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Morocco Explorer small group tour
 
You are here : Home >Morocco Explorer New Year
HIGHLIGHTS:

Sunset camel ride in the Moroccan desertDiscover the beauty and history of Morocco with this 10-day tour including flights from New York JFK, exclusive to LivingSocial USA members. You’ll explore the souqs and winding streets of Marrakech, see spectacular scenery in the Atlas Mountains and around Ouarzazate and enjoy a 4WD safari through the desert dunes.
Accommodation is in 4-star hotels and a comfortable Berber desert camp. Optional extras include a desert camel ride, spectacular hot air balloon flight and day tours for the final free day in Marrakech, and an extension after the tour to the coastal Mediterranean town of Essaouira.

This very special departure also features an amazing New Year's Eve party out in the desert sand dunes.

DATES AVAILABLE: 
START DATE (fly out of JFK)END DATE (arrive back into JFK)PRICE
27-Dec-1305-Jan-13$2499
Flights: Royal Air Maroc via Casablanca
OUTBOUND: Depart New York JFK on Friday evening at 5.45, arriving in Marrakech at 11.30am Saturday.. 
RETURN: Depart Marrakech on Sunday morning at 09.15, arriving back into New York JFK at 3.45pm (still on Sunday). 

All bookings for the main tour (including flights) should be made through LivingSocial.

After you have purchased your LivingSocial voucher, please contact us as soon as possible and before the 30th October at the latest to redeem your voucher. Flight tickets will be issued on the 1st November. Vouchers redeemed after this date will be subject to an extra fee of at least $350 per person to cover extra flight costs.
We will need to know your name exactly as written in your passport and your passport information so that we can book your flight tickets. You can book extra options to go with the tour any time up until 1 week before departure. Payments for extra options should be made directly to Encounters Travel and not to LivingSocial.

Want it for free?
Buy first, then share a special link on the LivingSocial website. If three friends buy, yours is free!  

MEALS & ACCOMMODATION:

Meals - 8 breakfasts, 8 dinners

Accommodation
The accommodation used on this tour is a mix of 4 star hotels (local ratings), and a comfortable desert camp. Our normal hotels are listed below but occasionally alternatives may be used subject to availability on different dates. 

PLACEACCOMMODATIONINFORMATION
MarrakechGolden Tuliphttp://www.goldentulipfarahmarrakech.com
ZagoraPalais Asmawww.asmaa-zagora.com/lgen/default.htm
DesertBerber campWe take a short 4x4 drive over the dunes and into the desert and stay in a comfortable permanent tented camp. Mattresses and blankets are provided - sleeping bags are not required.
TinghirSaghro HotelNo website
OuarzazateKenzi Azghorhttp://www.kenzi-hotels.com/eng/hotels/ourzazate/ourzazate.html

