How do I redeem my voucher? For which dates is it valid?
To redeem your voucher simply reach out to Encounters Travel as instructed in your confirmation email, and be sure to provide your order number.
There are three voucher periods available for purchase. You may select travel dates within the voucher period you purchased. If you want to move your travel date to a new voucher period additional costs will apply:
Period 1: January 9 - June 30, 2021,
Period 2: July 1 - September 17, 2021,
Period 3: September 18 - December 31, 2021
If you purchase voucher period 1 (January 9, 2021 - June 30, 2021) and choose a departure date within this timeframe a surcharge will apply:
March 6 - June 4, 2021 ($90 surcharge)
If you purchase voucher period 3 (September 18 - December 31, 2021) and choose a departure date within one of these timeframes a surcharge will apply:
December 18 - December 25, 2021 ($100 surcharge)
December 26 - December 31, 2021 ($240 surcharge)
Generally, trips depart twice a month on Saturdays during the voucher period. Travel dates are subject to availability. Please refrain from making travel arrangements until you receive confirmation from Encounters Travel. There is a minimum of two people required to confirm a departure date.
Are private departures available?
Yes! Private departures are available on any travel date, within the voucher period you selected, for two or more participants and additional costs may apply. Please contact our Adventures Team to explore pricing and check on availability.
Is my departure guaranteed?
Please note there is a minimum of two participants required in order to guarantee each departure. Please wait until you've received confirmation from Encounters Travel before making any travel arrangements.
What is the best way to get to the trip start location?
Fly into Marrakesh, Morocco (RAK), where you’ll be met by a representative from Encounters Travel and transferred to your hotel. If you need assistance booking your flights, Encounters Travel is able to assist with this after you have booked your travel dates.
What are the accommodations like? Can I upgrade my accommodations?
You'll stay in good quality, budget range hotels rated at the local Moroccan 3-star level on this tour (local star ratings may vary slightly from international standards). Accommodations are based on double or twin en-suite rooms with air conditioning and all couples will have a private double room. The overnight Berber camp in the desert is spent in simple but comfortable goat hair tents with beds and bedding provided. You may want to bring a sleeping bag or sleeping sheet for extra comfort during the colder winter months (November-February).
The following are the base level hotels included in the trip cost:
Madina Club Resort, Marrakesh
Le Tichka Hotel, Ouarzazate
Kasbah Leila, Bivouac Pieds-des-dunes, Merzouga
Ksar Tinsouline, Zagora
The following upgrades are available if you are interested (please contact our Travel Services Team for pricing if interested):
Comfort level hotel upgrade
This option upgrades the accommodation on the tour to good quality 4-star hotels in Marrakesh and Ouarzazate, while the Zagora hotel is upgraded to a traditional Kasbah-style hotel or riad. The same Berber camp is used as the main tour for your night in the Erg Chebbi sand dunes on the edge of the Sahara. The normal hotel options for this upgrade are the Atlas Asni in Marrakesh, Le Riad or Farah Al Janoub in Ouarzazate, and Palais Asma in Zagora, though alternative properties of a similar standard may be used on some dates. An upgraded tent with a private bathroom is included in the desert.
Superior level hotel upgrade
This option upgrades the accommodation on this tour to a standard 5-star hotel in Marrakesh and Ouarzazate, an upgraded deluxe Berber Camp, and a Kasbah-style hotel near Zagora. The normal hotel options for this upgrade are Les Jardins D' L'Agdalin Marrakesh, Berbere Palace in Ourzazate, Bivouac Etoile Deluxe in the desert, and Riad Lamane in Zagora, though alternative properties of a similar standard may be used on some dates.
Note on both upgrades: Solo travelers will need to pay the main single supplement plus an additional supplement to cover the extra cost of single rooms in the upgraded hotels.
Can solo travelers get their own room? Is there a single supplement fee?
Solo travelers may choose to pay a single room supplement of $175 to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Please contact our Adventures Team to explore availability. Alternatively, you may choose to share a twin room with another traveler of the same sex. If there are no other single travelers available to pair up with at the time of your booking, then the single supplement will be added to the tour price. However, this will be refunded from your balance payment if Encounters Travel is able to pair you up later on. Note that this single supplement fee is in addition to the hotel upgrade prices given in the previous FAQ.
What is the maximum number of people that will be in my group?
There is a minimum of 2 guests per departure and a maximum of 26 guests, though this is being reduced for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic.
What is the weather like?
The Moroccan climate varies according to season and region. The coast has a warm, Mediterranean climate tempered on the eastern coast by southwest trade winds. Inland areas have a hotter, drier, continental climate. In the south of the country, the weather is very hot and dry throughout most of the year, though temperatures can drop dramatically at night, especially in desert and mountains and in the months of December and January. It rains from November to March in coastal areas, and the rest of the country is mostly dry with high temperatures in summer and a cooler climate in the mountains. Marrakesh and Agadir enjoy an average temperature of 70°F (21°C) in the winter. Depending on the time of year, you should be prepared for both hot and cold conditions.
What is the food like? What meals are included?
Meals provided will be served in the various accommodations and will generally be served buffet style with a mix of different local Moroccan cuisines, with tagines and grilled chicken as a specialty. Breakfast and dinner are included on most days. Please see the itinerary for the meals that are provided.
