Premium Morocco Explorer with Essaouira
from $4380
Duration: 15 Days
Whether you’re stargazing in the Sahara, breaking bread with the locals or exploring fabled ruins, Morocco is filled to the brim with soul-stirring moments. Set off on a 15-day Premium journey through buzzing cities, tranquil oases, vast deserts and laidback beaches. Explore Meknes’s animated medina, the lively Djemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech and the laidback seaside town of Essaouira. Learn the secrets of bread making in Ourika, eat pastilla in the home of a Fes family and spend an unforgettable evening in a Sahara desert camp. With so many different worlds under one North African sky, a local leader brings the best of the country to light.
  • Dive into the Moroccan way of life as you travel with a local leader and guides, visit a typical home in Fes, meet the women of the Tawesna social enterprise in Ait Benhaddou and enjoy a bread making workshop with local women in Ourika.
  • Soak in sweeping views from the rooftop of your feature stay hotel in the heart of the Fes medina, offering incredible hospitality and beautiful, traditional touches in every corner.
  • Marvel at Morocco’s iconic sights during visits to the ruins of Volubilis, the remarkable Sahara Desert, the timeless Ait Benhaddou, the tranquil oasis of Skoura and the bustling cities of Fes and Marrakech.
  • See a different side of Morocco when you explore mellow markets, relax on golden beaches and enjoy a freshly caught seafood lunch in the laidback seaside city of Essaouira.
  • Discover Morocco’s culinary wonders, including a traditional feast at a restaurant in Casablanca, picnic at the ruins of Volubilis, fresh seafood lunch in Essaouira and medfouna demonstration in Khemliya.
  • Casablanca - Welcome Dinner
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Casablanca - Hassan II Mosque
  • Rabat - Hassan Tower
  • Rabat - Kasbah Les Oudayas
  • Rabat - Mausoleum Mohammed V
  • Meknes - Medina walking tour
  • Meknes - Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
  • Volubilis - Entrance and guided tour
  • Volubilis - Picnic Lunch
  • Fes - Home-cooked Pastilla Dinner
  • Fes - Medina walking tour
  • Fes - Al-Attarine Madrasa
  • Fes - Funduq al-Najjarin
  • Sahara Desert - Camel ride
  • Sahara Desert - Amazigh dinner with Gnaoua music
  • Khemliya - Village walking tour
  • Khemliya - Medfouna cooking demonstration
  • Sahara Desert - Camel ride
  • Todra Gorge - Hike
  • Day 1 Location: Casablanca
    Welcome to Morocco! Your adventure begins in Casablanca, where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. A welcome meeting will take place here at 6pm, where you will meet your local leader and your new travel companions. If you arrive with time to spare, you may like to visit the Villa des Arts, a gorgeous Art Deco gallery featuring exhibitions of contemporary Moroccan art. If you are looking for a different type of cultural experience, then you can discover a unique and fascinating part of Moroccan history at the Museum of Judaism. This evening, celebrate the beginning of a new adventure with a wonderful banquet style dinner with your group, set in the courtyard of a beautiful riad. Nowhere is Morocco’s cultural heritage more evident than in its food, and tonight you’ll have the chance to try classic dishes like tagine, cous cous and pastilla.
    Day 2 Location: Meknes
    This morning you will visit one of the most impressive sites in Casablanca - the massive edifice of the Mosque of Hassan II. Second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca, the huge building sits partly on land and partly over sea, and is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. Later, leave Casablanca and drive north along the coast to Rabat, the elegant capital of Morocco and its first Imperial city. Start your visit with a walk through the medina and souks, then explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias, where you’ll enjoy an included mint tea in a little treasure of a café overlooking the ocean and Bou Regreg river. Afterwards, continue the walk to visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the vast minaret of the Mosque of Hassan II. In the late afternoon, continue on to Meknes, the former capital of Morocco.
    Day 3 Location: Fes
    This morning you will discover the charming streets of Meknes’s medina - the old walled section of the city. There’s something particularly special about exploring this lesser-known medina as the locals go about their daily lives. Walk to the shrine of Moulay Ismail, visit the granaries and stop by a local market selling vegetables, olives and sweets. Drive on to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, where a local guide will show you around and help you imagine the bustling city that once was. Enjoy a picnic lunch of fresh bread, cheese and seasonal fruits and olives from the market. Continue on to the city of Fes and arrive at the Riad Salam, a beautifully restored oasis in the heart of the medina and your feature stay for the next two nights. From dramatic mosaic floors to carved cedar wood ceilings and everything in between - this building is a treat for the eyes. Relax in spacious rooms with modern comforts, unwind in the hammam or head to the roof terrace for sweeping views of Fes. Prepare for a treat this evening as you are warmly welcomed into the home of a local family for a pastilla dinner. Learn how the iconic Moroccan pie is made as you chat with your friendly hosts about life in Fes.
