Frequently Asked Questions
About Your Trip
Anything you don't want to carry with you on the trek can be locked up at the hotel in Marrakech.
If you want an idea of the most basic refuge (Nelter refuge), you can have a look here, which should give you an idea.
Some of the refuges and gites on the mountain have sockets and electricity and there are showers (shared) at the gite but be aware they are basic and hot water isn't always guaranteed. Real soap or shower gel is fine. The beds have mattresses, so you just need your sleeping bag. They are basic but as long as you're aware of this, you should be fine.
Food & water
There are random places to buy water around the mountain, and also trekking up from the gite. On the actual ascent, you normally carry what you need from the hut, and this has been boiled and is drinkable. I didn't take any purification tablets with me and was fine. A camelbak is fine to take, although I used a water bottle. I wouldn't worry too much about purification tablets, we didn't need any on our trek.
It's also a good idea to take some snacks along, I stuffed my day bag with Snickers and energy bars before I left, which I was grateful for.
Clothing & equipment
Wearing shorts won't offend people, even in the villages. Trekkers are a regular sight on the route, so as long as it's not too revealing, it's fine. The people we met along the way were unfailingly friendly.
You might have some rain (although not that likely) but storms in summer are rare, from what I was told when I was there. A light waterproof jacket is really all you need, I would say. I took one and used it about the middle of the trip, but that was all. You could take waterproof trousers as well, but they're not essential.
Good walking boots are a must, you are climbing to nearly 4500m - walking shoes won't do it at all. The ground underfoot is rough a lot of the way, and there is lots of ascent and descent, so ankle support is essential. I don't think there's a great deal of difference between leather boots and synthetic, it's down to what you prefer yourself.
I also found a headtorch useful and would advise taking one, handy at night and for any early starts.
It's usually a 6am start for the peak. There are some steep ascents but they take it slowly, with maybe a small bit of scrambling. It's a good idea to use walking poles as well, for the steep sections and having something to balance on helps a lot, but maybe just one if that's your preference.
You can have snow at the top or earlier, and there was a lot of very late snow on Toubkal in 2011. Rain can also happen and we had one day of rain on my trip. Obviously it can vary depending on where you are and also local conditions, but expect it to be hot (20s - 30s) down in Marrakech and then a sliding scale the higher you go. Mornings and evenings will be the coolest. It's still hot on the lower slopes around the mountain but could get down to single figures at the higher reaches. You'll need a windproof/ waterproof jacket and a warm fleece, as well as the usualy layers underneath.
It's a pretty stress free trip, and the guides know what they're doing so you shouldn't have too many issues. Although the walking days aren't so long (usually 5, 6 hours max), you have a few days with big altitude gains so this can have an affect on how your calves feel the next morning.
Because they take it fairly steady, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery along the way (especially going over the Tizikert Pass), and there are some great valleys you pass through.
The guides will give advice as you go along, so listen out to what they have to say. But apart from that, trek slowly and make sure you drink about 4 litres of water per day.
You have the first afternoon there, and also an afternoon/ night/ morning at the end, so plenty of time for shopping. It's a busy city, with lots of tourists and some people do find the sellers quite pushy but I didn't mind it. The central square is constantly full of noise and shouting, people selling everything you can think of. The souks (markets) are very busy as well but not as full on.
People will ask you to come into their shop all the time but just smile and decline if not interested. The can feel pushy but have been doing it for hundreds of years and it's not just something for the tourists, it's the nature of their business!
Olly Leicester - Sales
Yes! When not staying in a hotel, you will always have a foam sleeping mat or full mattress if staying in a gite.
Danuta Janik - Customer Operations
Expect it to be hot during the day with strong sun, mid to high 20s is the norm. However, there can be a cool breeze and you will need extra layers when you stop. As ever in the mountains be prepared for quick, unpredictable changes in the weather and have appropriate clothing for this. At night temperatures can drop to zero.
David Richardson - Sales
You will need comfortable walking boots with ankle support, and something lighter for the evenings.
David Richardson - Sales
The EU recently banned the use of iodine tablets, therefore these will no longer be provided on trek. We advise you buy your own purification tablets in the UK (Biox Aqua drops are good) and take them with you. Bottled water can be purchased throughout most parts of the trip, yet please note recycling is not fully established in a lot of areas.
Danuta Janik - Morocco Operations
Marrakech is truly a taste of Morocco at it's best. Grab a seat in the huge main square, the Djemma el Fna, and watch the world go by while sipping some mint tea. It's been a place of entertainment for locals for hundreds of years and is packed with everything from food stalls to snake charmers! The Majorelle and Menara gardens are also well worth a visit, and offer some peace in the middle of this hectic city.
At night, anyone looking for somewhere to chill out in the heart of the medina should try the Café Arabe, which has some of the best modern Moroccan food around, as well as great views from their rooftop terrace!
Kim Christie - Customer Operations
Moroccan cuisine is very diverse, with many influeneces due to the interaction of Morocco with the outside world for centuries. The cuisine of Morocco is a mix of Berber, Moorish, Mediterranean and Arab influences. The main Moroccan dish most people are familiar with is couscous, usually eaten with beef or lamb. Chicken is also very common and the importance of seafood is increasing, especially on the coast. Vegetarians won't have any problems either, although choice can be more limited in remote locations.
The common and tasty tajine is everywhere, a mouth watering stew with meat and vegetables. Green tea with mint is the drink of choice, and you can pick up bocadillos (sandwiches) from street stalls everywhere - you won't go hungry!
Olly Leicester - Sales
You will find taxis everywhere but the only way to travel around the city and soak up the atmosphere is to jump in a Calesh! If there’s one thing, you do make sure you enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride around the old walled city or medina. Your hotel can arrange for a caleche to collect you pick one up from the ‘taxi rank’ at the entrance to the Djemma el Fna or main square.
Ben Roseveare - Marketing Director
You can find a comprehensive article covering this matter here: http://www.himalayanrescue.org/hra/article.php?sno=9
Alex Doaga - Exodus leader
If you are used to walking with poles then you can take them with you. They are not essential though and the walk is manageable without them. It is personal preference but do remember to pack them as part of your main luggage to be stowed in the hold.
Sharmil Goswami - Sales
Morocco Specific Questions
Please note that the holy month of Ramadan will take place from the 20th of July to the 18th of August 2012 (dates can shift slightly). This is a time when followers of Islam do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. This can sometimes affect the opening hours of certain tourist sites. However we will ensure that that the itinerary is affected as little as possible if you travel during this period. Food and drink is available to tourists during the day.
Brendan Phelan - Customer Operations
You are visiting a predominantly Muslim country, therefore you should dress modestly at all times when visiting cultural sites, and there may also be times when you are asked to 'cover up'. During your trip the tour leader will always advise you on appropriate dress for each day's activities.
If you are asked to 'cover up', you'll need to cover your shoulders, arms and legs. We recommend packing lightweight trousers or a long skirt, and a long sleeved shirt. Women may also be required to cover their hair with a scarf if entering a mosque or religious quarters.
Jim Eite - Product Manager
The Moroccan currency is the Dirham and cannot be imported or exported, as it is a 'closed' currency. We suggest you take your personal spending money in good condition notes, either in £, Euros or US$. Local costs - it depends! - £2-4 per day to cover postcards, small souvenirs, soft drinks etc; £15 a day for food is fine (if it's not included).
Danuta Janik - Morocco Operations
Please visit the Exodus Travel Guide to Morocco where you can find out what plugs they use, as well as more detailed Country information in the menu on the left of the page.
Walking & Trekking Specific Questions
You can view the Grading System for our Walking & Trekking programme online.
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