HomeStays Morocco Tighza Valley

Travelling tips

Tighza is a remote village situated 1900m above sea level on the side of a mountain. There are dirt tracks, steep steps and slopes up to the kasbah and for some homestays houses declines to the accomodations. The terrain is classed as medium difficulty by hiking tour operators, so it can be difficult for people with limited mobility. (It is unfortunately not suitable for those with severly impaired mobility).

Our recommendations for travelling in Morocco:

  • You are fit and healthy to take the trip on foot or mountain bike to make the most of the stunning scenery
  • You have adequate travel insurance to cover any health problems
  • Brush up on basic French as not many people speak English outside of main tourist centres
  • You will find the Lonely Planet Little Book of Moroccan Arabic very useful

Money

It is not possible to get Moroccan dirhams outside Morocco (though you can purchase a small amount at Gatwick at a premium!). Dirhams can only be obtained inside Morocco and there is a limit of 1000 Dirhams per person which can be exported.

It is advisable to bring your spending money in UK Sterling, Euros or US Dollars and change as necessary. Dirhams lose about 1/3 of their value when changed back into another currency.

Credit cards can be used in cities and larger towns, also at some hotels, accommodation and carpet shops. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted. American Express is not widely accepted neither is visa debit card.

Garages tend to prefer cash to cards even where they display the credit card sign.

Travellers cheques are not widely accepted in Morocco.

ATMs are only available in cities and often have a withdrawal limit of 2000dh a day, your bank could charge you a lot for the privilege unless you are with one of the few banks who do not charge for transactions abroad.

Tipping

Tipping is normal in Morocco. Please tip women at homestay families and the Kasbah (amount at your discretion)

  • Guides (around 100dh a day)
  • 4 x 4 drivers (100dh to 150dh per day)
  • mule handlers (50dh a day)
  • Small tips are given for service at cafes and restaurants and it is customary to leave a dirham for using public toilets.

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Vaccinations and local wildlife

There are no obligatory vaccinations however when travelling in remote areas some may be advisable. Have your vaccinations in plenty of time. Check with your GP or travel clinic before travelling.

There are few mosquitoes in this region but flies are common during the hotter summer months. Some of the small ants bite. There are a lot of people who keep bees but they are mostly docile honeybees and will not sting unless provoked. There can be large numbers of wasps around the agricultural fields in July and August. Black scorpions (most are small) are around but in general only come out at night looking for water. Scorpion stings from this type of scorpion are rarely serious, the sting does however pose a risk to the very young, the infirm or the elderly (Mohamed has been stung 5 times in his lifetime and he is fighting fit). Shake your shoes in the morning, but mostly they are found outside rather than in the houses.

What to pack

Ruck sacks are preferable to suitcases for walking holidays and easier for mules to carry.

The weather seems to become less predictable year by year. In general it is warm in the mountains during the day even in the winter months and it is rarely too hot in the summer and almost never humid. Evenings can be cool during October through to April. Clothes that can be worn in layers are advisable so layers can be added and removed. In Sahara it can be cold at night even in summer. A light rain jacket and a fleece are also advisable. The sun is very strong as Tighza is 1900m above sea level so sunscreen of at least Factor 30 is advisable as are sunglasses and sun hats.

Our recommendations:

  • Lip balm preferably with factor 15 sun protection
  • Good Body moisturiser or vaseline
  • Sunfactor 15 or above sun lotion
  • After sun
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Shoes with ankle support for walking
  • Camera
  • Spare memory card
  • Fleece jacket
  • Travel towel
  • Sleeping bag 3/4 season if staying during winter months

Customs and clothing

Bring Flip-flops or slip on shoes as it is customary to remove shoes when walking on mats or carpets in Berber homes.

Bring clothes for hot, wet and also cold weather as changes can be unexpected.

Good worn in walking boots or shoes are preferable to trainers as this is medium terrain.

Please also be respectful of the locals and wear length or long trousers (as opposed to shorts) and sleeved T-shirts or tops (rather than strappy or vest type T-shirts). Kaftan tops are also a good choice for girls and women. Women are not expected to wear headscarves or skirts over trousers, but you can if you wish.

Communications

Smart Phones eg. Phones and Blackberries are able to access the internet. There is unfortunately no Wi-fi capability in Tighza for lap tops etc.

Smart phones take longer to log onto the network than basic older style mobile phones. Maroc Telecom provide the mobile network in this region and we advise guests staying in Morocco for several weeks to purchase a Moroccan SIM card, it is usually cheaper to do "pay as you go" than use Roaming on your own phone from home.

Homestays do not have fixed phones and there is no public phone in the village. For guests of Riad Kasbah Oliver you can leave the fixed phone number with relatives if they need to contact you urgently.

Food and drink

Both Homestays and Riad Kasbah Oliver are able to cater for dietary restrictions and allergies so please advise of these at time of booking.

All meals are cooked fresh by the family or in the case of Riad Kasbah Oliver by local Berber cooks and are typical Berber cuisine ie. tagine, cous cous, pancakes and bread of various types.

Only drink bottled or boiled water unless you bring water treatment tablets or powder with you (water treatment is preferable in Sahara so you can drink cool well water)

  • The water is safe to brush your teeth with in Tighza
  • Water is very hard as it is from source and goes through water storage towers so a strong moisturiser is worth packing
  • If there is low rainfall and the resource is being heavily used we cannot guarantee that there will be tap water every day. In summer the water towers can be empty for several days causing water shortages. Riad Kasbah Oliver has a water storage tank to try to overcome this. In 2010 Exodus, Baraka Community Partnerships and the village association built an extra water tower. If there is a water shortage containers of water will be provided for washing and flushing toilets etc.

Note regarding water summer 2016: There was very little rain to replenish ground water supplies in 2015 so please use water sparingly as even supplies down in Ouarzazate the nearest main town are running low.

Driving

When driving in Morocco pay attention to speed limits which are stringently enforced:

  • You must stop for police and gendarmes where Halte signs appear unless they wave you on
  • Do not try running red lights. Note traffic lights change quickly. Fines are in cash
  • An international driving permit is advisable which can be bought from post offices in the UK before you leave for Morocco

Contact us

For further information, reservations and booking enquiries please contact Carolyn:

  • Email homestaysmorocco@yahoo.co.uk
  • Telephone - inside Morocco 0677840487, outside Morocco 00212 677840487
  • Fixed phone 00212 524891828
  • If you prefer to speak in English call 0044 7902395742
  • To speak in French call 00212 677840487 or 00212 668443040

Or write to:
Carolyn and Mohamed,
Tighza, Telouet,
BP No. 47 Ouarzazate,
Morocco

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