Morocco Family Journey: Ancient Souks to the Sahara
Discover the magic of Morocco on a journey that takes you from bustling markets to soaring desert dunes. Meet enchanting musicians and storytellers steeped in Berber heritage, and try your hand at cooking up colorful local dishes. Hike past stunning rock formations, climb windswept sands, and uncover ancient secrets in green oases and grand palaces.
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Atlas Film Studios Tour, Ouarzazate
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Sahara Dunes & Culture Excursion, Merzouga
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Marrakech Henna Art Café Experience, Marrakech
Your Foodie Moment: Tagine Cooking Class, Ait Benhaddou. Arrival transfer. Atlas Film Studio visit. Sahara Dunes & Culture Excursion. Berber village visit and Berber pizza lunch. Dades Gorge guided walk. Visit Ait Ben Haddou. Tagine cooking demonstration. Walk in Djemaa el Fna square. Visit of Marrakech medina. Henna temporary tattoo workshop. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Explore a maze of narrow alleys in the walled village of Aït Ben Haddou, learn to cook traditional Moroccan tagine, discover a sea of sand on an expedition into the Sahara, enter a world of color in the medina of Marrakech, experience Morocco’s rich Berber heritage.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Prices are based on double occupancy; all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will accommodate triples/quads whenever possible. Please call for further details.
Family Journeys are designed for groups traveling with children between the ages of 7 and 17. Your group must include a child in order to book, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
1. ITINERARY PACE
This is a very fast paced itinerary which covers lots of ground. While this allows us to see a huge amount in the available time, it also means some early starts, and some long drives.
Please note that the climate in Morocco can be both very hot during the day in summer months (up to 50°C) and cold at night in the mountains in autumn, early spring and winter (down to -6°C). Summer months, from April to September are very hot throughout Morocco. Winter months November to March can be cool to cold, especially in the Atlas Mountains, with high probability of snowfall. Most Moroccan buildings are not equipped with heating, so without proper layers you will be cold at night. Please bring appropriate clothing for the months in which you are travelling and check temperatures before you leave.
According to the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between May 5th and June 4th, 2019. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-Muslims throughout the day. It is very important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can’t at that time.
Group Leader Description
All National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures group trips are accompanied by two 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. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense; you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 20, Avg 18.
8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
Eating is a big part of traveling and we encourage you to experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Its important to remember, that food may be different from what you are used to at home and that some things may not be available in other countries.
Some meals are included in the trip price, while others are not, to allow flexibility and choice to you and your family. For non-included meals our CEOs will still make arrangements for the group to eat together, which allows you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and approximate budget (per person) for meals not included.
Throughout this trip, breakfast is included daily (ranging from continental to buffet depending on the trip). Drinking water is available throughout (don’t forget your refillable water bottle as you will have access to either filtered water from hotels or as made available by the CEO). Healthy, local snacks will also be available.
Note that any special meal requirements or dietary restrictions need to be specified at time of booking.
Moroccan cuisine is world famous and your CEO will be taking the chance to show you the best of it. Staples include cous cous, a type of grain topped with stew, tagine which is actually the name of the pot this tasty dish is cooked in, and brochette, bbq skewers of meat. Other tastes not to be missed include pastilla, a sweet pasty with a savoury filling which is traditionally pigeon and harira, a delicious soup based on chick peas and filling enough when teamed with fresh bread to be a whole lunch.
Private air-con minivan/coach, 4×4 vehicle, walking
About our Transportation
This is not a physically demanding journey, however, there are some long drives (please take note of the travel times and distances in the daily itinerary). Despite some of the long days, most clients feel that the diversity of the Moroccan landscape, and culture are all well worth the experience!
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Odd number adult travellers in your family will be paired in twin accommodation with another adult traveller of the same sex for the duration of the trip.
Hotels (8 nts)
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
Rooming is based on double occupancy (2 passengers per room); all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will try to accommodate triples/quad requests whenever possible and its important to note that rooming configuration can change from city-to-city.
Please remember that hotel/lodge standards can be different from what you are used to in your home country, which is part of the appeal of adventure travel.
Morocco is a developing country and as such the infrastructure is not as reliable as you would expect at home. Expect quirky plumbing and the odd cold shower!
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
If you will be taking the arrival transfer, please look for the driver holding a National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures sign in the area outside of the terminal hall. If you have difficulty locating the meeting area, please ask airport staff for directions.
Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.
Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, they will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Morocco)
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +212 (0)528 824898
After hours emergency number: +212 (0) 661 861950
If you are unable to contact either of these numbers please phone G Adventures Regional Operations Manager Emergency Cell Phone: +212 06 13 54 20 21
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, sports bag, or backpack. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. Porters may not always be available, so be prepared to carry your own bags.
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: For departures from Nov-Feb the weather can be cold, please bring warmer clothing during this time.
It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light-weight waterproof jacket. Layering is essentail.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your CEO where the closest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry, so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity).
To date, citizens of the UK, EU, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not need visas for visits of up to three-months.
