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Answered Morocco planning

VPS

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Hi - thinking about Morocco for a trip this year but will be around December or January 2020.

I've read @RooFlyer and @henleybeach TR.

I'd probably do a tour rather than travel alone (senior female).

Any suggestions to tours and companies and how long you think would be ideal for a trip.
 

cgichard

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Lots to choose from at Morocco Holidays and Tours | AITO
My personal recommendations would be InnTravel and Kudu; either would involve some walking.
Or Ciceroni if you want something more city-based.
Need to check pricing, as the rates quoted may include travel from and back to UK - ask for a quote without flights if you don't want to go via UK.
 

RooFlyer

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No suggestions for tour companies, sorry.

For the 'must sees' of Fes, Casablanca and Marrakesh, you could do it in a week, if you had to. There isn't all that much to see in Casablanca, but the tour will almost certainly begin and/or end there. Big mosque, sea-side and a name.

Two weeks would be a good tour - a bit more time in those places and maybe go up to Tangier, into the mountains (& Ouarzazarte) and/or down to Agadir.

Try to get a tour where you stay in at least one good riad, rather than the usual hotels.
 

kpc

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I did a TR (see signature) a few years ago....sorry to say Morocco is not on my list of favourite destinations!
 
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VPS

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No suggestions for tour companies, sorry.

For the 'must sees' of Fes, Casablanca and Marrakesh, you could do it in a week, if you had to. There isn't all that much to see in Casablanca, but the tour will almost certainly begin and/or end there. Big mosque, sea-side and a name.

Two weeks would be a good tour - a bit more time in those places and maybe go up to Tangier, into the mountains (& Ouarzazarte) and/or down to Agadir.

Try to get a tour where you stay in at least one good riad, rather than the usual hotels.
Thanks - The few I have looked it arrive and leave from Casablanca but don't spend the night there
 

leadman

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On a slightly different note I see Royal Air Maroc is slated to join Oneworld in 2020.
 

mhen

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We (two senior females) went to Morocco in Apri1 2016. We were already going to Spain and at the last minute decided to add in a week in Morocco. We loved Morocco, it's much bigger and more diverse than I had realised.We used tripstomorocco.com to arrange a car and driver from Tangier. I realise you are interested in a group tour but you may be interested in the itinerary they put together for us. Ideally we would have had 10 - 11 days but only had a week in between other travels.

1 April : Tangier -Chefchaouen
We meet you in Tangier in the morning and we drive you to the nearest city from tangier which's Chefchaouen exploring the charming town of Chefchaouen, situated in the Rif Mountains. It is famous with its bright blue-washed buildings. As you stroll through the narrow cobbled streets and walls of the medina, you will notice most of men wearing Djellabas made of wool and women wearing colourful straw hats. Lunch in a local restaurant. You will admire the panoramic view of the valley and village. In the main square of the medina, you will have time to explore the shops full of local handicrafts, such as wool garments and woven blankets. Bed and Breakfast in your Riad at Casa Perlita or Dar Chaouen.

2nd April : Chafchaouen -Fes, Tour and visit the city with Local Guide.
After breakfast you will start your journey in visiting the most amazing places in Fes.Visiting the medina (the old city) and its ramparts and alleys. View the famous medieval tanneries. Also discovering Karaouine Mosque that was founded in 859 by Fatima Al-Fihri and which is considered the most Magnificent and Historic Religious Attraction in the city. You will have a break for lunch. Later on you will see the The Merenid tomb that is in the rim of the valley. Exploring the superb Architectural Masterpiece of Bou Inania Medersa .then another decorated architecture called Attarin Medersa, and the Neijarin Fountain. Also view The Fondouks the place where the donkeys and their owners meet, And visit the souks where there is merchandise of handcrafts and edible goods ,copperware and pottery. Overnight with bed include Breakfastin your Riad in Fes .

