A supplement to any vacation itinerary, geocaching has led our family off the beaten path to places unknown and Morocco is no exception. Scattered across the country, many of the geocache locations in urban and rural Morocco have been carefully selected to showcase the geography, culture, history, and traditions of the country.
This global high-tech treasure hunt reaching the far corners of the globe, geocaching is a sport enjoyed by over six million people. Using global positioning system (GPS) coordinates to find hidden containers called geocaches, geocaching is an inexpensive and fun activity that can be enjoyed both close to home and on vacation—you simply need to register for an account at www.geocaching.com and have access to a GPS device (or if you have a smart phone with a data plan, download the geocaching app for $10).
Consider the geocache hidden inside the heart of the medina in Marrakech. Sayd Tahiri Youssef, a leather smith and artisan who specializes in handmade babouche slippers, sandals, and belts from his shop is the protector of a wooden treasure chest about the size of a shoebox.
After adding the date and our geocaching team name to the logbook in the geocache container, we traded items in the container, taking and leaving items of equal worth. Sayd Tahiri posed for a few pictures and wished us long life, happiness, and more luck in our geocaching quest. He’s working to incorporate some of the popular geocaching symbols into customized leather souvenirs that appeal to the “caching” crowd.
Next up was the geocache at Menara Gardens, a popular destination for family picnics in the shade of an olive tree or a stroll around the pavilion and basin built in the 16th century by the Saadi dynasty and renovated in 1869 by Sultan Abderrahmane of Morocco.
This, our second Marrakech find, was among the olive groves and in the red clay wall that serves as the garden’s southern boundary. With the help of spoiler photos and children eager to find the hiding spot (a hole in the wall covered by a loose stone), we used a stick to extract a plastic pouch containing a logbook and pencil.
On the way out we watched children playing soccer to the tune of Berber folk music emerging from somewhere within the trees. Hungry from all the walking, we pacified the kids with a cotton candy treat served on a bamboo stick by a street vendor who set up shop outside the main garden gates.
A geocaching “best practice” employed in Morocco and around the world, consider this friendly reminder to always use common sense when getting up close and personal with Mother Nature, From poison ivy to spiders, snakes and scorpions, be careful when extracting items hidden in natural habitats.
Other ways to prepare for geocaching in Morocco include researching specific geocache locations in advance of your outdoor adventure. Make sure to download the coordinates and descriptive information to your GPS device, checking the “recent finds” tab to see if another team has located the geocache container in the recent past.
To increase the likelihood of a success, you may want to read the cache-specific information and additional hints listed for each geocaching container. For example, “You are looking for a magnetic tin…” or “You will need a screwdriver to open a panel…” This type of information is also readily available if you are using the geocaching app on your smart phone.
When packing, toss in any necessary plugs and cables as well as extra batteries. Some GPS devices require maps and geographic data to be downloaded from a website or CD—it’s best check this from the comforts of home rather than suffer through a slow Internet connection at a hotel.
To learn the “ins and outs” of geocaching, visit the Geocaching website to read the FAQ’s and watch video tutorials on how the game is played.
Whether you want to spend time exploring on your own or with a guide we offer multiple options for every traveler. No two tours are alike! We can help you plan your next adventure today. Our team of professional, experienced guides and drivers are waiting to make your adventure dreams a reality.
About the Author
Julie Henning is the Midwest Editor for the family travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com and the cheesehead behind WisconsinParent.com. She’s a member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three kids. You can listen to Julie’s NPR.org travel podcast, which focuses on Marrakesh, Morocco.