A Kindness tour of Morocco for Vegans Part 1 of 2
An Introduction to the Moroccan vegan scene.
Copyright Aussies In Morocco Tours™
A nomad tent at sunset in the desert of south-east Morocco.
Morocco does vegetarianism quite well. Many Moroccans basically eat that way due to poverty, past or present (just as Tuscan cuisine originated from poor people foraging for food in the Tuscan countryside). Veganism however is a concept with which many Moroccans, including those in the tourist sector, still grapple.
There is quite a bit on the internet about vegans travelling in Morocco. These seem to be mainly along the lines of, “What food is vegan in Morocco?” and “What to check before eating a particular dish in Morocco” i.e. “Are the crêpes cooked in butter or vegetable oil?” Also there are some heads-ups about how Moroccans don’t really understand the difference between vegan and vegetarian. So, while you might be assured when booking accommodation or a restaurant that vegan food is served, then after making the effort to arrive at the venue located in a labyrinthine (we love that word and use it often!) medina on a hot day, perhaps with some luggage, you find yourself served a pile of oily vegetables with a fried egg on top. What’s more, there’ll be no vegan-friendly alternative to fried vegetables on the menu.
Moroccans are after all keen (naturally) to get that tourist dollar and we are talking Africa, not Paris. People seem to forget that in bringing their expectations to Morocco! It does seem that the Moroccan tourist industry is not as regulated as the tourism sectors of first world western countries. Having said that though, we have had some pretty dodgy experiences in Italy too, when it came to bills in food venues, so it is not just Moroccans with vegans!
Perhaps I am digressing slightly – so, back to business. What we don’t really see on the internet is an itinerary in Morocco of accommodation with guaranteed vegan food, together with a list of restaurants or cafes you can trust to serve truly vegan food. Yes, there might be references to specific places and accommodation websites might highlight that they in particular serve vegan, but no itinerary for say 10 days in Morocco, caters for vegans. There is no connecting of a journey’s vegan dots, so to speak. At least not publicly, and as far as our enquiries have indicated.
Of course, even if there are, they are not itineraries that we at Aussies In Morocco Tours™ would offer, as they wouldn’t include all our care and connections in Morocco and all our other distinctive points as set out on our homepage under “Our Difference” here.
Bearing all this in mind, we thought we’d design a tour based on our own favourite signature tour (being tour #5: see here.).
We like it because of its visit to Ouzoud waterfalls and the local river community close by, especially for our free-spirited vegans, who probably don’t like being over-regulated or unduly rushed. (Who does?)
This Kindness tour contains the following four highlights, or as we like to refer to them, tour tent-pegs:
Firstly, 3-5 star accommodation in each locale with vegan food and vegan-sympathetic hosts.
Secondly, one restaurant/food experience or café in each locale with vegan food, other than for locales of overnight stays.
Thirdly, one social or animal justice activity in each locale, unless it is merely an overnight stay, whilst in transit.
Plus, we’ve suggested somewhere nice to do your daily yoga session, if you want to include that.
As for the rest of your time in each place, over to you, although we can help you with that too, if you would like.
If you would like even more vegan-specific hotspots in any particular city, you can always ask your hosts at your riads and boutique hotels for suggestions, or even, to pack you a picnic lunch if that is what you prefer. (Let them know the day beforehand as remember, you are on Moroccan time and the pace is not frenetic, to say the least.)
We think our Kindness tour tent-pegs should limit a lot of the stress you may otherwise experience – such as checking all the time if something or somewhere is really vegan-friendly and for example, whether it will be open when you want to go, and how to get there.
Remember, Morocco can be a rather confronting place, particularly for our caring vegans. Many starving cats live in the medinas; and the donkeys are very low down in the food chain. Concerns are expressed in academic papers and newspaper articles online about the welfare of the snakes of the snake charmers and about the goats that some farmers force to remain in the Argan nut trees for long and hot periods so that they can make money from passing tourists keen to take photos. The world-famous Fez tanneries have a truly appalling smell due to the adjacent abattoirs. The butchers in the medinas can be confronting sights! We don’t want to sugar-coat Morocco. It is not like the pristine interior of an antiseptic container. It is real and earthy, instinctive, the people can be quick to lose their cool, and more. However in this Kindness tour we aim to show you a softer, gentler side of this wonderful country. There is suffering, but there is also humanity and redemption and of course, spirituality – particularly with the daily call to prayer and also at sunrise and sunset in the desert dunes. Yoga groups who visit the desert, regularly and repeatedly certainly attest to this.
Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech at sunset.
Our itinerary has been developed in collaboration with an American expat foodie expert who lives in Marrakech with her Moroccan family, and who has featured on Netflix in relation to Moroccan food.
We are confident that Vegans can enjoy this tour with us, resting easy that they have vegan-friendly bases on which to rely during each part of their journey. Incidentally, and to be fair, there is also an app for vegan travellers that you are welcome to check out. We don’t know how current the information on it is, and we don’t know what your come-back would be if the information was wrong. Probably none except giving a bad review, which would probably not be much comfort while you are trying to enjoy your holiday with limited time. Just saying.
When we give your itinerary to our Moroccan suppliers, we will emphasise to them that you are vegan, but if your driver (who will be a young man from the desert) offers you something non-vegan out of the goodness of his heart – in the spirit of sociability and based on what he knows, (like offering you a ride on a camel, which as vegans you are likely to reject) – please be kind with him, not impatient.
Thank you, from the team at Aussies In Morocco Tours™. Contact us with any of your queries about this unique tour experience.
Published March 2021