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Morocco Explorer Tour

Best trip I have ever been on. I have traveled with many tour companies but none compare to the itinerary, information, and professionalism of this company.

Marijo W, 8 Feb 2018

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Morocco Explorer OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

11 days

Casablanca to Marrakech

From

$1090 (p/p)

Country(ies): Morocco

Tour type: Shoestring

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 45

Accommodation: 3 & 4-star hotels

Meals:

Transport: AC minibus/coach & 4WD landcruiser style vehicles

Highlights: Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Old city of Rabat, Meknes city walls, Volubolis Roman ruins, Fes Medina and tanneries, Djemaa El Fna Square in Marrakech, high Atlas mountains, Ait Benhadou, Ouarzazate, desert sands at Zagora

This 11-day shoestring Morocco tour is a great way to explore this beautiful country for the very first time, taking in its bustling medinas, its wealth of historical sites and enjoying the local Moroccan cuisine.

The Morocco Explorer tour starts in the port city of Casablanca and ends in the busy city of Marrakech. You'll have the opportunity to explore the capital city of Rabat which rests along the shores of the Bouregreg River as well as the ancient Roman ruins at Volubilis - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We'll take you to the walled city of Meknes, the bustling medina at Fez before spending a few days in Marrakech, taking in the beauty of its numerous souks, mosques and spice scented streets.

Our next stop after a beautiful drive across the Atlas mountains is a visit to Ouarzazate, where we'll explore the Kasbah of Glaoui and the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour then heads out to the edge of the Sahara Desert at Zagora, where you have the option of spending a night in a Berber desert camp amidst the sand dunes at Tinfou. The tour then returns to Marrakech to finish.

Accommodation is in local 3-star and 4-star level hotels, with upgrades available to a Comfort level featuring better 4-star hotels, and a Superior level featuring 5-star hotels.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Welcome to Casablanca. Transfer to hotel

On your arrival in Casablanca airport (CMN) our representative will greet you and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to settle in, relax after your flight, and have a first look around. Extra nights before the tour starts are available on request.

OVERNIGHT:

Casablanca hotel

MEALS:

Dinner

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Casablanca - pre-tour
Comfort level hotel upgrade (MOSHME)
Superior level hotel upgrade (MOSHME)
Single Room Supplement (MOSHME)


Day 2 Tour Casablanca & travel to Rabat

Our day starts with a tour of Morocco's commercial hub - the port city of Casablanca which is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean.

We'll visit its central market, the Royal Palace, the Habous District, the Mohamed V Square and its impressive central fountain, and the residential area of Anfa, which was an ancient toponym for Casablanca during the classical period. We'll also see the outside of the huge Hassan II Mosque, which sits right on the coastline looking out over the Atlantic.

We'll have lunch before making our to Rabat, the administrative capital of Morocco. We'll explore the colourful blue painted streets of its old town, visiting its Royal Palace, the Oudaya Kasbah, Hassan Tower and the Mohammed V Mausoleum, which contains the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah.

OVERNIGHT:

Rabat hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Exploring Meknes & Volubilis

We'll say goodbye to Rabat today as we make our way to the Berber town of Meknes, which once served at the capital of Morocco during the reign of Moulay Ismail, who transformed the town, building beautiful gateways, gardens and the largest ramparts in the country. These imposing city walls are interspersed with impressive gateways and are still in good condition today.

From Meknes, we make our way to the ancient Roman city of Volubilis - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Volubilis is a spectacular site, home to some of the most impressive Roman ruins in North Africa. Its commonly considered to be the ancient capital of the Roman-Berber kingdom of Mauretania. We end the day with a short drive to the medieval city of Fez.

OVERNIGHT:

Fez hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 The ancient city of Fez

Today is all about exploring the ancient city of Fez, which dates back over 1200 years old. Blessed with numerous souks, mosques and spice scented streets, Fez is often referred to as the country's cultural capital.

We'll explore this fascinating city, visiting the Moulay Idriss mausoleum, the Nejjarine fountain and the Bou Anania Medersa - one of Morocco's best examples of Marinid architecture.

We'll also spend time confusing our senses in the cacophony of noise surrounding the heady alleyways of the medieval Medina, home to tanneries, carpet shops, streets full of craftspeople working and numerous local restaurants.

OVERNIGHT:

Fez hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 From Fez to Marrakech

We say goodbye to Fez this morning as we travel to Marrakech, Morocco's fourth largest city. We'll stop along the way to stretch our legs at the beautiful city of Beni Mellal, which sits at the foot of Jbel Tassemit, and next to the plains of Beni Amir.

