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Morocco

Wander through kasbahs, spice markets and cities pulsing with energy on this comprehensive Morocco trip. Climb onto a camel and explore the edge of the Sahara before admiring the views from the heights of the Atlas Mountains. Experience the energy of imperial cities as you explore souks stuffed with exotic wares. Then take a moment to appreciate an amazing adventure as you camp under the stars among some of the world's biggest sand dunes.


Itinerary

July 20 : Casablanca

Arrive at any time. We typically have a group meeting around 6 or 7 PM at the starting hotel.

July 21 : Tangier/Chefchaouen (1B)

Stop in Tangier for a guided tour of the medina, continue on to Chefchaouen for the evening.

July 22 : Chefchaouen (1B)

Options to hike in the Rif Mountains, explore the town, take a traditional hammam or visit a local weavers' cooperative.

July 23 : Meknes, Volubilis, Fes (1B)

Guided tour of the imperial city of Meknes and the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis before continuing on to Fes.

July 24 : Fes (1B)

Explore the bustling streets of Fes with a local guide and visit one of the ancient tanneries dating back thousands of years.

July 25 : Merzouga (1B,1D)

Today is a full travel day across the unique landscape of Morocco to get to the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert.

July 26 : Merzouga/Desert Camp (1B,1D)

In the morning explore the sand dunes by foot or opt to take a 4x4 safari. In the late afternoon enjoy a camel ride to overnight in a desert camp.

July 27 : Todra Gorge (1B)

Walk through local village farmlands before exploring the cliff-sided canyons of the mighty Todra Gorge.

July 28 : Aït Ben Haddou (1B)

Visit the Aït Ben Haddou Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Opt to participate in a tagine cooking class for insight on Moroccan cuisine.

July 29 : High Atlas Mountains (1B,1D)

Enjoy a guided walk to the village of Amred, at the base of the High Atlas Mountains. Let a mule carry the bags up to this mountain hideaway and hike alongside. Enjoy views of Mt Toubkal from the mountain gîte before a home-cooked dinner.

July 30 to July 31: Essaouira (2B)

Walk back to Imlil and transfer to the coastal town of Essaouira. Afternoon is free for exploration following an orientation walk.

August 1 to August 2: Marrakech (2B)

Transfer to Marrakech, guided medina visit with certified city guide upon arrival. Opt to visit to Djemaa el Fna Square in the evening to see the gathering of musicians and street performers. Day 14 is a free day to explore. Don't leave Marrakech without dining at one of the many bustling food stalls in the square.

August 3 : Marrakech (1B)

Depart at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 20 : Casablanca

You are welcome to arrive in Casablanca at any time, as today is a designated arrival day with no planned activities. Please note that there will be an important welcome meeting this evening at our joining hotel at around 6 PM or 7 PM. Please check the hotel notice board for more information on the location of this meeting or ask at reception. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents to this meeting, as you will be required to fill out some important pre-trip admin documents. After learning more about our tour and plans for the following day, you are welcome to join our leader and your travelling companions for an optional dinner nearby.

Please note, this tour does not spend any time in Casablanca. You may wish to come a day early in order to explore Casablanca's small medina, beachfront and classic examples of Art Deco architecture. Be sure to visit the spectacular Hassan II mosque. Entrance is only permitted via guided tours which operate from Saturday to Thursday (closed Fridays) at 09h00, 10h00, 11h00, and 14h00. Please refer to optional activity section of these notes for prices. These times are subject to change please double check these times with your hotel.

Overnight in Casablanca.

A general note about this program. This is a very fast paced itinerary which covers lots of ground. While this is great as it allows us to see a huge amount in the available time, it also means some early starts, some long drives in the mini van and less free time than some of our other programs.

July 21 : Tangier/Chefchaouen (1B)

Depart in the morning by private van for Tangier. Take a guided tour of the city including the medina, kasbah, Grand Socco (a bustling square at the entrance to the medina) and Petit Socco, a little square in the medina perfect for people-watching and mint tea-drinking. In the afternoon, continue on to Chefchaouen.

Tangier is an exotic mix of influences, located at the northern tip of Morocco. With culture, cuisine and language coming from North Africa, Spain, Portugal and France, this bustling port city is unique and fascinating.

Chefchaouen is a gorgeous mountain town in northern Morocco. It is often skipped when travelling the standard route around Morocco but is truly one of the most special places to visit. Set in the Rif Mountains, this town's white-washed buildings with blue accents make it one of the most picturesque places in the country. Known as the Blue City, the distinctive blue colour was added by the city's jewish population who lived as refugees in the 1930s. The main square is lined with cafés and shops selling a multitude of handicrafts, often not available elsewhere in the country.

