Explore the world on two feet - or two wheels! Our active trips range from classic treks & trips where walking forms an integral part of the itinerary to cycling tours offering a totally new perspective on a destination. All our active trips are fully supported.
Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with Imaginative Traveller.
We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.
Fes el Bali is arguably the world's most fascinating and confounding old city. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture: both Islamic and Jewish. As we walk through the streets and alleyways, passing historic khans, medresses and dye-pits, it is not hard to imagine ourselves back in the Middle Ages!
International flights, meals unless specified, drinks, departure taxes, travel insurance, tips (see below), spending of a personal nature, optional sightseeing, departure transfer.
Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans and British citizens do not require a visa to visit Morocco for stays up to 90 days; however, if you intend to be in Morocco for more than 21 days, you should report to the nearest police station. All other nationalities should check with the Moroccan Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information.
Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:
Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.
Every Imaginative traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your Peregrine journey.
Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.
Vaccinations may be required or recommended for this trip so you should consult with your travel doctor to obtain the latest up to date information.
Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return
For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.
We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller's cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this holiday. 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.
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. Bear 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.
The currency of Morocco is the dirham (DRH), divided into 100 centimes. Bank notes come in denominations of DRH 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. 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.
Refer to www.xe.com for current exchange rates.
Money is safest carried in the form of traveller's cheques; however, these are difficult to change outside of major cities. With the introduction of ATMs in major cities more and more people are bringing a combination of cash and credit cards. Some ATMs, belonging to smaller banks, will not work so occasionally you may need to try two or three before you are successful. Look for ATMs displaying either the Maestro, Cirrus, Visa or MasterCard symbols. ATMs will allow you to access cash (in local currency) from your credit card and possibly from your savings account if it is linked to Maestro or Cirrus network. If you do decide to bring traveller's cheques then we recommend a combination of the two - half cash and half traveller's cheques. Traveller’s cheques can only be changed in large cities and can be cumbersome. If you are bringing cash, then the best currencies are US dollars, euros or British pounds. Be aware that most insurance policies will not cover for loss or theft of cash. PLEASE NOTE: It is often NOT POSSIBLE to change Australian dollars and Egyptian pounds into Moroccan dirhams, so either use an ATM or one of the three currencies mentioned above. 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.
You will need to take money with you to cover any additional meals and drinks not included in your tour cost. Other costs to consider are tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies, which could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and reimbursement will be made later by your insurance company. This is the situation where having a credit card may be useful. In general, please note that Jordan is significantly more expensive than Egypt and Syria. If you are planning to stop over in Oman or the Emirates, you will find them more expensive again.
Your tour includes breakfast each day and several other meals as indicated in the itinerary. You will need additional funds to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost.
We suggest you allow between E130-180 for your extra food and drink requirements.
In addition you should carry sufficient funds for entrance fees that are not included and any optional sightseeing, taxis etc.
Credit cards are increasingly accepted in the Middle East and North Africa both as a means of payment and also for drawing cash from ATM machines which are plentiful. Cash can be drawn on credit with Visa or Mastercard or directly from your savings account if it is linked into the Cirrus or Maestro network. Look for ATM's displaying either Cirrus, Maestro, Plus, Visa or Mastercard symbols. Although this is a very convenient and safe form of receiving local currency it is not always available when you most need it so it should not be your only source of money. You should have a backup supply of US Dollars in either cash or Travellers Cheques.
Any airport departure taxes applicable are included in your international ticket.
Throughout the Middle East, tipping is part of the fabric of life. The local word is 'baksheesh', which when translated into English falls somewhere in between 'tip' and 'bribe'. Everyone constantly tips everyone else and foreign travellers are expected to comply with this system. It is part of everyday life and is a form of remuneration for doing something, regardless of the standard of service. This is quite confusing for those used to the western concept of tipping as a way of showing appreciation.
Over the years we have found that most of our customers find this constant need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if you don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a very successful tipping kitty system. At the beginning of the tour, your tour leader will suggest collecting a set amount from each tour member. He/she will then distribute all tips along the way, on behalf of the group, to the local guides, drivers, porters and anyone else who provides services along the way. We have surveyed thousands of our previous clients and the vast majority clearly prefer this procedure. We hope that this system will also work for you. The amount will vary from trip to trip, but it usually works out to be about the equivalent of US$3 per person per day. If you are out on your own, for example at a restaurant, you should also leave a tip for the waiter.
Please note that the tipping kitty will NOT include a gratuity for your tour leader. They work hard for you and if you are happy with their service it is appropriate to tip them as well. The normal amount expected is US$3 (or equivalent) per day from each member of the group.
On arrival you will be met by a representative and transferred to your start hotel. Please make sure you have informed us of your flight arrival details well prior to your arrival. Please note that hotel rooms are generally only available after 1.00 pm, so if you are arriving early we recommend you book accommodation for the night before.
Generally, your room will be available on Day 1 between 12 noon and 2 pm. Sometimes it may be available earlier but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until your room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's 'pre-tour accommodation' which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12 noon on your final day unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel Reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge. Most hotels have a store-room should you wish to store your luggage after check-out.
If you want to take someone's photograph, please ask first . This is just normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, army barracks, and police stations).
Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.
In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.