3rd April : Fez – Azrou – Midalet –Errachidia – ziz valley –Erfoud -Merzouga
After breakfast we will leave Fes toward Merouga passing by Ifran that is known as the Switzerland of Morocco, then Azrou which is known with its green tiled roofs and beautiful cedar forests that are the residence for monkeys. Next we take you to Midelt where you can enjoy your lunch. Continuing the road through the Middle Atlas Mountains and observe the nomads that live there. Also you will be mesmerised with the views of volcanic rock and near by Errachidia you will notice the high cliffs and Ziz Valley that is surrounded with palm trees. In the next station Erfoud you will have the opportunity to visit a marble industry that is full of a variety of decorations. After that we will head to the final station of the day Merzouga. Overnight with dinner and accommodation in a hotel.

4th April : Merzouga - Erg Chebbi dunes-Tamrdanite-Khamlia Hassi el-bied.
In the morning after breakfast your excursion will start from the hotel taking you through the sand-sea dunes near the Algerian border where you can have the chance to take photos and see the black volcanic rock, also you may meet a nomad families and see their nomadic lifestyle. Next you will pass close to tiny Berber villages like Tamrdanite before you reach Khamlia. In Khamlia (very little village in desert) you will enjoy moments of spiritual Gnawa music that is played with black people whom are the inhabitants of this village. In our way to the hotel you will be enchanted with the view of the lake of Ait Sareji (especially In springtime) which attracts pink flamingos and many others birds. Back to the hotel for rest and getting ready for an adventure (camel trekking) in the heart of the desert .while heading to the bivouac, you will see the spectacular sunset through the dunes. You will enjoy Berber food, listening to the drums in a starry night and sleeping in a traditional tent (camel hair tent) in calmness and tranquility.

5th April :Erg Chebbi - Erfoud - Tinejdad - Tineghir - Todra Gorges - Boumalne Dades.
Waking up by the camel man guide very earlier to watch the sunrise then enjoying breakfast. You will trek back to your hotel where you can have hot shower and get ready for the new journey. We will depart to Rissani, you will have a visit to Zawiya Moulay Ali ash-Sharif and you may also investigate the Souk (local market) with the opportunity to see the Fondouks where donkeys gather. Continuing on our drive toward Tineghir passing by Erfoud “the capital of marble fossil” .You will view the Khatarat (Canal irrigation system) on our route. Our next stop is in Tinejdad or Tineghir where you will have lunch. Later on, we will continue on the road alongside the river to reach the gorges where you will hike/Walk on foot through this stunning place while enjoying the views of high rock walls (up to 300 meters).Afterwards, we head to Boumalne Du Dades then to the gorges where you will have time to explore Dades gorges and see its rock formations “human bodies, fingers of monkeys”. Dinner and overnight stay in a Kasbah Hotel Xaluca ,Chez Pierre .

6th April: Boumalne Du Dades-Kelaa M’gouna-Ouarzazate-Ait Benhaddou-Tizi N’tichka Pass-Marrakech
This morning after breakfast in the hotel, We depart to Ouarzazate via Skoura . Stopping for a panoramic view of the kasbah of Taourirt then another photo stop near the atlas film studios. After that you will visit the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou and stop for lunch in a local restaurant in the village. In the Afternoon we will drive to Marrakech over the mountains of high Atlas passing through the Tizi N’tichka pass (2260 m in altitude).

7th April: Marrakech. Tour and visit the city with Local Guide.
On this day, after breakfast you will have full day tour to discover Marrakech.by Immersing yourself in the red city and During your tour you will have Lunch in the Medina , you will visit the most beautiful palaces and monuments of Marrakech such as the 19th century Bahia Palace ,the 16th century Saadian Tombs, the Koutoubia Mosque ,the Majorelle Garden . You will also visit the famous Souks where the merchants sell everything from leather, carpets, cloths, spices, kaftans… .

8th April: Marrakech Airport.
We transfer you to the airport at your flight time.
 
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Ausbt

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I don't generally like to put the boot into places, but Tangier, Chefchouen and Fes are three places I never want to go anywhere near ever again. Somehow I don't think Marrakesh would improve my view. I would say my trip was coloured by coming directly from Provence - and let's face it, a lot of other destinations would also suffer from comparison.

