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Moroccan Melodies Tour

I highly recommend you to use Encounters if you travel to Egypt. Their customer service was excellent and exceeded my expectations.

Tiffany C, 04 Nov 2018

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Moroccan Melodies OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

9 days

Casablanca to Marrakech

From £1049

£995 (p/p)

Country(ies): Morocco

Tour type: Small Group

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 14

Accommodation: 3 to 4-star hotels & Berber camp

Meals:

Transport: A/C minibus

Highlights: Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Old city of Rabat, Ancient Meknes & Volubolis ruins, Medina at Fez, camel ride & Berber desert camp, Todra Gorge & Ouarzazate, World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddhou, Berber villages and Marrakech

This 9-day tour will introduce you to all that Morocco has to offer. The tour contrasts the old towns, bustling medinas, great food and ancient architecture of Morocco's northern imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech with some of the country's spectacular scenery including the Atlas Mountains, Erg Chebbi Desert sand dunes, the Draa Valley and Todra Gorge.

Private tour option

If our scheduled departure dates don't work for you, or you would prefer not to travel with a group, then we can also run this tour privately for you. Please contact us for more information and prices.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Arrive into Casablanca. Transfer to hotel

On your arrival in Casablanca airport (CMN) our representative will greet you and transfer you to your hotel in the centre of the city. 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:

None

EXTRAS:

Single room supplement (MOSGME)
Extra day in Casablanca - pre-tour


Day 2 Casablanca, Rabat, Volubolis & Meknes

We start our tour early today with a visit (from the outside) to the impressive Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. The mosque, 7th largest in the world and with the highest minaret has an amazing location right on the edge of the sea. We then head to Morocco's nearby capital, Rabat. Also strategically located on the Atlantic coastline, Rabat began as a settlement in the third century BC and we'll enjoy a tour of the old city including visits to the Royal Palace, Ouadaya Garden & Kasbah and the Hassan Tower Mosque. Next is the ancient Roman city of Volubilis. Recently listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and dating back as far as AD40, Volubilis is home to some of the most impressive Roman ruins in North Africa. Finally we visit the Berber town of Meknes. Formerly the capital of Morocco during the reign of Moulay Ismail, he transformed the town, constructing intricate gateways, beautiful gardens and at 40m the largest ramparts in the country. Our days ends with the short drive to Fez where we spend the night.

OVERNIGHT:

Fez hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Fez, city tour

Over 1,200 years old, the city of Fez is a labyrinth of souks, mosques and spice filled streets. We delve into the fascinating history of the city with a full tour encompassing the Moulay Idriss mausoleum, Nejjarine fountain and the Bou Anania Medersa. We also spend time confusing our senses in the cacophony of noise surrounding the heady alleyways of Medieval Medina, home to tanneries, carpet shops and local restaurants before heading to Fez Jdid to explore the cities many varied souks.

OVERNIGHT:

Fez hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 Across the mountains to the Sahara

We start to discover some of Morocco's beautiful mountainous landscape today as we leave Fez and follow ancient caravan routes up into the hills. Along the way we'll stop at Ifran, known as the ''Switzerland of Morocco'' and a huge contrast to some of the other more Arabic feeling cities you'll see in Morocco. The French built Ifran in the 1930s, with the intention of recreating an alpine style resort, and you'll see beautiful parks with lakes, flower beds, and red roofed houses throughout what was named the second cleanest city in the world in 2013. Next we head on through the hills and through the scenic Ziz Valley this morning as we descend to Erfoud on the edge of the Sahara Desert. We'll then drive in 4WD vehicles through the desert to Merzouga and the famous Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Here we transfer to camels and take a sunset camel ride through the sand dunes to a traditional Berber camp nestled right on the edge of the dunes. You can enjoy some spectacular views over the sand dunes as the sun sinks below the horizon before enjoying a hearty Bedouin meal and a campfire this evening, often with local musicians helping enhance the atmosphere. You spend the night sleeping in comfortable Berber camel-hair tents.

