Last Modified: 22 Mar 2013
Family - Marvels of Morocco
Trip code: FMK
Validity: 01 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2014
This itinerary undoubtedly covers the best that Morocco has to offer and provides a good balance of relaxation, sightseeing and activity. You see some fabulous architecture in Fez, the cultural capital, wander through colourful souqs in Marrakech and the Roman ruins of Volubilis. To get more adventurous, you camp out in the Sahara Desert, ride camels and on your two-night stay in the Atlas Mountains, get off the beaten track on day walks to meet the friendly Berber people and explore their traditional villages. To round off your holiday, at the end of the trip you visit the relaxing and atmospheric seaport of Essaouira, once a pirates’ lair.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, The Adventure Company.
Table of Contents
- 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.
Days 1-3 Fes
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned for today.
You will be sent joining instructions approximately 2-3 weeks before your trip starts, which will contain full details of exactly where to meet your group leader.
Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. The most ancient of Morocco's imperial cities, it exists suspended in time.
Descending into the labyrinthine alleyways of the Medina is like taking a giant step back to the Middle Ages. Preserved by the French for its historical value, this preservation also led to the decline of the city's importance, as both government and financial centres were set up elsewhere in the country. With the Jewish population moving away in 1956, and too many rural poor moving in for it to handle, this ancient centre of learning is only a shell of what it used to be. Still, it remains a fascinating living museum where getting lost is half the fun.
Meet your group and leader the following morning and we'll take a walking tour to some of the major points of interest, as well as having free time to wander at leisure. We'll meander through the medina, past the Royal Palace, and through the Jewish Quarter. Continue with your guide after lunch, or take time to explore at your own pace and relax.
On the third day we will drive to Volubilis (approx 2 hours) to some of the most comprehensive and ancient ruins in the kingdom.
Volubilis was one of the Roman empire's most remote bases, which remained affluent until the 8th century. The main structures remained intact until they were damaged by an earthquake in the 18th century, after which much of the marble was taken for construction in nearby Meknes.
In the afternoon we'll visit the city of Meknes. The focal point of the city is the Bab Mansour, the gate that leads to Moulay Ismail's old imperial city and the mosques, souks and palaces beyond. We'll return to Fes for the night.
Hotel Zahrat Al Jabal (3 nts)
Day 4 Erfoud
A change of scenery today as we leave the crowded streets of old Fes behind and set out across the mountains to the desert. There is a long drive ahead (approx 7 hours), but using a charter bus allows us to make frequent stops along the way. The wilderness we cross is incredibly diverse and can vary from rocky, sun-baked plains, to cedar-clad mountains and deep canyons. In the hills south of Azrou you may be lucky to spot a troupe of Barbary Apes; in fact not a true ape but a species of macaque monkey. Once over the mountains we head to the old garrison town of Erfoud, where we'll hopefully arrive in time to see the sun setting over the vase expanse of rolling desert dunes.
Salam Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Merzouga
After yesterday's long journey you have the morning free to relax. After lunch, the charter bus takes us to Merzouga (approx 1.5 hours). The great 'sand sea' of Merzouga, a beautiful area of fine, apricot-coloured sand, stretches as far as the eye can see. The best time to experience its beauty is at sunset or at dawn with a breathtaking sunrise over the dunes.
Soak up the peacefulness of the Sahara with a refreshing glass of mint tea in the small auberge where we spend the night.
Les Portes du Desert (1 nt)
Day 6 Desert Camp
This morning is free for you to explore. If you can rouse yourself early enough in the morning, you can be rewarded with stunning views of the dunes at sunrise. As the sun descends in the afternoon, we commence a two-hour trek by camel to this evening's camp in the desert (those who prefer may walk). We will dine on traditional Moroccan fare under a starry sky, and sleep in large Bedouin-style tents. With luck, your camel drivers and camp staff may sing and play drums to round off the magical atmosphere of the evening.
