Morocco Sahara and Beyond

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - December 14th, 2015 Last Updated:
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Introduction

The winding streets of Morocco’s ancient medinas are bursting with so many colours and flavours that you’ll be planning a return visit soon after arrival. Explore the souks and streets of Marrakech and Fes, head to a luxury desert camp on an overnight 4x4 excursion, explore Atlas Mountains' villages and unwind on the coast in Essaouira. Travel is comfortable and well-paced, and our expert guide will be on hand to offer context and reveal its hidden gems. By focusing on the energy of the people, you'll discover the true treasures of Morocco.

  • Visit a women's co-op and enjoy a local lunch
  • Watch storytellers and snake charmers at Djemaa el Fna square and enjoy a local meal
  • Traverse the Sahara Desert by 4x4 and overnight in a luxury tented camp
  • Walk through ancient medinas and souks to see artisans demonstrate their age-old skills
  • Immerse yourself in culture with your expert local guide leading the way
Duration: 15 days
Start/Finish City: Casablanca to Marrakech
Service Level: Upgraded
  • All the adventure you want, with a softer landing
  • Handpicked, character-rich accommodations with upgraded amenities services
  • Upgraded and private transport, including flights to maximize time
  • More included meals, activities and transfers
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Comfort
Great adventures with a few extra frills along the way.

Looking for a little extra from your adventure but don’t want to skip out on all the genuine experiences? Comfort is your ticket. These trips offer upgraded accommodations and more inclusions while still delivering plenty of freedom to pursue spontaneous situations on your own.

Please note: The Comfort Travel Style is a renamed edition of the G-Plus, our collection of comfort-themed adventures. Same great trips, more descriptive name!

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 Morocco Sahara and Beyond (DCMB)

Day 1 Casablanca (1D)

Arrive at any time. Transfer to hotel is included. In the evening there will be a brief meeting where you will meet your CEO and fellow group members to go over the details of your trip. On arrival, check the notice board (or ask reception) to see the exact time and location of this group meeting. Afterwards, go out for a welcome dinner in a nearby local restaurant. If you arrive late, no worries, your leader will leave you a message at the front desk.

Day 2 Meknes//Volubilis/Fes (1B)

Enjoy a guided tour of the imperial city of Meknes. Continue on to the ruins of Volubilis, the best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco, before arriving in Fes.

Meknes is one of the four Imperial cities and its name and fame are closely linked to that of the Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail, who made Meknes the center of his empire and built many of the monuments that remain today. We start our 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 souqs & home to the city’s famous confectionaries. Behind the square is the entrance to the rambling souqs where you can discover the many artisans and their crafts. From here we enter what is left of the imperial city (Meknes was flatten by a huge earthquake in 1755) & visit the small but impressive Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, pass by the entrance of the Meknes Royal Palace & end up at Moulay Ismail’s massive Heri es Souani. This was his personal stable & granary for his 12,000 horses.

Continue through the rolling hills to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, the best preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. Once an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of Roman conquests, in 1997 Volubilis was listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site. Wandering through the deserted streets where chariots once passed, you can envision the vibrance the town once held. Have your local guide explain about life in the old Roman Empire - peering into old bathhouses, marvelling at the still-present mosaic floors and gazing up at the towering marble pillars.

Continue to Fez, where we spend the night. We will be staying in the the new city of Fez, 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. Head off for a Moroccan feast at one of the many restaurants and finish off the night with some famous Moroccan mint tea and a shisha!

Approx travel times:
Casablanca to Meknes - 4 hours
Meknes to Volubilis - 45mins
Volubilis to Fez - 2 hours.
Please note this is actual driving time, not including stops. As we stop to explore Meknes and Volubilis, we will not arrive in Fez until evening.

Day 3 Fes (1B)

Step back in time and embark on a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-rated Fes medina, exploring the winding lanes and alleys by visiting the many artisans, tanneries and shops.

We enter through one of the great gates into the chaotic, confusing & melee that is the Fez medina. With a local expert guide, we explore the medina’s many artisans’ quarters, such as the brass & copper souqs, the wedding souq & the carpenters plus its bakers, butchers & spice sellers, ending up at Fez’s famous Tannery, where we have great views from its panoramic viewpoints. We’ll also get to see its religious & historical heart when we visit Moulay Idriss II’s Mausoleum (the founder of Fez), the 14th century Bou Inania Medersa & the 9th century Al Karaouine University.

This evening there may be the chance to partake in an optional dinner in a grand old Fez riad which has been converted into a spectacular restaurant. You would not only enjoy a delicious meal of local specialities, but also an evening of entertainment such as singing, music and belly dancing.

