Mount Toubkal Trek Trip Notes

Mount Toubkal Trek

Last Modified: 07 Sep 2016
Mount Toubkal Trek
Trip code: XMXO
Validity: 01 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017
From the heart of Marrakech’s Medina to the top of Mt Toubkal, this Moroccan adventure offers you a sublime combination of city sights and mountain trekking. Learn some basic Arabic or Berber from the local villagers in the Atlas Mountains, while experiencing the friendly hospitality of the Berber people, and ascend to the summit of North Africa’s highest peak. Prepare for a sensory overload as you encounter the Djemaa el-Fna for the first time, get lost in Marrakech’s maze of covered market streets and feel those tastebuds tingle over a traditional Moroccan tajine. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017: From 1st of January 2017 this trip will run on improved itinerary. The day order will change to allow a shorter drive and more free time to celebrate after successful summit day. New itinerary (with all inclusions as per 2016) will look as follows: Day 1 Marrakech Day 2 Aremd Day 3 Nelter Day 4 Nelter (Summit day) Day 5 Aremd Day 6 Marrakech Day 7 Marrakech
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinishing point instructions
ThemesAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionVisas
Why we love itMealsWhat to take
MapTransportClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeJoining point instructionsFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point
Style
Basix
Themes
Take a Hike, Walking & Trekking
Is this trip right for you?
- In 2017, Ramadan will take place from 27th May to 24th June. This is the holiest month of the year for Muslims around the world. Many festivals are marked as Islamic Holidays, which may cause some disturbance to your travels around this time. Some regular services may not be available or open during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars. Please consider your travel arrangements carefully.
- This is a trekking trip, so the physical demands are higher here than for other trips. In order to reach the summit of Mount Toubkal, you need to be reasonably fit and healthy. Previous mountain climbing or walking experience will help you during this trip.
- The summit of Mt. Toubkal is 4,167 metres (13,671 feet) above sea level. However unlikely, at this height you may experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and take it easy. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more information about altitude sickness.
- On days 2-5 of the trip you'll be staying in typical Moroccan alpine accommodation, which may include sharing rooms and basic facilities. This is a great way to experience the Berber culture of the High Atlas Mountains.
Why we love it
- Ascend the dizzying heights of mighty Mount Toubkal, climbing to the highest peak in North Africa. With unequalled views of the Moroccan landscape, this is one thing you can tick off your bucket list
- Wander along forest paths and experience a traditional homestay in the Atlas Mountains. This is a great way to better understand Morocco’s traditional Berber people and their customs
- Embrace the vibrant souqs, sights, sounds and smells of Marrakech on a guided walking tour. Dine on tagine and couscous in Marrakesh’s biggest outdoor food market and watch from a rooftop cafe as the Djemaa el-Fna comes alive at dusk
- Plenty of free time in Marrakech allows you to really get under the skin of this vibrant city. This means you'll get to see everything you want, as well as having time to relax
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Marrakech
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6pm, where you'll meet your fellow travellers and group leader – check with reception to confirm the time. 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 have these on hand. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. After the meeting you have the option to join your leader on a jaunt to Djemaa el Fna, the square in the centre of the Medina. Huge crowds converge at night to see singers, drummers, dancers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, jugglers and even old medicine men and dentists come together in what has been called the 'greatest spectacle on earth'. An al fresco dinner at one of the many stalls is a real experience.

