Riad, guesthouse, campsite…what’s the difference?

Morocco’s accomodation are diverse : there is from tiny mountain inns to five star hotels. We urge to fall under the charm of local and more intimate establishments than large chain hotels often located in the outskirts of cities. You’ll leave with a much more authentic experience and fuller appreciation of Moroccan culture this way, and there is something for every taste and budget:

> Riads:Riads are charming guesthouses located in the historic centre of Moroccan cities, their medinas. The word “riad” refers to a garden. This is because the house is built around a garden. Each owner brings their personal touch to the décor of their riad. We offer riads in the majority of the bigger cities that have medinas. And there is a riad for every budget. From the simplest to the most opulent. From 30 to 150 € per night.

> Charming Desert Campsite:To discover the desert and stay there without sacrificing your comfort, we have set up two nomadic camps in Southern Morocco. These will allow you to live an authentic experience in the desert in the middle of nature. Caidal tents with rooms, restrooms, a dining tent and quality service are at your disposal. You can choose to go on a camel safari or mountain biking. From 70 to 150 € per night.

> Guesthouses and Inns:Accommodations generally at the periphery of a city, but often in the middle of nowhere where you can be surrounded by untouched nature, especially in the south and the Atlas Mountains. These establishments are often recent, offering modern comforts and various services; sometimes pools or hammams. Always managed directly by the owner, they range from 20 € to 100 € a night.

What are bivouacs in the Atlas and the desert like?

You can choose either a simple, comfortable or charming bivouac camp. Our team is ready to adapt to your needs and desired comfort level.

> The most simple bivouacscan be set up and taken down quickly so it is generally used for treks where you are staying somewhere different every night. Don’t worry, your guide and Berber team will help you with the assembling if you need it the first couple of times! Every night you’ll stay in igloo tents (Ferrino brand), set up close to the kitchen and mess tent where the meals are taken. Floor mats and rugs add to the cosiness and lantern light to the ambiance Wash is quick and conveniences rustic. What is prioritized on this kind of trip is meeting local people and getting to know your Berber team (guide, cook, and mule driver).

> A more comfortable bivouaccan be installed at the place of your choice for one to three nights. The team is just as competent and friendly, but the décor is more refined: a Canadian tent in raw canvas, real beds with plush bedding, dishware and silverware, chemical toilets and a hot water shower. We have selected exceptional areas for these campsites: secret beaches on the Atlantic, between sand and rocks in the Sahro, anything is possible as long as the setting is beautiful and the area is unknown.

> Finally, our charming fixed campsites welcome you in two exceptional sites of the Moroccan south: set up for six months of the year, from October to April, they offer perfect comfort and are designed for travellers who want an authentic experience without sacrificing quality of services.

How is the food during treks?

We do our best to offer you varied, tasty, nutritious and authentic Moroccan meals on our treks

> Breakfast:cereal, bread, marmalade, milk, black tea, mint tea, coffee, hot chocolate.
> Lunch: a variety of salads or vegetable stews, cheeses, seasonal fruits, mint tea.
> Dinner: Moroccan soup and a hot entrée: tagine, couscous or noodles with desert and tea.
> Snacks/Desserts:crepes, apple fritter, seasonal fruit salad, cinnamon oranges, dates, rice pudding.

In the Atlas, the water used comes from mountain sources and is very pure. If you want to be cautious, you can still use purifying tablets before drinking it. The mint tea will be served according to an ancestral ritual during your stay.

Do you have advice for places to eat and things to do?

Yes, in your travel folder you’ll find a list of our favourite restaurants, activities and tips. Travelling with Morocco Like a Local, you will be welcome with open arms in all of these places.

Don’t hesitate to ask us! Because we are on location, we are constantly testing out new services, and returning to the old ones…Our addresses are thus reliable and up to date.

A comfortable and, dare we say, luxurious desert stay?

If you want to see the desert but a bivouac under the stars is not appealing to you, stay in one of our two charming campsites, or both! They are set up in the desert and provide all the amenities you will need for an upscale desert exploration. Caidal tents with real beds, restrooms, professional personnel, a restaurant and warm service.

You can also consider a bit simpler but equally comfortable option an exclusive private camp. You pick the spot, we’ll take care of the rest!

Is it possible to stay in an inn in the mountains?

Yes, starting several years ago, quality inns have been set up in the heart of the magnificent Atlas Mountains. You could also stay in a local guesthouse in a mountain village for an authentic stay with a Berber family. This is much more rustic of course, but enjoying the simple things is the idea!

Hammam, how to…

Every Moroccan, whether city dweller or not, goes to their neighbourhood hammam at least once a week. It is an immutable ritual. This is a place of relaxation, wash, massages, and exchanges of news; there is much laughing, and sometimes little squabbles…All in all, it represents so much more than just the Moroccan version of a spa.

A traditional hammam is made up of three common rooms: 1 cold, 1 lukewarm and one hot. There are separate hours for women (usually in the morning) and for men (usually in the evening). People come well equipped with a bath mat, bucket, exfoliating glove, sandals, black soap, ghassoul (argyle), henna…

Le rituel peut durer 3 à 4 heures… on en sort avec une peau de bébé, très relaxé et détendu. The ritual can last from three to four hours and you leave with baby soft skin, relaxed and at peace. Most hotels and riads offer their own chic version of a traditional hammam. More sophisticated they draw their inspiration from the authentic hammams: exfoliation with black soap, massages with essential oils… in a refined and private setting. Unlike in a traditional hammam this one can be sampled by couples. A must!

How does one wash up during Treks?

Besides the amenities offered at your hotel on you arrival and departure, washing up in the desert requires an attitude in tune with the setting. Baby wipes will come in very handy for nights without running water. Some nights your bivouac will be set up near a well or a spring. You cannot wash directly in this water because the nomads drink it. Your guide will transfer it into a gourd for you. You will have to move away from the source in order to wash, and don’t forget your water purifier! You’ll quickly realize that you don’t need 10 litres of water to get clean, and that, with the help of a wash cloth, it is possible to economical.

Etiquette for Trekking

In the Atlas and the desert, in order to respect the dignity of the populations you will be encountering, we ask you to follow these simple rules:

> If you wish to give presents to locals (clothing, school supplies etc), confer them to your guide. He will take care of their distribution.
> Do not take pictures of locals without either their permission or the permission of your guide.
> Do not directly give candy or gadgets to children.
> Throw rubbish in the bins made available to you.
> Drinking tea is also a ceremony, it cannot be cut short.
> Shoes are generally taken off before stepping into a room, especially if there are already a few pairs near the door.
> Women in particular should avoid provocative dress.
> If a traveller is invited to share a meal in a local home, they must wait for the head of the household to say “bismillah” (praise to God). They will eat with their right hand and taste everything offered to them without ever feeling obligated to finish any dish.
> During Ramadan, it is best to avoid drinking, eating and smoking in public during the day.