Hang in Casablanca before a homestay in Moulay Idriss, see lots of cool old stuff in Fes, head on to Midelt, Mergouza and Erg Chebbi for walking, ruins and a sunset camel ride. Ride on through the dunes to Todra Gorge, before visiting Dades Valley, Ait Benhaddou and sexy Marrakech, but don’t get too caught up on the thought that Morocco is all about big markets and bigger deserts. The country’s beaches are pretty excellent too. Taghazout is a magnet for Moroccan chillers thanks to some A-grade Atlantic surf and other seaside towns like Essaouria are made for kicking back and soaking up some cultural vibes. Country living out by the Atlas Mountains can’t be beat either – the people are nice, the views are pretty and you ain’t gonna find food this good in a restaurant. Take the time to check out some of Morocco’s best secrets – from the mountains to the beaches.
Ages: 18 - 29
Theme: 18 to 29s
Accommodation: Desert camp (1 night), Guesthouse (1 night), Budget Hotel (11 nights), mountain gite (1 night), surf camp (2 nights), homestay (1 night)
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at around 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned until this important meeting. Check the hotel reception for the exact time and place of the meeting. If you can't arrange a flight in time, you might want to arrive a day early – we can book additional accommodation for you, depending on availability. If you're going to be late, please contact the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so make sure you have these ready to give your trip leader. If you do arrive early in Casablanca, get out and explore the city. A good place to start is the Old Medina. Try some hot, syrupy mint tea along the way.
After breakfast it's time for an optional guided tour of the Hassan II Mosque. Please advise your leader if you would like to take this option. Entrance fees are paid locally. More than 6,000 craftsmen joined forces to build this beauty in 1993. It's one of the few mosques in Morocco that foreigners are allowed to enter. You'll be joining other people for this tour, but you can upgrade to your own guide if you like – just talk to your leader. Later, head to the station and take a local train to Meknes (approximately 2.5 hours). When you arrive, you'll jump into a taxi and pop over to the whitewashed village of Moulay Idriss, one of Morocco's most important pilgrimage sites. You'll stay with a local family here this evening. Staying overnight here has only been allowed for foreigners since 2005. Lucky you! Notes: Your guided tour of Meknes will be either today or tomorrow.
Take a drive through the beautiful rolling hills to Volubilis for a guided tour of these epic Roman ruins. After Volubilis, head back to Meknes where you'll meet your local guide for a tour. Prepare for an unusual lunchtime – you'll be able to get a camel burger. Now that's a burger bar with a difference! Fear not if you’re a vegetarian, there will be an option for you too. Travel by train from Meknes to Fes (approximately 40 minutes). It's an amazing living museum, like stepping into medieval times. Fes is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco; vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses – with a huge, well-preserved medieval old city that’s the mother of all medinas. With the free afternoon, take a walk around, perhaps find a quiet place and listen to the evening ‘call for prayer’. It’s a cool thing to do. Notes: The tour of Meknes, if it hasn’t happened yesterday, will take place today morning.
Getting lost in Fes is half the fun, but you'll have an orientation walk this morning to help you get the lay of the land first. Join your local leader to browse markets stalls, meet craftsmen and see beautiful mosques. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's coolest buildings, which has recently been restored and is now open to visitors. You'll also visit the famous tannery and its dye pits (which are also famously stinky, but well worth it), and a ceramic factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. Then enjoy some free time and maybe check out the exquisite carvings and magnificent tile work at the Medersa el Attarine (near the spice and perfume market). Fes is a shopping heaven for those who want to pick up a souvenir or two. Today is going to be a big day so remember to keep hydrated and pack some snacks.
Travelling south across a bunch of different terrain, you will reach Ifrane, a mountain resort established by the French in 1929. After a short stop for coffee and a leg-stretch, continue further south. Then, at Midelt, the landscape opens up, giving way to awesome views to the west. This smallish market town, surrounded by farmland and orchards, is a great spot to break up the journey to the Sahara. It was originally built as a base for mining in the area. You'll see Berber people and nomadic shepherds tending to their flocks. You'll stay the night in Midelt. But first it's time for a nice walk (approximately 1.5–2 hours). The walk itself is easy, but the terrain is rocky in some places, so wear your best walking shoes. Bring your camera too, or your smartphone or whatever, because the scenes along the way might just make your Instagram account explode.
