Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - December 26th, 2015 Last Updated:
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Introduction

If you want to hit Morocco’s highlights, this is your adventure. Wander through kasbahs, spice markets and cities pulsing with energy on this comprehensive trip. Climb onto a camel and explore the edge of the Sahara before admiring the views from the heights of the Atlas Mountains. Experience the energy of imperial cities as you explore souks stuffed with exotic wares. Then take a moment to appreciate this amazing adventure as you camp under the stars among some of the world's biggest sand dunes.

  • Wander ancient medinas and Roman ruins
  • Ride a camel into the Sahara
  • Spend a night in a desert tent and a mountain gîte
  • Enjoy traditional Moroccan fare at a local home
  • Shop in seaside Essaouira
  • Set eyes on the blue city of Chefchaouen.
Duration: 15 days
Start/Finish City: Casablanca to Marrakech
Service Level: Standard
  • Great value, reasonable prices, quality experiences
  • Comfortable and varied tourist-class accommodations chosen for location and character
  • Mix of public and private transport for the best overall experience
  • All the top highlights included, plus plenty of time to explore on your own
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Classic
The trips we've built our reputation on.

Designed for maximum variety, these trips are geared towards travellers searching for a healthy mix of active exploration, uncommon landscapes, amazing wildlife and local cultures.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Highlights of Morocco (DCMH)

Day 1 Casablanca

You are welcome to arrive in Casablanca at any time, as today is a designated arrival day with no planned activities. Please note that there will be an important welcome meeting this evening at our joining hotel. Please check the hotel notice board for more information on the location of this meeting or ask at reception. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents to this meeting, as you will be required to fill out some important pre-trip admin documents. After learning more about our tour and plans for the following day, you are welcome to join the CEO and your travelling companions for an optional dinner.

Please note, this tour does not spend any time in Casablanca. You may wish to come a day early in order to explore Casablanca's small medina, beachfront and classic examples of Art Deco architecture. Be sure to visit the spectacular Hassan II mosque. Entrance is only permitted via guided tours which operate from Saturday to Thursday (closed Fridays) at 09h00, 10h00, 11h00, and 14h00. Please refer to optional activity section of these notes for prices. These times are subject to change (particularly around Ramadan) please double check these times with your hotel.

Overnight in Casablanca.

A general note about this tour. This is a very fast paced itinerary which covers lots of ground. While this is great as it allows us to see a huge amount in the available time, it also means some early starts, some long drives in the mini van and less free time than many other G Adventures.

Day 2 Tangier/Chefchaouen (1B)

Depart in the morning by private van for Tangier. Take a guided tour of the city including the medina, kasbah, Grand Socco (a bustling square at the entrance to the medina) and Petit Socco, a little square in the medina perfect for people-watching and mint tea-drinking. In the afternoon, continue on to Chefchaouen.

Tangier is an exotic mix of influences, located at the northern tip of Morocco. With culture, cuisine and language coming from North Africa, Spain, Portugal and France, this bustling port city is unique and fascinating.

Chefchaouen is a gorgeous mountain town in northern Morocco. It is often skipped when travelling the standard route around Morocco but is truly one of the most special places to visit. Set in the Rif Mountains, this town's white-washed buildings with blue accents make it one of the most picturesque places in the country. Known as the Blue City, the distinctive blue colour was added by the city's jewish population who lived as refugees in the 1930s. The main square is lined with cafés and shops selling a multitude of handicrafts, often not available elsewhere in the country.

Estimated travel time to Tangier: 5 hrs
Estimated travel time to Chefchaouen: 2 hrs

Day 3 Chefchaouen (1B)

Enjoy a free day in Chefchaouen. Options to hike in the Rif mountains, explore the town, take a traditional hammam or visit a local weavers cooperative.

Day 4 Meknes/Volubilis/Fes (1B)

This morning, we drive from Chefchaouen to Meknes. In the afternoon we enjoy a guided tour of Meknes.

