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Souks & Sand Dunes Tour

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Souks & Sand Dunes OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

9 days

Marrakech to Marrakech

From C$1380.00

C$1240 (p/p)

Country(ies): Morocco

Tour type: Family

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 16

Accommodation: 3 to 4-star hotels, berber desert camp

Meals:

Transport: A/C minibus/coach & 4x4 jeeps

Highlights: Marrakech medina, Djemaa El Fna square, N'Kob berber oasis, Todra Gorge, Sahara Desert Berber Camp, Ait Benhaddou UNESCO site.

The sights, sounds and smells make Morocco a fantastic family destination. Explore the ancient labyrinthine medina of Marrakech, astonishing landscape of the Atlas Mountains and extraordinary Sahara Desert. This tour has been planned to be suitable for the younger members of your family. It includes shorter drive times, and opportunities to both explore or relax by the pool! 

After arriving into Marrakech you'll have some free time to settle in, before beginning our Moroccan family adventure. Leaving behind Marrakech we begin our journey, heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ain Benhaddou. Our route to Ait Behaddou will take us through the Valley of the Roses and over the scenic Atlas Mountains. Once we reach Ait Benhaddou we'll have a guided tour of one of the oldest fortified towns in the south of Morocco, which has also been featured in numerous movies and TV series including Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and even Game of Thrones.

Our route towards the Sahara continues through the N'Kob Berber Oasis where we'll have a chance to learn about the Ait Atta Nomads and their way of life. During the day we'll have a walking tour of the palmerie and have the option of partaking in a cooking class. Our journey from N'Kob continues, passing through the Anti-Atlas and Draa Valley, making a stop to try some local dates. Our destination today will be the Erg Chebbi Sand Dunes where we'll take a camel ride through the desert and spend the night at a traditional berber camp. 

As we begin our journey back towards Marrakech, we'll make a stop to visit the Todra Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Morocco, and the movie studios of Ouarzazate. Once we reach Marrakech you'll have time to explore the Medina and have the option of joining our Marrakech city tour. 

This tour has been arranged specifically for those travelling with children aged from 5 to 16 years (minimum age 5) - child discounts are available. 

For those passengers who would like some time by the coast, you may also consider our Souks, Sand Dunes & Surf Tour which includes additional time in the coastal town of Essaouira. 

ITINERARY

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Day 1:   Arrive in Marrakech. Transfer to hotel

Welcome to Morocco! After a short transfer from the airport, you will have a free day to explore this vibrant city. Tonight you will meet your fellow travellers at your pre-departure meeting at 6pm, organised at the joining hotel in the heart of town. 

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Dinner

EXTRAS:

Single room supplement (FMOR9)
Child discount - 5 to 16 years (DIMOSS)


Day 2:   Travel to Ait Benhaddou via Roses Valley and Atlas Mountains

Leaving Marrakech, we set off through the Road of the Roses Valley, famous within the country for its roses. A stop can be made here to see some of the wide variety of rose products. We'll then drive over the stunning High Atlas mountains, a route which African traders once used on their journeys up to Europe. After descending back down to the more desert like region around Ouarzazate we'll take a step back into history with a guided tour of the village of Ait Benhaddou. One of the oldest villages in the south of Morocco, Ait Benhaddou is a 'fortified city' with an important location on the old trading route between the desert and the mountains. Its claim to fame is some beautiful examples of Kasbahs, some of which remain inhabited. Granted UNESCO World Heritage listing, the site has been used in numerous famous movies including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator, and TV series including Game of Thrones. We'll explore the narrow streets of the old Kasbahs while winding up to a great view, hopefully catching sunset across the desert mountains from the top.