On your way to the desert, stop at the spectacular narrow defile known as the Gorges du Ziz. Then head to the large town of Er Rachidia. Pass the 500-year old ruins of the Ksar of Meski then descend into the Ziz Valley, a particularly fertile region that produces figs, olives, dates and tamarisk – a fruit grown for its tannin and used in the curing of leather skins. Arrive in Merzouga, drop your main bags off at your overnight camp set next to a simple Auberge (that's French for 'inn'), and get ready for one in a life time experience - a desert full of awesome. The mode of transport: camel, of course. Brace yourself for one heck of a sunset. This ride takes about an hour, going through the sea of sand and loops back to your private camp for an overnight stay. In the camp, you'll have a thin mattress, blankets and sheets (and auberge not so far away, just in case..). Make sure you bring a sleeping sheet if it's winter (you'd be surprised how cold it can get). Sleep under the stars and have a really romantic 'I am so far from home' kinda moment.
Hope you remembered to set your alarm this morning, because you'll be getting up well before the crack of dawn. Climb to a nearby sand dune to catch the sunrise. Watch the Sahara come alive! Head back for the brekkie, collect the rest of your gear together and then travel west to Todra. Then you'll come across a bright tablecloth of green that might seem so out of place you'll think you are dreaming. This valley is pretty impressive, with all its palm trees and mud-brick villages. Arrive at your hotel at the top of the valley, then take a hike into the gorge where sheer cliffs rise more than 1000 feet above you.
From Todra Gorge, travel along the ‘Road of 1,000 Kasbahs’ and enjoy views of the Dades Gorge. You'll also travel past the town of Skoura, home to the beautiful little houses rising like a mirage beyond a dry riverbed. Continue to the medieval mud-brick town of Ait Benhaddou, which is at its best in the late afternoon sun. If you wonder why Ait Benhaddou looks familiar to you, it is because you have seen it before! Perhaps not live, but certainly on the silver screen. Gladiator, Game of Thrones and loads of other movies and shows were filmed in this kasbah. Explore the many old streets and climb up to the fortress for a superb view over the old town. You can also – for a small fee – enter one of the most interesting of the old houses, climbing up to the turrets for a view over the river. You'll spend the night just outside the walls.
Continue west, passing a few Berber villages. Take in those epic views of the countryside. Wind your way up towards Tizi ‘n Tichka. This is a whopping 2,260 metres above sea level, the highest pass on the road to Marrakech. It often gets covered with snow during the winter months. Leaving the Atlas behind, you'll descend into the plains that surround Marrakech and arrive late afternoon. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Take an orientation walk around the old medina and the city's seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. Sample some of the best street food in the world on the way. Then enjoy some free time. This is a good chance to get lost in the fun of Jemaa el Fna, where there are so many fire-eaters, fortune-tellers, actors, musicians and hawkers vying for your attention.
Free day in Marrakech so where to start? Cycling trip, maybe a day trip out for some walking? No? Luxury Hammam and Spa, cooking class, quad-biking? Options are endless. Or, if you want to keep it simple, make a beeline to the food stalls for some tagine or some other Moroccan treat (nothing says 'I can't give you any money' like a face full of fava-bean dip). You might also like to visit the 16th-century ruins of the El Badi Palace, the famous Majorelle Garden or the adjacent Museum of Islamic Art. In the evening you will no doubt be drawn back to Jemaa el Fna for a night out with your new pals. Remember, some of them may not continue with you on to the next part of this trip, so take a chance and say farewell in style.
Today is another free day in Marrakech. As this magical city has so much to offer, it would be impossible to get bored. Also, take a chance to meet new members of the group, who maybe joining for the coming part of the trip. There will be a welcome meeting at 6pm today, feel free to join, you’ll surely learn what to expect in next few days.
