Active Morocco Trip Notes

Travel to Morocco and visit Marrakech, cycle the High Atlas Mountains, visit Ait Benhaddou Kasbah and try climbing Todra Gorge on this Active Morocco trip.

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Last Modified: 17 Oct 2012
Active Morocco
Trip code: XMXM
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
Don't just sit back and admire the exotic treats of Morocco - leap into this land of extraordinary beauty on a nine-day adventure through crisp mountain scenery, spectacular sheer gorges and picturesque towns. Be beguiled by the lively souqs and tumultuous market squares of Marrakech, exhilarated by cycling expeditions, mule treks and canyon explorations then touched by the warm hospitality of Moroccan villagers and nomads. The more you welcome adventure, the more rewarding this eye-opening journey will be.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency contact
ThemesYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
MapSingle travellersVisas
ItineraryAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Spending moneyArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
TippingFinish point Responsible Travel projects
Departure taxFinish point descriptionCarbon offset
Important notesFinish point instructionsFeedback
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Walking
Map
Active Morocco
Itinerary
Day 1 Marrakech
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens.
You have the option to join your leader in Djemaa el Fna, the amazing square in the centre of the Medina which transforms at night with huge crowds converging to see the singers, drummers, dancers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, storytellers, jugglers and even old medicine men and dentists, who together make up what has been dubbed the 'greatest spectacle on earth'. An al fresco dinner at one of the many stalls is a real life experience.
There's not much time to explore Marrakech on this itinerary but if you arrive early there's plenty to see and do.
Explore the amazing Medina and the seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. A wander amongst them is a sensory delight.
The monuments of Marrakech are numerous and range from the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret - famous throughout the Islamic world and the 'sister' to the Giralda in far-away Seville, to the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). There's the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, and the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time. The Saadian tombs are a recently uncovered gem of the Medina. All of the above can be a challenge to locate, but that's all part of the experience of exploring the phenomenal medinas of Morocco.
Optional Activities
  • Marjorelle Gardens - MAD50
  • Medersa Ben Youssef - MAD40
  • Saadien Tombs - MAD10
  • Museum of Marrakech - MAD40
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
  • Photography Museum - MAD40
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-4 High Atlas Mountains
Board our private mini bus (which will be our transport for the duration of this trip due to unreliable local transport) for the short drive (approx. 1.5 hours) out of Marrakech across the plains towards the foothills of the mighty High Atlas Mountains
Hop on mountain bikes and enjoy our first taste of the stunning Moroccan country side from handlebar height. With spectacular scenery, the route of approx. 40km is perfect for both novices and experts alike. Our course will track along an Oued (river); pass by classic picturesque Berber villages, crop terraces and traditional rural life before breaking for lunch in the gorgeous Ouirgane valley. Depending on the fitness of the group the biking will take up to 4 hours, but we will have a support van close by throughout for those that wish to take the morning at a more leisurely pace.
Re-board our mini bus for the short drive to Imlil (approx. 1hr)
Main luggage will be stored here, and we will only take what we need in smaller bags for the next 2 nights.
A friendly mountain lodge will become our High Atlas home in the small Berber village of Tachedirt. From our terrace we have glimpses of North Africa's highest peak - Mount Toubkal!
Facilities at the mountain lodge are shared - both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements - but cosy and comfortable
Wake up to the sounds of roosters and goats, surrounded by orchards and traditional rural life in this wonderfully remote region.
There is a full day to make the moderate level guided trek that covers approx 7 kms to the top of Tizi Likemt pass (3600metres) On a clear day,l be rewarded with spectacular views of the High Atlas Plateau, the descent will take approx 5-6 hours. Stop for a picnic lunch along the way, maybe at the top of the pass where it is possible to see many of the 4,000 peaks that make up this majestic mountain range.
Set off on a full day guided trek through the neighbouring Inemane valley via the Tizi n'Tamatert pass (2297m) and along one of the most scenic and untouched routes the region has to offer. It is a long trek of approx. 7 hours and covers approx. 11kms.
We spend the night in the village of Imlil.
Note that the seriously fit and keen trekkers could take the opportunity to trek to the summit of Mount Toubkal (4167m). This activity is independent of the Intrepid itinerary and passengers attempting it will need to sign an Optional Activity Declaration prior. Toubkal summit will require a 6hr trek to the Refuge (Base camp) on Day 3 and spending the night. A sunrise start on Day 4 to the summit will take approx 3hrs and then it is a 7hr return walk back to Imlil village to rejoin the group. Only experienced trekkers should attempt this and it is strongly advised to hire a local Guide. Your Group Leader can help to facilitate this. You should express your interest to your Group Leader on Day 1 so that arrangements can be made.
If you want to summit Mount Toubkal you will need to bring warm clothes and a sleeping bag for the night (even in the summer months). These are not always available for hire.