We start our guided tour in front of the impressive 18th century Bab Mansour, the ornamental gate to the imperial city of Meknes built by Sultan Moulay Ismail in honour of himself. The gate faces Place el-Hadim, where, after dark fills with many Moroccan families coming to be entertained by story-tellers, snake-charmers, horse rides & medicine men. To the left of the square you’ll find one of Morocco’s most colourful & friendliest fresh produce souks and home to the city’s famous confectionaries. Behind the square is the entrance to the rambling souks where you can discover the many artisans and their crafts.

From here we enter what is left of the imperial city (Meknes was flattened by a huge earthquake in 1755) and visit the small but impressive Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Then we will pass by the entrance of the Meknes Royal Palace and end up at Moulay Ismail’s massive Heri es Souani. This was his personal stable & granary for his 12,000 horses.

After, we'll make our way through the rolling hills for a guided visit of the impressive Roman ruins of Volubilis, the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of Northern Africa. Once an important Roman town, the site is situated near the westernmost border of the Roman Empire. In 1997 Volubilis was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wandering through the deserted streets where chariots once passed, you can envision the vibrance the town once had. Listen to your certified local guide explain about life in the Roman Empire as you peer into old bathhouses, marveling at the still-present mosaic floors and gazing up at the towering marble pillars.

We leave the Roman Empire to make our way to Fes. We will be staying in the the new city of Fes, built by the French during their Protectorate of Morocco. This area has the feel of a French provincial town, with its cafés, restaurants and wide boulevards.

The Fes medina is the world’s largest medina with over 9,000 winding streets lying within 365 hectares. Buildings within the medina date back to the 9th century, during the 11th century Fes was the largest city in the known world. There are 350 mosques in the medina where the locals can enter to pray, which devout Muslims do five times a day as part of the five pillars of Islam.

We enter through one of the great gates into the chaotic, confusing and melee that is the Fes medina. We explore the medina’s many artisans’ quarters, such as the brass, copper and wedding adornment souks. The carpenters, bakers, butchers & spice sellers also have their area of the medina that they call home. A highlight is a visit to the famous Fes tannery, where we have great views from a panoramic viewpoint over the men hard at work treating and dying the different hides.

We’ll also get to see its religious and historical heart when we visit Moulay Idriss II’s Mausoleum (the founder of Fes), the 9th century Al Karaouine University and one of the many Medersas (Koranic school).

This evening, why not head off for a Moroccan feast at one of the many restaurants and finish off the night with some famous Moroccan mint tea.

Overnight in Fes.

Approx travel time: Meknes to Volubilis, 45 mins. Volubilis to Fes, 2 hrs excluding stops.
Approx travel time: Chefchaouen to Meknes- 4.5 hrs excluding stops

Days 5 Fes (1B)

Day 4 is free for you to explore more of the Fes medina or the new town (Ville Nouvelle) at your leisure. Your CEO will provide you with options for your day, including transport options to get you from the hotel into Fes medina.
(Please note, only certified local guides are allowed to guide in the medina, so for the free day your CEO cannot accompany you here, but will be able to help you find a local guide if you wish. Of course you are also welcome to just wander at your own speed - just remember to find a map!

Days 6-7 Merzouga (2B,2D)

Today we have a full travel day through the diverse landscapes that make Morocco so unique. Pass through the cedar and pine forests, keeping an eye out for Barbary apes. Pass over the Middle Atlas Mountains through the pre-desert countryside with its deep gorges filled with splendid oasis of green palm groves, finally arriving at the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert.

We spend the night in a desert auberge (simple hotel), located right on the edge of the dunes. Here we will have dinner local-style and spend the night. Please note, some rooms may have shared bathroom facilities at the desert auberge.

Day 7 is free until we head out on our camel safari in the late afternoon. Why not spend the cool of the morning exploring the undulating golden sands of the dunes. Or simply relax by the pool or read a book in the cool communal couch area.
We also offer an optional activity of a 4x4 safari into the sand dunes of the Sahara desert. Ask your CEO for more details and current price of this exciting adventure.

