Morocco is a perfect land for trekking and traveling all year long! Given the country’s geographic variety and its unique cultural diversities, there is always a region where the climate is mild. We all the time recommend our best multiple destinations, relevant to your choices basing both on the weather and your travel dates.
In winter: you might be heading to the south of Morocco, nights can be chilly, but during the day you’ll enjoy the sun and a blue sky bereft of clouds, this offers to you trekking in the Anti Atlas or Sahara desert. Moreover, we place at your disposal winter Toubkal ascent and ski touring… etc.
In summer: (from late March until October). It is the best season for trekkers to enjoy hiking in the Atlas Mountains. At over 1700m in altitude freshness is a safe bet. The Atlantic coast is generally balmy especially that you’ll fully live in its fantastic nature and the distinguished hospitality of the locals. Our discovery does not stop here, as you can explore the Moroccan desert in which our guests are going to be adapted to its climate, depending on the singled out accommodation we provide.
The total duration of the trips depends on the region and on your interesting activities. Generally speaking, treks and tours can range from 2/3 days to approximately a month’s time. However, the same trek/tour can be flexibly of a varied duration for different trekkers depending on their physical fitness, wishes and interests on the route.
You will be on constant move all the time, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. For this reason, we highly recommend using a backpack or light sports bag to carry some daily personal items while trekking or touring and a bag to take your heavy items which could be easily put on the mule/camel back (during the trekking). Even though, more unused luggage is not appreciated because space on transport is limited. For trekking in the Atlas Mountains, you need to prepare as you would for walking in any mountain region; it can be warm and sunny during the day, but the weather in the mountains can quickly change from sunshine to snow and cold winds (autumn through late spring).
Here is the needed equipment and clothing list we suggest:
The mountains of Morocco are a relatively sheltered domain. The environment is fragile and the socio-cultural traditions should be respected. We ask that you take note of the following guidelines:
In the main cities like Marrakech, Fes, and Casablanca… etc., many people dress in Western style, just as you would find in London or Paris. However, there is an exception, while visiting the mosques and other religious monuments you should dress modestly and cover your shoulders as you shouldn't wear short shorts or skirts.
Trekking trips in High Atlas go in high altitudes where you may well experience the effects of altitude as your body acclimatizes. There is also a small risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness starting from 2500m. The symptoms which mostly are: breathing difficulties, headaches, the lethargy, nausea and dizziness do not owe no more than 24 hours in normal cases, whereas in severe cases, it can prevent the concerned person from continuing the hike. The correct way to ascend a mountain is stepping slowly, allowing your body time to acclimatize to the altitude, which we do, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. When hiking do not hurry, enjoy the scenery and give your body the chance to adjust.
Toubkal Explore guides’ team is highly formed, and they have undergone a compulsory training in the school Center CFAMM. The latter makes them official governmental accredited guides. Besides, they have been put into different practical situations of guiding experience in Morocco which helped them to fully know the country through investing many years collecting knowledge. In order to conduct the work in a professional way, our guides are supplied with highly special methods and criteria under our censorship. Concerning languages, they speak English, French, and Spanish, as they are ready to help you explore the Moroccan diverse culture and beauty through their knowledge about it. Our main concern is to take you into the real sense of adventure, and make your stay in Morocco safe, unforgettable and enjoyable.
Indeed, TOUBKAL EXPLORE team is flexible and ready to alternate your trip schedule according to your wishes depending on the available possibilities. In case of bad climatic changes we alternate the itinerary for your safety.
Morocco has big tipping culture, it is established and even expected to tip small service providers such as a restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bellboys, and taxi drivers. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry. Even though this might not be customary to you, nor such common practice in your home country, it is generally in prospect, and of great significance to the people who will be assisting you during your travels. Depending on your preference and/or that of the group, you may choose to tip individually, organize the tipping with your travelling companions, or, your guide will offer to collect the tip money at the end of your tour and tip as a group with your participation as the tour progresses. Feel free to ask your tour guide for the distribution of the tips. Note that if you have been very disappointed by a particular service, please inform your guide right away, and the tip will be adjusted accordingly. Also, at the end of your trip if you felt your guide and the team of Porters/mule drivers did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. And if you wish to give presents to locals (clothing, school supplies, etc.), confer them to your guide. He will take care of their distribution.