Wake up in the morning and catch a private bus towards the Imlil Valley. Calling dibs on a window seat would be a smart move as the two-hour drive has some awesome scenery to keep you occupied on the way. Arrive at Imlil, a little village that sits at the foot of North Africa’s highest peak, and then lace-up for a scenic one-hour trek to the mountain village of Aroumd. Tonight’s stay is in a family-run mountain home (gite) in the village. The Berber’s are famous for their hospitality, so make the most of this opportunity to sit down, break bread with the family and learn about their culture. Facilities at the homestay are shared (both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements) but they’re cosy, comfortable and definitely offer an experience that blows hotels out of the water.
Today you’ll hit up some of Morocco’s best surfing locations so make sure you have your swim suits ready. First stop is the appropriately named Paradise Valley, full of gorgeous pools and massive canyons. After a dip in the water, roll on to Taghazout. This scruffy little roadside village might not look like it at first, but it’s quickly gained a solid rep as an awesome surfing location. The waters stay warm from September through to April and the surf is top notch for starters and adept wave riders alike.
Kick off your adventures through this sleepy town with an early morning yoga session, helping you relieve any tension before diving into the water later on. Oddly enough, the skills required for both surfing and yoga complement each other through the principles of concentration, flexibility and balance. Good news if you were planning on hitting the waves later. Don’t know how to ride a board? No stress. Today includes a half-day surfing course to teach you the basics.
You’ve got a free morning in Taghazout, so why not get up early and watch the sunrise, then take an optional yoga class or rent out a surfboard and hit the waves. Later, travel to the old fishing town of Essaouira, a place where the medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean. This artists' town has drawn people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix who (according to local legend) spent a lot of time here in the ‘60s. Join your local leader for a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall). Spend the night in a restored riad, a traditional nobleman's house unique to Morocco. The riad is beautifully designed and decorated in traditional Moroccan style, cosy yet historical. It’s definitely one of the more memorable stays of the journey.
Yesterday’s walking tour should have you well up to scratch with the ins and outs of Essaouria, so go crazy! Get exploring! Grab a traditional Moroccan breakfast, and maybe wander to the harbour and its adjacent fish markets (you’ll have to get up early if you want to see the daily catch being auctioned off). You might like to check out the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum for a look at its collection of artefacts, woodwork, carpets and stringed instruments. If you feel like something more active, why not go on an optional horse ride along the sandy beaches of Atlantic Ocean.
Chat with locals on a shared bus ride back to Marrakech (approximately 3 hours). Once the bus arrives back in the city, tuck in for an awesome dinner experience at the famous Djemma el-Fna. This square is known as one of the largest public spaces in the world – it’s a truly iconic part of the city. As soon as the sun sets, the square comes to life with henna-painters, performers and storytellers sharing the space with street food stands. The smells of the stalls will lure you in and the tastes will keep you coming back for more. There’s all sorts of excellent pastries, fresh juices, teas and even bowls of snail soup to go round if you’re feeling a little adventurous! As the evening closes in, say goodbye to your new friends over some of these delicious snacks as you dine on a roof-top restaurant that overlooks the square.
Your Moroccan adventure comes to an end today. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring here. If you’d like to explore more of Marrakech, you can also join one of our in-depth Urban Adventure tours. Just visit www.urbanadventures.com.
- Essaouira - Walking Tour with Local Guide
Moroccan House Hotel Casablanca
3, Rue Mohamed SMIHA, Cote Avenue des FAR Centre-ville
Phone: +212 522543566
156 Avenue Abdelkrim Khattabi Gueliz, Gueliz, 40 000 Marrakech, Morocco
Phone: +212 524422356
Although the trip is graded easy, the walk on Day 12 will raise your pulse. There are other walks too, like one in Todra Gorge and Midelt, some dune climbing and beach strolling, and in addition a lot of walking around the cities and towns. The walking is not extreme by any means, but we recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes.
How to endear yourself to the locals: don’t pose for photos where the holiest of holy people pray. If you want to take a photo of people, always ask - they may say no, so respect that. Even if it’s hot, cover your shoulders, knees and hair. Don’t shake someone’s hand or eat with your left hand - this is the one you use to wipe your butt.
