 24 44 62 00

For a pool outside of Marrakech in a more rural setting, speak to your coordinator about the farm swimming pool on the way to Tahnaout, 30 mins by bus from Marrakech.


OV volunteer on Essaouira beach, can be made on a day trip if you leave early enough.

Essaouira – for sea breezes

Price from just £30

Only 2-3 hours by coach, a trip to Essaouira makes a great weekend trip to escape the heat and catch a sea breeze.

A sleepy town and windswept beach popular with surfers, it  as a ‘hippy’ backpacker feel about the place but without the hustle and bustle of other coastal towns.

Coaches offers regular departures from Marrakesh bus station (15 mins walk from the volunteer house) with few stops on route along the straight road to the coast.


Group of OV volunteers enjoy a meal at Mama Africa, still the preferred restaurant of choice.

Mama Africa cafe

Price from just £10

When you tire of Moroccan tajines, try Mama Africa’s, a relaxed African reggae vibe cafe. When no volunteers taking over the cafe, attracts a trendy/alternative local crowd. Salads and fresh juices are recommended and there’s often reaggae music and National Geographic channel on TV. Occasional Djs visit playing drum and bass. Very popular.

Just on the edge of the new town in Gueliz, on RueOum Errabia.Cost per plate: 80 to 150 Dirhams for a generous main course.

Fritos, a popular takeaway/delivery used by OV volunteers after a busy day.

Fritos cafe/take away

Price of food £5 – £8

Fritos on 23, Rue Fatim Zahra. From the Bab Doukala volunteer house, take the right fork at the Bab Doukala Mosque towards the main square. 500 m on left side. Serve pizza and paninis.

Can dine in but most volunteers take away and eat on the terrasse at the volunteer house. Very popular and cheap good food.

Also home delivery Tel 0618933743


The ‘Pannini’ place for breakfasts near the Bab Doukala houses.

“Pannini place”

Crepe £1 Pannini £3

Known to OV volunteers as the pannini place round the corner from the Bab Doukala volunteer house. A friendly manager, Said (sigh – eed) and his team serves breakfasts of Moroccan crepes with different fillings.
Chocolate and honey popular, also serve good quality mint tea. Volunteers often buy a crepe for breakfast and take back to house to have with tea/coffee.

Volunteers also stop off here on their way back after their morning volunteering to grab a main meal.
Choose three from meat + salad + chips. Chips recommended!


Ait Benhaddou village, film location for many films.

The Southern villages

Price from just £50

Take a tour to the village of Ait Benhaddou on the edge of the Sahara desert. Used as a backdrop for many famous films including :

1961 Lawrence of Arabia
1984 Jewel of the Nile
1996 Indiana Jones
1998 Gladiator
2008 Prince of Persia
2012 The Bible.

Outside the Bab Doukala volunteer house.

At the baby orphanage.

What happens on arrival?

Once you arrive at Marrakech airport, our regular driver will be waiting to pick you up and take you to the volunteer house. They always have a sign so you won’t miss them. They will also wait if your flight is delayed. Transfer time to the accommodation is approximately 15 minutes but the last few yards is often on foot through the pedestrianised alleyways. If you are arriving in the morning you may have time to get to your first project in the afternoon!

Is there a weekly schedule?

The weekly schedule is organised by your local support team who liaise with the local projects. They organise a varied schedule each week with a variety of different placements.

You can opt in or take a day off as preferred although it’s definitely more fun to have a go at everything. In the summer optional placements further afield may also be available.

Here is an example of a weekly schedule in and around Marrakech although times and places vary from week to week and should be considered at best a guesstimate of the sorts of activities you may be involved with.

Volunteers should be aware the baby orphanage and special needs centre take a volunteering break for 1-2 weeks on flexible dates during the month of August.

Visit street kids centre in Marrakech
Art and craft and outdoor games project south of Marrakech

Painting and decorating at educational centre in Marrakech or rural village
Art and craft with children and young adults at Downs Syndrome day centre
Day Off to relax, shop or take a tour or baby orphanage
Day Off to relax, shop or do a camel trek in the desert
Day Off or Visit a new project in suburbs or a new village

Who organises the activities for each project?

Activities are expected to be led by the volunteers which is the aim of the programme. It is easy to underestimate the range and quality of ideas you may have simply coming from what was probably by comparison, a privileged education in the West even if you thought at the time your teachers could have done better!

Very occasionally there may be something already planned between the project staff and your escorting volunteer coordinator, but please do not rely on them as this is what you guys are here for!

What sorts of activities should we plan for?

The sessions normally last 1-1.5/2 hours. It is a good idea to plan a table based activity which can last for 35 – 45 minutes with for 3-4 children followed by free play, physical games or one to one interaction to end the session. Sometimes sessions can last longer if the children are motivated to continue, the project staff would like you to carry on or the project does not receive frequent volunteer visits. It is not necessary to plan a week’s worth of activities as the schedule changes regularly and other volunteers may have ideas and materials they have planned to use. As a rough guide if coming between September and May, arrive with 3 to 4 activities per week of your stay for 3-4 children. If coming between June and August with the volume of volunteers you may find 2-3 activities sufficient. There are stationery shops in the modern part of Marrakech, called the Ville Nouvelle if you run out and need paper, colours etc.

How do we organise the children when we arrive at a project?

