North Morocco Adventure Trip Notes

North Morocco Adventure

Last Modified: 09 Jun 2016
North Morocco Adventure
Trip code: XMSB
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Immerse yourself in the exotic colours and cultures that define Morocco. From the imperial cities of Meknes and Rabat to the whitewashed town of Chefchaouen, the rich history and traditions of this ancient land await. Discover the medieval city of Fes, explore the spice markets of Marrakech and travel to the Roman ruins of Volubilis - this northbound tour lets you soak up the extravagant sights and revel in the hidden delights.
Table of Contents
StyleMeals introductionFinishing point instructions
ThemesMealsAlternate finish point
Is this trip right for you?TransportAlternate finish point description
Why we love itMoney mattersAlternate finish point instructions
MapGroup leaderEmergency contact
ItinerarySafetyVisas
Itinerary disclaimerJoining pointWhat to take
Physical ratingJoining point descriptionClimate and seasonal information
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsHealth
Important notesAlternate joining pointTravel insurance
Group sizeAlternate joining point descriptionA couple of rules
Your fellow travellersAlternate joining point instructionsResponsible Travel
AccommodationFinish pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Accommodation NotesFinish point descriptionFeedback
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- On the seventh day of the trip, a three-hour journey by public bus to Tangier is windy in places so it's not for the feint hearted. Although the backdrop of the stunning Rif Mountains makes this a truly scenic journey.
- There's an overnight train on Day 7 of the trip. The train has four-berth couchette compartments with upper and lower bunks on each side, so you may be sharing a confined space with people outside of your travel group. Overnight trains are a great way to meet the locals and other travellers, as well as ensuring you get maximum time in various destinations.
- The train from Rabat to Meknes on Day 2 can get pretty busy at peak periods, so we’d recommend packing lightly in a rucksack to make sure you can get on and off the train easily.
- There are some steep steps up to the guesthouse in Moulay Idriss on Day 2, which can be quite difficult to negotiate if you've packed heavily. If you need assistance to carry your luggage from the taxi to the accommodation, mules can be provided.
Why we love it
- Widely regarded as Morocco's holiest place, overnight visits to Moulay Idriss were prohibited to non-Muslims until 2005. Experience a homestay with a charming local family; if you’re lucky, you might even get an invite to a cooking demonstration by the ladies of the house
- Enjoy plenty of time to practise your photography among the vivid blue houses of Chefchaouen
- Relive a glorious medieval past in Fes city. While many tourists get lost in the labyrinthine streets of the medina, you'll have a local guide to show you the way
- Literally translated, Morocco's grand capital of Rabat means ‘fortified palace’. The botanical gardens are a lovely place to relax and sip a mint tea
- Need a break from your wanders around the narrow streets of Meknes? Replenish your energy with the ideal hump-day treat: a camel burger cooked right in front of you at a restaurant in the medina
- Where else would you find drummers, dancers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, jugglers and old medicine men in one place? Marrakech is the perfect place to share a final group meal and stock up on treasures in the city's colourful souqs
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Casablanca
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins today with a welcome meeting at 6pm – check with hotel 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. 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. As there's not much free time included in Casablanca on this trip, we highly recommend you arrive a day or two early so you can explore. Modelled after Marseille in France, the city is famous for its art deco buildings and the modern-day masterpiece, the Hassan II Mosque. A pleasant way to spend the day exploring Casablanca is to wander the old medina and the city walls, then jump in a taxi to visit the Quartiers des Habous, the new medina. Finish the day with a walk along the Corniche, watching the locals play football on the beach, or take it easy with a glass of sweet mint tea in one of the many great cafes.

