20 Nights in Beautiful Morocco

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Nov 5th, 2018, 11:39 AM
  #1
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20 Nights in Beautiful Morocco

When my husband and I began researching the ideal itinerary for a trip to Morocco, I read a blog written by a traveler on this site (progol) who, along with her husband, had used the services of Moroccan Family Tours. Salem was their driver for a two week trip through Morocco and was highly recommended. My husband and I are independent travelers and use private drivers and/or guides when needed. Since we were talking about a three week trip, how well we would get along with the driver was of utmost importance. As soon as I contacted Salem, he began working on an itinerary encompassing all Morocco had to offer. He booked all of our accommodations in lovely riads in great locations. All I had to do was book our flight to Morocco. Everything else was taken care of by Salem.

From the moment we met Salem, we knew we had made the right decision to hire him. Salem is not only kind, generous, and patient, but also has a great sense of humor. It was a true pleasure to be in his company. He speaks 6 languages fluently. Upon arrival in Casablanca, Salem met us and escorted us to a comfortable 4x4 Land Rover. He provided us with a cell phone so we could reach him anytime throughout the trip. (This came in handy when we needed an interpreter or directions while we were on our own.) When we visited the larger cities or major sites, he arranged a private tour with well qualified guides. Salem arranged the itinerary so that we had plenty of time to explore on our own. He took care of all our needs and was very flexible in regard to the itinerary. We never had to worry about our luggage. He ensured it was safe during stops along the way and we never had to carry our heavy bags when we arrived at our locations.

Our 20 night itinerary was ambitious, beginning and ending in Casablanca (9/30/18-10/20/18). On the day of arrival we first toured Casablanca before driving to Rabat (capital and one of Moroccosís imperial cities), our home for two nights. Next, on the way to Chefchaouen, at Salemís suggestion, we made an unscheduled detour to Tangiers for a few hours, toured the city by car, shopped in the medina, and had lunch on the waterfront where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea (breathtaking). Back on the road we finally arrived at Chefchaouen (the charming blue city) where we stayed for two nights at a lovely hotel within walking distance to the medina. After Chefchaouen, we drove through the Rif Mountains to Meknes with a stop at the Roman ruins of Volubilis. After a night in Meknes and a tour the following day, we headed to Fes for a three night stay in a lovely riad in the medina. One the first day we toured the medina and main sites of Fes with a guide hired by Salem. It was as if we had stepped back in time to an age before modern transportation and conveniences when we entered the medina. We had a free day to explore on our own. After Fes, we travelled toward Merzouga with a stop in Ifrane, the Moroccan Switzerland. The trip to Merzouga was one of changing landscapes and a true sensory delight. We drove through the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains, apple orchards, palm trees and the Ziz Valley Gourges before arriving at our destination of Et Taous, (near Merzouga), home to the dunes of Erg Chebbi. The next day, on our way to the Sahara desert, we visited an oasis, ripe with vegetation and palm trees filled with dates (in season). It was a real contrast to the desert landscape. We made a stop in Rissani (Salemís home town) and were welcomed into his parentís home for a lovely lunch. It was such a treat to meet Salemís parents and tell them what a fine son they had raised! That night we stayed in a luxury tent at the Sahara Stars Camp in the desert. We star gazed that night and in the morning got up early for the sun rise before riding camels in the red dunes of the Sahara. Next we toured Todraa and Dades Gorges and stayed the night in the spectacular Boumaine Dades valley at a charming hotel with an excellent chef. The following morning we toured Quarzazate, the film capital of Morocco and spent the night in Tamdakht before driving to Marrakech, where we stayed for four nights. Salem arranged a private tour of Marrakech for our first day. We added an extra day in Marrakech to have some rest, but it was hard to resist the abundant shopping opportunities over the next couple of days. Salem recommended a fabulous Italian restaurant (so romantic) which was a welcome change from the many nights of eating traditional Moroccan food. From Marrakech we drove to Taroudant through the Tizi Nítest Pass of the High Atlas Mountains with its spectacular views and numerous photo ops. Salem recommended a last minute change to stay one night at Palais Claudio Bravo, the very impressive Moroccan home of the the Chilean artist Claudio Bravo (now deceased). We had a beautiful suite overlooking the pool. We were given a private tour of the grounds and palace including his atelier and private museum. Dinner was served in a grand dining room and the service was exceptional. In the morning we were picked up for breakfast by a horse and carriage and taken to a pavilion overlooking a huge reflecting pool with the Atlas Mountains in the distance. It was truly magical. Sadly, we were only there one night! Next, we headed to Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast where we stayed for two nights in in a riad with a fantastic ocean view, before finally returning to Casablanca for our last night.

Throughout our time in Morocco, we visited lots of sites not included above. We saw the many contrasting landscapes of this beautiful country- the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the majestic and colorful Atlas and Rif Mountains, gourges, lush oases, gardens, red desert sand dunes, colorful and bustling souks, medinas, and kasbahs. As I mentioned previously, it was a sensory and photographerís delight!.

And what made this trip so special was our time with Salem. He is a true ambassador for his country. He helped us to experience the beauty of Morocco and itís warm people. He is an excellent driver and so patient. My husband took thousands of photos and Salem was always willing to stop for another photo op (and frequent restroom breaks). He is a friend to all and it seems like he knows everyone. Salem has a great sense of humor and we laughed a lot along the way. He is generous person and often gave money to those in need. He is kind to all. On one of our stops, I was especially touched to see him run to help an elderly woman who was pushing a cart uphill. Salem is a man of great character and integrity and the person we came to know during our three weeks together. We were fortunate to have met him and consider him a friend. Overall, we canít praise Salem enough! We had a great trip and would highly recommend the services of Moroccan Family Tours.
aworld2see is offline  
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Nov 5th, 2018, 03:04 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Welcome to Fodor's. What you and others have captured very well in reports is the incredible diversity of landscapes that is Morocco, as well as the sounds and smells.
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Nov 5th, 2018, 04:52 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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So glad you had such a wonderful trip with Salem and Moroccan family! He’s a gem and it makes me feel good to know that others have had great experiences with him, too. The stay at the Palais Claudio Bravo sounds amazing!
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