13 days in Morocco

Old Mar 19th, 2023, 01:26 PM
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13 days in Morocco

Hello, we are planning a trip to Morocco in 2 weeks! I'd appreciate any feedback on this plan, especially regarding renting a car vs hiring a driver/guide. Also any thoughts about the amount of time in each place, and best places to stay during the second half of the trip? Recommendations for an outfitter to arrange the desert camp?
Day 1 Arrive Marakech 20:00
Day 2 Marakech
Day 3 Marakech
Day 4 Marakech
Day 5 afternoon train to Fes
Day 6 Fes
Day 7 Fes
Day 8 Fes
Day 9 Drive to Merzouga (Ifrane, Erfoud)- overnight in desert camp
Day 10 desert (overnight in desert camp)
Day 11 Todra Gorge, Dades Gorge (overnight in Dades Gorge or Ourzazate?)
Day 12 ait Haddou, high Atlas mts- Overnight in Marakech? or on the way?
Day 13 Essaouria
Day 14 return Marakech, late evening return flight
thanks for your suggestions!
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 01:33 PM
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We spent 1 month in Marrakech a few years before the pandemic. We did both--drove ourselves and used 1 driver to take us from Marrakech through the desert and ending in Fes. We drove ourselves from Marrakech to Essaouria and down south to parts where you aren't going. We did drive ourselves in the High Atlas mountains. Fun! In Fes we had a driver take us northwards.
Essaouria was one of my favorite places and I would spend more than 1 day there.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 01:36 PM
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Thanks so much for the feedback! Where did you go in the High Atlas?
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 01:37 PM
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Thanks so much for the feedback! Where did you go in the High Atlas?
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 04:19 PM
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Just some thoughts
"we are planning a trip to Morocco in 2 weeks
Understand that you are going during Ramadan. This means all but tourist shops and restaurants will be either closes from sunup to sunrise or just closed for the entire month. This includes the non tourist cafes, which is one of the joys of Morocco.
It is an almost 7 hour train ride so the afternoon 4:50 train arrives close to midnight. This makes getting to your accommodations hard and if a riad in the medina a nightmare experience of being lost in the alleys of the Medina.
Better you take the 11:50 AM train and get to Fes at 6:15 PM. At least you will arrive with some daylight.
Day 9 this is a dawn to dusk drive with rest stops. Pack food and drink as you might have problems finding any restaurant opened. You could break it in 2 by adding Midelt or even stopping in Azrou and see Volubilis (roman city ruins and museum), Ifraine, Mouley Idress and the wild Barbary apes in the Ceder Forest just outside Azrou.
You could lose a day in Fes easily enough.
I would overnight in a hotel 1st night in the dune area (not the Sahara desert) then take a 4x4 tour of the desert area next day ending at your tenting for last night with camel ride to see the dunes at sunset.
You could easily overnight in Ouarzazate. If you do this you will have time to see both Ait Ben Haddou and Telouet.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Telouet_Kasbah
Other suggestion is to do Essaouira in the middle of your Marrakech trip (2 nights is better, again you can easily lose a day in Fes). then you can relax your last 2 days in Marrakech and recover from your long drives on the desert trip.
Side trips from Marrakech ...
Ozoud falls (5 or 6 hours total drive but it is a great drive and the falls are amazing).
Ourika (there are smaller falls here you could walk to) , you could add lake Lala and the Agafay badlands to this.
Imlil lovely Berber village in the Atlas mountains.
No real good way to do the desert part with out renting a car, hiring a car and driver or joining a group sardine tour.
Hope this gives you a start.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 05:09 PM
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I have a trip report on the board after working with a lovely driver, Salem Karaoui, who has a company, Moroccan-Family. He and his brother run the company and have since opened a camp, which seems to get excellent reviews. Several people have used his services on this board and have been very happy with their trips.

Here is the website: https://moroccan-family.com/tours-safaris/

My trip report, in case you want to see any of the locations:
Morocco, A Visual Journey

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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 03:39 AM
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Thanks for the detailed response, Comicman!
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 03:41 AM
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Loved your trip report, Progol! Looks like our itinerary is fairly similar, though we are skipping Chefchouen. I had already contacted Salem! saw the company recommended by others.
Is there anything you would have skipped? or places you wish you had more time?
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 05:26 AM
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Like yestravel said, Essaouria was one of our favorite stops. We could've easily stayed another night or 2. We were only there one night, though had most of the arrival day and part of the departure day. It really was a lovely place and so much less hectic than elsewhere.