Estimated travel time to Tangier: 5 hrs
Estimated travel time to Chefchaouen: 2 hrs

July 22 : Chefchaouen (1B)

Enjoy a free day in Chefchaouen. Options to hike in the Rif mountains, explore the town, take a traditional hammam or visit a local weavers cooperative.

July 23 : Meknes, Volubilis, Fes (1B)

This morning, we drive from Chefchaouen to Meknes. In the afternoon we enjoy a guided tour of Meknes.

We start our guided tour in front of the impressive 18th century Bab Mansour, the ornamental gate to the imperial city of Meknes built by Sultan Moulay Ismail in honour of himself. The gate faces Place el-Hadim, where, after dark fills with many Moroccan families coming to be entertained by story-tellers, snake-charmers, horse rides & medicine men. To the left of the square you’ll find one of Morocco’s most colourful & friendliest fresh produce souks and home to the city’s famous confectionaries. Behind the square is the entrance to the rambling souks where you can discover the many artisans and their crafts.

From here we enter what is left of the imperial city (Meknes was flattened by a huge earthquake in 1755) and visit the small but impressive Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Then we will pass by the entrance of the Meknes Royal Palace and end up at Moulay Ismail’s massive Heri es Souani. This was his personal stable & granary for his 12,000 horses.

After, we'll make our way through the rolling hills for a guided visit of the impressive Roman ruins of Volubilis, the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of Northern Africa. Once an important Roman town, the site is situated near the westernmost border of the Roman Empire. In 1997 Volubilis was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wandering through the deserted streets where chariots once passed, you can envision the vibrance the town once had. Listen to your certified local guide explain about life in the Roman Empire as you peer into old bathhouses, marveling at the still-present mosaic floors and gazing up at the towering marble pillars.

We leave the Roman Empire to make our way to Fes. We will be staying in the the new city of Fes, built by the French during their Protectorate of Morocco. This area has the feel of a French provincial town, with its cafés, restaurants and wide boulevards.

The Fes medina is the world’s largest medina with over 9,000 winding streets lying within 365 hectares. Buildings within the medina date back to the 9th century, during the 11th century Fes was the largest city in the known world. There are 350 mosques in the medina where the locals can enter to pray, which devout Muslims do five times a day as part of the five pillars of Islam.

We enter through one of the great gates into the chaotic, confusing and melee that is the Fes medina. We explore the medina’s many artisans’ quarters, such as the brass, copper and wedding adornment souks. The carpenters, bakers, butchers & spice sellers also have their area of the medina that they call home. A highlight is a visit to the famous Fes tannery, where we have great views from a panoramic viewpoint over the men hard at work treating and dying the different hides.

We’ll also get to see its religious and historical heart when we visit Moulay Idriss II’s Mausoleum (the founder of Fes), the 9th century Al Karaouine University and one of the many Medersas (Koranic school).

This evening, why not head off for a Moroccan feast at one of the many restaurants and finish off the night with some famous Moroccan mint tea.

Overnight in Fes.

Approx travel time: Meknes to Volubilis, 45 mins. Volubilis to Fes, 2 hrs excluding stops.
Approx travel time: Chefchaouen to Meknes- 4.5 hrs excluding stops

July 24 : Fes (1B)

Day 4 is free for you to explore more of the Fes medina or the new town (Ville Nouvelle) at your leisure. Your tour leader will provide you with options for your day, including transport options to get you from the hotel into Fes medina.

(Please note, only certified local Fes guides are allowed to guide in the medina, so for the free day your tour leader, who is a national certified guide, cannot accompany you here, but will be able to help you find a local guide if you wish. Of course you can just wander at your leisure!)

Overnight in Fes.

July 25 : Merzouga (1B,1D)

Today we have a full travel day through the diverse landscapes that make Morocco so unique. Pass through the cedar and pine forests, keeping an eye out for Barbary apes. Pass over the Middle Atlas Mountains through the pre-desert countryside with its deep gorges filled with splendid oasis of green palm groves, finally arriving at the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert.

We spend the night in a desert auberge (simple hotel), located right on the edge of the dunes. Here we will have dinner local-style and spend the night. Please note, some rooms may have shared bathroom facilities at the desert auberge.

Day 6: Overnight in Merzouga (Auberge); Approx travel time including stops: Fes to Merzouga, 10-11hrs

July 26 : Merzouga/Desert Camp (1B,1D)

Today is free until we head out on our camel safari in the late afternoon. Why not spend the cool of the morning exploring the undulating golden sands of the dunes. Or simply relax by the pool or read a book in the cool communal couch area. We also offer an optional activity of a 4x4 safari into the sand dunes of the Sahara desert. Ask your tour leader for more details and current price of this exciting adventure.