OVERNIGHT:

Ait Benhaddou hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3:   N'Kob Fortified Villages

We'll drive through some more beautiful scenery today, passing through valleys and gorges where the Berbers built many kasbahs. The natural beauty of the area and the sight of so many of these kasbahs make this a stunning part of the country to travel through. Our destination today is one of Morocco's best kept secrets, the Berber Oasis of N'Kob. Nestling at the foot of the Jebel Saghro mountains N'Kob is host to exotic Palmeries and 45 mudbrick ksouars (fortified villages). Here we'll learn about the Ait Atta Nomads and their traditional way of life. We'll have time to enjoy the views during a walk through the Palmerie or to relax in the hotel for the afternoon. There's also the option for a fun cooking class today to prepare and cook your own Moroccan lunch.

OVERNIGHT:

N'Kob hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4:   Cross the Draa Valley to the Sahara. Camel Ride and Desert Camp

Today's drive takes us through the Anti Atlas ranges to cross the Draa Valley, one of the most famous places in Morocco for dates. We'll stop so everyone can taste some fresh ones. Excitement builds as we head to the Erg Chebbi sand dunes, which signify the commencement of the mighty Sahara Desert. We'll break for lunch, and may even have time for a relaxing swim in the summer months. The adventure really begins as we transfer to our transport into the desert – camels! Travelling on a traditional camel caravan, we trek into the desert to our authentic Berber camp. The sand dunes await as well as local food and a night of entertainment under the Saharan stars.

Please note that to ensure the well being of camels used on this tour, we have the following policies in place:

- Our camels are only used for approximately 1 hour, once per day.
- Camels are free to roam throughout the day and have access to food and water.
- No camels younger than 4 years old are used for camel rides.
- We have a policy of only 1 rider per camel.
- All camels are regularly vet checked.

OVERNIGHT:

Berber Desert Camp

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5:   Journey into the Todra Gorge

Our journey continues to the breath-taking Todra Gorge, with its towering high gorge walls which reach up over 300m, giving it the title of Morocco's Grand Canyon! Today you’ll appreciate the charm of Todra as you witness it's ever changing colours, as the sun slowly moves from east to west. The afternoon is free to relax by the hotel pool and soak up the atmosphere or take a stroll through the Gorge and Palmerie. For those over 16 there may be time to try your hand at rock climbing – hang on!

OVERNIGHT:

Todra Gorge hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6:   Action!! Visit the movie studios of Ouarzazate

After more time to explore the Gorge this morning we take lunch at a very traditional local Berber cooperative for Berber carpets. We'll learn how the Berbers have made their carpets for centuries, and you can try your bargaining skills if you're interested in buying one. We'll then continue to Ouarzazate (the Hollywood of North Africa), another important stop on the African trading route to Europe. An optional tour is available this afternoon to visit the famous film studios here which have been used for numerous international movies and TV series over the years, including The Kingdom of Heaven, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Living Daylights and Alexander the Great.

OVERNIGHT:

Ouarzazate hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7:   Return to Marrakech and explore Djemaa el Fna Square

We drive back to Marrakech today an another incredible journey across the Atlas mountains. Arriving late afternoon in Marrakech, you will have chance to freshen up, before heading into the vibrant Djemâa-el-Fna square for dinner.

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8:   Marrakech free day (optional city tour)

This morning you can enjoy an optional city tour, followed by some free time to explore for yourself. Marrakech conjures up images of an exotic, distant city, of magic carpets, snake charmers and frankincense and myrrh brought in by camel trains. You will still find examples of most of these with the rose-coloured walls of the medina. Spend time getting lost in a tangle of winding streets that open onto verdant gardens and dark alleyways that lead to bustling souks. The focal point of the city is the central square, the Djemâa-el-Fna, an extraordinary gathering and market place. Full of colour, spicy aromas and traders, it is overflowing with life. Enjoy sun-downers at one of the roof top cafes as you watch the transition from day to night. Towering over the square is the Koutoubia mosque, the tallest building in the city, and a reminder of the importance of Islam to the lives of the city's residents. Once you have finished exploring why not relax by the pool, or try a traditional hammam, (a steam bath followed by an exfoliating massage) - it’s the ideal end to the day.