Desert camp (1 nt)
Day 7 Todra Gorge
After breakfast we mount our camels once more and head back to Merzouga where we say goodbye to our four-legged friends and revert to motorised transport. Retracing our steps through Erfoud, we reach the main road, then head south-west to the dramatic Todra Gorge (approx 3.5 hours).
The Todra Gorge is situated on the remote east side of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The huge fault dividing the High Atlas from the Jebel Sahro is at some points just wide enough for a tiny glacial stream to flow through, making it hard to imagine that the river once filled the gorge. It is relatively easy to hike in the gorge and the scenery is spectacular. Local people live in the area and can be seen going about their daily business with small donkeys or herding camels.
This afternoon you have the chance to take a walk in this impressive gorge and possibly spot one of the rare Bonelli's eagles that nest on the cliffs.
Kasbah Taborihte (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Atlas Mountains
The day begins with a drive from Todra via Boumalne to Dades Gorge. We then drive to Boutaghrar, which will be our base for the next two nights while we explore the Mgoun Valley and the Valley of the Roses (driving time approx 2.5 hours, including some on gravel roads).
There Berber house/gite where we stay is a simple mud and brick affair, which blends almost imperceptibly into the landscape. There are a couple of large rooms for eating and sleeping, normally furnished with carpets. The flat roof serves as a terrace where you can sleep if it is warm. There is a toilet, washbasin and shower. You'll eat and sleep communally in the rooms.
This afternoon we'll head out into the surrounding countryside for a walk along one of the many routes (approx 2.5 hours walking).
The following day we'll have a full day's walk in the mountains, following rough mule tracks with little to disturb the peace (approx 5-6 hours walking). After a few hours we'll find some shade and stop for an informal picnic lunch. There's no hurry, so it is nice to relax in the midday head and enjoy the timeless beauty of the landscape. There are no particularly steep climbs, although it can be rough underfoot and quite tiring in the summer head. The route can vary depending on conditions and the group's ability, but will invariably take in some great views of the cultivated valleys and the chance to explore local villages.
- Day walks in Atlas Mountains & Valley of Roses
Gite Awayou (2 nts)
Day 10 Ait Benhaddou
Today we drive along the Route des Kasbahs as we head for Ouarzazate and beyond to Ait Benhaddou.
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.
Hotel La Kasbah (1 nt)
Day 11 Marrakech
This morning there is time to visit the Kasbah before making the drive across Tizi-n-Tichka pass. Tizi-n-Tichka (2260 m) is the highest of the three mountain passes which cross the dramatic High Atlas, and as we drive across you can witness the extraordinary transition from barren slopes of shattered rock, to green valleys on the other side.
Having crossed the plains we come to the evocative city of Marrakech.
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.
Hotel Amine (1 nt)
Days 12-13 Essaouira
This morning we start with a walking tour of Marrakech to get your bearings and make your way into the sprawling souk. As is usual in a souk, individual trades and crafts are concentrated in one street or area, so the shoemakers are all next to each other, as are the jewellers, the potters, weavers, etc. This must be the best place in Morocco to hone one's haggling skills, and you are sure to be tempted by some of the wonderful variety of merchandise on display, even if it is only a packet of exotic spices or a trinket.
In the afternoon we leave Marrakech and head west to the Atlantic coast and the former pirate's lair of Essaouira (approx 3.5 hours).
The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. Its charm is undeniable - within the stone ramparts you'll find whitewashed houses with bright blue shutters, art galleries and wood workshops. This laidback artists' town is a former Portuguese trading colony and was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations. The town faces a group of rocky islands - called the Mogador - and is surrounded by an expanse of sandy beaches and dunes.
It's still a busy fishing port and its pretty harbour is filled with tiny colourful boats which go out early every morning for the day's catch. Visitors who have been seduced by its charms include Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. More recently, filmmaker Ridley Scott chose the ramparts as an important location for his film, Kingdom of Heaven.
