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Faqs

Trekking & Climbing

What is the general duration of the treks?

The duration of the trek depends on the region of the trek and on your interests. Generally speaking, your trek can range from 2-3 days to almost month time. Even the same trek can be of a different duration for different trekkers depending on their physical fitness, wishes and interests on the route.

How difficult are the treks?

Difficulty of the treks depends on the region of the trek and duration of it. Shorter treks tend to be easier while longer ones require some physical fitness. To give you an indication of the difficulty of the treks, we have graded our treks from 1 to 3:

Grade 1 walks (Easy)
Tend to be short day walks and rambles at low altitudes. Grade 1 walks can be enjoyed by anyone who leads a reasonably active life and no special preparation is required.

Grade 2 walks (Moderate)
Will usually involve some longer walks (4-6 hours/day) at low altitudes (below 3000m). Some previous hill walking experience would be beneficial but these walks should be within the capabilities of those who lead a normal active life. Grade 2 walking tours may contain some optional strenuous days, and in order to get the best out of the trip we would advise that you tone up your fitness before you join.

Grade 3 walks (Strenuous)
Are for the more serious hill walker and a higher level of physical fitness is required. Walking days are normally 6-8 hours and may involve up to
900m or more of ascent and descent. You should be prepared for several consecutive days walking, often at higher altitudes, so stamina is important.

What kind of overnight accommodation is used during the treks?

In cities like Marrakech or Ouarzazate, accommodation will be in hotels or riads. We can offer accommodation that ranges from luxury deluxe to budget hotels. While on a trek accommodation will depend on the time of year and on your personal preference. You will be able to spend the night in local gites (guesthouses) and we also organize camping treks during which you will spend the night in tents.

Whilst we always try to stay in the best possible accommodation along the way, you should be aware that some gites, particularly in the smaller villages, are quite basic. The bedrooms are usually small with shared bathroom facilities. Although simple, the gites do provide a warm bed and are usually run by friendly local families.

Where do we eat our meals and what kind of food is available?

During your trek all meals will be prepared for you. If you stay in a local gite, the family running the gite will prepare a delicious Moroccan meal for you. During a camping trek, all food will be prepared by an experienced cook.

Is it safe to eat during the trek?

Food safety is always a big concern and we take it very seriously. That is why we have chosen the cleanest and most hygienically kept gites for our routs. During a camping trek your cook prepares safe and tasty meals from carefully chosen food items and only hygienic clean facilities are used.

What is the best time for trekking?

Best time for trekking is autumn (September through November) and spring (March through May).
For winter enthusiasts we also offer a Toubkal winter trek.

What is the weather like?

You need to be prepared for sudden weather changes while trekking. That’s why trekking equipment should be chosen carefully before the trip. Sudden rain storms or snow are always a possibility which needs to be considered. The weather during the trekking season is somewhat more stable.

What kind of clothes is needed for trekking?

For Atlas Trekking 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 equipment and clothing we suggest.

What type of shoes should I have?

For 1-day excursions comfortable tennis shoes or snickers is enough while higher and longer treks require carefully chosen hiking boots which should be kind of strong, well-made but light boots. Shoes and boots are best to buy before arriving in Morocco. Proper fit is a must for boots and we advise you to wear your new shoes for sometime before trek for your feet to feel absolutely comfortable during trekking.

Should I bring trekking equipment with me?

You can easily rent equipment for a reasonable price in Imlil before your trek, but it’s always preferable and more convenient to have your own equipment during trekking, so we advise you to bring equipment with you.

Do you provide any equipment while trekking?

On all our camping treks we provide all the tents, sometimes dome tents, sometimes sturdy A frames and normally people share one tent between two; a foam mattress each; all the cutlery and utensils, cooking pots, stoves; candles/kerosene lantern, tables and stools, kitchen tent, dining tent and toilet tent; all the main meals while trekking but not snacks. When you stay overnight in local gites, you will not have to bring any equipment. If you spend the night in the Toubkal Refuge, you will need to bring your own sleeping bag (or rent one in Imlil).

What problems can arise on altitude?

Altitude sickness is a serious problem. However the risks of altitude sickness in the High Atlas Mountains is very small. In the years that we have offered treks and walks in the Atlas Mountains, our guides have never experienced a client with altitude sickness. Of course our guides are trained to spot any signs of altitude sickness and know how to deal with it.