Note: Please be aware that some of our travellers to Casablanca are being approached by locals offering excursions before their Intrepid trip commences. This has been particularly prevalent in and around the hotels used by Intrepid. These guides are in no way connected to Intrepid Travel and we cannot guarantee the safety or quality standards of their tours. We strongly advise customers against joining any tour offered by unauthorised guides. Intrepid Travel assesses the safety of all optional excursions offered by our tour leaders. If you would like more information on the excursions available, please contact us before you travel or see the Intrepid-branded notice in the reception of your hotel.
Optional Activities
  • Jewish Museum - MAD40
  • Villa des Arts - art gallery & museum - Free
  • Guided tour of Hassan II Mosque - MAD120
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Rabat/Moulay Idriss
    Today take an early morning one-hour train to the historical town of Rabat. Rabat's history is long and colourful, having been host to Roman settlements, pirates and more recently the Moroccan parliament. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments, some dating from the 10th to 15th century Almohad and Merenid dynasties, and others that are far older. The earliest known settlement is Sala, occupying an area now known as the Chellah. Store your luggage and spend a few hours strolling through the city's old quarter, then walk up to Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy views over the Atlantic Ocean. Continue on to Meknes by train (approximately 3 hours), before taking a 45-minute taxi through scenic countryside to the sacred pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss. Once forbidden to non-Muslims, explore the delightful medina of this ancient town that offers an excellent insight into traditional Moroccan life. See where the faithful gather to pay homage at the tomb of Moulay Idriss I, who was the great-grandson of Mohammed and brought Islam to Morocco. At sunset, enjoy great views over the plains of Volubilis below. Your accommodation for the night is in a guesthouse/homestay with a local family. Bathroom facilities may be shared and you may be sharing a room with two or three others.
    Accommodation
    Guesthouse (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast
    Day 3 Volubilis/Fes
    Today, take a guided tour of the archaeological site of Volubilis. World Heritage-listed Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, and the remains make an undeniably impressive sight. Upon arrival, take a tour around the ruins with a local guide. Please remember to pack drinking water, hat, sunglasses and sun cream for this tour as it may get hot and you will be exposed to the sun. And, of course, don’t forget to take your camera as the town is filled with fantastic mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus, many of which remain intact. After time spent imagining Volubulis as the bustling city it once was, return to the nearby imperial city of Meknes, where you'll have a few hours to explore. In the 17th century Sultan Moulay Ismail turned Meknes from a provincial town to a spectacular Imperial city, building his own version of Versailles with labour force of over 25,000 slaves. The adventurous may want to try a camel burger for lunch at a local restaurant in the medina. In the afternoon, take a one-hour train to Fes, where you'll spend the next two nights. Fes is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco; vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses – with a huge, well-preserved medieval old city that’s the mother of all medinas.
    Included Activities
    • Entrance and guided tour Volubilis
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast, 1 lunch
      Day 4 Fes
      Take a guided group walking tour of the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali. Step back into the Middle Ages in the labyrinth of the Medina, which is alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries and mosques. Pass donkeys piled high with goods (this is one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world) and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's most beautiful buildings, which has recently been restored and is now open to tourists. Visit the Belghazi Museum, Medresse el Attarine and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th century inn. You'll also see the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramics factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. In the evening, enjoy a delicious group dinner of Moroccan specialities like harira (chickpea soup) and chicken-stuffed pastilla with couscous. The group may also head to the Palais Jamai for a drink. Watching the sunset over the Medina while a dozen prayer calls vie for attention is an experience you'll likely remember for a long time.