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9:   Tour ends in Marrakech

Your adventure tour ends after breakfast. For those flying out of Marrakech on this day, you can arrange airport transfers with your guide, and these can be booked any time for this day – there is luggage storage at the hotel should you need to check out before your go to the airport. Additional nights in Marrakech can also be booked upon request, please contact us for details. 

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


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Included:
  • 7 nights accommodation in 3 to 4-star hotels
  • 1 nights in a traditional berber desert camp
  • Transport in AC minibus/coach or 4x4 
  • 24-hour airport arrival transfer service
  • English speaking tour leader throughout and specialist local guides
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners)
  • Entrances fees to monuments as stated

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Departure airport transfer service
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tipping Kitty ($50 per adult)
  • Tips for guides and drivers (not included in the tipping kitty)
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Notes:

Hotel Gala Dinners

Many of Morocco's higher level hotels arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is normally optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but normally compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices for any compulsory Gala Dinners are included in our tour prices. 

Dates and Prices

We offer group departures on this tour throughout the year, many departures timed to coincide with the school holidays. The tour is also available to be booked privately, contact us for prices. 

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

27th of Jul 2024

4th of Aug 2024

C$1380.00

C$1240
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10% Discount


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3rd of Aug 2024

11th of Aug 2024

C$1380.00

C$1240
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10th of Aug 2024

18th of Aug 2024

C$1380.00

C$1240
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17th of Aug 2024

25th of Aug 2024

C$1380.00

C$1240
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24th of Aug 2024

1st of Sep 2024

C$1380.00

C$1240
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19th of Oct 2024

27th of Oct 2024

C$1380.00

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26th of Oct 2024

3rd of Nov 2024

C$1380.00

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23rd of Nov 2024

1st of Dec 2024

C$1285.00

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22nd of Dec 2024

30th of Dec 2024

C$1380.00

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18th of Jan 2025

26th of Jan 2025

C$1565.00

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8th of Feb 2025

16th of Feb 2025

C$1565.00

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15th of Feb 2025

23rd of Feb 2025

C$1565.00

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15th of Mar 2025

23rd of Mar 2025

C$1655.00

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5th of Apr 2025

13th of Apr 2025

C$1655.00

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12th of Apr 2025

20th of Apr 2025

C$1655.00

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24th of May 2025

1st of Jun 2025

C$1565.00

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19th of Jul 2025

27th of Jul 2025

C$1655.00

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26th of Jul 2025

3rd of Aug 2025

C$1655.00

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2nd of Aug 2025

10th of Aug 2025

C$1655.00

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9th of Aug 2025

17th of Aug 2025

C$1655.00

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16th of Aug 2025

24th of Aug 2025

C$1655.00

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23rd of Aug 2025

31st of Aug 2025

C$1655.00

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18th of Oct 2025

26th of Oct 2025

C$1655.00

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25th of Oct 2025

2nd of Nov 2025

C$1655.00

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22nd of Nov 2025

30th of Nov 2025

C$1565.00

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22nd of Dec 2025

30th of Dec 2025

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Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often use on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

Hôtel El Andalous Lounges & Spa

Hôtel El Andalous Lounges & Spa

Marrakech

Local rating

Our rating

 Hôtel El Andalous Lounges & Spa Hôtel El Andalous Lounges & Spa

coming soon

coming soon

Hotel La Rose Du Sable

Hotel La Rose Du Sable

Ait Benhaddou

Local rating

Our rating

 Hotel La Rose Du Sable Hotel La Rose Du Sable

A small, family friendly hotel, just 15 minutes from the UNESCO site of Ait Benhaddou, the Rose du Sable offers families simple but comfortable Moroccan styled accommodation with on site restaurant and swimming pool.

GUEST ROOMS

Rooms at the Rose du Sable have traditional Moroccan decor along with air-conditioning, private bathroom, tea/coffee making facilities.

FACILITIES

The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, terrace, free WiFi and a roof top restaurant. The hotel is located just 700 meters from the site of Ait Benhaddou. 