Everything in the small centre is within walking distance and the beach is clean. Wander the harbour and its adjacent fish markets where you can witness the daily auction. A freshly-cooked plate of the day's catch is highly recommended. Browse the plentiful shops and intriguing art galleries that make this little town a particularly pleasant place to unwind for a few days. It has a growing reputation for its unique art and is becoming even more famous for its burled Thuya wood - delicately formed and inlaid in tiny shops, which are built into the thick walls of the Portuguese ramparts. The scent from the oils used to polish the richly coloured wood permeates the air and makes walking down the streets incredibly pleasant.
The following day is free to explore this attractive coastal city.
- Guided walking tour around Marrakech
- Berber massage, Essaouira - MAD350.00
- Hamam (public baths), Essaouira - MAD200.00
Aljasira Hotel (2 nts)
Days 14-15 Marrakech
We leave Essaouira in the morning and drive back to Marrakech. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Marrakech and the delights it has to offer.
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.
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.
- Palais Bahia, Marrakech - MAD10.00
- Museum of Marrakech, Marrakech - MAD40.00
- Photography Museum, Marrakech - MAD40.00
- Saadien Tombs, Marrakech - MAD10.00
- Marjorelle Gardens, Marrakech - MAD50.00
- Hamam (public baths), Marrakech - MAD250.00
- Medersa Ben Youssef, Marrakech - MAD40.00
Hotel Amine (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- FMK - Marvels of Morocco - Single supplement (FMK)
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.
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.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
The walking in the Atlas Mountains is centre-based and considered ‘moderate’ (about 2½ hours on the first day and around 5½ hours on the middle day); a degree of fitness for the walks is essential but as you are centre-based you can easily opt out. Your night’s camp in the desert oasis involves a two hour journey each way. During this time you may walk or ride your camel as you please. Both the desert camp and the Berber villages offer basic accommodation. Facilities are limited, (there may not always be running water) so be prepared to rough it for a few days - the rewards are worth it!
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.
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 and are subject to availabilities. For our families we have priced an all inclusive package including entrance fees, transport and local guide where relevant to assist you with budgeting the exact amount required on tour. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. The optional activities listed in your itinerary are activities that are available to you as a guideline and have been checked locally.
The decision to partake in any activity not listed above is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to us.
The official currency of Morocco is Dirham (MAD).
Moroccan Dirhams cannot be purchased outside of Morocco, but it is easy to get cash on arrival.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is by Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Check with your bank for information on international fees. There are now ATMs (which accept both Visa and MasterCard) throughout all Moroccan cities.
There are few problems changing money. There are many banks, all operating with equal exchange rates, and without commission. Cash in EUR, GBP and USD dollars are favoured for exchange. Please note that Australian Dollars (AUD) are not accepted in Morocco.
Travellers' cheques are not recommended in Morocco. While some banks and 5 star hotels will change travellers' cheques this is rare and the process is very time consuming, and commissions can be high (up to 10%).
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
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.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, The Adventure Company.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 7. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
Maximum of 16 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:
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.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Hotel Zahrat Al Jabal (3 nts), Hotel Amine (2 nts), Aljasira Hotel (2 nts), Gite Awayou (2 nts), Salam Hotel (1 nt), Les Portes du Desert (1 nt), Hotel La Kasbah (1 nt), Desert camp (1 nt), Kasbah Taborihte (1 nt)
Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
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.
14 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Moroccan meals can consist of up to five courses! If you eat a little of each, you may just have enough appetite left to find some room for dessert which is well worth saving some space for!
Please note that there will often be a certain amount of repetition in the types of food available. Tagine and cous-cous are both examples of very common dishes that you will encounter, and you should be prepared that meal times may become a bit monotonous.
Mineral water in Morocco is usually referred to by brand name, Sidi Harazem, Sidi Ali or the naturally sparkling Oulmes. They're really cheap and you can get them anywhere.
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.
