The Independent Parent: Your Questions Answered

Why Morocco and Egypt are great for keeping teenagers entertained


Q Our grandsons, aged 13 and 14, have accepted our offer of a holiday at Easter. However, I think our original idea of sightseeing, walking and birdwatching around Seville might lack excitement for two teenagers. My husband suggests North Africa, but most brochures seem to be beach-based, which none of us would enjoy. Could you point us in the right direction for an interesting destination with some activity and some culture?

Q Our grandsons, aged 13 and 14, have accepted our offer of a holiday at Easter. However, I think our original idea of sightseeing, walking and birdwatching around Seville might lack excitement for two teenagers. My husband suggests North Africa, but most brochures seem to be beach-based, which none of us would enjoy. Could you point us in the right direction for an interesting destination with some activity and some culture?

M Wilkinson, High Wycombe

AYour husband has the right idea suggesting North Africa. More specifically, either Morocco or Egypt should be able to offer both culture and activity, guaranteed to keep you all amused. Next year, Easter falls on 20 April, which is a relatively good time of the year to visit both countries. Be sure to take some warm clothes, though, as nights in the desert can be extremely cold.

You will be glad to hear that there is plenty of choice. Several tour operators offer activity holidays designed for families looking for something more adventurous than lying on a beach for a week. All of the itineraries outlined below include a degree of activity, but all are optional and there is a relatively good degree of flexibility if you want to take it easy for a day. Groups are also small – usually no more than 16 to 20 people – which will also give the boys a chance to make a new friend or two.

Explore Worldwide has launched a new brochure called Family Adventures Worldwide (01252 760177, www.familyadventures.co.uk), offering small, escorted group trips for families whose members are aged between eight and 79. One itinerary that I thought might be of particular interest to you is the Kasbahs and Camels trip in Morocco.

This 11-day offer starts with a visit to the Atlas Film Studios in the desert outpost of Ouarzazate, where Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia were filmed. From there, you travel by 4x4 vehicle through the Sahara to the desert town of Zagora, where your grandsons will get the chance to camp nomad-style under the stars, ride a camel and, if they have the energy, do a bit of mountain- biking. From there, you move to the Berber village of Tagoudiche, high in the Anti-Atlas Mountains, to spend a night in one of the local houses. Finally, the trip will take you to the coastal town of Essaouira, followed by two days in the exciting city of Marrakech.

There are two departures around Easter, one on 11 April and the other on 18 April. The cost of the trip is £775 per adult, which will also apply to your grandsons, as they are both over the age of 12. This includes return flights from London and 10 nights accommodation – predominantly in hotels, but also with a night in a village house and two nights camping. Some meals are included.

For variation, Walks Worldwide (01524 262229, www.walksworldwide.com) offers eight-day family walking holidays in Morocco, departing on 7, 14 and 16 April. The first night begins in Marrakech, before moving out into the mountains to begin the leisurely walks through the surrounding mountains and valleys. The walks are a combination of day walks and one or two overnight camping treks, using mules to carry baggage and the odd tired child (or adult). These will take you through the stunning mountain scenery around the town of Imlil, through picturesque Berber villages and dramatic grassy valleys, before returning to Marrakech for the final night. The price, which is £595 per adult, includes return flights from Heathrow, accommodation in a combination of hotels, guesthouses and camping, and some meals.

Finally, your grandsons would be thrilled by a visit to the pyramids in Egypt, which they will have learned about at school. Travelbag Adventures (01420 541007, www.travelbag-adventures.com) offers a nine-night escorted trip entitled Feluccas and Pharaohs, which is an exciting mix of both sightseeing and adventure. The trip starts in Cairo, where you will get the chance to visit the Egyptian Museum and marvel at Tutankhamun's legendary gold mask, followed by a visit to the pyramids at Giza. You will then take the overnight train to Aswan, where you will have dinner with a Nubian family. The following day, you will all set sail down the Nile in a traditional felucca to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. One day is spent swimming and snorkelling at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, which offers a dazzling array of marine life and coral. The trip costs £899 per person, which includes return flights from London Heathrow, accommodation, some meals, a guide and all transfers.

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