Break down the cultural barriers of traditional tourism with our new range of all-female adventures.

We believe travel is for everyone. But in some more conservative countries, there are things mixed-gender groups just can’t do. What if, as a female traveller in Iran, you could head down to the beauty salon with your female leader and get your hair done? The hijab comes off, the conversation is lively, the music is on, and there’s a real chance to connect. You might even discover that these women are no different to you, your sister, your mother or your wife. This limited-edition series of expeditions is all about breaking down barriers, fostering discussion and creating immersive local experiences for women that are ordinarily off limits on our regular group departures.

Our new Women's Expeditions

Women wearing head scarves in Morocco.

Morocco Women’s Expedition

Join other female trekkers on an off-map hiking adventure in the deserted landscapes of Morocco. Begin in Marrakech and the pulsing Djemaa el-Fna town square, then head for the hills, the spectacular Bougmez Valley, the atmospheric foothills of Azourki and an amazing women’s rug-weaving co-op in Talsanant.

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Travellers in Tehran.

Iran Women’s Expedition

Although gender segregation is not typically Iranian, strict dress codes imposed by Islamic Law mean that many ways of life have become segregated by default. Travelling with a female group to Shiraz, Esfehan, Tehran, Yazd, Eghlid and stunning Persepolis, this adventure allows women to experience Iran’s often misunderstood culture in an unmediated way – from beauty salon to scarf shop to female-only park.

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Climbing steps at Petra.

Jordan Women’s Expedition

Discover a sense of sisterhood in this tiny desert nation. As well as exploring Petra and the Wadi Rum desert, learn ancient beauty techniques, bathe and mingle with other local ladies at the Dead Sea, spend time with a female shepherd, learn about traditional marriage from a professional matchmaker, and pick up cooking tips from unsung experts.

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Highlights

Colourful nails on display.

Let your hair down in a beauty salon in Shiraz

Step inside a hidden world which has become an oasis for many Iranian women. Off limits to men, the beauty salon is a place for women to shed their traditional headdress and kick back with their fellow females in a lively atmosphere. You may just find that your perception of Iranian women was way off compass.

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Learn to prep local cuisine in Iran.

Enjoy a female-hosted homestay in rural Iran

You’re invited into the family home of your female host to learn about local village life, try your hand at preparing the local cuisine, trade stories over the dinner table, sing songs and try on the traditional dress.

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Moroccan fabrics.

Meet the inspiring women rug-weavers of Ait Bouguemez, Morocco

The residents of a women’s artisan co-op in the High Atlas Mountains have taken charge of the economics of their rug-weaving trade, cutting out unfair middlemen and gaining independence in how they operate. And you’d be hard pressed to find a more exquisite souvenir than these bespoke masterpieces.

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Enjoying the sunset at Wadi Rum.

Get behind the scenes of Bedouin beauty

Look behind the closed doors and tents in Wadi Rum and you’ll find a culture that’s usually hidden from the eyes of visitors. Out in the desert, the male hosts will depart and Bedouin women will arrive to share the traditional art of henna and the use of kohl, which doubles as protection from the elements.

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Our wider mission for gender equality

Diversity and inclusion has always been at the forefront of everything we do. Here at Intrepid Travel, we know our strength comes through our differences and the freedom everyone has to be themselves – locals, leaders and travellers alike.

Around 65% of Intrepid travellers are female, and 60% of our staff around the world are women, but in 2017 only 22% of our leaders were female.This is something we have been working to change.

Our goal is to double the number of female leaders globally by 2020. While this may not be a difficult target in many countries, in traditional societies such as India recruiting women is a much greater challenge. In 2017 the Intrepid Group gained 50 new female tour leaders, and managed to raise our overall percentage of female leaders from 22% to 27%.

There’s still a long way to go, but we’re continuing to promote women’s independence and women’s employment, and fostering greater understanding by offering trips such as our Women’s Expeditions.

Learn more about our female local leaders

FAQs

Cultural and religious factors mean that local interaction is challenging and complex for mixed gender groups. It’s something that comes up continually in our customer’s feedback for the Middle East region. Desert camps in Wadi Rum, for example, are operated by men. In these close confines it’s not socially acceptable for men to be alone with our female travellers, so the opportunities for interaction are limited. By the same token, most opportunities our group tours have to spend time with local women is in the presence of men in a controlled environment. We see these trips as an exciting opportunity for female travellers go behind closed doors and learn about customs, food, challenges and the lives of other women across the globe.

These are certainly off-track trips, but what sets them apart is cultural, not geographical. In traditionally conservative countries such as Iran, Morocco and Jordan, certain traditions and customs can make genuine cultural interaction difficult. Travelling in an all-female group means women can connect more directly with each other, and travellers can learn more about Middle Eastern women and their day-to-day lives. What these trips are not about is replicating run-of-the-mill itineraries for women-only ‘girls clubs’ which fuel gender stereotypes and exclusivity.

We chose Jordan, Iran and Morocco because there are a lot of cultural and religious factors that make these countries more complex and therefore the benefit of local interaction is greater. It’s also about the laws in these parts and what is and isn’t acceptable. We’re testing the waters at the moment, but we’re hoping we can expand our range of female-only trips and make them permanent in the long term.

We would love to open up these real-life experiences to all of our travellers, but in order to operate in a socially responsible and culturally sensitive manner this is simply not possible – at least not yet. So rather than excluding everyone from this opportunity, we’ve created a range of special departures for our female travellers.

Private departures of our female-only trips are definitely possible. Feel free to get in touch with book@intrepidtravel.com and let us know what you’re after, and we’ll to our best to accommodate your needs.

Like all of our trips, these expeditions are operated with inclusion in mind. But we’re restricted to operating within local laws in some places, which may be exclusionary to passengers who identify as transgender or non-binary. Travellers should contact our bookings team for more information and to see where we can accommodate transgender or non-binary.

Read more about women in travel