Taking only our day packs with what we will need for this evening, we set off on an hour's camel ride to our desert camp deep in the dunes. Your local guides will teach you how to mount and dismount and other handy camel-related safety tips. Be sure to get them to teach you the trick of tying your turban to keep the desert sun off your face and add a little flare to your photos. From your first cup of mint tea you'll enjoy a warm welcome at our desert camp. A traditional dinner under the stars, cooked by our hosts awaits. In the evening there will be time to hear stories about life in this region and perhaps, if we are lucky, we might be treated to some traditional music on the drums.

Facilities are very basic - each Bedouin tent sleeps approximately 4 people but most people prefer to relax and enjoy the sounds of silence during a night under the starry desert skies. Mattresses and a sheet and blanket are provided. For those travelling in the winter months (Nov- April), we highly recommend a sleeping bag for additional warmth. It is back to nature as far as bathroom facilities go. We will have breakfast upon our return to our Merzouga auberge.

Day 6: Overnight in Merzouga (Auberge); Approx travel time including stops: Fes to Merzouga, 10-11hrs
Day 7: Overnight in the Sahara Desert (Nomad Camp); Approx travel time: Merzouga to camp, 1hr (by camel)

Day 8 Todra Gorge (1B)

We rise early for a morning departure by camel from the camp and return to our auberge where we have our breakfast. Continue by bus to Tinehrir and into the Todra Valley. Enjoy a walk in the lush palm groves and learn more about local life in this region, including which crops are grown and how the land is farmed. You may even be lucky to taste some of the fruit in season straight from the source.

Head to the stunning Todra Gorge, we spend the night in this beautiful and peaceful area. The Todra River has carved out cliff-sided canyons through the mountains with the final 300m of the gorge being the most spectacular as the canyon narrows to a flat stony track as little as 10m wide in places with sheer and smooth rock walls up to 160 m high on each side.

Today the Todra River looks more like a stream as it runs its way through the gorge, with hotels and restaurants huddled against the steep walls. It is easy to walk through the gorge, there is a well-maintained dirt road to walk along. The scenery is spectacular.

While staying in a hotel nestled in between the sheer cliffs of the gorge you will have the chance to enjoy a relaxing evening indulging in local Berber cuisine. Please note that due to location, the hotel power is run by a generator and the electricity is turned off every night at approximately 11pm. We recommend bringing a headlamp for getting around at night if necessary.

Overnight in Todra Gorge.

Approx travel time: Merzouga to Todra Gorge, 4-6 hrs with stops.

Day 9 Aït Ben Haddou (1B)

This morning we continue along the "Route of a 1000 Kasbahs" to Ouarzazate where we will take our lunch break.

We continue on to the village of Aït Ben Haddou. Aït Ben Haddou is a wonderful example of a collection of kasbahs (a type of fortress). Carefully restored over the years and now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is considered to be one of the best preserved kasbah villages in Morocco. A few families still call the kasbah their home, but the majority of locals have gradually moved to the nearby settlement. During our visit to the Kasbah, lose yourself in the narrow, winding passageways and feel the magical atmosphere of this incredible structure.

This evening there may be the chance for an optional cooking class. Learn the secrets of how to make the perfect tagine and then sample your skills for your dinner. Once at home you can impress your friends with your culinary skills!

Overnight in Ait Ben Haddou.

Approx travel time including stops: Todra Gorge to Ait Ben Haddou, 5-6 hrs.

Day 10High Atlas Mountains (1B,1D)

We leave the pre-desert country for the magnificent High Atlas mountain landscape, crossing the Tizi n’Tichka pass at 2260m, before heading into the splendid Toubkal National Park, passing through small villages on winding mountain roads, arriving at the village of Imlil. With our main luggage transported by mule, we embark on the walk from Imlil to the little village of Aremd (1 hour), arriving at our simple mountain gîte for the night.

While the walk to the gîte is uphill, we will take it at a slow pace and it is achievable by anyone of average fitness. Accommodation is multi-share, up to 6 beds in each room. Bedding is provided but you will need to bring a sleeping bag for additional warmth if travelling in the months Nov-April. You will also need to bring your own bath towel. Bathroom facilities are shared.

