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Sat 05 May - Thu 10 May 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

ESSENTIAL INFO

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

Leadership

Climate

Terrain

Luggage allowance and valuables

Responsible Tourism

Typical day

Accommodation

Food & Drink

Clothing and equipment

Toilets

Phone and WiFi

Safety

Emergencies

Training

Training weekends

Level of Difficulty

The High Atlas Summit Trek is graded as tough. This is a challenge for someone who who has some experience with regular trekking and who wants to take that to the next level. During your High Atlas Summit Trek you will be:

  • Trekking at high altitude and sleeping at 3200 meters above sea level.
  • Reaching a maximum altitude of 4176 meters above sea level.
  • Staying in a refuge the night before summiting where facilities are very basic.
  • Weather conditions are tough and it might mean that you won’t be able to summit.

Money

Currency: The national currency is the Dirham, which is divided into 100 centimes. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com.
The Dirham is officially designated as a closed currency meaning it can only be traded within Morocco; however, Dirhams are being sold and bought in travel agencies and at major airports in several countries (notably the UK).

Cash: There are ATMs available at the airport near to the hotel in Marrakech. This is the best source of obtaining currency whilst you are in Morocco.

Credit cards: Widely accepted in the larger urban centres, although a 5% charge is often charged. You should bring one in case of emergencies.

Spending money: You will not need a large amount of money during this trip as most expenses are covered. However, approximately £200 is recommended for gifts, souvenirs, alcohol & tipping. Euros and US$ can all be exchanged on arrival (GBP are much harder to change), although travellers cheques are only exchanged at larger banks.

Tipping: Tipping is of course discretionary. However, tourism is a tipping industry and the guides in Morocco will generally receive a tip at the end of a job well done. We recommend approx. £30 per person at the end of the event, which you should give to the tour leader who will then divide it among all of the support team

Visa

For UK passport holders a full passport is required but no Visa. You must have at least six months to run on your passport from the end of the challenge. Ensure your passport is stamped on arrival. Non UK passport holders should consult their nearest Moroccan embassy regarding visa requirements.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS travel website Fit for Travel at: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx. Although the Charity Challenge staff are travel professionals, we are not medically trained and therefore we recommend that you seek advice on vaccinations from your travel nurse or GP. They may ask you exactly where you are going, and as such it's a good idea to take a copy of your itinerary with you.

Flights

You will be flying from London to Marrakech via Casablanca and returning from Marrakech to London via Casablanca. The flight will take approx. 4 hrs. Your flight tickets will be issued to you at the airport.

If you choose to book your own flights you must confirm with the Charity Challenge office before paying otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance).

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be a minimum of 16 people in order to run and a maximum of approximately 30 people due to the wilderness environment in which the challenge takes place. We will be able to run this challenge for 10 to 15 people by charging a small group supplement of £30, which will be added to your final balance invoice (self funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Leadership

We employ a number of first aid qualified challenge leaders, all of whom speak English to varying degrees. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Climate

Early mornings will immediately warm as soon as the sun rises, and the days will be hot and bright. As soon as the sun sets, the temperature drops radically and is often well below zero degrees. Towards the top of the mountain, you will be trekking above the clouds and will need strong UV protection. Departures in October are much colder as you summit, but good quality warm equipment is essential all year round.

Terrain

You will navigate your way, climbing and scrambling over the huge, obstructive boulders and loose rock of Jebel Toubkal.

Luggage allowance and valuables

Your rucksack/holdall (suitcases are not appropriate) must not exceed the maximum weight limit of the airline you are flying with. This is generally one piece at approximately 20kg, however do check this with your airline before you fly. On the day when you begin to ride, your personal kit will be transported to the next hotel. You will only need to have a handle bar bag or bum bag with you during the day and you will be able to access your day pack at rest stops.

While we will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches.  Your passport and money should be kept on you at all times.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Typical day

You will wake early, in time for a hearty breakfast, and will be trekking for around 4-5 hours. On summit day you will arise early (around sunrise) and take it slowly to reach the top of Mount Toubkal. This will be a long day of approximately 6-7 hours of trekking.

Accommodation

During the challenge you will be staying mainly in a mountain lodge with shared toilet facilities and no showers. You will be in a centrally located hotel in Marrakech. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with please ensure that you note this where appropriate when booking or email challenges@charitychallenge.com.

You will need to bring a warm sleeping bag (three to four season). The refuge provides mattresses.

Food & Drink

You will be served a variety of Moroccan food. All meals are healthy and nourishing. Lunches will be in the form of a picnic lunch, ideal for carrying on the trek. There will be plenty of food to satisfy hungry appetites, but please let Charity Challenge know if you have any specific dietary requirements.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. You don't need a clean pair every day, but enough to make sure you have dry socks each morning. The benefits of a comfortable sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are high quality gore-tex waterproof and windproof jackets and trousers, and technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, Outdoorhire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Toilets

During the challenge you will be staying in a mountain refuge, with shared toilets/shower facilities. It is advisable to bring your own toilet tissue. You will be in a centrally located hotel in Marrakech with western style toilets.

Phone and WiFi

WIFI and mobile phone reception will be available at the hotel in Marrakech. After leaving Marrakech, the mobile phone and WIFI signal will be limited.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of its participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. In a nutshell, Our Challenge Safe brand formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the activity itself. Your welfare is paramount!
In terms of your High Atlas Mountain Mountain Trek, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking at high altitude throughout, to the summit of Toubkal at 4167m.
  • Expect a wide and unpredictable range of temperatures. Nights will certainly be down to minus temperatures, but seasons can be unpredictable, and you need to dress for both warm and freezing temperatures.
  • Trekking at altitude can cause dehydration, so you need to hydrate hydrate hydrate, cover up with suncream and ensure that you are replensihing salts and sugars.

Emergencies

This challenge is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s trekking abilities. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that no one is left behind and can take things at your own pace. In the case of an emergency, all leaders are carrying radios and will coordinate a swift evacuation off the mountain. Their decision is final in all cases.

Training

Training and fitness is definitely required. Anyone who leads a fairly active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be OK as long as they train regularly over a period of at least three months leading up to the expedition. Don't forget that the temperature and the altitudes are different from the UK. While strength is important, endurance training should be your primary focus. Walking up hills and climbing stairs are both ways to condition your lower body. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace. Take a long hike (6-8hours) several times with a weighted pack, up and down hills or on small mountains.

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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