Morocco is a place of festivals and events; Celebration is an important aspect of Moroccan culture. Morocco is an exciting and entertaining country that lays claim to cultural, historical and religious holidays and festivals. At any given point of the year there is a Moroccan city or Berber community hosting glorious festivities. Celebrations, in Morocco, can last from a few days up to two weeks. The exception is Ramadan, which lasts for thirty days. While Moroccans celebrate numerous Muslim and national festivals through the year, the dates for most of their religious festivals are based upon the lunar calendar. Therefore, it is difficult to predict when religious holidays will fall within the western calendar utilized by most people in the world. And Take into consideration when planning your trip… Among the most important are:
RAMADAN: is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar; it is also the most sacred month of the year. It is the anniversary of the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Mohammed in the Cave of Hira. During Ramadan, Muslims around the world abstain from food, drink, sexual intercourse and tobacco during daylight. It is a celebratory holiday, but has other, deeper spiritual meanings. Ramadan is not just about food and drink, but is an occasion during which Muslims reflect upon their past year’s actions, seek forgiveness for transgressions, purify the soul, refocus on spiritual practice, help the poor and needy. Muslims fast as well to experience the feeling of poor people suffering from hunger and thirst around the world.
Eid UL-Fitr: The Islamic holiday Eid UL-Fitr marks the completion of Ramadan, a full month of fasting, extra prayer and other acts of worship. In Morocco and elsewhere in the world, it's a day of thankfulness and celebration.
Eid UL-Adha: Eid UL-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) is an important Muslim festival celebrated throughout North Africa and in Muslim communities elsewhere on the continent. During the celebration, Muslims remember Ibrahim's (Abraham) trials, who were asked by Allah to sacrifice his only son. To commemorate this show of faith by Ibrahim, Muslims themselves slaughter an animal, usually a sheep or goat. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. Eid UL-Adha is celebrated 70 days after the end of Ramadan and the day after the completion of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
Marrakech Popular Arts Festival (July): Marrakech Popular Arts Festival attracts folk singers, dancers, fortunetellers, acting troupes, snake charmers, fire-swallows and more, from all over Morocco. Since 2000 the festival has also attracted many artists and entertainers from Europe and Asia. The main events take place in the ruins of the 16 century Badi Palace and the Djemma el Fna (main town square). Not to be missed, outside the city walls at night, is the Fantasia. A horse-riding spectacle that includes hundreds of charging horsemen (and women) wearing traditional clothing.
Marrakech International Film Festival (December): The always lively central Place Djemaa el-Fna sets the stage for the Marrakech’s International Film Festival. The city’s central square, is transformed into an open-air cinema. Festival visitors in the past have included Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Susan Sarandon, David Lynch and many others.
Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival (June): A music festival based on the traditions of Gnawa music has grown to include musicians from all over the world. This successful annual festival has been around for a decade and venues are dotted all around the picturesque town of Essaouira. Here's a tour if you would like to join in the fun as a group. Gnawa music is a combination of acrobatic dancing as well as music. Its origins lie in a unique mixture of Berber, African and Arabic songs, religious rites and dance.
Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, Morocco (June): This wonderful spiritual festival, held annually in Fes, allows you to bump into whirling dervishes from Iran as well as mystics, chanters and dancers from all around the world. A festival celebrating the local culture of Fes is held concurrently. Both festivals allow visitors a wonderful insight into traditional life in the old walled city. Sip some mint tea, enjoy Sufi chanting and of course all that delicious Moroccan food.
The Rose Festival (Mid May): In the Dades Valley in Morocco a small oasis town Kelaa-des-Mgouna is home to Morocco's largest rose water distillery plant. The entire town is fragrant and the spectacular harvest in May is celebrated with song and dance.
Imilchil Marriage Festival (August/September): The Imilchil Marriage Feast is a Berber marriage festival where up to forty couples tie the knot. It takes place in Imilchil in the Middle-High Atlas Mountains near Marrakech. The festival is a great way to experience Berber culture, including music and dance.
Erfoud Date Festival (October): More than a million date palms are grown in the Erfoud region and after harvest, the party really starts. Local tribesmen come together for a 3 day festival dedicated to the sticky and delicious dates. Berber tents, play host to traditional dancing, food and music. There's also a dromedary race, which shouldn't be missed.