Tonight we enjoy a homemade dinner of local produce in the cozy salon. Settle in and enjoy the tranquility, fantastic views and clean mountain air of this magical region.

Overnight in the High Atlas mountains (Aremd).

Approx travel time: Ait Ben Haddou to Imlil, 5hrs
Approx walking time: Imlil to Aremd, 1 hour

Days 11-12 Essaouira (2B)

After breakfast we'll walk back out to meet our transport in Imlil and head to the coastal town of Essaouira, arriving in the mid-afternoon. Rest of the day is free for your explorations tomorrow.

Day 11 is free to browse the many shops for the many crafts on sale, watch the brightly painted ships bring their catch into the busy harbour or take a stroll along the long, sandy beach. It's a perfect place to enjoy some local seafood and unwind. You might even like to enjoy some of the wide variety of activities on offer such as wind surfing and horse riding. Your CEO can arrange camel riding on the beach in Essaouira for you, please ask them for more details if you are interested.

Overnight in Essaouira.

Approx travel time including stops: Imlil to Essaouira, 5hrs
Approx walking time: Aremd to Imlil, 1 hour

Days 13-14 Marrakech (2B)

In the morning, we continue our journey to Marrakech. Once arriving in the red city join your certified city guide for a tour of the Marrakech medina. Visit the historical Koutoubia Minaret and gardens, Bahia Palace, the Mellah and the Saadian Tombs. Take note as your guide takes you through some of the local souks with their narrow, winding streets. Once the tour is finished you are free to discover the secrets of this amazing, ancient city at your leisure. Once you’ve tired yourself out, relax at one of the tea houses around the square, indulging in the ubiquitous sweet mint tea, watching the hustle and bustle from your shady spot.

Day 14 is a free day to explore. A great place to start your adventure is Djemaa el Fna square, in the heart of the medina. The square changes its offerings throughout the day. In the morning you can wander past the fresh orange juice stalls, water sellers in colourful costumes with traditional leather water bags, brass cups, and snake charmers reminiscent of an era past.

As the day progresses the snake charmers are replaced by Chleuh dancing-boys, story-tellers, magicians, and peddlers of traditional medicines. As the sun sets, the square fills with dozens of food-stalls, packed with locals and the entertaining chefs and waiters. Grab a spot on a bench with the other diners and try the Tanjia (slow cooked lamb), Harira soup, grilled seafood, famous Moroccan couscous, tajine, snails or even sheep’s head for the truly adventurous, and wash it all down with some spiced tea.

To really get a taste of everyday life in Marrakech, head into the maze of tiny streets and alleyways of the ancient medina. Tourists and locals alike will find everything they desire in the souks, whether it’s spices, traditional jalabas and slippers, or famous Moroccan lanterns, the selection here is exhaustive, and don’t forget to bargain, it's definitely part of the fun. Perhaps end the day like a local with an optional group dinner in the famous food stalls of Djemaa el Fna.

Overnight in Marrakech.

Approx travel time: Essaouira to Marrakech, 3-4 hrs

Day 15 Marrakech (1B)

You are free to depart Marrakech at any time. Please note that hotel check out time is normally mid-morning, but luggage storage is available (possible extra charge to be paid locally). We are able to organise extra nights accommodation if you wish to extend your stay. Please enquire at the time of booking.

What's Included

Tangier guided tour. Meknes guided tour. Volubilis guided tour. Fes medina guided tour. Sahara Desert excursion with camel ride and overnight Berber camp. Todra Gorge stay with walk through local villages. Aït Ben Haddou kasbah visit. Amred village walk (High Atlas). Gîte stay with traditional meals. Marrakech medina guided walk. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Wander ancient medinas and Roman ruins, ride a camel into the Sahara, spend a night in a desert tent and a mountain gîte, enjoy traditional Moroccan fare at a local home, shop in seaside Essaouira, set eyes on the blue city of Chefchaouen.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. Itinerary pace. This is a very fast paced itinerary which covers lots of ground. While this is great as it allows us to see a huge amount in the available time, it also means some early starts, some long drives in the mini van and less free time than many other G Adventures. We feel that if you enter this trip with this knowledge and expectation, you will appreciate even more the variety of locations we are able to include in this itinerary.