Notes: This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this. For those who are travelling on the group flights from the UK, a welcome meeting will also be held on the morning of Day 2 over breakfast. Please check the notice board for timings.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Aroumd
This morning will start with breakfast and a group meeting at 8am. Your leader will go through everything you need to know about the trek before you set off into the mountains. Leave Marrakech behind and drive across the plains towards the ancient marketplace of Tahanaoute, photographing valleys in full flower and the High Atlas Mountains looming ahead along the way. Arrive into Imlil village, which is 1,740 metres above sea level (approximately 1.5 hours). Walk into traditional mountain village life with a 50-minute walk to your mountain base in the village of Aroumd (2,000 metres above sea level) with views towards Toubkal. In the afternoon stretch your legs with a gentle orientation walk around Aroumd, far from the reach of the modern world and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture. Tonight is spent in a 'gite', a traditional village house with dormitory rooms sleeping around eight people. Rooms are furnished in traditional Berber style with low couches (which can be used as beds), tables, carpets and cushions. On warm nights it’s often possible to sleep out on the terrace under the stars. Showers and toilets are usually shared.
Accommodation
Mountain Gite (1 nt)
Meals
1 breakfast, 1 dinner
Day 3 Neltner Hut/Mt Toubkal Summit
Today embark on the first day of your ascent of Mt Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak. From Armoud the trail crosses the floodplain of the Ait Mizane Valley, before climbing steeply in a zigzag up the mountainside. All baggage and provisions are carried by mule. Used to plough fields, carry loads, turn threshing machines and ferry people between villages, mules are an indispensable part of Berber life. Along the way, pass the pilgrimage site of Sidi Chamarouch, home to the tomb of the local marabout (Muslim holy man). See the shrine from across the gorge, as it’s forbidden for non-Muslims to cross the bridge to the other side. From here climb steeply through a series of switchbacks and traverse the flank of the valley above the river. Arrive into Toubkal Base Camp at Neltner (3,207 metres above sea level), where you'll spend the next night. Enjoy hearty dinner and make sure you get plenty of sleep before the big ascent day tomorrow.
Accommodation
Mountain Refuge (1 nt)
Meals
1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Day 4 Neltner Hut/Mt Toubkal Summit
Early on in the morning set off for Jebel Toubkal along rocky terrain, and appreciate the rugged beauty of the surroundings. At 4,167 metres above sea level, this is the roof of North Africa. Take in the beautiful silence of the morning, and make the final steep climb, which can involve some scrambling. The effort is however rewarded by superb views from the summit of the entire Atlas range. On a clear day it’s even possible to make out the Atlantic coast to the west and the Sahara Desert to the east. After a rest at the summit and time spent marvelling at the view, make your way back to Neltner. In total there should be approximately 8 hours of walking.

Notes: The ascent is usually only possible during the summer (June to September) as there is too much snow on the high slopes at other times of year. This demanding two-day walk should only be considered by those who are fit and have plenty of mountain-walking experience.
Accommodation
Mountain Refuge (1 nt)
Meals
1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Day 5 Aroumd
Pack up and head back to Aroumd, the now familiar village where you already spent some time before heading into the heights of Atlas Mountains. This region is a mix of fertile valleys, snowy peaks almost touching the sky and Berber villages constructed using local materials. If you wish, explore the surroundings with afternoon walks in this picturesque set-up, or relax after few strenuous days on the highest peak of Morocco. End your day surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, and enjoy Berber hospitality and food.
Accommodation
Mountain Gite (1 nt)
Meals
1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Day 6 Marrakech
Wake up to the ‘call for the prayer’ voice coming out from the minaret of local mosque. After breakfast, pack up and head back down to Imlil (approximately three hours). From here it's a one-and-a-half hour drive back across the plains to Marrakech. The vibrant city of Marrakech is a feast for the senses. After checking in to your hotel, you'll have plenty of time to explore. Head out on to colourful square of Djemaa El-Fna and start your city adventure with the glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, famous drink of Marrakech. Head out to the photographic museum to see the past of Morocco captured in amazing pictures and end your day on the one of many rooftop restaurants surrounding the square.
Included Activities
  • Guided walking tour of Marrakech
  • Palais Bahia
    Optional Activities
    • Hammam & Massage in a luxury spa - MAD750
    • A Taste Of Marrakech - MAD509
    • Hot Air Ballooning - MAD1990
    • Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day tour - MAD900
    • Palmery cycling tour - MAD350
    • Cooking Class - MAD546
    • Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove - MAD660
    • Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
    • Quad biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust - MAD1650
    • Essaouira Food & Culture day trip - MAD840
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast, 1 lunch
      Day 7 Marrakech
      After breakfast, take a guided walking tour through the souqs of the Medina, each devoted to a different trade such as pottery, woodwork, carpets or spices. For the rest of your time in the city you'll be free to make your own discoveries. Visit the Palais de la Bahia, built in the 19th century for the Grand Vizier of Soultan Moulay al Hassan. Only part of the palace is open, as the royal family still uses the building. Another possibility is the former royal townhouse of Dar Si Said, which now houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts. If you’d like to experience the relaxation of a traditional Moroccan bath, your leader can advise where to find the nearest hammam. Perhaps indulge your inner foodie with a 'Taste of Marrakech' Urban Adventure day tour, or take part in a cooking class to create the perfect tajine.
      In the evening, why not head back to Djemaa El-Fna for the final celebration before the end of your adventure.
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Day 8 Marrakech
      Your Mount Toubkal Trek adventure ends today morning. There are no activities planned for your final day and you are free to leave at any time. If you decide to stay on longer, perhaps tour the impressive Saadian Tombs or relax in a hammam (Moroccan bath).
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Itinerary disclaimer
      ITINERARY CHANGES 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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! 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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time. 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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
      Physical rating

      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.