Days 4-5 Marrakech (2B,1D)

Travel to Marrakech. In the evening, experience all the colour and chaos of the famous Djemaa el Fna square. Watch storytellers, snake charmers and acrobats, while enjoying a simple and delicious local meal at a market food stall. On Day 5, explore with a local expert guide including the historical sites of Koutoubia Minaret, Palais Bahia, Palais Badi and Medresa Ben Youssef, the medina (old quarter) and the alleys of the bustling souks.

A great place to start your exploration of Marrakech is Djemaa el Fna square, the heart of Marrakech, that changes its offerings throughout the day. In the morning you’ll wander past the fresh orange juice stalls, water sellers in colourful costumes with traditional leather water bags and 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.

For history and architecture buffs Marrakech is sure to dazzle. The Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia Palace, Saadian Tombs, Ben Youseff Medersa and Almovid Koubba are all easy to get to and well worth a visit. 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.

Approx travel time: Fes to Marrakech 6hrs

Day 6 Aït Ben Haddou (1B,1D)

Travel to Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Atlas Mountains, and explore this ancient kasbah village.

Aït Benhaddou is a wonderful example of a kasbah, which is a type of fortress. Carefully restored over the years and now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is now considered to be one of the best preserved kasbahs 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. Opt to take a tagine cooking course in your free time.

Approx travel time: Marrakech to Ait Benhaddou 5hrs

Day 7 Erg Cheggaga Desert Camp (1B,1L,1D)

Travel through the Draa Valley to Zagora and embark on 4x4s into the desert. Stop at Tamegroute to visit the library of ancient Islamic texts and local pottery studios. Continue off-road to the great dunes of Erg Cheggaga to stay at a deluxe desert camp. Enjoy a camel ride or climb to the top of the dunes for views of the vast Sahara. Tonight, enjoy a traditional dinner under the stars.

Approx travel time: Ait Benhaddou to Zagora 3hrs
Approx travel time: Zagora to Erg Chegagga 3hrs on a 4x4

Day 8 Zagora (1B)

Cross the desert back to Zagora and enjoy a talk of the history of the Draa region, and visit local historical sites.

Approx travel time: Erg Chegagga to Zagora 3hrs

Day 9 Taroudant (1B)

Head towards the Anti-Atlas region to the carpet town of Tazenakht and Taliouine, where saffron is harvested. In Taroudant, visit the famed leather tanneries and local markets.

Approx travel time: Zagora toTaroudant 6-7 hrs

Days 10-11 Tafraoute (2B,1L)

Enter the Anti-Atlas region to view natural rock formations. This afternoon, explore the town centre and its local markets. On Day 11, visit Aït Mansour Gorge, the Painted Rocks and the Chapeau du Napoleon. Walk through a palm valley and have lunch in a local village house. Visit a women's cooperative that produces handicrafts and argan oil.

Approx travel time: Taroudant to Tafraout 4hrs

Days 12-13 Essaouira (2B,1L)

Travel to the Atlantic Coast to the port town of Essaouira. Head down to the port to see the fishing fleet unload their catch and discover the local artisans and woodworkers. Option to take a camel ride on the beach, go sailing or visit a hammam (traditional spa and steam baths).

Enjoy this coastal city and don't miss the colourful and lively spectacle of the return of the boats to the port, with their baskets full of fish. Afterwards, head up to the ramparts on the old city wall for a great view over the city and out to sea. Browse the shops and art galleries or take a stroll along the long, sandy beach. This is the perfect place to unwind and relax with a cold beer or shisha pipe (waterpipe). The active might choose to take a surfing or windsurfing lesson, hire a fishing rod or just take a long walk on the beach.

In the evening, head to one of the local barbeque fish cafes where you can pick out the catch of the day and have it cooked to perfection for the perfect sea food dinner. Essaouira is also famous for its music scene and a great chance to check out a live performance.

Approx travel time: Tafraout to Essaouira 5-6hrs

Day 14 Marrakech (1B,1D)

Return to Marrakech and visit Menara Gardens and the Jardin Majorelle. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a palace-style restaurant with local folklore entertainment.

Approx travel time: Essaouira to Marrakech 2.5-3hrs

Day 15 Marrakech (1B)

Depart at any time.

What's Included

Arrival transfer. Tour the city of Meknes and ruins at Volubilis. Guided walking tour of Fes Medina. Guided night walk of Djemaa el Fna square with local meal. Explore Marrakech with a local guide. Visit the ancient kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou. Sahara Desert excursion by 4x4 with overnight in a luxury desert camp. Explore the Draa region and visit local historical sites. Visit Tafraoute and its market. Walk through a Palm Valley with lunch in a local home and visit a women's cooperative. Explore Essaouira. Visit Menara Gardens and the Jardin Majorelle. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Visit a women's co-op and enjoy a local lunch, watch storytellers and snake charmers at Djemaa el Fna square and enjoy a local meal, traverse the Sahara Desert by 4x4 and overnight in a luxury tented camp, walk through ancient medinas and souks to see artisans demonstrate their age-old skills, immerse yourself in culture with your expert local guide leading the way

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. 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.

