Morocco Explored

We travel from Manchester to Marrakech tomorrow and on Sunday morning will head off on our tour with Morocco Explored. Interesting getting our head around the culture in Morocco, it’ll no doubt be unlike any other place we’ve been to. We received a 6 page info pack with the itinerary you can see below, I’ve copied just the tipping advice section from the info pack, we’ve made a bit of a cheat sheet from this as a reminder to ourselves, we so don’t want to offend anyone along the way!

Lots of fun to come, as well as some sunshine and warmer weather 🙂

December 30
Your driver will meet you at your Marrakech riad or hotel at 8am, take you to the vehicle and transport over the High Atlas mountains Tichka pass. You’ll have time to stop for coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice and enjoy impressive landscapes. We’ll pass through Ouarzazate, and many Berber villages clustered with kasbahs (fortified dwellings that house many families and their livestock). Stay in Dades valley auberge (small country inn), overlooking the valley gorge and gardens. Includes dinner and breakfast.

December 31
You’ll have a short drive to Tinehir, and you can wander with a guide* through Todra Gorge: a massive fault dividing the High Atlas mountains, rising to 300 m in a narrow valley thick with palmeries and Berber villages for a close look at traditional Berber ways of life. By mid-afternoon take time to settle into your room, before New Years celebrations and dinner. 8pm the fun begins, New Years buffet dinner includes traditional whole roasted lamb (Meschui) with all the trimmings and live music.

January 1
After breakfast, transport further into the desert to our auberge 29 km from Merzouga. Afternoon you will meet your camel guide* and ride at sunset into the Erg Chebbi dunes to our carpeted desert camp and sleep in traditional Nomad tents. A tagine dinner will be served under the stars in this beautiful setting, afterward learn to drum or dance by the fire in the traditional style of the Sahara.

Our desert camp is far from the crowds coming from Merzouga. It consists of a circle of five nomad tents that each sleep about 4 people but they are very rarely full. They are equipped with carpets, foam mattresses, warm wool blankets, freshly washed cotton sheets and pillows – camp also has solar lighting and nice pit toilets, kitchen tent and dining tent, and carpeting around the fire pit. All camel guides are local nomads working to support their families, and our very friendly camels love to have their ears scratched.

January 2
Return by camel at sunrise to the auberge for breakfast and shower. The remainder of the day is spent driving back to Ouarzazate where you’ll stop for lunch and visit the old Glaoui Kasbah Taouirt. Then we cross the High Atlas once more, down the Tichka pass. Arrival evening in Marrakech at approximately 6pm

Tipping
For great service and going-the-extra-mile it’s traditional to tip in the travel industry. Any one who devotes their time with you will appreciate his/her services well rewarded. Even though they do receive a daily wage, mountain guides, camel drivers, mule handlers and drivers fall into this category. Please tip individuals if they deserve it!

You can decide if you want to tip as a group or as individuals. Present a tip using your right hand. The tip will be discreetly tucked away, with barely a thank you.

General tipping rates
Any guides you hire for anything – beyond the ones we have pre-arranged – should be paid (tipped) at minimum 100 dirhams an hour or more. Guides do not earn a wage at all, your payment is their only wage. Generally a local city or site guide will expect to be given 400 dirhams or more for a days work equal to 3-4 hours; or 100 dirhams or more per hour from your group as a whole. If your group is larger than 4 people, please increase the recommended amount to 200 dirhams per hour.

Any guides we have pre-arranged and listed in your itinerary Whats Included: will be paid by us – you can tip them extra dirhams if you like their work but anything under a 100 dirham tip is considered an insult – its better to not tip at all. If you want to tip, give a meaningful amount.

Drivers are not guides. They are paid for their work, but also rely on tipping to make a good living at what they do.
For any of your drivers you can tip:
– for a daytrip at least 200 dirhams or more if you like him.
– for an extended journey like your desert tour at minimum 100 or more dirhams for each day he works with you, up to a max of your choice.

For camel trek guides each person should give 50 dirhams or more. Tipping waiters in restaurants is appreciated at the normal 10% to 15%. Café waiters can be tipped a five to ten dirhams.

Asking for money for just about anything seems to be on the rise in Marrakech, most notably in the square where, if taking pictures, they will ask for 100 dirhams. It used to be 10 – not sure where this is coming from but perhaps packaged tourism is cultivating some kind of greed factor. Ignore their demands and give them 10 – 20 dirhams with a big smile.

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