OVERNIGHT:

Berber desert camp

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Drive to Dades via Tinghir and the Todra Gorge

We leave the desert reluctantly this morning and finish our safari before driving to the oasis town of Tinghir which boasts one of the largest palm groves in the country. A beautiful walk follows through the valley and the Todra Gorge, a 300m wall, carved deep into the High Atlas Mountains, making a narrow canyon beneath huge rock walls that change in colour as the light moves during the day. We'll also drive through the Dades Canyon with its steep winding access road with numerous switchbacks providing great views of the steep cliffs and the river below which rushes dramatically through the gorge, especially in the spring when the mountain snows are melting.

OVERNIGHT:

Deluxe guesthouse or small hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Dades to Skoura and the Valley of the Rose

The route through Dades Valley is also known as the Road of One Thousand Kasbahs. You'll catch a spectacular view of a vast valley dotted with small oases and hundreds of ancient fortifications. The sand-colored walls of the kasbahs may all start to look the same but each holds a special historical treasure within and offer innumerable opportunities for remarkable photos. We will meet Berber Nomads in their caves and the fertile Rose valley, perhaps stopping briefly at Kalaat M'gouna, 'the rose city', to purchase rosewater before arriving in Skoura. A quiet little village speckled with palm tree groves, Skoura is surrounded by acres of palm groves (les palmaraie), which are a paradise of palm and olive trees dotted with kasbahs and small villages. This is where we find Kasbah Amridil: a kasbah that stands out from the rest. Originally built in the 17thcentury, it is one of Morocco's most iconic living museums that has withstood the test of time, making it the ideal setting for an insight into the ancient traditions of kasbah life. We'll take a short hike to a spot overlooking the valley and the old salt mines. Finally we'll explore the Skoura Oasis and stroll for an hour in the gardens of the north side of the town past almond and olive trees. Dinner and overnight at a beautiful guesthouse.

OVERNIGHT:

Skoura deluxe guesthouse

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou and the Atlas Mountains

We start this morning with the short drive to Ouarzazate where, for centuries, people from the Atlas, Draa and Dades Valleys have converged to do business at Ouarzazate’s sprawling Taourirt Kasbah. A massive citadel, it sits against the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains and contains almost 300 rooms within its walls. We follow the maze of corridors to a prayer room on the top floor, which provides stunning views over Lake El Mansour Edhabbi, or we can explore the village within the kasbah for great deals on local crafts. We'll also visit Taourir and Ti-foultout Kasbahs, which are among the most beautiful Kasbahs in Morocco.

After the French protectorate left in the 1950s, the movie business flourished in Ouarzazate. We will visit the Atlas film studios where many famous movies have been filmed, including Lawrence of Arabi, The Living Daylights, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Man who would be King, The Mummy, Gladiator, Asterix & Obelisk, Kingdom of Heaven, Kundun, Legionnaire, Hanna, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, as well as part of the TV series Game of Thrones.

Today's main highlight though is a tour of Morocco's most well known Kasbah at the UNESCO world heritage site of Ait Benhaddou. This is a huge fortified city (ksar - a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls), with houses and kasbahs crowding together inside the defensive walls, an excellent example of traditional Moroccan earthen clay architecture. You can spend several hours in its maze of winding streets until reaching a fortified granary at the top which provides an amazing view of the valley.

Finally we head up into and across the Atlas Mountains for a beautifully scenic drive to Marrakech, en-route crossing the Tizi N'tichka col which at 2260m is the highest pass in Northern Africa.

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Marrakech city tour

Today, we begin unearthing the secrets of Marrakech, starting in the medina, the old walled section of town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll marvel at the city's architectural jewels, including the soaring Koutoubia minaret and Dar Si Said; housed in a palace, it is among the most beautiful of its kind in the world. We'll then continue to the Bahia Palace, an exemplary specimen of privileged life in the 19th century. Then we visit Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech’s main square, which is filled with orange juice stalls and vendors, and is well worth returning to in the evenings when it is packed with street food stalls, fire-eaters, mime artists, snake charmers and street musicians performing at every turn.

The afternoon is then free to explore the Medina's fabled, labyrinthine souks and do some souvenir shopping. In the middle of the old market (Rahba Lakdima) you'll find queues of stalls filled with jars upon jars of spices, petals, bark and leaves inside. You’ll see cumin, saffron, harissa and paprika, but what many people come for is what can only be found in Morocco – the spice blend called Ras el Hanout, which translates as “head of the shop.” This blend usually includes paprika. cardamom, clove, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, peppercorn and turmeric and more, with recipes often a guarded secret. You can return to the hotel for dinner or a rest, but it's well worth returning back to the main square in the evening.