Included Activities
  • Half day cycling in the High Atlas foothills
  • Trekking
Accommodation
Gite (2 nts), Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 5 Ait Benhaddou
Depart for spectacular mountain roads and over Morocco's highest pass, the Tizi n'Tichka (2260m) to the barren edges of the Sahara (approx. 5 hours)
Centuries ago, Ait Benhaddou was an important stop for the caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory and slaves. Today, its grand kasbah is still one of the most beautiful in all of Morocco and a World Heritage site. This fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture and is also famous for its role on the silver screen, featuring in numerous films such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Jewel of the Nile and Gladiator.
Today, it is inhabited only by a handful of families and we can explore the maze of its streets at our leisure.
Optional Activities
  • Atlas Movie Studios - MAD50
  • Cooking class and dinner - MAD100
  • Kasbah Taourirt - MAD20
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Todra Gorge
Say goodbye to Ait Benhaddou and head further east, en-route stop in Ouarzazate.
Make a short visit to Project Handicapped Horizon, an organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation, health and empowerment of people with disabilities. Some of the amazing services they provide include the building and fitting of prosthetic limbs, custom-made wheelchairs, and physio and social therapy for sufferers of accidents and illness. They also operate an artisans workshop which trains local people in trades such as pottery, weaving, metal work and jewellery making. This is a wonderful visit and we're very proud to support this project through The Intrepid Foundation.
From Ouarzazate the scenic trip continues through the lush Rose Valley followed by a glimpse of times gone by along the road of 'the thousand Kasbah's', to the stunning Todra Gorge (approx. 4hrs).
On arrival in the gorge, stop for lunch and store our big bags in a local Kasbah before starting the hike to the nomad camp where we will spend the night.
The hike to the nomad camp will take approximately 2.5 hours through to the gorge and up into the surrounding mountains. We stay with a local nomadic family who spend some of year based at this spot, dinner is included, and will generally be a tagine cooked with local ingredients.
Please note that the accommodation tonight is very simple so be prepared to rough it. We share the close quarters of one large communal tent and the sleeping surface can be harder than we are used to. A simple mattress, cushions and blankets are provided, but consider bringing your own thermarest if you feel you would prefer the extra padding. A sleeping bag is recommended for extra comfort and warmth Travellers who feel the cold may choose to also pack thermal clothing for extra protection against cold nights.
With an adventurous attitude and Intrepid spirit the simple nature of our camp will soon be overcome by the beauty of the landscape and this unique way of life.
Todra Gorge has become a famous and exotic destination for its rock climbing opportunities, and either beginner or experienced climbers have the option to make some sensational vertical ascents. Ropes, shoes, harnesses and helmets can be hired in the Gorge, so please advise your group leader early on in the trip if you wish to go rock climbing so reservations can be made.
Walking today is around 4 hours in the morning and there will be free time for relaxing or optional activities on the afternoon of day 7.
Optional Activities
  • 4WD journey to Dades Gorge - MAD1500
  • Guided trek - MAD250
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50
  • Berber lunch in a local family guesthouse - MAD70
  • Rock climbing - MAD200
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD100
Accommodation
Nomad Tent (1 nt), Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Marrakech
Take a bus back to Marrakech (approx. 8hrs).
Take a bus back to Marrakech (approx. 8hrs).
Reflect on our incredible journey with an optional farewell dinner.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
    We also recommend
    If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
    • South Morocco Discovery (XMSF)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Morocco is a country which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Heat, pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. In Morocco there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by Morocco.
    Physical rating

    Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
    LONG AND ROUGH TRAVEL DAYS:
    There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. High passes, windy roads and rough surfaces make for some challenging travel experiences. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.
    EARLY MORNINGS:
    On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination.
    PHYSICAL FITNESS LEVELS:
    A good level of fitness will be expected and will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip. Participants are recommended to consult their GP/doctor if exercise has not been attempted for an extended period of time and inform them of what you are about to do.
    We strongly recommend that you undertake a training program according to your level of fitness before commencing this trip. This will allow you to build your fitness steadily so that you will be able to complete and enjoy your trip.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
    The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
    A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
    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, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Tipping
    PRICES IN MOROCCO:
    Morocco is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. With drinks, tipping and of course - shopping, it can all add up. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Morocco to be a budget destination.
    BARGAINING:
    In Morocco some services and products are not a fixed price which means that your bartering skills will be tested from hiring taxis to buying a souvenir in the Medina. This can be challenging for travellers who have not experienced this before. Ask your leaders for advice when you arrive however the best approach is to smile and have fun as this is an entrenched part of Moroccan culture.