To make the journey more comfortable for all tour members we request that you refrain from smoking in all enclosed areas including the tour bus and in your hotel room.
Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is an interesting (although sometimes frustrating) time to travel in the Middle East. In the evening there is a celebratory atmosphere as people break their fast, and to witness all this is a real highlight. However, during the day, people must refrain from eating, smoking and drinking so if you encounter someone who is a bit grumpy, be sympathetic! Tourist sites are generally unaffected although some places may close early, but your leader will plan around this. Most hotels bars and tourist restaurants will remain open. Ramadan lasts for one month and the exact dates for each year can be found on the web at www.holidays.net/ramadan/dates.
For the first five days of this tour you have a local Tour Leader escorting from Casablanca to Fes. The train journey to Marrakech is not escorted and once there you are looked after by our local office, which is based in Marrakech.
Please note this tour is operated by Peregrine Adventures
Accommodation: Hotel Les Saisons or similar, Casablanca
On arrival at Casablanca Airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive at any time. Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings and your tour leader will provide information about the welcome meeting the following day with the hotel reception.
Accommodation: Hotel De Nice or similar, Meknes
In Casablanca we see the impressive Mosque of Hassan II, opened in 1993, and second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca. It can accommodate 25,000 worshippers and is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. Later we drive to Rabat, the elegant capital of Morocco and our first Imperial city. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments, some dating to the Almohad and Merenid dynasties and others that are far older. The earliest known settlement is Sala, occupying an area now know as the Chellah, where we visit the remains of the citadel. We also see the vast minaret of the Hassan Mosque and explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias. In the late afternoon we continue to Meknes.
Accommodation: Fes Inn or similar, Fes
Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, and as we approach it we can see it prominently sited along the edge of a high plateau. Today it is the most impressive Roman site in Morocco and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. We explore the many public buildings and at the House of Orpheus we see several fine mosaic floors intact. Back in Meknes we discover the charming streets of the old medina - a perfect prelude to Fes. From the northern gate, Bab Berdaine, we walk to the shrine of Moulay Ismail who, in the 17th century, turned Meknes from a provincial town to a spectacular Imperial city. We visit the lovely Bou Inania Medresse (religious school) and after time to explore the old souk we drive to Fes for the night.
Accommodation: Fes Inn or similar, Fes
Spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco, Fes is vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming - a visual and pungent assault on the senses. It is made up of three distinct ‘cities’, or quarters, and we are based in the elegant ‘Nouveau Ville’, or New City, which has a distinctly French/European character. Today we head into the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali, arguably the world's most fascinating and confounding old city. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture: both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and its libraries are legendary. Its mosques are of great renown. And it was to Fes that many of the Muslims (and Jews) expelled from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella came in 1492. As we walk through the streets and alleyways, passing historic khans, medresses and dye-pits, it is not hard to imagine ourselves back in the Middle Ages. We spend the day exploring the old city, visiting the Belghazi Museum, Medresse el Attarine, the tanneries and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th century inn. We return to our hotel in the late afternoon.
Accommodation: Fes Inn or similar, Fes
Fes el Jedid, meaning New City (but not to be confused with the Nouvelle Ville) is also well worth a visit. Unlike Fes el Bali, which grew organically over the years, Fes el Jedid was an entirely planned city, built by the Merenids in the 13th and 14th centuries. The imposing gateway of Bab Boujeloud leads us into broad streets, where public and private gardens add a splash of colour to the surroundings. Later, we drive to nearby spa village of Moulay Yacoub. Here you can enjoy a swim (separate areas for men and women) or descend to the old thermal baths for a traditional hot bath. We return to Fes in the late afternoon.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to traveller feedback, our leaders have proposed changing this side to trip a small village called Sefrou, about 30k from Fes. It's a lovely little town, once home to one of Morocco's largest Jewish communities. Your leader will explain the 2 options and you'll have to make a group decision. Alternatively, you can spend the whole day in Fes.
Accommodation: Hotel el Andalous or similar, Marrakech
We bid farewell to our tour leader and board the train to Marrakech, via Casablanca. It's pretty much an all day affair, so ensure you have a good book with you. There's a food trolley service on board, offering a regular supply of snacks and drinks. Please note that sometimes we will use a minibus instead of the train (depending on the gorup size). There are pros and cons for both methods of travel. On arrival in Marrakech you will be met by our local representatives and transferred to your beautiful Riad hotel. This evening, why not head to Jemaa el Fna, the great square, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. Every night it comes alive with snake-charmers, musicians, story-tellers, fire-eaters and hundreds of small outdoor restaurants.
Accommodation: Hotel el Andalous or similar, Marrakech
After breakfast we meet our Marrakech guide and set off on a morning tour of the old medina. We visit the beautiful Bahia Palace, a splendid mansion built in 1866 for a former slave who had risen to a position of importance in the government of Moulay Hassan. We explore the tranquil inner courtyards, fragrant with orange blossom, and the many salons and chambers that make up this elegant home. We continue to the Marrakech Museum, itself a former palace, which houses a fine collection of Morrocan art and sculpture and we then walk through the streets of the old medina as we make our way back to the Jemaa el Fna. The rest of the day is free to explore further, or shop in the bazaar.
Your trip ends today, after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12.00 noon and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Marrakech.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!
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21st January 2014
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