Chefchaouen would've been the place I would've eliminated, so it looks like we're on the same page!
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 04:54 PM
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The biggest problem with Chefchaouen is simply the large amount of travel time to get there and back. I just do not think it offers enough to be worth losing an entire day of your holiday to visit here. Plus these days it is just to commercial and crowded for me.
I tend to advise getting a private car and driver over getting a tour company. As long as you have the time and are willing to plan your tour you can save maybe half just using a car and driver and making your plans with the driver.. In the end you might even up with the same car and driver going with a tour company as they usually farm you out to a professional official tourist driver that you could hire on your own for a lot less.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 11:56 PM
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Thanks, Comicman. Organized tours aren't for us....We are looking into getting a driver (Salem, from Morocco Family tours, whom Progol and others recommended). Weighing this against renting a car and doing the trip from Fes back to Marrakech (via Margouza, Todra Gorges, Dades, Ouarzazate etc.) by ourselves. Don't know yet how much Morocco Family tours will charge for those 5 days- should get his proposal today.
Any thoughts re: driving ourselves vs going with a driver? I understand the roads are ok for a regular vehicle (except the Margouza- Erg Chebbi segment, where you need 4 X 4 for the desert...).

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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 10:08 AM
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Hi Progol, I just heard back from Salem at Moroccan family tours. The price for 5 days and 4 nights (Fes to Marakech via Merzouga, Dades etc) is $1145 per person (and we are a couple). Seems very high! Does this sound right? Includes touring, accommodations and meals.
Is this the going rate for a driver/tour guide + accommodations?
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by manu423 View Post
Hi Progol, I just heard back from Salem at Moroccan family tours. The price for 5 days and 4 nights (Fes to Marakech via Merzouga, Dades etc) is $1145 per person (and we are a couple). Seems very high! Does this sound right? Includes touring, accommodations and meals.
Is this the going rate for a driver/tour guide + accommodations?
I canít speak to the rates as itís been 5 years and I know prices have gone up since we traveled. What you are getting is custom service with everything included. Are there options in the accommodations that might make it less expensive? I know Salem to be very professional as well as a lovely person.

If this is too much for you, perhaps see what it would cost for booking just a driver and then booking the accommodations on your own.


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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 01:01 PM
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"The price for 5 days and 4 nights (Fes to Marakech via Merzouga, Dades etc) is $1145 per person"
This is very expensive. Even staying at higher end hotels the hotels including breakfast and gourmet dinners would only be around 100.00 a night (1000 Dh) would only be 400.00.
The drivers I use, are more in the 150 to 160 Euro per day. But as you are doing one way you might have to add 150 to 200 Euro for the driver to get back home (or to get to you).
400 (hotel) + 800 (driver) + 200 (one way cost) =1400 for the 2 of you. This is a guess but I think a good guess.
I usually hire the car and driver then book my own hotels, so I can have control of where I stay.
All though you do not need a 4x4 for this trip many of the car and drivers have this anyways. The plus here is that they can take you on some off road side trips (should be included).
Though personally I would rent a car and do this self catering ... but I love to drive so this is me.
Remember that there would be a one way fee to cover the car rental company sending an employee (7 to 10 hours travel time) to Marrakech to collect the car and then drive it back and cover the fuel costs. But this will still be cheaper then a car and driver.
I am glad you are taking 4 nights as a 3 night trip you are driving most of your daylight hours.
But a car and driver could be a more relaxing trip. So both are good.
If you do rent make sure to get the insurance from the actual agency you use.
I hope this helps.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 01:02 PM
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"If this is too much for you, perhaps see what it would cost for booking just a driver and then booking the accommodations on your own."
Great Minds Think Alike.
You posted your answer while I was composing mine
Edit ..
By the way I am impressed at your eye for taking pictures and been enjoying your lovely photos of Morocco. Envious in that I do not have as good an eye to get such nice pictures.

Last edited by Comicman; Mar 21st, 2023 at 01:07 PM.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
I canít speak to the rates as itís been 5 years and I know prices have gone up since we traveled. What you are getting is custom service with everything included. Are there options in the accommodations that might make it less expensive? I know Salem to be very professional as well as a lovely person.

If this is too much for you, perhaps see what it would cost for booking just a driver and then booking the accommodations on your own.
Thanks Progol and Comicman!

any recommendations for drivers ?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2023, 03:28 AM
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manu, I have no suggestions for drivers as Salem was our driver. One thought I have would be to ask him whether he could provide just a driver and whether that would be more reasonably priced for you.

Comicman, I’m glad you enjoyed my “visual trip report”. Morocco was one of the most visually stimulating trips we’ve ever taken! The diversity of the landscape really was amazing.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2023, 01:36 PM
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@ Progol
Do you remember the name of the palace museum like riad (I am gonna guess it was in Fes) that you stayed at?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2023, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Comicman View Post
@ Progol
Do you remember the name of the palace museum like riad (I am gonna guess it was in Fes) that you stayed at?
Dar Seffarine
https://darseffarine.com

One of the most amazing places we stayed in. I didnít really want to leave - staying and staring at our room was enough of a treat. The food was excellent, too.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2023, 10:07 AM
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It looks amazing. I have added it to my places to stay.
Big TY.
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