Best of Morocco – For Solo Travellers
from $1625
Duration: 15 Days
Meet a new travel crew on a solo traveller-only adventure through Morocco, visiting the hotspots from Casablanca to Marrakech. Travel from the Atlas Mountains to the endless sands of the Sahara, the medieval old town of Fes to the spice markets of Marrakech and out to the Atlantic coast at Essaouira. Admire the colourful mix between old and new, learn about ancient fallen cities and cross paths with nomadic Berber communities. You’ll travel and stay the local way, and with a leader to get you straight into the action, discover the many mysteries hidden within these majestic lands.
  • Under the eye of a local guide during a walking tour, feel like you've travelled back to the Middle Ages in the labyrinthine medina of Fes.
  • Trek through scenic countryside and traditional villages in the Atlas Mountains and stay in a traditional Berber homestay to better understand the customs of this nomadic community.
  • What could be more ‘Morocco’ than a Sahara camping experience? A camel trek through the dramatic red dunes at sunset as well, of course.
  • Kick back in the coastal town of Essaouira, perhaps enjoying a fresh seafood barbecue on the waterfront and strolling the charming seaside laneways.
  • Take a guided tour through Marrakech's lively medina and join the nightly carnival of fortune-tellers, dancers and medicine men at Djemaa el-Fna in the heart of the city.
  • Rabat - Leader-led walking tour
  • Volubilis - Entrance and Guided Tour
  • Fes - Medina guided walking tour
  • Walk and visit of Berrem village
  • Tinejdad - Museum El Khorbat
  • Atlas Mountains - Half-day hike
  • Essaouira - Guided walking tour
  • Marrakech - Dinner on Djemaa el Fna
  • Day 1 Location: Casablanca
    Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins today with a welcome meeting at around 6 pm. As there's little free time included in Casablanca on this trip, why not arrive a day earlier and discover the art deco buildings and modern-day masterpiece of the Hassan II Mosque. You could wander the old medina and the city walls then jump in a taxi to visit the Quartiers des Habous (new medina). Finish the day with a walk along the Corniche, watching the locals play football on the beach, or take it easy with a glass of sweet mint tea in one of the many great cafes.
    Day 2 Location: Rabat – Meknes
    This morning take a 1-hour train to Rabat. The town's history is long and colourful, including Roman settlements, pirates and, more recently, the Moroccan parliament. Store your luggage at your accommodation, then head out for a walking tour of the city's Old Quarter and the Kasbah des Oudaias. Catch your breath and enjoy views over the Atlantic Ocean from this prime spot. Next, board another train for the 3-hour journey to Meknes. After getting settled into your hotel the rest of your evening is free. The imperial city of Meknes was built when Sultan Moulay Ismail (a contemporary of Louis XIV) set out to create his own version of Versailles, using over 25,000 slaves to construct walls, gates and over 50 palaces.
    Day 3 Location: Volubilis – Fes
    This morning, there's free time for you to explore Meknes independently. Your leader can give you advice on where to grab lunch or explore. Later, board a private vehicle and make the 1-hour drive through rolling hills and olive groves to the World Heritage-listed archaeological site of Volubilis. On arrival, take a guided tour around the ruins of the Roman capital. Afterwards, make the 2-hour drive to Fes, where you'll spend the next two nights soaking up this vibrant, noisy and fascinating city. On arrival in Fes, the rest of your time is free. 
    Day 4 Location: Fes
    Begin exploring Fes today with a guided walking tour of the Old City, known locally as Fes el Bali. Step back into the Middle Ages in the labyrinth of the medina, which is alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries and mosques. Pass donkeys piled high with goods and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Visit the Belghazi Museum, Medresse el Attarine and splendid Funduk Nejjarine – a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. You'll also see the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramics factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. In the evening, choose whether you would like to partake in an optional group dinner of Moroccan specialities. 
    Day 5 Location: Midelt
    Board a private vehicle and leave the city behind for Midelt in the scenic Middle Atlas Mountains (approximately 4 hours). Drive south through a variety of spectacular landscapes including fertile valleys, cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes. Nestled in a valley, Midelt is a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area and surrounded by farmland and orchards. On arrival, stretch your legs with a visit to the nearby village of Berrem and take a closer look at local farming life.
    Day 6 Location: Sahara Camp
    This morning make a 5-hour drive towards the mighty Sahara Desert, with stops en route to admire views of Kasbahs and palmeries. Pass by frontier towns like Erfoud and Rissani before reaching the end of the road at the small Saharan settlement of Merzouga. Drop off your luggage at your overnight camp on the edge of the desert and mount a camel for a 1-hour sunset ride into the dunes. Spend the night in a camp under the stars, sitting back and relaxing while our local friends prepare your small group a hearty feast.
