First time trip to Morocco - questions!!

Jul 8th, 2016, 07:52 AM
  #1  
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First time trip to Morocco - questions!!

Hello! A friend and I have been considering a trip to Morocoo for some time now and are finally trying to make it happen! We are both 30 something females, that are avid travelers (Europe, SA & Asia) but have not been to Africa yet. Is this a trip that hiring a guide/tour group is necessary? What cities are most important to visit? Best way to get there? (Land directly in Marrakesh or elsewhere or take the ferry over from Spain?) Any guides that you recommend? How long of travel time between cities? I"m sure i'll have more questions as the conversations continue but that should be a good start, also we were thinking of going either this November 2016 or February 2017. Thanks!!!
SAT28 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2016, 08:06 AM
  #2  
 
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Morocco is a perfect destination for independent travelers, absolutely no guides necessary.

Others of your questions need more information to answer. How long do you have and where are you coming from?

Regarding best months to travel in my experience, earlier than November or later than February would be warmer with less chance of rain. I had a bad time of it, weather-wise, one trip in March in Marrakech, cold & wet and no heating in my hotel. So more reliably warm in April/May or Sept/Oct.
MmePerdu is online now  
Jul 8th, 2016, 08:25 AM
  #3  
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The length of time is around a week... anywhere from 5-9 days. Its still in the beginning stages of planning so still trying to determine which cities to visit, how long in each, unsure how long it takes to get between cities as well, etc. Assuming at least visiting Marrakesh and Fes, a camel ride of course. What other cities? We would be coming from Chicago.
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Jul 8th, 2016, 03:53 PM
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A typical itinerary begins in Casablanca because of flight schedules both on Air Morocco and Air France. With the short amount of time you have, I recommend a direct flight from New York to Casablanca. While there are, relatively speaking, only a few interesting things to see in Casablanca, I recommend that you skip a night there and head to more appealing destinations such as Fez, which isn't that far away. I believe that you can arrange desert trips from there, but don't rely on my opinion, since I did not do it. I particularly liked Tangier, which I know you can reach by train in several hours from Casablanca. So, to recapitulate this not very well organized reply, you could go from Casablanca to Tangier to Fez to camel riding; maybe hire a car for trip from Fez to Marrakesh with camel riding/desert camping in the middle, take the train back to Casablanca. You would have a week packed with adventure.

I recommend that you read trip reports posted on this site and, in all modesty, I suggest my own. YOU CAN DO IT. YOU DO NOT NEED A GUIDE OR A TOUR GROUP. ZZ
Zambezi is offline  
Jul 8th, 2016, 05:07 PM
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Zambezi has good advice. Regarding getting to Morocco, as said, the easiest way is Royal Air Maroc from NYC to Casablanca. But it tends to also be the most expensive way. Other major airlines can get you to LHR (London) or CDG (Paris) and from there you'll find a variety of choices, including low fare airlines to cities in Morocco.

I'd plan to visit either the north or the south in the time you have. Tangier, which I like very much too, Chefchaouen & Fes with a stop at the Roman ruins at Volubilis on the way to Fes, makes a nice circle. Or in the south, Marrakech & Essaouira on the Atlantic coast.

Some of these are accessible by train, Casablanca/Tangier/Fes/Marrakech. If you go to Chefchaouen or Essaouira there are buses or private cars called grand taxis, not too expensive for these legs. Do some reading and see which might appeal to you.
MmePerdu is online now  
Jul 9th, 2016, 07:38 AM
  #6  
 
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You don't need a guide as long as you've put the effort into planning out your trip in advance to make the most of your limited time on the ground. I'm a solo male traveller from Minneapolis and I spent 16 days in Morocco this pat April. The only times I used guides were hiring certain day trips well in advance to take me to places I would otherwise not have gotten to (e. g. day hiking in Ourika Valley and climbing the Setti Fatma waterfalls). Do your homework, bring along a healthy dose of street smarts (which I assume you should have, being from Chicago) and you should be just fine. As far as where you should go, I think you need to out some work into drafting up a preliminary itinerary and sharing with this group for feedback. Also, give thought to Mme Perdu's feedback re. travel months. I had near perfect weather in April. I'd have reservations about Feb. for sure and possibly November as well.
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