Client Feedback

TEXTILES 2017

Joy Beeby: hand woven date palm basket 2017

Thank you Rita for a wonderful, well organised and inspiring trip. I have learned a lot from you and Abdou about life in Morocco and as I said it has added to my spiritual health, seeing life outside our own little circle and reflecting on our own lives and others has to be a good thing. It was lovely to meet Abdou and Nordine. You were very approachable and went out of your way to help. I thought the geology of some parts of the country was fascinating. Abdou was a fantastic guide and I loved all the textiles. Thank you Rita for a fantastic tour, I loved every bit of it.

My special thanks to you and Abdou.
Cheers, Joy

TEXTILES 2016

Jo Lehman and rug weaver in the Atlas Mountains

Jo Lehman and rug weaver in the Atlas Mountain

What a wonderful way to explore the marvels that Morocco has to offer. I thoroughly enjoyed the Textiles Tour. And to travel with like-minded people made it all the better.
The opportunity to visit working artisans and co-operatives that benefit the local communities such as the Al Kawatar Association for disabled women in Marrakech and the embroiderers of Ait Oumghar – a project that really impressed me by giving me a glimpse into ways that local woman are being empowered and the craft works encouraged in their local communities. I was especially touched by the work being developed in Alt Oumghar where the women are beginning literacy and numeracy lessons along with the needlework project which affords them a small income and some independence.

The chance to see the cities of Marrakech, Fes, and Rabat as well as the breathtaking landscapes of the Atlas Mountains and Sahara region, including ancient architectural sites such as Ait Ben Haddou and Volubilis add highlights to the tour that make me want to revisit Morocco.

Rita has a great connection with all the people we met on the tour and I could see a real mutual respect and admiration between her and all our hosts at the STUNNING places we stayed in. The people of Morocco are ever friendly and rightfully proud of their amazing country.

Abdou, our guide is a real people person and an entertaining font of knowledge who happily answered our myriad of questions with informative answers on topics from architecture, people, politics, agriculture, history and landscape to name a few. He even taught us a few Berber phrases and made the bus travel so enjoyable.

Mustapha the bus driver had a real job of cheerfully driving with great skill and care through miles and miles of sometimes quite treacherous roads.  It was great to have both Abdou and Mustapha joining us for dinners and staying at the same accommodation so we could develop more of a friendship rather than only a distant working relationship.

The people we met were the highlight of the tour experience for me, and the delicious food prepared by our generous hosts.
All in all, the whole tour was such a pleasure.  I would gladly repeat the journey.

~ Jo Lehman

 

Val Lehman at Ait Benhaddou

Val Lehman at Ait Ben Haddou

Dear Rita
I just wanted to thank you so much for a wonderful, worthwhile experience. I heartily enjoyed the entire tour, learned and absorbed heaps and acquired some beautiful items to share and remind me of it. Elements of a great holiday. I must also add I genuinely appreciate your integrity and interest in the livelihood of the local women artisans and our exposure and opportunity to help and contribute to that.

Please pass on my warmest regards, thanks and respect to Abdou and Mustafa. They both contribute so much to the comfort, success and enjoyment of your tours, especially Abdou’s knowledge and dare I say his wicked sense of humour.. Huh!!

Wishing you love and continued success.

~ Val Lehman

2015 JEWELLERY TOUR with DORE STOCKHAUSEN

Sounds like most of us are back home after our amazing two weeks in Morocco .

As you know, the jewellery component of the trip wasn’t a priority for me. I was looking forward to seeing the sights, sounds and smells of the country. I wasn’t disappointed.

The little traditional guest houses right in the centres of towns, meant each morning we walked out the door, the street was full of donkeys, motorbikes and people going about their daily life. Our meals were lovely, and catered for us fussy clients! Love tagines, yum.