Taking only our day packs with what we will need for this evening, we set off on an hour's camel ride to our desert camp deep in the dunes. Your local guides will teach you how to mount and dismount and other handy camel-related safety tips. Be sure to get them to teach you the trick of tying your turban to keep the desert sun off your face and add a little flare to your photos. From your first cup of mint tea you'll enjoy a warm welcome at our desert camp. A traditional dinner under the stars, cooked by our hosts awaits. In the evening there will be time to hear stories about life in this region and perhaps, if we are lucky, we might be treated to some traditional music on the drums.

Facilities are very basic - each Bedouin tent sleeps approximately 4 people but most people prefer to relax and enjoy the sounds of silence during a night under the starry desert skies. Mattresses and a sheet and blanket are provided. It is back to nature as far as bathroom facilities go. We will have breakfast upon our return to our Merzouga auberge.

Day 7: Overnight in the Sahara Desert (Nomad Camp); Approx travel time: Merzouga to camp, 1hr (by camel)

July 27 : Todra Gorge (1B)

We rise early for a morning departure by camel from the camp and return to our auberge where we have our breakfast. Continue by bus to Tinehrir and into the Todra Valley. Enjoy a walk in the lush palm groves and learn more about local life in this region, including which crops are grown and how the land is farmed. You may even be lucky to taste some of the fruit in season straight from the source.

Head to the stunning Todra Gorge, we spend the night in this beautiful and peaceful area. The Todra River has carved out cliff-sided canyons through the mountains with the final 300m of the gorge being the most spectacular as the canyon narrows to a flat stony track as little as 10m wide in places with sheer and smooth rock walls up to 160 m high on each side.

Today the Todra River looks more like a stream as it runs its way through the gorge, with hotels and restaurants huddled against the steep walls. It is easy to walk through the gorge, there is a well-maintained dirt road to walk along. The scenery is spectacular.

While staying in a hotel nestled in between the sheer cliffs of the gorge you will have the chance to enjoy a relaxing evening indulging in local Berber cuisine. Please note that due to location, the hotel power is run by a generator and the electricity is turned off every night at approximately 11pm. We recommend bringing a headlamp for getting around at night if necessary.

Overnight in Todra Gorge.

Approx travel time: Merzouga to Todra Gorge, 4-6 hrs with stops.

July 28 : Aït Ben Haddou (1B)

This morning we continue along the "Route of a 1000 Kasbahs" to Ouarzazate where we will take our lunch break.

We continue on to the village of Aït Ben Haddou. Aït Ben Haddou is a wonderful example of a collection of kasbahs (a type of fortress). Carefully restored over the years and now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is considered to be one of the best preserved kasbah villages in Morocco. A few families still call the kasbah their home, but the majority of locals have gradually moved to the nearby settlement. During our visit to the Kasbah, lose yourself in the narrow, winding passageways and feel the magical atmosphere of this incredible structure.

This evening there may be the chance for an optional cooking class. Learn the secrets of how to make the perfect tagine and then sample your skills for your dinner. Once at home you can impress your friends with your culinary skills!

Overnight in Ait Ben Haddou.

Approx travel time including stops: Todra Gorge to Ait Ben Haddou, 5-6 hrs.

July 29 : High Atlas Mountains (1B,1D)

We leave the pre-desert country for the magnificent High Atlas mountain landscape, crossing the Tizi n’Tichka pass at 2260m, before heading into the splendid Toubkal National Park, passing through small villages on winding mountain roads, arriving at the village of Imlil. With our main luggage transported by mule, we embark on the walk from Imlil to the little village of Aremd (1 hour), arriving at our simple mountain gîte for the night.

While the walk to the gîte is uphill, we will take it at a slow pace and it is achievable by anyone of average fitness. Accommodation is multi-share, up to 6 beds in each room. Bedding is provided. You will also need to bring your own bath towel. Bathroom facilities are shared.

Tonight we enjoy a homemade dinner of local produce in the cozy salon. Settle in and enjoy the tranquility, fantastic views and clean mountain air of this magical region.

Overnight in the High Atlas mountains (Aremd).

Approx travel time: Ait Ben Haddou to Imlil, 5hrs
Approx walking time: Imlil to Aremd, 1 hour

July 30 to July 31: Essaouira (2B)

After breakfast we'll walk back out to meet our transport in Imlil and head to the coastal town of Essaouira, arriving in the mid-afternoon. Upon arrival we take an orientation walk of the old Portuguese port area, the fortifications and the centuries old medina, enabling you to make the most of your explorations tomorrow.

