Adventure in Egypt or Morocco?


Apr 25th, 1999, 07:43 AM
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Adventure in Egypt or Morocco?

Looking for a fall trip and considering Egypt or Morocco. Would like to see some sites but also enjoy out-of-the-ordinary trips that are active in nature. Comments, tour and lodging options appreciated.
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Apr 27th, 1999, 10:57 AM
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Having never been to Egypt (it's on the "to-do" list), I can't help there, but we did spend 2 weeks touring Morocco last fall.
Don't bother with Tangier or Casablanca; both are industrialized port cities. Due east of Tangier is Tetouan (interesting medina, pretty city) and up in the mountains, Chefchaouen (whitewashed buildings with blue or green trim, like Greek island) which we found out afterwards is supposed to be the marijuana capitol of Morocco - we saw no signs of it. We stayed at the Hotel Parador; luxury for about $30 a night (Morocco is VERY VERY inexpensive). Fez medina is not to be missed; make sure you see the tannery souk from a rooftop. Meknes is a very nice small city; within taxi drive is Volubilis, a Roman city. Probably the all-time best ruins I've ever visited ('cause you can walk around without guards and police; only your own morality keeps you from damaging or stealing something). Rabat is the capitol and is very modern (pretty too). We spent only 1/2 day there, so saw virtually nothing. Marrakech is extraordinary (stayed at the Ibn Ba Touta, and there are lots of 3 star hotels at no-star prices). Once again, visit the medina; take a donkey cart ride; skip the tourist belly-dancer restaurants - which are very expensive - and eat in a local place. We could eat 3-course meals with wine, coffee and pay about $7 throughout the country.
Caveat: hire a guide for the medinas; they can show you things that you wouldn't see on your own (their fee is about $25 for a whole day..unbelievable)
Be sure you hire the guide through your hotel, or the tourist office. Do NOT hire anyone off the street or at the train station. These are touts for rug and souvenir shops, and that's their focus. The licensed guides hired through your hotel or the tourist office will take you into a rug store or souvenir shop, but there's no pressure.
For adventure (oh lordy): take a camel trek into the Sahara for an overnight campout. To get there from Marrakech, you have to cross the Atlas Mountains. If you get car sick, have acrophobia, or have heart palpitations, you'll be in for the ride of your life. From our stay in Marrakech, through the trek into the desert, we used the services of
Joanne and her husband arranged a wonderful guide in Marrakech, then from Marrakech to Ourzazate and then into the desert. They arranged an overnight stay with Mohamed's family in the mountains (you will realize how magnificent your electric can opener truly is), and then the trek into the Sahara.
What a grand adventure; we plan to be in Morocco for the 12/31/99 celebration.
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