Real Food Adventure - Morocco Trip Notes

Real Food Adventure - Morocco

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017


Last Modified: 15 Aug 2016
Real Food Adventure - Morocco
Trip code: XMZF
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Clear your plate for flavour-filled Morocco, where Berber, Arabic and European influences mix to create an adventurous culinary cocktail. Follow the smell of food through mesmerising markets and master recipes taught by those that know them best. Grab street food from a souq and share traditional meals with the locals. Take a handful of bustling souqs, mix with a dash of sea and season with fresh local produce, all drizzled with warm Moroccan hospitality for an adventure that will linger long on the tongue and in the memory.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationEmergency contact
ThemesMeals introductionVisas
Is this trip right for you?MealsWhat to take
Why we love itMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
MapGroup leaderHealth
ItinerarySafetyTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerJoining pointA couple of rules
Physical ratingJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinishing point instructions
Style
Original
Themes
Food
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please be aware that in many countries dietary restrictions are not common or well understood. If you have dietary requirements, simply contact your agent at the time of booking for further information on how this may impact on your ability to take part in included activities and meals. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed!
- Day 5 involves a long day of travel as you journey from Fes to Aroumd. It’s more than worth it though as the High Atlas Mountains are full of stunning scenery and warm hospitality.
- You will visit an Argan oil co-op on way to Essaouira. This is a very interesting stop, but sometimes the sales pitch can be pretty strong. It’s worth bearing in mind that these co-ops do a lot to support the local women of the region, but you are of course under no obligation to buy anything.
- The walk in the High Atlas is around 2 hours long, and the gradient is pretty gentle and easy. An average level of fitness is required.
Why we love it
- Discover the wide world of bread, from Khobz to msmen to tafournout to simit and beyond, that forms an essential part of every Moroccan meal. Hollowed out khobz filled with boiled eggs, salt and a good dose of ras el hanout will be your new favourite breakfast
- Brush shoulders with locals while you all feast on freshly grilled sardines purchased from the port fish souk in Essaouira that morning
- Enjoy traditional Berber food and hospitality with a local family up in the High Atlas Mountains, overlooking the crowning peaks in the distance
- Soak up what could be the quintessential smell of Morocco as you watch ras el hanout being freshly ground in a Marrakech spice souk
- Eat mechoui (slow roasted lamb), that’s deliciously falling-apart after being cooked in a pit beneath the floor, while looking over market stalls in the heart of the medina
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Casablanca
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Aromatic tajines, palm-spotted, red-earthed landscapes and limitless generosity define this friendly, vibrant and flavourful Berber-Arab-Spanish-Portuguese-French melting pot. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today, where we’ll be collecting your insurance and next of kin details. You can arrive at any time during the day, as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Modelled after Marseille in France, the bustling port city of Casablanca has a curious architectural style – famous for its art deco French-colonial buildings and Mauresque governmental institutions, an old medina and the modern-day masterpiece of the Hassan II Mosque. For those who arrive early, 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 full of shaded squares and narrow streets, lined with arcades that lead from one souk to another. This is a great place to enjoy a Moroccan coffee and maybe start improving your bargaining skills. Your food adventure really starts with a traditional Moroccan meal tonight, complete with briouate (delicious crispy yufka pastry parcels stuffed with a variety of fillings), kemias (a plethora of salads served on small plates) and perhaps even a taste of Casablanca's signature dish, seven vegetable couscous. Maybe finish the day with a walk along the Corniche, watching the locals enjoy sunset football on the beach.
Included Activities
  • Casablanca - Welcome dinner
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 dinner
    Day 2 Meknes/Moulay Idriss
    Try typical Casablanca street food for breakfast – choose from Msmen (layered, pan-fried bread), omelette, Khlea (a type of Moroccan preserved meat), bessara soup or a variety of other dishes to be found amongst the stalls. Breakfast will, of course, be served with mint tea, the perfect beverage to kick-start a day in Morocco. Then board a train to the former capital of Meknes (approximately 3.5 hours). 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. Jump in a taxi to Moulay Idriss (approximately 1 hour). Take a walking tour of the town, sample the famous nougat candy sold at street-side stalls, and then make a stop to uncover the local olive scene. Olives are at the heart of Moroccan cuisine and here you’ll visit a local farm to learn the secrets and sample a drop of the luxuriously golden oil. Explore the delightful medina of this ancient town, and 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. Your accommodation tonight is a guesthouse/homestay where a local family will take delight in providing the hospitality. Bathroom facilities are shared and rooming may be triple or quad share. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner in the guesthouse tonight. Your hosts will demonstrate how to hand-make couscous from scratch. Pitch in to help prepare a variety of Moroccan salads and finish with a hearty kefta (meatball) tajine.
    Included Activities
    • Moulay Idriss - Home-cooked experience (including cous cous demonstration)
    • Casablanca - Local Street Breakfast
    • Moulay Idriss - Olive Farm Visit
      Accommodation
      Guesthouse (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast, 1 dinner
      Day 3 Fes
      This morning you’ll return to Meknes by taxi and take a walking tour with a local guide, exploring the elaborately decorated public buildings that line the winding streets of the old walled section of the city. Then it’s time to eat something a bit different, a local riff on an American classic – a camel burger! Ride the rails once again as you climb aboard a train to the living museum of Fes (approximately 1 hour), the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. 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. You’ll have free time for the rest of the day – perhaps check out the Medersa Bou Inania, a stunningly beautiful and elaborate building that cost so much that on completion the Sultan Abou Inan threw the details into the river and declared that such ‘a thing of beauty is beyond reckoning’. You could also take a trip out to the nearby spa town of Moulay Yacoub or to the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, which is filled with fantastic mosaics featuring legends like the labours of Hercules in fantastic detail.
      Included Activities
      • Guided walking tour - Meknes
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
        Day 4 Fes
        Today head into the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali. Descending into the labyrinthine alleyways of the medina is like taking a giant step back to the Middle Ages. Walk though the twisting streets and alleyways, passing 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. Different areas of the Medina are known for specific types of food – from natural butters and fats, to pastries, to crepes and soups to dried and fresh produce. Pass dye-pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and spices. With the squawk of chickens, the smell of spice and the sound of hammering copper filling the air, embark on a tasting trail to discover secret ingredients and fragrant flavours. Watch artisans craft pots, manipulate metal and tan leather with skills passed down over the centuries. In the evening complete your experience with a hands-on cooking class, learning to create one of the city's signature dishes - pastilla. This intriguing salty and sweet pastry parcel will no doubt be a recipe to impress back at home.
        Included Activities
        • Fes - Guided walking tour
        • Fes - Medina Tasting trail including Pastilla demonstration
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 dinner
          Day 5 High Atlas
          Leave the intensity of the medina behind for the simplicity of the High Atlas Mountains. It’s an early departure and long drive by private vehicle to Aroumd and the heart of Berber hospitality (approximately 8 hours, leaving between 6.30-7am), so use the time to photograph snow-dappled mountains and valleys in full flower. The bus will stop every two hours, including for a lunch of grilled meat and kefta and arrive at Imlil by approximately 4pm. From Imlil, walk into traditional mountain village life with a gentle hike (approximately 1.5 hours, low gradient, approx 3kms) to your homestay. Set in an orchard, this is a special place beyond the reach of the modern world. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the remote village of Aroumd offers stunning views across the High Atlas Mountains and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture. Surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, meet the host family and enjoy Berber hospitality and food. Facilities at the homestay are shared (both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements) but cosy, comfortable and definitely a unique Intrepid experience. Tonight sit down with your hosts and learn how to prepare Berber cuisine, like the iconic tagine, before a shared dinner overlooking the rocky outcrop.