Carole at work

Carole at work

Mustafa navigated us amazingly well through the little streets, and out through the spectacular mountains. The country is both beautiful and vast. I can see why you love it. I have a new found respect for the resilient people who live there. They work so hard, just to get enough to live and support their familiesI will try to remember the few key words Abdou taught us. They came in really handy. He is a really lovely young guy, a great guide. I hope he can get to Aus for a visit. (Insha’Allah)

Thanks to Dore too, for her patient help and skill, to ensure I produced a silver piece of jewellery. I would not have thought it possible. She is amazing. I was also surprised to find I like yoga, after I joined the impromptu class, started by a few of the other girls on the tour. Who knew?

You never know who you will meet, or what you will get up to on a tour. I have learnt lots, had fun and met some really great people.

Thanks a lot,

Carole

 

 

 

Kim Tobin, Abdou and Mustapha on Tour with ACTM - Photo by Susan Purdy

Kim Tobin, Abdou and Mustapha on Tour with ACTM – Photo by Susan Purdy

2015 PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

I really loved every minute of my tour. Especially learning about the culture of the Berbers. We stayed in family run Riads (guesthouses) and sampled the most amazing meals and hospitality.

The scenery seemed to change dramatically each day we travelled and when we stopped for a few days we were able to explore villages and ancient sites. I felt very safe on the tour as we had a very experienced driver Mustafa and an excellent local guide Abdou. Rita was a fantastic organiser calling Yallah Yallah to get us moving as we would all get distracted with the wonders of Morocco. We had just the right amount of travel versus rest and visited truly amazing places. I highly recommend touring Morocco with Rita and Abdou for a relaxed, fun, enriching experience where you will experience the true Morocco.

~ Kim Tobin, Director Cavalier Art Supplies

 

TEXTILES TOUR March 2015

Sandy dressed as an Amazigh girl!

Sandy dressed as an Amazigh girl!

I was lucky enough to travel with Rita and a girl friend on a textile tour in Morocco.

I enjoyed the trip immensely, there were so many high lights but several stand out. Our stay at the guest house in Skoura. A lovely family owned and run place where we could, and did interact with the family. Watching bread being made was just fantastic as was the afternoon spent embroidering with one of the daughters. We also had basketry lesson and whist I will never be a artisanal basket weaver I did produce a passable camel.

Sandy dressed as an Amazigh girl!Rita was so full of information and so we learned a lot about the customs of Morocco and its people. I was so impressed with the kindness and hospitality that the people showered upon us.

A big thank you to our guide Abdou who let us go to see his family what a great experience! Rachid our driver was first class and lots of fun.

Well done team and thank you

~ Sandy J Mattingley

 

 

 

 

 

Liz, Abdou and Rachid visit nomads in the Sahara

Liz, Abdou and Rachid visit nomads in the Sahara

Hi Rita & Abdou,

Once again I would like to thank you both for the great tour we had, there were so many highlights but to name a few – the two Museums in Marrakesh – Tiskiwin & at Les Jardins Marjorelle. The Women’s Association at Demnate & the Artists Retreat @ Cafe Tissardmine. The visit to Abdou’s home was an honour, they were beautiful people. There was nothing I would have suggested not doing. I have already recommended the trip to a friend who has a full calendar at the mo but very interested.

The extra 4 days we had at the end were great except the one guide we mentioned but having Rashid was a great bonus, he was great and very helpful and left us at the Airport. We took your advice and had a Hammam and massage, boy what an experience.

So once again thank you so much, now we have to wind down and get back to norm. Hope to see you mid year with our package for the girls in Skoura, travel safely.

Cheers to you both.

Liz Wood

 

 

 

 

Amazigh Carpet Weavers

Amazigh Carpet Weavers

2014 TEXTILE TOUR #1

Salam Rita and Abdou (and the ever cheerful Mustafa),

I have been caught up in our local quilt airing festival and then organising my very elderly mother into permanent care. So these are my reasons/excuses for the delay.

Morocco and the tour was all I hoped for and more. Highlights for me were the women’s groups at Anzal, Skoura and Ait Oumghar- just mixing with them, watching them at work and generally sharing with them. I think Louise’s interaction was truly wonderful to see. Also loved the potters at Skoura.