    Day 7 Location: Todra Gorge
    This morning you can choose to wake up early and take a walk up a nearby dune for a spectacular sunrise over the desert. Return to camp for a traditional breakfast and then make the 5-hour drive to Todra Gorge. On the way, visit the oasis museum of El Khorbat. Arrive at your accomoodation in the late afternoon or early evening. The rest of your night is free for you to take in the epic scenery – sprawling green valleys and rocks sculpted into stunning formations by the wind – where you will be based for the next few nights. 
    Day 8 Location: Todra Gorge
    Today you have have free time to explore the Todra Valley, which you can do at your own pace or on a guided hike. There are a couple of circuits to choose from, but the most popular choice is a ten-kilometre circuit that takes about 4 hours and travels through Amazigh (Berber) villages for a chance to meet locals. For lunch, choose whether you would like to join some local ladies in their mud-brick kasbah – a great opportunity to see local lives in action. Otherwise, lounging by the hotel pool with views over the palmeries and cliff faces is also a good option.
    Day 9 Location: Ait Benhaddou
    Travel south today on a 4-hour drive to Ait Benhaddou, travelling past ancient kasbah ruins, former colonial military outposts and valleys lined with palm trees. Grab lunch en route in Ouarzazate – a popular filming location. Time permitting, you can take a tour of the local Atlas Movie Studios before you continue to Ait Benhaddou. Centuries ago this was an important stop for caravans carrying salt across the Sahara. Today its grand kasbah – a fine example of clay architecture – has been listed as a World Heritage site. Your time is free on arrival, but you might want to attend an optional cooking demonstration in the afternoon to learn the secrets behind Moroccan specialities like couscous and tagine.
    Day 10 Location: Aroumd
    Travel by private vehicle over the spectacular Tizi n'Tichka Pass to Toubkal National Park (approximately 5 hours). At the end of the road in Imlil, store your main luggage and load a daypack onto a pack mule. Walk into traditional mountain village life with a 1-hour trek to the peaceful village of Aroumd. If you don't feel comfortable with the walk, you can ride a mule instead. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the remote village of Aroumd offers stunning views across the High Atlas Mountains and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Amazigh (Berber) culture. Spend the night in a family-run mountain gite. Surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, meet the host family and enjoy some traditional hospitality and food.
    Day 11 Location: Essaouira
    Take a morning walk through the valleys and trails of the stunning Atlas Mountains. Afterwards, head to the Atlantic coast and the old fishing town of Essaouira (approximately 5 hours). Sandstone walkways contrast with whitewashed houses, bright blue sky and the sand of the surrounding beaches and dunes. It is one of North Africa's most attractive places, and you will soon find yourself slipping into the easy-going rhythm of this Moroccan town with a European seaside twist. Arriv your leisure. Your leader will guide you through some options for the rest of the day, such as observing a daily catch and seafood auctions or just to sit back and relax at a seaside cafe. 
    Day 12 Location: Essaouira
    Today, join a local guide for a walking tour through Essaouira’s old medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall). The rest of your day is free for you to explore at your own pace. Maybe head back to the port for a freshly cooked plate of today’s catch. Or you could browse the shops and art galleries that give this town its charm. If you’d prefer to relax, perhapsd indulge in a hammam.
    Day 13 Location: Marrakech
    Chat with locals on a public bus ride to Marrakech (approximately 3 hours) this morning. On arrival in the city, the afternoon is free. Meet with your group this evening for dinner at the famous Djemaa el-Fna – one of the world’s largest public spaces. When night falls on this square it transforms into a hive of activity. Henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies! 
    Day 14 Location: Marrakech
    Enjoy a free day in Marrakech to explore at your own pace. You could check out the Medina for some last-minute shopping. Or maybe you'd rather see the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle. Your leader knows all of the highlights, so be sure to ask of their favourites. Tonight, consider venturing back to Djemaa el-Fna to dine at one of the outdoor restaurants or search for a rooftop bar for a fascinating view over the square.
    Day 15 Location: Marrakech
    There are no activities planned for today and your tour comes to an end after breakfast. If you would like to spend more time in Marrakech, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). Chat to a booking agent.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    15DEC2020
    Return Date:
    29DEC2020
    1625NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    17 Sep 2020