A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights, where a single room does not form part of the package. In this case you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Day 6 Merzouga (Desert camp)
- Day 12 Aroumd
- Days 13-14 Taghazout
Please also note that there is a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please contact your booking agent.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Moroccan tourism industry. In an effort to best control and monitor shopping and activities with an aim for the best experience possible, Intrepid has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences and activities based on positive feedbacks from our previous travellers. On occasion these will be as part of included walking tours or outside of included activities in free time. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.
Intrepid have set up a centralised system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, of which are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travellers and drinking water refilling stations), traveller information packs, and leader bonuses. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group leader on request.
While Intrepid endeavors to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travellers feedback and experiences and Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveller is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid Adventures endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other tour leaders. In Morocco, you can be sure your tour leader will be born and breaded Moroccan.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Some travellers in main touristic sites in Morocco are being approached by locals offering excursions and guided trips. These guides are often not qualified and we strongly advise customers not to join any tour offered by unauthorised guides. Intrepid assesses the safety of all optional excursions offered by our local leaders. If you would like more information on the excursions available, please contact us before you travel, or see the Intrepid-branded notice in the reception of your hotel.
Women should exercise caution when travelling in Morocco. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling:
- As with all travel, it’s important to use common sense and be vigilant.
- Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home.
- Avoid isolated areas when alone at any time of day.
- Lock your door when you are inside your room. Keep the door locked when you are leaving your room, even for a short time.
- If hotel staff need access to your room for any reason, request that they do this while you are out, or wait at reception while they attend to any cleaning or repairs. For the protection of both our travellers and staff, our leaders worldwide are not permitted to be alone in a room with a group member.
- Always take a hotel card with you when going out so you know the address and contact numbers.
- Should you encounter any inappropriate behaviour, inform your leader straight away.
- For further information and advice, visit:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport.
Visas are currently not required for Australian, New Zealand, US or Canadian passport holders wishing to visit Europe. Some EU nationals may travel in Europe using only an identity card, however it is your responsibility to check with the relevant authorities if this applies to you.
Why we love it
Pre-2005, you wouldn't have been able to spend a night in holy Moulay Idriss if you weren't a Muslim. These days you can stay with an awesome local family and eat their delicious home-cooked fare no matter your beliefs
It's easy to get lost in a labyrinth (think less David Bowie film, more medieval maze), especially when there are enticing distractions at every turn. Never fear, your local guide knows the city of Fes like a lifelong friend
Don't get in a hoof when you're offered a camel burger in Meknes. Like all good food in the medina, this exotic lunch is cooked before your eyes at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant
Sleep under the stars in the Sahara, watch the sun rise over the dunes, ride a camel through the desert and explore the spectacular Todra Gorge. Is this all a dream?
Souq and ye shall find. The Marrakech marketplace is even more chaotic than you'd imagine. Take a deep breath before you start haggling your socks off with the locals
How about tasting some Berber Whisky? Even better, how about learning how to prepare this traditional drink? Learn from the experts on one of the exclusive demonstrations.
Who knows where the best street food is in Marrakech? Those who knows the streets of Marrakech best. Venture out for some street food tasting in the maze of Marrakech streets with the local expert.
Who doesn’t love a good walk? Enjoy alhike up the Atlas Mountains to the foot of Jebel Toubkal, the highest point in North Africa.
Run to Paradise Valley – you don’t want anyone to tell you the blue pools and waterfalls aren’t some of the most beautiful out there
It’s not a stretch to say that relaxing yoga lessons on the coast of South Morocco are a highlight of this adventure. You’ll get a chance to hang ten on a basic surf class too
Hendrix came to Essaouria for a reason – the city of the wind draws all sorts of artsy types thanks to its culture (and maybe it’s delicious grilled seafood too)
Is this trip right for you
As this is a combination of two itineraries, your group leader and the composition of your group may change in Marrakech, before heading out to Aroumd.
In a full-day tour around the Medina of Fes (Day 4), you'll be on your feet for a good five to six hours. Keep in mind that this is one of the highlights of Morocco and well worth the exertion!
