Ait Ben Haddou

Just a short drive from Ouarzazate on the edge of the Sahara is the ancient mudbrick village of Ait Ben Haddou which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates from at least the 16 th century and was an important stop on the salt route between Marrakech and the deep- south. Recently it has also been used as a backdrop for various films such as “Gladiator” and “Game of Thrones”.
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Ait Bougmez

Located at the foot of the M’Goun range and its ten peaks that soar over 11,482.94 feet, the long isolated valley of Ait Bougmez is enchanting and an architectural treasure. The valley has preserved its earthen architecture, Kasbahs, fortified granaries and self-sufficient agrarian community. The local community, the Berbers of the High Atlas, have preserved many of their traditions of culture and language making this a fabulous area to explore.

Casablanca

Casablanca conjures up romantic images of a bygone era mainly from the film of the same name but today it has been rebuilt as the business centre of the country, there is still a small medina, leading to the Great Mosque that was built by the last King – Hassan II. The minaret is the tallest building in Morocco at over 200m high, and has space for 25,000 worshippers inside. A glass floor shows the ocean below as the building has been constructed partly over the sea.
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Cascades d’Ouzoud

In the foothills of the High Atlas the Cascades d’Ouzoud is a high waterfall with many rivulets of water tumbling over a cliff to the pools below- especially good to visit in hot weather, but at its most scenic with the snow melt of the mountain in April and May.

Chefchaouen

In the foothills of the Rif Mountains in Northern Morocco lies the “blue” city of Chefchaouen. This town had only been visited by 3 westerners by 1920 but then was inhabited by a number of Spanish that brought another language to the area. The streets are painted in a photogenic blue colour that is a wash on the walls of the buildings. The town is fairly small, so a wander around will bring you to the main souks and square.
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Dades Gorge

The Dades Gorge, a pretty valley with scenic rock formations, is in the High Atlas Mountains at the edge of the Sahara Desert, is 30 feet wide at its narrowest point and sheer cliffs rise up to 1,600 feet high. It extends from the High Atlas to the Jebel Saghrou range in the south. Kasbahs and oases villages scatter the route with small oases of green dotted along the valley floor. Sunset over the gorge is quite simply stunning.
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Erg Chebbi

Fantastic dunes, 20 km long and 5 to 8 km wide it is also reputed as the highest sand dunes in North Africa. It is a unique and diverse environment.
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Essaouira

Although the 15 th Century town of Essaouira is quite small, there are plenty of places to visit. The medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is full of little shops selling the local speciality of Thuya wood carvings. The European sailors in the past used to call the place Mogador and the style of boat building in the harbour is definitely Portuguese style, but the masses of blue fishing boats make a great photograph. Alternatively you can try out some water sports from the beach or have a spot of sunbathing.
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Fes

Fes is oldest, largest and best-preserved medieval city in the world with some 200,000 people living in the Medina. Fes el Bali (Old Fes) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the souks wind down the hill side, with many little alleyways and small cafes to see, and take a welcome cup of tea. Palaces and madrassa are decorated in Zellige , or small colourful tiles, in vast geometric Islamic designs. Places to visit include the Merenid Tombs dating from the 16 th Century; the Foundouk El Najjarine; Bou Inania Medersa - a madrassa or school dating from 1350 and the museums of Armes and Dar El-Batha. All this plus the amazing tanneries – there is a lot to see.
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Lac Bin El Oudine

In the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, Bin El Oudine is a large lake supplying the plains below with water.

Marrakech

Set against the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains the Red City of Marrakech was founded almost 1000 years ago and is an exotic mix of history and culture. The Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre and at its hub is the Jamna El Fnaa Square. At night time the square is lit up with food stalls, street entertainers and story tellers.

One of the most imposing sights is the Koutoubia Mosque, with its 230 foot high minaret, dating back to the 12th century. Alternatively you can take a wander in the new town of Gueliz, along the rose gardens of the Mohamed VI Boulevard or amongst the upmarket cafes in the Hivernage next to the medina; the amazing tanneries and the beautiful formal gardens.

The souks tend to be divided into areas selling the same things, so making it easier to haggle! There are the gold and silver souks, magic souks, spice souks and iron-monger souks, in fact you can just about buy anything somewhere. Outside the souks the medina has beautiful Islamic and Berber architecture in the Bahia palace and the madrassas.