Unless you are instructed otherwise, simply find a table and lay out your resources on the table. If a small group does not gather round, simply beckon some children over. Sometimes you may have to wait for the children to wander between tables checking out what is available or trying to find a seat somewhere. There can also be some late arrivals so don’t panic if no one comes over to your paper folding activity straightaway – start making yourself and give it a few minutes, they will come over!

At villages you may find there are no tables so find a suitable place in the shade and some flat ground if colouring or drawing.

What types of table based activities are popular?

Think outside of the box to generate interest which in turn will be more fun for you. For example, try to avoid the default volunteer activity of colouring in as your main activity. We are sure you can think of something more fun than that, not least watching children colour in on a hot afternoon may send you to sleep!

Back up resources you should have ready 

Having said that, it is a good idea to have one colouring book and felt tips for back up in your bag for when a child finishes early or if you think a child in your group may benefit from therapeutic colouring in. Let the child choose a picture and tear it out so they can take it home after.

Another essential is safe play equipment for later. Popular items which are always handy: skipping rope and soft sponge balls or similar items. Do keep these in your bag until after your main activity to prevent distraction and ‘grab and go’ behaviour when volunteers arrive.

Also worth including: notepad you can rip pages out of and wetwipes and a comb. Some of the children need a wipe and their hair combed and can get messy with their activity.

What happens when there are lots of volunteers?

Try to leave the idea at home that education and learning can only happen in a classroom setting with one qualified and experienced adult at the front of 20 children and that one-to-one work is not beneficial. You may like to consider home tutors in your own country who work one-to-one with their students, pitching the level and speed of learning to the child, often with dramatic results.

Play and creative self expression can also be undervalued in traditional education, especially in Morocco, where copying from the board is the preferred methodology.

Bringing children and volunteers together informally gives troubled children a chance to get personalised attention from positive role models and explore themselves and the world around them without judgement. Imagine a child has had no eye-contact from adults for many weeks or has not been able to express themselves in any safe way. This can have a profound effect on development and self – esteem. Spending a whole hour with an adult caring deeply about everything they do, from they colour they chose for their picture whilst giving them the space to explore their ideas is a massive asset for growth.

Most of the children you work with receive education at another time of year or are attending school part time so you are not interfering with their mainstream education.

If there are lots of of you, take advantage to offer precious support. In the summer it will only be these few weeks the children can receive one volunteer’s dedicated time and resources. In the winter and spring, volunteer numbers are less and different projects are visited.

Seat yourselves volunteer – child – volunteer – child around a table and focus your attention the child next to you. Try to avoid sitting next to another volunteer as this can be intimidating for the little ones facing you!

If you feel there are enough volunteers and activities, look out for strays, there’s often one or two children wandering around. There may be a reason why they are not joining in. Perhaps they do not feel welcome by the others, are shy, younger, older, or there are learning or health difficulties? Perhaps you can help them to join an activity or offer one to one time, perhaps skipping, playing catch or noughts and crosses?

For an individual child who has experienced neglect, social isolation or trauma a one to one experience away from the table could be the most valuable experience, far greater than any organised group activities. You may be the only volunteer for a few weeks who has made a connection and shown interest.


On arrival

Everyone is met on arrival in Marrakesh. Fly with others using the OV Travel Buddy site.

Everyone is met on arrival in Marrakesh. Fly with others using the OV Travel Buddy site.

At many projects there is outdoor space for organised games and basic resources can be bought in Marrakesh

At many projects there is outdoor space for organised games and basic resources can be bought in Marrakesh

What happens if I take a tour during my stay?

Project costs still apply until the day you leave the programme. Due to the popularity of the programme and limited bed availability in the volunteer houses in Marrakech, it is not possible to provide refunds for odd nights spent away on tours.

Can I extend my stay when I am in Morocco?

Due to the limited number of beds, we recommend booking the longest time that you might stay. If you leave the programme earlier, a refund of your unused nights is available. Simply email us with your leaving date. This helps keeps things flexible if you want to travel further afield.

Volunteers camel trekking in Morocco


More Morocco volunteer projects outside of Marrakesh

What is included?

Accommodation is included in the weekly project costs. This covers the support of your local team who liaise with the projects, organise the weekly schedule and are on hand to provide you with any assistance you may need during your stay.

Do I have to stay complete weeks?

Your project costs are calculated on a nightly basis. For example, if you are staying 9 nights, you will pay for 9 nights only from the day you arrive. There are no fixed dates, you can arrive on any day of the week, although Monday to Wednesday is ideal to settle in before the weekend.

How will I get to the projects each day?

In and around Marrakech it could not be easier. The volunteer coordinator escorts the volunteer group to each project on foot, by taxi or by bus. The meeting place is either the volunteer house, the bus station or a taxi rank close by. In the summer additional staff are sometimes helping out who are not well known to the local authorities and they may need to meet you elsewhere before escorting you to your project. This is because local people are advised to ‘leave tourists alone around the main square of Marrakech’ after so many years previously of tourists being stopped by locals by tourist touts. So do not be alarmed if your summer volunteer coordinator leaves the house at a fast pace or asks you to meet him/her at a specified place further away from the main square, they are not being impolite.

Most sessions last about 1 to 2 hours, excluding travelling time and one of the volunteer coordinators will be on hand at each session.