Day 11 is free to browse the many shops for the many crafts on sale, watch the brightly painted ships bring their catch into the busy harbor or take a stroll along the long, sandy beach. It's a perfect place to enjoy some local seafood and unwind. You might even like to enjoy some of the wide variety of activities on offer such as wind surfing and horse riding. Your tour leader can arrange camel riding on the beach in Essaouira for you, please ask them for more details if you are interested.

Overnight in Essaouira.

Approx travel time including stops: Imlil to Essaouira, 5hrs
Approx walking time: Aremd to Imlil, 1 hour

August 1 to August 2: Marrakech (2B)

In the morning, we continue our journey to Marrakech. Once arriving in the red city join your certified city guide for a tour of the Marrakech medina. Visit the historical Koutoubia Minaret and gardens, Bahia Palace, the Mellah and the Saadian Tombs. Take note as your guide takes you through some of the local souks with their narrow, winding streets. Once the tour is finished you are free to discover the secrets of this amazing, ancient city at your leisure. Once you’ve tired yourself out, relax at one of the tea houses around the square, indulging in the ubiquitous sweet mint tea, watching the hustle and bustle from your shady spot.

Day 14 is a free day to explore. A great place to start your adventure is Djemaa el Fna square, in the heart of the medina. The square changes its offerings throughout the day. In the morning you can wander past the fresh orange juice stalls, water sellers in colourful costumes with traditional leather water bags, brass cups, and snake charmers reminiscent of an era past.

As the day progresses the snake charmers are replaced by Chleuh dancing-boys, story-tellers, magicians, and peddlers of traditional medicines. As the sun sets, the square fills with dozens of food-stalls, packed with locals and the entertaining chefs and waiters. Grab a spot on a bench with the other diners and try the Tanjia (slow cooked lamb), Harira soup, grilled seafood, famous Moroccan couscous, tajine, snails or even sheep’s head for the truly adventurous, and wash it all down with some spiced tea.

To really get a taste of everyday life in Marrakech, head into the maze of tiny streets and alleyways of the ancient medina. Tourists and locals alike will find everything they desire in the souks, whether it’s spices, traditional jalabas and slippers, or famous Moroccan lanterns, the selection here is exhaustive, and don’t forget to bargain, it's definitely part of the fun. Perhaps end the day like a local with an optional group dinner in the famous food stalls of Djemaa el Fna.

Overnight in Marrakech.

Approx travel time: Essaouira to Marrakech, 3-4 hrs

August 3 : Marrakech (1B)

You are free to depart at any time today. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is normally mid-morning, but luggage storage facilities are available.

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our Italy, Portugal/Spain or Heart of the Silk Road programs.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

Trip Notes

1. Pace.
This is a very fast paced itinerary which covers lots of ground. While this is great as it allows us to see a huge amount in the available time, it also means some early starts, some long drives in the mini van and less free time than many other GEEO prorgams. We feel that if you enter this trip with this knowledge and expectation, you will appreciate even more the variety of locations we are able to include in this itinerary.

2. Camel ride and desert camp.
Please note that it is not possible to reach our desert camp by 4WD or any other vehicle. There is the option to walk (can be very hot and tiring) for those who cannot/prefer not to ride a camel.

3. Transport.
We use a 16-seater minivan for this tour. With a full group every seat will be used. The legroom in the minivan is possibly smaller than you may be used to and taller passengers may find space a little cramped. It is important to be aware that as it is not a legal requirement in buses in Morocco, your vehicle may not be equipped with seat belts.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

2: Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 14 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a large multi-day backpack, plus a small daypack, like a messenger bag or purse. There are lots of different backpacks out there, but in general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 50 to 80 cubic liters. For an example click here. (Please email jesse@geeo.org if that link does not work)

You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels, hopping on and off buses and up and down stairs.

Hard-shell suitcases, as well as being too heavy and difficult for you to carry, place an unreasonable burden on the mules we use to carry baggage to Aremd in the Atlas Mountains. Please bring a soft wheeled case, backpack or light sports bag. We are able to transport a maximum of one check-in size bag and one daypack per person.