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
20 Jul 2013 (FMK130720), 04 Aug 2013 (FMK130804), 17 Aug 2013 (FMK130817), 19 Oct 2013 (FMK131019), 21 Dec 2013 (FMK131221), 29 Mar 2014 (FMK140329), 05 Apr 2014 (FMK140405), 19 Jul 2014 (FMK140719), 03 Aug 2014 (FMK140803), 16 Aug 2014 (FMK140816), 18 Oct 2014 (FMK141018), 20 Dec 2014 (FMK141220)
Hotel Zahrat al Jabal
Avenue des FAR
Joining point description
Hotel Zahrat Al Jabal is located in the new town (New Town) city center not far from the main Hassan II avenue. It's about 5 min walk to the center and 15 to 20 mn by taxi (MAD 20 to 30) to the Medina (Old town). Opposite the hotel, there is a bank (ATM), small restaurants (pizzeria) and a shop. In the main Hassan II avenue there are other cafés and restaurants.
The hotel has a restaurant on the terrace, A/C and TV in the rooms. Room service is available during the day and during the night the reception is available.
Check in time 12:00
Rue Lala Nezha, avenue des FAR
00212 535 944 646
Joining point instructions
For those who have pre-booked your airport arrival transfer, please look out for your representative who will be waiting in the arrival hall holding a placard bearing The Adventure Company logo. You will then be guided to the waiting vehicle. If you cannot locate your representative or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour number:00212 524 439 025 (during office hours) 00212 661 430 015 (24h)
Fes Saiss airport is located outside of the town about 18 km away (30 mn from the new town and 40 mn from the old town).
There are taxis outside the gate for transfers and they charge different amounts depending on the time of arrival and the availability. Please agree about the price (approx. MAD 300) before you get in. It takes about 30 mn to Zahrat Al Jabal hotel.
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.
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
20 Jul 2013 (FMK130720), 04 Aug 2013 (FMK130804), 17 Aug 2013 (FMK130817), 19 Oct 2013 (FMK131019), 21 Dec 2013 (FMK131221), 29 Mar 2014 (FMK140329), 05 Apr 2014 (FMK140405), 19 Jul 2014 (FMK140719), 03 Aug 2014 (FMK140803), 16 Aug 2014 (FMK140816), 18 Oct 2014 (FMK141018), 20 Dec 2014 (FMK141220)
Drive Abdelkrim El Khettabi
Finish point description
Hotel Amine is located on the edge of the Gueliz (Nouvelle ville) towards the University of Science kadi Ayad. It's about 15 mn walk to the new town's center and 30 mn walk to the Medina (Old town). There is a bank and ATM next to the hotel, couple small restaurants at the back and a pharmacy. A regular public bus N°1 stops opposite the hotel goes to Gueliz and the Medina. petit taxis (MAD 20 to 30) are available all time.
The hotel has a large swimming pool surrounded by a garden, a restaurant and laundry service. Rooms are equiped with A/C and TV. There is a room and a 24 h front desk service as well as a currency exchange service.
Check in time 12:00
Check out time 12:00
Luggage storage at the hotel avaialbel for late departure
Avenue Abdelkarim El Khatabi, Gueliz
00212 524 436 376
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 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. 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.
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 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.
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.
CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT:
Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip.
* A windproof/ waterproof jacket/kagoul
* Warm mid-layer (fleece or wool) - for cool (sometimes very cold) mornings and evenings
* Warm clothing for sleeping in during winter months
* Walking/trail boots
* Swimming costume
* Trainers/ sandals for relaxing
* Sun-hat (local headscarf is useful against desert sand)
* A sarong or wrap to cover shoulders or legs is handy when walking through local villages. Alternatively, loose cotton trousers that can easily be pulled on over shorts are also useful.
* Sleeping bag - 2/3 season in Jul & Aug, otherwise 3/4-season (NB: We do our best to ensure bedding is provided each night of the tour however, during high season or should you feel the cold we recommend to bring a sleeping bag for comfort)
* Small towel
* Wet wipes – especially for the trek/desert
* Toilet paper and lighter (available locally)
* Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
* Personal first aid kit
* Insect repellent
* Water purification tablets
* A laundry service may be available in some places, but we recommend you take biodegradable travel detergent so you can wash clothes as you choose.
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
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.
Henna tattoos are commonplace in Morocco. You should be aware that some henna tattoos contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause a painful allergic reaction, including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.
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:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
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.
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.
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 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 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:
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.
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.
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.