What should I pack?
Small to medium sized suitcases, rucksacks, or duffel bags are all fine to bring to Morocco. Check with your airline for weight and size restrictions. You should also bring a small daypack with you for day trips.
Regarding clothing, modesty is very important in Morocco (especially for women), so to respect the local culture and people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are okay in tourist sites, as are t-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (it is suggested that your shoulders remain covered). In the center of towns and cities outside tourist areas, and when visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered for both men and women. As temperatures can vary greatly between day and night, you should pack clothing suitable for both hot and cold conditions. Other recommended items include a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small flashlight, camera, and charger.
How much extra money should I bring?
While in Morocco you'll need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs, tips and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Moroccan Dirham. It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, please allow $15-$25 USD per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping or buying many alcoholic drinks.
The local currency in Morocco is the Dirham. Encounters recommends you bring some cash in a hard currency (US Dollars, GB Pounds, Euros) and a good ATM card. Most major currencies can be converted at most banks, but it's not wise to carry too much. Euros and US Dollars are welcomed more than GB Pounds. Travelers checks are not easily exchanged. It can be awkward outside of Marrakesh to find an ATM machine that takes your card as many Moroccan banks have ATMs that only work with Moroccan cards. Don't put your card in an ATM unless you see the symbol that matches your card on the machine, as you might lose your card! Encounters also suggests trying to avoid using post office ATMs. In some smaller towns there are no ATMs that take foreign cards, so be sure you get enough cash to carry you until the next major city. BCM seems to be the best bank, accepting foreign cards in most of their ATMs.
Is tipping expected?
Tipping is traditional and always greatly appreciated whenever you feel you have received excellent service. Suggested amounts for tips are US equivalent $2 per day for drivers, $2-$3 per day for the local guides who may join your tour on certain days, and $30-$45 for the main tour guide for the entire trip. In local markets and basic restaurants, you may tip by simply leaving the change. In nicer restaurants, 5-10% of the bill is standard.
Are there additional activities available?
The following activities are available to add on to your tour and are all run from Marrakesh (they generally all require adding an extra night in Marrakesh at the start or finish of the tour):
Marrakesh hot air balloon flight - $250
The hot air balloon tour lasts about half a day, with the flight itself lasting about 1 hour. You start very early in the morning (around 5:30-6:30 am) with a pick up from your hotel and a drive in a comfortable 4WD vehicle to the take-off site.
Marrakesh quad-biking - $70
This is an exciting half day tour in the desert and countryside outside of Marrakesh. You drive for around 30 miles, with a tea break included, and take in some sand dunes and villages en-route.
Ourika Valley half-day tour - $100
Situated at the base of the famous Oukaimeden ski station, the lush Ourika Valley slowly rises up to the foothills of the High Atlas mountains. This beautiful valley is home to many traditional Berber villages.
Essaouira day trip - $170
Essaouira is a lovely laid back town with a great beach for kite surfing and wind surfing (tends to be a bit windy for sunbathing), great shopping and lovely streets to explore or to relax in the cafes and restaurants.
Plateau of Kik tour - $100
This fun adventure takes you by Land Rover across the desert track of the Kik Plateau and to Lalla Takarkoust Lake. Lunch is included at a local restaurant beneath nomad tents.
Do you require or recommend travel insurance?
Travel insurance is required for this adventure. It allows you to seek reimbursement if you are forced to cancel your trip for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to cover medical help, emergency transport, and/or theft or accidental damage while traveling. We recommend VisitorsCoverage as a provider.
Are there special requirements for entry into the destination I am visiting?
We recommend you visit the local government websites where you plan to travel and review the required documentation for entry, current restrictions, and general recommendations for travel within the area. We encourage you to also visit your home country's embassy website if you are traveling to a foreign country. Requirements can change rapidly. Please be sure you stay abreast of the requirements and restrictions for anywhere you plan to visit. You can also enroll in the U.S. government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and you will be sent updates if the situation in your destination changes. You can find the program link at https://step.state.gov/.
Can I cancel or modify the trip?
Yes! Book confidently with Free Cancellations within 72 hours of booking. After 72 hours, cancellation fees will apply.
New For 2021 Departures: We’re providing more flexible booking options on this trip.
Up to 60 days prior to departure*
You may postpone or modify your trip up to 60 days prior to departure.
You will have the option to:
1) Select a new travel date. Additional trip costs may apply.
2) Receive 100% lifetime store credit toward a future trip.
Up to 30 days prior to departure
You may postpone or modify your trip up to 30 days prior to departure.
You will have the option to:
1) Select a new travel date. Additional trip costs may apply.
2) Receive lifetime store credit toward a future trip. Standard cancellation fees will apply.
Less than 30 days prior to departure
In some cases, you may have the option to postpone your trip within 30 days prior to departure.
If this is available at the time of your request, you will have the option to:
1) Select a new travel date. Additional trip costs may apply and new dates are subject to availability, or
2) Receive a lifetime store credit toward a future trip. Standard cancellation fees will apply.
For more information on our Travel Cancellation Policy please Click Here.