Morocco the Kasbahs and Desert Destination Facts

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At Your Destination

Eco & Sustainable Tourism
We support global efforts to create a more eco-friendly world, intolerant of any forms of cruelty, abuse and intentional environmental destruction. To that end we ask that our clients maintain a watchful eye as they travel, and report any abuses they may encounter. One of the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel to and learn about foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and respect for local customs.

 

About Your Sightseeing
Your tour manager will contact you To ensure a pleasant and fair experience for passengers on our escorted tours, there is a mandatory seat rotation policy on our motor coaches which will be organized by your Tour Manager. When travel dates coincide with religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed, sometimes without prior notice. On these occasions, escorted touring itineraries may be amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances including weather conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which may affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the monument’s view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations, 3rd Rock Adventures will decide based on the conditions whether to amend an itinerary.
Morocco
Please be advised that bathroom facilities at comfort stops or restaurants do not always provide toilet paper. We recommend keeping extra tissues or toilet paper with you throughout the tour.

Land Only Passengers (Escorted Tours)
All Passengers will be met out side of Customs and Immigration by your driver who will be holding the sign for 3rd Rock Adventures.  3rd Rock  Adventures will work with you to attempt to insure that all passengers arrive at approximately the same time.  Where this is not possible, fear not you will be met by a private car and driver who will ensure that you arrive at the hotel safely. The details of the hotel can be found in your documents.

Purchasing Tours Locally
On escorted tours, the guides will generally sell optional tours to passengers who have not pre-purchased them. Payment can be made by cash or credit card, unless otherwise noted below. This does not apply to Independent packages. Please see 3rd Rock Adventures Terms & Conditions for more information. http://www.gate1travel.com/terms.aspx#optional

Independent Activities – 3rd Rock Adventures itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently and with due consideration. Gate 1 is not responsible for any activities not expressly included in its programs. Caution should be exercised when selecting certain activities that may require physical strength, coordination or exertion. Particular care should be taken when considering animal rides, such as on camels, mules or horses.

Currency
We suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country you’re visiting before you depart. It is a good idea to carry a chart with you to help you convert dollars to the local currency. It’s also a good idea not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads on foreign ATMs don’t always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you decide to carry cash or travelers checks, exchange them at banks where the rate is more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus. Please note that many banks and most vendors will not accept or exchange $100 bills. We suggest to carry $20 bills or smaller. In many destinations (except Western Europe), we suggest to bring between $50 to $100 in $1 bills which may be used to pay gratuities.

Morocco – The Moroccan Dirham is the currency of Morocco.

Please be aware that ATMs are mainly found in banks in major cities. However, not all machines accept all cards. Hotels do not usually have ATMs. When traveling to southern regions of the country including Ouarzazate and Zagora, ensure that you have sufficient cash on hand, as ATMs will not be available. It is recommended to carry cash in small denominations in local currency or in US $1 bills to make tipping and minor expenses easier.

Credit Cards
While credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local currency. Inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons.
Most US-issued credit cards rely on magnetic-strip technology rather than embedded microprocessor chips which are increasingly common overseas. These “chip-and-PIN” cards require users to punch in a personal identification number (PIN) instead of signing for a purchase. For example, many automated ticket kiosks, such as those commonly found at train stations, gas pumps and parking garages, don’t accept cards without a chip and PIN. Most cash registers are equipped to handle American cards but if you encounter difficulties, offer an alternative credit card or politely insist that the cashier keep trying to swipe the credit card. ATMs typically recognize and accept US issued debit cards. For travel to Europe, should you anticipate using ticket kiosks or purchasing train tickets locally, you may consider buying tickets and other basic purchases prior to departure.

Shopping
Most people enjoy bringing home at least one souvenir from the countries they visit. However, some find any amount of shopping to be too much while others never find enough opportunities.

