Frequently Asked Questions :
The biggest event on the Moroccan calendar is the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast during the day time and break the fast at sunset. Most restaurants are closed for lunch (with the exception of those catering specifically to tourists) and things generally slow down.
Travelling during this time is entirely possible, and the restrictions don't apply to non-Muslims, but it's respectful to refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public during the fast.
At the end of the month is the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, when practically everything closes for as long as a week and transport is packed as everybody heads back home. Alcohol consumption is not prohibited for tourists during Ramadan, there a few restaurants and bars serving alcohol.
Also, alcohol can be purchased in a supermarket if a tourist shows their passport to the staff as Moroccans are not allowed to buy or consume alcohol during the holy month
What about large groups?
Large groups are welcome. We take the hassle out of organizing your walking holiday whether it is for a couple or a group of 16 and more. The more people, the more hassle for you. So if you want a little help, please just get in contact.
Difficulty level :
No terrain difficulty : walking and trekking mostly along the mule trails , tracks or on the sand 3h to 6 h walk per day : walking together in the rhythm of the group. In the winter time, some mountain passes might be blocked because of the snow, forcing us to slightly modify the itinerary.
Climbing up to the top of the highest pick in North Africa Toubkal (4167 m) is always optional. But placed at the end of the tour, when you are well acclimated to altitude, it should be accessible to all.
In a hotel/riad in Marrakech , on the first and last days of the stay, very close to the famous Djeema el Fnaa square, and the explore Marrakech old medina.
During the days of the trek you spend the nights under 2 person tents (camping) or overnights in mountain huts or guesthouses, According to the period of your trek.
Essential Equipments :
- Good walking boots and socks
- Shoes - change for evenings.
- Water, carried by camel .
- Water bottle or camel back (recommended).
- Water purification e.g. iodine.
- Day sack/backpack .
- Sleeping bag (3-4 season); plus thermal liner in winter .
- Scarf to wrap around your head in a sandstorm .
- Personal items: towel, sunscreen, wet wipes, loo roll
- Toiletries that are eco-friendly e.g. soap, shampoo etc.
- Small First Aid Kit e.g. insect repellent, plasters, meds .
- Torch/Flashlight and spare batteries e.g. head torch .
- Fleece (summer) .
- Layers, windproof jacket (autumn-spring) .
- Hat for summer and warm beanie for winter plus gloves .
- Thermal underwear (autumn-spring).
- Penknife (useful) .
You will have the opportunity to enjoy typically Moroccan meals (tajine, couscous,etc.). Fresh products, with canned food as a complement, meat bought in the mountains, Picnic or salads for lunch, hot ready-cooked meals for dinner.
We use a big tent to preparing the meals, and a mess tent to eat.
The water flowing out from the mountains is very pure but you should always treat it otherwise use bottle water instead of water from the source to be entirely safe.
Travel inside of morocco :
for transfers between Marrakech and the starting or end point of the hike or tours, we use minibuses or four-wheel drive vehicles depends on the size of the group.
During the days of the trek, mules or camels carry the luggage.
Morocco temperatures :
The climate is both Mediterranean and Atlantic. The dry, hot season is from May to October when summer temperatures can reach 38°C and above (we will vary our sightseeing times as best we can to avoid the heat during this period).
Temperatures may drop significantly at times during the night as the day’s heat rapidly diminishes.
From December to January snow can be expected on mountain passes and it can be wet. In winter, day temperatures will probably be around 10-25°C, dropping to perhaps 0-5°C.
2/3-season sleeping bag (during May and Sept you will need a 4 season bag). Head Torch, high factor sunscreen, sunglasses.
You may also like to bring your own sleeping mattress although foam mats can be provided locally from our company.
In the highlands conditions are generally dry and sunny during the day but bring warm clothing such as a warm fleece, thermal underwear, warm hat and gloves for cooler nights in the mountains when temps drop dramatically. You will also need to bring waterproofs in case the weather changes, particularly at the start and end of the season.
Morocco is a Muslim country and it is important to dress with respect for local customs. People may be offended by shorts or revealing dresses, which can attract unwelcome attention.
We advise that in general women should cover shoulders, upper arms and knees. Transparent, 'plunging' necklines and tight fitting clothes should be avoided. Women should also cover their heads when entering a sanctuary, though in general, mosques are forbidden to non-Muslims.