          Notes: You will only need to carry a day pack on the walk today. Your main luggage will be stored in a secure location in a nearby village.
          Included Activities
          • Aroumd - Berber home-cooked meal
            Accommodation
            Gite (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
            Special Information
            The walk today will take you from 1700m to about 1920m and is about 3kms. You will only need to carry what you need for the day.
            Day 6 Essaouira
            Lend a hand with a traditional Berber breakfast and fill the table with handmade flatbread (tafournout), cakes drizzled with honey and melted butter, and sweet mint tea and aromatic coffee. Then perhaps take a walk to Sidi Chamharouch (approximately 3 hours return) and look down on its ancient shrine. Otherwise stay in the village to relax, or get in the kitchen and help prepare lunch. Share a final mountain meal of salad, lentils and Berber Omelettes with your hosts before bidding them farewell and descending the mountain (approximately 1.5 hours). On the road to the coastal city of Essaouira (approximately 4.5 hours) taste local flavours with stops at an Argan oil cooperative and a family-owned vineyard. Argan oil is highly-prized for its culinary and cosmetic uses and is only produced in Morocco. Discover the strenuous process behind its production (one litre can take 20 hours to produce) and dip in a piece of bread to enjoy its distinctly nutty flavour. Arrive in Essaouira in late afternoon, a city where the medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean. Sandstone walkways contrast with whitewashed houses, bright blue sky and the sand of the surrounding beaches and dunes. Stay in a restored riad, or Moroccan mansion, a traditional nobleman's house unique to Morocco that’s a calming oasis away from the buzz of the medina. Your riad features a central courtyard and is beautifully designed and decorated in traditional Moroccan style, cosy yet historical. This evening is free for your own food adventures.
            Included Activities
            • Essaouira - Argan Oil Cooperative Visit
            • Essaouria - Winery visit & tasting
              Accommodation
              Riad (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast, 1 lunch
              Day 7 Essaouira
              Get into the laid back vibe of this Moroccan town with a European seaside twist. The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. This artists' town is a former Portuguese trading colony and was once home to a sizeable British and Jewish populations, and its charm has seduced people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. More recently, filmmaker Ridley Scott chose the ramparts as an important location for his film, Kingdom of Heaven. On a guided walk give way to the cart-haulers calling ‘ballak, ballak’ in streets of art galleries and workshops, pass the harbour filled with colourful boats which go out early every morning for the day's catch, see camels and surfers sharing the beach and finish with an exploration of the fish souk. Choose a catch of the day that most catches your eye and follow your leader to a hidden restaurant, popular with locals, but well off the tourist path. Here, locals drop off their fresh produce in the morning and return later in the day to a hot cooked meal, made by the cook, from their ingredients. Follow their lead – hand over your market purchase where it’ll be grilled for the freshest of lunches. Take the rest of the day to search the less hectic medina, enjoy cafe life on the main square or sit back and watch the kitesurfers ride the crashing waves.
              Included Activities
              • Essaouira - Village and Market Tour
              • Essaouira - Seafood Market Lunch
                Accommodation
                Riad (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                Day 8 Marrakech
                Chat with locals on a shared bus ride to Marrakech (approximately 3 hours), an ancient, exotic city wrapped in European modernity. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens. Surrounded by the Koutoubia Mosque and dazzling Bahia Palace, take a tastebud-tingling tour through the bustling souks, the lifeblood flowing through the medina and a place where it could almost be any century. Sniff the aromas of a spice souk, snack on olives, dates and biscuits, stop past a community oven, eat mechoui (slow-cooked lamb) cooked beneath the floorboards, and finish with a feast of harira soup and mint tea in the action-packed Djemma el-Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls on this square it transforms in to 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, including snail soup! Perhaps enjoy a bite of famous Moroccan pastries with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and then maybe finish your day with a cup of tea on one of the roof-top restaurants overlooking the square.
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                Day 9 Marrakech
                Today, uncover the mysteries of all the food you saw last night at a unique cooking school. Learn the art of sumptuous Moroccan salads, a staple of the table, at a school that seeks empowerment for underprivileged women through cooking and literacy skills. Feast on your creations for lunch. In the afternoon perhaps see some last-minute sights or head back into the medina for some last-minute shopping, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. Watch skilled artisans perfect their craft, practise your haggling skills or take a break from the hustle to sip on tea or share a tajine, filled with the pure scent of Morocco. A cocktail at Le Grand Café de la Poste, an iconic art deco bistro located in the city centre, gives a taste of Marrakech from the French Colonial-era. For your final evening, choose to feast with new friends at one of the capital's fantastic restaurants in the ville nouvelle or watch the entertainment showcase at Djemma el-Fna once more.
                Included Activities
                • Marrakech - Moroccan Salad Demonstration
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                  Day 10 Marrakech
                  Your Real Food Adventure ends this 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).
                  Optional Activities
                  • Hammam & Massage in a luxury spa - MAD750
                  • Cascades d'Ouzoud day tour - MAD2207
                  • Ourika Valley day tour - MAD1817
                  • Oukaimeden day tour - MAD1882
                  • Asni & Ourigane with lunch - MAD1806
                  • Medina, Palace and Tombs half day tour - MAD325
                    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.
                    Physical rating

