Tue 13 Nov - Sun 18 Nov 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

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

Which crampons are used?

Luggage Allowance and Valuables

Responsible Tourism

Typical Day

Accommodation

Food & Drink

Clothing and Equipment

Toilets

Safety

Emergencies

Training

Training Weekends

What Winter Kit is Included

What Winter Training is Included

Level of Difficulty

The Winter Toubkal Challenge is graded as “extreme”. You will be trekking at altitude through snowy conditions. You should not undertake this challenge without significant training. During the trek you will be:

  • Trekking for around 4-8 hours per day
  • Battling the altitude on the mountain up to the summit of 4165m.
  • Crampons and ice axes may be needed at some points of the climb.
  • Trekking in snow at the peak.

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.

Import and export of local currency is strictly prohibited. It is not possible to exchange Scottish or Irish bank notes.
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.

Travellers Cheques: The only point on the trip to change travellers cheques is at the airport. The Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur (BMCE) appears to be the only bank that charges commission on travellers’ cheques – about USD0.50 per cheque. A lot of travellers have run into problems when changing travellers cheques at the airports, where in some cases only cash is accepted.
spending money


While you will not need a large amount of money during this trek, we recommend that you take a reasonable amount of cash in small denominations for tips, snacks and souvenirs. Credit cards should be accepted in the hotels. Keep in mind that for most of the challenge you will be trekking in the mountains away from any foreign exchange or banks.
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Tips: Tipping is of course discretionary. However, 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.  Also see Travel Tips.
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 12 people in order to run and a maximum of 20 people due to the wilderness environment in which the challenge takes place. We will be able to run this challenge for 6 to 12 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

In March the early mornings and evenings are very cold where temperatures can drop dramatically below zero degrees. On sunny days the temperature will rise up to 18 to 25 degrees during the day. However, with the wind chill the temperature can be very low even on a sunny day.  Possible snow fall in March. It’s best to be prepared for both cold and warm and have a strong UV protection

Which crampons are used?

Please note that ultralight crampons Salewa Alunal 2.0 (walk) are provided for trekkers.

These crampons are adjustable and can be fitted to all kind of boots. There is no need for boots with specific crampons adjustment and you are able to bring your normal boots if they are suitable for trekking on rocky and snowy terrain. 

Luggage Allowance and Valuables

As no formal clothes are needed, luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum – details of what to pack are provided in your kit list. Your rucksack/holdall (suitcases are not appropriate) must not exceed 15kgs in weight. On your outward journey, please wear your trekking gear, hiking boots, and carry a spare change of clothing in your hand luggage.

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 be woken up early each morning at approx. 6am, and given a basic but hearty breakfast. After breakfast you will begin the first climb of the day usually lasting 3-4 hours. A long and early lunch will be taken to avoid trekking during the hottest part of the day; it will consist of bread, salad, fruit, fish and/or eggs. We set off to walk again for another 3-4 hours and then we return to the refuge late afternoon for dinner and a well-deserved rest.

 

Accommodation

During the trek you will be staying in a mountain refuge in cosy dormitories with shared facilities. At the very start you will stay in village house and at the end of the trek, you will be staying in a moderate hotel in order to relax and recover. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

A good warm sleeping bag (three to four season) is recommended. Sleeping mattresses are provided at the refuge and blankets will be available at the village house in Aremd.

 

Food & Drink

Each morning you will be provided with a filling breakfast of porridge, muesli, bread, cheese, jam and honey. Occasionally omelettes and pancakes will be served. Lunch will be fresh salad, vegetables, rice macaroni, tomatoes, lentils, haricot beans, tinned fish with bread and fruit. For dinner it will vary between western style food such as spaghetti and Moroccan national fare like tagine and couscous. Food will always be ample and will provide heaps of energy. Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

 

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 day 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, technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts, and a down jacket for the evenings in camp and your summit day/night. 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, Outdoor Hire and Cotswold Outdoor.

 

Toilets

The refuge has unisex Berber style toilets and washing facilities with showers.

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 Winter Toubkal Trek, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking to an altitude of 4165m, and altitude trekking carries it's own risks.

  • Emergency evacuation to a hospital may take upwards of 1 hour, depending on your location on the mountain

Emergencies

Back up support will never be far away in the event of an emergency. The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking ability, which is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace.

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.

In your Charity Challenge account you will find more comprehensive Fitness Training Notes. You can also look to join one of our training weekends.

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.

What Winter Kit is Included

Being a winter climb there is a possibility of encountering snow and ice on the trek.  Therefore we have included crampons and ice axes (if necessary) for you to use.

What Winter Training is Included

Walking on snow and ice can be tricky and before you have to do this you will have a briefing and training on how to properly use the provided winter kit and trek safely. The walk to Toubkal does not involve any snow crevasses or glaciers. The group will walk in a line with the guide in the front. In case a couple of sections are difficult the guide will use a rope as a handrail.

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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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