Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Morocco in Spring. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.
ENTERING MOROCCO: Travellers to Morocco must have a valid passport with at least one blank page for an entry stamp.. Visas are not required for American tourists traveling in Morocco for less than 90 days. For further information on entry requirements for Morocco, please contact the Embassy of Morocco at 1601 21st street, NW, Washington, DC 20009, telephone (202) 462-7979 to 82, fax 202-462-7643, or the Moroccan Consulate General in New York at 10 E. 40th Street, New York, NY 10016, telephone (212) 758-2625, fax 212-779-7441. The website for Morocco: http://dcusa.themoroccanembassy.com/default.aspx.
Your passport, as a general rule, should be valid for at least six months after the date the tour ends. It is always a good idea to take photocopies of your passport and air ticket with you when traveling abroad. They can prove invaluable in helping you get replacements if your original documents are lost or stolen. You should pack the photocopies separately from the originals.
Leaving Morocco: There is no departure tax.
COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/morocco.html , and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Morocco at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mo.html
PACE OF TOUR AND DAILY ROUTINE: Usually we drive to various locations and make fairly short and slow walks from the vehicle. There are several longer strolls (two hours or so). There are a few longer drives (on a couple of days much of the day is spent travelling) but the scenery is always changing and there will be birding stops as and when we see anything of interest. Breakfasts are usually between 6.00 am and 7.00 am. There will be a couple of early starts where we return to our hotel for a late breakfast. On most days lunch will be a picnic at a birding site.
Finding the variety for this picnic can sometimes be difficult and people may wish to bring their own cereal bars or snacks. Please bring your own plate, cup and utensils for picnic. We always try to return to the hotel in time for ‘an hour to shower’ before dinner at 7.30 or 8.00 PM.
HEALTH: Visitors to Morocco are not required to have any international certificates of vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure.
The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations for Morocco can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/morocco.
It may be difficult to obtain special medication during the tour so bring all you are likely to need with you.
Altitude: We reach just over 8500 feet in the Atlas Mountains.
Water: Water is generally safe in the larger towns but we recommend that you do not drink tap water anywhere on the tour. Bottled water is widely available and will be provided at meals and in the tour vehicle. Beer and soft drinks are also widely available.
Insects: We are unlikely to encounter mosquitoes or biting insects except at the Souss estuary and some of the desert oases and lakes are as much a magnet for insects as they are for birds. If you are particularly prone to being bitten, we recommend using insect repellents with a high concentration of DEET.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail.
Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions.
CLIMATE: It is generally warm to hot and dry throughout the year but in spring it can be cooler in the north and very cold in the mountains and desert areas. Temperatures range from 10-15°C (50-60°F) at night to daytime highs of 15-30°C (60-90°F) in lowland areas. In the mountains temperatures are usually 5-10°C (10-20°F) lower but even in March it can be below freezing for most of the day at the ski resort. At 2600 metres (8,530ft) some people feel the effect of being at altitude.Rainfall is low in the desert (a shower every four years or so) but moderate in the Atlas (whereas at this time of year it may still fall as snow) and along the coast. We may experience some windy days especially in the mountains and desert which can make an otherwise warm day seem very cold.
ACCOMMODATION: Our hotels will range from comfortable, modern hotels to local auberges and Kasbahs, all of which have en suite facilities. Our hotel in the High Atlas only has a limited number of rooms with en-suite facilities, depending on availability we will always try to book these rooms.
FOOD: Breakfast usually consists of a simple selection of bread, eggs, jam, orange juice, tea and coffee. Lunch will either be a picnic with fresh bread, cheese, tinned tuna and sardines, plus lots of local fruit, olives, cucumber, tomato and onion or we’ll stop in cafes, offering tajines, brochettes or omelettes, and hopefully on the coast some very fresh seafood. Dinners are often excellent, ranging from tajines of chicken, lemon and olive; or lamb, prune and almond to couscous with lots of local vegetables. In the more touristy areas we will also be offered more ‘European’ style food such as pasta.
Drinks: Bottled water a soft drink/beer or two is provided at lunch and dinner, as is coffee or tea. Bottled water is always available in our vehicles. All other drinks or ‘personal’ drinking water for use in your room and during the day is the responsibility of the individual.
TRANSPORTATION: The transport for the tour will be by minibus or small coach. We will rotate the seating each day. On one day in the desert we will transfer to 4x4’s. We will not cover large distances in these vehicles but they are essential to reach some of the key birding sites.
Updated: October 2014