    Day 4 Location: Fes
    Today head into the Old Town, known locally as Fes el Bali. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture, both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and libraries are legendary, its mosques of great renown. Your leader will share stories of the city’s history as you walk through the twisting streets and alleyways, passing donkeys piled high with goods, and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Filled with historic khans, medresses and dye-pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and soups, and where the squawk of chickens, smell of spice and sound of hammering of copper fills the air. Spend the day exploring the old city, visiting Al-Attarine Madrasa, the tanneries and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th-century inn.
    Day 5 Location: Erfoud
    Today, leave the intensity of the city behind for the desert oasis town of Erfoud. Prepare for a long driving day and have your camera ready as there will be plenty of stops to appreciate the ever-changing Moroccan landscape along the way. Wind past olive groves, shepherds tending to their flocks, forests of cedar, pine and oak, and valleys filled with date palms – all with views of the High Atlas Mountains in the distance. Arrive in Erfoud, your gateway to the Sahara Desert. Built by the French in the early 1900s, the town features tightly packed red sand buildings that blend seamlessly into the desert surroundings. While here, be sure to try some dates fresh from the local market – the dates in Erfoud are so delicious they celebrate them with a festival every year.
    Day 6 Location: Sahara Desert
    Spend the morning exploring Khemliya, a village on the fringe of the orange-coloured Erg Chebbi sand dunes. This traditional Saharan village is known for a distinctive style of music and dance. For lunch today you will get to see how the local speciality dish of medfouna is made, and then sample some yourself. Then it’s time to do as the locals do and ride a camel through the desert towards your accommodation – a spectacular camp hidden away in the sand dunes of the Sahara. Here in this magical escape from the modern world you’ll experience the true essence of desert life. But the remote location doesn’t mean skimping on amenities – permanent tents feature large beds, en suite bathrooms and delightful, authentic décor. Tonight, embrace your extraordinary surroundings and enjoy a traditional feast beneath a sky jewelled with thousands of stars, followed by live Gnaoua music around an open fire.
    Day 7 Location: Skoura
    Start the day with a truly unforgettable experience – a camel ride across the desert during sunrise, watching the landscape turn remarkable shades of orange. After breakfast drive to Todra Gorge, a massive trench that rises over 250 metres to form one of the most dramatic and spectacular natural sights in Morocco. Continue your journey towards Skoura, stopping off along the way for lunch with a local family living within an old kasbah. Here you’ll enjoy some regional dishes and another look inside a typical Moroccan home. Arrive in Skoura, home to a historic oasis, sprawling palm plantations and a town dotted with mudbrick castles. Your accommodation for the evening is an excellent ecolodge, with charming rammed-earth bungalows, water conservation systems and a sweep of organic gardens; produce from which is used to create the wonderful meals served on site.
    Day 8 Location: Skoura
    Today you will venture out from your lodge for a beautiful walk through the shady palm groves. The walk will take around two to three hours, depending on the interests of the group, and will be over gentle terrain. During your walk your leader will explain the importance of date farming in Morocco and you’ll see examples of the agricultural practices of the area. After your walk, visit the Kasbah Amridil, an iconic 17th century fortified residence that serves as a living museum. The kasbah bears its original form and is still maintained by the same family who built it, giving you a look at what life here was like 300 years ago – from goats wandering the courtyards to a traditional olive oil press and ovens. The rest of the afternoon is yours to unwind and relax at the lodge. You may like to stretch out beside the gorgeous pool with a good book – there’s few better spots to while away an afternoon in the sunshine.
    Day 9 Location: Ourika
    Depart Skoura and travel to Ait Benhaddou – a hilltop site almost unchanged since the 11th century. Its grand kasbah is one of the most beautiful in Morocco and the fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture. You may recognise the site from its long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Walk through the winding streets of the Old Town, making your way to the top of the hill for some scenic views. Afterwards, visit Tawesna – a local teahouse on the river – for a tasty lunch including freshly made Amazigh bread, soup, Moroccan sweets, and of course some mint tea. This community-run establishment provides women with a small income to support themselves and their children. The women use natural ingredients sourced from local cooperatives to prepare tea and pastries, taking great pride in sharing their stories and giving visitors an authentic Amazigh experience. Continue to Ourika where you will spend the evening.
    Day 10 Location: Ourika
