Best of Morocco

Trip Code: XMSC

Why we love it

Under the eye of a local tour guide, feel like you've travelled back to the Middle Ages in the labyrinthine medina of Fes., Stay in a traditional Berber homestay high in the Atlas Mountains, to better understand the culture and tradition of an indigenous population who have stood the test of time., Take the opportunity to trek through the dramatic red dunes of the Sahara on a camel, experiencing an unforgettable sunset experience., Kick back in the coastal town of Essaouira and discover at your own pace, enjoying a fresh seafood barbecue on the waterfront., Marrakech’s Djemaa el-Fna is a city within a city. Explore one of the world’s largest meeting places, joining the night’s carnival atmosphere of fortune-tellers, dancers, and medicine men.

Is this trip right for me?

On Day 4 of the trip, you'll embark on a full-day tour around the Medina of Fes. While you'll be on your feet for at least five to six hours, this is one of the highlights of Morocco and well worth any weariness at the end of the long day.

On Day 6, the group will take a camel trek through the Sahara. You will set off from your camp on the edge of a desert and loop back. This is a great way to experience the desert, but if you'd prefer, it's possible to walk alongside the caravan on the sand for about an hour. The walk is not very demanding and you manage with a basic level of fitness.

On Day 8 you'll visit Todra Gorge. This remote area of Morocco is an amazing place to discover on foot, but to do so you'll need a moderate level of fitness and have the relevant footwear and clothing with you. If trekking isn’t really your thing, have no fear, as there are plenty of other activities to do in the valley.

On Day 10, the group will trek to the village of Aroumd in the High Atlas Mountains. The walk takes about an hour up steep, rocky steps. Your main luggage will be left behind and only hand luggage can be carried to the village for you. You'll spend the night in a traditional Berber house at the foot of Mt Toubkal.

Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be extremely high in Morocco (over 40°C), which can make things uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat, 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.

As Morocco has a tipping culture, travellers are expected to tip small amounts for most services, so please be prepared. Your trip leader and the 'Money Matters' section of our Essential Trip Information will help to provide you with some suggestions as to what amounts are appropriate.

Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco, please be aware that you may be approached by shop owners and street vendors offering their goods to you on regular occasions.

We've sourced our accommodation very 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 differ from western standards.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement exclude Day 6 (Desert Camp) and Day 10 (Gite Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
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.
2. 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 travelers. 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 centralized system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, and funds are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travelers and drinking water refilling stations), traveler 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 travelers 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 traveler is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
3. Due to environmental concerns and to improve safety and consistent quality of desert camp experiences, in early 2019 the Moroccan government restricted overnight camping inside the Erg Chebbi dunes. This means that groups on this trip are no longer able to camp overnight inside the dunes and the desert experience will now operate as follows:
Your desert camp is set at the edge of the desert, close to the local accommodation, otherwise called an auberge. After checking in to your camp, you will set off for a camel ride into the dunes and loop back to your camp at the edge of a desert. The camp set up is identical with the one we used inside the dunes; you will be slipping in Nomadic tents, local food will be served and you will have an option to dine outside. You will also be free to climb nearby dunes for a sunset or sunrise the next morning.
While we are disappointed at the timing of the decision and that this has meant changes to our original program, as a responsible tour operator, we support the rationale of reducing the environmental impact of our stay in at the Erg Chebbi dunes and improving safety for all travelers who visit to this part of Morocco.

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

Morocco is a country which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Heat, pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. In Morocco there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by Morocco.

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

Early mornings:
On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination.

Physical fitness levels:
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 Al Walid, Place Sidi Mohamed Belvedere, Casablanca, MOROCCO, Phone: +212 522418600

Hotel Al Walid is conveniently located opposite the main train station in Casablanca from where it is easy to discover the city. The hotel offers a sauna and a highly rated restaurant. Rooms are equipped with flat-screen TV, air conditioning and a minibar. Staff is available to help with any queries 24/7.

Joining instructions

Please make sure that you provide your flight details no later than 14 days before departure to book your arrival transfer with us. For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll be met outside your arrival terminal (1 or 2) at Casablanca Airport (CMN) by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. The driver will wait a maximum of one hour from the time the plane lands. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +212 0661553407 or +212 0667295363.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the airport to your hotel. The price should be agreed before entering the vehicle and should be approximately MAD250 during daylight hours and MAD300 at night.

Finishing your trip

Hotel Le Caspien, 12 Rue Loubnane, Gueliz, Marrakech, 40000, MOROCCO, Phone: +212 524422282

Hotel Le Caspien has 40 rooms equipped with TV, air-conditioning, phone, Wi-Fi and private bathrooms. The hotel is in Marrakech's new town of Gueliz surrounded by plenty of restaurants, cafes and shopping options. Other hotel facilities include 2 restaurants and a small pool. It takes only a few minutes by taxi to reach the Old Medina and gardens.

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: 14

Lunches included: 2

Dinners included: 4

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.

EID AL-ADHA
Eid Al-Adha (Sacrifice Feast) will take place in Morocco 19 - 23 July 2021 and 9 - 13 July 2022. 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 schedule. For some, it may also be disturbing to see animals being sacrificed, as this can take place in public.

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.

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:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +212 661 922 693

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties 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 or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

We've sourced our accommodation very 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 from standards you are used to at home.

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.

RIADS
On each departure of this trip, we aim to spend at least one night in a traditional Moroccan riad. In the height of the season, however unlikely, there may be an occasion when contracting a full group in a riad will be impossible due to high demand and availability.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multi-share basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite (even if you paid for single room supplement!) and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

HEATING
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.

CHECK-IN TIME
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.

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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