2 Transport. We use a 16-seater minivan for this tour. With a full group every seat will be used. The legroom in the minivan is possibly smaller than you may be used to and taller passengers may find space a little cramped. It is important to be aware that as it is not a legal requirement in buses in Morocco, your vehicle may not be equipped with seat belts.

3. Camel ride and desert camp.
Please note that it is not possible to reach our desert camp by 4WD or any other vehicle. There is the option to walk (can be very hot and tiring) for those who cannot/prefer not to ride a camel.

4. Weather: Please note that the climate in Morocco can be both very hot during the day in summer months (up to 50°C) and cold at night in the mountains in autumn, early spring and winter (down to -6°C). Summer months, from April to September are very hot throughout Morocco. Winter months November to March can be cool to cold, especially in the Atlas Mountains, with high probability of snowfall. Most Moroccan buildings are not equipped with heating, so without proper layers you will be cold at night. Please bring appropriate clothing for the months in which you are travelling and check temperatures before you leave. Bedding is provided in the desert camp and the gîte, but in winter months if you feel the cold you may wish to bring a sleeping bag too.

5. Depending on the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between June 28 and July 27, 2014. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan in Muslim areas, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-muslims throughout the day. It is very important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can't at that time.

Group Leader Description

This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO).

As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of Morocco, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.

We also use certified local city guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting - we think it's the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 14, Avg 10

Meals Included

14 breakfasts, 3 dinners

Meals

Breakfasts on tour
Many breakfasts are included as part of your tour.
Moroccan breakfasts tend to be different from your usual cereal and toast morning fare – most will be very simple - a croissant or sweet roll with jam and instant coffee and some hotels will have buffets where you will have more variety.
While you are experiencing what a Moroccan family would eat, some travellers do find the provided breakfasts a bit “bread heavy” and enjoy buying fruit the day before to supplement their breakfast.

Lunches and dinners
Moroccan cuisine is world famous and your CEO will be taking the chance to show you the best of it.
Staples include cous cous, a type of grain topped with stew, tagine which is actually the name of the pot this tasty dish is cooked in, and brochette, bbq skewers of meat. These dishes will generally cost between 45- 80 MAD depending on the type of restaurant and which part of the country you are in.
Other tastes not to be missed include pastilla, a sweet pasty with a savoury filling which is traditionally pigeon and harira, a delicious soup based on chick peas and filling enough when teamed with fresh bread to be a whole lunch. If you are heading to the coast the fresh seafood cooked at one of the local markets is a must eat!

Snacks
Morocco's fresh orange juice is highly recommended and you should not leave without trying a glass. The brave can try the tiny snails which are perhaps the local's favourite snack but you might prefer a cone of piping hot bite-size fried cake donuts.

Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Meal Budget

Allow USD240-315 for meals not included

Transport

Private air-con van, camel, walking

About our Transportation

Please note that there is a lot of fast paced travel on this itinerary which necessitates some long travel days in our mini van. We feel that if you enter this trip with this knowledge and expectation, you will appreciate even more the variety of locations we are able to include in this itinerary.

We use a 16-seater minivan and with a full group every seat will be used. The legroom in the minivan is possibly smaller than you may be used to and taller passengers may find space a little cramped. It is important to be aware that as it is not a legal requirement in buses in Morocco, your vehicle may not be equipped with seat belts. The minivans have air conditioning, however please note that summer temperatures in Morocco can easily reach 50 celsius. When the outside temperature is so hot, a minibus air conditioning system will not be able to cool the bus to the temperatures you are used to enjoying at home. Please bear in mind that travelling in Morocco in summer will inevitably involve very hot temperatures and some discomfort may be experienced when travelling.

Please note that, owing to both space constraints in the minibus and weight constraints when transporting baggage by mule to Aremd mountain gite, we can carry no more than one check-in size bag and one day pack per person. Please see the What to Take section of these notes for further details.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Hotels (12 nts), gîte (1 nt, multi-share), nomad camp (1 nt, multi-share)

My Own Room Exceptions

Night 5 desert hotel, Night 6 desert camp, Night 9 Aremd (simple mountain gite).