For citizens from most of the European Union, United States and Canada no visa are required for a stay of up to 90 days. However, depending on your nationality, your passport has to be valid for at least three or six months after the entry date to Morocco and you should also have a return ticket. Before coming to Morocco (or even before booking with us) please check visa requirements for citizens of your country or ask the nearest Moroccan consulate or embassy.
Travel insurance must be obtained before leaving your country of origin. We are not forcing anyone to buy it. But, to cover for any, accidents, medical repatriation, and mountain rescue and repatriation helicopter if necessary.
Morocco is located at the northwest corner of the African continent, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It shares land borders with the two Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, Algeria, and the Western Sahara. The Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara also borders on Mauritania. With an area of about 446,550 square kilometers (172,414 square miles), the country is slightly larger.
Morocco has two climatic zones: coastal and interior. Temperature variations are relatively small along the Atlantic coast, while the interior is characterized by extreme variations. The north and central areas have a Mediterranean climate, moderate and subtropical, cooled by the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. These areas characteristically have warm, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The average temperature hovers around 20°C (68°F). In the northern part of the interior, the climate is predominantly semiarid. Winters can be quite cold, and summers can be very hot. In the mountain ranges temperatures can drop as low as -18°C (0°F). Mountain peaks in both the Atlas and Er Rif mountain ranges are snow-capped throughout most of the year. The western slopes of the Atlas Mountains receive a great deal of rain, but at the expense of the interior, since the mountains block the central areas from the Atlantic or Mediterranean. The two rainy seasons are in April and May and in October and November. A maximum annual rainfall of 75 to 100 centimeters (30 to 40 inches) occurs in the northwest. Other parts of the country receive much less precipitation. Half of all of the arable land receives no more than 35 centimeters (14 inches) of rain per year.
Morocco has four distinct geographic regions. In the north, there is a fertile coastal plain along the Mediterranean. The Atlas Mountains, extending across the country from southwest to northeast and into Algeria, comprise another region. A third area is a wide arc of coastal plains lining the country's western seaboard, bounded by the Er Rif and Atlas mountain ranges. Finally, south of the Atlas Mountains is semiarid grasslands that merge with the Sahara Desert along the southeastern borders of the country.
Morocco provides habitats for dozens of bird species, from large Raptors to woodpeckers, waterfowl, and songbirds
The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham, denoted as MAD or Dhs. The Moroccan Dirham is composed of 100 centimes; notes are available in denominations of (Dhs) 200, 100, 50, 25, and 20, all in new and old varieties and coins are available in denominations of (Dhs) 10, 5, 2 and 1, or 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes. There are several types of 10 and 5 Dirham coins in circulation.
Foreign currency may be exchanged at the Bureau de Change at the airport on arrival, at a bank or a small amount at your hotel. There are many ATM machines both at the airports and in larger towns for cash withdrawal. Almost all hotels normally exchange money at the same rate as banks and do not charge a commission. However, most hotels and reputable shops will accept major credit cards – VISA, Master Card and American Express. Even in the markets when buying such things as carpets, leather or any other major items, certain cards may be accepted. Maestro and other debit cards are becoming more widely accepted, but there are still some shops and restaurants that you will not be able to use it. VISA and Master-card and debit cards can be used in ATM’s (found in the larger cities).
Please note that it is now difficult or impossible to change Travelers Checks in Morocco..
The Atlas Mountains are the largest and most important mountain range in North Africa, extending from Morocco to Tunisia for about 2,400 kilometers (1,488 miles) in a series of creased mountain chains. Morocco's portion of the Atlas Mountains includes the Middle Atlas, High Atlas, and Anti-Atlas. The High Atlas (also called Western Atlas or Great Atlas) is the highest of the three, stretching for more than 644 kilometers (400 miles), with ten peaks of over 3,965 meters (13,000 feet). Mount Toubkal, south of Marrakech, reaches to 4,167 meters (13,665 feet) the highest point in the country. The Middle Atlas stretches for 251 kilometers (156 miles) east of the High Atlas. Mount Bou-Naceur is the highest point in the Middle Atlas, at 3,340 meters (10,909 feet). West and south of the High Atlas is the Anti-Atlas range. Although not as tall as the High Atlas, the terrain in the Anti-Atlas is very rugged. It is about 403 kilometers (250 miles) long. South of the Atlas is the Sirwa, a volcanic outcropping and a ridge of black lava that connects the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas. The Sirwa reaches a maximum height of 2,822 meters (9,254 feet). The Er Rif Mountains near the northern coast are not part of the Atlas range. They are made up of steep cliffs. The highest peak in the Er Rif is Tidghine (2,465 meters/8,085 feet), south of Ketama.