    MOROCCAN CARPETS:
    Many travellers when coming to Morocco are interested in purchasing a carpet - they are colourful, good quality and inexpensive when compared to home. However, be aware that Moroccan carpet salesmen are experts in their field and unwary shoppers can end up paying more than they bargained for. If you are interested in purchasing carpets talk with you group leader about bargaining tactics.
    If you are happy with the services providing a tip is appropriate, although not compulsory. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest MAD20-30 per person per day for local guides.
    Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however MAD10 per person per day is generally appropriate.
    Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline MAD30 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    RAMADAN, EID UL-FITR and EID UL ADHA FESTIVAL 2013:
    In 2013 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress fromTuesday 9th July and will continue for 30 days until Wednesday 7th of August and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be effected.
    Eid ul Adha occurs approximately 2 months after Edi ul- Fitr, in mid October 2013.
    Group size
    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
    Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
    www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    Accommodation
    Guesthouse (3 nts), Hotel (2 nts), Gite (2 nts), Nomad Tent (1 nt)
    The style of accommodation described in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions alternative arrangements may need to be arranged due to availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, however this is not always possible and we will not be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
    HEATING:
    Some of our guesthouses/hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It's also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers, which are a pleasure for most of the year. Air-conditioning systems (if available) don't always function.
    Meals introduction
    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
    Meals
    6 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    EUR 225.00
    Breakfasts in Morocco are generally simple affairs consisting of bread, butter, jam, coffee/tea and juice (or similar). This is typical of breakfasts in Morocco hotels and large American/English style breakfasts are generally not available.
    Transport
    Private Bus
    Group leader
    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
    Joining point description
    Hotel Moroccan House is located 5 mn beyond the Gueliz (New Town) city center. It's within 5 mn walk from Marrakech Plazza on Mohamed V Avenue and 20 mn walk to the Medina (Old town). There are small cafes and restaurants near by on Mohamed Zerktouni avenue. The regular public bus N°1 can be taken near the post office (5mn walk from the hotel). Petit taxis (MAD 20 to 30) are avialabe all time.
    The hotel has a swimming pool, a Hammam (traditional steam bath), a restaurant and laundry service. Rooms are equiped with A/C, TV, telephone and a mini bar. There is a room and a 24 h front desk service.
    Check in time 12:00
    Check out time 12:00
    Luggage storage at the hotel avaialbel for late departure
    www.moroccanhousehotels.com
    3, rue Loubnane, Gueliz
    00212 524 420 305
    Joining point instructions
    Marrakech Menara Airport is approx. 5km from the city centre. Petite taxis (small cars which are light brown in colour) are readily available from the airport. Negotiate the fare before getting in and aim to pay no more than 100MAD (150MAD at night)
    If you have pre-purchased an arrival transfer through Intrepid you will be met in the arrivals hall once you clear immigration. Look for a sign with Intrepid and your name.
    If for any reason you should not make contact with the transfer officer please locate a public phone in the airport and call one of the following numbers:
    Desert Evasions: +212 (0) 6599 70989/ +212 (0) 6612 43106
    Intrepid's Morocco / Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +212 (0) 66192 2693
    In the unlikely event that this process fails, make your own way to the hotel (using the information above) and inform your Group Leader of this event.
    If your flight is going to be delayed or cancelled please try to call in advance on the above numbers to explain the situation and advise alternative flight details.
    Check-in time at our joining point hotel is 2pm. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early, luggage storage can be arranged. Speak to the hotel reception on arrival. Please note that luggage storage in our hotels is at your own risk and generally these areas are not locked or completely secure. Bring your own luggage lock.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point
    Moroccan House Hotel Marrakech
    3, Rue Loubnane, Guéliz, Centre-ville
    Marrakech
    MOROCCO
    Phone: 212 524420305
    Fax: 212 524420297
    Finish point description
    Hotel Moroccan House is located 5 mn beyond the Gueliz (New Town) city center. It's within 5 mn walk from Marrakech Plazza on Mohamed V Avenue and 20 mn walk to the Medina (Old town). There are small cafes and restaurants near by on Mohamed Zerktouni avenue. The regular public bus N°1 can be taken near the post office (5mn walk from the hotel). Petit taxis (MAD 20 to 30) are avialabe all time.
    The hotel has a swimming pool, a Hammam (traditional steam bath), a restaurant and laundry service. Rooms are equiped with A/C, TV, telephone and a mini bar. There is a room and a 24 h front desk service.
    Check in time 12:00
    Check out time 12:00
    Luggage storage at the hotel avaialbel for late departure
    www.moroccanhousehotels.com
    3, rue Loubnane, Gueliz
    00212 524 420 305
    Finish point instructions
    Marrakech Menara International airport is located west of the city center about 6 km from both Gueliz (New Town) and Medina (Old town). It's about 15 to 20 min from the city center.
