Best of Morocco Family Holiday
Take your family to experience the best of Morocco's many highlights. With incredible food, bustling markets, Hollywood's favourite film sets, windswept dunes and even a camel ride, there'll be something to please everyone over this ten-day trip.
Ages: 5 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (8 nights), Camping (1 night)
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco and Casablanca, a city modelled after Marseille and famous for its art deco buildings and, of course, the Humphrey Bogart and Ingred Berman classic. Your family adventure officially begins with a welcome meeting at 5 pm, but because there's only a little free time included here, we recommend arriving a day earlier to fully explore the city. A trip to the Hassan II Mosque is a definite highlight, or why not wander around the old medina, watch the locals play football on the beach or sip a glass of sweet mint tea in one of the many cafes.
Taking the train in a foreign country is an exhilirating experience and after breakfast this morning you'll catch one from Casablanca to Meknes, one of Morocco's four historical capital cities. Sultan Moulay Ismail turned Meknes from a provincial town into a spectacular Imperial city during the 17th century, and you can visit his immense Heri es Souani granary and crumbling palaces. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk around town with an opportunity to have lunch at a local cafe in the medina, then the rest of the day is free to explore as a family. Travel time: 3 hour train ride
Travel through rolling hills and olive groves to the archaeological site of Volubilis, en route to the great city of Fes. This World Heritage site was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, and the remains are really impressive. Take a tour around the ruins with a local guide, checking out the buildings and fantastic mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus. Continue two hours to Fes, where the group will spend the next two nights. This is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco. It's vibrant, noisy, fascinating and a feast for the senses with a hueg, well-preserved Old Town that's the mother of all medinas. The afternoon is free to explore and there'll be something to surprise and entertain the family at every corner. Travel time: 2.5 hours driving time
After breakfast take a guided walking tour of the Old City, known locally as Fes el Bali. Step back into the Middles Ages as you explore the labyrinth of the medina, which which buzzes with craftspeople, markets, tanneries and mosques. This isn't your average shopping centre, and donkeys pass through the car-free streets piled unbelievably high with goods. Spend some time overlooking the iconic dye pits at the Chauwara Tannery, then watch traditional potters at work in a ceramics victory. Finally, perhaps enjoy a delicious group dinner of Moroccan specialities like harira (chickpea soup) and chicken-stuffed pastilla with couscous.
Today it's time to leave the city behind and embrace the simplicity and beauty of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Journey on a private minibus through fertile valleys, pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes for approximately four hours. You may see wandering nomadic shepherds as they tend to their flocks, or even catch a glimpse of barbary apes – North Africa's only monkey – before arriving in Midelt. This is a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area, which is surrounded by farms and orchards. Take a walk exploring the village of Bremmem for an insight into the local farming life, or perhaps check out an optional traditional music performance in Midelt. Travel time: 4 hours driving time
Travel by private minivan toward the mighty Sahara, during which there'll be plenty of chances to stop and take in the views of kasbahs and palmeries (lush valleys with date palms, fields and orchards). As you pass through frontier towns like Eerfoud and Rissani, you'll see the scenery alternate between barren mountainsides and fertile valleys until you reach the small Saharan village of Merzouga. Upon arriving, the group will leave their baggage, pack a daypack and saddle up for a one-hour camel ride into the desert at sunset. The Erg Chebbi dunes are huge windswept dunes and quintessential Morocco, located just 20 kilometres from the Algerian border. You will leave your gear at your overnight camp set next to a simple hotel and then ride camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, enjoying a spectacular sunset along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and sets off the colours. Tonight you will camp out in traditional style, with the chance to try some fantastic local cuisine while you sit around an open fire, enjoying lively music and dancing under the stars. Travel time: 5 hours driving time
A scenic drive past ancient kasbahs, former military outposts, mountains, valleys and fields will take you to Ait Benhaddou. Film buffs will get a kick out of having lunch in Ouarzazate, where productions including Black Hawk Down, The Sheltering Sky and Lawrence of Arabia were filmed. After lunch, continue to Ait Benhaddou which was once a cruicial stop for carvans as they carried salt across the Sahara. Today, its grand kasbah has been listed as a World Heritage site and you'll enjoy a tour of it in the afternoon. For dinner, enjoy some classic Moroccan fare – tajine and couscous. Travel time: 7 hours driving time
Marrakech bound for our final destination. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens. Perhaps join the thronging crowds for dinner at the famous Djemaa el Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls on this square it transforms in to a hive of activity. Henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies, including snail soup! Perhaps enjoy a bite of famous Moroccan pastries with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and then maybe finish your day with a cup of tea on one of the roof-top restaurants overlooking the square. Travel time: 5 hours driving time
Enjoy a guided tour of the city after breakfast, including the beautiful Palais Badi. The afternoon will be free to explore, so perhaps visit the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th-century minaret, which was the prototype for the Giralda Tower in Seville. Wander through the tropical gardens of French painter Jacques Majorelle, which are now owned by Yves Saint Laurent, then you may like to check out the Palais Bahia. Whatever you decide, the experience of exploring Morocco's medinas is a fantastic experience in itself, but your leader will be on hand to help you locate any sights and give suggestions on how to spend the day.