Suggested Checklist

•Light Fleece top
•Small towel (For the beach and the Atlas mountain night) and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for mild to hot weather (T-Shirts, Shorts, etc. For women we recommend clothing that covers knees and shoulders. Pack 8 or 9 outfits and then do laundry at some point.)
•Day pack to carry belongings on desert excursion
•Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes (Running shoes are fine too)
•Sport sandals or Flip-flops
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Watch or alarm clock
•Water bottle
•Flashlight or headlamp
•Wash cloth (If you normally use a washcloth at home as most hotels do not have them.)
•Money belt
•Clothes for mosques – Knees and shoulders must be covered
•Insect repellent
•Small Flashlight
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•Toiletries (Your hotels will have soap and shampoo)
•Camera
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Checklist

•light weight silk sleep sheet for use in desert and at mountain gite.
•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Light fleece top (Just for the flight)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Ear Plugs (These are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Ziplock bags for wet clothing
•Reading/writing material
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Moleskin for blisters

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•EUR/USD cash
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Single Travellers

We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The local currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).
ATMs are found within main cities in Morocco and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible as while there is no hard and fast rule, some banks seem to only work with one brand of card. Please note, your bank will change a fee for overseas withdrawals.
Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. Euros are almost a second currency in Morocco, while British Pounds and US Dollars are also easy to exchange into Moroccan Dirhams (MAD). Please note - while you should bring some cash with you for emergency situations, carrying cash only is a high safety risk. Money on ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix.

Travellers’ cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques handy in case of emergency.
Thomas Cook or American Express Travellers’ Cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange.

Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached.
Credit cards are in general not very useful in Morocco - they can be used at some larger stores if shopping for big items.

If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Any notes older than 1996, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Casablanca

Casablanca (for those who have time in the city before the trip starts)
Hassan II Mosque (Sat to Thurs) 9, 10, 11 and 2pm – Dh120
Villa de Arts (Tues to Sat) – free
Jewish Museum (Mon to Fri) - Dh30

Meknes

Dar Jamai Museum (Wed to Mon) - Dh20
Medersa bou Inania - Dh10
Koubbat as Sufara - Dh10
Heri es Souani - Dh10

Fes

Medersa bou inania – Dh10
Medersa el Attarine - Dh10
Dar batha museum (Wed to Mon) - Dh10
Belghazi museum - Dh20

Merzouga- Desert

Half-day 4x4 excursion around the Dunes of Merzouga
Price: 25 euro per person (270 dirhams) Includes: 4x4 jeeps with driver/guide

Ait Ben Haddou

Cooking class Dh100 (includes dinner)

Essaouira

Camel ride on beach at Essaouira Price: 29 euro per person (315 dirhams) Includes: riding camel, transfers from/to hotel.
Surf lessons – Dh 480 – 900 (depending on length)
Horse riding - Dh 250
Quad biking - Dh 450
Kite Surfing – Dh 35 1(hrs), Dh 50 (2hrs)
Surfing rental - Dhs15, 20, 25, 30 (1hr, 2 hrs, 3 hrs, 1 day)
Boat excursion along the coast: Dh 20 (1hr)
All Essaouira activities are weather and season dependent.

Marrakech

Traditional Hammam (steam bath) including massage – Dh 300
Moroccan 3 course dinner and folklore entertainment in a traditional restaurant overlooking the famous Djemma el Fna Square - Dh 400
Ali Ben Youssef Medersa - Dh 40
Koubba Ba’adiyn - Dh 40
Museum of Marrakech - Dh 40
El Badi Palace - Dh10
Dar si Said - Dh10
Majorelle and Museum of Islamic Art - Dh 30
Bicycle hire – Dh 70–100 per day

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Just breakfasts and a few dinners are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$1424 USD

Non-Educator Fee

GEEO program fee for Non-Educators: $100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$100-$500 USD

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1100-$2000 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare we would be happy to assist you. Just email air@gadventures.com for more information. Also see our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$42-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

$40-$50 USD for your G Adventures Tour leader, Another $60 should cover guides and drivers on other activities.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

$270-$400 USD

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

Make sure you budget for these types of expenses. It is necessary to buy water each day to stay hydrated during walking tours, etc. Depending on where the water is purchased, this can become a noticeable expense of a few dollars a day.

Airport and Departure Taxes

This is usually included in your flight price.

Airport Transfers

Arrival Transfer
* 3 to 100 passengers - $40.00 USD / passenger
* 2 passengers - $50.00 USD / passenger
* 1 passenger - $95.00 USD / passenger

You can also take public transport.

Vaccines

(It all depends on what you don’t have already/what your insurance covers.)

Visa

$0 USD (Americans don’t need a visa for travel in Morocco. Check with your local embassy if you are not American.)