    The best way to get to the airport is by taxi. There are petit taxis with a meter (maximum of 3 passengers) and grand taxi (maximum 5 passengers) ideal for heavy luggage. Most of hotels can arrange this service but please always agree for the price of the transfer before you get in the taxi. Negotiate the fare before getting in and aim to pay no more than 100MAD (150MAD at night). The shuttle airport bus goes from the city center to the airport every hour during the day.
    A private transfer can be arranged even at the end of your trip. Please check with your tour guide.
    Departure from Casablanca:
    For those of you that are flying out of Casablanca: Trains from Marrakech to Casablanca, depart on the hour every 2 hours between 5:00am and 9:00pm and cost EUR8 for 2nd class and EUR12 for 1st class. The trip is scheduled to take 3 hours & 10 minutes and is subject to frequent delays.
    From Casablanca Voyageurs Station, trains run to the Casablanca airport every hour at 5 min past the hour. First departure is at 5:00am and the last departure at 10:00pm. The trip takes 35 minutes. Check the useful website (in French) for more information - www.oncf.ma
    Alternatively, from Casablanca city the 25km taxi ride to the Casablanca airport costs MAD250 (EUR25)
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Morocco / Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +212 (0) 66192 2693. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    MOROCCO:
    Australia: No - Not required
    Belgium: No - Not required
    Canada: No - Not required
    Germany: No - Not required
    Ireland: No - Not required
    Netherlands: No - Not required
    New Zealand: No - Not required
    South Africa: Yes - in advance (in general, visa processing can take approximately 20 working days)
    Switzerland: No - Not required
    UK: No - Not required
    USA: No - Not required
    Those who do not require visas to visit Morocco as a tourist, are stamped in on arrival for 3 months.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
    Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather. Summer (approx June to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel & winter (approx November to February) can be very cold. It's recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
    Health
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    DRINKING WATER:
    As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
    ASTHMA:
    For some travellers, the Sahara sands can bring on bouts of asthma. If you suffer from asthma even occasionally, we recommend you bring your medication as it can not be administered by your group leader and may not be readily available while you are travelling.
    Safety
    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. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    SEAT BELTS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
    BIKE HELMETS:
    Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    SCAMS:
    When walking through touristy areas of cities you may be approached by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or take you to a local spice shop. They will either ask to be your local guide for the day or expect money when you arrive at your destination. Please note these people are not registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you (or 'la Shukran') should suffice.
    MOROCCAN TAGINES:
    Moroccan ceramic tagines bought in the souks or other shops in Morocco may contain high levels of lead. We strongly recommend you have any tagine you buy in Morocco tested before cooking with it or buy for decorative purposes only.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    Morocco can be considered a liberal Muslim country as many Moroccan women do not wear headscarves. However, Morocco is very conservative when compared with standards you may be accustomed to at home and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders, cleavage and knees should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts (men and women), low-cut tops, and showing midriff is not recommended as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes, and is considered disrespectful to the local culture. Long, light-coloured, lightweight sleeved shirts, trousers and skirts are respectful, cover your body, keep you cool in the heat and protect you from the harsh sun.
    In Morocco we have built strong links with local communities, craftspeople, animal hospitals, artists, and the handicapped - all of which directly rely on the assistance of donations and products purchased by our travellers and other visitors. We offer Intrepid travellers an opportunity to interact with locals, to value their activities and crafts and help towards sustaining their livelihoods.
    While on our trips in Morocco you'll have opportunity to meet plenty of local people. Depending on which trip you choose there's a chance to enjoy a meal in a local family's house in Ait Benhaddou, spend a night in a family guesthouse in the High Atlas Mountains or in the pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss, or share a camp with a nomadic family in Dades Gorge. These experiences will give you a better understanding of the way of life for a rural Moroccan family. You'll also have some fun by learning how to make Morocco's most famous dish, couscous.
    Wherever possible, we contract local Moroccan suppliers and assist them to improve the quality of their services. By booking this tour, you'll be helping us to support service providers, artists, small businesses, guesthouse owners and the disadvantaged in communities throughout Morocco.
    We use local guides with wide experience and knowledge of cultural traditions and an ability to interpret the cultural heritage of the people in the places visited.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our 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 Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Responsible Travel projects
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Morocco include:
    * Project Handicapped Horizon has assisted with the rehabilitation, health and empowerment of more than 3,000 disabled people. With two major departments, one is dedicated to the design, building and fitting of prosthetic limbs and other orthotics, footwear and mobility aids. While the other focuses on training local artisans and selling their products.
    Intrepid Travel also supports the following non-profit organisations:
    * Kasbah Myriam is a carpet and embroidery workshop run by Franciscan nuns with the aim of providing sustainable employment and healthcare to local Berber women.
    * The SPANA animal hospital in Marrakech cares for the health and welfare of donkeys, dogs and cats.
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 297.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.