    What better way to start the day than with freshly baked bread? Your accommodation employs women from the local village, and this morning they will invite you to join a hands-on bread making workshop, letting you in on the tricks of the trade. The fresh bread will then be enjoyed as part of your breakfast. Afterwards, set off to explore the Ourika Valley on a pleasant walk, expected to take no more than three hours, depending on the abilities and interests of the group. During the walk you’ll enjoy more insight into everyday life as the locals go about their mornings. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you will be met by a local family from the village who will bring you a wonderful fresh lunch of bread, olives sourced from the area, couscous or tagine and seasonal fruits. Stop off at a scenic spot and enjoy a peaceful lunch.
    Day 11 Location: Marrakech
    Travel to Marrakech this morning. On arrival, meet with a local guide who will bring the magic of Marrakech to life as you set off on a morning tour of the old medina, through the bustling souks that are the lifeblood of the city. Explore tranquil courtyards filled with the scent of orange blossom and the many salons and chambers that make up Bahia Palace. Stop by the Koutoubia Mosque; the inside is for Muslims only, but the famous minaret is a sight to behold. Walk back through the streets of the old medina to Djemaa el-Fna, stopping off to taste some of the marvellous freshly squeezed orange juice from a local stall – this is sure to be one of the most delicious glasses of orange juice you ever have. The rest of the day is free to explore further. Perhaps visit Le Jardin Secret, a traditional medina garden with a magnificent courtyard, or head back into the medina and practice your haggling skills. For your final evening, perhaps join your group for a farewell dinner - your leader will be able to recommend some fantastic local restaurants.
    Day 12 Location: Essaouira
    After breakfast leave for Essaouira, a city where the medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean and where you will spend the next two nights. Get to know this laidback and windswept city during an orientation walk with your leader who will help you navigate a maze of market stalls and narrow streets while sharing insights on local life in one of North Africa's most attractive places. Pass the harbour filled with colourful boats and explore the fish souk. Here you will choose a catch of the day and take it to a local-filled restaurant – follow their lead and hand over your market purchase for it to be grilled for the freshest of meals. Your leader will also take you to the fresh vegetables markets where you will choose your salads and veggies to accompany your seafood lunch. Enjoy a delicious meal together with the rest of your group. The evening is yours to uncover Essaouira further.
    Day 13 Location: Essaouira
    The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate for the picturesque town. This artists' town was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations, and its charm has seduced people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. Enjoy a free day to wander the city’s charming sandstone streets, giving way to the cart-haulers calling ‘ballak, ballak’. Your leader will offer advice on the best ways to spend the day. Perhaps explore Essaouira’s magnificent coast and golden sand dunes on horseback. Discover the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum and its collection of artefacts, woodwork, carpets and stringed instruments, or sit back and watch the kite surfers ride the crashing waves. You can also discover the taste of Morocco in a cooking class, or head outside of the city to the beautiful surroundings on a daytrip.
    Day 14 Location: Marrakech
    The morning is free for you to explore further. Perhaps pick up some local handicrafts at the eye-catching market stalls, or enjoy a final coffee in the square to soak up the easy-going rhythm of this Moroccan town with a European seaside twist. In the afternoon, drive back to Marrakech. Once you have settled in to your hotel, you will likely be drawn back to the Djemaa el-Fna, and its surrounding medina. Eating out at one of the many outdoor restaurants lining the square is a great way to finish your adventure.
    Day 15 Location: Marrakech
    Your trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring here. Speak to your leader about the wealth of extra activities to do around Marrakech.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    25JAN2022
    Return Date:
    08FEB2022
    4380NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    22FEB2022
    Return Date:
    08MAR2022
    4380NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08MAR2022
    Return Date:
    22MAR2022
    4555NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    15MAR2022
    Return Date:
    29MAR2022
    4555NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    29MAR2022
    Return Date:
    12APR2022
    4730NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    05APR2022
    Return Date:
    19APR2022
    4730NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    12APR2022
    Return Date:
    26APR2022
    4730NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19APR2022
    Return Date:
    03MAY2022
    4730NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    10MAY2022
    Return Date:
    24MAY2022
    4730NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    17MAY2022
    Return Date:
    31MAY2022
    4555NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    10 Apr 2021

