Morocco Travel

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eastwayroad
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Morocco Travel

Post by eastwayroad » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:49 am

Thinking about a trip to Morocco this year.
Anyone have advice from recent experience there?

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Sheepdog
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by Sheepdog » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:14 am

I haven't been there recently. It has been an interesting and diversified travel destination. Google "is it safe to travel to morocco 2018" or any other travel question you can think of. Try Trip Advisor as well. You will find some good information it appears.
Last edited by Sheepdog on Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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magicrat
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by magicrat » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:15 am

Great place to visit. What are you questions?

THY4373
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by THY4373 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:23 am

Haven't visited yet but very high on my current list of countries to visit.

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eastwayroad
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by eastwayroad » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:36 am

Looking for specific recommendations; destinations, places to stay, using the trains.
And the advisability of using local guides throughout & best way to engage one.
We've done a lot of independent travel and always go off on our own, but maybe not this time.

thanks

e5116
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by e5116 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:47 pm

Spent 10 days in Morocco last September/October. Had a great time and very memorable, but not a place I want to go to multiple times personally. Liked Fes more than Marrakech, but worthwhile visiting both as they're quite different. Below was my general itinerary, which I thought was a good pace to not rush too much but also see quite a bit. Everybody says to skip Casablanca, so that's what we did. Only thing there to see is the mosque, since that's the only one non-Muslims can go into in the country, but there's plenty of architecture to see in other cities and you can peak inside often anyways (and see the exteriors). We focused on Marrkech, Fes, and a four day desert trek to visit Berber villages, Erg Chebbi sand dunes near Algeria, etc. Morocco is a surprisingly large country, so can't see it all.

Day 1: Fly into Marrakech (RAK)
Afternoon in Marrakech
Overnight in Marrakech
Day 2: Day in Marrakech
Overnight in Marrakech
Day 3: Day in Marrakech
Overnight in Marrakech
Day 4: Pick-up in morning for 4-day desert tour. I used a company called Authentic Morocco, which is run by a British woman but is authorized to operate in Morocco and uses local guides. Had a separate driver and guide who speaks English. I'd recommend them -- there are also a lot of highly rated guides on TripAdvisor to check out.
Overnight in small Berber villa
Day 5: Ait Benhaddou
Overnight in small hotel inside gorge on HB
Day 6: Erg Chebbi Dunes
Overnight in deep desert camp on HB
Day 7: Transfer to Fes, Cedar Forests
Overnight in Fes
Day 8: Day in Fes
Overnight in Fes
Day 9: Day in Fes
Overnight in Fes
Day 10: Saturday 10/7, Day in Fes
Fly from Fes to Madrid
Dinner in Madrid
Overnight in MAD
Day 11: Fly home

You'll get lost in the Medina in Marrakech and Fes at some point. Be wary of people trying to be 'nice" and show you how to get out -- they're demand money or send you to a shop for their "buddy" where they split the profits. So, act like you know where you're going and confidently. Morocco felt more middle Eastern to me than "African" -- obviously, the culture and people are different than other countries in Africa. Overall, though, very friendly hospitality and gorgeous sites. Can get hot of course. :) Highlight of the trip was probably the deep desert camp trek. Majestic orange dunes like out of a movie. We like to travel on our own too (and have done that in Europe plenty of times), but no way we could have done the deep desert camp without a guide. Lots of driving on roads that don't have the best signage, and was much much easier and not that terribly priced. Within each city, explored on own, although did a walking tour of Marrakech with a guide for a few hours to see a few sites. Have list of hotels too if you want -- PM me.