A small, family friendly hotel, just 15 minutes from the UNESCO site of Ait Benhaddou, the Rose du Sable offers families simple but comfortable Moroccan styled accommodation with on site restaurant and swimming pool.

GUEST ROOMS

Rooms at the Rose du Sable have traditional Moroccan decor along with air-conditioning, private bathroom, tea/coffee making facilities.

FACILITIES

The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, terrace, free WiFi and a roof top restaurant. The hotel is located just 700 meters from the site of Ait Benhaddou. 

Kasbah Ennakhile

Kasbah Ennakhile

N'Kob

Local rating

Our rating

 Kasbah Ennakhile Kasbah Ennakhile

The Kasbah Ennakhile is located just 5 minutes walk from the village of N'Kob and has been built to look like a fortified Kasbah. The property offers guests a good standard of family friendly accommodation in a traditional Moroccan setting. 

GUEST ROOMS

Rooms at Kasbah Ennakhile are fully air conditioned (heating too), have free WiFi and have en-suite bathroom facilities. Most rooms have a terrace with views of the garden and tea/coffee making facilities. 

FACILITIES

An outdoor swimming pool is available at the Kasbah along with a sun terrace, views of the desert. An on-site restaurant offers traditional Morocco cuisine. 

The Kasbah Ennakhile is located just 5 minutes walk from the village of N'Kob and has been built to look like a fortified Kasbah. The property offers guests a good standard of family friendly accommodation in a traditional Moroccan setting. 

GUEST ROOMS

Rooms at Kasbah Ennakhile are fully air conditioned (heating too), have free WiFi and have en-suite bathroom facilities. Most rooms have a terrace with views of the garden and tea/coffee making facilities. 

FACILITIES

An outdoor swimming pool is available at the Kasbah along with a sun terrace, views of the desert. An on-site restaurant offers traditional Morocco cuisine. 

Merzouga Berber Camp

Merzouga Berber Camp

Merzouga

Local rating

Our rating

 Merzouga Berber Camp Merzouga Berber Camp

Spending the night at a Berber camp in the desert is many people’s highlight of their visit to Morocco. Our group tours use comfortable mid-range camps with traditional camel hair tents with proper matresses and bedding.  Bathrooms are separate but close by. A delicious full Berber meal is served and we normally finish the evening around the camp fire with some local musicians playing. Camel rides through the sand dunes are available and its well worth walking to the top of the dunes for a spectacular sunset.  

Spending the night at a Berber camp in the desert is many people’s highlight of their visit to Morocco. Our group tours use comfortable mid-range camps with traditional camel hair tents with proper matresses and bedding.  Bathrooms are separate but close by. A delicious full Berber meal is served and we normally finish the evening around the camp fire with some local musicians playing. Camel rides through the sand dunes are available and its well worth walking to the top of the dunes for a spectacular sunset.  

Kasbah Amazir

Kasbah Amazir

Todra Gorge

Local rating

Our rating

 Kasbah Amazir Kasbah Amazir

Surrounded by palm tress in the Todra Gorge, the Kasbah Amazir is a little gem in this part of Morocco. The Kasbah offers comfortable accommodation, styled with Moroccan decor.

GUEST ROOMS

Rooms as Kasbah Amazir are fully air-conditioned and feature en-suite bathrooms with hairdryer and free toiletries. Some rooms have a balcony or terrace with views of the garden or nearby countryside. 

FACILITIES

An outdoor swimming pool is available to guests, set in beautifully lush gardens. A restaurant is located on the terrace which serves daily breakfast and Moroccan dishes throughout the day. 

Surrounded by palm tress in the Todra Gorge, the Kasbah Amazir is a little gem in this part of Morocco. The Kasbah offers comfortable accommodation, styled with Moroccan decor.

GUEST ROOMS

Rooms as Kasbah Amazir are fully air-conditioned and feature en-suite bathrooms with hairdryer and free toiletries. Some rooms have a balcony or terrace with views of the garden or nearby countryside. 