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• We try to set up a school visit on each program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi to the first hotel or book an airport transfer. For an airport transfer you will be greeted at the airport by someone with a sign with your name on it. Some people find this comforting when getting off a long flight in an unfamiliar environment. Typically an airport transfer will cost about twice as much as a taxi would. If we have multiple participants on the same flight we can group those people together to share an airport transfer and save money. We cannot group people together if they are on different flights, even if those flights are scheduled to arrive within minutes of each other.

Please email groups@gadventures.com if you wish to book the airport transfer. They will need your name and the name of the GEEO trip you are on.

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of trip departure. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Americans do not need to purchase a visa for travel to Morocco. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee of $299 USD.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions:
Nights 5 and 6 Merzouga/Desert camp and Night 9, Aremd mountain gite.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Participants in our programs are permitted to bring friends or family members on their trip. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We ran the Morocco program for the first time in 2011. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips to Morocco for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 1000 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Casablanca by, which would usually mean departing the USA on the prior day. You can arrive at anytime you choose.

Your trip ends in Marrakesh, although most flights to the US will return via Casablanca.

You have a few options:

You could book a multi-leg flight that arrives in Casablanca at the start of your trip and returns from Marrakesh at the end. (Probably the best option. On my test search, using NYC as the departure city, I found this only added $80 to the price over a round trip to Casablanca)

For about $200 you can take a 40 minute flight from Marrakesh to Casablanca. (I think you are better off with the options above and below this)

For about $11 you can take a 3 hour train ride from Marrakesh to Casablanca. They depart every two hours. You would also have to take a taxi from the train station to the airport. (This seems to be the cheapest option, but a bit inconvenient)

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. You must bring some proof of this insurance to your introduction meeting on the first day of the trip. If you do not have travel health insurance at that time, you will be forced to purchase insurance on the spot, which will be pricier than purchasing it in advance.

One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $42 card (Plus Plan) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. DO NOT get the Basic Plan that they offer as it does not have enough coverage for our programs.

To sign up for the card you can follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html.

We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option. Trip Cancellation insurance costs 5% of up to the total cost of your trip. For example, if you chose to insure $1000 of your trip cost, Trip Cancellation would cost $50. You can call them at 1-877-359-4466, ext. 7663 to ask for details on the cancellation plan or follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/trip-cancellation-insurance/.

Another option is purchasing the insurance plan that G Adventures offers. Their comprehensive plan offers both health and cancellation insurance.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?

You may want to stay longer in both Casablanca and Marrakesh so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later.

We can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish. Just send a request by email to groups@gadventures.com with the dates you would like at least 30 days before departure.

When should I purchase my flights?

You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum amount of required participants before you book your flights. Typically we reach the minimum amount needed at least 60 days before departure, which often happens to be when you can find the best prices for purchasing flights. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed.

If I wanted to extend my stay in the region, is there any other tour you would recommend?

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our Italy, Portugal/Spain or Heart of the Silk Road programs.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip? Is there high altitude?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. However, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Please note that your adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000ft (2,440m). Most people can travel to 8,000ft with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are affected on your adventure, please consult your physician.

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

To avoid unwanted attention in rural areas, dressing modestly is advised for parts of Morocco. A general rule of thumb for women in rural areas is to keep your shoulder's and knees covered up. It is fine to dress dress how you like in Fes, Sahara, Marrakech and Essaouria, but keep in mind, less flesh is less attention.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

G Adventures Operator - Morocco
Open 5 days a week, Monday to Friday 09:00am to 5:30pm local time (GMT).
During Office hours : +212 (0)528 824898
After hours emergency number: +212 (0)661 429700

G Adventures Local Office London, UK
Emergency number: +44 7817 262559

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Morocco uses a European-style two circular prong plug. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Quotes from past participants:

"I recommend asking your tour leader about the shopping opportunities throughout the trip. I found it hard to apportion out my spending money because I didn't know what might be coming up. For example, in Fes we visited the showrooms of the tanneries, pottery shop, and weavers. In Menkes, we visited a co-op that sold crafts and tablecloths. Near Merzouga we visited a fossil factory, on the way to Essaouira we stopped at an argan oil co-op, and on the way to Ait Ben Haddou we visit a Berber rug co-op.
Towards the end of the trip we stopped at Handicapped Center where we could support the participants by buying their arts/crafts. If I had known we were stop at the Handicap Center later in the trip, I would have spent my money differently and supported them more."

"Some hotels are particular about not allowing guest to bring to their rooms store-bought bottled water because they want guest to buy it from them. The water needs to be hid in backpacks. "

"If anything, I would just add that there is a lot of walking. Most days it was not difficult, but there were long days. Also, if you are shorter like I am, some of the stair are steep."

