Morocco Retreat: Ouirgane

Trip Code: XMLO

Why we love it

Tap into the nomadic spirit of the Imazighen (Berbers) with a hike through the red earth hills and green-dotted valleys of a place that feels beyond the reach of the modern world., Break bread with a local Imazighen family in their village, and get an insight into daily life in the High Atlas region., Learn the secrets behind tea, tanorte and tagine with a cooking demonstration and, best of all, feast on the delicious dishes for lunch., Enjoy the comfort of your locally owned, unpack-once accommodation, where you’ll experience traditional Amazigh (Berber) hospitality and the small touches that make all the difference.

Is this trip right for me?

Please ensure you consult your local government’s advice regarding domestic travel prior to booking this trip.

This trip includes a hiking tour in the High Atlas Mountains. This will take approximately 3 hours and difficulty of the walk will be adjusted to group abilities. A basic level of fitness and appropriate footwear and clothing will allow you to fully enjoy this inclusion.

If you wish to spend more time in Casablanca or Marrakech, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summer temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, especially for those who aren't accustomed to the heat, so please consider carefully what time of year you travel. If you do travel in the warmer months, pack layers to cover you from the sun, bring the necessary sun protection and drink plenty of water.

In 2022, Ramadan will take place from 2 April to 1 May. Travelling during this holy month can be a rewarding cultural experience, however some regular services may not be available during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars, and occasionally travel can be disrupted by events. Your leader will adjust the itinerary accordingly, but please consider your travel arrangements carefully before booking travel for this period.

This trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations and working with new partners can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.

Important information

1. This trip starts in Marrakech on Day 1 at 11am. The group will depart immediately for Ouirgane. This trip finishes upon arrival in Marrakech on Day 4. Please do not book any flights until after 2pm this afternoon.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. 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 host 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 host bonuses. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group host 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.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips, you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Please follow the link for the Intrepid’s ultimate packing list. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas inside the bus or your cabin. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

WATER BOTTLE
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1-litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micro pure. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

SLEEPING BAGS
Sleeping bags consume valuable space in your luggage and can be a pain. However in the winter months (from November to March), there may not be enough heating (sometimes none) or sufficient blankets to keep everyone warm, we recommend bringing your own sleeping bag. Unfortunately sleeping bags can not be hired/rented while on the trip and are not easy to find for purchase. Buy a small sleeping bag before you leave, it will definitely come in handy, particularly if you tend to feel the cold., DRONES IN MOROCCO
Please note that drones are not permitted to enter or be used in Morocco, neither for personal nor professional/commercial use.

Physical rating

 
2

A good level of fitness is recommended and will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip and help you to make the most of the variety of optional walks and hikes around towns and villages.

Joining your group

Hotel Opera Plaza, Angle Avenue Mohammed VI et Avenue Hassan II -Marrakech-, Marrakech, MOROCCO

Hotel Opera Plaza features 3 restaurants, a full-service spa, free Wi-Fi and an outdoor swimming pool. Rooms include a TV with satellite channels, private bathroom facilities and safes.

Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

Hotel Opera Plaza, Angle Avenue Mohammed VI et Avenue Hassan II -Marrakech-, Marrakech, MOROCCO

Hotel Opera Plaza features 3 restaurants, a full-service spa, free Wi-Fi and an outdoor swimming pool. Rooms include a TV with satellite channels, private bathroom facilities and safes.

If you have a confirmed departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends. If your driver has not arrived within 30 minutes of the scheduled pick up time, or your departing flight is cancelled or changed, please contact the transfer operator directly: +212 0661243106 and +212 0666192766.

Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approximately MAD100 - MAD200 to prebook. If hailing a taxi on the street, the price should be agreed before entering the vehicle. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 3

Lunches included: 2

Dinners included: 3

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 for cultural and religious reasons. Still, in some hotels and restaurants, you will be able to purchase beer, wine and spirits, but you will pay foreign 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 couscous and tajine or omelets. 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.

Climate & seasonal information

WEATHER IN MOROCCO
As a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather. Winter (November to March) can be very cold, particularly in the mountains and the desert, with overnight temperatures dropping to 5 degrees Celsius or below. Even in summer the desert gets cold at night. It is recommended to bring a sleeping bag, thermals, a scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter.  Please be prepared for cold showers.

Summer (May to September) can be very hot everywhere, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. 

Some of our guesthouses/hotels are unable to supply heating or air conditioning as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It is also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which are limited in some places.

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAIN PASSES
On this trip, you will cross the High Atlas Mountains through the impressive Tizi n’Tichka pass that rises to the altitude of 2,260 metres above sea level (7,415 ft). It is a great mountain road with breathtaking views. During the winter months (November to March) this part of Morocco can be hit by heavy snowfalls and it is possible for Tizi n’Tichka to become impassable. This usually lasts only for a day until authorities have a chance to clear the road. In the event of a snowstorm, your itinerary may be required to change. This is dealt with on the ground and depending on the situation we may re-route your itinerary or reverse it.

EID AL-ADHA
Eid Al-Adha (Sacrifice Feast) will take place in Morocco between 20th and 21st July 2021. This festival 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 public services during that time which may be disruptive to the trip's schedule. For some, it may also be disturbing to see animals being sacrificed, as this can take place in public.

RAMADAN
The important month of Ramadan will be in progress 22 March - 20 April 2023 and 10 March to 08 April 2024, 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.

In case of emergency

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. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

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

Accommodations

RETREAT STYLE ACCOMMODATION
We know where you stay is just as important as where you go. That’s why we’ve carefully selected memorable, comfortable, locally run accommodation where you’ll connect with and support the local community. They might be a convenient journey from major cities, but Intrepid Retreats feel a world away. And with the ease of unpacking once for your whole trip, you’ll get more time to travel slow and properly immerse yourself in the local area.

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 BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis. A single supplement is bookable at an extra cost, subject to availability. Please enquire with your booking agent.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
In most locations we are able to book additional nights at your request. Please enquire with your booking agent.

Transportation

There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from the main tourist routes. High passes, windy roads, and rough surfaces make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days, we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort. The best part about all of these long drives is the spectacular views and fun stops en route such as mountain passes, kasbahs, palmeries, sand dunes, goats up trees, etc.

We also use public transport on some of our trips around Morocco. Be it a train or a public bus, remember that the best part of it is the possibility to interact with local people traveling along with you.


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