Projects outside of Marrakech can require more travelling and sessions may be longer, snacks or a meal are sometimes provided in recognition of the group’s efforts to attend what is an off the beaten track location.

If you need to take a bus or taxi, £2 is usually enough. If a project is away from Marrakech, transport might be more so if you would rather opt out and stay in Marrakech, that’s fine, but the experience of seeing more of the country should more than make up for the extra bus fare!

Don’t panic if you are on a budget, this should not affect your experience. All projects are optional, the majority choose to spend their whole time volunteering in Marrakech and never want to leave other than for a camel trek!

Volunteers at the baby orphanage. Luckily most of the children find families before long.

Most project work is done in small groups at tables. Here volunteers with a small group at a boys orphanage in Marrakesh.

What level of support is provided?

A dedicated English-speaking volunteer coordinator organises the week’s schedule, escorts the volunteer group to each placement and is available for advice during your stay for example, arranging a doctors appointment.

For your free time you will therefore be expected to be independent enough to potter around, make friends with your host family or other volunteers and join the usual tourist tours. You should be confident to buy snacks and water from the local shop a few yards away or at least be confident for your first time to the shop, to ask others around you what they say when they go!

Do I need a visa?

No visa is required if you hold a British passport and will be staying less than 12 weeks. If you hold a different passport and require a visa, we’ll send you the supporting letters of introduction you need to assist your visa application..

How can I look after my health?

Unlike much of Africa, anti-malarials are not needed in Marrakech which is great news, although you may get a delicate stomach from the food and water but this is quite normal. 1 in 5 visitors to Morocco will experience a little discomfort but it usually passes in a couple of days and most volunteers carry on as usual (with the help of something like Immodium). To help prevent an upset stomach, stick to bottled water and soft drinks.

If you are worried, try to avoid the orange juice in the main square as even though it’s lovely, the water may be untreated. Instead buy two oranges and sugar and ask your coordinator how to make the same at home. Our travel health section explains more on what jabs are needed and how to stay safe.

The most common health annoyances in the summer months are generally not drinking enough water or sun exposure. Make sure you drink plenty, always carry an extra bottle or two with you when away from the volunteer house, ideally a bottle that has been in the freezer overnight, and cover up with a sun hat or parasol in the heat of the day.

What is Morocco like?

Morocco is one of the most liberal North African countries with a booming tourist industry attracting over 7 million visitors a year. In the walled city of Marrakech, due to its importance both historically and as a centre of tourism. Most people will consider themselves Muslim although don’t assume everyone goes to the Mosque or prays every day in the same way there are many shades of Catholicism in Ireland. For any practising Christians visiting Marrakech or just for the curious, there is a small Catholic church, the Holy Martyrs.

Not many people know that The King of Morocco provides a strong plain clothed tourist police force, so you could not be safer. They are also to keep an eye out for pushy salesmen in the walled city to keep the visitor’s stay a positive and hassle-free one.

The walled city, or the Medina, is where the volunteer houses are located. There is a real community feeling here, helped by the lack of cars and only the occasional donkey or moped passing through the alleyways.

And if you understand Arabic or Berber you will here adults calling out to children passing by why they aren’t home yet or asking teenagers if their mother knows they are out, everyone knows everyone here!

Are meals provided?

Breakfast is normally eaten out or a crepe brought back to the volunteer house to combine with a tea or coffee. At lunchtime and in the evening the group usually eat together as a group in a cafe in the main square. If you prefer to prepare your own meals, there are modern supermarkets within easy walking and a kitchen in the volunteer houses.

Will the summer heat be a problem?

Worn-in flip flops or sandals and trainers are practical. Many travellers bring new footwear which can cause painful blisters. If you have no time to wear them in, bring a back up pair of shoes you have worn a lot at home just in case.

Avoid jeans or any tight trousers if the temperature will be 35 Celsius or more when you arrive, Indian style loose palazzo pants can be bought cheaply in Marrakech or buy before travel from markets/ethnic shops at home. Make sure you take plenty of water each day in your bag, at least 2 litres for Marrakech projects. Many volunteers put their bottles in the freezer at the volunteer house the night before so they stay cool for at least a half day, even cold water freshly bought from a shop can get warm within 10 minutes.

A light shawl to cover your head or wide rimmed sun hat will help enormously. With these measures you should not have problems even on the hottest day, and if you have frozen your water, you can place that on your neck to cool down or pour over your head, a refreshing treat!


Simple games like playing cards can help vulnerable children build trust

Training workshops are often available. See the noticeboard or speak to your support team.

What are the costs after I have registered and booked my space?

After you have booked your space and registered with us, (registered volunteers travelling within 12 months of their first project abroad do not need to pay the registration fee again) the weekly project costs for the Marrakech programme are £215 per week, this includes accommodation and organisation of the placements by a dedicated support team.

The airport pick up is £10 and is organised for you before arrival. The return airport drop off is organised closer to departure as per your preferred time to leave the volunteer house.

All volunteers need to purchase a return flight to Marrakech (Easyjet is the preferred airline, the airport is called Menara and the airport code is RAK) and travel insurance.

Travel insurance which covers medical bills should you need them can be added on easily when you buy your flight online and costs between £10 and £30 for a short trip.