 DAY: ITINERARY:
Day 1: FriFly to Morocco from New York.
 Depart New York JFK with Royal Air Maroc at 5.45
Overnight: Flight (via Casablanca)
Extras: N/A
Meals: As per airline service
Day 2: SatArrive into Marrakech.
 Encounters Travel Living Social group in Marrakech, MoroccoUpon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Marrakech for the start of your trip. They'll help you settle in and introduce you to the local area.
Overnight: Marrakech hotel
Extras: Suite upgrade in hotel
Meals: Dinner
Day 3: SunMarrakech. City tour.
 Today's tour of Marrakech begins with a trip to the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, home to the minaret which has become a symbol of the city. We then visit the Mausoleum and Bahia Palace which both host intricate and beautiful Arabic craftsmanship. In the afternoon we head to the lively souks around Jemaa El Fna square. Home to many different types of traders these bustling and aromatic streets are uniquely Moroccan. Today's tour ends at the lively Djemaa El Fna Square.
Overnight: Marrakech hotel
Extras: Suite upgrade in hotel
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 4: MonMarrakech. Drive to Ouarzazate then onto Zagora.
 Beautiful Moroccan foodAfter breakfast this morning we travel through local Berber villages and cross the Tizi N’tichka col which at 2260m is the highest pass in Northern Africa. Later on we arrive into Ouarzazate or ‘place of no noise’. An incredibly dramatic landscape, this area has played host to countless well known films. In the afternoon we depart for Zagora by crossing the imposing Draa Valley. Bordered by palm groves this sparsely populated town is close to the village of Tamegroute – an important site for Sufi Muslims which we will visit.
Overnight: Zagora hotel
Extras: Suite upgrade in hotel
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 5: TueZagora. Drive to Erfoud then to Merzouga for New Year Party!
 Moroccan musiciansThis morning sees us drive to Erfoud. Lodged in an idyllic setting between the Atlas mountains to the north and the Sahara desert to the south Erfoud is the administrative capital of the region. From here we make the short trip to Rissani and the birthplace of the Alaouite Dynasty – Morocco’s current royal family. We then transfer into 4WD vehicles and travel through the dunes to Merzouga where we will watch the sunset over the desert in our traditional Berber camp. Now the party starts! The schedule for the evening includes displays by 3 or 4 local folkloric troupes, a traditional belly dancer, a special Moroccan menu, camp fire and music, and the night culminates in a fireworks display over the desert to welcome in the New Year.
Overnight: Berber camp
Extras: Sunset camel ride
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 6: WedMerzouga. Drive to Tinghir.
 Star filled desert skyAfter breakfast with our Berber hosts we then continue our drive through the Atlas Mountains to the oasis town of Tinghir and include a visit to the nearby Todra gorge.
Overnight: Tingir hotel
Extras: Suite upgrade in hotel
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Day 7: ThuTingir. Drive to Ouarzazate via Boulmane.
 Departing this morning along the road of a thousand Kasbahs we arrive into Boulmane from where we visit the impressive Dades Canyon offering great views of the surrounding desert landscape. We then travel back to Ouarzazate stopping en-route at the beautiful Kasbah found at Amerhidel. Ouarzazate is known as the 'place of no noise' and is home to an incredibly dramatic landscape, the area having played host to countless well known films including Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), as well as part of the TV series Game of Thrones.
Overnight: Ouarzazate hotel
Extras: Suite upgrade in hotel
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Day 8: FriOuarzazate. Drive to Marrakech via Ait Benhaddou.
 Amazing scenery in MoroccoJumping at Ait Benhaddou, MoroccoAfter breakfast this morning we drive to Morocco’s most well known Kasbah at the UNESCO world heritage site of Ait Benhaddou. After lunch we head back to Marrakech traversing the Tizi N’tichka col once more. The rest of the day is free.
Overnight: Marrakech hotel
Extras: Suite upgrade in hotel
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Day 9: SatMarrakech. Free Day (various day trip options)
 Your day is free today to explore Marrakech further, and perhaps do some final souvenir shopping and sightseeing. Alternatively, we offer a range of day trips and excursions, including a spectacular hot air balloon flight.
Overnight: Marrakech hotel
Extras: Suite upgrade in hotel; Hot air balloon flight; Half day quad-biking; Berber villages day trip; Essaouira day trip
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Day 10: SunMarrakech. Departure transfer to the airport. Fly to USA
 We check out of the hotel early this morning and transfer you to the airport for your departure flight (via Casablanca). You will arrive back into New York this afternoon.
Overnight: N/A
Extras: N/A
Meals: Breakfast
INCLUSIONS
  • International flights with Royal Air Maroc (via Casablanca)
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary
  • All transport and transfers including 4WD desert jeep safari
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of a local tour leader throughout
  • Local English speaking guide during the sightseeing
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • New Year's Eve party in the desert
  • Entrances fees to monuments as stated
EXCLUSIONS
  • Visa fees (not required for US citizens)
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory - available for $40 - see below)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for guide & driver
  • Any other items not mentioned above
MOROCCO NOTES:
WHY CHOOSE ENCOUNTERS TRAVEL IN MOROCCO?
  • Return airport transfers included
  • Private transportation throughout
  • All entrance fees included
  • All tours feature 4WD desert safari
  • Guaranteed low group numbers (max 20 per guide)
  • Travel with experienced local guides
  • 4-star hotels
  • Souvenirs guaranteed!
EXTRAS

Single room supplement - US$199
If you would like to guarantee yourself a single room throughout the tour, then we will add this single room supplement fee to your booking.
If you are a single traveller and are happy to share a room, then we will aim to join you with other travellers of the same sex in a twin room. We will arrange room shares in the order that vouchers are redeemed. If we are not able to pair you up then you will need to pay the single room supplement. Triple rooms are not available. 