FACILITIES

An outdoor swimming pool is available to guests, set in beautifully lush gardens. A restaurant is located on the terrace which serves daily breakfast and Moroccan dishes throughout the day. 

Le Jardins de Ouarzazate

Le Jardins de Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate

Local rating

Our rating

 Le Jardins de Ouarzazate Le Jardins de Ouarzazate

A beautiful Moroccan Kasbah style hotel, a great place to relax with beautiful surrounding views and comfortable accommodation. 

GUEST ROOMS

The rooms are spacious and are decorated in true Moroccan style and colours. Rooms features include flat-screen TV's, WiFi and en-suite bathroom facilities. 

FACILITIES

The hotel reception is decorated with many interesting artifacts, including a water fountain as a focal point. Outdoors, you'll find a lovely swimming pool, surrounded by gardens. A restaurant and bar can be found on-site at the hotel.

 

A beautiful Moroccan Kasbah style hotel, a great place to relax with beautiful surrounding views and comfortable accommodation. 

GUEST ROOMS

The rooms are spacious and are decorated in true Moroccan style and colours. Rooms features include flat-screen TV's, WiFi and en-suite bathroom facilities. 

FACILITIES

The hotel reception is decorated with many interesting artifacts, including a water fountain as a focal point. Outdoors, you'll find a lovely swimming pool, surrounded by gardens. A restaurant and bar can be found on-site at the hotel.

 

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single room supplement (FMOR9)

From C$350*

Single room supplement (FMOR9)

Min numbers: 1 *Based on 1 person/s


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we will see if we can pair you up with another single traveller of the same sex. If a room share is not available when you book then we will add the single room supplement to your booking and it will be payable with your balance payment unless we have arranged a room share for you by then. If a room share is arranged after you have paid the supplement then we will refund it to you. Room shares are arranged in order of booking.

Child discount - 5 to 16 years (DIMOSS)

From C$-470*

Child discount - 5 to 16 years (DIMOSS)

Min numbers: 1 *Based on 1 person/s


This option can be selected for all children aged 5 to 16 years at the date of travel who will share a room with one or two adults.
We recommend that you contact us for a specific quote for your whole family based on the number and ages of your children, and the number of rooms you'll need.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

We use good quality mid-range tourist class hotels on this tour, rated at the local Moroccan 3 to 4-star level (local star ratings may vary slightly from international standards).  Where possible, an effort has been made to use locally owned, family friendly accommodations for this tour. 

Accommodation is based on double, twin en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will have a private double room and generally an extra bed will be added for children. 

Please check the Single Room Supplement option for details on room sharing options and charges for solo travellers on this tour.

The overnight Berber camp in the desert is spent in simple but comfortable goat hair tents on the edge of the dunes with beds and bedding provided. You may want to bring a sleeping bag or sleeping sheet for extra comfort during the colder winter months (November-February).


  2. 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 public transport options in Morocco mean that we use private AC minibuses or coaches throughout this tour, subject to the final size of the group. For your trip into the desert dunes, local 4x4 vehicles are used. 


  3. Transfers

Many of our Morocco tours include a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Casablanca/Marrakech airports (depending on the exact itinerary), your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers. Some tours however many not include airport transfers, please check the tour inclusions/exclusions for information on which transfers are included on your specific trip. 

Where transfers are included, these are only included in our tour prices on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary. We will be happy to arrange transfers on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.

On our Shoestring group tours we do offer optional hotel upgrades. This may mean that additional pick-up and drop-offs are required each day. We do endeavour to ensure that all hotels used are close to each other and to streamline and time arrangements to limit any extra driving time as much as possible.


  4. International Flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour. Airport transfers on any days before or after the main tour will incur a supplement. Our Morocco tours either start/finish in Marrakech (RAK) or Casablanca (CMN) airports.

