Help with Morocco Itinerary

Old May 7th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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Help with Morocco Itinerary

Hello - based on all the very helpful posts on this site, we have come up with a sense of our ideal 12-13 day trip to Morocco, this mid-end July (we fly in on Sunday, July 16 and out on Sunday, July 30).

We hope to stay in the nicer riads (suggestions welcome!) if possible and would ideally like to go from place to place by bus, train or driver-driven car/4x4 (past the roughing it age ).

We would like to do all this without guides except for the desert, which I get the sense that we need a guide for.

Itinerary:

1. Marrakesh

2. Desert/Merzouga (how much time do we need for the desert? also, would love recommendations for guides, places to stay etc.)

3. Fez

4. Rabat (with stop in Meknes - how much time do we need? can we stay in Fez and do day trips to Meknes and Rabat?)

5. Casablanca (I know it's modern, but would be interesting to see modern Morocco as well?)

I am posting to get some sense for whether this trip is doable in the time frame we have. Also, we are planning to fly in and out of Marrakesh on Atlas Blue - it seems much more difficult/more $$ to fly into Casablanca and out of Marrakesh as probably would have been ideal. Is that a problem?

If we fly into one city and out of the another, is it better to fly in to Marrakesh/out of Casa. or the other way around?

Also, I know we are missing Essouira, but that's okay.

Thank you very much for any advice!! Your help would be much appreciated!
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Old May 7th, 2006, 11:25 AM
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- how much time do we need for the desert?
- One night in the desert is enough for most people. It takes about 11 hours straight driving to get there from Marrakech.

- can we stay in Fez and do day trips to Meknes and Rabat?
- No, that makes no sense. Spend one night each in Meknes and Rabat.

- Casablanca (I know it's modern, but would be interesting to see modern Morocco as well?)
- Casablanca isn't a very interesting city, though it does have its moments. But I wouldn't spend too much time here if this is your first trip. Your days are better spent elsewhere.

- it seems much more difficult/more $$ to fly into Casablanca and out of Marrakesh as probably would have been ideal. Is that a problem?
- Fly in and out of Marrakech. There are plenty of trains from Casablanca to Marrakech. You could take a domestic flight if you're really pressed for time. Think US$100 per person one-way.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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thanks - that's very helpful!

would you know what is the best way to go about getting a guide/transport to the desert? people seem to have had both good and bad experiences with that...
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Old May 9th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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1. You can ask hotel reception
2. You can go to a cheap organizer like Hotel Ali in Marrakech
3. You can go to one of the more fancy tour operators near the intersection of Boulevard Mohammed V and Boulevard Zerktouni
4. You can make it to Merzouga or Zagora on your own and the guides will find you there
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Old May 10th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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thanks! any idea how much a reliable car and driver would cost per day? can we take a regular car to the desert or would you recommend a 4-wheel drive?
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Old May 10th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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You do not need a 4x4 to travel TO the desert, but you will need one to go INTO the desert.

A lot of tourists travel into the desert on a camel. It's cheaper than a 4x4.

A 4x4 plus driver will be around 1,200 dirham (US$120) per day.

You should never venture into the desert without a guide.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 05:04 PM
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We're taking trip to Morocco in Sept. and going into Marrakech early to stay at a very posh Riad that we found on the web. Check out Dar les Cigognes, since you asked for suggestions.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 03:07 PM
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I did a similar trip this march.
We did 15 days and included Essaouira.

For the dessert.
I would deffinetely recomend a guide. And not one referenced from the hotel, you can be lucky or get a creepy touristy guide...
We hired Mark Willenbrock for this purpose exactly. He picked us up in his 4x4 and took us to the dessert.
The drive from marrakesh is loong, 11 hrs or so... and his well kept rover made it easier.. if you donīt want to rough it.. do not attempt going ion the dessert by camel. To get to the real dunes its an hour or two once the sand begins.
Mark works with local nomads and is very knowleadgable, very nice, and easygoing. Basically you say where, when and how and he works it out. He is british but has lived in morocco long enough to know it perfectly. his mail is Mark Willenbrock [[email protected]] He woul also be a very good person to show you fes ( althoug a guide is not needed )

Hotels.
Rabat: villa mandarine is lovely, although it is in a very nice residential area, as oposed to the medina.. but the medina here is not really one you have to stan in. Small and charming.

Fes: stayed in Jnan Palace, awful, overpriced and not charming. The hotel is old, huuge and cheesy. Better choice a newer riad.

Casablanca: Palace Dánfa. Pricey but in general good. Althoug their service is not incredible... itīs just ok.

Hope this helps !
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