Photography and culture holiday

Atlantic Coast, Essaouira, Morocco

8 days from
per person
$1,268

Holiday Itinerary

The coastal town of Essaouira, famous for its history, maze of Souks, rich culture, stunning landscapes and bright North African colours and flavours, is the perfect host for this 7 night combined photography and culture holiday with cooking classes.

Photographers will be inspired on this unique course as you’ll get out and about to discover the Souks, seascapes, Medinas, Argan oil producers, stunning sunsets and much more. You’ll also benefit from the small group tuition also included in the course, allowing you to produce photographs that go far beyond the usual holiday photo snaps

As well as learning the fundamentals of photography, this holiday is a real opportunity to explore your culinary side, the fascinating Moroccan culture as well as taking time to enjoy your well-earned holiday. It's a chance to quietly study and absorb the richness of this enchanting town, create delicious authentic dishes to enjoy once you’re home and take in more than the usual tourist trails.

Accommodation is set in magnificent Riad in the centre of Essaouira which boasts a lovely roof terrace ideal for enjoying warm evenings sat outside admiring, and even photographing, stunning sunset light over the town.

Who is it suitable for?
Photography
- Photography is suitable for all levels from beginners to advanced
- Minimum age 18
- The aim of this holiday for beginners is to learn more about their cameras and how to take better photographs
- The course is mainly focused on digital SLR photography and we strongly recommend you bring your own DSLR camera with you
- If you do not have a DSLR, there is a digital SLR with a 18-250mm lens available at the school for hire which costs £65 for the week (to be paid locally); please contact us in advance of booking to check availability to reserve hire of the school’s camera
- If you would like advice on which DSLR camera to buy before your holiday, your tutor will be happy to advise once the holiday has been confirmed

Cooking
- Cooking lessons are suitable for all levels from complete beginners to competent cooks looking to gain an insight into local country style cooking
- Your hosts are British and Moroccan and all classes are taught in English

I'm travelling solo - can I join?
- This photography and culture holiday makes a great singles holiday as there are no single supplements
- Courses have a maximum of 6 people in each group, singles are very welcome as you'll meet others with similar interests
- Essaouira is very relaxed and welcoming town with a great Bohemian feel because of its music and art scene
- The majority of people who take these courses are solo travellers and everyone loves the location and the social aspect of this course
- You’ll be guided on your cultural afternoons so you’re never far from a friendly face

When can I start?
- Holidays start on selected Saturdays throughout the year

Typical itinerary
Please note: this itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the weather and group’s needs and wishes. The itinerary is typically as follows:

Day 1: Arrival
- You’ll be collected from the airport and transferred to your accommodation in Essaouira
- You will have time to settle into your Moroccan Riad and soak up the atmosphere

Day 2
- Your day starts at 9.30am after breakfast with an introduction to Moroccan spices in Essaouira's traditional medina
- Afterwards you'll depart for a countryside trip for your first cooking workshop: lunch will take place at the hosts kitchen in the countryside
- Dinner is not included in the price of the holiday but your host will be happy to offer suggestions on the best places to eat in town

Day 3
- Your photography course starts at 10am after breakfast with a wander around the beautiful town of Essaouira, the home of your photography tutor and famous the world over
- Essaouira has stunning architecture, fishing ports and labyrinths of Souks and bustling markets
- In your first day you’ll have 1 workshop on camera fundamentals workshop (basic camera controls, exposure - ISO, shutter speed, aperture)
- The afternoon is free for you to choose from one of the following activities:
Visiting a local Hammam
A guided historical tour of the medina including the Portugese and Jewish influences
Visiting the local art galleries and learning about local artists
Understanding how silver jewellery is made
Visiting several local markets in the medina selling different things including a visit to a traditional bakery
Essaouira is the home of Gnawa music; an introduction to local music and the instruments used
 
Day 4
- The focus of today’s morning tuition will be on a morning abstract workshop in the medina
- The afternoon is set aside for your second cultural activity
 
Day 5
- Today will be given to exploring reportage photography and the art of photographing people at a local Berber market 25 minutes from Essaouira
- A different market to day 2 and more ideally suited to photography
- Afterwards you'll also have a portrait workshop photographing ladies producing Argan oil
- Your optional second cooking class takes place shortly after lunch followed by your transfer back to medina in the early evening
- You can also choose to have a free afternoon and Darren will help you organise your own activities
 
Day 6
- Following breakfast your photography tuition will start at the Riad, with a review of the previous day's images followed by today’s workshop which will be based on documentary style photography with a guided tutor led tour of the port
- The afternoon is set aside for your third cultural activity
- As on previous days you will have the evening free to dine as you wish

Day 7
- You will also have free time to practice your photography before lunch (lunch is at an extra cost)
- You will have the afternoon to photograph or relax independently and your tutor Darren has a host of suggestions of what to do in your free time
- Depending on how much energy you have you can perhaps try horse riding, kite surfing, camel trekking or cycling