Throughout, the cultural and historical knowledge that Abdou shared was very special. I was enthralled by the diversity and contrast of the landscapes we passed through, loved the 3 nights spent at Skoura – a peaceful interlude – pity about the wind – I think that I would have spent more time walking in the valley had the afternoon wind not been so fierce. I did not find the long day driving too wearing and again the contrasting landscapes for me were well worth the hours on the bus. And of course the architecture, the riads and ksars as well as the souks and medinas was a truly Moroccan experience. I would have liked to spend more time in the Tiskiwin museum. I think I was still recovering from the long flight and didn’t fully appreciate it until later. I understand that the artifacts there are very much at risk in the long term but I found it a much more interesting experience than the museum at Les Jardins Majorelle. A little more time in the Artisanal would have been good but I guess we were all a bit difficult to hurry along.

Thanks to you all. My first ever non back-packing tour will be hard to beat.

~ Meg

 

Thank you and also Abdou for a most memorable Moroccan cultural and educational experience – I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and feel fortunate to be part of a group of such enthusiastic, knowledgeable and punctual travellers. One image I will never forget in the Sahara, was when Fatima was teaching Wendy how to join fabric using embroidery and they were laughing so much tears were running down their cheeks – proves that it doesn’t really matter if you cannot understand the language you can still interact quite successfully. I do hope one of the group were able to capture that moment with the two ladies in a photo.

Good luck with your other tours this year.

~ Helen Hardisty

 

Didn’t we have a great time, it was a pleasure to share Janet’s and my holiday with you and if I am in any of the out of the way places you live in I will certainly be in touch. Thanks for your consideration to the matriarch of the bunch. Rita your organisation was superb and will recommend a Moroccan holiday to all. Cheers, Merry Xmas, Happy Birthday etc

~ Elaine Allan

 

 

 

 

Ripe Pomegranate

Ripe Pomegranate

2014 (f)ROUTE TOUR

Major highlights – walking through the Medina; the visit to Ait ben Haddou and the climb to the top; the carpet shop! Staying in Skoura; the music performances and seeing the sunrise over the sand dunes. I approached the tour with some apprehension but have found it to be a fantastic experience. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed the challenge of the artistic sessions and whatever the results, I even felt I achieved something! I may return home somewhat heavier – the food was so good and so plentiful – my case may be bulging at the seams – I was quite unable to resist the temptations of shopping and my purse may be lighter as a result! – but I shall never forget these 10 days. Many, many thanks!!

~ Rosemary Allsop

 

The tour overall was excellent. It gave an insight into Moroccan culture that we would otherwise not receive. At times I found Abdou difficult to understand but with time his English will continue to improve. The tour was probably the most expensive we have ever booked, but I could see the value, given the staffing levels required. Having an ‘artist in residence’ with such artistic skills and excellent personal skills was a real bonus.

~ Adrian Twitt

 

Dear All

Thanks for a great time; the sisters are all home, even Kath, safe and sound and for us here in the uk the warmth and sunshine are a distant dream. it was wonderful – even the art work, in spite of my diffidence! – and the desert, oases and sand dunes spectacular and truly memorable as was the great welcome we had everywhere due to Rita having built up such good relationships with with all our hosts. I’ve already cooked two tajines with lamb, figs and walnuts  – once for Kath’s birthday when, we had open house from lunchtime, and again last night for a mahjong session; both to great acclaim. I’m delighted to be able to add to my repertoire though I missed everyone’s help with chopping the onions!