We have built into our Escorted itineraries a few shopping stops at recommended spots. These stops are designed to enhance your experience by providing an opportunity to see first-hand quality locally-crafted merchandise which you may not be able to find alone. Shops are checked to ensure the quality and authenticity of the products they offer, and we limit guides from visiting other locations. In some cases, we plan these stops to provide an opportunity to use clean bathrooms and to stretch your legs. All shops want your satisfaction, and therefore in case of any misunderstanding they ask that you kindly submit your claim to us within 72 hours of the item’s receipt.

While shopping independently, we advise you to exercise care and common sense when making any purchase. Always get a formal receipt. And remember that, just like in this country, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!

About Tax-Free Shopping
Tax-Free Shopping allows shoppers to reclaim the VAT (Value-Added Tax) or GST (Goods and Services Tax) they have paid on their shopping in some foreign countries in accordance with restrictions and procedures as dictated by each country. If interested, we suggest you check the respective country’s online website, or with your tour manager or with www.globalblue.com for specific country regulations and airport operation hours. Please keep in mind that you must apply for VAT refund in the airport of the country the items were purchased.

U.S. Customs & Shipping Charges
You may carry items with a fair retail value totaling $800 into the U.S. Taxes may be applied to the next $1,000 worth of merchandise. U.S. Customs determines the value of your items, often honoring a genuine sales receipt. Items which are shipped home are always subject to duty when received in the U.S. (in addition to shipping charges). Some shops may offer to include shipping and duties in the price but this typically means shipping only to the customs facility closest to you and payment only of the export duties; you would still need to collect the item and pay U.S. import duties. Please be aware that it is illegal to import products made from endangered animal species. U.S. Customs & Border Protection will seize these items, as well as most furs, coral, tortoise shell, reptile skins, feathers, plants, and items made from animal skins.

Morocco – Shopping is an experience in itself in Morocco, with vibrant souks, markets, and bazaars staffed by vendors hawking their wares. In cities, the Medina districts offers a glimpse into daily life, as well as an assortment of interesting goods, ranging from hand-tanned leather products to fine carpets and pottery. Local vendors can be aggressive and at times even intimidating. Haggling is expected. One bargaining trick is to find a fixed-price store to get a better sense of what a reasonable price for the item of interest would be.

Credit Cards may be accepted at large stores. Vendors in souks and medinas will likely only accept cash.

Your Safety is Very Important
Prior to your trip, if you are traveling overseas, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov, specifically the section which addresses International Travel. You should read the tips for foreign travel and travel warnings for the country or countries that you plan to visit.

It is also important that you do not allow your common sense to take a vacation while on your trip. Here are several tips which, if followed, will save much potential hardship:

  • Be aware of potentially dangerous places and situations as you would be at home. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden pouches. Your objective is to avoid drawing attention and to blend in with the crowd
  • Don’t put all your valuables (money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place (in case one wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in another safe place)
  • Do not leave valuables laying loose in your room. Use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit card numbers and travelers checks numbers in the hotel safe
  • Credit cards are generally accepted everywhere and are safer than traveling with large amounts of cash
  • Do not pack valuables (cameras, computers, jewelry, etc.) in your checked luggage. Keep hard-to-replace valuables with you in your carry-on bag
  • Keep wallets safely tucked into front trouser pockets and/or wear a money pouch inside your clothing
  • Carry handbags close to your body, shoulder bags the cross-body method with the bag in front of your body.

If you’ve purchased an escorted tour program, your travel documents will include telephone numbers of local 3rd Rock Adventures representatives who will do their utmost to assist you in the event of an emergency. The numbers are printed on your 3rd Rock Adventures vouchers. Please copy the numbers. Once you relinquish the voucher, you will not have this information. Passengers traveling independently should employ the services of hotel concierges and local authorities.

