Independent Traveler Needs Advice on Morocco

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Apr 9th, 2000, 07:07 AM
  #1
marty michaels
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Independent Traveler Needs Advice on Morocco

Hello all. My husband and I are planning a trip to Morocco in late Dec/early Jan, just after Ramadan ends. We'll fly into Casablanca, then fly to Marrakesh for 2-3 days. We plan then to rent a car and drive to Essaouira for a couple days. In our remaining 4 or so days, I'd like to travel from Ouarzazate down through the Draa Valley to Zagora. My main question: how best to do that part? Can we drive from Essarouira to Taroudant and then over to Ouarzazate? This would be my preference, in order to avoid the Tizi n Tichka pass (I'm really scared of heights and hairpin turns). But I can't really discern from my Rough Guide, etc., how long it would take to drive that route. Or would be better to return to Marrakesh, and bite the bullet and take a bus or hire a driver through the Tizi n Tichka pass to Ouarzazate? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Expediency, rather than $$, is really the deciding factor, since we only have about 8 days total. Thank you!
 
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Apr 28th, 2000, 01:10 PM
  #2
Nancy Wang
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Hi Marty,
I haven't driven the route you mentioned however, I can give you an approximate idea of the distances/times. From Marrakesh to Essaouira, it takes approximately 2 hours. Two days/one night in the Portuguese fishing village is plenty there, since there's not much to do but shop and walk around. Otherwise you can opt for a day tour from your hotel in Marrakesh. In Essaouira, I stayed at the Riad al Madina Hotel, Jim Hendrix' former townhouse in the 60's, and for $40 per night, it was well worth it. Check out rooms #31 & #32, both are cozy love nests. From Marrakesh to Ouarzazate, it takes approximately 4-1/2 to 5 hours driving time if you don't stop along the way. Don't worry about the hairpin turns, they aren't that bad. Shopping for pottery is great in the High Atlas Mountains and the prices are much more reasonable than in Marrakesh. Make sure to visit Ait Benhaddou Kasbah where movies such as Lawrence of Arabia and Jewel of the Nile were filmed. It's like a huge sandcastle in the middle of the Sahara desert. There's not much to do in Ouarzazate. It looks like a pre-fab adobe-like town with expensive hotels and all-inclusive resorts. The reason for the commercialism are the two movie studios located in the surrounding area. If you have any further questions, e-mail me in private.
 
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