    Trip title

    Best of Morocco – For Solo Travellers

    Trip code

    STXMSC

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Meet a new travel crew on a solo traveller-only adventure through Morocco, visiting the hotspots from Casablanca to Marrakech. Travel from the Atlas Mountains to the endless sands of the Sahara, the medieval old town of Fes to the spice markets of Marrakech and out to the Atlantic coast at Essaouira. Admire the colourful mix between old and new, learn about ancient fallen cities and cross paths with nomadic Berber communities. You’ll travel and stay the local way, and with a leader to get you straight into the action, discover the many mysteries hidden within these majestic lands.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Camel,Private Bus,Public bus,Taxi,Train

    Physical Rating

    2

    Physical preparation

    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 point

    Hotel Amouday

    51, Rue Taher Sebti

    Casablanca

    MOROCCO

    Joining point description

    Hotel Amouday is located in the heart of Casablanca, near the medina (historic quarter) and the Place Mohamed V. Convenient location will allow you to discover the city with no hassle. Hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi and 24/7 service.

    Joining point instructions

    Taxis are easy to locate from outside the airport for the 25 kilometre journey into Casablanca city centre. The Taxis are large Mercedes vehicles and have no meter. You need to agree on the price before you get in! The rate is MAD 250 (EUR 25) during daylight hours and MAD 300 after 8.00pm Alternatively take a local train from the airport into the central station (Casablanca Voyageurs). Hotel Amouday is located about 30 min walk from the station, but there is a tram service that could take you to the T.Cinema Rif stop on the Avenue des FAR. Walk from there is less than 10 minutes. Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport: If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, the driver will be waiting for you outside the exit of the arrivals hall in Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. Your driver will be holding a board with the Intrepid logo or your name. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact to the Transport Company emergency phone number: +212 662529286 or Peak Emergency Number: +212 66192 2693

    Finish point

    Hotel Les Trois Palmiers

    18 Rue Loubnane

    Gueliz

    Marrakech

    MOROCCO

    Phone: +212 524457801

    Finish point description

    Hotel Les Trois Palmiers has 50 rooms equipped with TV, air-conditioning, phone and Wi-Fi. The hotel is in Marrakech's new town of Gueliz surrounded by plenty of restaurants, cafes and shopping options. Other hotel facilities include a restaurant and pool. It takes only a few minutes by taxi to reach the Old Medina and gardens.

    Finish point instructions

    Marrakech Menara Airport (airport code RAK) is approximately 5km from the city centre. Petite taxis (small cars which are light brown in colour) can easily be hailed from the street, or ask the hotel to assist. Negotiate the fare before getting in. If you have pre booked a departure transfer you will be collected at the hotel reception 3 hours before your flight departure time. Please reconfirm your departure transfers with your tour leader. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +212 6 61 24 31 06 and +212 6 66 19 27 66. Onward travel to Casablanca: Trains from Marrakech to Casablanca depart every 2 hours throughout the day. The trip is scheduled to take approximately 3 hours but is subject to frequent delays. From Casablanca Voyageurs Railway Station, trains run to Casablanca airport (airport code CMN) approximately every two hours. Please check up-to-date timetables online: oncf.ma (in French). Please note that we can also organise a private transfer for you from your Marrakech hotel to Casablanca airport.