We arrive in Marrakech this evening and you have the rest of the evening free to relax in the hotel or head into the medina to start exploring this bustling city.

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Exploring Marrakech

Our day in Marrakech starts with a visit to the impressive Koutoubia Mosque - which boasts the minaret which has become a symbol of this bustling city. Also on the agenda this morning are visits to the Menara Gardens and the Bahia Palace which hosts intricate and beautiful Arabic craftsmanship. In the afternoon we make our way to the colourful souks and handicraft quarters around the Djemaa El Fna Square where you can discover a world of mysterious bazaars set amidst the ancient city walls of the medina. An evening return to the square is well worth while as it comes alive with numerous street food stalls and groups of musicians playing.

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 Majorelle Garden, Free time in Marrakech

After breakfast this morning we visit the beautiful Majorelle Gardens. These gardens were painstakingly and lovingly created over 40 years by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. The mix of colourfully painted walls, water features and beautiful planting is a pleasure to explore and a surprising oasis in the middle of busy Marrakech. The iconic French designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner purchased the gardens in 1980 and saved them from ruin, also creating a museum in the grounds including their personal collection celebrating Berber culture.

You then have the afternoon free to explore Marrakech independently, perhaps heading back into the Medina for some more sightseeing and souvenir shopping.

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Across the Atlas Mountains to Ait Benhaddou & Ouarzazate

We leave Marrakech this morning in comfortable 4WD landcruiser style vehicles. Be ready for a beautiful scenic drive today as we cross the Atlas mountains, stopping on the way at Telouet - a Kasbah along the former route of the caravans from the Sahara over the mountains to Marrakech.

We'll also explore the Kasbah of Glaoui and the Ksar of Ait Benhaddou - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - one of the best examples of the architecture of southern Morocco. This giant fortification, which is made up of six kasbahs and nearly fifty ksours (individual kasbahs), is a great example of pisé clay architecture.

Once we reach Ouarzazate, we'll visit the Kasbah of Tiffeltout and Taouirt before we explore the famous Atlas film studios. Measured by acreage, these are some of the world's largest film studios with an impressive number of blockbuster movies and TV shows filmed here.

OVERNIGHT:

Ouarzazate hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9 From Ouarzazate to the desert at Zagora

We start our day after breakfast by travelling to Taznakth, famous for its Berber carpets before we spend time in Agdz, a small town in mid-southeastern Morocco. From Agdz, we make our way to Zagora, a town in the Draa River Valley, flanked by the mountain Zagora from which the town's name is derived.

Zagora boasts a host of palm groves and numerous Kasbahs, most of them falling in ruins, but still make for spectacular viewing. We'll also make our way to the Tamegroute Library and Koranic Learning Center as well as its adjacent old Kasbah.

This evening you have the option of staying in the hotel in Zagora, or heading into the sand dunes at Tinfou to spend the night in a Berber desert camp. This is a fun night out under the stars, with opportunities to climb to the top of the sand dunes for sunset or sunrise. Camel rides are also available. Accommodation is in simple but comfortable Berber tents with beds and all bedding provided. If required, this option should be added and paid for at least 1 month before travel so your Zagora hotel room can be released without extra cost.

OVERNIGHT:

Zagora hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

Overnight in Berber desert


Day 10 Travel back over the Atlas Mountains to Marrakech

After breakfast, we say our goodbyes to Zagora and travel down the same route until we reach Agdz, before travelling through the Anti Atlas. We'll stop at midday in Ouarzazate for lunch before we drive back to Marrakech, crossing the Tizi n'Tichka mountain pass, which shows off High Atlas mountains most beautiful sites.

This is a long day's drive, but very scenic, so sit back and relax and take in the beauty of the natural landscapes as their colours change constantly along the drive until we reach Marrakech.

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 11 Your Morrocan adventure comes to an end

Your day is free today to do some last minute shopping or exploring in Marrakech, before we transfer you back to the airport to board your flight back home.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Marrakech - post-tour


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Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary
  • All transport and transfers
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of a local multilingual tour leader throughout
  • Local English speaking guides for sightseeing tours
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrances fees to monuments as stated

Excluded:
  • International flights
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • 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
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 may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$30 to over US$100 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. This generally will only apply if you add a hotel upgrade to your booking. More information is available on request.

Gallery


Dates and Prices

Group departures start on Saturdays. Hotel upgrades are available (see Options section for details). The tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year.

