Sitting in the warm Sahara sand, watching the sun dip below the dunes, surrounded by a group of female travelers and friends is an inspirational, maybe even life-changing moment.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Intrepid Travel has made it a little bit easier to experience these moments in the Middle East with their limited-edition female-only tours to Morocco, Jordan, and Iran.
“While Intrepid Travel believes in inclusiveness at all levels of our company, these female-led, women-only expeditions offer a socially responsible and culturally sensitive way for travelers to access female-only establishments, experiences, and customs in these traditionally conservative countries,” Jenny Gray, Intrepid regional product manager for Africa and the Middle East, said.
These tours are designed to foster female empowerment and independence, while allowing travelers to experience the cultural traditions of women in the region. “The expeditions also allows local women an opportunity to tell their stories and begin to break down barriers and preconceived notions,” Gray said.
Other tour companies like Adventure Women and Bestway also offer female-only tours to Morocco and Iran. With the inclusion of Jordan, Intrepid invites a small group of women to learn Arabic dishes in the home of a local woman, visit a ladies-only beach club at the Dead Sea, enjoy afternoon tea at a community teahouse, and learn the art of Henna from traditional Bedouin ladies.
“One of my favorite experiences is going to the local beauty salon in Iran. When you step into the underground salons the hijabs come off, there’s music playing, the women are lively and gossiping while they get their hair done,” Gray said.
The women’s expedition tours have also meant a boost in local female tour guides, bringing Intrepid’s female tour numbers up from 22 percent to 27 percent. They hope to double their number by 2020.
“Travelers are very positive about my gender,” said Nadia Badiee, an Iranian tour guide for Intrepid Travel. “They tell me ‘It’s really good that in your country, you can work.’ They give me the motivation to work harder.”
Female-only trips to Morocco start at $890 per person for an eight-day journey off the beaten path living with Berber families. Trips to Jordan start at $1,579 per person for an eight-day tour experiencing Arabic traditions. Expeditions to Iran start at $2,855 per person for a 12-day voyage living like a local woman in both the city and country. Bookings can be made at IntrepidTravel.com.