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-   -   Help me finalize 16 nt itinerary..too much southern time? (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/help-me-finalize-16-nt-itinerary-too-much-southern-time-1673972/)

barefootbeach Nov 15th, 2019 10:58 AM

Help me finalize 16 nt itinerary..too much southern time?
 
I'm planning a first trip to Morocco for next March/April (before Easter) and have been really struggling with this trying to minimize long days on the road. Based on many of your comments and trip reports, I keep revising this but I think I"m now close.
Coming from the US, I plan to fly TAP Air Portugal to add a stopover in Lisbon on the return.

Night 1:Arrive Casablanca (tour mosque next am)
Nights 2-4: Fes; private driver (we're getting older and shlepping our luggage on train is difficult)
Night 5: Private desert tour to Erg Chebbi staying overnight in Erfoud
Night 6: Erg Chebbi camp
Night 7: Dades Gorge
Nights 8-9: Skoura oasis
Nights 10-11: Ourika Valley
Nights 12-13: Essaouria
Niights 14-16 Marrakech

My primary interest is beautiful scenery where we can take some easy walks, but with 3 nights in the Dades/Skoura area and 2 nights in Ourika Valley, is that too much? My original plan was to skip the desert entirely but so many people have raved about the desert experience, although we won't be riding a camel or climbing sand dunes. I'm planning on using the desert camp operator for the private drives...but maybe we need to find someone else for the Casablanca to Fes portion. Thank you so much for your help.

barefootbeach Nov 16th, 2019 06:17 AM

OK, now I"m second guessing myself again and am thinking of simplifying the driving by ignoring the North completely. I would prefer not to have more of a 4 hour drive at a time because with stops and lunch it will take up a big part of the day. I really don't feel pressed to try and see it all and I really dislike 1 nt stands, if I can avoid.
So, what about this:

Fly into Marrakech and go immediately to Kasbah Bab Ourika 2nts in Ourika Valley....this is my splurge place because the views look so incredible from there! Good place to recover from jet lag and do some light hiking and visiting Berber villages. (They won't let you stay just one night)

Then, Skoura, 2nts so we can have a bike or hike through the Palmerie.

Then, in between Er-Racchidia & Aoufouss , 1 nt, at a nice place on the edge of the desert...looking at Maison d'hotes Sahara.

A luxury desert camp 1 nt,,

followed by the Dades Gorge, 2 nts ,(where we can take short hikes and also see Todra Gorge),

Near Ait Ben Haddou, 1 nt, or preferably a bit farther (any ideas of where to stop?)

so the drive to Essaouria (3 nts ) isn't so far,

and finish in Marrakech for 3- 4 nights.

Looking forward to your comments on this idea. Thank you!

Kathie Nov 16th, 2019 11:19 AM

Don't skip Fez, it was my favorite place.

We spent a night at a Belgian's Folly near Erfoud. I don't know if it still exists, as the was 20-25 years ago, but it was the highlight of our time in the desert.

barefootbeach Nov 16th, 2019 02:16 PM

thanks Kathie....Fes is still being considered.

bolderite Nov 20th, 2019 10:48 AM


Originally Posted by barefootbeach (Post 17017167)
OK, now I"m second guessing myself again and am thinking of simplifying the driving by ignoring the North completely. I would prefer not to have more of a 4 hour drive at a time because with stops and lunch it will take up a big part of the day. I really don't feel pressed to try and see it all and I really dislike 1 nt stands, if I can avoid.
So, what about this:

Fly into Marrakech and go immediately to Kasbah Bab Ourika 2nts in Ourika Valley....this is my splurge place because the views look so incredible from there! Good place to recover from jet lag and do some light hiking and visiting Berber villages. (They won't let you stay just one night)

Then, Skoura, 2nts so we can have a bike or hike through the Palmerie.

Then, in between Er-Racchidia & Aoufouss , 1 nt, at a nice place on the edge of the desert...looking at Maison d'hotes Sahara.

A luxury desert camp 1 nt,,

followed by the Dades Gorge, 2 nts ,(where we can take short hikes and also see Todra Gorge),

Near Ait Ben Haddou, 1 nt, or preferably a bit farther (any ideas of where to stop?)

so the drive to Essaouria (3 nts ) isn't so far,

and finish in Marrakech for 3- 4 nights.

Looking forward to your comments on this idea. Thank you!

IMHO - you have too much time in the middle of the country with this itinerary and too much time in Essaouira. I think your original itinerary was more on the right track. As others have said, I would not miss Fes. You can fly directly to Fes on TAP Air or other airlines.
Day 1-3 Fes
Day 4 - Drive to Erfoud (six hours, with a stop for lunch in Midelt)
Day 5 - overnight at Desert Camp
Day 6-8 - Erg Chebbi to Ouarzazate (six hours, with stop for lunch in Dades Gorge ( or overnight here or at Todra Gorge - we did not find this area to be all that exciting, perhaps it was the time of year. I would push on to Ouarzazate and then see Ait Behaddou and the Kasbahs for two nights.
Day 9-10 - Bab Ourika
Day 11-13 Marrakech
Day 14-16 Essaouria (or flip these and go to Essaoria first and then end in Marrakech.

bolderite Nov 20th, 2019 12:49 PM

I would probably go from Bab Ourika to Essaoria -- 3 hour drive -- and then Marrakech, since you will be flying out of Marrakech anyway. That way you could leave Bab Ourika after lunch (always trying to maximize your stay in your splurge hotel), arrive in Essaoiria at 4ish and have two full days before heading to Marrakech.


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