For those clients on a cycling holiday please bear this information in mind for times that you are not on the bikes, While cycling it is no problem for both men and women to wear your regular cycling gear, tight fitting or not.
Luggage: On your trip :
One main piece of baggage a daypack and a rucksack, It is preferable to bring your luggage in soft hold alls rather than a large suitcase - as it is easier to pack them on the vehicles and the mules or camels as we use on our treks.
What is included ?
- English, French speaking Berber tour guide
- Transfers from and to your hotel/riad.
- Hotel/Riad accommodation .
- Accommodation during your trip.
- Mules or camels to carry your luggage during days of the trek.
- Porters .
- Kitchen equipment and
- Cooking man who prepares all the meals during the trek.
- All meals during your trek (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- Mineral water
- Gites/refuges in the mountain
- Camping in mountain & desert
- Crampons & ice axe to use in winter .
What is not included ?
- Travel insurance
- The flights from and to your homeland .
- Tips .
You absolutely must have your insurance to cover for any, accidents, medical repatriation, and mountain rescue and repatriation helicopter if necessary.
It is imperative that you provide us before the departure with proof of your insurance and a telephone number of your insurer for use in any emergency.
Travel Insurance :
It is recommended that you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy that would cover you in cases of medical emergency, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment, and loss of baggage and belongings. This should be arranged prior to departing on your travels.
Most insurance companies require a local police report to support claims of loss or damage to personal property.
Valid passport and visa if necessary .
Tips are appreciated by the support team who accompanied you after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work.
As a guide, some trekkers give 10% of the total tour cost as tips. Using envelopes for your gifts is very advisable.
The Moroccan Weather :
Morocco has four climatic zones. The Atlantic region encompasses Rabat and Casablanca, with mild winters averaging 17°C and temperate summers at around 25°C. Rainfall can hit 56mm in January.
In the mountains, rainfall is at its highest (up to 135mm) in October and peters out towards the south of the High Atlas massif. Summer highs hit 30°C, winter lows average 9°C.
In the east of the country there is very little rain and summers are long, arid and over 30°C. Towards the Sahara, the rain decreases and a desert climate prevails.
Winters are cool and summers unbearably hot, with the mercury hitting 40°C. More information can be found at :moroccoweather.com
Environment & Responsible Tourism :
The Moroccan mountains and desert are protected areas, which are now beginning to open up to the outside world .
It is important to take into account the sensitivity of the inhabitants of the high valleys, the mountains and the Saharan environment. It is very important to :
- Respect the socio-cultural traditions of the inhabitants .
- Respect the environment, and the inhabitants’ heritage .
- Respect the cultures, plantations and water sources (only fallen wood may be used for fires).
- Put any non-degradable waste in a bag and take it away to be put in an official collection sites.
- It is not advisable to distribute sweets , pens or other items to children in the villages directly but if you want to leave something for them then to do it through an intermediary, such as your guide or an adult (eg the teacher of the village).
Arabic is the official language but local Berber dialects are spoken in the mountain and desert regions.
French is the most commonly used second language, followed by Spanish and English.
* The Dirham is the national currency. 1 Euro = approx. 11 Dirham’s.
* 1 Pound Sterling = approx. 14 Dirham’s
* 1 US Dollar = approx. 8.5 Dirham’s.
You can only obtain Dirham’s in Morocco and they should not be taken out of the country. There are cash dispensers and exchange counters in the arrival hall at airports, however please note that the exchange counters here do not normally accept traveler’s cheques.
You will need to change remaining Dirham’s back to original currency at an exchange counter in the check-in area of the airport, before passing through passport control.
Credit cards are another safe way to carry money. They also provide a convenient record of all your expenses, and they generally offer relatively good exchange rates. You can withdraw cash advances from your credit cards at banks or ATMs, but high fees make credit card cash advances a pricey way to get cash. Keep in mind that you'll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time.
Also, note that many banks now assess a 1% to 3% "transaction fee" on all charges you incur abroad (whether you're using the local currency or your native currency)..
It's best not to completely rely on being able to use your credit card when shopping in Morocco. Some large, tourist-friendly shops, especially the carpet emporiums, will have the necessary equipment, but when paying for smaller purchases, cash will be the only form of payment accepted.