Extra days - Price: US$40 / $70 p/p/night (shared / single)
These are available on request in Marrakech before and after the main tour. We will aim to use the same hotel as the rest of the tour, but this will be subject to availability in the hotel. If you wish, you may book a hotel at a higher or lower level than that used on the tour. In this case, we can offer a transfer to/from the group hotel for a small charge (paid locally). Prices include a night in the hotel, breakfast, all taxes. Single room supplements apply. Arrival and departure airport transfers are available for an extra US$15 p/p.
NOTE: A supplement to the total price may need to be added as group flights will not be available.

Sunset desert camel ride - US$45 p/p
This fun 2-hour camel ride takes you out into the desert around your camp to enjoy the sunrise and get some spectacular photos amongst the dunes.

Marrakech Hot air balloon flight - US$240 p/p
The hot air balloon tour lasts about half a day, with the flight itself lasting about 1 hour. You start very early in the morning (around 05.30-06.30) with a pick up from your hotel and a drive in a comfortable 4WD vehicle to the take-off site just outside the city. Once the balloon is prepared and ready, you take off and float across the beautiful Moroccan scenery. Depending on the weather and the day's selected take off and landing sites, you'll see different Berber villages, the outskirts of the city, small oases, and terraced irrigated fields as well as the distant High Atlas mountains. A chase vehicle follows you on the ground, in constant contact by radio with the balloon. After landing you rejoin the vehicle and drive back to Marrakesh, stopping for tea and a snack at some of the Berber villages you've passed over. You get back to your hotel in Marrakesh around midday.

Marrakech Quad-biking - Driver $100, Passenger $65
This is an exciting half day tour in the desert and countryside outside of Marrakech. You drive for around 50km, with a tea break included, and take in some sand dunes and villages en-route. Prices are available for one or two people sharing a quad-bike. This tour fits in very well after the hot air balloon option.

Accommodation upgrades
We use standard en-suite rooms in all the 4-star hotels visited during the tour. If you wish, you may upgrade your room to a junior suite (subject to availability at the time of booking).

  • Golden Tulip Farah Marrakech: $200 per person per visit (covers 2 nights in a shared room)
  • Kasba Asma Zagora : $55 per person per visit (covers 1 night in a shared junior suite)
  • Sargho Tinghir : $50 per person per visit (covers 1 night in a shared junior suite)
  • Kenzi Azeghor Ouarzazate: $55 per person per visit (covers 1 night in a shared junior suite)

Berber Villages (Imlil) day trip - US$140
The busy trekking center of Imlil is tucked under Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa. You can visit the Asni Saturday Berber market, walk up to the Toubkal kasbah and explore surrounding trails under mountain shadows. Imlil is a nice roadless destination to cool off from heat in Marrakech, immerse yourself into a Berber village for a day, and is especially pleasant in October when the whole valley smells of ripe apples. Clear blue skies and sunshine make for great trekking weather. Return to Marrakech 1.5 hours one way. There are numerous small cafes and restaurants to have lunch or buy walnuts and apples for your day trek. Not recommended in winter due to snow and cold December to February.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel Insurance policy - $40 (covers adults up to the age of 55, quotes available on request for older travellers)
Travel insurance is compulsory on all our tours and having travel insurance in place is a condition of travelling with us.
You may either take out a policy through us, or arrange your own. If you arrange your own insurance, we must receive full details of your policy (policy number, issuing company, emergency telephone number) at least one month before you travel.

Our own travel insurance is offered through Endsleigh Insurance Services in the UK, and is available to citizens and residents of the USA. This comprehensive travel insurance policy has been designed to be suitable for our cultural and adventure tours, including this trip. Key benefits are shown below, and full policy details are available on our website and will also be provided before purchase.