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

16th of Nov 2019

26th of Nov 2019

US$1090

-


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30th of Nov 2019

10th of Dec 2019

US$1090

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14th of Dec 2019

24th of Dec 2019

US$1090

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21st of Dec 2019

31st of Dec 2019

US$1255

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28th of Dec 2019

7th of Jan 2020

US$1255

-

NYE Gala Dinner supp. req.


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Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often 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.

Ibis Casablanca City Center

Ibis Casablanca City Center

Casablanca


The Ibis Hotel Moussafir Casablanca City Center is located in the city centre right beside the Port of Casablanca. It offers satellite TV, a restaurant and a bar.

Local rating

Our rating

 Ibis Casablanca City Center Ibis Casablanca City Center

The Ibis Hotel Moussafir Casablanca City Center is located in the city centre right beside the Port of Casablanca. It offers satellite TV, a restaurant and a bar.

It is just a few minutes walk from Casa Port Train Station and close to the old Medina, the Hassan II Mosque and Casablanca's Corniche area.

This Ibis hotel has air-conditioned rooms with direct telephone and Wi-Fi internet access available for a supplement.

Wok and Co, The Ibis Hotel Moussafir Casablanca City Center's restaurant, offers Asian, Italian and local dishes as well as the option to design your own recipe.

Rihab Hotel

Rihab Hotel

Rabat


Hotel Rihab is a sleek new hotel with air conditioning. It's located in the neighbourhood of Hassan. It boasts clean and well furnished rooms.

Local rating

Our rating

 Rihab Hotel Rihab Hotel

Menzeh Zalagh Hotel

Menzeh Zalagh Hotel

Fez


Situated in 10 km of the airport in the heart of the new city, in a green and peaceful district, the hotel enjoys an exceptional sight of the Medina of Fez, which we can achieve on foot in 15 minutes.

Local rating

Our rating

 Menzeh Zalagh Hotel Menzeh Zalagh Hotel

Mogador Kasbah Hotel

Mogador Kasbah Hotel

Marrakech


This locally rated 4-star hotel is located in Marrakech, 4 km from Marrakech Airport. It offers an outdoor swimming pool and a free shuttle bus to the city centre every 2 hours.

Local rating

Our rating

 Mogador Kasbah Hotel Mogador Kasbah Hotel

This locally rated 4-star hotel is located in Marrakech, 4 km from Marrakech Airport. It offers an outdoor swimming pool and a free shuttle bus to the city centre every 2 hours.

Combining a Moroccan and contemporary style, the rooms are air-conditioned and include satellite TV. They also feature internet access. The Mogador Kasbah restaurant serves international food in an evening buffet and and guests can also enjoy a snack in the poolside bar and relax in the tea lounge. The hotel also offers room service and a selection of light meals, served until midnight.

Alcohol is not served in the hotel, but if you'd like a drink there are several other hotels within very easy walking distance.

Hotel le Fint

Hotel le Fint

Ouarzazate


Located in the centre of Ouarzazate, Hotel le Fint offers an outdoor swimming pool, a piano bar with views of the mountains and lake and a garden. The Kasbah is just 550 yards away.

Local rating

Our rating

 Hotel le Fint Hotel le Fint

Located in the centre of Ouarzazate, Hôtel le Fint offers an outdoor swimming pool, a piano bar with views of the mountains and lake and a garden. The Kasbah is just 550 yards away.

All rooms are air-conditioned and feature a private balcony with a pool view, a TV with satellite channels and heating. The en suite bathroom includes a bath or shower.

A continental breakfast is available each morning at Hôtel le Fint. Guests can also enjoy Moroccan cuisine in the on-site restaurant.

Additional features include a 24-hour reception, a concierge service, TV lounge, free Wi-Fi access and free private parking. The airport is ideally located 1.2 miles away and the bus station is 1.6 miles from the property.

Ksar Tinsouline

Ksar Tinsouline

Zagora


Located in the Draa River Valley town of Zagora, the Ksar Tinsouline Hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, on-site restaurant and is just a short drive from the Tinfou Dunes.

Local rating

Our rating

 Ksar Tinsouline Ksar Tinsouline

Located in the Draa River Valley town of Zagora, the Ksar Tinsouline Hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, on-site restaurant and is just a short drive from the Tinfou Dunes.

Located in the Draa River Valley town of Zagora, the Ksar Tinsouline Hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, on-site restaurant and is just a short drive from the Tinfou Dunes. The hotel is just a 10 minute walk from the Zagora Mosque and Gardens. Rooms are the Ksar Tinsouline are tastefully decorated with air-conditioning, satellite TV. All rooms are also en-suite with private balconies.