"Some of the public bathrooms did not have toilet paper so carrying a small roll is handy. As far as money goes I needed way more small bills (especially change) than I had. The electrical outlets are all recessed into the wall so not all converters fit. You have to have a round one or one that is smaller than one and one half inches wide."

"Don't buy stuff at the planned visits; you will find it for much less at other spots. Use those visits to learn about what's available and what you might wish to purchase."

"For luggage handling--even if it is on wheels, super large suitcases packed heavily can be difficult to carry up steps at hotels and takes up a lot of space in the back of the van. I had a backpack so it wasn't a problem, but some of the others struggled with their luggage."

"When I got on the camel, I thought that wearing long pants would be enough. They weren't shorts, right? After riding both ways, I ended up with a "Charley camel" because my pants were not thick enough."

"Bring your own soap -- the hotel soap throughout our stays did not lather well at all."

"Do not rely on credit cards. Many places say they take cards, but when it comes to actually paying, they do not. Try to bring cash and a debit card only. "

"1) Bring a bathing suit!
2) The small flashlight is for the desert
3) The bug spray is for the nature walk
4) The train station in Marrakesh is reliable and safe
5) In case you get to Casablanca early, know that you can and should barter for EVERYTHING. In fact, you probably shouldn't buy anything until your guide has explained to you how this works. Prices can be 5x normal because you are American.
6) A good number of people you will encounter do not want to be photographed. Make sure you ask first. "

"The AAA does not have Moroccan money or anyone else it seems for getting it ahead of time."

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include a school visit on each of our programs; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?

You can if you wish. Please keep in mind it is important for you to pack light for your trip and school supplies can take up a lot of space. Sometimes school visits are at the end of the trip so you may be carrying the supplies for the entire trip. Sometimes we aren't able to arrange a school visit at all so you would then have to figure out a way to give them out yourself.

Our advice is to bring little if any supplies with you and instead buy supplies locally when your tour leader tells you a school visit is planned. They can help the group pool money and purchase supplies such as books, athletic equipment, pencils and paper. This will allow you to give an appropriate gift, save room in your pack and also help the local economy. We encourage you to establish relationships with the schools that we visit. In the past some of our participants have run fundraisers for needy schools and have mailed supplies to the schools.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

What is the weather like?

The Coast of Morocco has a moderate, subtropical climate, cooled by breezes from the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Inland, the temperatures can be quite extreme, getting very hot in the summer. In Marrakech the average temperature in summer is a sizzling 100°F (38°C)! In mountainous areas (like the Atlas range) temperatures are cooler and some mountain peaks remain snow-capped throughout most of the year.

What is the food like?

Breakfasts:
Many breakfasts are included as part of your trip. Moroccan breakfasts tend to be different from your usual cereal and toast morning fare – most will be very simple - a croissant or sweet roll with jam and instant coffee and some hotels will have buffets where you will have more variety.
While you are experiencing what a Moroccan family would eat, some travellers do find the provided breakfasts a bit “bread heavy” and enjoy buying fruit the day before to supplement their breakfast.

Lunches and dinners
Moroccan cuisine is world famous and your tour leader will be taking the chance to show you the best of it.
Staples include cous cous, a type of grain topped with stew, tagine which is actually the name of the pot this tasty dish is cooked in, and brochette, bbq skewers of meat. These dishes will generally cost between 45- 80 MAD depending on the type of restaurant and which part of the country you are in.
Other tastes not to be missed include pastilla, a sweet pasty with a savoury filling which is traditionally pigeon and harira, a delicious soup based on chick peas and filling enough when teamed with fresh bread to be a whole lunch. When you are on the coast the fresh seafood cooked at one of the local markets is a must eat!

Snacks
Morocco's fresh orange juice is highly recommended and you should not leave without trying a glass. The brave can try the tiny snails which are perhaps the local's favorite snack but you might prefer a cone of piping hot bite-size fried cake donuts.

What is the transportation like?

Please note that there is a lot of fast paced travel on this itinerary which necessitates some long travel days in our mini van. We feel that if you enter this trip with this knowledge and expectation, you will appreciate even more the variety of locations we are able to include in this itinerary.

We use a 16-seater minivan and with a full group every seat will be used. The legroom in the minivan is possibly smaller than you may be used to and taller passengers may find space a little cramped. It is important to be aware that as it is not a legal requirement in buses in Morocco, your vehicle may not be equipped with seat belts. The minivans have air conditioning, however please note that summer temperatures in Morocco can easily reach over 100 Degrees Fahrenheit. When the outside temperature is so hot, a minibus air conditioning system will not be able to cool the bus to the temperatures you are used to enjoying at home. Please bear in mind that travelling in Morocco in summer will inevitably involve very hot temperatures and some discomfort may be experienced when travelling.