    Alternate Finish point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

    06 Apr 2021 (STXMSC210406), 20 Apr 2021 (STXMSC210420), 05 Oct 2021 (STXMSC211005), 12 Oct 2021 (STXMSC211012), 23 Nov 2021 (STXMSC211123)

    Hotel Meriem

    154, Rue Med El Beqal Street Guéliz

    Marrakech

    MOROCCO

    Alternate Finish point description

    This hotel has large spacious rooms with air-conditioning and television. The hotel has a swimming pool and wifi is available in the rooms.

    Alternate Finish point instructions

    Marrakech Menara Airport is approx. 5km from the city centre. Petite taxis (small cars which are light brown in colour) can easily be hailed from the street, or ask the hotel to assist. Negotiate the fare before getting in and aim to pay no more than 100MAD (150MAD at night). If you have pre booked a departure transfer, You will be collected at the hotel reception 3 hours before your flight departure time. Please reconfirm your departure transfers with your tour leader. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact to the Transport company emergency phone number: +212 66124 3106 and +212 66619 2766 or Peak Number +212 66192 2693 Departure from Casablanca: For those of you that are flying out of Casablanca: Trains from Marrakech to Casablanca, depart every hour between 4:50am and 7:00pm for the price it’s changing depends on seats available on each train (the clients can check on line or they will get the price on the SPOT). The trip is scheduled to take 3 hours & 35 minutes and is subject to frequent delays also the clients need to change the train in Oasis train station. Check the useful website (in French) for more information - www.oncf.ma From Casablanca Voyageurs Station, trains run to the Casablanca airport every two hours at 13 mins past the hour between 03h13 and 22h13. From Casa L’oasis (first station in Casablanca), trains run to the airport every two hours at 20 mins past the hour between 03h20 and 22h20. The trip takes 35 minutes. Check the useful website (in French) for more information - www.oncf.ma Alternatively, from Casablanca city the 25km taxi ride to the Casablanca airport costs MAD250 (EUR25) Please note that private transfer from Marrakech hotel to Casablanca airport are available for sale.

    Important information

    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT A single supplement is available on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include Days 6 & 10, 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 for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night. There is a limited number of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability, please contact an Intrepid booking agent. RAMADAN In 2020, Ramadan will take place from 23 April through until 22 May. This is the holiest month of the year for Muslims around the world. Many festivals are marked as Islamic Holidays, which may cause some disturbance to your travels around this time. Some regular services may not be available or open during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars. Please consider your travel arrangements carefully. COMMISSION 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. 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, and funds 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 endeavours 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. DESERT CAMP 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 at the edge of the desert, close to the local accommodation, otherwise called an auberge. After checking in to your camp, 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 used inside the dunes – you will be sleeping 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 travellers who visit this part of Morocco.

    Group leader

    All 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 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 group leaders. 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.

    Safety

    SCAMS: When walking through touristy areas of cities you may be approached by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or take you to a local spice shop. They will either ask to be your local guide for the day or expect money when you arrive at your destination. Please note these people are not registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you (or 'la shukran') should suffice. WOMEN'S SAFETY: 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 the 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: https://smartraveller.gov.au/guide/pages/female-travellers.aspx https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-british-nationals-overseas/2010-to-2015-government-policy-british-nationals-overseas#appendix-2-advice-for-women-travellers 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 a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. FIRE PRECAUTIONS: 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!

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for most up to date information. Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans, EU and British citizens do not require a visa to visit Morocco for stays up to 90 days. All other nationalities should check with the Moroccan Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information.

    Why we love it

    Under the eye of a local guide during a walking tour, feel like you've travelled back to the Middle Ages in the labyrinthine medina of Fes.

    Trek through scenic countryside and traditional villages in the Atlas Mountains and stay in a traditional Berber homestay to better understand the customs of this nomadic community.

    What could be more ‘Morocco’ than a Sahara camping experience? A camel trek through the dramatic red dunes at sunset as well, of course.