What happens in case of emergency?

Toubkalguide is prepared for any emergency situation and knows how to handle it. Our guides are trained in first aid and can deal with most of the basic ailments that occur during a trek. Every client should have his own insurance before coming to Morocco for case of emergency.

What sort of experience do your guides have?

All guides we work with are government approved and have followed a mandatory training in the Center CFAMM, which makes them official and certified guides. Next to this training they of course have many years of guiding experience in Morocco. Most of them have been spending years exploring the country. Our guides are trained in first aid and know how to handle any situation. All our guides speak English and French and are happy to share their deep knowledge of the country and beauty of Morocco with you. We believe in and follow the idea that it’s not enough to take visitors to special places or special cultures, we need to provide guides who can get people feel involved in what they are experiencing, explain it thoroughly and keep them entertained. Our main concern is to make your trip in Morocco safe, memorable and fun!

Is tipping included and if not, how much should I budget?

Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. Some trekkers give 10% of the total tour cost as tips.

Can we change the itinerary?

Depending on the situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. On occasion local weather conditions may require the trekking route to be altered to ensure your safety.

Toubkal Guide

Who is behind Toubkal Guide?

The owner of Toubkal Guide is Jamal Imerhane.
Originally from Imlil (Berber village in the Atlas Mountains), he started out as a muleteer with individuals and groups. For years now, he has organized and lead tours and treks in the Atlas Mountains and around the Kingdom of Morocco. From basic one day guided walks to full package tours and treks, including transfers, accommodation, food, guides, mules, tents, kitchen materials and much more!

He has been working with different international travel organizations, such as Shoestring, Imaginative Travels and INTI Reizen.

In addition to his experience in and knowledge of the Atlas Mountains and the Kingdom of Morocco, his diploma from the centre for professional guides, makes him a qualified and certified guide.

Is Toubkal Guide also able to arrange airline tickets or other transportation?

Toubkal Guide is a ‘tour operator’ and not a ‘travel agent. Therefore, we do not provide any kind of information on airlines or the cost of air flights into or out of Morocco. We of course are able to give you some tips regarding transportation:

By Air Morocco has three main international airports: Casablanca, Tangier and Agadir. You can also fly direct to Fes, Marrakech and Oujda from Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and other European cities. Most long distance flights will arrive in Casablanca. It’s a modern airport with plenty of transport options to take you in to the center of town or to other destinations in Morocco. You can take a train to the city center or grande taxi (about 250 Dirhams). Most major European airlines fly to into Morocco including British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, Sabena and Swissair. There are also several budget and charter airlines operating from Europe to Morocco including Atlas Blue North Africa’s first low cost airline.

By Sea There are several car and passenger ferry services which offer routes between Spain, Gibraltar, France and Italy to Morocco. Moroccan national train service ONCF

Moroccan national bus companies Supratours, CTM

Taxis You’ll usually see two types of taxis in most major Moroccan cities, “big taxis” (grand taxis) and “small taxis” (petit taxis). The grand taxis are shared taxis and will cover longer distances. The petit taxis work like regular taxis everywhere. If the meter doesn’t work, negotiate your fare in advance. If you don’t have a lot of luggage, then always opt for a petit taxi for trips around town. It is much cheaper.

Renting a Car Most of the major car rental agencies have offices in Morocco and there are plenty of online car rental portals to book from, Gardenia Tours in Marrakech one of them. The roads in Morocco are quite good but be aware that the distances between major towns can be significant.

What does the term 'driver/guide' mean?

The term ‘driver/guide’ means that our drivers ‘guide’ our client from “Point A to Point B”.

Do you employ local people wherever possible?

We employ local people when ever possible (muleteers, drivers, guides, guest house owners in the mountains, etc). By booking with Toubkalguide you also help support the local economy with cash, spreads the wealth from private home to local shopkeeper in the village and beyond.

Do you ensure that the local people are given a fair price for their work or service?

Local people are sometimes badly paid. For example a porter or a muleteer with a mule gets the Moroccan Ministries’ recommended minimum. We strive to pay higher than this. Also your tip is important to support their livelihood. Please tip well when deserved!

Is it possible to make a booking through the website?

