London was getting cold and dark in December, so when I was invited to join The Big Reconnect Sleepover, TBRS, in Morocco, I said yes right away! I was already yearning for some sunshine and warmth. I also wanted to experience one of TBRS's Muslim women only retreats.
TBRS is run by two Muslim full time working moms: Brooke and Khalida. When they met in Morocco the idea of this retreat was born. They wanted to give hard working Muslim women a real holiday that is all about self care and self love. I have been friends with Brooke for few years online and I have noticed all the amazing photos from the previous retreats, so, I was happy to get involved.
I knew Morocco gets cold as well in the winter, but it is much more mild than the UK, especially in the area around Marrakech. I was right! It was warm (20-15 celsius degrees). The day time was just the right amount of heat I wanted. It got a little chilly in the evening, but there was fire to keep us warm at the Riad. Other than the weather, the trip exceeded my expectations. I got to enjoy lots of activity while relaxing and laughing with the ladies.
Ten Things to do on your Moroccan Holiday
During the week I spent in Morocco with TBRS, we managed to do lots of really fun activities that I really enjoyed!
- Stay in a beautiful Riad.
I am so thankful for the Riad the the TBRS selected. During our stay, they made sure to have an all female staff so we can enjoy swimming in the indoor heated pool and tanning on the terrace. I am not allowed to disclose the secret location though!
- Give yourself some attention with a Spa treatment
One of the things I always do when I visit Morocco is to get a spa treatment! It's cheaper than London and so worth it! TBRS organised private spa sessions at the Riad we resided in to give us our full privacy because most Moroccan spas are unisex. It was such a good thing to start the retreat with!
- Go Quad biking around Marrakech.
Our Riad was half an hour away from Marrakech by car and it was in a small quiet village that offered Quad biking. It was my first time trying it and it wasn't as scary as I expected! After tensing for the fist half an hour, I relaxed a little and got to enjoy the ride.
- Walk in the Souq
I know this goes without saying! Walking and shopping in the old market can be an intense experience because some of the sellers are really pushy, but you will be fine. Just say thank you and keep walking. By the way, make sure to ask everyone before you snap photos of their beautiful produce and product. This made my visit much nicer because if you ask permission, no one would yell abuse at you.
Here's how to ask in Arabic & English: Momken Asoar? ممكن أصور؟ Can I photograph please? 99% said yes!
The vibrant colours of the Souq are the best.
- Visit the architectural gems in the old city
The old city or as it is known in Arabic: Madina, houses a few gorgeous architectural gems. In my first visit few years ago, I went to Bahia Palace, Ben Yousef Madrasa, Museum of Marrakech and Koutoubia Mosque. TBRS organised a guided tour to the Bahia Palace and going there again was as amazing as the first time!
- Go on a creative workshop
Although Morocco is known for its traditional crafts, going on a half day workshop is a relatively new activity. We went on a ceramic painting workshop in the pottery village near Marrakech known as Fkhariah فخارية, which means pottery in Arabic). We spent three hours painting on plates, bowls and cups! (Ps. there are craft workshops in Fez as well like the one I tried with Craft Draft).
- Go up the Atlas mountains
TBRS collaborated with let's go trekking in Morocco to take us to see the biggest waterfalls in North Africa in the city of Ozoud. It was a bit of a drive (3hours each way), but the views were worth it and it was a short comfortable hike. It was a less intense hike than the first time I visited the Atlas Mountains.
- Get close and personal with the waterfalls
On our visit to the Atlas mountains and waterfalls, we got on one of the boats (20 Derhms per person) to get closer to the falls. It was a very short trip, but it was a fun thing to do on the day.
- Ride camels in the Moroccan desert
As a Saudi, you would think I have done this already, but I was never tempted or had the opportunity to ride a camel before. TBRS organised half a day of camel riding, which turned out to be lots of fun! Especially, dressing up!
- Get Henna done!
There are lots of ladies in the old city that would do this for you, but thankfully we didn't have to deal with the haggling in the souq because TBRS arranged for a henna artist to come to the Riad to do it for us!
Ps. TBRS activities might change depending on the season and the people they are working with.
The Big Reconnect Sleepover Highlights:
- The two ladies who organise everything are REALLY kind and helpful *mashAllah*. It made me feel right at home. It was like a real sleepover with the girls!
- The female only Riad to give us a private place for a hijab free holiday to swim and tan comfortably
- The scenic and quiet location of the Riad
- All the home cooked Moroccan and international meals at the Riad. Seriously best food I have had in Morocco. I wouldn't even compare it to the food avilable in resturants. Just AMAZING!
- Lounging around the fire place in the evening (only in winter)
- Sisterly chats about life along with some guided visualisation
Ps. Although the trip is designed for Muslim women by Muslim women, it is not a religious trip. The ladies who run it are welcoming and friendly to all levels of practicing.
Ethical Travel in Morocco:
A lot of tourists are not aware that their money that is spent in some resort and some riads/hotels does not benefit the local economy or the workers because it is internationally owned and the workers are underpaid. The thing I especially loved about the TBRS retreat is the support that it provides to local Moroccan business and individuals. The money goes directly to the hard working Moroccans or those who live in the country permanently.
The next retreat is in April 2018, so if you are interested in going, make sure you sign up on:
It's ideal for Muslim women, who want to relax and explore Morocco. PS. you can pay in three instalments too!
The Big Reconnect Sleepover Fee Includes:
- The payment you make to TBRS covers your stay in an all females Riad with an indoor heated pool and a terrace.
- Three meals a day in the Riad (minus two lunches on the two days you go out to the Madina).
- Transportation from/to the airport plus all other required transports between locations.
- It also covers the spa session and all the activities. There will be extra optional activities for an added fee such as the Quad biking.
- Guided tours to the Architectural sights.
- Group Guided visualisation and a private session with a qualified therapist (if you want!).
Disclaimer: My stay in this retreat was complementary, but all opinions are my own.
You can also watch all the things I did above in this video:
Over to you: If you go to Morocco, what would you want to see and do? If you have already been to Morocco, what was your highlight there?