      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 is recommended and will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip and allow you to make the most of your treks around the High Atlas Mountains and to the top of Mount Toubkal, which is sure to be the highlight of the trip. Trekking will be on a mixture of mountain paths, over a pebbled dry riverbed and with inclines and declines. The ascent day will be the most challenging on the trip as the incline does become steeper and some of the paths can be slippery with loose stones therefore some scrambling may be necessary. However, the sense of achievement and views from the top make it all worthwhile! On a clear day, you can even see across to Algeria.
      Included activities
      Guided walking tour of Marrakech
      Palais Bahia
      Important notes
      1) A Single supplement is available on this trip with exception of days 2&5 Aroumd and days 3&4 Neltner
      2) A 'Passenger Self Assessment Form' is required to be completed for this trip. Please ask your Travel Consultant for details.
      3) Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude.

      Group size
      Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      GROUP TRAVEL
      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.

      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 accommodation (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
      Hotel (3 nights), Mountain Gite (2 nights), Mountain Refuge (2 nights)
      We've sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may be different to western standards
      OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
      The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
      TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
      Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than en suite (even if you paid for single room supplement!) and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
      HEATING
      Mountain Huts on this trip have very limited heating options 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 nights and cold showers.
      CHECK-IN TIME
      Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
      PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
      If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
      Meals introduction
      Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced - kebab and bread cost only about $3. In main towns it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from $30 upwards. Generally dinner is likely to cost between $10-15 depending on what you drink - so an estimate for food would be about $20 -$25 a day. Soft drinks are available at very reasonable prices, but generally speaking alcohol is not widely available in Morocco due to the cultural and religious reasons. Still, in some hotels and restaurants you will be able to purchase beers, wines and spirits, but you can pay western prices or more for imported alcohol. Please be aware of local laws, believes and traditions, and be very sensitive and respectful while consuming alcohol. Your leader can help recommend restaurants each evening. Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian cous cous and tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case in rural parts of this itinerary. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform us prior to the trip. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.
      Meals
      7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
      Transport
      Private minibus, walking

      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. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort. The best part about all of these long drives are the spectacular views and fun stops en route such as mountain passes, kasbahs, palmeries, sand dunes, goats up trees etc.
      We also use public transport on some of our trips around Morocco. Be it a train or a public bus, remember that the best part of it is the possibility to interact with local people traveling along with you.
      Money matters
      CURRENCY
      The currency of Morocco is the dirham (DRH), divided into 100 centimes. Bank notes come in denominations of DRH 200, 100, 50 and 20. Smaller values are issued as coins in values of 10, 5, 1 as well as 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c. Changing money is easy and you will find banks and exchange bureaux in Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech. In the desert and Atlas Mountains opportunities to exchange money are limited. There are ATMs in all major cities, which accept Visa cards, MasterCards and cards connected with Cirrus. Some ATMs, belonging to smaller banks, will not work so occasionally you may need to try two or three before you are successful. We would strongly recommend bringing a combination of cash and credit cards. Credit cards are useful for large purchases such as carpets or gold from a large store, but generally speaking they are not accepted in many places. Local restaurants, markets, and many hotels will only accept cash as payment for goods or services. Please ensure you only use banks, licensed money exchangers or hotels. We also suggest you keep your receipts. Do not change money with street touts. This is illegal.
      TIPPING
      If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's 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. 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. Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
      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.
      EMERGENCY FUNDS
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      COMMISSIONS
      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.
      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.
      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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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 leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

      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:

      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

      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.
      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
      Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
      TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

      TRAINING FOR A TREK
      Before deciding whether or not you want to travel on this trip, please have a read of the training for a trek document.

      http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/Intrepid_Trekking-Training-Manual.pdf
      Joining point
      Hotel Gomassine
      71 Av. Mohamed Zerktouni Gueliz
      Marrakech
      MOROCCO
      Phone: +212 524433086
      Joining point description
      Hotel Gomassine is located less than 2 miles from Bahia Palace, and only half a mile from Majorelle Gardens. Rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, satellite channels, air conditioning and a minibar. Free Wi-Fi access is available in all areas of the hotel. Small outdoor swimming pool is available for all guests of the hotel.
      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 booked an arrival transfer your transfer driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall.
      In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: 212 6 61 24 31 06 and +212 6 66 19 27 66 Or Peak Number : 212 (0) 66192 2693

      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.
      Finish point
      Hotel Gomassine
      71 Av. Mohamed Zerktouni Gueliz
      Marrakech
      MOROCCO
      Phone: +212 524433086
      Finishing 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.