OVERNIGHT:

Marrakech hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9 Marrakech, free time, transfer to the airport for departure

Your day is free today to explore Marrakech further, and perhaps do some final souvenir shopping and sightseeing before we transfer you to Marrakech airport for your departure flight. Subject to your flight time, we can also offer a range of day trips and excursions, including a spectacular hot air balloon flight.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Marrakech hot air balloon flight
Marrakech quad-biking
Ourika Valley half-day tour
Essaouira day trip
Extra day in Marrakech - post-tour


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Included:
  • Accommodation in mainly 4-star level and boutique style hotels, and a comfortable Berber desert camp
  • All transport and transfers
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of an experienced English speaking local tour leader/driver
  • Specialist local guides for sightseeing tours
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrances fees to monuments as stated

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees (not required for many nationalities)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Notes:

Hotel Gala Dinners
Many of Morocco's hotels arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often 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$50 to over US$150 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. More information is available on request.

Gallery


Dates and Prices

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

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

21st of Dec 2019

29th of Dec 2019

£1099

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28th of Dec 2019

5th of Jan 2020

£1099

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25th of Jan 2020

2nd of Feb 2020

£1049

£995
5% Discount


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22nd of Feb 2020

1st of Mar 2020

£1099

£1045
5% Discount


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21st of Mar 2020

29th of Mar 2020

£1099

£1045
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11th of Apr 2020

19th of Apr 2020

£1099

£1045
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9th of May 2020

17th of May 2020

£1099

£1045
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6th of Jun 2020

14th of Jun 2020

£1099

£1045
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4th of Jul 2020

12th of Jul 2020

£1049

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1st of Aug 2020

9th of Aug 2020

£1099

£1045
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29th of Aug 2020

6th of Sep 2020

£1099

£1045
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26th of Sep 2020

4th of Oct 2020

£1099

£1045
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24th of Oct 2020

1st of Nov 2020

£1099

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21st of Nov 2020

29th of Nov 2020

£1049

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19th of Dec 2020

27th of Dec 2020

£1099

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26th of Dec 2020

3rd of Jan 2021

£1099

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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.

Hotel Kenzi Basma

Hotel Kenzi Basma

Casablanca


This is a 4-star hotel in downtown Casablanca, located between an artsy district and the economic hub. Rooms are modern and fully-equipped, and facilities include a business centre and gourmet restaurant.

Local rating

Our rating

 Hotel Kenzi Basma Hotel Kenzi Basma

Hotel Kenzi Basma is found in the heart of downtown Casablanca, nestled between an Art Deco neighbourhood and the business district. The hotel features 113 rooms, each fully-equipped with modern facilities that include high-speed internet, flat-screen TVs, and air-conditioning. A full range of facilities is also available, including 24-hour room service, a business centre, conference rooms, a gourmet restaurant, and private parking.

L’Escale Hotel

L’Escale Hotel

Fes


This modern hotel is found in Fez, offering easy access to tourist attractions and the airport. The 64 rooms are fully-equipped, and there is a rooftop restaurant, business centre, and WiFi access.

Local rating

Our rating

 L’Escale Hotel L’Escale Hotel

Hotel L’Escale is located in the heart of Fez, 30 minutes from the airport. It is close to several tourist attractions, including the Royal Palace and Old Medina. 64 modern rooms feature en-suite bathrooms, minibars, safes, private balconies, and complimentary bathrobes and toiletries. The rooftop restaurant provides 360-degree views of the city. Facilities and services include WiFi access, laundry service, business centre, and breakfast buffet.

Madu Camp

Madu Camp

Merzouga


Madu Camp overlooks the Merzouga dunes. It features 8 luxury desert tents, each with en-suite bathrooms. There is a separate restaurant tent, as well as campfire entertainment.