Yes you are able to make a booking through the website. You can do this as followed:
Click on Booking Enquiry. This will open a form. Fill out your personal information, select your preferred trek or tour, the preferred start date and the number of people in your group.

After filling out the form, click on send to send us the information. After receiving your enquiry, we will contact you as soon as possible by email.

How can I cancel my booking?

When you have to cancel your booking due to circumstances, you should contact us by phone or e-mail.

How can I pay?

Before we start making the arrangements for your trek we need to ask you to send us a deposit as a confirmation. This deposit can be paid either by Western Union or to our bank account. If your departure date is close, then a phone call will also be sufficient as a confirmation.

Which ever method you prefer. Let us know how you transfer it, so we can keep track of it from our side too.

The remaining sum can be either paid in euros or dirham at the beginning of the trek/tour.

To which bank account can I transfer my payment?

Your deposit or full payment can be transfered to this bank account: Name: Jamal Imerhane Bank account: 011450000001200000408633

The address of the bank is: BMCE Banc Marrakech Medina Rue Moulay Ismail Marrakech, Maroc

SWIFT/BIC code: bmcemamc

IBAN: 450000001200

You can also pay us by Western Union to the following address: Jamal Imerhane Douar Taourirte ASNI – Poste Asni CP 42152 Marrakech, Maroc

Can I pay by credit card?

Sorry, for the moment we can not offer you this service.

I'm too late with paying my booking. Will my booking continue?

When you haven’t paid your trek or tour in time, Toubkalguide has the right to cancel the booking from our side.

Morocco

What is the best time to travel to Morocco?

Morocco is a fine destination for traveling all year round. Even the warmer summer season is a fine time for traveling, because the air will be warm and dry. In the heat of the day you may look for some shade, but in the morning you may very well participate in an excursion, while during the afternoon you may enjoy a medina and buy nice souvenirs.

What are the formalities for entering Morocco?

All visitors to Morocco require a valid passport but visitors from the following countries do not need to obtain visas before arrival: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus (except Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus), Czech Republic, Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela.

For tourists from countries that need a visa to enter Morocco, the Moroccan Embassy is usually the first port of call. The visas are usually valid for 3 months and take around 5-6 working days to process.

Tourists can stay for up to 90 days and visa extensions can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. (You may find it easier to duck into the Spanish-controlled Ceuta or Melilla and then re-enter Morocco for a new stamp).

What is the local currency in Morocco?

The Moroccan currency unit is the Dirham. You will get it only once in Morocco by means of travelers, currency exchange or international credit cards. You will find a lot of exchange offices and ATM’s in bigger cities such as Marrakech, Ouarzazate and Essaouira.

For your information: 1 euro = 10 Dirhams.

When withdrawing at a local ATM, we advise you to ask your bank how much commission you will be charged. Normally it is fixed, so it is better for you to withdraw the necessary amount for your extras and shopping in one or two times to economize the costs.

Are there health risks in Morocco?

Morocco health information also states that it is a malaria-free country. In order to enter Morocco, no vaccinations are needed. But, there are two vaccinations that are needed. They are Typhoid and Hepatitis A. According to Morocco Health Information, it would be advisable to have polio and tetanus vaccines. Please check your local health institure for update information on vacinations.

As sun is very strong in Morocco, you must apply sunscreen lotion to your skin. Moreover, drink plenty of water. Avoid buying food from street stalls. Do not drink tap water, as it might be harmful. Thus, it is a health advice for travelers to drink boiled water.

What kind of clothes should I wear?

The normal dress code on the street in Morocco is to cover legs, chest and arms for both men and women and although this is much more relaxed than it used to be, please don’t assume that you won’t offend because others dress in a western style.

Though the days can be very warm between late October and April, it is usually cold at night, so it is wise to bring some warm clothing with you.

What is the food like?

In one word….DELICIOUS 🙂

Moroccan cuisine is often reputed to be some of the best in the world, with countless dishes and variations proudly bearing the country’s colonial and Arabic influences. Unfortunately as a tourist through Morocco, especially if you’re on a budget, you’ll be limited to the handful of dishes that seem to have a monopoly on cafe and restaurant menus throughout the country. Apart from major cities, Morocans do not generally eat out in restaurants so choice is generally limited to international fare such as Chinese, Indian and French cuisine. Traditional cuisine Couscous made from semolina grains and steamed in a colander-like dish known as a couscoussière is the staple food for most Moroccans, and is probably the best known Moroccan meal. It can be served as an accompaniment to a stew or tagine, or mixed with meat and vegetables and presented as a main course.