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Meknes

Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is often referred to as the Versailles of Morocco thanks to its impressive buildings and elaborates monuments and a vast system of fortified walls and gates such as Bab Mansour (Bab is Arabic for gates). It’s an enchanting place to visit, with winding narrow streets, a classic medina and grand buildings that hail back to its time as the capital of Morocco.

Merzouga

A desert town in the south-east with square, terracotta coloured buildings so common in this part of the world which borders one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Merzouga lies on the edge of Erg Chebbi, a monumental series of sand dunes that reach heights of 160 metres. It’s an amazing sight, especially as the dunes change colour in the setting sun from shades of gold to orange, pink and purple. This is Saharan Morocco.
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Midelt

Midelt is a small market town in the high plains between the Middle and High Atlas and the scenery looks like a lunar landscape with the Ayachi Mountain rising in the distance. The region surrounding Midelt is rich in agricultural rewards, including walnuts, apricots, plums, pomegranates, wheat, corn and garden vegetables. Souk Jdid, Midelt’s market, is a great place to stock up on good quality Middle Atlas kilim rugs and carpets.

Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate - Amazigh for ‘quiet place’ is a city of palm trees, sandy streets and fort-like buildings edging the Sahara desert. The town of Ouarzazate is a base of many Hollywood films and several huge film sets are around the area. Places to visit in Ouarzazate include the Kasbah Taorirt , palace of the Glaoui and the Atlas film studios.
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Ouirgane

Ouirgane, is only 90 minutes from Marrakech and is in the centre of the High Atlas and has several Ksars or garden riads with swimming pools to relax by, or can be used as a centre for trekking or short walks around the nearby salt pans and Berber villages.

Rabat

Over the centuries Rabat has been owned by the Phoenicians, Romans, Almohads and Merenids and today it is the capital of Morocco and has the main government buildings and palaces, but includes ancient areas such as the Chellah, Oudaiyas and the port of Sale (the origin of the “Sallee Rovers” Moroccan pirates in the past that got as far as the UK and Ireland on their raids). Its mixture of ancient and modern has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status.
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Tangier

Tangier, a Moroccan port city on the Strait of Gibraltar, has been a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since Phoenician times. Tangier is divided into an old walled city, or medina, a nest of medieval alleyways, and a new, modern city, the ville nouvelle. The medina contains a Kasbah - the walled fortress of the sultan, the Petit Socco - an historic plaza in the centre and many souks, or markets.
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Taroudannt

Taroudannt is in the Souss Valley and is the Berber capital of the south. Taroudannt sights include the ramparts and the souks (Arabe and Marche Berbere souks). There are even tanneries outside the city walls- (too smelly a process to be in the town!).

Telouet

In the High Atlas the Telouet palace, a Glaoui stronghold in the past, is quickly falling into ruin, but the reception rooms still show the ornate and amazing decoration that was through the palace and harem rooms.

Tiz N Test Pass

Near Ouirgane is the Tiz N Test Pass. At a height of 2 100 meters it is the highest mountain pass in Morocco and has spectacular views of the Souss Plain and the cultivated land below. From here you can hike through the Toubkal National Park and Mount Jbel Toubkal, which at 4 165 meters is the highest summit in North Africa.

Volubilis

The Roman ruins of Volubilis became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Believed to have been constructed around 40 AD it was known as Mauretania, with the last garrison withdrawing in AD 285.. Visitors will be able to view the Thermae, the Orpheus Mosaic, the Temple of Jupiter, oil presses, the Capitol, the third century Triumphal Arch and the Basilica. Most of the structures are still in impressive condition and the mosaics are as beautiful as the day they were created.
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Zagora

Zagora, in the south-east of Morocco, is named after a nearby mountain. On the edge of the Sahara, outside the town is the amazing Draa Valley where thick groves of palm trees line the twists and turns of the river and the Jebel Sarhro mountain range rises in the background. At the edge of town there is a sign saying "Tombouctou 52 days", the supposed time it takes to get to Timbuktu, Mali on foot or camel.
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Morocco Day Trips

This is Morocco Home page

Visas

For New Zealanders, Australians, Canadians, EU passport holders and US citizens, no visa is necessary for a stay of up to three months. For South Africans, a (free) visa is necessary from the Moroccan Embassy in Pretoria. 