Some packages on our website are sold as flight inclusive and in this event you will see the departure airport listed on the Dates & Prices section. Airlines may vary on these packages, and baggage fees may be subject to an extra fee. Where these are shown on our website, prices are correct at the time of quoting, but are subject to continued availability of the fare used. Prices will be reconfirmed at the time of booking, and we will also provide the flight times and airline details before tickets are issued. 
Flight inclusive prices are based on the cheapest Economy ticket class available which is generally non-refundable and non-changeable unless the flight is cancelled for reasons such as Covid-19, in which case the airlines are more flexible. More flexible ticket options, as well as Premium Economy and Business Class tickets are available on request for an additional supplement. Any changes made to flight inclusive bookings will be subject to the airline rules on your ticket. 

Check in times for international flights to Morocco are generally 2 or 3 hours before departure depending on the airline - we recommend you aim to get to the airport 3 hours before departure to allow for any delays en-route and in passing through security checks. Online check in is available with most airlines from 24 hours before departure, though low-cost airlines may allow this straight after booking. Seat selection can be done at the point of checking in, either online or at the airport, or by calling the airline direct.

We do also sometimes advertise flight inclusive packages from selected airports. 

Flight CO2 Emissions:

Traveling by air is an amazing way to explore the world, but flights also contribute to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that impact the environment. By considering the airline's CO2 emissions when you choose your flight, you can help minimize your travel footprint.

When selecting your international flights and airline, we do therefore recommend that you try and also take into account the flight CO2 emissions. Some airlines and flight search websites (eg. Google Flights, Skyscanner) do publish this information, so you can compare between your flight options and make an informed decision. Thankfully, many airlines are working towards sustainability efforts, and choosing a greener option allows you to contribute to positive change while still enjoying your incredible adventure.


  5. Group Makeup / Tour Leader / Guides

We are committed to maintaining small groups wherever possible 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. This tour therefore has a maximum size of 16 people. The minimum number of travellers required for the tour to run is 2.

This is one of our Family tours, and we therefore set the minimum age for travellers to join the tour at 5. There is no maximum age limit, but travellers need to be moderately fit and mobile and in general we would recommend this tour for those travelling with children aged from 5 to 16 years (minimum age 5).

An English speaking guide will accompany the group throughout the tour, along with the driver. We may also use specialist local guides to give extra information at some of the sites visited during the tour. At Encounters Travel we aim to only use local Moroccan guides and drivers. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing and many people describe our Moroccan guides as one of the highlights of their holiday.

We may share this tour with travellers booking through other operators.


  6. 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.


  7. Tipping

Tipping and Haggling is an accepted and usual part of life in Morocco and other countries in the region. Wages for service staff are very low and tips are a necessary supplement to meagre incomes. If you are visiting from a country where this is not the case, then we have given some guidelines below which will hopefully prove helpful. .

Tipping Kitty
On our Small Group Tours we implement a Tipping Kitty for your convenience and to remove the hassle of being asked for tips by main people you may come across during the tour. This kitty will be collected in US Dollars cash at the start of the tour, and administred by your tour guide. You may ask for information on who they are tipping along the way if you wish as often they will do it out of sight for politeness. However, the tipping kitty amount covers people like hotel porters, hotel waiters, local guides for city tours, airport drivers, Berber camel herders and restaurant tips.It does not cover your main tour guide. 
Please check the 'Not Included' section of the tour notes for details of the tipping kitty amount for your tour. This amount is payable per person (for adults only - children on family tours do not need to pay it). 
This tipping kitty system works well on small group style tours. However, due to the different numbers of people travelling, we do not use it on our Shoestring or Private/Tailor-made tours. 

Other tips
Your main tour guide is not included in our Tipping Kitty. On group tours we suggest you budget around USD 2-4 per person per day to cover the main guide's tip, subject to your personal budget, and your satisfaction with the level of service provided. On private/tailor-made tours we recommend you budget a bit higher. 
Throughout your trip you may at times also have a local guide in addition to your main guide. These are covered in the Tipping Kitty on our small group tours, but on other tours we suggest budgetting around USD2-3 per per day. The same applies to drivers on our Shoestring and Private/Tailor-made tours. 
In local markets, and basic restaurants you can leave the loose change. For more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of the bill. 