Tagine, a spicy stew of meat and vegetables that has been simmered for many hours in a conical clay pot (from which the dish derives its name). Restaurants offer dozens of variations (from Dh 25 in budget restaurant) including chicken tagine with lemon and olives and prawn tagine in a spicy tomato sauce.

A popular Berber contribution to Moroccan cuisine is kaliya, a combination of lamb, tomatoes, bell peppers and onion and served with couscous or bread.

A popular delicacy in Morocco is Pastilla, made by layering thin pieces of flakey dough between sweet, spiced meat filling (often lamb or chicken, but most enjoyably pigeon) and layers of almond-paste filling. The dough is wrapped into a plate-sized pastry that is baked and coated with a dusting of powdered sugar.

A Dh 3 – Dh 5 serve of harira or besara will always include some bread to mop the soup up and will fill you up for breakfast or lunch: Moroccans often elect to begin their meals with warming bowl of harira (French: soupe moroccaine), a delicious soup made from lentils, chick peas, lamb stock, tomatoes and vegetables. Surprisingly, among Moroccans harira has a role of nourishing food for “blue-collars” rather than a high-flying cuisine.

Soups are also traditional breakfasts in Morocco. Bissara, a thick glop made from split peas and a generous wallop of olive oil can be found bubbling away near markets and in medinas in the mornings.

Many cafes (see Drink) and restaurants also offer good value petit déjeuner breakfast deals, which basically include a tea or coffee, orange juice (jus d’Orange) and a croissant or bread with marmalade from Dh 10.

What language is spoken?

Moroccan Arabic is a dialect of Maghreb Arabic. The language is fairly different from the Arabic traditionally spoken in the Middle East and is also slightly influenced by French or Spanish, depending on where in the country you are. This dialect is also related to Spanish, as Spanish was heavily influenced by Arabic from Morocco before the expulsion of 1492.

Berber, or the Amazigh language, is spoken by Morocco’s Berber population. In the mountain regions of the north the dialect is Tarifit, the central region the dialect is Tamazight, and in the south of the country the dialect is Tachelheet.

French is still widely understood in Morocco, and it is the most useful non-Arabic language to know.

What is the weather like?

Morocco has such a varied climate (snow capped peaks to scorching desert dunes!) that there is always somewhere to go. Taroudant is the warmest place in Morocco between October and April. Essaouira is the perfect place at any time of year, as the temperature varies so little. Ouarzazate and the Deep Desert is best in spring and autumn to avoid extremes. Being further inland Marrakech, Fez and Ouarzazate have a more extreme climate.

Note that there can be a great contrast between day and night temperatures. Even in the depths of winter the sun tends to produce very pleasant warmth during the middle of the day.

What are the national holidays in Morocco?

A handy list of Morocco holidays is given below:

January 1 New Year’s Day
January 11 Proclamation Of Independence. On this day, Moroccan King Mohammed V declared the erstwhile state of Morocco be liberated from the French rule.
May 1 International Labour Day
July 30 Celebration Of The Throne. This is the day when the Moroccans celebrate the accession of King Mohammed VI on the throne.
August 20 Revolution of the King and the People
August 21 Birthday of King Mohammed VI.
November 6 Green March. On this day in 1975, there was a mass demonstration in Morocco with the aid of the government against the Spanish withholding of the now Western Sahara region.
November 18 Independence Day.
Above are the national holidays in Morocco that follow the Gregorian calendar. Morocco is a predominantly Islamic country with a plethora of Islamic festivals, all following the lunar calendar. The discrepancy between the Islamic lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar means that the precise Gregorian date for these festivals cannot be predicted. Below is a list of the Morocco public holidays according to the lunar calendar:

Muslim New Year
Rabi’ al-awwal 12 Birthday of Prophet Muhammad
Shawwal 1 Eid ul-Fitr
Dhu al-Hijjah 10 Eid ul-Adha

Would it be wise to bring some sort of medication for stomach discomfort?