      Notes: Today’s experience will include shopping in carefully selected places. As the receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Moroccan tourism industry, Intrepid has established a centralised system of receiving and distributing payments from these recommended suppliers. For more information, please refer to ‘Important Notes’ section or talk to your Tour leader on the ground.
      Included Activities
      • Guided walking tour Fes
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 5 Chefchaouen
        Take a local four-hour bus to the isolated town of Chefchaouen today. Chefchaouen, or the ‘blue city’, is arguably one of the prettiest places in Morocco. Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen may take you by surprise. Its medina has been lovingly cared for with striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs and artistic doorways. Much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquistia, so you might feel like you're in the hills of Spain while exploring its streets. Ease into the relaxed pace of life in this rural retreat. Take a stroll through the ancient medina and shop for handicrafts, go hiking in the Rif mountains or simply sit at a cafe and enjoy the pleasure of time passing by. If you're feeling peckish, the goats' cheese on offer is a popular treat enjoyed by many visitors.
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 6 Chefchaouen
        Today is a free day to explore Chefchaouen. Perhaps take a guided tour of the sights, sounds, and smells of the medina, or sample the delicious local goat cheese at a cafe in the Plaza Uta el-Hammam. Admire the architecture of the 15th-century Grand Mosque (closed to non-Muslims) and browse the shops in the square selling woven goods and small sweets. Also within the plaza is the walled fortress of the Kasbah. Wander through the tranquil gardens inside, check out the ethnographic museum and soak in wonderful views from the rooftop. Alternatively, you might prefer to get out of town and enjoy a hike and picnic in the surrounding hills. In the evening, tuck into a tagine at a local restaurant or visit a hammam, a traditional Moroccan spa.
        Optional Activities
        • Walking tour with local guide - MAD300
        • Picnic lunch for hike - MAD70
        • Kasbah (closed on Tuesdays) - MAD20
        • Medina visit with local guide - MAD300
        • Hamam (public baths) - MAD150
        • Henna tattooing - MAD50
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 7 Tangier
          Today take a local three-hour bus to the coastal town of Tangier, a place of strategic importance to the Mediterranean and the gateway to Africa. Once a hotspot for artists, secret agents and millionaires, Tangier has been going through something of a renaissance of late thanks to the arrival of a new monarch in Morocco in 1999. Mohammed VI of Morocco and his forward-thinking ideas about commerce and tourism has suddenly woke up the community to the potential of this city. Today, the city's medina and kasbah are well worth exploring, as are the cafes and patisseries around the Place de la France in the Ville Nouvelle. Perhaps visit the American Legation Museum, the former palace of Dar el-Makhzen or the Caves of Hercules. The recently reconstructed beach promenade is lined with great restaurants. Perhaps enjoy a fresh seafood dinner by the port, before boarding an overnight sleeper train bound for Marrakech.
          Optional Activities
          • American Legation Museum - MAD20
          • Museum Dar El Mekhzen - MAD20
          • The Caves of Hercules - MAD25
            Accommodation
            Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast
            Day 8 Marrakech
            Arrive early into Marrakech on the overnight train. The day is free for you to explore. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Explore the Medina and the city's seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. Perhaps visit the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th-century minaret, which was the famous prototype for the Giralda tower in Seville. Take a wander through the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). You might like to check out the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, or 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 medinas of Morocco. In the evening, join the thronging crowds for an optional dinner in the Djemaa el Fna, the city's main square. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity. Snake-charmers, henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies. This is sure to be an unforgettable farewell to Marrakech.
            Optional Activities
            • Marjorelle Gardens - MAD70
            • Palais Bahia - MAD10
            • Palais Badi - MAD10
            • Saadien Tombs - MAD10
            • Medersa Ben Youssef - MAD40
            • Museum of Marrakech - MAD40
            • Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
            • Photography Museum - MAD40
            • A Taste Of Marrakech - MAD450
            • Tajine cooking class - MAD546
            • Cascades d'Ouzoud day tour - MAD2207
            • Hammam & Massage in a luxury spa - MAD650
            • Ourika Valley day tour - MAD1817
            • Oukaimeden day tour - MAD1882
            • Asni & Ourigane with lunch - MAD1806
            • Quad biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust - MAD1320
            • Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove - MAD660
            • Medina, Palace and Tombs half day tour - MAD325
            • Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day tour - MAD900
            • Palmery cycling tour - MAD350
            • Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
            • Imlil & Aroumd day tour - MAD1817
            • Essaouira Food & Culture day trip - MAD840
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Day 9 Marrakech
              Your trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring here. Speak to your leader about the wealth of extra activities to do around Marrakech.
              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

              Included activities
              Entrance and guided tour Volubilis
              Guided walking tour Fes
              Important notes
              Single supplement is available with the exception of the following nights:
              Day 2: Moulay Idriss
              Day 7: Overnight train

              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.

              A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
              The price of the Single Supplement doesn't include the following nights where single rooms may not be available. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
              Day 2: Moulay Idriss
              Day 7 Overnight Train
              Accommodation
              Guesthouse (1nt), Hotel (6nt), Overnight sleeper train (1nt)
              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 ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

              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.

              HEATING:
              Some of our guesthouses/hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It's also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers, which are a pleasure for most of the year. Air-conditioning systems (if available) don't always function.
              Meals introduction
              While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

              Breakfasts in Morocco are generally simple affairs consisting of bread, butter, jam, coffee/tea and juice (or similar). This is typical of breakfasts in Morocco hotels and large American/English style breakfasts are generally not available.
              Meals
              7 breakfasts, 1 lunch
              Transport
              Overnight sleeper train, Private Bus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Train

              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.
              Money matters
              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.

