Fine tuning very much needed

Jul 5th, 2010, 03:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 22
Fine tuning very much needed

I am planning a trip to Morocco. I have bought a guide book and read much of the information presented in this forum, but I would benfit greatly from some wise advice.
My husband and I have our plane tickets for next April. We used frequent flyer miles and thus our schedule may seem a bit odd due to the restricted options.

Day 1 Leave for Paris
Day 2- 4 Stay in Paris for 3 days
Day 5 Early flight to Casablanca. Arrive approx 8:30 am and hope to make the
10:50 am train to Marrakech
Day 6-7 Enjoy Marrakech
Q. Are 2.5 days adequate, too little, too much? I am open to suggestions.

Day 8 Travel to Ouarzazate, stopping in Ait Ben Haddou. Overnight there.
I read that the Tizi n 'Tichka pass is extremely scenic. However, lack of
guardrails, heights, and speeding drivers on narrow roads can
make me a bit nervous.
Q. How scary is it?

Day 9 On to the gorges. My maps are not the best.
Q. Does one visit both Dades Gorge/ Valley and Todra Gorge or choose
one of the above? It is hard for me to figure out how far apart they are
and which roads lead to them.
Q. Can I get to Merzouga that day without undue rushing?

Day 10 Spend some time at the sand dunes, perhaps by 4 x 4. Not terribly keen to
to ride a camel or stay overnight in a tent. (We visited the sand dunes in
Namibia and did an overnight tenting in Wadi Rum, Jordan) Nonetheless,
you can't see too much spectacular scenery.
Q. Can I make it to Fez by nightfall?

Day 11 -13 Enjoy Fez.
Q. Do you recommend visiting Meknes as well?

Day 14 We must return to Casablanca to catch a 5:30 pm. flight back to Paris.

I know that this can be much improved. Please offer any ideas you have. At this point,
nothing is etched in stone other than our plane tickets. We enjoy history, cultural
offerings, all things interesting, shopping, food, music, etc. We are a mature (over 55) but enthusiatic couple with no particular disabilities.

Thank you in advance for any help.
ny1002 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2010, 04:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 653
We had four nights in Marrakech, with three full days and two parts days, in March.

One of the full days we did the Ait Ben Haddou/Ouarzazate trip over the pass. We had a driver but I didn't find it a particularly scary route; I've been on worse roads in Spain, with a solid white line, about 6" of edge and then several hundred feet straight down. It was pretty empty both directions though what traffic there was generally seemed keen to overtake.

We had a similar amount of time in Marrakech to you which was about right for us. If I'd been a bit more organised with my planning I'd have liked to do one or two more things but overall we were happy. I'd definitely recommend the Majorelle Gardens if you get a chance.

If you click on my name you can have a look at my trip report which may be of interest.
CarrieAnn40 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2010, 04:21 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,182
Hi ny1002 -
I'll make a few comments but am in no way an expert.

For me personally, 2.5 days would be enough in Marrakesh. If you used a guide for one of the days (a good guide that wasn't just intent on taking you shopping) you could cover quite a bit of the main sites and then you could spend the remaining time wandering yourselves.

The Tizi n Tichka was scary but not impossible. I was glad not to be driving but unless you're really phobic about heights you'll be fine.

We only did the Todra Gorge - I'm not sure without a map in front of me but I think we would've needed to do some backtracking to do both. You should get others' advice on whether one is better to visit or maybe both are must-sees.

We came the reverse way, from Fez down through Merzouga then on to Marrakesh. The day we left Merzouga we did the Rassini, the gorge and spent the night around Dades. The next day we stopped in Ouarazazate, Ait Ben Haddou, drove the Tizi n Tichka pass & got to Marrakesh in the late afternoon. So I think it's a 2 day drive from Marr. to Merzouga if you're stopping along the way not just driving staight through.

We did a really great 4x4 circuit (3 hrs)around the desert in Merzouga. I think most of the hotels there can arrange that.

Do you mean can you drive from Merzouga to Fez in one day? Good question - we spent 2 days, stopping in Er-Rachidia for the night. Again, maybe if you're driving straight through you could do it but if you stop in towns along the way it might be more enjoyable. I'm not sure the exact driving time required.

We liked Meknes but especially liked Volubilis outside of Meknes. If you enjoy Roman ruins it is quite an interesting site. We spent maybe 3 hours walking around.

We were in Morocco in May and I did a trip report - don't know if anything in it might help you in your planning.
Leslie_S is offline  
Jul 6th, 2010, 09:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 22
Thank you both for your prompt responses. CarrieAnn40 and Leslie_S - I read both of your reports with excitement, knowing that my turn will come eventually. I will utilize your comments and insight into my own planning.

As a travel addict, I have planned a number of trips over the course of many years, but always searching the forums of Fodors and TripAdvisor (I believe they are now owned by Expedia). The helpful tips have always made a critical difference in our own experiences. It is readily apparent that true travelers want to share information so that all other readers can feel the same sense of joy when visiting other lands.

Thank you again.
ny1002 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,182
ny1002 -
You're welcome! And you're so right about the great info available on Fodors and TA. I don't know how we ever traveled before - relying on travel agents' opinions - ha!

Good luck with your planning - I find that almost as fun as the actual trip
Leslie_S is offline  

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