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PointsWellTaken May 28th, 2021 07:33 PM

Input on proposed (unusual?) Morocco itinerary
With $800 flight credits from a cancelled 2020 trip that American Airlines is insisting we use by the end of 2021, we had to squeeze in a trip amidst vacations already planned. With 4 people's different schedules (husband and I both early 50's and 2 of our sons, ages 21 and 17) and few vacation days available, the only time we could make a trip work was over Thanksgiving. I then searched for direct flights from our home on the East Coast to pretty much anywhere within a reasonable flight time that would cost close to the credit value, and Casablanca was the clear winner. We will depart on Tuesday night, November 23, arriving on Wednesday morning, and depart for home on Sunday at 5:00pm. This all assumes travel from U.S. to Morocco is not a problem in November. Fingers crossed.

I have wanted to go to Morocco for some time, and had planned to do the Casablanca-Fes-Desert-Marrakesh route. With only 4 1/2 days, however, I knew that wasn't going to work. Originally I eliminated the desert because that would be too much travel time. However, after reading tons of trip reports and blog posts, it became clear that the desert experience was the highlight for most people. And since we as a family love nature, wildlife, and similar experiences and strongly dislike/despise crowds, shopping, and being hassled, Marrakesh and to a lesser extent Fes had less appeal. The more I read about Rabat, the more I thought "this is the city for us!" And then I discovered we could fly to the desert cheaply. So after countless hours researching various scenarios, I came up with this plan:

Wednesday - arrive Casablanca, fly to Errachidia (note: unfortunately, we arrive in the morning and the only flight to Errachidia departs at 10:45pm! We will visit the Mosque, explore Casablanca if we are up for it, and maybe even rent an inexpensive hotel room for a nap assuming we are beat from the overnight flight while waiting for our flight to Errachidia) Arrive in Errachidia past midnight, pass out from exhaustion at local riad.
Thursday - Sleep in, travel to Merzouga, overnight desert camp
Friday - would like to fly back to Casablanca, but the flight is at 8:00am and I don't see how we would make that (right?), so spend the day in the area (suggestions?), overnight back in Errachidia (why are all the flights so early morning or late night??? They do not line up well for desert tours!)
Saturday - 8:00 am flight to Casablanca, train to Rabat. Spend day enjoying Rabat and night in a riad.
Sunday - More time sightseeing/taking a pottery or cooking class in Rabat, head to Casablanca airport for late afternoon flight

This is a very untraditional trip to Morocco. I have never read a report about anyone's trip that did not include Fes or Marrakesh. I'm looking for a sanity check - does this seem like a reasonable/enjoyable itinerary? We do not want to spend lots of time in a car/bus/train travelling between cities and we are very experienced travelers who don't feel the need to "see it all." We have learned we enjoy moving slower, spending quality time enjoying a few things rather than checking off everything the tour books say we must see.

Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.


Greenhorn Jun 2nd, 2021 02:31 AM

I could never imagine a trip to Morocco without visiting Fez and Marrakesh - but if you 'strongly dislike/despise crowds, shopping, and being hassled' - they are best avoided. Your plan is great given your preferences.

progol Jun 3rd, 2021 07:42 AM

Just to tweak this a little...while I couldn't imagine doing this trip, either - missing Fes would be unimaginable, but that's my preference, clearly - Salem, who was our guide in Morocco and has since become a good friend, suggests the following, which is a variation on what you've planned:

"Arrive at midnight to Errachidia airport. Pick up and drive to Merzouga (1 1/2 hours), spend the night in a nice Riad on the edge of the sand dunes, the next day day you can enjoy the Sahara sightseeing and the local market in Rissani. Back to Merzouga by the afternoon and ride on the camel to the desert Camp for overnight, then leave the Sahara in the early morning to travel to Errachidia airport and fly back to Casablanca".

Just a little refinement on your plan.

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