      Pre booked departure transfer to the airport:
      If you have pre booked a departure transfer, you will be collected from your hotel 3 hours prior to your flight.
      Please reconfirm your departure transfers with your tour leader.
      In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you not find the driver please contact to the emergency phone numbers: +212 6 61 24 31 06 and +212 6 66 19 27 66

      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
      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.
      For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Morocco Office can be reached on the number listed below:

      PEAK Marrakech: 212 661922693
      Visas
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

      Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans and British citizens do not require a visa to visit Morocco for stays up to 90 days. All other nationalities should check with the Moroccan Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information.
      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, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
      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.

      Please follow the link for the Intrepid’s ultimate packing list. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.

      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

      TREKKING EQUIPMENT:
      Trekking Boots (broken in)
      Waterproof 3/4 season jacket and trousers (can be hired/purchased in Kathmandu)
      Basecamp Footwear (ie sneakers or booties)
      Several pairs of good quality socks
      T-Shirts - Highly recommended are synthetic t-shirt styles that wick away moisture
      Thermal Underwear / layers
      Warm jacket
      Warm mid layers (fleece/micro fibre)
      Trousers - Lightweight, loose fitting, trekking trousers.
      Shorts or skirt for summer
      Warm Hat and sun Hat
      Scarf/neck warmer
      Gloves and Mitts
      Sunglasses with UV protection
      Head Torch (spare batteries)
      Sunscreen and Lip Balm
      Light weight towel
      Personal First Aid Kit
      Biodegradable wet wipes / toilet paper
      Hand sanitizer gel
      Trail mix / nuts/ muesli bars
      Hot water bottle
      Daypack - The daypack you select must have the capacity for the items you may be carrying on a day's walk: rain jacket, trousers, warm clothing, water bottle, camera equipment, washing items and other personal effects. A hip/waist strap provides additional comfort. You should consider day packs of at least a 30 to 40 litre capacity.
      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. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
      SLEEPING BAGS
      Sleeping bags consume valuable space in your luggage and can be a pain. However in the winter months (from November to March) there may not be enough heating (sometimes none) or sufficient blankets to keep everyone warm, we recommend bringing your own sleeping bag. Unfortunately sleeping bags can not be hired/rented while on the trip and are not easy to find for purchase. Buy a small sleeping bag before you leave, it will definitely come in handy, particularly if you feel the cold.
      Climate and seasonal information
      CLIMATE:
      Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather.
      Winter (approx November to March) can be very cold. Particularly in the mountains or near the desert, night temperatures can drop to 5 degrees Celsius or less. Even in the hot months out in the desert it can get cold at night. It is recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter. Some of our guesthouses / hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It is also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers.

      Summer (approx May to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. A hat is essential.
      Health
      Good level of fitness and ability to trek in mountainous terrain is required in order to participate fully on this trip. We strongly recommend you will regularly undertake aerobic exercises from at least 6 to 8 weeks before the date of your departure. 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 Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      HIGH ALTITUDE:
      Please note that parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude. Please consult your doctor for any advice on high altitude trekking. Please also let your travel consultant and the tour leader know if you have experienced any high altitude sickness symptoms in the past.
      DRINKING WATER:
      As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water in Morocco, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about two to three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are recommended for you to pack in your personal first aid kit.
      ASTHMA:
      For some travellers, the desert sand and dust can bring on bouts of asthma. If you suffer from asthma even occasionally, we recommend you bring your medication as it cannot be administered by your group leader and may not be readily available while you are travelling.
      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 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.

      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
      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.

      Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
      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.

      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

      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.


      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$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

      http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

      Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Morocco include:

      * The Horizon Association 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.
      www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/horizon-association/

      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.


      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. Below link will take you to the feedback site:

      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/