Other nationalities may need to organise a visa pre travel- please check the individual requirements of your passport nationality.
Please note this information is given in good faith, is beyond National Geographic Journeys’s control and subject to change at any time.
Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure that travel documentation is correct.
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 and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The local currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).
ATMs are very common in Morocco with Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. .While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work – it is important you check with your bank before departure and advisable to travel with more than one type of card.
Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards, but are generally only useful for larger/expensive purchases. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies.
The foreign currency most commonly accepted in Morocco is the Euro. You will be able to exchange Euros, as well as GBP and USD at money exchange offices in major cities.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of cash (Euro/GBP or USD) and cards is best.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Local tipping is included on this Family trip which covers local guides, drivers and gratuity for included meals. At the end of your trip if you felt your two Chief Experience Officers did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline; per CEO $35-40 USD per person, per week can be used.
For non-included meals in restaurant, a guideline is 10% of cost of bill.
- Camel Ride
- Jardins Majorelle (70-100MAD per person)
- Marrakech City Tour
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit, hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements . Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.
When selecting your trip please carefully read the G Adventures brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you require any clarification on what is involved on your itinerary. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any 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 the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
While visiting mosques and other religious monuments you should dress modestly, cover your shoulders and you shouldn’t wear short shorts or skirts. Outside of capital cities and the more touristic centres, local dress is often more conservative and as a matter of respect we ask that both men and women are aware of this and recommend loose-fitting clothes with your shoulders covered. Ask your CEO for more specific advice.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
Minimum age of 7 years for this trip.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: DCKNF, ID: 25172
Day 1 Marrkech
Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Arrival Airport Transfer (0.50 hour(s))
Day 2 Marrakech/Ouarzazate (1B, 1L)
Wind past red slopes and green terraces as we make our way south through the stunning valleys of Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, stopping to enjoy a picnic lunch beside a sparkling river. Arrive in Ouarzazate, known as the “gateway to the Sahara,” and step behind the scenes at a film studio to see how the surrounding dunes have starred on the silver screen.
Atlas Film Studios Tour
Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours)
Day 3 Ouarzazate/Merzouga (1B, 1D)
Today, travel between jagged peaks and palm oases toward the desert town of Merzouga. Settle into our hotel near the incredible Erg Chebbi, a sweeping sea of dunes formed by wind-blown sand. As the sun sets, savor a traditional Berber dinner of fluffy couscous and spiced tagine, then spread a blanket on the sand for an evening of desert stargazing.
Private Vehicle (5.00-5.50 hours)
Day 4 Merzouga (1B, 1L, 1D)
This morning, hop aboard a 4×4 and ride across the dunes to discover fossils left behind by an ancient sea, and be entranced by Gnaoua musicians in a local village. Return to the hotel for free time to cool off in the pool, or opt to explore the desert in style, riding a camel across the sands as ancient travelers once did. Enjoy a tasty Berber dinner, then gather around a glowing bonfire for a storytelling session.
Sahara Dunes & Culture Excursion
Day 5 Merzouga/Dades Gorge (1B, 1L)
Venture into the rugged landscape of the Dades Gorge, a dramatic and colorful valley carved by the waters of the Dades River. Visit a local village for lunch and enjoy a special dish—traditional Berber pizza! Wind through the valley on a guided walk as you learn about the amazing geology behind the weird and wonderful rock formations of the Gorge. This evening, enjoy free time to relax at the hotel.
Dades Gorge Guided Walk
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s))
Day 6 Dades Gorge/Ait Benhaddou (1B, 1D)
Drive through the Ounila Valley to the ancient fortified village of Aït Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site where clay houses crowd together in a traditional ksar behind defensive walls. Explore alleyways twisting between historic structures, and stand guard atop the clay brick ramparts, taking in views of the green oasis around this imposing fort. Entertain your taste buds at a hands-on tagine cooking class, followed by a delicious dinner.
Aït Ben Haddou Kasbah Tour
Tagine Cooking Class
Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s))
Day 7 Aït Ben Haddou/Marrakesh (1B)
Journey through the mountains to Marrakech, known as the “red city” for its walls, houses, and many mosques built from red clay. Explore the lively Djemaa el Fna, an ancient marketplace still used as the main square in Marrakech. Then set out on a guided walk through the narrow, maze-like streets of the medina, lined with colorful shops brimming with rugs, spices, and much more.
Djemaa el Fna Market Square Walk
Marrakech Medina Walk
Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s))
Day 8 Marrkech (1B, 1D)
Wake up as the call to prayer echoes across the city. After breakfast, head to a local henna workshop to have your hands painted in this ancient temporary tattooing art. Spend the rest of the day exploring Marrakech on your own, or opt to explore the Marjorelle Garden. In the evening, gather for a farewell dinner in a traditional riad, a grand house with an elegant interior courtyard.
Marrakech Henna Art Café Experience
Farewell Dinner in a Traditional Riad
Day 9 Marrakech (1B)
Depart at any time.