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 (MOSHME)

Single Room Supplement (MOSHME)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$265
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Extra day in Casablanca - pre-tour

Extra day in Casablanca - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 Adult


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$75
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Extra day in Marrakech - post-tour

Extra day in Marrakech - post-tour

Min numbers: 1 Adult


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is not included. Prices shown are per person, based on two people sharing.

Price from
$40
per person

This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability) on a bed & breakfast basis. Your airport departure transfer is not included and will be charged as an additional supplement if required based on the number of people in your party. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Marrakech hot air balloon flight

Marrakech hot air balloon flight

Min numbers: 2 persons


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.

Price from
$265
per person

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.

Note: You will miss the Marrakech city tour if you choose this option.

Essaouira day trip

Essaouira day trip

Min numbers: 2 persons


Essaouira is a lovely laid back town with a great beach for kite surfing and wind surfing (tends to be a bit windy for sunbathing), great shopping and lovely streets to explore or to relax in the cafes and restaurants.

Price from
$175
per person

A day trip is available from Marrakech to the coastal town of Essaouira (approx. 2 ½ hrs drive each way). This is a lovely laid back town with a great beach for kite surfing and wind surfing (tends to be a bit windy for sunbathing), great shopping and lovely streets to explore or to relax in the cafes and restaurants. This option starts at 07:30 and ends at 18:00, and the price is based on a minimum of 2 and includes all transportation and a guide.

Ourika Valley half-day tour

Ourika Valley half-day tour

Min numbers: 2 persons


Situated at the base of the famous Oukaimeden ski station, the lush Ourika valley slowly rises up to the foothills of the High Atlas mountains. This beautiful valley is home to many traditional Berber villages.

Price from
$90
per person

Situated at the base of the famous Oukaimeden ski station, the lush Ourika valley slowly rises up to the foothills of the High Atlas mountains. This beautiful valley is home to many traditional Berber villages and its tranquility is only broken by the sound on waterfalls and birdsong. Ourika is also famous for its local pottery.

The tour start at 07:45 and ends at 13:30, and the price is based on a minimum of 2 persons.

Overnight in Berber desert

Overnight in Berber desert

Min numbers: 1 person


This option provides a night under the stars in a Berber desert camp amidst the sand dunes at Tinfou, in place of the hotel in Zagora. Accommodation is in comfortable Berber tents with beds and all bedding provided.

Price from
$50
per person

This option provides a night under the stars in a Berber desert camp amidst the sand dunes at Tinfou, in place of the hotel in Zagora. Accommodation is in comfortable Berber tents with beds and all bedding provided.

If you would like to add this option, please do so at least 1 month before departure so your hotel room in Zagora can be released without extra charge.

Comfort level hotel upgrade (MOSHME)

Comfort level hotel upgrade (MOSHME)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option upgrades the hotels used on the tour from the local 3 & 4-star level to a better range of 4-star hotels. An additional single room supplement will apply for solo travellers.

Price from
$265
per person

This option upgrades the hotels used on the tour from the local 3 & 4-star level to a better range of 4-star hotels. The same hotel is used in Zagora as the standard tour. An additional single room supplement will apply for solo travellers.

Superior level hotel upgrade (MOSHME)

Superior level hotel upgrade (MOSHME)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option upgrades the hotels used on the tour from the local 3 & 4-star level to standard 5-star hotels. An additional single room supplement will apply for solo travellers.

Price from
$600
per person

This option upgrades the hotels used on the tour from the local 3 & 4-star level to standard 5-star hotels. These are good comfortable hotels with extensive ameneties, but are not the top of the 5-star range. The hotel in Zagora is upgraded to a kasbah style hotel. An additional single room supplement will apply for solo travellers.

Full board supplement (Morocco Explorer)

Full board supplement (Morocco Explorer)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds lunches in local restaurants to days 2,3,4,5,7,8,9 & 10 of the tour and a special dinner & entertainment at the Fantasia show in Marrakech on Day 6.

Price from
$150
per person

This option adds lunches in local restaurants to days 2,3,4,5,7,8,9 & 10 of the tour and a special dinner & entertainment at the Fantasia show in Marrakech on Day 6. If you don't add this option you'll often still need to eat lunch at the same restaurants as those adding the option, but pay locally.

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 hotels rated at the Moroccan 3 and 4-star level on this tour. Local star ratings may vary slightly from international standards and where 4-star hotels are used these can be considered around the 3-star level. Occasionally some hotels may be 'dry' (i.e. no alcohol served).