Haggling
Haggling is a traditional necessity, so never pay too much regard to initial prices. Instead fix an item's value in your mind then negotiate towards it unhurriedly (Moroccans never rush their bargaining), and don't be afraid to simply walk away if the price isn't right. However, if you do mention a price, then you should be prepared to pay it or risk causing offence. 


  8. Health and Vaccinations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

South Africa: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Namibia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Botswana: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted or travelled through an infected area.
Zimbabwe: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Zambia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Malawi: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Tanzania: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Kenya: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Uganda: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Yellow Fever. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Sudan: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Yellow Fever. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area. A certificate may also be required for those departing Sudan.
Morocco: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria not normally present. Yellow Fever certificate not required.

The above information can change at short notice. For up to date health information & vaccination requirements we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic.

Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting.

Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation is often required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view this US CDC information about where the virus is present and follow the links to further information detailing which countries need you to have a Yellow Fever vaccination as part of their entry requirements. Please ensure you have this certificate organised in advance and with you and to hand during the trip.

Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.
If you are travelling on an Overland tour or your trip includes wildlife safaris then please bear in mind that you may be travelling on bumpy roads and/or rough ground for several hours at a time. This can be very uncomfortable or painful if you have a bad back, and make such conditions worse. Please contact us if you have any concerns.


  9. Passports and Visas

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities. We recommend that you contact your closest Moroccan consulate or embassy for current information for your nationality.

Currently, 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.


  10. Time
The time in Morocco is the same as GMT (plus 0 hours). Daylight saving adjustments are generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making the time GBP plus 1 hour. During this period the time may revert back to GMT during Ramadan. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.

  11. Voltage

Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C/E). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already. If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.


  12. Money

The local currency in Morocco is the Dirham.  We recommend you bring some cash in a hard currency (US Dollars, GB Pounds, Euros) and a good ATM card. Most major currencies can be converted at most banks, but it's not wise to carry too much.  Euros and US Dollars are welcomed more than GB Pounds. Travellers cheques are not easily exchanged. It can be awkward outside of Marrakech to find an ATM machine that takes your card as many Moroccan banks have ATMs that only work with Moroccan cards.  Don't put your card in an ATM unless you see the symbol that matches your card on the machine, as you might lose your card! We also suggest trying to avoid using Post Office ATMs.  In some smaller towns there are no ATMs that take foreign cards, so be sure you get enough cash to carry you until the next major city. BCM seems to be the best bank, accepting foreign cards in most of their ATMs. 

While in Morocco you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs, tips and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Moroccan Dirham. It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.


  13. What to take

Luggage: Small or medium sized suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Morocco. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will often be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Clothing: The Moroccan climate varies according to season and region. The coast has a warm, Mediterranean climate tempered on the eastern coast by southwest trade winds. Inland areas have a hotter, drier, continental climate. In the south of the country, the weather is very hot and dry throughout most of the year, though temperatures can drop dramatically at night, especially in desert and mountains and in the months of December and January. Rain falls from November to March in coastal areas, and the rest of the country is mostly dry with high temperatures in summer and a cooler climate in the mountains. Marrakech and Agadir enjoy an average temperature of 21°C (70ºF) in the winter. So, depending the time of year you are visiting you should pack for both hot and cooler conditions. Modesty rates highly in Morocco, especially for women, so to respect the local culture & people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). In the centre of towns and cities outside tourist areas, and when visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered.

Other items: If your tour includes a Berber desert camp then all bedding is provided. However, as sand has a nasty habit of getting everywhere, for comfort, we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner all year round, and a light sleeping bag in the winter months (November to February) when it can get very cold in the desert. We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.