Give yourself the green light to Sample the aromatic and spicy food of North Africa by taking a particular trip in Morocco with TOUBKAL EXPLORE. It is viewed as a vibrant country with strong traditions and a diverse landscape of bustling cities, mountain ranges and arid deserts.
Morocco is one of the great cuisines of the world; Moroccan cooking abounds with subtle spices and intriguing flavor combinations. Think tart green olives paired with chopped preserved lemon rind stirred into a Tagine of tender chicken, the surprise of rich pigeon meat pie dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar, or sardines coated with a flavorful combination of coriander, parsley, cumin and a hint of chili. Moroccan cuisine is influenced by its interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Moroccan cuisine is typically a mix of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber cuisine. The cooks in the royal kitchens of Fes, Meknes, Marrakech, Rabat and Tetouan created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today. For this reason Morocco’s cuisine is a delicious combination of mouthwatering flavors, which make it unique.
Don’t leave Morocco without tasting its distinguished flavors, e.g. Chicken Tagine, Fish Chermoula, Harira, Kefta Tagine, Couscous, Maakouda, Zaalouk, Confit duck (B’stilla) and Mint tea (Moroccan whisky)…etc. Please note that the meals while trekking, Toubkal Explore’s cooks will do the best to offer you varied, tasty, nutritious and authentic Moroccan meals during the treks in the Atlas, the water used to issue from mountain sources, and it is very pure.
Souks are a way of life in Morocco and you usually won’t have to go far to find one. You can often get good bargains here, but remember that most Moroccans will have a lot more experience than you will when it comes to haggle the price so you will seldom find yourself able to get better than that which is offered. You may find, if you are friendly and courteous enough, that you will soon start to make friends with the locals. If this happens and you are invited to a meal, it is good to keep in mind some of the local customs. For example, you will usually take off your shoes when entering a house. You can follow your host’s example in this regard. Also, it is a good idea to take a gift of some sort with. If you are in a home in the city you might take some pastries or some sugar with you. If you are in the county it would be better to buy a live chicken for the household which is likely to not be quite so well off. A home invitation is perhaps the most authentic way to sample Moroccan dishes. Most Moroccan food is eaten with the hands. If you are invited to join someone for a meal, you should always eat with the right hand as the left is supposed to be used for the toilet. In general, Moroccan culture can be an exciting and worldly experience. The people are friendly and the place is colorful. Hospitality is really a part of their culture so you can strike up friendships virtually anywhere if you have the sense of the Adventure and right attitude. Usually this results in further association with these dynamic and interesting people and a real taste of Moroccan life.
Islam is the majority and constitutionally established state religion in Morocco. The vast majority of Muslims in Morocco are Sunni belonging to Maliki School of jurisprudence. The King of Morocco claims his legitimacy as a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Under the leadership of King Mohammed VI (since 1999), the government has generally encouraged and promoted tolerance and respect among.
In Morocco, there are 15 to 18 million Berber speakers, about 50 to 65% of the population or 28.07% of the total population, that speak the Tachelhit in the High Atlas, the Anti-Atlas and Souss, the Tamazight in the Middle Atlas and Tarifit in the region of Rif. In the 20th century, many Berbers have also moved from rural areas to the major cities.
Spanish is also popular, especially in the northern part of the country, but the number of speakers is difficult to estimate., 2.19 million Moroccans spoke a foreign language other than French. English, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of number of speakers, is rapidly becoming the second foreign language choice, after French, among educated youth. As a result of national education reforms entering into force in late 2002, English is taught in all public schools from the fourth year on. French is still taught nationally from the earliest grades.
Kasbah, or Casbah, is a term often heard in association with Morocco. Rather than being a specific place or region, it is a term that usually refers to the oldest section of a city. Often, this is the marketplace of the city. Sometimes the term refers to an ancient castle or palace.