Your family's Moroccan adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned after breakfast.
- Marrakech - Medina walking tour
51, Rue Taher Sebti
154, Rue Med El Beqal Street Guéliz
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel.
A single supplement is available on this trip with exception of Day 6 (desert camp)
Ramadan is an exciting time to travel through Morocco but there are also a few things to bear in mind.
Meal times will be a lot later than you may be used to, in particular dinner. You will find restaurants will open at 7-7:30pm in the evening for dinner. Which will mean your family may not be eating dinner until 8-8:30pm. Likewise breakfast may not start until 7am.
As you travel through the countryside there will be limited small road side cafes to stop at. Your leader will pre-plan where to stop to ensure families have access to snacks and bathroom stops along the way.
Alcohol - Morocco is a Muslim country therefore alcohol is not readily available, particularly during Ramadan.
While wifi is available in our hotels it is important to note that wifi works best in the hotel foyer and will be very slow in the rooms. An easier option may be to purchase a sim card in country to stay connected.
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader 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. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance (in general, visa processing can take approximately 20 working days)
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Those who do not require visas to visit Morocco as a tourist, are stamped in on arrival for 3 months.
Why we love it
Spend an evening camped in the Sahara, surrounded by windswept dunes under a thousand (more or less) stars.
Whether travelling by train, bus or camel, there's always something to see in this fascinating country.
Enjoy exploring the famous cities of Fes and Marrakech during both guided tours and plenty of free time as a family.
Morocco’s sights, sounds and flavours never fail to surprise, from ancient Roman ruins to the rocky Atlas Mountains to the bustling city medinas.
Is this trip right for you
During this trip you will cover a great deal of Morocco so there are some long travel days. Please refer to the day to day itinerary for travel times.
The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summer temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, especially for those who aren't accustomed to the heat, so please consider what time of year you travel carefully. If you do travel in the warmer months, pack layers to cover you from the sun, bring the necessary sun protection and drink plenty of water.
On Day 4 of the trip, you'll embark on a tour around the Medina of Fes. While you'll be on your feet for at least four to five hours, this is one of the highlights of Morocco and well worth any weariness at the end of the long day.
On Day 6, the group will take a camel trek through the Sahara. You will set off from your camp on the edge of a desert and loop back. This is a great way to experience the desert, but if you'd prefer, it's possible to walk alongside the caravan on the sand for about an hour. The walk is not very demanding and you manage with a basic level of fitness.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Henna tattoos are commonplace in Morocco. You should be aware that some henna tattoos contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause a painful allergic reaction, including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.
Food and dietary requirements
Moroccan meals can consist of up to five courses! If you eat a little of each, you may just have enough appetite left to find some room for dessert which is well worth saving some space for!
Please note that there will often be a certain amount of repetition in the types of food available. Tagine and cous-cous are both examples of very common dishes that you will encounter, and you should be prepared that meal times may become a bit monotonous.
Mineral water in Morocco is usually referred to by brand name, Sidi Harazem, Sidi Ali or the naturally sparkling Oulmes. They're really cheap and you can get them anywhere.
Breakfasts in Morocco are generally simple affairs consisting of bread, butter, jam, coffee/tea and juice (or similar). This is typical of breakfasts in Morocco hotels and large American/English style breakfasts are generally not available.