Please also ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of departure from Morocco.

Note: Please check with your local embassy whether you need to obtain a visa prior to entry into Morocco or whether you can obtain a visa upon entry. Please note that visa requirements are subject to change.

Obtaining your visa is solely the responsibility of the traveller and not of S A S Travel Ltd.

Departure tax

There is no departure tax when leaving Morocco.

Best time to visit Morocco

You can visit Morocco all year round but the climate varies throughout the year. Summers are long, hot and dry and winters short and cool though because of the country’s variety of altitudes, Morocco has climates to match.

June to August:

It is fiercely hot in the Sahara Desert while cities along the Atlantic coast - like Casablanca and Essaouira are pleasantly hot. The north coast and Rif Mountains enjoy a temperate Mediterranean climate with long, hot, sunny days.

November to February:

Daytime temperatures in the south are still mild but the evenings can get cold. In the north winters can be cloudy and wet and in the High Atlas Mountains very cold with snow-capped peaks often until July.

Mid-March to May:

The country is at its most beautiful in spring when the landscape is green and lush, making for spectacular mountain hiking.

September to October:

Morocco is also lovely in Autumn when temperatures are very pleasant.

Health Requirements

Health insurance should be taken out before you leave your home country.

No vaccinations are required to enter Morocco but it is recommended that you check with your doctor in good time before departure.

Medical facilities are good in all major towns.

Currency

The unit of currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD), which is divided into 100 centimes. It's a restricted currency, so can only be bought inside the country. ATMs are now widely available in the larger towns and are the best and easiest way to get funds. Money can be exchanged at many places in the city and ATMs outside the airport beat the airport queues.

Do not bring travellers cheques or Australian dollars.

Euro and USD notes can be exchanged at banks or official bureaux de changes, which are also widespread in major towns. Dirhams cannot be obtained or exchanged outside Morocco and receipts must be retained as proof of legal currency exchange, as well as in order to re-exchange money when departing.

Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops, hotels and restaurants, but not AMEX. Cash is required for all other places.

Time Zone

November-March:

GMT

April-October:

GMT + 1 hour

 

Reverts back to GMT during the holy month of Ramadan

Morocco is five hours ahead of US Eastern Time

Electricity

The electrical current in Morocco is 220 Volts. European two-pin round plugs are standard. Adaptors are not easily found in Morocco, so bring your own

Water

It is advisable to drink bottled water and be selective in the case of street food. Bottled drinking water is available everywhere and is inexpensive, although some restaurants charge an exorbitant mark-up. From any street-side shop, a 1.5-liter bottle of water should cost no more than 10dh.

Often street food is safer than some tourist restaurants.

Language

Modern Standard Arabic is the official language and all TV and newspapers are in Arabic. However, Moroccan Arabic is the spoken language. Tachelhit, Tamazight and Tarifit are all derivations of Berber (all of our guides and drivers are of Berber origin, but all the guides have fluent English and French). English is growing in importance and generally understood in the tourist areas, but French is the more common.

Moroccan Food

Moroccan cuisine is typically a mix of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber cuisine and is characterized by rich spices and often includes Couscous which is traditionally topped with rich stews and roasted meats. Lamb is a principal meat, although beef, chicken, goat and seafood are also eaten. Tagines are a fruity meat and vegetable stew cooked for some time. Savoury foods are enhanced with fruits, dried and fresh and preserved lemons are used in many poultry dishes. Desserts range from fresh seasonal fruit to sticky, sweet, honey enhanced cakes.

Alcohol

Morocco has well established wine industry as well as good beer production. Many Moroccans drink, but very few in places other than restaurants or bars. The legal drinking age for Moroccans is 18, however many places will serve most people.

Shopping

The souks of Fes, Marrakech and Meknes are full of pottery, carpets and killims, leather goods, spices and cloth and Essaouira specialises in Thuya wood products. There is lots o offer and bargaining is expected.