My dreams of reliving William S Burrough's The Naked Lunch died a quick death as I stood in a dusty alley beside the fading Hotel Murnia in Tangier, attracting the unwanted attention of a group of people. Similarly beat poets didn't come easily to mind in Cafe de Paris, although the coffee is ok I guess. The food in general is good, but you know, not that good to compensate for what I found to be a surprisingly dull destination. And the men! The men - everywhere. Cafes full of men, at all times of the day. Where are the women? Seriously, what are all these men doing just sitting there drinking coffee and staring at the street all day? Clearly the women are off, unseen, doing the actual work.

Touts - easily the most aggressive and determined touts of anywhere in the known world. To attempt meandering in alleys, enjoyably lost as you might do in Venice, is an impossibility. Had my wife not have been with me I would have actually taken some enjoyment in pushing back against one particular gent with unrestricted aggression of my own. Instead I gave him $20 so he would just, well you know. Walking in Fes' Jardin Bab Jdid also saw a group of youths eyeball me hard trying to provoke, you have to give it back and not back down - the young bloke was just trying to impress his girlfriend. The roses were quite nice, but the idyll was interrupted by quite a long fight between two men who were old enough know better. I admired their stamina, this was real - punches were being exchanged.

The war museum in Fes in the hilltop fortress had a few interesting pieces I guess and the views were good. But overall I just didn't get the appeal. I'm struggling for positives: a beautiful but let's face it expensive meal in a Riad, where they actually had booze (yes, the lack of available alcohol was a real chore, make no mistake). Cats. Cats everywhere and being fed by the locals. I liked that. I also enjoyed witnessing an incredible hullabaloo at Fes airport as a group bound for Marrakesh was moved from gate-to-gate three times with no sign of their 3 hour delayed plane in sight. My goodness - the gesticulating, yelling and wailing in the face of the airport staff was a sight to see. I filmed some of it - it was great entertainment. All the while the machine-gun toting guards stood there impassively, watching on. From behind a glass wall.

But don't let me put you off. Go and have fun! Pick up a bottle of duty free on the way in, please don't forget that.
 

RooFlyer

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On a slightly different note I see Royal Air Maroc is slated to join Oneworld in 2020.
A thread on this here.

We loved Morocco, it's much bigger and more diverse than I had realised.We used tripstomorocco.com to arrange a car and driver from Tangier. I realise you are interested in a group tour but you may be interested in the itinerary they put together for us. Ideally we would have had 10 - 11 days but only had a week in between other travels.
An excellent itinerary! More than what i thought could have been done in a week. Same itinerary maybe in 10 days would be ideal for VPS, I think.

I don't generally like to put the boot into places, but Tangier, Chefchouen and Fes are three places I never want to go anywhere near ever again. Somehow I don't think Marrakesh would improve my view. I would say my trip was coloured by coming directly from Provence - and let's face it, a lot of other destinations would also suffer from comparison.
After Provence - well, yes. But you either had a very bad run, or won't get on visiting many third world countries. In three visits to Morocco, I saw plenty of grotty places, suffered many touts (and hash sellers), but its all part of the experience, as they say. And in a tour VPS should be more insulated for the rough bits.

Morocco much better than say, Egypt, west Africa and India for grotty and touts!

And Marrakesh? If you didn't go there, you missed the best bit!. Except, maybe, the seafood down the Atlantic coast.
 

henleybeach

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We used a company called authentic Morocco . Fantastic and very accommodating. Casablanca I wouldn’t go back too, the rest of Morocco is brilliant.
You’ll see snow on the Atlas Mountains, as we did in when we went in feb . Sahara desert will be freezing at night in dec/jan.
in Marrakech we stayed at Riad sapphire and spa , 10/10. If I remember it’s a british expat that runs it, and he genuinely looks after you and points you in the right direction. We had the best Tagine there, he organised a cook to come and cook us a three course meal. All the produce fresh from the markets, to date one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten and it was from a little old sweet lady! We caught the train from Casablanca to Marrakech and stayed a couple nights there and then started the week long private tour from there and finished in Casablanca.
 
