If a safe journey with a group of women, lead by a mother and daughter team that gives back to the community in Marrakech, Zanzibar or the Greek Islands sounds appealing, we have the grassroots company for you.
Latifah Al-Hazza and her mother Tami Al-Hazza are the founders of Femscape Sojourns. This travel company is founded by women, for women — creating authentic travel experiences around the world, all of which include itineraries that celebrate women in hospitality. As the world begins getting back to normal, the company is excited to curate these one-of-a-kind experiences for their female travelers once again.
The team has a lot of things to be excited about this year, including their first trip post-COVID-19 this fall that will take moms and daughters through Marrakech. We spoke with the owners about why they started the company, what’s in store for the coming year, and don’t miss their five top tips for Morocco.
Why did you and your mom want to start this female-focused travel company?
Latifah: I have traveled extensively with my mom and surprisingly enough, my friends have always thought it so unique that I actually enjoyed traveling with her, and that I enjoy family vacations. They couldn’t wrap their minds around how I could survive everything a mother-daughter trip entails (i.e., negotiating what we would do) and still be so close to my mom afterward. On the other hand, I thought that it was strange people thought of this as difficult. In addition to this, my friends have often asked me to help plan their trips or have asked if they can tag along on my next trip because I travel to such unique places and partake in memorable experiences. These were the underlying factors that influenced the creation of a travel company for women that would enable other women to travel the way I travel and the way my mother and I travel sans any of the typical stressors.
Tami: In mid-life, I found myself traveling alone or with Latifah to exotic destinations for both work and pleasure. When I would return from these trips, my friends and colleagues would ask me if I felt safe traveling solo or with only my daughter. They expressed a desire to travel but were hesitant to travel alone and they didn’t want the large group impersonal experience. This made me realize that a small group women’s travel company could meet the needs of many women who have a desire to travel but who find themselves without a travel partner.
Can you share with us what some of the most rewarding aspects of this venture have been for you both?
Latifah: I would have to say the people! First, the people that we meet when planning the itineraries; from guides, to hoteliers, to restauranters, to tribes and beyond, we meet such fascinating and inspiring people (especially women) that we can work together with. Second, the women that join us on our sojourns. Escape Sojourners come from all over the world and each one is such an asset in shaping our trips. We have made some beautiful life-long friendships with our guests.
Tami: I agree with Latifah, it is the people that make us love this industry. It’s exhilarating to be the guide for a group of women who are experiencing a new country and culture for the first time. It is exciting to connect them with local people and introduce them to the traditions and unique aspects of the culture that they would miss if they were on their own or part of a large tour group. We love the excitement of bringing the local women together with our travelers. Additionally, there are all the fascinating people who work in the travel industry and the creatives that we connect with who enrich our lives and remain lifelong connections.
What have been some of your favorite destinations so far?
Latifah: We absolutely love Morocco, which is why we offer women so many opportunities to travel with us there. Zanzibar and Mallorca are other favorites that we have offered in the past.
Tami: I agree, I am in love with Morocco, especially the energy and creativity found in Marrakech, and I feel as if Spain could easily become my second home.
What are the most popular activities that clients are looking for right now?
- Authentic experiences
- Interacting with the locals
- Cultural experiences
- Active, outdoor adventures
Women are seeking authentic experiences, activities where they gain a deeper understanding of the culture, and the opportunity to make new friendships. They want to come away enriched, not just able to ‘check-off’ another country from their travel list.
How do you plan to navigate your Zanzibar trip later this year?
In October, and again in January, Femscape will be traveling to Zanzibar with a group of women. We will spend eight days and seven nights exploring the island. Zanzibar’s crystal-blue waters have some of the most colorful underwater life in the world; therefore, we have designed this trip to highlight outdoor activities and adventures. Some of the activities include a short boat ride to snorkel at Matemwe Atoll, watching a local fish auction, a boat ride on a channel of the Indian Ocean to Prison Island, getting an up-close and personal look at giant tortoises, swimming, kayaking in transparent kayaks, visiting a spice farm, getting lost while exploring the Jozani Forest and so much more! We will have an unforgettable experience volunteering at a local school and meeting with local women and their families. Our Zanzibar trip is packed with exciting and meaningful activities.
Top 5 Musts from Morocco from Femscape
For the visitor to really experience Morocco, we recommend the following activities:
- Visit the small village of Chefchaouen and leisurely roam the streets and talk with not just the shopkeepers but the villagers who call this place home. We highly recommend taking the path up above the village that circles around the entire area as this will give you a unique view of this Instagram-famous village. Just ask a local how to reach it or hire a local guide.
- Fez is known as the cultural heart of Morocco. If you want to pick up traditional wares, you will find your best prices in the heart of the ancient medina. Remember that negotiation is an art in Morocco and expected. So, if you are serious about purchasing an item, accept the mint tea and consider the act of negotiation as a pleasant back and forth exchange where you are expected to make a determined effort.
- Marrakech is a must-see destination as the extensive souk (outdoor market) and Jemma el Fnaa, which comes alive at night, is teeming with snake charmers, belly dancers and so much more. Our favorite activity in Marrakech is to partake in a traditional hammam experience. This is a truly unique ancient Moroccan experience where women are scrubbed with exfoliants made from local ingredients, rinsed, and massaged with perfumed oil. There are many options available, from the hammams located in every neighborhood to high-end hammams at resort hotels. One of our favorite hammams is Le Bain Bleu located in the heart of the souk (market).
- So much of the Moroccan culture arises out of the traditions of the desert. We highly recommend a glamping stay to relax, unwind, and to reconnect with yourself. If you are on a time crunch, close to Marrakech, there are many Agafay Desert stays available; however, if you have more time, we recommend a deep desert experience in the Sahara Desert.
- A trip to the Atlas Mountains to visit the Berbers, an indigenous tribal group, is a rewarding experience. There are many tour companies who offer combinations of camel rides as well as hiking to some of the remote villages for dinner, or a stay, in these Berber villages.
Upcoming Sojourns with Femscape
- Zanzibar – October 2021
- Zanzibar – January 2022
- Marrakech – May 2022
- Marrakech & Fez – May 2022
- Greek Islands – June 2022
- Marrakech & Barcelona – September 2022
- Marrakech & Fez – October 2022