The camel trek through the Sahara (Day 6) is an amazing way to experience the desert, but it may be painful on your backside. If you'd prefer, it's possible to walk alongside the caravan on the sand for about an hour (walk isn't too demanding, you'll be fine with basic level of fitness).
The Todra Gorge visit (Day 7) takes you to a remote area of Morocco. It is an amazing place to discover on foot, but to do so you'll need a moderate level of fitness and suitable footwear and clothing. If trekking isn’t your thing, have no fear, as there are plenty of other activities to do in the valley.
The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summer temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, especially if you're not used to the heat. If you do travel in the warmer months, bring the necessary sun protection and drink plenty of water.
In 2019, Ramadan will take place from 5 May to 4 June. It may cause some disturbance to your travel schedule. Some regular services may not be available or open during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars. Please consider your travel arrangements carefully.
Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco, please be aware that you may be approached regularly by shop owners and street vendors.
We've sourced our accommodation carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may be different to western standards.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Food and dietary requirements
Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced - kebab and bread cost only about MAD 30. In main towns it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from Mad 220 upwards. Generally dinner is likely to cost between MAD 80-120 depending on what you drink - so an estimate for food would be about MAD 150-200 a day. Soft drinks are available at very reasonable prices, but generally speaking alcohol is not widely available in Morocco due to the cultural and religious reasons. Still, in some hotels and restaurants you will be able to purchase beers, wines and spirits, but you can pay western prices or more for imported alcohol. Please be aware of local laws, believes and traditions, and be very sensitive and respectful while consuming alcohol. Your leader can help recommend restaurants each evening. Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian cous cous and tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case in rural parts of this itinerary. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform us prior to the trip. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.
The currency of Morocco is the dirham (MAD), divided into 100 centimes. Bank notes come in denominations of MAD 200, 100, 50 and 20. Smaller values are issued as coins in values of 10, 5, 1 as well as 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c. Changing money is easy and you will find banks and exchange bureaux in Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech. Please note that sometimes Australian dollars are not accepted in exchange bureaux or banks, so the safest option is to bring US dollars. In the desert and Atlas Mountains opportunities to exchange money are limited. There are ATMs in all major cities, which accept Visa cards, MasterCards and cards connected with Cirrus. Some ATMs, belonging to smaller banks, will not work so occasionally you may need to try two or three before you are successful. We would strongly recommend bringing a combination of cash and credit cards. Credit cards are useful for large purchases such as carpets or gold from a large store, but generally speaking they are not accepted in many places. Local restaurants, markets, and many hotels will only accept cash as payment for goods or services. Please ensure you only use banks, licensed money exchangers or hotels. We also suggest you keep your receipts. Do not change money with street touts. This is illegal.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest MAD20-30 per person per day for local guides. Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however MAD10 per person per day is generally appropriate. Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
PRICES IN MOROCCO
Morocco is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. With drinks, tipping and of course - shopping, it can all add up. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Morocco to be a budget destination.
In Morocco some services and products are not a fixed price which means that your bartering skills will be tested from hiring taxis to buying a souvenir in the Medina. This can be challenging for travellers who have not experienced this before. Ask your leaders for advice when you arrive however the best approach is to smile and have fun as this is an entrenched part of Moroccan culture.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
How much money? It is impossible to determine how much money you will need. We survey a number of our customers and the amounts vary enormously. Please take this information in the spirit in which it is given. We recommend you try to take more rather than less; you can always take it home.
Your tour includes breakfast each day and several other meals as indicated in the itinerary. You will therefore need additional funds to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. We suggest you allow between EUR230-280 for your extra food and drink requirements. Credit cards are accepted in most good shops and restaurants, however smaller outlets will generally only take local currency.
Shopping is a personal thing that varies enormously. On average, people spend between EUR25-50 on knick-knacks, ceramics and other souvenirs. If you have any plan to purchase a carpet, prices can be anything from EUR100-500, or more.