If you are using your credit card, be aware of the full amount being charged to your card prior to signing off the transaction.
The transaction should be in dirham, so be aware of the current exchange rates. Make sure the amount on the transaction slip is clear and concise, and on no occasion agree to signing multiple slips for monthly payments, as there's every chance the slips will be banked all at once, and the door is also left open for those slips to be doctored.
When it's possible to pay for goods and services by credit card, MasterCard and Visa are accepted, but rarely American Express. Diners Club and Discover cards are not accepted in Morocco.
Visas & passports :
For all visitors a passport is required which should be valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in Morocco. Citizens of the UK, EU, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand obtain a 3-month visa for free upon arrival.
These three-month visitor's stamps can be extended by the Immigration Office or at the Bureau des Étrangers in most large towns.
Other nationalities should check with their local Moroccan Embassy or Consulate for visa requirements, as you may need to obtain a visa in advance.
Special Festivals :
It is worthwhile to enquire about the exact dates of festivals because many festivals don't take place at any fixed dates according to the western calendar, but are linked to seasonal changes and harvests. Many local festivals are organized from August through October. Around May there is the Mousseum of Sidi Mohammed M'a al-Anim, where you can see the 'blue people' (Moors of the Sahara ).
Here desert tribes gather to trade and to meet each other. Also in May the harvest of the roses is celebrated at the Rose Festival in the Dadès Valley. The World Sacred Music festival is held in Fes each year in May/June. The National Folklore Festival of Marrakech is a 10-day tourist event in June well worth attending. Also in June is the Gnaoua Music Festival in Essaouira.
At all these music festivals you can see dancers, musicians and other entertainers from all over the world. In October, the Date Festival is worth visiting, as is Independence Day on 18 November, which is celebrated throughout the country.
Food and beverages :
Moroccan food is a mix from the French, African and Arab kitchens. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are used in Moroccan cooking. An important dish is the tagine, named after the clay pot in which a stew of potatoes, vegetables and meat or fish, seasoned with a mix of particular herbs and spices is cooked over a fire.
Couscous is a world-famous Moroccan dish: a granola of wheat and barley served with a tasty sauce and topped with sliced vegetables. The meat is hidden under the granola as the best part to be kept for the end.
Meat is often the main base of all cooking, therefore vegetarians or people with special dietary requirements may find their food choices limited.
What’s the accommodation during treks ?
Usually in the summer we camp, normally by a stream or river, in tents or bivouac. On many treks we also stay for at least one night in a Local Berber houses (gite) or mountain refuges.
Can we change the itinerary ?
Yes, the duration and routes of the treks can usually be changed to suit your needs. For some treks variations are already indicated. This should to be specified and agreed in advance although every effort will be made to accommodate this en-route.
Some changes may be necessary due to prevailing weather conditions and it remains he prerogative of the guide to vary the itinerary in the interest of safety.
How do we book and pay ?
Find a trek you are interested in then contact us via our enquiry form to discuss your trek. Once the details of your trek (duration, route and number of people) have been agreed, we will make a provisional booking, giving the dates and cost.
To confirm your booking we ask you to pay a deposit of 30%, and the rest when you arrived in the country. This can be in Euros, pounds sterling or US dollars.
Payment is quick, easy and secure through our company Bank account, other ways we don’t have possibilities by credit or debit card. The balance is paid in Morocco again in Euros, sterling or dollars – at the beginning of the trek.
Where should I leave my car and/or my luggage ?
Many of our guests leave their vehicles and luggage at their hotel while they're in the backcountry.
We also have office in Marrakech or high atlas, where you're more than welcome to leave your luggage at one of these locations if you're doing a Toubkal Trek or any duration in morocco,
What first-aid and safety precautions do you take ?
Your safety is our top priority, followed by fun and comfort. All of our hiking guides are very experienced in the mountains and desert.
We require all of our guides to be certified and to have years of wilderness and guiding experience. On all of our multi-day tours the hiking guide also carries self phone.
What if I have dietary restrictions ?
If you have any diet restrictions or preferences, such as vegetarian, vegan, non-gluten, please tell us before hand and we will accommodate your dietary wishes and needs.
What is the age limit for children to go on a trip ?
For the most part we recommend that children be age 12 or older to participate on most of our trips.
If your child is under the age of 12 please give us a call and we'll work with you to make a responsible choice.