Moroccan Skies is an independent, fully licensed, Morocco based travel agent. Our utter covenant is to offer guided, small group adventure and culture tours for those who wish to discover the uncharted and real hideaways of morocco, away from the traditionally ‘normal’ ‘package group’ trails and high-rise”, overused countries. On our tours we will stay in small, family-run gites d’etapes, Kasbahs or Riads, eat in local restaurants and use local food and transport. In addition all local guides and partners contracted are considered friends rather than ‘business partners’. The idea being that you will visit as guests rather than as tourists.
Our extensive knowledge of Morocco, being natives to this magic land, enables us to offer original and pioneering tour itineraries providing a balance between the region’s well-known ‘must-sees’ and off-the-beaten-track, ‘best kept secrets’ of our various regions. Moroccan Skies provides a real insight into the regions you are visiting – culture, history, landscape and social insight- and provides too the opportunity for genuine interaction with the local people.
’’ You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you’’ Gibran Khalil Gibran.
This is the exact way we see respect for local people. Their cultures, traditions, religions and environment are essential to our philosophy and our tours and we work hard to ensure our groups have a positive impact on the places and people visited. We hope that you will be treated as guests and behave as guests whilst travelling with us. The least footprints we leave the best travellers we are.
It is however vital to note that all our group sizes for our scheduled tours are between 2 and a maximum of 10persons. Groups are accompanied at all times by a local tour-leader and where appropriate one or more local guides. All transportation is organized by fully-bonded local operators and using local drivers.
We feel that our ‘discreet’ group sizes lead to less impact both on the environment and the people that we visit as well as allowing for more supervision, advice and explanations with the high ratio of guides/tour-leader to clients.
Moroccan Skies has a highly experienced team to help you organize your adventure to Morocco. Our consultants have traveled to and lived in all corners of Morocco and are passionate about travel. This expertise and passion shows through in their dedication to making every group’s experience the best possible.
The best people to show you a country are people from that country – their country! Our tour leaders are multi-lingual and are also versed in various local dialects. They will explain to you, in your own language, all about the local history and culture of their homeland. They can bridge the gap between cultures and they can help you to deal with local groups or individuals, ensuring that differences are respected and helping to bring understanding and mutual benefits.
We are committed to providing employment opportunities for local tour leaders, all of whom have studied to gain the necessary accreditation in tourism. We are extremely proud of our team of excellent tour leaders.
When you book your trip with Moroccan Skies you are contributing full-time to the local economies. 100% of the guides used in the tours we visit are local guides with proper national accreditation where demanded by law, for all of our guiding activities. Accommodation means we use strictly follow our same strategy in regards to environmental issues. As well as contributing to the local economy, this practice ensures that our visitors learn about the region that they are visiting first hand from someone who knows the area(s) intimately and provides local employment. In many cases this employment is an alternative to practices either no longer carried out or carried out illegally such.
Furthermore, many of our activities take place in more remote, ‘untouristy’ areas with naturally stunning sites where the introduction of tourism, even (or especially) on a low scale has a definite beneficial knock-on effect with those persons not directly concerned with the activities. That is to say that many people in local communities recognize the possible beneficial effects of such tourism, namely economic, and have an increased concern for the environment.
The help of schemes have a ‘knock-on’ effect amongst the entire community rather than just the very few persons employed as guides, muleteers or camel men.
Finally all our regular guides are provided with any relevant equipment/clothing for guiding purposes they should require.
our emphasis on small original stays family run guesthouses, riads, Kasbahs that train and employ local workers, or in the case of larger hotels, non-chain locally owned establishments is clear. Inclusion of such places in your Moroccan skies tours provides regular contribution to their income across both high and low seasons.
The cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by native Berber cuisine, Arabic Andalusian cuisine, Turkish cuisine, and Middle Eastern cuisine brought by the Arabs. French influence came later and the fusion between traditional Moroccan and French cuisine is at the heart of many of the fine-dining experiences in Morocco today.
Couscous is probably the most famous Moroccan dish originating with the Berbers. One of the main methods of cooking in Morocco is using the tagine, an earthenware dish with a conical shaped lid. The dishes described as tagines (because they are cooked in one) are Moroccan slow-cooked meat, fruit and vegetable dishes which are almost invariably made with mutton or chicken. Moroccan food is generally heavily meat-orientated and vegetarians may find that their options are rather uninspiring and very limited especially in restaurants. The best culinary tours to Morocco will include a stay in a traditional home, or Riad, where you can take cooking classes and sample the best of Morocco’s traditional cuisine.
Like you we want your holiday with us to be an authentic experience of the real morocco, with all that the land and its people have to offer. It is our ultimate desire to promote responsible, sustainable and sensitive tourism in the area. Appropriate, modest, dress is integral to this principle and, by implication, to a fulfilling and enjoyable vacation. We also undertake a number of activities that require that you be under different weather circumstances for extended periods of time. Examples of clothes that will minimize your risk from the elements are also given.
No specific dress-code exists in Morocco but it is recommended that you dress conservatively and adhere to a few basic rules. Most of the big cosmopolitan places apply no specific rules and you can wear pretty much what you like, although women are recommended to cover up shoulders and legs above the knee. In rural communities, vest tops and short shorts (above the knee) can be regarded as underwear and may cause offence. We therefore recommend an pre-advise from your tour leader and bring t-shirts, cotton shirts, long shorts or long lightweight trousers. Clearly, in uninhabited areas there is no particular dress code.