Have fun! Let me know if you have any questions.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:20 pm

Went with Gate 1 in 2016. Two weeks. We covers a lot of ground. Rabat, Fez, Marrakech, Casablanca, the desert, the mountains, ruins and forts, mosques, mosques, and even more mosques. Much more than I could have arranged on my own. Much easier too. Probably cheaper too. Learned a lot more than if on our own. In 30 years of travel we have only done a tour 3 times. This was one. Excepting once to Istanbul, this was our first foray into the Musim world. That was a factor in using a tour also.
Morocco pretty foreign compare to SE Asia, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, Africa which we have been to. Different culture.
They have a tea culture there. Not a bar culture. All cafes are just men and tea. You have to go to an more upscale place to get a drink. Or you have to know the places they sell alcohol, which our guide did.
People are nice but they want to sell you anything. Persistent, annoying. No more so than Istanbul or Mexico. Keep walking.
Food is good, different.
If you go it alone on a timeframe, even if you have a month, I think your transportation will be something you will spend time and money on. You can always hire private driver, but I do not know much about that.
It is a fascinating country. It is probably the most easily accessible, safer, and friendly of the predominately Muslim countries.

123
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by 123 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:33 pm

Went on a package bus tour some years ago that included about 8 days in Morocco. It was my first trip to Africa and the cultural differences, as an Islamic country, were striking, such as the prayer times in the middle of the night. I thoroughly enjoyed it but it might not be for everyone. At the time most of the bus land tours followed the same route even when they were offered by different companies (American Express, Globus-Gateway, etc) so we'd run into people from the other tour groups all the time. The one thing our tour guide cautioned us about was that the word "maintenance" seemed to be an unknown word with regard to most of the hotels in Morocco. From my observations this seemed generally true, most of hotels were "worn" and didn't seem to get the periodic refurbishment you see elsewhere. I rather enjoyed the "worn" ambience. I'm sure Casablanca and Rabat still have their share of "new" hotels, but otherwise consider yourself informed.

Watch out for the snake charmers in the public squares. They'd love to wrap one around you and require a tip to remove it.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Nicolas
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by Nicolas » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:42 pm

Go to Casablanca... for the waters.

Sherlock
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by Sherlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:55 pm

I went to Marrakech last year. Found a great little riad(hotel) and just wandered around the medina for 3 days. Joined a small group tour into the dessert for camel ride. It's a pretty rote trip but fascinating. Visited casbahs and Berber villages after crossing the Atlas mountains. Though many people follow this same route it is such an amazing experience to be part of the centuries old caravan journey and a night in the Sahara dessert, priceless.
Agree on what was said regarding getting lost in the Marrakech souks. A crazy maze and you will be mercilessly harassed by denizens willing to lead you by the nose to points unknown but usually ending at a carpet merchant. In the main square be careful not to take pictures of the snake charmers as they will catch you and charm you out of some serious money. But enjoy the incredible sights, sounds and food.

I took a bus to the seaside town of Essaouira. A beautiful little town with very reasonably priced accommodation.

magicrat
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by magicrat » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:46 pm

My wife and I went for 2.5 weeks, and hired a driver/guide to take us around for 2 of them (everything outside Marrakech). Got to see so much of the country and our guide was just amazing and we saw and learned so much that we couldn't have otherwise, plus had unlimited flexibility to change plans since it was just the two of us. If this type of thing interests you and you'd like a recommendation, feel free to PM me.

FRT15
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by FRT15 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:50 pm

I would be interested in hearing any well located, reasonable hotels/riads in Marrakech and Fez.

Did people who went to ait benhaddou feel it was worthwhile or did you prefer other areas? My dad and I will have limited time so we are thinking about AB or Maybe a city up in the Altas.

Thanks for any input

123
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by 123 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:32 pm

Deleted to remove duplicate response.
Last edited by 123 on Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Cycle
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by Cycle » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:36 pm

They have an extremely high vaccination rate, 99%. We considered going there with our infant, but did a shorter flight instead to a country with a low vaccination rate (USA). Have fun, i'm not jealous, just envious
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

Mickey7
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by Mickey7 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:23 pm

I believe that you are correct in wanting to have a guide or be a part of a small group for Morocco. Handled Turkey by myself for a couple of weeks by myself so I thought that handling Morocco for a few days would be fine. On a long vacation in Spain by myself I took the hydrofoil from Tarifa in Spain over to Tangiers, but only spent 2 days there. Decided that I might be over my head and went back to Spain. No complaints. Think the tours mentioned here sounded like a good deal. But do your research.