Tourist Street Scams
Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed or robbed:

  • Remain alert and cautious. Be wary of any unusual contact or commotion in crowded public places, including train stations, markets, subways and tourist sites;
  • Be especially careful when traveling independently, or leaving your tour group to explore on your own. Try not to travel alone, especially at night. Avoid narrow alleys and poorly lit streets;
  • Use only official taxis and check the change you receive from all taxi drivers and vendors;
  • Beware of pickpockets often working with an accomplice who will distract you by spilling something on you, dropping a wallet or other seemingly valuable object, or tripping and falling down in front of you;
  • Beware of aggressive street vendors who may approach you offering a demonstration which may end with you being pressured to purchase an item or act as a distraction for another pickpocket;
  • Don’t tip beggars;
  • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest;
  • Carry modest amounts of cash (US dollars) in small denominations so that you can avoid flashing large bills when paying for small items;
  • ATM machines can be a convenient way to carry less currency. However those machines too can be used for robbery. Be wary of anyone who can look over your shoulder when inputting PINs.
  • Another scam involves rigging the machine with a plastic insert which makes your card retrieval difficult; the thief then removes your card after you walk away;
  • If you are confronted, do not fight back – give up your valuables. If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police and keep a copy of the official report for insurance claims.

Local Emergency Phone Numbers
Morocco
Ambulance/Fire: 15
Police: 19

Languages
Morocco – Arabic is the local language. French is taught and used universally for commerce. Spanish is spoken in some northern regions.

Electricity
Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.

Morocco – The voltage used is 220 volts.

Code of Conduct
Morocco – Morocco is an Islamic country. Shaking hands is a standard form of greeting. Normal courtesies should be observed. Casual dress is acceptable, but women should take care to dress modestly. Beachwear should be confined to the beach and poolside. While freedom to practice one’s religion is guaranteed and non-Muslims are not harassed, proselytizing is prohibited and even a discussion of religion in public may violate this restriction. Smoking is very common.

Gratuities
Tipping is always a matter of personal discretion. For your convenience, please use the summary below as a guideline for recommended gratuity amounts. Gratuities may be paid in local currency or US dollar equivalent where accepted. Please be aware that tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional “compensation.” There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour manager or phone our local office. Numbers are provided in your documents for your convenience.

Suggested Tipping: Escorted Tours

Tour Manager (Coordinator; may or may not act as a guide): US $7 per person per day
Driver (Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage) : US $3 per person per day, US $2 per half day
Local Guide (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or many guides along a tour program): US $3 per person per day of sightseeing, US $2 per half day
Hotel porters and wait staff: Included

Morocco – It is customary to tip in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists.

Food and Meals
As specified in each itinerary. Meals are based on the hotel’s or restaurant’s buffet or set menu. In general, beverages are not included, unless specifically stated. Although 3rd Rock Adventures cannot make guarantees, every effort will be made to honor special dietary requests submitted in writing at least 7 days prior to departure to Travel@3rdrockadventures.com.

Morocco – While it is generally safe to eat fully cooked meats and vegetables, care should be taken to avoid undercooked meat and uncooked fruits and vegetables. Because tap water is not potable, visitors should only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Avoid ice, as it is usually made from tap water.

Mineral water is provided with dinners on escorted tours.

Holidays 2016
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 11
Proclamation of Independence
May 1 Workers’ or Labor Day
Jun 6-Jul 5
Ramadan
Jul 5
Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)*
Jul 30
Enthronement
Aug 14
Oued Ed-Dahab Day
Aug 20
Revolution of the King and the People
Aug 21
Birthday of King Mohammed VI
Sep 11-14
Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)*
Oct 1
Islamic New Year*
Nov 18 Independence Day
Dec 12
Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet)*

* Please note that Islamic holidays are based a lunar calendar, and exact dates depend on local sightings of the moon. Because of this, actual dates may vary slightly from the dates given above.

Itinerary – Morocco
Some days involve long distances driving in the coach. The drive between Fez and Marrakesh is approximately 10 hours of scenic route, with rest stops en route. There are no emergency bathrooms on the coaches in Morocco.
Average temperatures for Africa Prices