About Accommodation

On this trip you can expect to stay in local hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights.
Please note that Morocco is a developing country and as such the infrastructure is not as reliable as you would expect at home. Expect quirky plumbing and the odd cold shower!

While in the mountains our accommodation will be basic refuge-style multi-share with shared unisex facilities. In Merzouga we will stay in a traditional desert auberge (guesthouse) and in the desert we will spend a night at a nomad camp: Facilities at the camp are very basic - we all sleep in one large communal tent. Mattresses and bedding are provided. For those travelling in the winter months (Nov- April), we recommend a sleeping bag for additional warmth. It is back to nature as far as bathroom facilities go. There will be the chance to take a shower after breakfast on our return to our Merzouga auberge the following morning. In Todra Gorge we will be staying in simple, family run hotel. As with all accommodation located within the gorge itself, electricity is supplied via a generator. Please note that no electricity is available between midnight and 7am, this also affects the air-conditioning/heating. Don't worry though, we find that the experience of staying in such a beautiful location more than makes up for it!

Joining Hotel

Morocco House Hotel
2 Rue Mohamed Smiha (Cote Ave des FAR)
Centre Ville
Casablanca, Morocco
Tel: +212 522543566

On December 20th the joining hotel will be:

Hotel Diwan
31, Blvd Hassan Seghir
Casablanca
Morocco
Phone +212 22447651

Joining Instructions

Upon arrival at Casablanca International Airport, please make your way to the joining hotel. There is a shuttle train from the airport to the city centre leaving every hour between 7am-11pm. It takes 30mins and costs approx 40 MAD to travel 2nd class (more for 1st class). From the train station you can take a red "Petit Taxi" to the hotel. These small taxis run on meters with a minimum fare of 5 MAD (50% more after 8pm). You should insist on the driver switching on the meter - they may try to fix a fare with you off the meter, but it will invariably be cheaper to travel on the meter. A "Grand Taxi", generally a larger car without a meter, will cost more and the price should be bargained for before you set off. If you have several bags, a "Grand Taxi" is more suitable. A "Grand Taxi" direct from the airport to the hotel will cost around 250-300 MAD - again, you should be sure to fix the price before you set off and be prepared to bargain if the first price you are given is much more than this.

If you have pre booked an airport to hotel transfer, please look for your transfer driver at the Airport Information Desk in Terminal 1. He will be holding a G Adventures sign and waiting in this area for you. Your name will not be on the G Adventures sign, so please ask the driver whom they are there to meet.
The Airport Information Desk is located in the main Arrival Halls in Terminal 1, next to the stairs and escalators to the train station.
If you have arrived in Terminal 2, please make your way to the Airport Information Desk in Terminal 1 to find your driver.

Arrival Complications

We do not expect any complications and nor should you but the following information is supplied in case of extra ordinary circumstances.

PRE-BOOKED AIRPORT TO HOTEL TRANSFERS
If you have pre booked an airport to hotel transfer, please look for your transfer driver at the Airport Information Desk in Terminal 1. He will be holding a G Adventures sign and waiting in this area for you. Your name will not be on the G Adventures sign, so please ask the driver whom they are there to meet.
The Airport Information Desk is located in the main Arrival Halls in Terminal 1, next to the stairs and escalators to the train station.
If you have arrived in Terminal 2, please make your way to the Airport Information Desk in Terminal 1 to find your driver.

If you are unable to locate your G Adventures airport representative, please call our local staff at +212 528 824898 (during office hours Mon-Fri) or +212 661 429700 (after office hours or at any time if you are unable to get through to the office) They will assist you in getting to the joining hotel.
If you have arrived at Casablanca airport, before calling please double-check with the airport staff which terminal you have arrived at. (This may not be the terminal stated on your airline ticket, as Casablanca flight arrivals often experience a change in arrival terminal). Please make your way to the Airport Information Desk in Terminal 1 (this is a short walk from the other terminals)
If you are not travelling with a telephone, please head to the airport Information booth who will be able to assist you in the purchase of a phone card and direct you to a telephone.