3. 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.

4. Drinking water: It is advisable to drink bottled water in Morocco.

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 16, Avg 10.

Meals Included

14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners.

Meals

Generally, all 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.

Breakfasts on tour
All 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 meals will generally cost between 45- 70 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.

Meal Budget

Allow USD250-350 for meals not included.

Transport

Private air-con minivan, walking, 4x4.

About our Transportation

Our transport throughout this tour is a comfortable air conditioned mini van.

Local Flights

There are no local flights on this tour.

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

Comfort hotels (13 nts), deluxe desert camp (1 nt).

My Own Room Exceptions

Night 7 Erg Cheggaga Desert Camp.

About Accommodation

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 occasional cold shower even in the best hotels!

Joining Hotel

Hotel Imperial
291, Bd. Mohamed V & angle rue Azilal, (ex Rond-Point Shell). Casablanca
Tel : 0522 301825
Fax : 0522 447932

Joining Instructions

An arrival transfer is included on this trip, you will be met at the airport by a G Adventures representative and taken to the hotel for check-in. There will be a short meeting in the evening during which you will meet your CEO and the other tour participants as well as receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. Information about this meeting will be on a notice board or at reception of the hotel.

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 making your own way to the hotel, here is some useful information. 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.

Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your Leader will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. Please check with the hotel reception staff, or on the noticeboards at the hotel, for the time and place of this important meeting.

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

What to Take

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labeled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase or sports bag on wheels, maximum 15kg, plus a daypack. Luggage limits on airlines are strictly enforced and space on vehicles is limited. Porters are not often available, so be prepared to carry your own bags. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a warm jacket for early morning game drives. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.

Checklist

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

Suggested
•Day pack for daily personal items
•Watch or Alarm clock
•Flashlight or Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
•Sun hat, Sun block, Sunglasses
•Insect Repellent
•Ear plugs for train journeys or light sleepers
•Small towel and swim wear
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Sturdy walking shoes/Sport sandals
•hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
•Money belt
•Long Shorts or long skirt
•Long trousers
•Hiking pants/track pants
•Shirts/T-shirts (covering the shoulders)
•Fleece or sweater
•jacket
•1 smart outfit for evenings out
•Ear plugs
•Pocketknife
•Camera and extra memory card/film
•Extra batteries (recommended)
•Electricity Plug Adapter
• Personal female hygiene products (as they are difficult to purchase locally)
• Local Dress
•First-aid kit (should contain Lip balm with sunscreen, Aspirin, Ibuprofin, malaria pills, band aids/plasters, tape, anti-histamine, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Items: reading/writing material, binoculars, cover for backpacks, Maps, guidebooks

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). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.

Most nationalities receive a free visa, valid for a period of 90 days on arrival in Morocco. There are exceptions to this (including Israeli and South African passport holders) and it is essential that you contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements for your nationality before departure.

Detailed Trip Notes

REGIONAL INFORMATION

Climate
The winter months in Morocco are from October to March and are characterized by cold nights and pleasant days. Summer is from April to September and starts off with moderate temperatures until mid-June when temperatures get into the 90s (Fahrenheit), returning to more moderate heat in September. However, the inland climate is very dry and high temperatures very bearable. It rains generally only in short downpour bursts in the period from the beginning of November until March.

Local Currency
The official unit of currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham, MAD or MDH.

Electricity
Morocco uses 220V, 50Hz. and plugs are two prong rounded.

Language
Arabic (in Moroccan dialect) and Berber are the official languages of Morocco, but French is very widely spoken, as well as English also in tourist resorts.

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!

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

Casablanca
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

Fez
Traditional Moroccan 3 course dinner with folklore entertainment, in an old former palace in the medina - Dh300
Medersa bou inania – Dh10
Medersa el Attarine - Dh10
Dar batha museum (Wed to Mon) - Dh10
Belghazi museum - Dh20

Ouazazate
Film studios tour - Dh50

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

Why not stay an extra day and add
Excursion to the High Atlas (Imlil)

Minimum number of persons: 5
Price: 34 euro per person (370 dirhams)
Included: transport, guide, lunch

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.

There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, 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.

When selecting your trip please carefully read the G Adventures brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please contact us at travel@gadventures.com should you require any clarification on what is involved on your itinerary. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

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.

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

Shoulders should be covered and no short shorts/skirts when visiting religious monuments.

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.