High Atlas/Desert Tour Operators

Feb 22nd, 2012, 05:45 PM
  #1  
Ian
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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High Atlas/Desert Tour Operators

This list is for information only. It is not meant as a recommendation for any of the operators listed. I have included only the small in-country operators – not the larger international ones. In my own research, these are the operators that appear to offer acceptable service in Morocco tours – specifically High Atlas/Desert tours. This list is by no means complete but I did it to give myself a little bit of clarity & I share it with the same intent. I have searched for & found reasonably credible positive reviews on all. My version of a credible reviewer is: a multiple poster with posts about other destinations – no one post wonders. I encourage you to search & read the reviews yourself.

I have listed the principle contact where possible & some of the recommended driver/guides for each where possible. For me – as I am sure for many of you as well – a guide that can make the long trip entertaining & informative is imperative.

Mad About Morocco http://www.madaboutmorocco.com/
Contact: Mark Willenbrock (owner operator)
Drivers/Guides: Mark
Reviews: Fodor’s, Frommers, Trip Advisor

Around Morocco http://www.aroundmorocco.com/contents.htm
Contact: Lahcen Boujouija (owner operator)
Drivers/Guides: Lahcen, Mohammed, Hamid
Reviews: Fodor’s, Frommers, Trip Advisor

Zebra Adventures http://www.zebraadventures.com/
Contact: Youssef, Hamid (owner operators)
Drivers/Guides: Youssef, Hamid, Nour
Reviews: Trip Advisor

Journey Beyond Travel http://www.journeybeyondtravel.com/
Contact: Fazia, Thomas
Guide: Naim Souhel
Reviews: Fodor’s, Trip Advisor

Rough Tours http://www.roughtours.com/
Drivers/Guides: Hamme, Youssef, Mubarak / Ismael, Youssef, Rachid
Reviews: Trip Advisor

Authentic Morocco http://www.authentic-morocco.com/
Contact: Liz
Drivers/Guides: Mbarack, Abdenabi, Abdou, Mohammed, Khalid, Abdullah
Reviews: Fodor’s, Trip Advisor

Arib Voyages http://www.arib-voyages.com/en/index.php
Contact: Bachir (owner operator)
Drivers/Guides: Bachir, Mokhtar
Reviews: Trip Advisor

Colors of Morocco http://www.colours-of-morocco.com/co...rocco-eng.html
Drivers/Guides: Mohamed
Reviews: Trip Advisor

Jalil Benbili (owner operator)
Contact: [email protected]
Reviews: Fodor’s, Trip Advisor

Arrahla Expeditions http://www.arrahlaexpeditions4x4.com/
Contact: Lahcen & Said Amraoui (owner operators)
Driver/Guide: Lahcen
Reviews: Fodor’s, Trip Advisor

Sahara Services http://www.saharaservices.info/15.0.html
Mohammed (no English?), Mustafa
Reviews: Fodor’s, Trip Advisor

Ian
Ian is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 01:08 AM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 12,269
Great info above also good info on LICENSED guides safest.
Book a Trekking and hiking in the Atlas Mountains on Viator.
tourguides.viator.com/sightseeing-tours-morocco-casablanca-1801.aspx I Always pay with CC NEVER wire money get trip cover.Careful not slip on troll poo on Maroc boards by checking profile/posting history carefully many fake OPs firstimers thread hijackers and defamers.Discovery on the Road Less Traveled. Never more than 10-25 travelers—guaranteed! Morocco Sahara Odyssey 2012 www.oattravel.com Another great way to go recent trip report is best I have seen lately.

Happy Trails!
qwovadis is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 02:28 AM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 4,121
Viator will simply sell you on to a local company, pocketing a percentage on the way. Perfectly fine for an dependable but overpriced airport pick-up but for a trekking and hiking trip - no way.

I can't imagine why anybody would use them, or why they are continually mentioned by just one poster.
dogster is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 04:30 AM
  #4  
Ian
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Well, quovadis got one thing right, the Morocco boards are filled with touts & misinformation. Searching on TA yields thread after thread filled with deleted posts. It’s like reading a newspaper with half of the articles cut out. Their tour listings for many operators are filled with one post wonders heaping glowing praise on each & every operator – with only the very odd negative comment - & that certainly brings its credibility into question.

As I mentioned, these guys are the smaller in-country operators. These are the ones to contact if you want a 4x4 + a driver/guide that will give you a fully customized trip. I strongly suggest that you look at their ‘pre-made’ tours & then do your own research on stops & accommodation. I also strongly suggest that you specify which driver/guide is acceptable for your style. The only real negative reviews that I have found about the above, involve situations where they substitute drivers/guides other than their ‘regulars’ so be prepared to insist & make sure that you specify exactly what you want succinctly.

Ian
Ian is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 06:49 AM
  #5  
 
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Informative.
planetraveller is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 09:40 AM
  #6  
 
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Thanks for these excellent resources. Someone else mentioned licensed guides but I suspect that these fellows are licensed as transportation and not by the government. That is a question so if you do know the answer, please advise.
Thanks again.
SeriousWanderlust is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 10:24 AM
  #7  
Ian
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From what I can gather from trip reports, these are licensed drivers - but their personality & English skills make them interesting rural 'guides' as well. When you hit the dunes, you are turned over to a licensed guide. Ditto for the large cities as well. That way, they stay within the Moroccan laws governing tourist drivers & guides. But I am not an expert on Moroccan law . . .