Accommodation is based on double or twin 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 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.

An option is available to exchange the hotel in Zagora for a night spent sleeping in a Berber camp in the sand dunes at nearby Tinfou. Comfortable permanent tents are provided with beds and all bedding provided.

Hotel upgrades are available if you would like some extra comfort, including a Comfort level staying in better quality 4-star hotels throughout, and a Superior level staying in standard 5-star level hotels. The hotel in Zagora is covered differently by these upgrades due to the lack of higher level options available - the comfort level upgrade will use the same hotel as the standard tour, while the superior level uses a kasbah style hotel.


  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.
This tour therefore uses private AC minibuses and coaches for the Casablanca to Marrakech section of the tour, but then switches to 4WD AC landcruiser style vehicles (eg. Toyota Prado - window seats guaranteed) for the journey from Marrakech across the Atlas mountains and to the desert in Zagora and back to Marrakech.

  3. Transfers

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.

Your airport transfers 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 tab. Airlines may vary on these packages, and baggage fees may be subject to an extra fee. Please check the Inclusions/Exclusions section for details.

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.


  5. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

On our Shoestring tours we allow for larger groups than our other trips, and while the average group size tends to be around 8-12 people, this tour can run with a maximum of 45 travellers on a large coach for the first section as far as Marrakech where the tour runs alongside our Morocco on a Shoestring tour, but we then limit the group size to a maximum of 26 for the final section to Ouarzazate and Zagora.

We may also share this departure with travellers booking through other operators so you may join with people booking with different companies and from different countries. This can make for some really interesting groups and new people to meet.

The minimum number of travellers required for the tour to run is 2.

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.

Please note that whilst all tours will be conducted in English we may also use multi-lingual guides/tour escorts to accommodate guests from other countries.

At Encounters Travel we aim to only use local Moroccan guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.


  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

Haggling is a traditional necessity, so never pay too much regard to initial prices. Instead fix an items 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. 
Bahsis (bahk-sheesh) or tips are common place and customary in Morocco. Wages for service staff are very low and tips are a necessary supplement to meagre incomes.
While an accepted part of the culture and customs in Morocco, tipping is always optional, and the amounts paid should reflect excellent service. We are often asked for advice on common amounts, and for assistance with tipping. Some suggested guidelines are given below.

Restaurants and taxis: 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 tour guide. We suggest USD 2-3 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 USD 2 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Tour Guides: To answer your next question. . . as a guideline we suggest for your tour guide between USD 25-40 per person for the entire tour, but ultimately, it's up to your satisfaction with their service and your budget. You should not feel pressured to tip any particular amount.

Note - if you are doing a private tour and not joining a group, then you should budget a higher amount for your driver and guide tips.


  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 may be 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 a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary.

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 Saturday 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), we will offer you the option to either pay a small supplement to do the tour exactly as planned, 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 - please check 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 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.


  17. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
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

Reviews

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Morocco Explorer & Country Reviews

Product Reviews


Posted 15th of Sep 2017

Good itinerary, good guides.

Product Reviews


Posted 5th of Feb 2016

The trip was good. The first hotel was not up to standards. Perhaps it would be best to stay at the airport and skip Casablance althogether.

Product Review


Posted 15th of Sep 2017

Good itinerary, good guides.

Product Review


Posted 9th of Jun 2017

I enjoyed the trip. Only issue is that the tour guide changed a part of the trip because he didn't want us to do something. Not the fault of encounters. But otherwise the trip was great. I would like to say that travelling from Fez to Marrakech should be on a plane or train. Driving was too long and wasted a day.

Product Review


Posted 8th of Aug 2016

This was a good package for the budget and time. Many of the cultural stops were tied into local artisans, this can good and bad, dependng on how you react to a potential sales pitch after. The desert camp was outstanding. We traveled in a group of 6 which we good, but they said it could be as high as 25 - that would be a downer.

Product Review


Posted 8th of Aug 2016

Encounters Travel arranged for us the trip of a lifetime.

Product Review


Posted 8th of Aug 2016

I would look at changing some of the hotels. A lot are outdated and need a massive makeover.

Product Review


Posted 6th of Aug 2016

Rather busy but was a good amount of time and saw lots of incredible things

Product Review


Posted 16th of Apr 2016

The driver and guide on our tour were both excellent and my whole party very much enjoy the tour. The hotels are not very central which particularly in Marrakesh made free time sightseeing especially at night less appealing. That would be my suggestion to make it perfect but it was excellent overall.