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VPS

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We (two senior females) went to Morocco in Apri1 2016. We were already going to Spain and at the last minute decided to add in a week in Morocco. We loved Morocco, it's much bigger and more diverse than I had realised.We used tripstomorocco.com to arrange a car and driver from Tangier. I realise you are interested in a group tour but you may be interested in the itinerary they put together for us. Ideally we would have had 10 - 11 days but only had a week in between other travels.

1 April : Tangier -Chefchaouen
We meet you in Tangier in the morning and we drive you to the nearest city from tangier which's Chefchaouen exploring the charming town of Chefchaouen, situated in the Rif Mountains. It is famous with its bright blue-washed buildings. As you stroll through the narrow cobbled streets and walls of the medina, you will notice most of men wearing Djellabas made of wool and women wearing colourful straw hats. Lunch in a local restaurant. You will admire the panoramic view of the valley and village. In the main square of the medina, you will have time to explore the shops full of local handicrafts, such as wool garments and woven blankets. Bed and Breakfast in your Riad at Casa Perlita or Dar Chaouen.

2nd April : Chafchaouen -Fes, Tour and visit the city with Local Guide.
After breakfast you will start your journey in visiting the most amazing places in Fes.Visiting the medina (the old city) and its ramparts and alleys. View the famous medieval tanneries. Also discovering Karaouine Mosque that was founded in 859 by Fatima Al-Fihri and which is considered the most Magnificent and Historic Religious Attraction in the city. You will have a break for lunch. Later on you will see the The Merenid tomb that is in the rim of the valley. Exploring the superb Architectural Masterpiece of Bou Inania Medersa .then another decorated architecture called Attarin Medersa, and the Neijarin Fountain. Also view The Fondouks the place where the donkeys and their owners meet, And visit the souks where there is merchandise of handcrafts and edible goods ,copperware and pottery. Overnight with bed include Breakfastin your Riad in Fes .

3rd April : Fez – Azrou – Midalet –Errachidia – ziz valley –Erfoud -Merzouga
After breakfast we will leave Fes toward Merouga passing by Ifran that is known as the Switzerland of Morocco, then Azrou which is known with its green tiled roofs and beautiful cedar forests that are the residence for monkeys. Next we take you to Midelt where you can enjoy your lunch. Continuing the road through the Middle Atlas Mountains and observe the nomads that live there. Also you will be mesmerised with the views of volcanic rock and near by Errachidia you will notice the high cliffs and Ziz Valley that is surrounded with palm trees. In the next station Erfoud you will have the opportunity to visit a marble industry that is full of a variety of decorations. After that we will head to the final station of the day Merzouga. Overnight with dinner and accommodation in a hotel.

4th April : Merzouga - Erg Chebbi dunes-Tamrdanite-Khamlia Hassi el-bied.
In the morning after breakfast your excursion will start from the hotel taking you through the sand-sea dunes near the Algerian border where you can have the chance to take photos and see the black volcanic rock, also you may meet a nomad families and see their nomadic lifestyle. Next you will pass close to tiny Berber villages like Tamrdanite before you reach Khamlia. In Khamlia (very little village in desert) you will enjoy moments of spiritual Gnawa music that is played with black people whom are the inhabitants of this village. In our way to the hotel you will be enchanted with the view of the lake of Ait Sareji (especially In springtime) which attracts pink flamingos and many others birds. Back to the hotel for rest and getting ready for an adventure (camel trekking) in the heart of the desert .while heading to the bivouac, you will see the spectacular sunset through the dunes. You will enjoy Berber food, listening to the drums in a starry night and sleeping in a traditional tent (camel hair tent) in calmness and tranquility.