  14. Dates & Prices

We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on Saturdays throughout the year. All departures are guaranteed to run if a minimum of 2 travellers is reached. If we do not reach this minimum number (which happens very rarely), or other local reasons mean we cannot run the tour, then we will offer you the option to either pay a small supplement to do the tour exactly as planned but privately, to change your date, to transfer to another tour, or we will provide you with a full refund. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and in our brochure. Please check the website for the most up-to-date prices and any special offers.


  15. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  16. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If your tour includes car hire, ior if you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

Covid-19
Before purchasing any travel insurance, please check the coverage provided for situations related to Covid-19, and for the rules about government travel advice. Your normal policy may not be suitable. Details about our own policies cover levels are given on our website


  17. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and are committed to providing our customers with financial protection to provide peace of mind and to allow you to book with confidence.
We have therefore partnered with Trust My Travel Ltd., which provides financial protection services to over 2000 partners around the world. Funds paid to us by our customers are protected via an Insurance policy held by Trust My Travel. Each traveller and the description of services sold is declared against Trust My Travel’s insurance policy directly against our financial failure. In the event of our insolvency, you will be refunded for any unfulfilled products and/or repatriation to the UK (where applicable). Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  18. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  19. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  20. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign


  21. Reduce Plastic Waste with Water-to-Go Filter bottles

Traveling responsibly means minimizing plastic waste, but staying hydrated on the go is essential. At Encounters Travel we are committed to reducing single-use plastics, which is why we've partnered with Water-to-Go. Their portable filtration system removes over 99.9% of contaminants from any non-saltwater source, turning even questionable water sources into safe drinking water.

Given that tap water is un-safe to drink in many of the countries in which we operate, we recommend purchasing a Water-to-Go bottle prior to departure. This will help you avoid the use of single use plastic bottles and keep you hydrated on the go.

Save big! Get a huge 25% off your Water-to-Go bottle and other Water-to-Go products (such as filters, lids, and carriers). Use code ENCOUNTERS25 at checkout (valid in the UK, USA and Canada).

How Water-to-Go Technology works:

  • Their reusable, BPA free water bottles contain their own unique 3-in-1 filtration technology effectively providing clean safe drinking water from any non-salt water source around the world.
  • Three different (1 traditional and 2 nano) technologies are combined in one filter cartridge to remove up to 99.9999% of microbiological contaminants in water.

The three technologies used in a Water-to-Go filter are:

  • Mechanical filtration – A tiny pore size, so small contaminants can’t fit through.
  • Electrical – A positive charge reduces the pore size even further and attracts contaminants like a magnet, trapping them inside the filter.
  • Activated Carbon – Unlike most carbon based filters, instead of using adhesives to glue the carbon particles together, (which vastly reduces the carbon’s efficiency) it is contained within the membrane, helping to reduce contaminants whilst eliminating bad tastes and odours. Try filtering water from your tap at home and taste the difference!

Water-to-Go filter bottles deliver safe, healthy water worldwide

  • Water-to-Go filters remove bacteria, viruses, waterborne disease, protozoa, heavy metals such as lead as well as harmful chemicals.
  • Their filters remove Chlorine and Fluoride from tap water.
  • The filter will eliminate harmful contaminants from the water but allow beneficial minerals such as sodium and magnesium to pass through leaving you with the healthiest water possible.
  • Water-to-Go filters have been independently tested against internationally recognised standards by industry specialists including The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (UK), BCS Laboratories (USA), Bangalore Test House (India) and IMI (China).

Use Water-to-Go products and you’ll be healthier, wealthier and helping to make the world a better place!

  • Depending on filter size, each Water-to-Go filter is able to replace 260 or 400 single-use plastic water bottles!
  • They ensure you have access to safe water anywhere in the world without ever having to buy environmentally damaging bottled water.
  • Their water bottles deliver safe, clean drinking water at just 5p per litre.
  • The filter membrane is biodegradable and the shrouds are recyclable.
  • The water bottles are used and approved by everyone from backpackers to commuters, gym users to expecting mums. Perfect for everyday, outdoor and travel.

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