If for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, or your flight is delayed, please call the above numbers to inform our staff so we can re-book your transfer.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Morocco)
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +212 (0)528 824898
After hours emergency number: +212 (0)661 429700

G Adventures Local Office London, UK
Emergency number: +44 7817 262559

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

Finishing Point Instructions

We are able to organise extra accommodation post-trip should you require it. Please enquire at the time of booking.

For departure to Marrakech International Airport: a taxi will cost spproximately MAD150. Ask the Hotel staff or your CEO for help in arranging a taxi.

For departure to Casablanca: Take the train from Marrakech to Casablanca. The train service is comfortable and fast (approx 3hrs 10 mins to Casablanca city centre and 4hrs 40 minutes to the airport). It is probably best to go to the Marrakech station and buy your ticket the day before travel. Ask your CEO if you need any advice.
Please note that Casablanca Airport is directly served by train so if you are going to the airport make sure you buy tickets to Casablanca Mohammed V Airport (approx MAD200 first class).
To give you sufficient time to catch your plane, please do not book a flight home which departs before 13:00 at the absolute earliest

Take a petit taxi from the hotel to the Gare (train station) in Marrakech (approx MAD20, may be more with luggage).

What to Take

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a backpack or light sports bag, whichever you find easiest to carry, plus a small daypack. Luggage space on transport is limited. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels, hopping on and off buses and up and down stairs.
Hard-shell suitcases, as well as being too heavy and difficult for you to carry, place an unreasonable burden on the mules we use to carry baggage to Aremd in the Atlas Mountains. Please bring a soft wheeled case, backpack or light sports bag. We are able to transport a maximum of one check-in size bag and one daypack per person.

Checklist

Suggested Items:
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing (See also "What to Take" and "Local Dress" sections of this dossier)
•Day pack to carry belongings on desert excursion
•Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Headlamp/flashlight/torch for desert camping
•Money belt
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine,
Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect
repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Additionally for departures Nov-Feb:
•Sleeping bag (optional but recommended in a cold winter or if you feel the cold)
•Warm jacket, anorak or fiber filled jacket
•Warm hat
•Gloves
•Scarf

Optional Items:
•light weight sleep sheet for use in desert and at mountain gite.

Documents:
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•EUR/USD cash
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity).

To date, citizens of the UK, EU, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not need visas for visits of up to three-months.
Other nationalities may need to organise a visa pre travel- please check the individual requirements of your passport nationality.

Please note this information is given in good faith, is beyond G Adventures control and subject to change at any time.

Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is the individual's responsibility to ensure that travel documentation is correct.

Detailed Trip Notes

Climate:
The climate in Morocco is Mediterranean along the coast, becoming more extreme towards the interior of the country. The winter months are from October to March and are characterized by cold nights and pleasant days. Summer is from April to September and starts off very pleasantly with moderate temperatures until mid-June when temperatures get extremely hot, to return to more moderate heat in late September. Inland, the climate is very dry and high temperatures predominate during the day for most of the year, except in the higher mountain areas. It rains generally only in short bursts in the period from the beginning of November until March.

Electricity:
Morocco uses 220V, 50Hz and plugs are two prong rounded (as for Europe).

Languages:
Arabic is the official language of Morocco, spoken in the distinctive Moroccan dialect. Approximately 40% of the population (mainly in rural areas) speak Berber in one of its three different dialects (Tarafit, Tashelhiyt and Tamazight). French is Morocco's unofficial second language and is taught universally, serving as the country's primary language in economics and commerce, as well as being widely used in education and government. Many Moroccans in the north of the country speak Spanish and English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Capital city: Rabat

Principal ethnic groups: 30% Arab, 60% Berber

Religion: Islam is the official state religion with almost the entire population being Sunni Muslim. 1% are Christian and about 0.2% are Jewish.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The local currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).

ATMs are very common in Morocco with Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. .While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work - it is important you check with your bank before departure and advisable to travel with more than one type of card.

Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards, but are generally only useful for larger/expensive purchases. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies.