    Trip title

    Premium Morocco Explorer with Essaouira

    Trip code

    XMPFC

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2022 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    Whether you’re stargazing in the Sahara, breaking bread with the locals or exploring fabled ruins, Morocco is filled to the brim with soul-stirring moments. Set off on a 15-day Premium journey through buzzing cities, tranquil oases, vast deserts and laidback beaches. Explore Meknes’s animated medina, the lively Djemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech and the laidback seaside town of Essaouira. Learn the secrets of bread making in Ourika, eat pastilla in the home of a Fes family and spend an unforgettable evening in a Sahara desert camp. With so many different worlds under one North African sky, a local leader brings the best of the country to light.

    Style

    Premium

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Private vehicle

    Physical Rating

    2

    Physical preparation

    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 Idou Anfa

    85 Boulevard d'Anfa

    Casablanca

    40000

    MOROCCO

    Phone: 212 522200235

    Finish point

    2Ciels Hotel

    Rue Oued EL Makhazine Angle Rue Imam Chafai

    Marrakech

    40000

    MOROCCO

    Phone: +212 524359550

    Important information

    1. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. 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. There are a limited number of single supplements available per trip departure. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 

    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

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    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!

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    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. COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS 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 the most up to date information. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. 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

    Dive into the Moroccan way of life as you travel with a local leader and guides, visit a typical home in Fes, meet the women of the Tawesna social enterprise in Ait Benhaddou and enjoy a bread making workshop with local women in Ourika.

    Soak in sweeping views from the rooftop of your feature stay hotel in the heart of the Fes medina, offering incredible hospitality and beautiful, traditional touches in every corner.

    Marvel at Morocco’s iconic sights during visits to the ruins of Volubilis, the remarkable Sahara Desert, the timeless Ait Benhaddou, the tranquil oasis of Skoura and the bustling cities of Fes and Marrakech.

    See a different side of Morocco when you explore mellow markets, relax on golden beaches and enjoy a freshly caught seafood lunch in the laidback seaside city of Essaouira.

    Discover Morocco’s culinary wonders, including a traditional feast at a restaurant in Casablanca, picnic at the ruins of Volubilis, fresh seafood lunch in Essaouira and medfouna demonstration in Khemliya.

    Is this trip right for you

    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.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels Please check entry requirements for the destinations you are travelling to carefully to know whether you require a negative COVID-19 test before travelling. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. 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

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. 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

    SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. TIPPING Tips are included on all Intrepid Premium trips, covering hotel staff, local guides and the people who will take care of you during your travels. This amount does not include a tip for your leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your leader for outstanding service provided during your trip. You are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length and involvement of your leader on your trip. Tips are greatly appreciated as a gesture of thanks for their professionalism and leadership during your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, as a guideline, US$3-6 per person (in a currency relevant for your destination), per day can be used. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. MOROCCO: The currency of Morocco is the dirham (MAD). ATMs are widely available in all major towns and cities. Credit cards are useful for large purchases such as carpets or ceramics from large stores, but generally they are not widely accepted. 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 as this is illegal. Changing money is easy and you will find banks and exchange bureaus in large cities, but they often only accept USD, EUR and GBP. In the desert and Atlas Mountains opportunities to withdraw or exchange money are limited.

    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. We recommend you pack as lightly as possible, ensuring that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Help will be on hand in most locations, but there may be times you need to handle your own luggage, for example in airports and train stations. A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this trip. It is recommended that you keep your main luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, jacket, etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below is a link to our ultimate packing list, a guide to get you started:

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

    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 The important month of Ramadan will be in progress 12 April - 11 May 2021 and 02 April - 01 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 refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected. EID AL-ADHA 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.

    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. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    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. 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 661922693

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/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

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ 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 on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted 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 your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. 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.

    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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    Comfortable hotel (12 nights),Feature Stay (2 nights)

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