              MOROCCO
              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.

              SPENDING MONEY
              When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

              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.

              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.

              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 very small denomination coins, 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.

              All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

              Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries.

              Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

              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.
              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

              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!

              SEAT BELTS:
              Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide 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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

              SCAMS:
              When walking through touristy areas of cities you may be approached by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or take you to a local spice shop. They will either ask to be your local guide for the day or expect money when you arrive at your destination. Please note these people are not registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you (or 'la Shukran') should suffice.

              MOROCCAN TAGINES:
              Moroccan ceramic tagines bought in the souks or other shops in Morocco may contain high levels of lead. We strongly recommend you have any tagine you buy in Morocco tested before cooking with it or buy for decorative purposes only.
              Joining point
              Hotel Maamoura
              59 Rue ibn Batouta
              Quartier deb Omar (near Central Market)
              Casablanca
              20000
              MOROCCO
              Phone: 212 522452967
              Joining point description
              The Hotel Maamoura has 55 rooms equipped with air conditioning, television, Internet and 24 hours room service.

              The hotel is located in central Casablanca approx 15 minutes from the train station, close to shops and restaurants.
              Joining point instructions
              Taxis are easy to locate from outside the airport for the 25 kilometre journey into Casablanca city centre. The Taxis are large Mercedes vehicles and have no meter. You need to agree on the price before you get in! The rate is MAD 250 (EUR 25) during daylight hours and MAD 300 after 8.00pm

              Alternatively take a local train from the airport into the central station (Casablanca Voyageurs) and then take a taxi to the hotel. Trains run every hour from 6.00am until 10.00pm, take 35mins and cost MAD 30. From Casablanca Voyageurs Station take a Petit taxi to the hotel. You will have to negotiate the taxi fare before getting in! Aim to pay MAD 25.

              The hotel is well known and located in the centre of town, a few streets away from Place du 16 Novembre. Don't believe any taxi driver that tries to tell you that it is closed or full.

              Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport:
              If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, the driver will be waiting for you at the information desk in Terminal 1 near the entrance to the train station. Your driver will be holding a board with the Intrepid logo or your name.

              Please note that it was decided recently by the Moroccan authorities that transfer drivers are sometimes not allowed inside the Terminal and should wait outside the building. If your transfer driver is not waiting for you at the location described above, please take a walk to the exit from the Terminal where you will find the driver with the brand logo.

              In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact to the Transport Company emergency phone number :+212 661 315 626 Or Peak Number : 212 (0) 66192 2693
              Alternate joining point
              For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
              07 Sep 2016 (XMSB160907), 19 Oct 2016 (XMSB161019), 26 Oct 2016 (XMSB161026), 21 Dec 2016 (XMSB161221)
              Hotel Transatlantique
              79 Rue Chaouia
              Centre Ville
              Casablanca
              MOROCCO
              Phone: +212 522294551
              Alternate joining point description
              Hotel Transatlantique is situated close to Central Market of Casablanca, Place Mohammed V, and Hassan II Mosque. Complex Cultural Sidi Belyout and United Nations Square are within short taxi drive from the hotel.
              All rooms are en suite, with shower/tub combination. In each room there is flat screen TV with satellite channels.
              Hotel has its own restaurant and lounge area with well-equipped bar. Coffee shops and nightclub can be both find in a walking distance from the hotel.
              Alternate joining point instructions
              Taxis are easy to locate from outside the airport for the 25 kilometre journey into Casablanca city centre. The Taxis are large Mercedes vehicles and have no meter. You need to agree on the price before you get in! The rate is MAD 250 (EUR 25) during daylight hours and MAD 300 after 8.00pm

              Alternatively take a local train from the airport into the central station (Casablanca Voyageurs) and then take a taxi to the hotel. Trains run every hour from 6.00am until 10.00pm, take 35mins and cost MAD 30. From Casablanca Voyageurs Station take a Petit taxi to the hotel. You will have to negotiate the taxi fare before getting in! Aim to pay MAD 25.

              The hotel is well known and located in the centre of town, a few streets away from Place du 16 Novembre. Don't believe any taxi driver that tries to tell you that it is closed or full.

              Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport:
              If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, the driver will be waiting for you at the information desk in Terminal 1 near the entrance to the train station. If your flight land in Terminal 2 please go direct to Terminal 1. Your driver will be holding a board with your name on.