Yes. While the food in general and municipal water supplies in Morocco are perfectly safe, one never knows how your body will react to new and unusual foods or different water supplies. Therefore, it is always wise to keep with you some sort of stomach medication such as Imodium at all times.

Do you have any tips for women-travellers?

Encountering unwanted attention from Moroccan men is unfortunately a possibility for female travelers. The relative lack of social interaction between the sexes in Morocco results in men having little exposure to women other than their immediate family. They often see Western women as not being bound by Morocco’s social restrictions, and perhaps have a not-so-respectful assumption of them via easily accessible Internet pornography. This assumption of availability emboldens the Moroccan male to make advances on female travelers that they would never attempt with Moroccan women.

This generally takes the form of catcalls and straight-up come-ons. Blonde women may be singled out, and women traveling alone generally receive more attention than most.

All of this sounds terribly negative, but most women never receive any harassment and are nothing but glowing in their praise for the respect shown to them. Try not to be paranoid or aggressive toward all Moroccan men. It’s extremely rare for harassment to go any further than the odd catcall or lewd remark.

Basic tips:

Ignore cat calls, tsskkss’s, whistles and anything else thrown at you verbally by bored men.
Wear sunglasses to avoid direct eye contact with men.
Respect the culture you are in.
Dress conservatively. This is very important in Muslim countries if you want to avoid extra hassle. No mini skirts, shorts, tank tops or tight shirts.
Don’t go out on your own at night.
Say you are married and carry a photo of your ‘husband’ with you.
If you feel you are being harrassed or followed, walk into a shop or hotel and ask for help.
If you are lost ask directions from a woman or family.
Make a scene if you are groped or pinched and shame the person publicly. A shout will usually do the trick.

What are faux guides and touts?

Some Moroccans that you meet on the streets have come up with dozens of ways to part you from your money. Keep your wits about you, but don’t let your wariness stop you from accepting any offers of generous Moroccan hospitality. Put on a smile and greet everybody that greets you, but still be firm if you are not interested. This will leave you significantly better off than just ignoring them. Faux guides and touts congregate around tourist areas and will offer to show you around the medinas, help you find accommodation, take you to a handicraft warehouse, or even score some drugs. While these men can often be harmless, never accept drugs or other products from them. Be polite, but make it clear if you’re not interested in their services, and if they get too persistent, head for a taxi, salon de the, or into the nearest shop.

The best way to avoid Faux guides and touts is to avoid eye contact and ignore them, this will generally discourage them as they will try to invest their time in bothering another more willing tourist. Another way is to walk quickly; if eye contact happens just give them a smile, preferably a strong and beaming one rather than a shy one meaning no! thanks (they are very clever in judging human emotions and will bother you if they feel a weakness). The word La ( Arabic for No ) can be particularly effective, since it doesn’t reveal your native language. Just another is to pretend you only speak some exotic language and don’t understand whatever they say. Be polite and walk away. If you engage in arguing or a conversation with them, you will have a hell of time getting rid of them, as they are incredibly persistent and are masters in harassment, nothing really embarrasses them as they consider this being their way of earning their living.

Some of the more common tactics to be aware of are as follows. Many Faux guides will pretend they are students when they approach you and that they just want to practice their English and learn about your culture, invariably if you follow them, there is a big chance you will end up in a carpet or souvenirs shop. A variant is they will show you an English letter and will ask you to translate it for them, or will ask for your help to their English speaking friend/cousin/relative etc abroad. Expect to be told that anywhere and everywhere is ‘closed’. Invariably, this is not the case, but a con to get you to follow them instead. Do not do this. Do not accept ‘free gifts’ from vendors. You will find that a group of people will approach you accusing you of stealing it, and will extort the price from you. Always insist that prices are fixed beforehand. This is especially true for taxi fares, where trips around a city should cost no more than 20 Dirham, in general, or be done on the meter. This cannot be stressed enough. In ALL situations (including Henna Tatoos) always agree on a price before! When bargaining, never name a price that you are not willing to pay. At bus/train stations, people will tell you that there have been cancellations, and that you won’t be able to get a bus/train. Again, this is almost always a con to get you to accept a hyped-up taxi fare. In general, do not accept the services of people who approach you. Never be afraid to say no.