Communications

Internet Cafes are everywhere but the keyboards are often French or Arabic . Almost every riad and hotel now has free wifi. Connection speeds vary between average and good. Phones - The international access code for Morocco is +212. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g. Casablanca: 0522 / Oualidia: 0523 / Marrakech, Essaouira, and Ouarzazate: 0524 / Agadir, Tafraoute, and Taroudannt: 0528 / Erfoud, Fes, Meknes, and Midelt: 0535 / Rabat: 0537

Hotels can add a hefty surcharge to their telephone bills; it is best to check before making long international calls.

Ramadan

Ramadan is not a problem for the tourist. It is actually an interesting time to visit, as the medina square is very lively after sunset and it’s a chance to try the local iftar (evening meal that breaks the fast after the sunset prayer) such as Harira soup and pastries. In the cities there are several cafes open in the tourist areas. In the mountains and on treks through villages there will be nothing open during the day for eating and drinking, but the guides and cooks make sure that all is available for the trekkers as normal.

Opening times for some sights are changed, and the hour goes back to GMT during the month and reverts to BST after Ramadan.

Estimated dates for the coming years are:

2018          May 15th - June 14th

2019          May 5th – June 4th

 

Traditions and Customs

Morocco is a Muslim country and it is preferable to keep the wearing of swimsuits, shorts and other revealing clothing to the beach or hotel poolside. Religious customs should be respected particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture.

The giving and receiving of things, and the eating of food, should only be done with the right hand, as the left is considered unclean.

When photographing people, it’s important to be respectful – and always ask permission first, and it helps if you get to know your subject a bit better.

The import and use of civilian drones is illegal in Morocco. If found on arrival they will be confiscated until exit and you could be fined.

Arrival Transfer

If you are arriving at the airport, you will pass through immigration, baggage claim and customs. As you exit customs into the public arrivals hall, please be on the lookout for our representative, who will be holding an S A S Travel Ltd logo signboard. Our representative will introduce you to our driver, who will transfer you to your hotel.

lf for any reason you have trouble locating our representative or your flight to Morocco is delayed, please call or send a text message to emergency contact number as stated on your tour voucher.

If you are being met at your hotel, our representative will let you know he is there and meet you in the lobby and holding an S A S Travel Ltd logo signboard.

Duty free

Travellers to Morocco over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 400g tobacco; 1 litre spirits and 1 litre wine; and perfume up to 5g

Atlas Trekking & Camping

The levels of fitness depends on the trek, the mountain treks need more fitness than the desert treks and people need to be able to walk 3 to 4 hours each day for both. The guides can help out with perhaps a mule ride or camel ride if people are very tired.

Good walking shoes are recommended and comfortable layered clothing.

Trekking Insurance

Travel insurance is required for each traveller you may have to pay a premium to cover yourself if trekking in higher altitudes (over 4,000m usually). It is essential that you get the correct level of cover so please check the maximum altitude you'll be trekking to before arranging your insurance.

Camping

All bedding is provided at the Campsites used. You can bring your own Sleep sheet or sleeping bag if you wish. You will also need to pack Insect repellent and a torch/headlamp would be very useful.

Essential Packing Summary

• Passport, Tour Booking Confirmation and a copy of your travel insurance

• If visiting in winter, pack warm clothes and an umbrella.

• If summer bring lightweight clothing, sunscreen & a hat.

• 2 pin (European) electrical adaptors.

• Camping overnight - All bedding is provided at the Campsites used. You can bring your own Sleep sheet or sleeping bag if you wish. You will also need to pack Insect repellent and a torch/headlamp would be very useful.

• Proper walking shoes (joggers/ trainers) for all walking at all sites

  • Whether you wish to visit Morocco as a solo traveller, as a couple, a family or in a small group of maximum six people we can accommodate you on our Private Tours.
  • Below are some of our planned tours which we hope will whet your appetite for beautiful Morocco.
  • If you want something different we can arrange private bespoke tours just for you – please enter your details on the front page, Bespoke Page or call us and we will be only too happy to help make your wishes come true.
IMPERIAL CITIES TOUR - 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS - FROM £735.00- AVAILABLE ALL YEAR ROUND

If you want to see the highlights of Morocco in just seven days – look no further.

Explore the exotic city of Marrakech – its souks, medina, gardens and bustling lifestyle.

Visit Casablanca and the Capital city of Rabat – a fascinating mix of old and new.

Step back in time at the Roman city of Volubilis.

Enjoy walking round Fes taking in the sights (palaces, souks, madersas) and smells (tanneries) of the city.

Glimpse Berber life as you travel the foothills of the High Atlas to Lac Bin El Oudine for stunning views.

All this in eight amazing days.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE DETAILS
MOUNTAINS AND DESERTS TOUR - 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS - FROM £640.00- AVAILABLE ALL YEAR ROUND

A superb mixture of an historical city, a stunning desert and the imposing Atlas Mountains.

Time to explore the sights and sounds of the magical city of Marrakech.

Travel the foothills of the High Atlas to Ouirgane in the heart of the mountains.

Journey from the High Atlas to the edge of the Sahara Desert for a short camel trek and overnight desert camp.

Drive through palm groves to Ouarzazate and visit Ait Ben Haddou where movies such as Gladiator were filmed.

On the way back to Marrakech enjoy stunning scenery driving over High Atlas passes reaching 3,000m.

A trip to remember.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE DETAILS
BERBER LIFE TOUR - 7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS - FROM £480.00- AVAILABLE ALL YEAR ROUND

An opportunity to experience Moroccan life in a vibrant city and with a Berber family in the mountains.

Live the city life in bustling Marrakech – busy by day and by night.

Enjoy the country life in Ouirgane and spend 3 days working in the fields, orchards and olive groves, cooking and eating with a Berber family.

A fabulous mix of the modern with the more traditional.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE DETAILS
EXPLORATIONS TOUR - 15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS - FROM £1,135.00- AVAILABLE ALL YEAR ROUND

This tour is truly something special – especially for the adventurous who love to be close to nature and explore a country’s sights in detail.

Starting with time to enjoy the sights, smells and excitement of Marrakech before heading to the Atlantic coast to savour the seaside beauty of Essaouira.

Continue southwards down the coast to Taroudannt, the Berber capital of the South.

From the modern - a visit to the El Noor solar power plant, the largest in Africa – to the ancient with time to explore Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou – Morocco is a country of contrasts.

In the foothills of the High Atlas explore Ouarzazate before traversing the Gorges of Todra and spending time enjoying the surroundings.

Enjoy the scenery and atmosphere on a desert trek and overnight in the Sahara desert before heading over the High Atlas to Midelt.

The journey continues over the Middle Atlas before entering the Imperial city of Fes and its palaces, souks, tanneries – so much to see and do.

Travel to the foothills of the Rif Mountains and the blue city of Chefchaouen.

Back to the Atlantic and the Capital City of Rabat – a great mix of the old and modern before returning to Marrakech .

Morocco from all sides

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DESERT TREK TOUR - 11 DAYS / 10 NIGHTS - FROM £785.00- AVAILABLE FROM OCTOBER TO APRIL

A special mix of the city sights of Marrakech with 5 days trekking to and from the town of Ouarzazate.

Enjoy the everyday hustle and bustle of the city of Marrakech – energised by day and by night.

Start to unwind with a visit to the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou before reaching the edge of the Sahara Desert at Ouarzazate.

Then the five days of trekking begins – through the Draa, exploring dunes and all that the desert has to offer.

The trek safari concludes in Ouarzazate, then back to Marrakech.

A desert adventure to remember.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE DETAILS
MARRAKECH AND ESSAOUIRA TOUR - 4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS - FROM £245.00- AVAILABLE ALL YEAR ROUND

On this short but wonderful break spend 2 nights in Marrakech and one in Essaouira.

Take in the sights and smells of exotic Marrakech, explore the souks, the medina and palaces – all the time watching the salesmen and showmen entertain.

Relax and enjoy the Atlantic seaside in Essaouira – listen to the seagulls and chill.

A lovely taster of what Morocco has to offer.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE DETAILS

4 days

from
£260.00

Marrakech-n-Essaouira

7 days

from
£500.00

Berber-Life

8 days

from
£665.00

Mountains-n-Desert

8 days

from
£765.00

Imperial-Cities

11 days

from
£815.00

Desert-Trek

15 days

from
£1,175

Exploration
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