              Please note that it was decided recently by the Moroccan authorities that transfer drivers are sometimes not allowed inside the Terminal and should wait outside the building. If your transfer driver is not waiting for you at the location described above, please take a walk to the exit from the Terminal where you will find the driver with the brand logo.

              In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact to the Transport Company emergency phone number :+212 661 315 626 Or Peak Number : 212 (0) 66192 2693
              Finish point
              Hotel Le Caspien
              12, rue Loubnane
              Marrakech
              MOROCCO
              Phone: 212 524422282
              Finish point description
              Centrally located in the Gueliz district 5mins walk from Avenue Mohammed V, the Caspien hotel has 40 rooms all with en-suite bathrooms, A/C, TV, telephones. The hotel has a small swimming pool and 2 restaurants.
              www.lecaspien-hotel.com
              Finishing point instructions
              Marrakech Menara Airport is approx. 5km from the city centre. Petite taxis (small cars which are light brown in colour) can easily be hailed from the street, or ask the hotel to assist. Negotiate the fare before getting in and aim to pay no more than 100MAD (150MAD at night).

              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 travel company on the emergency phone numbers: +212 6 61 24 31 06 and +212 6 66 19 27 66 Or Peak Number : 212 (0) 66192 2693


              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 4:45am and 8:45pm 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 two hours at 13 mins past the hour between 03h13 and 22h13. From Casa L’oasis (first station in Casablanca), trains run to the airport every two hours at 20 mins past the hour between 03h20 and 22h20. 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)

              Please note that private transfer from Marrakech hotel to Casablanca airport are available for sale.

              Alternate finish point
              For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
              20 Jul 2016 (XMSB160720)
              Moroccan House Hotel Marrakech
              3, Rue Loubnane Guéliz, Centre-ville
              Marrakech
              MOROCCO
              Phone: +212 524420305
              Fax: +212 524420297
              Alternate finish point description
              Hotel Moroccan House is located 5 min beyond the Gueliz (New Town) city center. It's within 5 min walk from Marrakech Plazza on Mohamed V Avenue and 20 min walk to the Medina (Old town). There are small cafes and restaurants near by on Mohamed Zerktouni avenue. The regular public bus N°1 can be taken near the post office (5min walk from the hotel). Petit taxis (MAD 20 to 30) are available all the time.

              The hotel has a swimming pool, a Hammam (traditional steam bath), a restaurant and laundry service. Rooms are equipped with A/C, TV, telephone and a mini bar. There is also a 24 h front desk service. Check out time is at midday, but luggage storage at the hotel is available for late departures
              www.moroccanhousehotels.com
              3, rue Loubnane, Gueliz
              +212 524 420 305
              Alternate finish point instructions
              Emergency contact
              In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Morocco Office can be reached on Tel: +212 (0) 66192 2693. For further contact details please use the following page:

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

              PEAK Marrakech: +212 661 922 693
              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.

              MOROCCO:
              Australia: No - Not required
              Belgium: No - Not required
              Canada: No - Not required
              Germany: No - Not required
              Ireland: No - Not required
              Netherlands: No - Not required
              New Zealand: No - Not required
              South Africa: Yes - in advance (in general, visa processing can take approximately 20 working days)
              Switzerland: No - Not required
              UK: No - Not required
              USA: No - Not required

              Those who do not require visas to visit Morocco as a tourist, are stamped in on arrival for 3 months.
              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.

              Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

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

              TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
              It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas inside the bus or your cabin. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

              LUGGAGE STORAGE
              Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage during included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.

              CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
              Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather. Summer (approx June to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel & winter (approx November to February) can be very cold. It's recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter.

              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.

              WATER BOTTLE:
              Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
              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.

              RAMADAN, EID UL-FITR and EID UL ADHA FESTIVAL 2016:
              In 2016 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 06 June through till 05 July, 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, on 10 and 11 September 2016.
              Health
              All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

              You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

              DRINKING WATER:
              As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

              ASTHMA:
              For some travellers, the Sahara sands can bring on bouts of asthma. If you suffer from asthma even occasionally, we recommend you bring your medication as it can not be administered by your group leader and may not be readily available while you are travelling.
              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:

              * 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.

              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.

              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback