TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. Required Documents - some important documents we need from you.

  2. Documentation Requirements - info about passports, visa, permits, insurance

  3. Trip Organization - some key details about the trip and your experience

  4. Day-To-Day - insight into the day-to-day of Sahara Surfari

  5. Money Matters - currency, spending money, and tipping

  6. Country Info & Destination Facts - some key information about Morocco and cultural considerations

  7. Responsible Travel - leaving these places better than we found them.

  8. Photography - high-level info about photography on the trip

  9. Packing List - what to pack for the trip


Pre-Departure Information

1. Required Documents
Some important documents we need from you.

To make sure we have all your proper information for the trip, there's a few things we need from you no later than 15 days before we take-off:

  1. Passport Copy [upload image below] - a clear scanned copy or a photo of your passport.

  2. Flight Details [upload image below] - full international itinerary, either a screenshot or photo.

  3. Insurance Details [upload image below] - insurer, policy number, the worldwide contact number. Travel Medical Insurance is mandatory on the trip.

  4. Medical Form [upload PDF below] - download it here.

  5. CS Trip Waiver [upload PDF below] - download it here.

  6. A Completed Intake Form [fill out form] - you can access the full intake form here.


    A note on uploading your documents:
    Please upload your documents below and name them using the following convention:
    [First Name Last Name - Document Name (as per above)]

If you are unsure what documents you have uploaded, email us and we will let you know.


2. Documentation Requirements

Info about passports, visa, and insurance.

Passports

All travellers will require a valid passport. It is your responsibility to ensure that there are sufficient blank pages for any visas required and for entry/departure stamps. Please also check that your passport will be valid for 6 months after the end of the trip. If you are travelling on more than one passport, please use the same passport for the entire trip.

Visa

Canadian and American citizens using their Canadian/American passports do not require a visa to enter Morocco for tourism or business stays under ninety (90) days.

Most who want to visit Morocco can do so without applying for a visa if your trip will not exceed three months. However, you must arrive with a passport that is valid for at least six months from the time you enter Morocco.

Nationals of the following countries do not need a visa:, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria,, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Congo (Brazzaville), South Korea, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Andorra, Estonia, UAE, USA, Russia, Finland, France, Germany Monaco, UK, Greece, Guinea, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Niger, Norway, New Zealand, Oman, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rica, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech, Tunisia, Turkey, Venezuela.

All other nationals will need a visa.

Travel/Medical Insurance

For all trips, we require that you take out a personal travel insurance policy to cover against sickness, accident, loss of baggage, unexpected alterations to travel arrangements and travel disruption, emergency evacuation, cancellations, etc.

NOTE: if you choose credit card coverage, in our experience, this may not insure against high cost needs. For example; helicopter emergency evacuation. If you do decide to choose credit card coverage, please check all policy details thoroughly. We recommended that you carry your travel insurance policy, emergency card and photocopies of your passport and cash cards with you during your trip, in case you need it.


3. Trip Organization

Details about the trip and your experience.

Trip Briefing

You will have an arrival briefing on Day 1 of the trip. At this time you will meet your Group Leader (if you have not already) and will have the opportunity to ask questions and meet your other group members. If you are arriving later than the agreed briefing time, your Group Leader will arrange for you to get caught up.

What happens if I encounter a problem on my trip?

In the unlikely event that you have a problem or complaint during your trip, please speak to your Group Leader without delay. We cannot fix things once you have returned home. If after advising your leader or guide the problem is still apparent and has not been resolved to your satisfaction, please explain this to your Group Leader. Please do not wait until the trip is completed before bringing any matter to our attention as 99% of problems are easily and quickly resolved locally without affecting your enjoyment. Chasing Sunrise is committed to ensuring you have the best experience.

Flights and Transportation

It is your responsibility to make sure your international flights land before the trip begins and take-off after the trip has ended. Chasing Sunrise will arrange all internal transportation while the trip is on going.

Accommodation

Throughout the trip, we will stay in various types of accommodation including group accommodation at the riads, berber camp accommodation in The Sahara, and hostel accommodation in Tamraght. If you have any questions about accommodation throughout the trip, do not hesitate to talk to your Group Leader.

Your comfort, safety, and security is always our first priority and Chasing Sunrise will always work to bunk you with someone you are comfortable with.

For room selection, we use a mix of asking you what you want (male only, female only, etc.), as well as pairing you with your friends, etc. As the trip unfolds, we will do our best to accommodate room changes if you need to switch it up, bunk with someone else, or you just aren’t jiving with the people you’re currently bunked with.

Changes in Travel Arrangements

Once the trip has commenced, should you decide to alter any of your travel arrangements or the travel dates shown on your airline ticket, you must make these extra arrangements yourself. They are not the responsibility of Chasing Sunrise nor are any associated costs.

NOTE: While every effort will be made to follow the itinerary provided, in the event of political problems or natural disturbances which are beyond our control and prevent our travelling to a particular area, we reserve the right to substitute an alternative activity for that section of the trip. It is unlikely to happen, but itineraries are subject to change and this is all part of the adventure of travelling.


4. The Day-To-Day

Insight into the day-to-day of Sahara Surfari.

Itinerary

A high-level day-by-day itinerary can be found below. You will receive a detailed day-by-day itinerary on Day 1 of the trip.

Groups

Information about your groups, their individual itineraries, and your Group Leaders can be found here.


5. Money Matters

Currency, spending money, and tipping.

Currency

The dirham is a closed currency, which means it can only be bought once you arrive in Morocco. You’re allowed to bring in or take out 1000Dh (around $102) but you’ll need to exchange the rest on arrival. You can exchange your dollars to dirhams at a Bureau de Change in the airport or port, at a bank and in most hotels. Keep hold of your receipt as you might need it to convert your dirhams back when you leave – you can do it at the airport for a good rate.

ATMs are very common in Morocco with Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. .While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work - it is important you check with your bank before departure and advisable to travel with more than one type of card. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards, but are generally only useful for larger/expensive purchases. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies. The foreign currency most commonly accepted in Morocco is the Euro. You will be able to exchange Euros, as well as USD at money exchange offices in major cities. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of cash (USD or Euros) and cards is best.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.

Spending Money

You will need to budget spending money for gratuities, for meals listed as “on your own” in the trip itinerary, and for personal items such as beverages, phone calls, snacks, excursions, etc. We suggest budgeting between $25USD and $60USD per day, depending on your spending preferences.

Emergency Funds

Make sure you have access to at least an additional $200USD (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence, but an important measure.

Tipping

Morocco has a strong tipping culture and it is customary and even expected to tip small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bell boys, taxis and van drivers. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry. Even though this might not be customary to you, nor such common practice in your home country, it is generally expected and of great significance to the people who will be assisting you during your travels.

Depending on your preference and/or that of the group, you may choose to tip individually, organize the tipping with your travelling companions. A recommendation for tipping small service providers is about $3USD per day, depending on the quality of the service. Feel free to ask your Group Leader, if you have any questions.

Tipping the Trip Captain, Local Crew, and Group Leaders
Chasing Sunrise has included tipping into the cost of the trip and will be distributed to the Trip Captain and Local Crew at the end of the trip. If you feel that the Trip Captain, Local Crew, or Group Leaders did an outstanding job, it is optional to tip additionally and the precise amount is entirely a personal preference.

NOTE: That if you have been very disappointed by a particular service, please inform your Group Leader right away, and the tip will be adjusted accordingly.


6. Country Info & Destination Facts
Key information about Morocco and cultural considerations.

Key Facts

Location
North Africa, bordering Algeria 1,559 km, Western Sahara 443 km, Spain (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Spain (Melilla) 9.6 km

Capital City
Rabat

Climate
Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior

Population
32,987,206 (2014 est.)

Ethnic Make-up
Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%

Religions
Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%

Time Zone
Morocco is +1 hour ahead of UTC/ GMT

Language
Classical Arabic is Morocco's official language, but the country's distinctive Arabic dialect is the most widely spoken language in Morocco. In addition, about 10 million Moroccans, mostly in rural areas, speak Berber, which exists in Morocco in three different dialects (Tarifit, Tashelhit, and Tamazight), either as a first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect.

French, which remains Morocco's unofficial third language, is taught universally and still serves as Morocco's primary language of commerce and economics. It also is widely used in education and government. Many Moroccans in the northern part of the country speak Spanish. English, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of number of speakers, is rapidly becoming the foreign language of choice among educated youth. English is taught in all public schools from the fourth year on.

Cultural Considerations

Clothes
As a conservative and religious country, clothing is something you have to be mindful of when visiting Morocco. Especially in rural areas, it may be considered offensive if you do not fully cover parts of the body considered “private”, including both legs and shoulders, especially for women.

It is true that in cities Moroccan women wear short-sleeved tops and knee-length skirts (and may suffer more harassment as a result), and men may wear sleeveless t-shirts and above-the-knee shorts. However, the Muslim idea of “modest dress” (such as would be acceptable in a mosque, for example) requires women to be covered from wrist to ankle, and men from over the shoulder to below the knee. In rural areas at least, it is a good idea to follow these codes, and it is not advised for women to wear shorts or skirts above the knee, or for members of either sex to wear sleeveless t-shirts or very short shorts.

If you are ever unsure about what to wear, please talk with your Group Leader and keep in mind that the best guide to knowing what is appropriate is to note how the locals dress and follow their lead.

Mosques
If you are not Muslim, you are not allowed to enter the religious mosques. The only exceptions in the country are the partially restored Almohad structure of Tin Mal in the High Atlas, the similarly disused Great Mosque at Smara in the Western Sahara, the courtyard of the sanctuary-mosque of Moulay Ismail in Meknes and the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. Elsewhere, if you are not a believer, you’ll have to be content with an occasional glimpse through open doors, and even in this you should be sensitive.

Alcohol
Contrary to preconceived notions, liquor is available throughout many of Morocco’s larger cities. Many Moroccans - mainly men - drink, but do so privately. Drinking alcohol in public is frowned upon and downright ignorant if practiced near a mosque. If you do choose to drink during the trip, we suggest purchasing your alcohol in Marrakech and Tamraght, and drinking respectfully.

Women in Morocco
There is no doubt that, for women especially, travelling in Morocco is a very different experience from travelling in a Western country. One of the reasons for this is that the separate roles of the sexes are much more defined than they are in the West, and sexual mores much stricter. In villages and small towns, and even in the Medinas of large cities, many women still wear the veil and the street is strictly the man’s domain.

It should be said, however, that such ideas are gradually disappearing among the urban youth, and you will nowadays find some Moroccan women drinking in the more sophisticated bars, and even more often in cafés, which were, until quite recently, an all-male preserve. In the Villes Nouvelles of large cities, you’ll see most women without a veil or even a headscarf. You’ll also see young people of both sexes hanging out together. Even in traditional Moroccan societies, mountain Berber women, who do most of the hard work, play a much more open role in society, and rarely use a veil.

Bartering
Haggling is a way of life in Morocco, whether you are taking a taxi or shopping in a market. Even in shops, you may find that the price is negotiable. A general rule of thumb is to offer one-third of the sellers’ initial price and go from there. It’s almost guaranteed they will laugh at your lowest offer so don’t be surprised or offended when it happens. Appearing hesitant about the purchase is key; as soon as you let on how much you love something, you lose all bartering power. If the price is still too much, be prepared to walk away. In some cases, you will be hassled to stay or even followed. In such cases it’s important to be firm but respectful. Say ‘no thank you’ and stand your ground.

If you prefer not to bargain, visit a local Ensemble Artisanal, a state-run collective of craft shops in major destinations that have fixed prices (ask at the local tourist office for the nearest one). Or look for shops with "fixed-price" signs in the window.

Safety While Travelling
In general, Morocco is a safe country to explore. Moroccans are well known for being a hospitable and tolerant people which makes traveling through the country a much more enjoyable experience. That said, the conservative nature of the local culture does mean that traditional customs should be respected in public in order to avoid less desirable situations. As with many other countries, tourists are a special target of pick-pockets and faux guides so being aware of your surroundings and belongings is general common sense. At all times use your judgement, stay aware of where you are, who you are with, and your surroundings.


7. Responsible Travel

Leaving these places better than we found them.

Code of Conduct

At Chasing Sunrise, we believe that it is our obligation to experience these lands and their people as they are – with the utmost respect and cultural awareness. Our intention is to better understand the people of Morocco and their way of life, rather than transport our beliefs/values/cultures into their country.

During the Trip Briefing, we will establish a group culture code, but prior to that, we feel it is always important share two major values that we do not waiver from.

1. Leave It Better Than We Found It
One of the main values that Chasing Sunrise believes in is to leave things better than we found them and throughout the trip, we will be engaging in activities that help us leave Morocco better than we found it, including a group beach clean in Tamraght.

2. Respect – For Yourself, For Others, For Different Cultures, And For The Land
One of the bedrock values of Chasing Sunrise is to hold respect – for yourself, for the people you are travelling with, for the people you encounter on the trip, for their culture, and for their land. Upholding this respect is one of our main priorities and the responsibility of everyone on the trip.

Trip Initiatives

1. Supporting Local Communities
From local guides to local riads and camps, we work to support local suppliers and business whenever we can on these trip. We rotate through small local businesses to spread the revenue derived from tourism, and encourage travellers to purchase their goods from the same.

2. Minimal Environmental Impact
As part of our belief in Protecting Where We Play, through out the trip we will work to minimize our environmental impact. Initiatives like an emphasis on bringing re-usable water bottles, an effort to use no single use plastics, and an initiatives to reduce the amount of water used in the desert, we are committed to making a minimal environmental impact on our trips.

3. Beach Cleans
During our time in Tamraght, we will be organizing group beach clean ups that will help Protect Where We Play. While these initiatives are optional, we highly encourage all guests to join in and leave the spaces better than we found them.


8. Photography

High-level info about photography on the trip

Photography
A trip like this is a photographers dream. Morocco is a beautiful and extremely photogenic country. Bustling markets, ancient medinas and incredible landscapes all lend themselves to amazing photographic opportunities. But before your snap-happy self steps off the plane in any exotic locale, it’s important to consider the finer points of the place, culture, landscape, and people that will hopefully be revealed to you through your lens.