    Kick back in the coastal town of Essaouira, perhaps enjoying a fresh seafood barbecue on the waterfront and strolling the charming seaside laneways.

    Take a guided tour through Marrakech's lively medina and join the nightly carnival of fortune-tellers, dancers and medicine men at Djemaa el-Fna in the heart of the city.

    Is this trip right for you

    This trip is for solo travellers only, made for those who wish to explore with other solo travellers. When travelling in Morocco, temperatures can get extremely hot. Have a think about what time of year suits you best to travel. This trip has departures that run during Ramadan. During this time, some restaurants and shops are closed, but you'll get unique insight into local customs. See Important Notes for more details. Accommodation on this trip includes a Sahara camp, traditional mountain gite, guesthouse and hotel, some with basic facilities. For more details on specific logistical information for this trip, see the Important Notes and Essential Trip Information sections located below the trip itinerary.

    Health

    DRINKING WATER: As a rule, we recommend you don't drink tap water in Morocco, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people, this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally, this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about two to three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are recommended for you to pack in your personal first aid kit. ASTHMA: For some travellers, the desert sand and dust can bring on bouts of asthma. If you suffer from asthma even occasionally, we recommend you bring your medication as it cannot be administered by your group leader and may not be readily available while you are travelling. A light scarf or face mask can also be helpful for all travellers.

    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 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.

    Money matters

    CURRENCY 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. TIPPING 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 tipping amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. Restaurants: At local markets and basic restaurants we suggest leaving the loose change. At more up-market restaurants tipping 5% to 10% of your bill is recommended. 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. We suggest budgeting around MAD20-30 per person, per day for this but the exact amount may vary depending on your Morocco itinerary. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline EUR2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. 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. BARGAINING 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. EMERGENCY FUNDS 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. COMMISSIONS 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. BUDGET Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest EUR 385.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

    What to take

    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.

    Climate and seasonal

    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. RAMADAN & EID UL-FITR The important month of Ramadan will from 12 April -11 May 2021 and 2 April - 1 May 2022, 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 refrains 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 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.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    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/

    Emergency contact

    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

    Responsible travel

    Morocco can be considered a liberal Muslim country as many Moroccan women do not wear headscarves. However, Morocco is very conservative when compared with standards you may be accustomed to at home and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders, cleavage and knees should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts (men and women), low-cut tops, and showing midriff is not recommended as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes, and is considered disrespectful to the local culture. Long, light-coloured, lightweight sleeved shirts, trousers, and skirts are respectful, cover your body, keep you cool in the heat and protect you from the harsh sun. In Morocco, we have built strong links with local communities, craftspeople, animal hospitals, artists, and the handicapped - all of which directly rely on the assistance of donations and products purchased by our travellers and other visitors. We offer Intrepid travellers an opportunity to interact with locals, to value their activities and crafts and help towards sustaining their livelihoods. While on our trips to Morocco you'll have the opportunity to meet plenty of local people. Depending on which trip you choose there's a chance to enjoy a meal in a local family's house in Ait Benhaddou, spend a night in a family guesthouse in the High Atlas Mountains or in the pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss, or share a camp with a nomadic family in Dades Gorge. These experiences will give you a better understanding of the way of life for a rural Moroccan family. You'll also have some fun by learning how to make Morocco's most famous dish, couscous. Wherever possible, we contract local Moroccan suppliers and assist them to improve the quality of their services. By booking this tour, you'll be helping us to support service providers, artists, small businesses, guesthouse owners, and the disadvantaged in communities throughout Morocco. We use local guides with wide experience and knowledge of cultural traditions and an ability to interpret the cultural heritage of the people in the places visited.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Morocco include: * Education For All (EFA) Morocco, which was founded in response to high illiteracy rates among women and girls. EFA provides boarding houses to girls missing out on high school because they live too far away from secondary schools in their region. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/education-for-all For more information, or to make a donation please visit: https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/page/projects

    Accommodation notes

    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.

    Transport notes

    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.

    Travel insurance

    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. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

    Your fellow travellers

    GROUP TRAVEL 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. 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. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES 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 review this information 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 such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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