13 nights in Morocco-itinerary help please

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Aug 28th, 2015, 01:29 PM
  #1
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13 nights in Morocco-itinerary help please

My husband and I will be visiting Morocco for the first time in April/May 2016 and I need some advice. We are spending 3 nights in Madrid to get over jet lag and will then fly to Morocco in late April. This the itinerary I have devised so far, but would like some input from the Morocco experts!
3 nights Marrakesh- possibly a day trip to Essaouira.
3-4 nights dessert trip including a drive to Fes- Desert Majesty seems to have good reviews on the forum and has a trip like that.
3 nights Meknes- I think we would prefer a lower key than Fes and would use Meknes as our base to explore the area. I am not sure I would enjoy staying in the Fes Medina (I loved Istanbul but did not enjoy the Grand Bazaar at all, if that can be compared).
2-3 nights Rabat area- we are interested in birding and I have read that Moulay Bousselham and the lagoon around there is great for birding. I don't have a clue about the logistics, but Villa Bea on the coast looks like a nice place to stay.
Rabat to Casablanca to fly to Paris for 5 nights. Would prefer not to stay in Casablanca and hope to get an afternoon flight to Paris, if feasible.
We plan to hire a driver after we arrive in Fes/Meknes (neither of us wants to drive).
Questions:
Is this itinerary trying to see too much?
Is it crazy to stay in Meknes instead of Fes?
Does anyone know about roads to Moulay Bousselham and if that is worthwhile, other than birding?
Should we reverse the trip and Fly to Casa first and out of Marrakesh- Our flights to and from Europe are booked, but not the flights to Morocco.
Thank you for any help!
oforparis is offline  
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Aug 28th, 2015, 04:22 PM
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And where are you going to stay in Marrakesh if not the medina ? In both Marrakesh and Fes you can stay in the New Town, la Ville Nouvelle, if you're uncomfortable with the medina. From Fes you can do a day trip to Meknes and Volubilis. Rabat is wonderful; we lived there for five years. But, Moulay Bousselham isn't in the Rabat area. It's north on the road to Larache and Tangiers. Was there once but don't know anything about the birding. Just one street and the beach. A friend used to leave his wife and child there and go off hunting boar. I think I would go into Marrakesh and the south first before it gets too hot and out via Casa.
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Aug 29th, 2015, 06:14 AM
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We did...

- Flew in to Marrakesh

- 3 nights in the Medina

- Train to Casablanca

- 2 nights in the Medina

- Train to Fes

- 3 nights just outside the Medina, at a hotel that used to be the British Consulate.

- Train to Rabat

- 3 nights near the Medina

- Train to Marrakesh

- Overnight, and flew back to UK.

There's no comparison between the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and the medinas in Marrakesh or Fe here you soon feel as though you're being transported back in time

Had a great time. Did day trips by public transport. Didn't like Casablanca. There is a lot of 'love it' or 'loathe it' about Marrakes, we loved it with the odd bit of loathing. Rabat loved it. Fes loved it.
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Aug 29th, 2015, 11:16 AM
  #4
 
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might I suggest
fly into Casablanca take train to fes
3-nights with day trip to meknes, volubolis, moulay idress
train to kesh
3-nights
with day trips to imlil, ourika valley
bus to essaouira
2-nights
Casablanca
2-nights

regards wlke
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Aug 29th, 2015, 02:23 PM
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3 nights in meknes is an iternity. and the deserst is 10-12 hours each way why not slow down and take it slower
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Aug 30th, 2015, 04:24 PM
  #6
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>>3 nights Marrakesh- possibly a day trip to Essaouira.
3-4 nights dessert trip including a drive to Fes- Desert Majesty seems to have good reviews on the forum and has a trip like that.

You don't really have time for Essaouira since that would only give you one full day in Marrakech.

The desert . . . assuming Erg Chebbi . . .

Day 1:From Marrakech, over the High Atlas to Ouarzazate with a visit to Ait Ben Haddou on the way. Stay in Ouarzazate or better yet - Skoura.
Day 2: Dades Gorge on the way to Erg Chebbi. Basic hotel near dunes.
Day 3: Camel ride. Night in tent.
Day 4: Drive north as far as you can.

We used Desert Majesty & were very happy. Just make sure you know exactly what you are getting.

Ian
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Aug 31st, 2015, 10:19 AM
  #7
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Thank you all for your insight. We will skip Essaouira and probably the birding area and enjoy Rabat.
Most likely will stay in Fes. "3 nights in Meknes is an eternity" Is it really that bad? Boring or just awful?