Enjoy

bernoulli
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by bernoulli » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:54 am

We prefer independent travel but went on a tour tp Morocco last year. We did not need that tour, we could have done everything on our own and would have probably enjoyed it much better.

We arrived in Casablanca and stayed there for a day. Despite its reputation for being a boring city, I enjoyed Casablanca for it is a real city in which people live and work. The food was good and interesting and the people are friendly. Morocco was the bread basket of the Roman Empire and the food culture shows it. A seemingly endless variety of baked goods, pastries, dairy products. And they have very good olive oil. They don't produce enough so it is only kept for their own consumption.

We took the train to Rabat which is where our tour started. The train ride was fine, much better than the train we took in China (although it was 10 years ago so maybe amenities have improved in China). We went to the usual places, Fes, Marrakech, etc. Like one of the earlier poster said, it's fine but it is not a place I'd go back to visit multiple times. We went on a hike at the national park in the Atlas Mountains, not recommended, the scenery is virtually non-existent, and you are better off staying away and immersing in the local culture.

As for recommendations, when we weren't with the tour, we just went with Google/Trip Advisor recommendations and they all turned out well. In Fes, we went to the "Clock" restaurant (?) and it was great. In Marrakech, we found a seafood place in Marrakech based on website recommendations and it was delish. Service is good and speaking English only was fine.

Have a good trip!

lgs88
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by lgs88 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:07 pm

I spent 3+ months in Morocco a few years back. Your mere presence indicates that you are an individual of means -- sufficient means to endure endless sales pitches, anyway. You get used to it, but for a short trip, you may find it grating.

The benefit of going with a tour is that then you're "taken". I went to Egypt independently not too long after the revolution, when there were very few tourists, and frankly I do not recommend being the only tourist in a tourism-based economy. To give just one example, I had a guy throw himself across the hood of my cab approaching the Pyramids in an attempt to sell "guide services". It won't be even a quarter that challenging in Morocco, but having a guide is a little like wearing your wedding ring to the bar. It fends off at least SOME advances.

An aside: after a couple of days like that in Egypt, I hired a guide/driver and things proceeded infinitely more smoothly from there.
merely an interested amateur

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eastwayroad
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by eastwayroad » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:41 pm

We were in Morocco last year. Wonderful stay in Fez at Riad Laarousa.
https://riad-laaroussa.com
Our only organized tour was a 1/2 day excursion from Marrakesh to a Berber village weekly market in Amizmiz. Was one of the highlights of our trip.
http://berberadventures.com/new/index.htm

FRT15
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by FRT15 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:19 pm

Thanks for the input everyone. Looks like we could use more time for our trip. Right now we are planning on visiting Marrakech, Ait Benhaddou, ourazazate, Essaouira, Fez, Meknes, and Volubilis. Some of these as day trips. I know there are many other interesting towns. Would you suggest swapping out any of these for others?

As for tours I am thinking we may arrange a couple day tours but for the most part get around on our own.

It's fun to look at all the riads, lots of character.

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Christine_NM
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by Christine_NM » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:29 pm

I liked an overnight in Tafraout (Hotel des Amandiers) and a drive around Taroudant, if you are going that far south. There are good wikipedia entries on both towns.
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FRT15
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Re: Morocco Travel

Post by FRT15 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:41 pm

Thanks for the input. I checked out the riads that have been recommended. Unfortunately they are booked for the dates we need. Should we look for accommodation in the Medina areas of Marrakech and Fez or look in other areas?

I think taroudant looks really cool..I just don't think we will have time unless we skip something else.

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