Please note that, owing to both space constraints in the minibus and weight constraints when transporting baggage by mule to Aremd mountain gite, we can carry no more than one check-in size bag and one day pack per person.

What is the accommodation like?

On this trip you can expect to stay in local hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights.
Please note that Morocco is a developing country and as such the infrastructure is not as reliable as you would expect at home. Expect quirky plumbing and the odd cold shower!

While in the mountains our accommodation will be basic refuge-style multi-share with shared unisex facilities. In Merzouga we will stay in a traditional desert auberge (guesthouse) and in the desert we will spend a night at a nomad camp: Facilities at the camp are very basic - we all sleep in one large communal tent. Mattresses and bedding are provided. It is back to nature as far as bathroom facilities go. There will be the chance to take a shower after breakfast on our return to our Merzouga auberge the following morning.

Please note that it is not possible to reach our desert camp by 4WD or any other vehicle. There is the option to walk (can be very hot and tiring) for those who cannot/prefer not to ride a camel.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $250 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $300-500 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.

I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."

What language is spoken in Morocco?

Arabic is the official language of Morocco, spoken in the distinctive Moroccan dialect. Approximately 40% of the population (mainly in rural areas) speak Berber in one of its three different dialects (Tarafit, Tashelhiyt and Tamazight). French is Morocco's unofficial second language and is taught universally, serving as the country's primary language in economics and commerce, as well as being widely used in education and government. Many Moroccans in the north of the country speak Spanish and English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Do you have advice on tipping?

Morocco has a strong tipping culture - it is customary and even expected to tip small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bell boys, taxis and van drivers. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry.

Even though this might not be customary to you, nor such common practice in your home country, it is generally expected and of great significance to the people who will be assisting you during your travels.

Depending on your preference and/or that of the group, you may choose to tip individually, organize the tipping with your travelling companions, or, your Tour Leader will offer to collect the tip money at the beginning of your tour and tip as a group with your participation as the tour progresses. A recommendation for tipping small service providers is about $3 USD per day, depending on the quality of the service (this does not include your G Adventures Tour Leader).

Feel free to ask your Tour Leader for the breakdown/distribution of the tips. Note that if you have been very disappointed by a particular service, please inform your Tour Leader right away, and the tip will be adjusted accordingly.

Also, at the end of your trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. The precise amount is entirely a personal preference, however $20-25 USD per person per week can be used as a general guideline.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

Will I be there for Ramadan?

No. Ramadan will end on July 17th, 2015, just before this trip begins.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

What happens if GEEO doesn't reach the minimum number of participants needed for this trip?

Typically we reach the minimum number for our groups in the month of April. If we do not have the minimum number of participants needed we will re-price the trip for the amount of people signed up, adding on a surcharge. It will be up to each individual whether they still wish to travel with the group at the new rate. If they choose to withdraw from the program at that time they will be issued a full refund. If need be we will cancel a trip and issue the entire group a full refund. It is important that you do not book your flights before a group is confirmed! It is pretty rare for us to have to cancel trips.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?

GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. For each trip we have selected four books, two fiction and two non-fiction. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience. We welcome feedback on our selections so we can develop and improve the list for the following summer.

For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to amazon.com. If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.

For this program we have selected the following books:

Fiction:
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami
A Spider’s House by Paul Bowles

Non-Fiction
The Road from Morocco by Waffa Faith Hallam
Dreams of Tresspass: Tales of A Harem Girlhood by Fatema Mernissi

You may also want to consider reading another Paul Bowles novel, The Sheltering Sky.


Want more adventure? Save money by also booking our Italy, Portugal/Spain or Heart of the Silk Road programs through our Multi-Trip Discount.

1424.00 USD

International Airfare not included

Availability: +7

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 14 participants.

What's Included

  • Tangier guided tour. Meknes guided tour. Volubilis guided tour. Fes medina guided tour. Sahara Desert excursion with camel ride and overnight Berber camp. Todra Gorge stay with walk through local villages. Aït Ben Haddou kasbah visit. Amred village walk (High Atlas). Gîte stay with traditional meals. Essaouira orientation walk. Marrakech medina guided walk.

  • G Adventures Tour Leader throughout, local guides

  • 14 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners (Allow USD $270-$400 for meals not included)

  • Private air-con van, camel, walking

  • Hotels (12 nts), gîte (1 nt, multi-share) , nomad camp (1 nt, multi-share)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions