For travellers willing to step outside their comfort zone, who don’t mind being thrown in at the deep end. Just the ticket for those aged between 18-35 or anyone young at heart with an open mind, an eye on the budget & a nose for adventure.
Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.
At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.
Trip code : GEBM
Trip valid from : 01/01/2014
Trip valid until : 30/06/2015
Trip length : 11
Trip starts in : Casablanca
Trip ends in : Marrakech
Maximum group size : maximum 16
Hang in Casablanca before a homestay in Moulay Idriss, see lots of cool old stuff in Fes, head on to Midelt, Mergouza and Erg Chebbi for walking, ruins and a sunset camel ride. Ride on through the dunes to Todra Gorge, before visiting Dades Valley and Ail Benhaddou. Finish up with High Atlas and sexy Marrakesh. Morocco is the land of legendary hospitality, so mind your manners. Bring a scarf to cover your shoulders and take off your shoes if you enter someone's home (plan ahead and wear clean socks).
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with the hotel reception or the hotels noticeboard for confirmation of where and when this meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early, so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please contact the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your trip leader. If arriving earlier, you will have a chance to explore Casablanca - the largest city in Morocco. Modelled after Marseille in France, this bustling port city is now also the undisputed economic capital of Morocco and one of Africa's largest ports. The architectural style of the city is eclectic, combining Art Deco French colonial buildings and Mauresque (Moorish) government institutions with an old medina and the city's modern-day landmark - the Hassan II Mosque. A pleasant way to spend the day exploring Casablanca is to wander around the Old Medina and city walls, then jump in a taxi and visit the Quartiers des Habous - the new medina full of shaded squares, narrow streets and lined with arcades that lead from one souk to another. This is a great place to enjoy a Moroccan coffee and maybe start working on your bargaining skills. Finish the day with a walk along the Corniche and watch the locals enjoy games of football on the beach during sunset.
After breakfast, we can make a quick visit to the impressive Hassan II Mosque., built in 1993 by a team of over 6000 craftsmen. Located on the shores of the city it is an imposing edifice and one of the few mosques in Morocco that foreigners are allowed to enter. Later we make our way to the station where we catch the local train to Meknes, a journey of about four hours. Meknes was once an imperial city of Morocco and the capital of one of its most colourful eras, when the Sultan Moulay Ismail (a contemporary of Louis XIV) set out to build his own version of Versailles, constructing walls, gates and over 50 palaces with an unstoppable labour force of over 25,000 slaves. Pop over to the whitewashed village of Moulay Idriss to stay with a local family.
Travel by train from Meknes to Fes (40 min). Descending into the labyrinthine alleyways of the medina is like taking a giant step back to the Middle Ages. Preserved by the French for its historical value, this preservation also led to the decline of the city's importance, as both government and financial centres were set up elsewhere in the country. With the Jewish population moving away in 1956, and too many rural poor moving in for it to handle, this ancient centre of learning is only a shell of what it used to be. Still, it remains a fascinating living museum where getting lost is half the fun. An orientation walk of Fes around the medina uncovers a living monument to an ancient past and a place still very much alive with the many craftsmen, markets, tanneries, ceramics and mosques. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's most beautiful buildings which has recently been restored and is now open to visitors. We'll also visit the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramic factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. Enjoy some free time and perhaps check out the Medersa el Attarine, built in 1323, or take a trip out to the nearby spa town of Moulay Yacoub or the ancient Roman city of Volubilis.
Travelling south through a variety of terrain, we reach Ifrane, a mountain resort established by the French in 1929.Further south, at Midelt, the landscape opens up and we enjoy expansive views to the west. Midelt is a fantastic place for an overnight stop. We rest here for the night, and enjoy an easy but spectacular walk.
En route to the desert, we stop at the spectacular narrow defile known as the Gorges du Ziz and then head to the large town of Er Rachidia. Past the 500-year old ruins of the Ksar of Meski before descending into the Ziz Valley, a particularly fertile region producing figs, olives, dates and tamarisk – a fruit grown for its tannin and used in the curing of leather skins. We reach Merzouga, where we drop our main bags off at a simple Auberge before heading into the desert on camels for the magical sunset. Spend the night at a simple desert camp.
Rising early, we enjoy another fun camel ride through the sand dunes. Sunrise is a magical time of the day and we experience the amazing interplay of light as the Sahara slowly comes alive all around us. Returning to the Auberge we collect the rest of our gear and then travel west to Todra. Almost imperceptibly, a bright tablecloth of green appears before our eyes as we enter a lush valley packed with palm trees and mud-brick villages. At the top of the valley we reach our hotel and then take a short hike into the celebrated gorge where sheer cliffs rise over 1000 feet above us. We spend the night at a local hotel in the gorge.From Todra Gorge, we travel along the ‘road of 1000 kasbahs’ and enjoy a walk in the impressive Dades Gorge. We also stop to visit the beautiful family-owned mud-brick home at Skoura, rising like a mirage beyond a dry riverbed, and continue to the fabulous medieval mud-brick town Ait Benhaddou, at its best in the late afternoon sun. We explore the many old streets and climb up to the fortress for a superb view over the old town. We can also – for a small fee – enter one of most interesting of the old houses, climbing up to the turrets for a view over the river. We spend the night just outside the walls.
We continue our journey west, passing numerous Berber villages and enjoying expansive views of the countryside. Leaving the main road we arrive at the village of Telouet, home to the infamous Glaoui family whose repressive regime was something of a legend. We visit their crumbling mud-brick citadel, one of the most spectacular in the region, where several rooms are still in a good state of repair. We then wind our way up towards Tizi ‘n Tichka (2260m), the highest pass on the road to Marrakech and often covered with snow during the winter months. Leaving the Atlas behind we descend into the plains that surround Marrakech, which we reach in the late afternoon. One of the main attractions of Marrakech is Jemaa el Fna, where we find fire-eaters, fortune-tellers, actors, musicians and all manner of hawkers. In the centre of this vast throng are hundreds of foodstalls selling hot tagine, spicy dips and numerous other tasty dishes.Marrakech is lovely city, with palm-lined streets, earthy colours and the Atlas Mountains rising in the distance. There is much to see and do and we enjoy an orientation walk around the old medina. Our time is then free to explore the souks and alleyways that lead off to the north of Jemaa el Fna. Alternatively, some may wish to visit the 16th century ruins of the El Badi Palace, the famous Majorelle Garden or the adjacent Museum of Islamic Art. In the evening we will no doubt be drawn back to Jemaa el Fna for a final night out together. Your trip ends on Day 11, after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12.00 noon and you are free to leave at any time.Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Marrakech.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
International flights, arrival & departure transfers, entrance fees, visas, airport taxes, additional meals, drinks, optional sightseeing tours, insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later.
We suggest an appropriate allowance for additional meals of US$250. This is for FOOD only and does not include drinks and snacks. As a result of customer feedback, we recommend you allow a figure of between US$80 and $120 for your DRINK and SNACK requirements, additional to the amount suggested for meals. Use a higher figure particularly if you are travelling during the hot season when you will require more fluids.
In addition you should carry sufficient funds for extra sightseeing and optional activities. We suggest that you allow approximately US$50- $80 for additional sightseeing tours.
Shopping is a personal thing that, again, varies enormously. On average, people spend anywhere between US$50 and US$200 on souvenirs, art, tailor-made clothes etc.
While the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
10 breakfasts, , 3 dinners
Most of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.
Entrance fees are not included, you pay these as you go along.
You will pay entrance fees to sites as you go along.
Our tailor made adventure holidays will truly inspire and delight the senses and will live in your memory for ever.
Join us on one of our worldwide adventures coming up over the next few months – all guaranteed to depart, all at up to 20% off.