5th April :Erg Chebbi - Erfoud - Tinejdad - Tineghir - Todra Gorges - Boumalne Dades.
Waking up by the camel man guide very earlier to watch the sunrise then enjoying breakfast. You will trek back to your hotel where you can have hot shower and get ready for the new journey. We will depart to Rissani, you will have a visit to Zawiya Moulay Ali ash-Sharif and you may also investigate the Souk (local market) with the opportunity to see the Fondouks where donkeys gather. Continuing on our drive toward Tineghir passing by Erfoud “the capital of marble fossil” .You will view the Khatarat (Canal irrigation system) on our route. Our next stop is in Tinejdad or Tineghir where you will have lunch. Later on, we will continue on the road alongside the river to reach the gorges where you will hike/Walk on foot through this stunning place while enjoying the views of high rock walls (up to 300 meters).Afterwards, we head to Boumalne Du Dades then to the gorges where you will have time to explore Dades gorges and see its rock formations “human bodies, fingers of monkeys”. Dinner and overnight stay in a Kasbah Hotel Xaluca ,Chez Pierre .

6th April: Boumalne Du Dades-Kelaa M’gouna-Ouarzazate-Ait Benhaddou-Tizi N’tichka Pass-Marrakech
This morning after breakfast in the hotel, We depart to Ouarzazate via Skoura . Stopping for a panoramic view of the kasbah of Taourirt then another photo stop near the atlas film studios. After that you will visit the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou and stop for lunch in a local restaurant in the village. In the Afternoon we will drive to Marrakech over the mountains of high Atlas passing through the Tizi N’tichka pass (2260 m in altitude).

7th April: Marrakech. Tour and visit the city with Local Guide.
On this day, after breakfast you will have full day tour to discover Marrakech.by Immersing yourself in the red city and During your tour you will have Lunch in the Medina , you will visit the most beautiful palaces and monuments of Marrakech such as the 19th century Bahia Palace ,the 16th century Saadian Tombs, the Koutoubia Mosque ,the Majorelle Garden . You will also visit the famous Souks where the merchants sell everything from leather, carpets, cloths, spices, kaftans… .

8th April: Marrakech Airport.
We transfer you to the airport at your flight time.
Thanks - that sounds really interesting. Are you able to share a rough cost you paid and any extras on top of that. If you'd prefer not to put in public happy for you to send me a PM. Cheers
 

cgichard

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I recall two aspects of my Morocco trip that made me very glad I was with an English-speaking tour company. It must have been mid-late January and there was unusually heavy snow that blocked the main road over the Atlas SW of Marrakech that was our route to Agde. Our resourceful guide took us a very long way round to the west, via Agadir and Taroudant, arriving very late at our Agde hotel. So we got to see the coast and also the goats climbing the argan trees. Returning over the Atlas, ours was one of the first vehicles to make it through after the road was cleared.

That was also the weekend of Eid that year, so the traffic was very heavy, with live animals for the coming sacrifice strapped on top of luggage on the roofs of cars. Later, when walkig, we even saw a young boy on a donkey with a sheep tied across in front of his saddle. And we were accosted one day as we approached the house where we were to have lunch, by a pair of men entirely covered in goatskins (my, they did stink!), who were wielding lengths of rubber hose with which to beat anyone who refused theit demand for money.
 

samh004

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In my winter break last year I visited Tangier for 1 night with my parents. We were nearby on the South coast of Spain so I steered them towards going somewhere out of the ordinary. Loved our time there, had an AirBNB in the old city, remember waking up and hearing the morning prayers which was so surreal. The people were all friendly, the food delicious and the ability to get alcohol not that hard. Took so many photos and can't wait to see more of the country for more than just a night in the future. Helps that their national carrier is joining oneworld.

I will concede we did have one particularly resilient tout/driver who followed us all the way from the ferry to the middle of the old city where we stopped for lunch. To my dads credit, he had researched where he wanted to have lunch and managed to orient himself well enough that all this guy did was follow and talk. He probably thought we were going to get ourselves lost and then he could rescue us for a fee.
 

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