We include home-stays in some of our itineraries. These provide income directly to the owners of the houses in which we stay as well as indirectly for other members of the village. Passengers are encouraged to make purchases, such as from the village shops and from individual crafts-people (Berber carpets and pottery items from women associations in the Atlas Mountains rather than bazaars in the cities)
Transport means used is local are varied, from train to mules and camels. When it is more practical to charter vehicles we employ minibus and bus drivers from either the origin or destination of a transfer, working directly with the driver or through a local travel agent. Our small group size allows us to use small vehicles like pick-up trucks when visiting rural areas and remote valleys and mountains, where use of larger vehicles in such areas often results in widening and rendering of existing paths to facilitate coach access. The consequent effect on flora and fauna can be devastating. All animals we use to carry our gear should strictly look healthy, well-fed and well-treated, be they donkeys, camels, mules or else.
Despite the fact that we live in a third world country, Morocco has developed and is still working on a clearer national environmental chart. We are conscious that our initial problems and concerns in this respect were far more to do with the local employees than the tourists. The majority of the latter are fortunately aware of most of the issues, whilst a poorly educated person in the Sahara desert is not. Whilst environmental awareness is certainly growing in all our country it is unfortunately still some way behind most ‘Western’ countries. Furthermore whilst it is relatively easy to prevent a muleteer or a driver from throwing his plastic bag into the wild by threatening not to use his services again, it is more difficult to explain why he shouldn’t want to throw it out. After many of check ups and training years, we are now proud of each of our regular guides’ awareness in this respect and pleased to see them now explaining the reasoning behind this to other local people.
refillable plastic water bottles are used whilst on treks and either refilled from jerry cans kept in the transport vehicle, boiled water or stream water provided local guides can testify to its potability.
In areas where water is a scarce commodity such as on some of the islands, both the resort management and tour leaders ensure that passengers are aware of the need to be frugal with their use of it. In such places as freshwater supplies are problematic written notices to that effect are generally placed in each room of the resort.
During overnight treks and camping, washing is generally done in streams and the use of ‘eco-friendly’ soaps and washing powders in such circumstances is noted to clients before they begin their trip. Likewise, we make similar requests of our local staff. However, such items are difficult to come-by in South East Asia and if available are often beyond the fiscal means of the local people.
During trekking and safari trips passengers are informed of the fragility of our ecosystem and required not to touch any thing at all – bushes, flowers or indeed any kind of flora and fauna unless under close supervision from a guide. Our muleteers, drivers and camel men are strictly prohibited from throwing wastes without a pre-selection– a formerly common practice that is now thankfully rare.
When trekking our clients are given plastic zip-lock bags in which to keep used toilet paper. They are advised to keep cigarette butts in their pockets or other container until an appropriate disposal facility at camp is available. All regular transportation used is regularly tested including checking exhaust pollution levels.
Passengers are advised to visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Know Before you Go’ website (to which a link is provided from our site) to learn about political and other related concerns in the country they are to visit. At the same time, it is important to have recourse to our advice to come out with a better understanding before travelling over. A good understanding of the political system and recent history of their country.
When visiting more remote areas, and for example Berber villages, advice is given to clients on the suitability of gifts that they wish to take to the villages. Cash gifts directly to individuals are particularly avoided and any such donations directed towards the school teachers or village chiefs for appropriate use.
With adherence to the crucial points herein, Moroccan Skies provides culturally and environmentally aware, responsible tourism in morocco. It is tourism that contributes economically, socially and environmentally in the fullest of ways to the major countries and localities that we visit. We help local people get the best deal from our operation in their regions and provide enjoyable, memorable and constructive experiences for our clients. We are also pleased to be able to say that our visits are generally enjoyable and constructive for the local people visited as well.
Due respect should be adhered to for all religious sites visits no matter how ‘basic’ the building may appear.
• Long sleeved shirt and long trousers/skirt are best. T-shirt and below the knee shorts are an absolute minimum which will be appreciated by other worshippers.
• When entering any of the buildings within a mosque you should remove any headgear that you may be wearing.
• The Hassan II Grande mosque as the only one where non –Muslims are allowed, is even stricter. You will need a short-sleeved shirt, ankle length trousers or skirt, and shoes that have at least a strap over your heel.
You will have opportunities to bathe in waterfalls, rivers, the sea and swimming pools. Depending on where you are the guidelines change.
• In hotel swimming pools a bathing suit in fine.
• In rivers and waterfalls men should swim in shorts and women should bathe in a t-shirt and at least knee-length shorts.
• At the beach. Foreigners very rarely go to some of the beaches we visit. Here the same rules for rivers and waterfalls apply. For beaches where the locals are more used to visitors from overseas a modest bathing suite is fine. Ask your tour leader for advice.
• At none of the places Moroccan Skies takes you do we recommend bikinis, t-backs or g-strings.
• On some of our treks you will be washing in the river. In these circumstances men should wash in their underwear. Women will need to wear a sarong; tied as one would a bath towel, and wash underneath it.
Our guidelines here are less about modesty and more about comfort and safety, although you should be aware that local people guide us and we often stay at or near very rural (and therefore much more modest) settlements.Some of the following items help you travel more comforatbly while visiting in the rural areas:
• Lightweight long trousers keep the sun, the mosquitoes and the flies out!
• T-shirts are fine, and convenient to pack in your day sack.
• Something to cover your head – we’ve said it before but it bears mentioning twice. There’s nothing more likely to strike an unprepared traveller down on a trip to the Sahara or Mountains than a dose of sunstroke!
• Footwear. Different people like different things. Our tour leaders and guides tend to trek in sandals. However you may be more comfortable in hiking boots or old trainers/sneakers. What you do need to know is that we frequently wade through rivers and streams during the course of a trek, and we don’t have time to stop and take our shoes off each time.