Ian, I am not sure what you mean by "just make sure you know exactly what you are getting". Did you have issues with Desert Majesty?
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Aug 31st, 2015, 03:40 PM
  #8
Ian
 
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After talking with our driver, Said, on the way over the mountains, I realized that I had hadn’t planned enough time for the trip – we went to Erg Chigaga btw which is tougher to get to. My itinerary was ‘possible’ but not practical & Day 2 would have been a lot of driving. When we went to their office in Quarzazate, all was settled – or so we thought. We paid the agreed amount. $1200 CAN at the time. But what was not discussed was the cost of the extra hotel in Zagora. My fault/his fault? When we brought it up at lunch the next day south of Agadir, I had to talk with the DM man in Quarzazate to settle it. They did pay – with reluctance - but since it was all last minute; we ended up in a small very basic room (as in toilet down the hall) at the Hotel Zagora. The silver lining to all this was the staff at the hotel. What started off as a sullen drown our sorrows session turned into a wonderful meal kibitzing with the waiter, the cook, the manager etc etc & enjoying great food. They truly made the evening a spectacular one. So in the end, we were very happy but be sure with DM or ANY tour operator that you know all of the details of your trip going in so there are no surprises. And Said was truly a great companion.

See my trip report . . .

http://imcarthur.weebly.com/morocco.html

Ian
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Aug 31st, 2015, 05:27 PM
  #9
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Oh & to answer your next question, yes, I would book with them again.

Ian
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Sep 1st, 2015, 05:53 AM
  #10
 
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3 days in meknes I meant is too long not because it's bad, but like fes it is an imperial city so it is repetitive I would do it as part of a day trip, meknes, volubolis, mouley idress.
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Sep 1st, 2015, 08:25 AM
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Meknes isn't boring or awful. It's just that Fes is much more interesting.
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Sep 1st, 2015, 11:19 AM
  #12
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Thank you again, The folks on Fodor's forums are awesome!
Ian, your trip report was very helpful, it sounds like you travel like we do. I will contact Desert Majesty shortly.
Bedar and wlke, you have convinced me to stay in Fes and use it as the base for day trips.
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Sep 1st, 2015, 02:55 PM
  #13
Ian
 
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Glad to help. And just for the record, in my post above I meant Agdz not Agadir. And Villa Zagora not Hotel Zagora. I had to read my own trip report to remember.

Looking back several years later, we still regard our trip into the desert as one of our travel highlights. I guess it was that perfect combination of the travel & the travelers that we careened off along the way.

Have fun.

Ian
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Sep 7th, 2015, 05:15 PM
  #14
 
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Hi!I have a suggestion for you - you arrive Casablanca- to Rabat directly spend one night there in a beautiful villa run by a French family I can give the name if they allow this-in the morning visit Oudaya and the mausoleum of the Royal family,drive to Fes spend 3 nights there I also have a wonderful riad to give you its name- 1st day visit the old medina and the monuments-2nd day visit Meknes and moulay Idriss-depart to Marrakech for 3 nights a wonderful riad can be recommended -1st day visit the monuments-and souks-2nd day visit the Majorelle gardens and new town Gueliz- depart to the desert of Zagora for 3 nights- first stop is Skoura a stop before at Ait Ben Haddou Hollywood of Morocco -spend the night at Skoura a beautiful oasis in the desert-2nd night will be At a bivouac tent in the middle of the Sahara between the dunes- you can stop at Agdez a magical place before you arrive to Zagora- dinner under the stars with candels lighting your table -wake up early to watch the magical sunrise on top of a dune with camel riding- onto Skoura or Ouarzazate to spend the night and relax - next day to Essaouria for 2 night a really fascinating city with old portuguese fishing port and white houses with blue windows- I also have recommendations for all this - you can do horse riding on the beach or just walk.
Depart from Marrakech if possible for you.I think I didn't forget anything, this was my itinerary with a travel company in Morocco within the budget I gave them with driver include at disposal all the time you don't to rush after taxis,buses or trains.i can give you the contact if you agree. Happy travels
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Sep 28th, 2015, 11:30 AM
  #15
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Thanks again to all the Fodorite help. I think most of our itinerary is planned now, but have a question regarding our trip from Merzouga to Fes. We will have a private driver from Merzouga to Fes and I wonder if it is worthwhile to stop for the night along the way-Midelt? This is our itinerary as planned:
3 nights in Marrakesh
1 night Skoura
1 night Todra Gorge
1 night bivouac near Merzouga
3 nights Fes
3 nights Rabat/Moulay Bousselham
1 night extra- where?
We are planning to fly from Casablanca to Paris - is Royal Air Maroc recommended?
Thank you
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Sep 29th, 2015, 06:39 AM
  #16
 
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extra night after rabat stay in Casablanca and go to the grand mosque and relax poolside before heading to paris
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