The foreign currency most commonly accepted in Morocco is the Euro. You will be able to exchange Euros, as well as GBP and USD at money exchange offices in major cities.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of cash (Euro/GBP or USD) and cards is best.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

UUsually included in flight tickets.

Tipping

Morocco has a strong tipping culture - it is customary and even expected to tip small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bell boys, taxis and van drivers. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry.

Even though this might not be customary to you, nor such common practice in your home country, it is generally expected and of great significance to the people who will be assisting you during your travels.

Depending on your preference and/or that of the group, you may choose to tip individually, organize the tipping with your travelling companions, or, your CEO will offer to collect the tip money at the beginning of your tour and tip as a group with your participation as the tour progresses. A recommendation for tipping small service providers is about $3 USD per day, depending on the quality of the service (this does not include your G Adventures CEO).

Feel free to ask your CEO for the breakdown/distribution of the tips. Note that if you have been very disappointed by a particular service, please inform your CEO right away, and the tip will be adjusted accordingly.

Also, at the end of your trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. The precise amount is entirely a personal preference, however $20-25 USD per person per week can be used as a general guideline.

Optional Activities

Your CEO will recommend different optional activities, feel free to ask him/her for more information.

Please note that prices are quoted in Moroccan Dirhams (Dh)

Casablanca (for those who have time in the city before the trip starts)
Hassan II Mosque (Sat to Thurs) 9, 10, 11 and 2pm – Dh120
Villa de Arts (Tues to Sat) – free
Jewish Museum (Mon to Fri) - Dh30

Meknes
Dar Jamai Museum (Wed to Mon) - Dh20
Medersa bou Inania - Dh10
Koubbat as Sufara - Dh10
Heri es Souani - Dh10

Fez
Medersa bou inania – Dh10
Medersa el Attarine - Dh10
Dar batha museum (Wed to Mon) - Dh10
Belghazi museum - Dh20

Merzouga- Desert
Half-day 4x4 excursion around the Dunes of Merzouga
Price: 25 euro per person (270 dirhams) Includes: 4x4 jeeps with driver/guide

Ait Ben Haddou
Cooking class - Dh100 (includes dinner)

Essaouira
Camel ride on beach at Essaouira Price: 29 euro per person (315 dirhams) Includes: riding camel, transfers from/to hotel.
Surf lessons – Dh 480 – 900 (depending on length)
Horse riding - Dh 250
Quad biking - Dh 450
Kite Surfing – Dh 35 1(hrs), Dh 50 (2hrs)
Surfing rental - Dhs15, 20, 25, 30 (1hr, 2 hrs, 3 hrs, 1 day)
Boat excursion along the coast: Dh 20 (1hr)
All Essaouira activities are weather and season dependent.

Marrakech
Traditional Hammam (steam bath) including massage – Dh 300
Moroccan 3 course dinner and folklore entertainment in a traditional restaurant overlooking the famous Djemma el Fna Square - Dh 400
Ali Ben Youssef Medersa - Dh 40
Koubba Ba’adiyn - Dh 40
Museum of Marrakech - Dh 40
El Badi Palace - Dh10
Dar si Said - Dh10
Majorelle and Museum of Islamic Art - Dh 50
Bicycle hire – Dh 70–100 per day


All prices are per person (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

DRINKING WATER: It is advisable to drink bottled water in Morocco.

There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit, hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.

Please note that your adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000ft (2,440m). Most people can travel to 8,000ft with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are affected on your adventure, please consult your physician.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

Like anywhere in the world, major cities have areas safer than others, use common sense, be aware of your surroundings and mind your personal belongings.

It is important to note that as it is not a legal requirement in buses in Morocco, your vehicle may not be equipped with seat belts.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Local Dress

While visiting mosques and other religious monuments you should dress modestly, cover your shoulders and you shouldn't wear short shorts or skirts. Outside of capital cities and the more touristic centres, local dress is often more conservative and as a matter of respect we ask that both men and women are aware of this and recommend loose-fitting clothes with your shoulders covered. Ask your CEO for more specific advice.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.