Local rating

Our rating

 Madu Camp Madu Camp

This desert camp is situated on the edge of the Merzouga dunes. It features 8 luxury Berber tents, each with en-suite bathrooms that have hot water. A restaurant is found in a separate tent. After-dinner entertainment is provided besides the campfire, with lanterns and Moroccan carpets adding to the atmosphere. Quad bike excursions out into the desert are on offer to complete the experience.

Perle de Dades

Perle de Dades

Dades


La Perle de Dades is found in the Dades Valley. It is designed in an Afro-Moroccan style, with 12 rooms that have en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning. It features a pool, restaurant, and hammam.

Local rating

Our rating

 Perle de Dades Perle de Dades

La Perle de Dades is a repurposed traditional Berber Kasbah. It is situated in the Dades Valley. It has twelve rooms that are designed and decorated in a traditional Afro-Moroccan style. Each features en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning. The restaurant serves French and Moroccan cuisine, and there is a traditional hammam on site. Activities are offered at the lodge, as well as in the surrounding region.

L’ma Lodge

L’ma Lodge

Skoura


L’Ma Lodge is surrounded by palm groves in Skoura. Its rooms and buildings are bright, with traditional decor. Facilities include a pool, gardens, relaxation lounges, and a restaurant.

Local rating

Our rating

 L’ma Lodge L’ma Lodge

L’Ma Lodge is nestled within palm groves in Skoura, near Ouarzazate. It is made up of traditional adobe buildings, consisting of spacious rooms with bright traditional decor. There are two relaxation lounges, as well as a lounge-restaurant with a fireplace and piano. Free WiFi is provided. A free-form pool is surrounded by gardens and palm trees. Several tourist sites are found in the surrounding region, and activities are also offered on site.

Le Kech

Le Kech

Marrakech


La Kech is a 4-star boutique hotel in Marrakech. Overlooking the Atlas Mountains, it has 72 fully-furnished rooms. It features a gym, pool, spa, and two restaurants.

Local rating

Our rating

 Le Kech Le Kech

This boutique hotel is found in the city of Marrakech. It provides views of the Atlas Mountains, and is a few kilometres from the city’s commercial centre. The 72 rooms are spacious, with private bathrooms, WiFi, minibars, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs. The hotel features a pool, gym, spa, and restaurants. It is a family-friendly 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 (MOSGME)

Single room supplement (MOSGME)

Min numbers: 2 Adults


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares may be available but the supplement is payable if a room share cannot be arranged.

Price from
£299
per person

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.

Note: The price shown is a low season price. Slightly higher prices may apply during high and peak seasons - the exact price for your dates will be shown on the online booking form and is always available on request.

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
£30
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.

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 (except the desert berber camp where we stay for 1 night amidst the sand dunes). Local star ratings may vary slightly from international standards. Accommodation is based on double or twin en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will be given a private double room. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Alternatively, they may choose to share a twin room with another traveller of the same sex. If there are no other single travellers available to pair up with at the time of your booking, then we will need to add the single supplement to the tour price, but will refund this or deduct it from your balance payment if we are able to pair you up later on.

At the Berber desert camp out in the sand dunes, comfortable permanent Berber tents with mattresses and traditional local blankets are provided. You do not need to bring a sleeping bag, but we do recommend bringing a sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner for extra comfort. Shared toilet facilities are available.


  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 air conditioned private vehicles throughout this tour. These include cars, minibuses or coaches subject to the size of the group. We switch to 4x4 vehicles for your desert safari.


  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

We are committed to being a small group operator as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There's no point in us providing great guides if you've got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won't ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set  these tour departures to have a maximum of 20 travellers per guide.

The minimum number of travellers required for the tour to run is 3. If there are only 2 people in the group then those travellers will be offered the opportunity to still do the tour but to pay a supplement of GBP100 / USD130 per person. This will be refunded should the group size increase closer to departure (this is rarely an issue).

In Morocco we provide fully trained, local English-speaking guides for the sightseeing tours in the main destinations (eg. Marrakech, Fez, Rabat, Casablanca). An English speaking tour leader/driver also accompanies the group throughout the tour.

At Encounters Travel we 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.


  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 3 travellers is reached. If we do not reach this minimum number, we will offer you the option to either pay a small supplement to do the tour exactly as planned, change your departure date (or destination) or 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 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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Moroccan Melodies & 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.