Morocco //

Travelling with children

Travelling with small children, you may well find that people will frequently come up to admire them, to compliment you on them and to caress them, which may be uncomfortable for shyer offspring. In Moroccan families, children stay up late until they fall asleep and are spoiled rotten by older family members. The streets are pretty safe and even quite small children walk to school unaccompanied or play in the street unsupervised.

As a parent, however, you will encounter one or two difficulties. For example, you won’t find baby changing rooms in airports, hotels or restaurants, and will have to be discreet if breastfeeding – find a quiet corner and shield infant and breast from view with a light cloth over your shoulder. Beach resort and package tour hotels may have facilities such as playgrounds, children’s pools and a babysitting service, but mid-range city hotels are far less likely to cater for children, though many allow children to share their parents’ room for free.

You may want to try a holiday with Club Med (w clubmed.com), whose purpose-built holiday resorts at Agadir and Marrakesh feature kids’ club, entertainment and sports facilities on site. Attractions that should appeal to small people include Magic Park in Salé, Oasiria in Marrakesh, and the tourist train in Agadir.

Disposable nappies (diapers) are available at larger supermarkets, and sometimes city pharmacies, at prices similar to what you pay at home, but off the beaten track, you may need to stock up, or take washables. You may also want to take along some dried baby food; any café can supply hot water.

On buses and grands taxis, children small enough to share your seat will usually travel free, but older kids pay the full adult fare. On trains, travel is free for under-fours, and half price for four- to eleven-year-olds.

Among hazards that you’ll need to bear in mind are traffic and stray animals. Dogs can be fierce in Morocco, and can also carry rabies, and there are a lot of feral cats and dogs about. Children (especially young ones) are also more susceptible than adults to heatstroke and dehydration, and should always wear a sunhat, and have high-factor sunscreen applied to exposed skin. If swimming at a beach resort, they should do so in a T-shirt, certainly for the first few days. The other thing that children are very susceptible to is an upset tummy. Bear in mind that antidiarrhoeal drugs should generally not be given to young children; read the literature provided with the medication or consult a doctor for guidance on child dosages. For more tips, see The Rough Guide to Travel with Babies & Young Children.