Beslama – what a lovely word

~ Barbara

 

 

 

 

Joan Sperans, cast silver form (left), silver wire, found recycled element (right)

Joan Sperans, cast silver form (left), silver wire, found recycled element (right)

2014 JEWELLERY TOUR

I have been going through my hundreds of photos and basking in memories of the wonderful trip you put together. The fact that it was all organized around metal smithing of one kind or another added the depth a regular sightseeing tour just doesn’t come close to. You chose such interesting and scenic places that gave me a true taste of the country of Morocco. I never would have gotten the true taste of the Southern part of the country if is weren’t for the towns, riads, souks and workshops you took us too. Small shops and work places allowed me to know the authentic workshops where the products of Morocco are produced, so much of it by hand. In particular, for me, it was so exciting to see how the metal smiths turn out such magnificent pieces with just a few simple tools.

Seeing them work segued so seamlessly into our similar experience working with the simple tools we and Dore supplied. I think the jewelry that my travel mates created with only the basic tools was creative, stunning, and captured and synthesized the influence of all you exposed us too. I love the way Dore encouraged us to find our designs in the architecture, souks, and countryside. I love that my influence was the bark in a palm tree.

Dore is a superb teacher. She gave each of us the support technically, artistically and emotionally to create very satisfying and lovely results. I get so many compliments. People stop me and compliment my silver necklace with the cast piece. I never could have produced it without her support. I haven’t made jewelry in 40 years and now ideas are just pouring through my head.

What for me, was the very best part was my travel partners. Each one of those people were fun, kind, insightful and enhanced what you chose for us to see. Seeing those experiences through their eyes added so much depth.

There was not a hiccup on the trip. Your behind the scenes planning saw to our every comfort. And it seemed as though you did it so effortlessly. Bruce is amazing! He has so many skills that he shares so generously: photography, tools, metal work and his explanations of the historical background helped me to understand so much about Morocco, its economy, art, architecture, agriculture, animals and above all the people and their customs.

Joan at work on the 2014 Jewellery Tour

Joan at work on the 2014 Jewellery Tour

So to answer your Feedback Form;Administration
Website info – 9; Booking ease and efficiency – 10; Post booking info – 10; Itinerary/Planning 10; accurate tour information – 10
Tour group: AMAZING!
The Tour: accommodation 10; food 8; transport 10; standard of support, local guides, etc. 10
Leader-Guide/s: skill, organisation 10; people skills 11; specialist skills 122; local knowledge 10; Cultural sensitivity 10; Environmental sensitivity 10; Overall ability 12
Driver: road safety 10/courtesy 11/punctuality 10
Overall Satisfaction: value for my money 10; overall satisfaction 11

I have so many places I want to go that I don’t think I’d do another tour in Morocco but if you lead an art based tour somewhere else I would seriously consider it. I would DEFINITELY recommend your tours to others, of course you could post any of my comments.

~ Joan, California USA

(*Note. ACTM Feedback form asks for the following rating…
‘Please indicate your responses rating your experience from 1 – 5
1 poor – 2 disappointing – 3 satisfactory – 4 good – 5 excellent’
…we are assuming Joan scored us out of 10? So we are very happy with some 12s! – could 122 for specialist skills be a slip? 12? either way we are reading it as a good score!!!! thanks Joan)

 

 

Edith Sommer, cast silver, 2014 Jewellery Tour

Edith Sommer, cast silver, 2014 Jewellery Tour

Dear Rita, Bruce and Dore,

I am still basking in the incredible memory of experiences we had with you. It was a fantastic trip and I could not think of any suggestions on how to have improved it. I loved our being away from the big hustle and bustle of the big cities and I think the pace suited me and gave me enough time in the evenings to reflect on all that we had done during the day. I just printed out my photos today and can relive some of those exceptional moments.

Thanks again, much love,

~ Edith Sommer, California USA

Sunny Farant, Ait Ben Haddou 2014

Sunny Farant, Ait Ben Haddou 2014

2014 DRAWING TOUR with RITA LAZAUSKAS

The tour was far beyond my expectations and that was partially due to your excellent planning and the makeup of the group itself which was very laid back and easy. Abdou as guide and Mustafa as driver really found their niche and I did appreciate Abdou’s informed commentary delivered with merriment and the other guides you chose to take us around the old cities were really up to scratch. Their English was clear and that was important given the chaos we moved through at times in the markets.

Every day seemed to produce its own highlight but I guess that the two hour camel ride through the sand dunes at sunset was very special as it seemed so surreal … like I was starring in a movie! The Riads were tops re accommodation as was the food although tajines will not be on the menu for a few weeks yet. I loved it in the Kasbahs when the families were evident and I learned so much from observing these beautiful Berber people as well as from Bruce whose knowledge of their culture is immense. Visits to the galleries, the potteries, the tanneries, the mosaic makers, the carpet weavers, the music makers and the rose petal oil producers were immensely interesting and you could really see that art and craft is just a natural part of these people’s lives. I found all the vivid images around me quite inspirational at times and they engendered in me a willingness to pick up my pad and pencils which has been missing for a long time. I really appreciated the effort you put into making our sketching classes really come alive Rita and I thank you for your skills so quietly demonstrated.

All up it was amazing adventure into the world of Morocco and the creative world inside of me as well as outside of me. My thanks to all the team and my wonderful travelling companions one of whom may well find Abdou a wife/washing machine given time!

~ Sunny Farrant

 

Barbara Block, Portrait of Youssef 2014

Barbara Block, Portrait of Youssef 2014

Dear Rita and team,

It’s so hard to come down to earth!  Thanks so much for your note and reminding us that Morocco DID happen and it wasn’t all just a dream.  How can one say, “in 25 words or less”, what a fabulous trip we had – it needs a whole diary – you had planned it all so thoughtfully.  I seem to recall nobody could pick a highlight – there was one everyday.

Thank you for your generous tutoring of our drawings, Bruce for his knowledge both of history and IT equipment, and dear Abdou just for being Abdou.  I do hope he finds a beautiful washing machine soon.

I cooked my family a chicken tagine dinner last night to much acclaim and talked my head off about the colour, patterns, sights and sounds of all we had seen.  I can still hear the donkeys clipclopping outside the bedroom window in Marrakech.

Best wishes to you all,

love Barbara

PS  I was very flattered to see my portraits on the website – thank you!!

 

FEEDBACK on 2014 ART PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR with ANNE ZAHALKA

We had a fantastic trip and enjoyed every minute, especially going to more remote and smaller places where life appears to go on much as it has for centuries. With Rita, Bruce and Abdou’s knowledge we gained a good appreciation of the Moroccan way of life. Even though the tour was an Art/Cultural tour, most travellers will want to shop, especially as there are so many interesting things to buy in Morocco so I would suggest that a bit more time is allowed for shopping in future.

Also we found Fes very interesting and are glad that we went there. I suggest that even if tours do not include Fes that guests are encouraged to add it on afterwards. We found it very easy and comfortable to get there by train and loved Riad Layla. While we rated almost everything 5, rating the accommodation and food at 4 is not a criticism – we enjoyed the variation.

~ Jennifer & Brett Yeats, Canberra

 

 

 

Jo Davenport in Merzouga

Jo Davenport in Merzouga

GUEST ARTIST PROGRAM – Margaret England Tour October 2013

Looking through the photos brought back so many delightful memories of Morocco. The landscape, the culture, the friends and conversation, the food, and all the adventures we shared along the way – made better with the love of art we shared.

The diverse destinations we travelled and uniqueness of the accommodation was an adventure all of its own, always delightfully unexpected.

How can you choose a favourite moment, there were so many but one that comes to mind was the delightful little village of Tamtatouchte nestled high up in the mountains. We walked to a ruin perched on a rocky outcrop that overlooked the village where we sat and sketched for hours. An insert from my diary “I’ll be sad to leave this little village, it seems as much of Morocco to be in a continual state of flux, the building up and wearing away, surrendering to the pink earth. It gives a wonderful sense of continuum. I went for a walk early this morning, the air was cool and crisp, the earth covered in fine dew. The sounds of chooks and donkeys, men at work and children playing in the streets is delightful and leaves me with a sense of all is well.

~ Jo Davenport

 

 

2013 TAILOR-MADE TOUR

Dear Abdou,

We want to thank you for being our wonderful guide and friend. We have learnt so much and appreciate the time you spent with us. We have many stories to tell our friends and will never forget our time in Morocco. You will always be welcome at our home – come and learn how to fish! Good luck and good health.

~ Ann and Geoff Lacey

 

Dear Rita and Bruce,

We had a great trip and will never forget our time here in Morocco. It has been an amazing experience thanks to your guidance. We had a wonderful time in the Atlas Mountains and loved the family guesthouse – so welcoming and delicious food. Abdou and the driver Hassan were helpful, patient and good company. Thank you for organising our tour and giving up your time while we were here – please come and visit when you return.

~ Ann and Geoff Lacey

 

 

 

2013 Textile Tour in Skoura

2013 Textile Tour in Skoura

2013 TEXTILE TOUR

Thanks for a great trip. Being in a small group and a small bus made the trip very comfortable. We appreciated your good planning – having a few nights in most places so that we were not always packing and unpacking and having Bruce as ‘sheepdog’ to ensure no one was left behind. Abdou was such a helpful and informative guide, of course, and we appreciated Mohammed’s careful driving too.

The textile aspect of our tour was great, but for me it was the countryside which stole the show – the stunning trip over the Atlas Mountains, the expansive desert vistas, the amazing change in scenery – and styles of building – as we went from the sand dunes of the desert to the cedar forest and Ifrane. But it is difficult to nominate one single highlight of the tour; I loved the traditional Berber music and dancing, the total quiet at Dar Panorama, the luxury at Ksar Anika, and then the extensive mosaics at Volubilis were a surprise and delight.

Thanks again, and all the very best from us both

~ Esmae and Simon

 

I had every intention of writing to thank you for my lovely visit to Morocco. I enjoyed the trip so much. Morocco was all I imagined and more!

~ Judith Ross

 

Hi Rita, Bruce, Abdou,

Home safe and back into it. You spoilt me completely – thanks again for best holiday ever, loved every minute of it.
love to you all

~ Margaret

 

 

 

2013 16 day TAILOR-MADE CULTURAL TOUR

Finally, I am sitting at the computer writing our appraisal of our wonderful holiday to Morocco. Firstly, let us assure you both that we had a truly fantastic time and are still recalling some of the wonderful sights and sounds that we experienced during our travels. We will try to do the trip chronologically as it has taken us so long to get around to doing this.

We enjoyed our time in Casablanca especially the city tour. The Riad was comfortable although not, in our opinion very friendly. We experienced an air conditioning problem but fortunately Abdou was able to get it sorted for our 2nd night. We felt that a location more in the centre of the city would have been a better introduction to Casablanca and Morocco, for us. The beach promenade was great and on both nights we enjoyed the opportunity to watch the locals as they relaxed and enjoyed the cooler evening. The city guide in Casablanca filled much of the history that we did not know.

We both really enjoyed our time in Marrakech. The Riad was terrific and the staff very friendly and helpful. The city guide in Marrakech was entertaining and knowledgeable.

The next day driving was a fantastic experience and Hassan did a great job in negotiating the roads and various obstacles . At Tamdaght we enjoyed the opportunity to walk through the garden and down to the river. The food here was excellent. Our visit to Ait Benhaddou was spoilt by rain but Graham convinced us all that he was the rain man and able to make it rain in the desert! It goes without saying that our visit to the weaving cooperative was a highlight and we are delighted with our carpets.

The Guesthouse in Skoura was a homely, friendly stopover. Aziz and Hamid were both characters and very hospitable. We were very comfortable and enjoyed our stay. The only thing about it was that we did not fully understand where it was in relation to Skoura and its attractions. We enjoyed our visit to the potter and unfortunately the women’s cooperative was not open for us to see.