                    Included activities
                    Casablanca - Welcome dinner
                    Moulay Idriss - Home-cooked experience (including cous cous demonstration)
                    Casablanca - Local Street Breakfast
                    Moulay Idriss - Olive Farm Visit
                    Guided walking tour - Meknes
                    Fes - Guided walking tour
                    Fes - Medina Tasting trail including Pastilla demonstration
                    Aroumd - Berber home-cooked meal
                    Essaouira - Argan Oil Cooperative Visit
                    Essaouria - Winery visit & tasting
                    Essaouira - Village and Market Tour
                    Essaouira - Seafood Market Lunch
                    Marrakech - Moroccan Salad Demonstration
                    Group size
                    Maximum of 12 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 (5 nights), Gite (1 night), Guesthouse (1 night), Riad (2 nights)
                    Meals introduction
                    While we will endeavour to cater to dietary requirements where possible, please note that many meals and food activities on Real Food Adventures are set in advance in order to deliver a well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. In many countries, dietary restrictions are uncommon and not well understood. If you have dietary requirements and are concerned about whether this may impact on your ability to participate fully in all food-related activities on this trip, please contact your agent at time of booking for further information. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, you must notify your booking agent prior to departure so it can be determined whether your dietary requirements can be met.
                    Meals
                    9 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
                    Money matters
                    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).

                    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.

                    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.

                    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.

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

                    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

                    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.

                    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!

                    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.

                    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.
                    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
                    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
                    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

                    WATER BOTTLE:
                    Please bring 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 end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

                    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.
                    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 Travel 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.

                    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.

                    HENNA TATTOOS:
                    Henna tattoos are commonplace in Morocco. You should be aware that some henna tattoos contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause a painful allergic reaction, including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.
                    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

                    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.

                    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/

                    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