The currency of Morocco is the dirham (MAD), divided into 100 centimes. Bank notes come in denominations of MAD 200, 100, 50 and 20. Smaller values are issued as coins in values of 10, 5, 1 as well as 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c. Changing money is easy and you will find banks and exchange bureaux in Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech. Please note that sometimes Australian dollars are not accepted in exchange bureaux or banks, so the safest option is to bring US dollars. In the desert and Atlas Mountains opportunities to exchange money are limited. There are ATMs in all major cities, which accept Visa cards, MasterCards and cards connected with Cirrus. Some ATMs, belonging to smaller banks, will not work so occasionally you may need to try two or three before you are successful. We would strongly recommend bringing a combination of cash and credit cards. Credit cards are useful for large purchases such as carpets or gold from a large store, but generally speaking they are not accepted in many places. Local restaurants, markets, and many hotels will only accept cash as payment for goods or services. Please ensure you only use banks, licensed money exchangers or hotels. We also suggest you keep your receipts. Do not change money with street touts. This is illegal.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following tipping amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Restaurants: At local markets and basic restaurants we suggest leaving the loose change. At more up-market restaurants tipping 5% to 10% of your bill is recommended.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest MAD20-30 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 MAD10 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. We suggest budgeting around MAD20-30 per person, per day for this but the exact amount may vary depending on your Morocco itinerary.
You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline EUR2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
PRICES IN MOROCCO
Morocco is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. With drinks, tipping and of course - shopping, it can all add up. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Morocco to be a budget destination.
In Morocco some services and products are not a fixed price which means that your bartering skills will be tested from hiring taxis to buying a souvenir in the Medina. This can be challenging for travellers who have not experienced this before. Ask your leaders for advice when you arrive however the best approach is to smile and have fun as this is an entrenched part of Moroccan culture.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
What to take
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A soft-sided duffel or sausage bag is the ideal form of luggage. It is recommended that you keep your luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option, but preferably one without a frame. When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Keep in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. Laundry facilities are available in some destinations. Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday. - Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, final itinerary and this document - Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets - Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card - Money belt and small padlocks - Small first-aid kit - Daypack - Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries) - Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com) - Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes/ tissues - Insect repellent - Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses - Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers) - Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required) - 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain) and dry bags - Refillable water bottle - Phrase book - Warm clothes - when travelling in cooler climates - Wind and waterproof rain jacket - Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks - Camera - Binoculars - Swimwear (dependent on itinerary)
DRONES IN MOROCCO: Please note that drones are not permitted to enter or be used in Morocco, either for personal or professional/commercial use.
Climate and seasonal
Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather.
Winter (approx November to March) can be very cold. Particularly in the mountains or near the desert, night temperatures can drop to 5 degrees Celsius or less. Even in the hot months out in the desert it can get cold at night. It is recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter. Some of our guesthouses / hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It is also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers.
Summer (approx May to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. A hat is essential.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/
In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below:
PEAK Marrakech (Morocco): 212 661922693
Travelling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have an incredible trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're travelling in. How can you be a Responsible Traveller? See our tips below:
- Choose to travel with a responsible travel company like us! We've already offset the main carbon emissions of your trip, so your footprint is already lighter.
- Consider offsetting your flights when you book your trip/flights with us or your travel agent.
- Bring a refillable water bottle and some water purification tablets (or a Steripen) to cut down on plastic bottle waste.
- Be an animal-friendly traveller. Only go to venues that respect animals by allowing them to live normally in their natural environment. Steer clear of venues that use animals for entertainment or abnormal activities and/or keep animals in poor and unnatural conditions.
- Eat at local restaurants, buy from regional artists and support social enterprises so you can contribute directly to locals and their economy.
- Always be respectful of local customs and ask permission if you want to take a photo of someone.
- Learn a few words of the local language and engage with the people around you.
- Carry a cloth or re-usable bag so you can avoid plastic bags.
- Give back by making a donation to a local project via The Intrepid Foundation.
Share your thoughts with us by completing your feedback form after your trip. This helps us to continue to improve our commitment to responsible travel.
Intrepid and Playground Ideas.
Playground ideas was started in response for a worldwide need for more playgrounds. Using largely locally found materials means these playgrounds are cheap and can be put together by local people. Children provided with the opportunity for stimulating play in early childhood have improved ability and desire to learn leading to long term outcomes such as higher rates of employment and increased wages. Research has proven play interventions to be powerful, cost effective poverty reduction tools with sustained impact.
We are also proud to have Playground Ideas as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards building playgrounds. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/playground-ideas
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in a handful of places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
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 corners of the world and likely a range of age groups 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. Sharing a room can be a great way to get to know people quickly and make close friends. 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.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only and are subject to availabilities. For our families we have priced an all inclusive package including entrance fees, transport and local guide where relevant to assist you with budgeting the exact amount required on tour. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. The optional activities listed in your itinerary are activities that are available to you as a guideline and have been checked locally.
The decision to partake in any activity not listed above is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to Intrepid Travel.
Hotel (8 nights),Camping (1 night)