The following day we travelled through the Dades Gorge and Todra Gorge. The valleys are spectacular and we wished that we had been travelling at a time that would have allowed us to enjoy the roses. The accommodation at Tamtatouchte was the night we enjoyed the least. The food was good and the host very friendly and welcoming but the room was below the standard we had come to expect. The location, so far from the village meant, that there was very little to do to fill in the afternoon and evening. We did enjoy the unscheduled visit to the Berber museum and would certainly recommend that it be included in future itineraries. We would have liked to have spent more time there.

The Guesthouse in Merzouga was very comfortable with all of the comforts of a modern hotel. The dining room had potential to provide a wide variety of eating experiences but the occupancy was very low when we were there. We did enjoy our time driving in the Sahara, visiting the musicians and, although we personally found it confronting, the visit with the Nomad woman was enlightening.

The following days drive was long and arduous for Hassan. He undertook this challenge with his usual good cheer and his superb driving skills. Maybe further investigation should be undertaken to see if there is anywhere on the way to Fez that would support and overnight stop.

The Riad in Fez, we agree with you was exquisite. It was extremely comfortable and Cafe Fez provided us with everything we wanted. Our only comment would be that we thought it was located in a very obscure area and not particularly convenient to walking without a guide. We enjoyed the city tour especially the historical sites and souqs. The change of programme to take in Volubilis and Meknes on the 2nd day of our stay in Fez worked extremely well for us. This change took pressure of the following day when we travelled to Rabat. Abdou included a brief visit to Moulay Driss, which we had requested and we enjoyed, especially driving through the market area.

The Riad in Rabat was very comfortable and well located. They were extremely accommodating considering that Christine was suffering from a very upset stomach and they prepared a traditional dish that is served on such occasions for her. The city tour guide in Rabat was outstanding. He even included a brief stopover in his own house in the old town. The transfer arrangements from Rabat to Casablanca worked particularly well.

Our guide Abdou was all that he was represented to be – polite, responsive, and with a great sense of humour and fun. He utilised what is obviously an enormous network of contacts for our benefit.

Hassan was good humoured and a very enjoyable companion. Graham says he is the best driver Graham has ever ridden with. We felt totally safe in his care. He meticulously obeyed the speed limits and his vehicle control was superb. Could you please ensure that these comments are passed onto Hassan.

Amazigh tours full filled all of our desires to travel to Morocco. You have been fully responsive to our requirements. The private tour Amazigh tours put together for us was tailored exactly as we wanted and delivered a wonderful overview of Morocco, especially the Berber culture.

Thanks again for a wonderful holiday and many fantastic memories to share with friends and colleagues.

~ Graham & Christine Kelly

 

 

 

2013 DRAWING TOUR

The May 2013 Cultural and Drawing Tour across Morocco with Rita Lazauskas was the first group tour Elaine and I had taken in 25 plus years of overseas travel. It proved an outstanding experience.  Not only did we enjoy the colourful landscape of the coastal plains, the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara, but the lifestyle and hospitality of the Berber and Arab people of Marrakesh, Tamdaght, Skoura, Merzouga, Fez and Rabat was memorable.  As Australians we are used to vivid  and contrasting colours of our own landscape but the red, gold and pink colours we saw in the dryer areas of inland Morocco will never be forgotten. The medinas and souks of Marrakesh and Fez were highlights.

Overnight stays in Kasbahs and Riads added to the authentic feel of the tour as did the local cuisine, and visits to local and family carpet, textile and pottery weaving cooperatives.

The success of the trip was due to the untiring and patient efforts of Rita and that of her raconteur partner Bruce – both completely unflappable.  Local expertise was provided by our outstanding guide Abdou a wonderful Berber with an Aussie sense of humour.

We did draw on the trip and Rita’s advice and encouragement stimulated those that were quite experienced and those that were new to the art form.  Lots to draw. All in all, outstanding.

~ Dr Michael and Mrs Elaine Curll, Orange NSW Australia

Hi Lalla Rita, Ali Baba & Abdenabi,

Thank you all for such a great tour.