There are two ways to stay on a budget. If the projects are in and close to Marrakech at the time of your visit is to budget for £10 a day for meals (usually eating out in cafes together) and local transport (approximately 50p – £3) If the projects are located in the villages further away during your stay, budget for £15 a day to cover transport and shopping and eating at the volunteer house. Both options should be possible on between £10 – £15 a day.

Some occasional projects require a few extra pounds to help cover costs, for the swimming project allow £3 – £6 to pay for yourself and a child and for the feeding the homeless programme approximately £5 – £7 towards food.

We recommend taking extra for the many excursions available, £100 should cover the camel trek and one other activity, although as with any holiday it is always a good idea to take as much as you can extra in case to cover anything else you might want to do in your free time or things you would like to buy.

How and when do I need to pay for my project?

An invoice for the weekly project costs and airport pick up will be sent by email shortly after we have received your flight to Marrakech. We calculate project costs for the volunteer programme based on your flights. This is the easiest way to pay. Email us if you are travelling soon and have not received an invoice. And don’t worry if you forget, if we have your flights already – we’ll send you a reminder before you go!


How will I keep in touch with family?

Most volunteers get a new SIM on arrival. Do remember to check with your provider and unlock your phone long enough before travel. Most of the volunteer accommodation has wifi. There are still internet cafes in Marrakech within walking distance.

How will I get back to the airport?

Your in-country support team will help organise this for you with their regular driver. There is also a regular airport shuttle bus from the edge of the main square, but make sure you allow plenty of time to walk through the Medina, especially in hot weather as your trolley case and luggage may feel somewhat heavier!

Volunteers In Morocco enjoying time in pool while working at project.


Morocco volunteers preparing meal for homeless

What do I need to take for the children?

Some days your co-ordinator will have an activity or two planned in advance with the materials to hand out, but they should not be relied on. The programme works at its best when volunteers bring with them great activities for the children to learn and enjoy something new.

The best way to approach this is plan for 2 or 3 creative/artistic activities you can do with 4 to 5 children sitting around a table with you. Creative activities are great because they keep the children focused for longer than say, playing dominoes which although fun, may only last 5 minutes.

Most craft activities will usually occupy even the most impatient children for between 30 and 40 minutes if there are enough stages in the process to be completed, for example, drawing round a template, colouring or painting, cutting and finishing off followed by creating a wall display.

When preparing, imagine 4 or 5 children with you at a table – what could you do? What would you need to make something? Paper? Scissors? Glue sticks? Colours? Cotton thread? There may be some equipment at the volunteer house but we would recommend taking one or two basic essentials just in case like a gluestick, cellotape and pair of scissors, the children can always take turns to use them.

In addition, throw in a piece of simple fun sports equipment, a bat and ball, skipping rope, packet of balloons or loom bands for the days when activities have been prepared, you finish early and the children want to run around. Try to think outside the box if you can, nobody to our knowledge has taken a hula hoop before, probably because it might be awkward getting it over there on a flight.

Sometimes one more expensive item might last many sessions, for example a big box of sticklebricks, two space hoppers for a race (bring repair kit!) or a general set of Meccano or similar for a few children to use at the same time, rather than a one model set.

Take one of your activity ideas or equipment set to every session so it’s ready to use in case no-one else has something planned. And even when project work has been organised for the group, there are often some children who finish early or may have learning difficulties who you might want to work with using your activity or sports equipment.

What do I need to take for my stay?

Between June and August take a single duvet cover to sleep inside or a summer weight sleeping bag. From October to April it is a good idea to take a sleeping bag and and a jumper as the weather can vary from hot to chilly.

It is a good idea all year round to also pack trainers or lightweight walking shoes as some projects and trips involve walking on rough or rocky terrain. Flip flops are impractical for rocky footpaths although they are light enough to put in your bag if you change later.

If you want to take any opportunity to travel out of Marrakech to projects further afield which often requires camping or sleeping on the floor, you may want to take a cheap sleeping mat just in case and pillow to be more comfortable. Although there is no obligation to move out of Marrakech, these are just optional add-on experiences to try volunteering elsewhere.

A daypack is essential at all times to carry equipment and a drink to projects. A money belt is practical to keep money and passport safe. In the summer months between April and October you will need at least 2 bottles of water a day (70p – £1.50) so make sure there’s space and your day bag is strong enough! If the weather forecast for your trip will be over 37 Celcius then it is worth packing either a very wide rimmed sun hat, a summer parasol or white/light umbrella as a sun shade when waiting for taxis and buses.


Volunteers and children at a project outside Marrakesh. There is often space and time for some sport and games.


Projects outside of Marrakesh can be a great way to see more of the country and offer activities for children who are geographically isolated.

How much free time will I have?

Volunteer schedules are organised for 5 days out of 7 on a part time basis so there is plenty of time to explore and take time out. But if there is a tour which requires an extra day off, that is absolutely fine. See the example schedule on this page for an idea of a typical week and scroll down this page to the free time section for popular trips and prices.

A great idea when you first arrive is to take the sight-seeing bus, which is open-topped and takes you right the way around the outskirts of the city. They are exactly the same as the city sightseeing buses in the UK. There is a commentary available that comes in many different languages.

On hot days volunteers can visit one of the luxurious hotel pools and pay for a day’s use.

Further afield, a desert camel trek is a must and almost all volunteers will spend one weekend on a desert trip.


What happens after I have booked?

  • As soon as you have booked with the once-only £125 registration fee (this covers one or more projects within a year), you will receive a welcome email confirming your booking and explaining in more detail how to get organised for you trip. To avoid disappointment, it is strongly recommended to book this project as early as possible, there are only three volunteer houses to accommodate everyone and Morocco is also popular with school groups due to the proximity to the UK and affordability of flights.
  • You will also receive an introductory email with some useful links and information and our team will be on hand back and forth by email with you to help with any questions you may have up to departure.

Below is an example timeline for a volunteer travelling summer 2019

  • As soon as possible : After you are booked on with your registration fee, get flights to Marrakech Menara airport to arrive before 8:30pm. Budget airline tickets from the UK and Europe go on sale 6 months in advance, traditional airlines (British Airways, Royal Air Maroc and Air Portugal amongst many others) start selling seats 12 months in advance but might not be the cheapest this far in advance. www.skyscanner.net is the preferred flight website by many of our volunteers to search for a flight. A pick up will be automatically organised for you with a transfer to the volunteer house, transfer time approx. 15 mins. If you are travelling overland from elsewhere in Morocco, shortly before you travel we will put you in touch with your Moroccan programme coordinator and their team to arrange a suitable meeting point/pick up point.
  • Add yourself to the Buddy List to meet other volunteers, travel together or simply find a familiar face when you arrive.
  • May: Morocco does not require many jabs compared with other African destinations and most tourists visit without having any jabs. However it may be a good idea to contact your local doctor’s surgery in the UK or travel nurse/travel clinic for further advice as you may need to update your usual boosters (for more information on what is typically recommended please refer to our travel jabs section, and the UK NHS website fitfortravel). Malaria tablets are not generally advised for the Marrakech region.
  • April : send us a copy of your CRB. If you do not have one, we will send you information on alternatives.
  • May : Arrange suitable travel insurance if you have not bought this with your flight already. Make sure hospital bills and repatriation are included in the policy. Medical bills are often paid by the day abroad and can rise steeply. See our travel health section for more info and advice.
  • No visa is required before travel for Morocco for UK passport holders for stays of less than 12 weeks. If you require a visa – contact us if you require letters of introduction from Morocco which we can prepare for you, you should allow an extra week for this and we will need your flight to prepare the letter for you.
  • As soon as you have flights to Marrakech: Email us your flight to organise your pick up and transfer to the volunteer house
  • At anytime : pay for your programme – we will send you an invoice by email to pay online usually shortly after we receive your flights – don’t worry we will send you a reminder if you forget!
  • We will organise your pick up and transfer from Marrakech Menara airport automatically when we receive your flights

Morocco at a glance

Morocco is a great option if you’re on a tight budget or if you want more spending money when you’re out there. Easyjet and Ryanair both fly to Marrakech meaning flights can be booked for as little as £70 return if bought early!

Morocco has a rich culture and is considered to have one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. The almost medieval-like hustle and bustle of Morocco is for most travellers a world away from their own cities and towns. The souks (covered markets) are a way of life in Morocco and you usually won’t have to go far to find one. When you do-be careful you don’t get lost! Moroccan culture can be an exciting and worldly experience. The people are friendly and the place is colourful. Hospitality is really a part of their culture so you can strike up friendships virtually anywhere if you have the right attitude.

Morocco is a country in North Africa with a population of nearly 32 million.
The word Morocco originates from Medieval Latin, which used the word “Morroch,” which referred to the capital Marrakech. The word Marrakech was derived from Berber Mur-Akush, which means “Land of God.”
Morocco has a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast powers.
Morocco has a rich culture and is considered to have one of the most diversified cuisines in the world.

The climate in Morocco is Mediterranean. The average temperature in Morocco is 17 Celsius, although in Marrakech, the highest months, July and August, temperatures can be anywhere up to 35 Celsius. The lowest, in January, can be 7 Celsius.


Placement at a glance

Volunteer optionsPlaywork, outdoor games, informal English teaching.
Project locationMarrakesh and surrounding areas.
AccommodationWith local families throughout Marrakech. Occasional use of volunteer apartment, group size permitting.
Working hours Variable part time depending on area of work and location. Two days off per week which can be used to explore.
Language French, Arabic and English understood in tourist areas. Non-French/Arabic speakers should get by with a few “Bonjours” and "Salaamalikums" (Arabic for hello).
Getting to project From the UK your options include: Best option Flight direct to Marrakesh: From £120 return with Easyjet if bought in advance from the UK (www.easyjet.com). Other carriers Ryanair, British Airways.
Minimum stay1 Week
Costs£215 per week
Airport Pick-up Service£10 airport pick-up organised for all volunteers flying to Marrakesh.
ToiletsLiving in the city centre, it's a modern flushing sit-on variety!

Accommodation info

  • Shop 2 minutes Shop 2 minutes
  • Bars 5 minutes Bars 5 minutes
  • Chemist 2 minutes Chemist 2 minutes
  • Until 22:00 nearest stop 5 minutes Until 22:00 nearest stop 5 minutes
  • Taxis 24/7 nearest rank 20 minutes Taxis 24/7 nearest rank 20 minutes
  • Cash machine 5 minutes Cash machine 5 minutes
  • Bank 5 minutes Bank 5 minutes
  • Pay Phones 2 minutes Pay Phones 2 minutes
  • Internet Access 2 minutes Internet Access 2 minutes
  • Laundry 5 minutes Laundry 5 minutes

Basics, what to take?

  • Adaptor
  • Toiletries/sheets

More info

Volunteers stay with families or in apartment (volunteer numbers permitting) in the walled Marrakech city, iwithin walking distance of all the major attractions and usual city services.

Meet the project team

supporting volunteers in morocco. the team

Whether you are the only volunteer at the time of your visit or there is a group of you, support staff who have been helping organising pick ups, and supporting volunteers during their stay will guide you to your projects so you won’t get lost!

The principal driver picks up 99% of all volunteer arrivals in Marrakech and will make sure you don’t get lost in the Medina trying to find the volunteer house on arrival!

‘The team in Marrakesh has been absolutely fantastic to me and I can’t thank them enough, I wish I can have the opportunity to come back and see everybody again’ – Sally Anderson


Placement map

Call us today on 01603 280702

Image gallery

Morocco specific questions

Can I choose what I will be doing?
The week is organised  for you by your volunteer coordinator. There is no need to choose a project to focus on.

I have not been told yet?

If there is no schedule, don’t panic! This means the charities and projects have not confirmed the sessions yet and the group leaders didn’t want you to plan activities and pack bags to then cancel.

Can I opt out of the schedule?

If you would like to take a day or half a day off to complete a tour, that’s fine and is quite a frequent current occurrence with there being so much to see and do in your free time! This is best organised after arrival when you have met your fellow volunteers who may like to travel with you or vice versa.

Do you offer medical placements?
The Morocco volunteer programme does not currently offer formal health placements in medical settings. However there is often time to perform a basic health check or organise a health education activity, simply speak to your support team about how to organise this into the week’s schedule. If you are studying nursing, a volunteer placement in Morocco satisfies what is called frequently the enrichment aspect of courses and we have many student nurses visiting for a week or two. There is often a weekly visit to the baby orphanage but the need here is human contact in the early months rather than professional medical care as they have a local doctor performing assessments. If you are looking for hands on hospital work, from work shadowing local hospital staff to direct patient care, we would recommend our Ghana and Uganda programmes which can also be combined with the regular programme, offering a two for one experience in the same location.

I need to teach a minimum number of hours for my education course?
It is recommended that volunteers requiring a minimum number of hours volunteer for at least one month. It is a good idea early on to find out from your course tutor exactly how many hours you will need in the classroom and whether lesson prep time is included or excluded. It is not uncommon for some course tutors to ask volunteers for 80 hours classroom teaching over two weeks, which incidentally no teacher in the UK would be expected to complete in that time frame. On closer inspection after further liaising with course tutors, it soon becomes apparent that the volunteer either needs to stay longer to complete the required hours, or as is more often the case, the 80 hours can include 30 hours of lesson preparation aswell as playwork and outdoor games. Check the finer details with your course tutor or department head if in doubt and make sure they are aware too of what their own course requirements are! Please note when schools close for holidays, community classes continue to take place throughout the area and your coordinator will assist you to ensure that your teaching hours are sustained.

Will I be met on arrival?
All volunteers are met at the airport in Marrakech on arrival. Transfer time is approximately 15 – 25 minutes depending on traffic.

Are Muslim volunteers welcome? What opportunities are there for Muslim volunteers?

Yes. All volunteers follow the same schedule. The work carried out is not faith-based.

What do I need to take to volunteer?

As a general rule art/craft resources together with an idea of what you can do with a group of children around a table. It can get repetitive if you only have plain paper and felt tips for each visit, not least for you! Look for activity packs or games which do not require instructions and can be played for more than 5 minutes or so. For example, three sets of Connect Four would keep 6 children entertained at one sitting, three skipping ropes, the same number of children and so on. But think creatively and do make sure you cover for a small group. When you have gather a few ideas and resources, for example, for 5 activity sessions, make sure you take one each day with a ball or small

Where will I be staying?
A variety of accommodation types are provided from homestays to shared volunteer apartments when numbers permitting. This is organised for you shortly before arrival according to the size of the group. Accomodation is usually in the walled city, between 5 and 15 minutes easy strolling from the main square.

How are the bedrooms organised?
Rooms are single sex sleeping in single beds and sharing 2 – 6. The majority of rooms sleep 3 – 4. Sometimes it is possible for couples and mixed gender friends to share at quieter times of year.

Why volunteer house and not hostel/hotel?

And what am I paying for?

Because of the level of organisation which goes into organising a varied volunteer programme, which operates nearly all year round in different locations and volunteering being the focus, to keep costs down we are not able to provide the type of hotel/hostel style accommodation that some travellers or first time travellers may expect.

So please do not expect a receptionist on arrival, cafe, lockers and a bed socket next to every bed!

We do not do this deliberately to make life more difficult. It is simply to keep the costs as low and affordable as possible to enable more people to volunteer.

Following a trial of hostel accommodation where volunteers stayed in different locations of their own choice and budget it was found:

Fewer volunteers met the group leader at the meeting points to volunteer.

Charities and projects were disappointed by the lack of volunteers attending. Often only the group leader and one volunteer visited a village where there were more than 40 children to provide activities for.

Complaints of loneliness were reported by solo travellers due to being in their own hotel away from the others. 

Following the trial, it was decided that a volunteer house would enable everyone to stay together, increase the chance of more volunteering each day, keep costs down, prevent loneliness for solo travellers. There is also a kitchen unlike many hostels in Marrakech, where you can make a drink or light snack without asking permission enabling to avoid the constant eating out at cafes which can use up a tight budget.

Other operational costs not applicable to hotel owners is the part of the behind-the-scenes contract preparation and compliance with local authorities. Taking a group to charities requires specific legal paperwork and permissions which have to be signed off regularly by the local Police and health council, this is not something an individual would face, but Moroccan laws have tight laws for escorting groups to work with children and vulnerable adults.

Hotels can also focus simply on the contents of the hotel itself, for a volunteer programme, schedules must be arranged daily, then rearranged when charities cancel then heaps of paperwork to gain the permissions and organise the mandatory police inspections.

I would prefer to stay in a single sex house, is that possible?

If we know in advance we will try to place you in the house with the highest proportion of the same gender should a single-sex house not be available.

Is Morocco safe?
Morocco is one of the safest Muslim countries in the world and it’s people are friendly and welcome their Western visitors. Marrakesh is firmly on the tourist trail since the 1970s and is now enjoying a new boom by city break visitors from all over Europe.

Are there rules about clothes?
It is a good idea to dress conservatively when volunteering. Leggings, capri pants, skirts and t-shirts covering the shoulders are best for female travellers. We’ve put together a handy background article which we hope helps make clear of the classic what to wear question!


Do I need a visa for Morocco?
Visas are not needed for British passport holders staying less than 12 weeks. For other nationalities, we can provide letters of introduction if required at anytime as soon as you have flights. Sometimes for passport holders of Pakistan a visit is required by one of our team to the city of Rabat to confirm your arrival and hand over documents. Our staff are happy to help with this but there may be a charge for their travelling expenses and an overnight stay if required.

Are there fixed arrival dates?
There are no start dates for the Morocco volunteer programme. We recommend arriving between Monday and Wednesday giving you plenty of time to settle in, check out a project or two and make friends before the weekend when you may decide to book a trip. Airport pick ups and transfers are organised for all flights arriving before 7/7:30pm. if your flight is late, no need to panic, the driver will have your flight details and know from looking at the arrivals board that your flight is delayed and wait for you.

Will I be placed with friends?
All volunteers arriving with friends on the same flight (if we are aware, email us know at anytime) will be placed in the same room wherever possible and always in the same volunteer house.

I am worried about travelling on my own – can I buddy up with someone?
Volunteer numbers are variable and arriving into a ready-made group should not be expected. Please message us if you would like a project where there is more certainty that you will be with other volunteers at the time of your visit.

Will I need any jabs?
Although Morocco is attached to the rest of Africa, you won’t need the jabs that you will need for other countries. Malaria is not present and living conditions are good enough (even if a bit rough round the edges) to prevent major outbreaks and health threats. It is a good idea to get a Tetanus booster if it has been awhile since your last one.

I am a practising Muslim – is there a mosque?
Yes there are Mosques everywhere in Marrakesh. Ask the support staff at your volunteer house for a recommendation, or better still, ask if they can accompany you!

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is a month of fasting, reflection and prayer in the Muslim world. On the Christian calendar, the old traditions of Lent would be the nearest comparison. The dates for Ramadan change each year, each year starting 11 days earlier. In 2019 Ramadan will be Sunday 5th May to Tuesday 4th June, 2020 will be 23rd April to 23rd May.

During Ramadan, practising Muslims will fast between sunrise and sunset. Many businesses and cafes close to use as little energy as possible, often opening very late in the evening after they have been to the mosque and eaten for strength. To help matters, the clock in the summer is adjusted and brought forward by an hour.

Will Ramadan affect my visit?

Ramadan should not affect your visit as a volunteer. Many find Ramadan adds to their experience in a positive and unique way. During the day you only need to be aware that almost everyone is fasting and has given up drink until the sun sets so all the locals are hungry and thirsty.

Some of the projects close during Ramadan due to the impracticalities and challenges for everyone, whilst others become more important, such as the feeding the homeless project.

Naturally out of courtesy, it is advisable at this time to eat, drink and smoke with discretion out of sight wherever possible when away from the volunteer house.

Inside the volunteer house, life continues as usual and you can eat and drink as normal. Clothing-wise for girls, it is a good idea for girls when outside of the volunteer house and at projects to wear T-shirts rather than strappy vests and longer length shorts.

What support when not volunteering?

The focus of the programme is the volunteering itself. Between activities, you will be expected to look after yourself independently as you would on any other holiday. It is not yet possible to provide a general leisure guide for the whole group for the periods when not volunteering.

During free time, volunteers not taking tours explore the souks of the walled Medina, shop, eat in cafes, shop and prepare meals at the volunteer house, relax in the volunteer house, make friends with volunteers.

What happens if I am ill?

Speak to a group leader or use the contact details you will be provided before arrival.

One in five visitors to Marrakech will experience stomach discomfort at some point, this is the most common complaint, normal and hard to avoid. Immodium tablets can be helpful for diarrhoea and painkillers for stomach ache. It can also be useful to take a few flavoured rehydrate sachets.