Finally, you should carry sufficient funds for shopping and any additional sightseeing/optional activities you may wish to undertake. You will find a suggested list (with approximate costs) in your trip notes.
What to take
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A soft-sided duffel bag is the ideal form of luggage. It is recommended that you keep your luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option, but preferably one without a frame. Many hotels used in Europe do not have lifts, so you must be able to carry your own luggage. Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday. - Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, Trip Notes - Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets - Spare passport photos - Money: cash/credit card/debit card - Money belt and small padlocks - Small first-aid kit - Daypack for use on day or overnight excursions - Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries) - Electrical adapter plug - Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes - Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses - Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers) - Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required) - Refillable water bottle - Phrase book - Warm clothes/fleece - when travelling in cooler climates - Wind and waterproof jacket - Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks - Camera - Swimwear CLOTHING We operate trips in Europe in spring, summer and the start of autumn. Bear in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place also depending on the time of year. Remember that quality rain gear is essential for any destination - you’ll enjoy your holiday to the fullest if you’re prepared for all kinds of weather! Laundry facilities are available in some destinations. FOOTWEAR If you are purchasing new footwear for your trip we recommend that you undertake some walking before-hand to ensure that they are comfortable and are the correct size. In any event we advise some preparatory walking before you commence your trip.
DRONES IN MOROCCO: Please note that drones are not permitted to enter or be used in Morocco, either for personal or professional/commercial use.
Climate and seasonal
Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather.
Winter (approx November to March) can be very cold. Particularly in the mountains or near the desert, night temperatures can drop to 5 degrees Celsius or less. Even in the hot months out in the desert it can get cold at night. It is recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter. Some of our guesthouses / hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It is also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers.
Summer (approx May to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. A hat is essential.
In 2019, the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 5 May through until 4 June, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.
Eid Al Adha will take place in Morocco between the 11 and 13 of August 2019. This is also called a Sacrifice Feast and honours the sacrifice Abraham made of his own son. In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours; and the remaining third is retained by the family. Please expect delays or complete suspension of majority of the services during that time. For some, it may also be disturbing to see animals being sacrificed, as this does take place in public places sometimes.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Morocco Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below:
Intrepid's Local Operator: +212 661 922 693
Travelling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have an incredible trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're travelling in. How can you be a Responsible Traveller? See our tips below:
- Choose to travel with a responsible travel company like us! We've already offset the main carbon emissions of your trip, so your footprint is already lighter.
- Consider offsetting your flights when you book your trip/flights with us or your travel agent.
- Bring a refillable water bottle and some water purification tablets (or a Steripen) to cut down on plastic bottle waste.
- Be an animal-friendly traveller. Only go to venues that respect animals by allowing them to live normally in their natural environment. Steer clear of venues that use animals for entertainment or abnormal activities and/or keep animals in poor and unnatural conditions.
- Eat at local restaurants, buy from regional artists and support social enterprises so you can contribute directly to locals and their economy.
- Always be respectful of local customs and ask permission if you want to take a photo of someone.
- Learn a few words of the local language and engage with the people around you.
- Carry a cloth or re-usable bag so you can avoid plastic bags.
- Give back by making a donation to a local project via The Intrepid Foundation.
Share your thoughts with us by completing your feedback form after your trip. This helps us to continue to improve our commitment to responsible travel.
We've sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels or hostels in line with the Intrepid style of travel. Yes, we do cool, mostly central and often very original accommodation in Morocco, but remember, occasionally we are not in the right centre of action, which means you may need to hop on a public transport to get to the city centre (or grab a lovely old Merc taxi – plenty of them around). Please note that service and accommodation in Morocco is not quite the same standard you are used to. Your accommodation will not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. In fact, on Intrepid trips you may sometimes share your room with more than one person. But that certainly isn’t the rule.
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.
Some of our guesthouses/hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It's also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers, which are a pleasure for most of the year. Air-conditioning systems (if available) don't always function.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience.
Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. Sharing a room can be a great way to get to know people quickly and make close friends. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
Desert camp (1 night),Guesthouse (2 nights),Budget Hotel (11 nights),mountain gite (1 night),surf camp (2 nights)