My husband and I have owned a pub in Canberra for 7 years that is open over 100 hours a week so we both needed a break but have been procrastinating that the business couldn’t do with out us. I finally took the plunge while my husband Gil looked after everything.

I looked around for tours & chose to go on the ‘Amazigh Cultural Drawing Tour’ to Morocco and although I didn’t know Rita or Bruce or what their little business was all about, I found them and all the guides and other people on the tour delightful and considerate of each other. There were just 10 of us which was very manageable. I enjoyed the diversity and knowledge that was given to us during the tour and the opportunities to draw or take photographs or shop.

I have just finished putting together a 100 page Apple book of the pics I took with some drawings (I fell and hurt my wrist on the 3rd day so drawing was out for me) so that my family & friends can experience a little of my trip to Morocco.

I would recommend this tour to any person travelling on their own or as a couple, you will be well cared for.

~ Colleen Miller, Canberra

 

 

 

A HANDSOME YOUNG BERBER

a poem by Merran Koren

A handsome young Berber called Abdou
So caring for our motley crew
At mention of Yalla
We obeyed this great fella
And no one got left in the Loo

His pride in his Amazigh origin
His connection with sparkly eyed children
Gave us new understanding
In this ancient land
And we honour the future this brings

His calmness and patience was such
That each day as we got on the bus
The infectious grin
Was always a win
And it happened without any fuss

His experience with us and with he
Manifested in the odd pharmacy
When discussing an itch
He wanted to ditch
His job for something easy

Of much wisdom and humour we see
He learned quickly the language Aussie
Wherever he was
We found him because…
He was able to call out Cooee

We’ve heard of his vision and dreams
Of much grandiosity it seems
We know it’s achievable
‘Cos he’s so believable
His future with good fortune teems

Now Abdou the Ciad of DarEsAlaam
Has attracted his wife with his charm
He allows Aussie tourist
With attitude purist
To visit spending many dhirrum

Regardless of mirth you must know
That our gratitude surely has grown
From initial respect
To awe and regret
That our friendship too short we bemoan

So thank you again kind Abdou
For all you have done for this crew
You have earned your possee
As an honorary Aussie
And now we must bid you adieu

~ MERRAN KOREN 2012

 

 

RAINBOW TURBANS

a poem by Nadia Wood

Bus tyres edged the sheer endless drops…
perched high in the Moroccan Atlas,
like something I recall
from a trip in Turkey some years back;
a special kind of hell
invented for those adventurous souls
with squeamish stomachs…
consuming only dates
and dried wheat crackers…

On those long criss-crossed rides
over the Tizi-n-Tichka pass
to sandstorm somewheres…
Pauline…an artist…
wrapped herself in rainbow turbans,
mixed sketches and chemo
like feathers to water colour…
and I,
phenergan and ginger…
it was a rough…

We painted portraits
of deep souled Berbers
with large white turbans,
and  bought Oil of Argan
from women who sang songs…
and left their husbands…
helped by goats suspended in trees,
that spat out seeds…
and where all the girls
are named ‘Fatima’.

In those days that melted away
like the forty three degrees it was…
every day until it cooled…
We rode camels at sunset,
and climbed high crested dunes
of the Erg Chebbi Sand Sea,
just to witness the finale of the sun…
melting behind shadows of clouds
shaped like Moroccan Qraqebs.

On that moonlight ride home
where the camel prints
and silences where immense and…endless,
the silhouette of the camels
danced by star light,
as we slowly edged
towards the glowing mirage
where the Gnawa music rocked the Kasbah….

©Nadia Wood

 

 

2012 Drawing Tour

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed my Morocco experience – loved the colour, the vibrancy, the variety of landscapes and did so enjoy the members of the group – some amazingly inspirational people – and I did enjoy my attempts at drawing (not giving up my…job just yet!) – the quiet and contemplative times in some beautiful and peaceful places. Thanks to both you and Bruce – a great leadership team along with Abdou, always with great knowledge and information and with a sense of humour – yalla!

~ Pam