Serious health conditions requiring medical attention are extremely rare. The local team will organise a transfer to hospital.

Insurance is essential to make sure your hospital bills are covered. Without insurance, expect to pay £300 a day for the simplest of medical treatment.

How can I keep in touch with home?

Most of the volunteer houses have wifi, where not available at any time, internet access is a 10-15 minute walk into the centre.

How will I get back to the airport?
Your coordinator (or host family) will organise a taxi back to the airport, or with the driver if he is picking someone else up. Alternatively, simply jump on the airport shuttle bus or in a cab, it’s dead easy and the airport is only 15 – 20 minutes from the accommodation.

Latest reviews

Average Review Rating: from 12 reviews.

Stephanie Chambers

Stephanie Chambers

What members of staff do you remember the most and why? Adeel, Rachid and Amina. They were always very friendly and helpful. I enjoyed sitting on the terrace in the evening with Adeel who told us funny stories.What were your impressions of the accommodation? It was better than I expected and I like the traditiona...

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Annie urges people to volunteer in Africa

Annie who volunteered at Orphanages in Morocco has issued a plea for enthusiastic, and outgoing people to follow in her footsteps... She would like to see ‘more volunteers who are enthusiastic, and outgoing' volunteering in Morocco, ‘full of new, fresh, exciting ideas', that are ‘both fun and Educational'..I...

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Iona Hughes

Volunteering in Morocco – Best 5 weeks of my life…

First time volunteer Iona Hughes described her time spent volunteering at Orphanages in Marrakech, Morocco as ‘the best 5 weeks of my life'. Iona said that ‘ I can guarentee it will change your perspective on life, and definitely help you realise what is important'. She added that ‘working with children is not j...

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Chelsea Jordan

Ex-volunteer returns to Morocco…

Chelsea enjoyed volunteering in Morocoo so much that she returned again two months later. Chelsea Jordan enjoyed her time volunteering at Orphanages in Morocco in April 2009 so much that she decided to return two months later in the June.Chelsea found her second experience of volunteering to be ‘just as rewardin...

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Lucy Harwood

Lucy had an amazing time volunteering in Africa

Lucy Harwood said that volunteering in Marrakech, Morocco with Original Volunteers had been an ‘amazing' time, and that she found the children at the Orphanage where she volunteered to be ‘loving, and excited to learn'... She said that ‘despite language barriers friendships were quickly formed', and felt that it...

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Rebecca Sutherland

Volunteer in Africa full of praise for Original Volunteers

Rebecca Sutherland who volunteered in Morocco was full of praise for Original volunteers. She describes us as ‘very organised', and said that she would like to travel with us again, and will recommend us to people that she knows. Rebecca spent 4 weeks volunteering at Orphanages, and Children's Centres in Marrakech, ...

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Valeria Salvai

Volunteer from Italy reviews Volunteering in Morocco

Valeria Salvai found the Coordinators in Marrakech to be ‘very helpful’, and the accommodation to be ‘good’ during her time spent volunteering at Orphanages in Morocco. Valeria, who hails from Italy, described the accommodation and organization of volunteering in Morocco as ‘good’, and was full of praise f...

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Krystyna reviews her time in Morocco

KRYSTYNA DESCRIBES ORPHANAGE CHILDREN AS ‘MOST LIVELY AND LOVEABLE IN MOROCCO’Krystyna spent two weeks volunteering in Morocco, and said that she ‘really appreciated the fact that I had the opportunity to spend time and play with the most lively, and loveable children in Morocco’. She a...

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Peter Ralph

Peter Reviews his time in Morocco

VOLUNTEER FROM NEW ZEALAND DESCRIBES TIME IN MOROCCO AS ‘A GREAT EXPERIENCE’ Peter Ralph from New Zealand spent three weeks volunteering in Marrakech, Morocco, and felt that it was ‘A great experience’.He was greeted at his Riad house by Original volunteers coordinators, and a volunteer, and described it a...

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Tiffany Wheble

Volunteer in Morocco – Loved Every Minute

TIFFANY WHO ‘LOVED EVERY MINUTE’ VOLUNTEERING HAS MANY POSITIVE THINGS TO SAY TO PEOPLE ABOUT MOROCCO AND ORIGINAL VOLUNTEERS Tiffany Wheble ‘loved every minute’ of her time spent volunteering abroad, adding that she has ‘many positive things to say about Morocco, Marrakech, and Original volunteers’.Sh...

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Rosie Martin

Student Reviews her time in Morocco

UNIVERSITY STUDENT WAS SAD TO LEAVE VOLUNTEERING PLACEMENT IN MOROCCO A University student was sad to leave her volunteer project in Morocco as she made so many new friends, and loved working with the children.Rosie Martin, who is in the final year of her English Literature degree volunteered for 2 weeks in the su...

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Susannah Moss

Volunteer Reviews Marrakech

VOLUNTEER DESCRIBES TIME IN MARRAKECH AS ‘BRILLIANT, DIVERSE, EXCITING, AND MAGICAL’ Susannah Moss was a volunteer in Morocco in November 2009, and described her time in Marrakech as ‘brilliant, diverse, exciting, and magical’.Susannah thoroughly enjoyed the variety of working at a number of different Orph...

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