  • Emergency and medical service - Medical expertise to arrange emergency medical assistance or transport home following an accident or illness or if you are informed of a serious illness of a close relative at home whilst on holiday.
  • Cancellation or curtailment charges - Cover for costs against unavoidable or necessary cancellation or curtailment of the trip before completion due to, death, bodily injury or illness. The maximum we will pay under this section is £5,000 per person.
  • Emergency medical and other expenses – Emergency medical, surgical, hospital, ambulance and nursing fees up to £10,000,000 outside of your home country.
  • Hospital benefit - Up to £15 for every completed 24 hours in patient hospital stay up to a maximum of £300.
  • Personal accident - Up to £30,000 for death, loss of limb or sight and permanent total disablement, subject to age - Please refer to policy wording for full details of the cover available.
  • Personal money, passport and documents – Accidental loss, theft of or damage to personal money including foreign currency up to 72 hours prior to departure - Please refer to policy wording for full details of the cover available. Up to £500 for reasonable additional costs for travel and accommodation incurred whilst obtaining a replacement passport or visa abroad.
  • Personal liability - Personal liability for any compensation you become legally liable to pay up to £2,000,000.
  • Delayed departure - Delayed departure for at least 12 hours from the scheduled departure time. £20 for the first complete 12 hour delay and £20 for each completed 12 hours following, up to a maximum of £100. Up to £5,000 for any irrecoverable travel and other pre-paid charges if you choose to cancel your trip once 12 hours has elapsed.
  • Missed departure - Up to £500 for additional room only accommodation and travel expense should you miss your departure due to the failure of public transport or an accident or breakdown of the vehicle you are travelling in or strike.
  • Overseas legal expenses and assistance - Legal expenses and costs in pursuit of a civil action up to £50,000.
ACCOMMODATION

Hotel room used by Encounters Travel in MoroccoWe use good quality hotels rated at the Moroccan 4-star level on this tour. Local star ratings vary slightly from international standards and can generally be considered one star rating lower than that given. We ensure we use some of the very best hotels available at the level stated. Accommodation is based on double or twin bedded en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will have a private double room. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Alternatively, they may choose to share a twin room with another traveller of the same sex. If there are no other single travellers available to pair up with at the time of your booking, then we will need to add the single supplement to the tour price, but will refund this or deduct it from your balance payment if we are able to pair you up later on.
At the Berber desert camp tents with mattresses and traditional local blankets are provided. You do not need to bring a sleeping bag, but may wish to bring a sleep-sheet or sleeping bag liner for extra comfort. Shared toilet and shower facilities are available.

TRANSPORT

Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you're really experiencing the country you're travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. The terrain and relatively small distances involved in Morocco mean that we use private vehicles throughout this tour, including a 4x4 for your desert safari.

TRANSFERS

The tour includes a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Marrakech airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers.

GROUP SIZE/TOUR LEADERS/GUIDES

We are committed to being a small group operator as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There's no point in us providing great guides if you've got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won't ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set  these tour departures to have a maximum of 20 travellers per guide. 
In Morocco we provide fully trained, local English-speaking guides for all of the sightseeing tours. Our local reps in all the towns and cities en-route are also at your service, and will be handling all the practical arrangements for the tour.
At Encounters Travel we only use local Moroccan guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.

ENTRANCE FEES

The tour price includes entrance fees to all the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. You will need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit.

TIPPING

Tipping is common practice in Morocco as a sign of appreciation for services provided. You may therefore wish to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and will provide you with more information and suggested amounts in our pre-departure pack.

HEALTH

For up to date health information & vaccination requirements for Morocco we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic.
General vaccination recommendations for Morocco include Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Polio, Tetanus & Typhoid.

VISAS

Many nationalities (including USA, Canada, UK, European, Australian, New Zealand) do not need to obtain a visa to enter Morocco as long as your stay is for less than 3 months. Other nationalities should check with their local consulate. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate visa to enter Morocco if one is required.