If you would like to photograph a person close up – always ask permission. Begin by trying to establish a rapport by engaging in conversation before you bring your camera up to eye level. Smiling and simple communication, if only with body language, works best. You are far more likely to get a yes this way. And, if the answer is no, smile and nod before you turn away to find your next shot.

If you ask permission, some shop owners will step out of the way and allow you to take photos of the shop. Many will expect a tip, especially if they’re street performers (like the snake charmers, or the guys with the monkeys).

Drones
In short, leave your drone at home. At this time drones are BANNED in Morocco and bringing one into the country without declaring it will result in it being seized by customs and you WILL NOT be able to get it back. If you DO declare the drone before entering Morocco, the customs will hold it at the airport and you will be able to pick it up on the way out of the country.

9. Packing List
What to pack for the trip

This list is meant as a guideline only; we encourage you to pack as lightly as possible. Also, you will be travelling to multiple locations on this trip, so ensure you can easily handle your luggage.

Make sure your Morocco packing list is both practical and respectful of local culture. For city attire, we suggest skirts or long pants for women, slacks and shirts for men. Outside of Morocco’s cities, people dress more modestly; shorts are frowned upon for both women and men. For men, jackets can be worn for evening dinners in the cities but are optional. Do remember that nights in the mountains and in the desert cities can get cold. Some Moroccan hotels do not have central heating, so please bring clothes that will keep you warm. 

Also, please don’t rely on Instagram to be your reference of what to wear. It sometimes isn’t as respectful of culture as it should be.

No matter what time of year it is, bring layers and prepare to be both hot and cold at some point.

Oh, and if you’re stressing about not having enough to wear, don’t! One of the best things to do in Morocco is barter at the souks, and you’ll find a million clothing options that’ll make fab souvenirs from your trip, and perfect additions to your wardrobe while you’re there

Your Gear List:

Luggage & Backpacks

  • Travel backpack – There will be points in the trip where you have to carry your bags and backpacks will work significantly better than suitcases.

  • Small daypack – used for daily excursions or short overnights

  • Passport/money bag or fanny pack – To keep your essential items accessible and secure.

  • Travel locks – To keep your stuff safely secured.

Clothing

  • 2-3 short sleeve shirts

  • 2-3 long sleeve shirts

  • 1-2 cardigans or shawls

  • 1-2 light sweater or sweatshirt

  • 1 warm jacket (it can get cold at night)

  • 1 rain jacket / windbreaker

  • 2 pairs of comfortable pants

  • 1 long skirt (for the ladies)

  • 2 or 3 shorts (or skirts) / light pants

  • Pajamas/athletic wear for relaxing

  • 1-2 bathing suit

Clothing Accessories

  • 1 pair closed toed shoes

  • 1 pair of flip-flops / sandals

  • 1 comfortable walking/slip on shoe

  • 1 pair of sneakers (for hikes and outdoor activities - you won’t need hiking boots)

  • 4-6 pairs of socks

  • Underwear / bras / socks - 10 days worth

  • Bathing suit and towel

  • Hat

  • Sunglasses

Accessories, etc.

  • 1L reusable water bottle – we’ll refill these throughout the trip, helps minimizes waste and environmental impact.

  • 1 set of plate/cup/fork – helps minimizes waste and environmental impact.

  • Beach blanket or towel – perfect for setting up shop in the Sahara and on the beaches of Tamraght. You can buy these in the markets in Marrakech.

  • A journal for the workshops and travel writing (digital journal is fine)

  • Your favorite snacks (granola bars, trail mix, etc.)

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Face soap and lotion

  • Shampoo and condition

  • Deodorant

  • Hair products

  • Ear plugs, sleepwear and eye mask

  • Small mirror

  • Insect repellant

  • Hygiene products

  • Sunscreen – high protection, 20+ (it can sometimes be difficult or expensive to find sunscreen in Morocco)

  • After-sun moisturizer

  • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Electronics

  • Phone and charger

  • Camera plus memory cards, lenses, spare batteries, charger, cables

  • Headlamp

  • Book or Kindle

  • External battery pack – remember, do not pack this in your checked baggage.

  • Outlet converters – Morocco has 220-volt current; plugs usually have two round pins. 

Documents + Money:

  • Cash, credit and debit cards

  • Passport - must be valid for at least 6 months after your return date.

  • Passport/money bag - to keep it all together or safe

  • Visas - No Visa is required for citizens of Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, or the EU.

  • Flight tickets / e-ticket

  • Travel insurance details – insurer details, policy number and your emergency contact number (24 hours).

  • Photocopies of vital documents – keep these separately (one at home and a copy emailed to yourself)

Keep in mind, these are guidelines.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out and ask questions.