Day 8: Departure
- Before lunch you will check out of the Riad in time to be taken to the airport for your return flight

About your photography tutor
- Passionate about photography, your British photography tutor Darren has been a photographer and filmmaker for over 25 years
- With over 25 years’ experience working as a professional photographer, Darren has taught photography at all levels from City and Guilds to degree level with a masters in photography and filmmaking himself
- He completed his own film on Essaouira based on Gnawa music and the international music festival and has been visiting Essaouira since the early 90s
- Your tutor now lives in Morocco and is best placed to fulfil your expectations for getting the most out of the area

About your cook
- Your cooking classes will be led by Naima, who is passionate about passing on her knowledge of Moroccan cuisine and family recipies including how to make tagines
- Naima is Moroccan with good English, and she is Darren's wife
- Naima is extremely friendly and kind, and will go out of her way to ensure you have a great time exploring the local markets with her and cooking up a storm in the kitchen

Where will the cookery classes take place?
- Your cooking classes will take place in their countryside home 20 minutes from Essaouira
- There will also be the opportunity to use their swimming pool, and terraces to relax between cooking workshops

What will I learn?
Photography
- As you are learning in a small group of no more than 6 people, you’ll have expert guidance and tuition will be adapted to your own individual needs whether it be getting to grips with your DSLR camera or taking your existing skills to the next level
- The aim of this holiday for beginners is to learn more about their cameras and how to take better photographs
- You will get to know the basics such as composition
- You will develop your understanding depth of field, lens choice, exposure - ISO, shutter speed and aperture
- The one on one and workshops will help to develop your awareness of different photography styles as well as developing your feel and instinct for light and situation
- As you progress through the week you will find you’re thinking more thematically & conceptually
- You will also have a chance to explore Seascapes, People, Abstract, Documentary and Architectural Photography

Cultural & free time activities you can choose from:
- Visiting a Hammam for locals
- A guided historical tour of the medina including the Portugese and Jewish influences
- Visiting the local art galleries and learning about local artists
- Understanding how silver jewellery is made
- Visiting several local markets in the medina selling different items and food including a visit to a traditional bakery
- Essaouira is the home of Gnawa music; an introduction to local music and the instruments used
For each of the cultural activities you will have a different guide available to lead you through the 2 hour session

Cooking
- In each cookery lesson you will learn to cook an entrée and main course
- How to cook a traditional Moroccan tagine
- Blending of traditional Moroccan spices in your cooking
- Your market tour takes place at a relaxed pace as you are guided by your cooks around the spice market, you'll learn about the different spices used in Moroccan cooking

Typical cookery menu
Menus may change on the day but will typically include a combination of the following:
- Crevette briwat or Briouates (small pastillas made with prawns)
- Moroccan couscous
- Harira - traditional Moroccan soup
- Zaalouk - aubergine and tomato salad
- Lamb tagine with almonds and dates
- Beef tagine with prunes and walnuts
- Chicken and olive tagine
- Kefta tagine with vegetables
- Chicken pastilla
- Traditional Moroccan flatbread
- Moroccan lentil salad
- Moroccan patisseries   
- Moroccan salad

What to bring
- Bring your own digital camera (with manual), charger, memory cards, tripod, filters and flash if you have them 
- Point and shoot if you have one
- You may be able to hire the digital SLR at the school but please enquire about availability before you book
- Please bring suitable footwear for walking as you will be spending a lot of time exploring the different areas

Where will I be staying?
- Situated just 300 metres from the sea right in the heart of the medina, you will find your beautiful 18th Century Riad lovingly restored into a residential Riad style hotel
- Positioned in the heart of the pedestrianised Old City the 18th century Riad is now sensitively renovated in Moorish style offering rooms on a mezzanine floor
- The Riad also boasts 4 twin/double suites and 4 quadruple suites for couples
- The rooms all open onto a light-filled interior patio with traditional Moroccan tiling
- All rooms are en-suite with lounge area and furnished in traditional Moroccan style
- Single travellers will have a private room with NO additional single supplements
- The Riad has a sunny roof terrace
- Friendly and hospitable staff add to the charm and the character of the Riad
- Please note: If this Riad is fully booked we have a second Riad also set in the heart of the Medina and only 200 metres from the original Riad
- It features two beautiful roof terraces and downstairs dining
- WiFi is available on most floors

Are meals included?
- All breakfasts are included daily
- Vegetarians can be catered for (please put this in the special requests box when booking)
- Lunches are included as part of your 2 cooking workshop days
- Lunches on non-cookery days are not included for the remaining days but are typically inexpensive in Morocco and your group usually eats lunch together
- Your hosts will be able to advise you on the best places to eat out