To me, it seems like an ideal balancing act that appeases the authorities & gives tourists an interesting & informative trip. I know that I don't want to spend 20 hours plus sitting beside a driver that I can't communicate with.

Ian
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 10:36 AM
  #8  
 
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If they are not licensed they will be stopped by The ( Abrigadue Touristique) The TOURISME POLICE which is based in this field to filter everyone working without law.
And all of the tours and the drivers has been used by several people, and got good reputation that shows they are licensed.
I think as you can try and go with a local person in the Medina, or go with some driver picked from any place in Morocco, and you'll see the diffirence, he will be arrested once the police stopped him.
I hope this info will help you out.
planetraveller is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 12:02 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Ian,

Thanks so much for this. I am just finishing up my time in San Diego for my daughter's wedding, and am now getting back to this in earnest!

Have you read anything about Desert Majesty? I found them through some recommendation but am no longer sure where. However, they have come up with a very unique and personalized suggested itinerary for me, based on my comments to them, rather than just the "same old". So I am seriously considering them.

Finally, have you found costs to be similar among the various groups?

Many thanks!

Travelin
TravelinFeet is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 04:43 PM
  #10  
Ian
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Travelin

Hi again. San Diego has always been high on my list of really nice places. Too many people certainly - just like the rest of Southern CA - but when I win the lottery, La Jolla will be my address.

Desert Majesty http://www.desertmajesty.com/
Contact: Felicity
Drivers/Guides: Said, others on the site

This one seems worthy of my list but . . . they have been the subject of a lot of controversy. A huge volume of touting a few years back on TA, TT & supposedly here but I can't find any here.

So read through the TA Forum links in this search - read the first 3 - 4 threads at least. I have added them to my shortlist as well.

So far, quoted costs seem to hover around 800€- 1000€ each for 2 people for 4 nights/5 days. These are all for the standard 'cookie-cutter' Ouarzazate, Dades, Todra, Merzouga, Agdz - in/out of Marrakech. Same route, same stops, same riads/hotels. Only Mark @ Mad About had fresh ideas about the route & stops but I must quiz him more about hotels.

I agree with you. I want something unique rather than 'same old'. To this end, I was thinking about researching my own trip & just throwing it out for quotes. I DO have the time since I am looking for 2013 . . .

Ian
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Feb 24th, 2012, 04:46 PM
  #11  
Ian
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I forgot the search link: http://tinyurl.com/86kydzw

Ian
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Feb 26th, 2012, 07:39 PM
  #12  
 
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Hi,
Some of This Tours are mentioned also at the Lonelyplanet trip reports, but what all make it exciting is the TA reviews feel like traveling with the reviewer.
I think Morocco will start a new season now on March to be the High season again.
planetraveller is offline  
Feb 27th, 2012, 08:33 AM
  #13  
 
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Thanks for the info above but bear in mind that the most of these drivers are not allowed to be guides by the Moroccan law. They can just get you from place to place. A guide is these guys you see in their badges. I hope this will help you too to choose the best tour for you.
TripAAdvisor is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 04:21 PM
  #14  
 
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Just finished my trip with desert majesty. By now you all ought to know I'm not a tout as I spent weeks trying to figure out who to use. Will do a trip report when I get back but this us just to say that I have nothing but good things to say about them including g their willingness to change utineraries
TravelinFeet is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 04:25 PM
  #15  
 
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Just finished my trip with desert majesty. By now you all ought to know I'm not a tout as I spent weeks trying to figure out who to use. Will do a trip report when I get back but this us just to say that I have nothing but good things to say about them including g their willingness to change itineraries several times during the trip. Everything was "no problem"!
TravelinFeet is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 09:40 AM
  #16  
Ian
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That's great, TF. I look forward to your trip report on your return.

Ian
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Apr 8th, 2012, 07:32 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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we saw this list of our operators. there are alot in Morocco! we used the last one named here, desert majesty.
when we were in the desert outside merzouga, unbelievably it rained and rained alot. quite a few roads were out, so we were really happy that our tour driver knew alll the back ways and could safely get us out of the flooded area and on to our next destination, the dadas gorges.it turned out there was too much water there also and we needed to rescued by a second car . our trip was saved by the tour operator's dedication to our safety and enjoyoment.
anyone else get trapped by the rains in late march?
miawashingtondc is offline  
Apr 13th, 2012, 07:19 AM
  #18  
 
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thanks for this list Ian. Am planning a trip in Oct and will definitely refer to these
kakijalan is offline  
Apr 13th, 2012, 01:05 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Great list! I just came back from my Morocco trip with Zebra Adventures. We had a great time!!!!
Becky0222 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 11:03 AM
  #20  
 
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Posts: 69
We did a trip tour with Around Morocco. Loved every minute of it. Lahcen arranged for an overnight camel track to the desert for us. It was incredible!!!!
yn10 is offline  
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