Is it possible to just have a driver not a tour?

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May 15th, 2014, 03:31 AM
  #1
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Is it possible to just have a driver not a tour?

We are in our early 60s and usually travel independently and reasonably slowly. In places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka we have organised a driver to go from A to B. This works well for us as we can stop where we like and travel as slowly as we like. We can also have the fun of researching and choosing accommodation which gives us the option to mix cheaper places with a bit of luxury.

I have been in touch with a couple of companies in Morocco who offer "Tailor made" tours. One company names the accommodation places, the other keeps the info close just saying something like "Riad with pool". These tours are more expensive than I'd expected.

We intend to be in Morocco for about 3 weeks in September. We will be arriving in Morocco from Spain via ferry and leaving by air to UK.

We will want to have 3-4 days in both Fes and Marrakesh (it seems silly to have a driver / guide hanging about while we are staying in a city)
Is it possible to have several shorter "tours" such as:
- Chefchaouen to Fes
- Fes to Merzouga
- Merzouga across High Atlas to Essouria

I'd appreciate guidance on options and perhaps advice on how to organise drivers / tours
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May 15th, 2014, 10:37 AM
  #2
BKD
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Our driver was Tahar Najoui [email protected]

Excellent. Great guy. If you want to read my blog it's at roadtomorocco.tumblr.com/.

We used Travel Explorations who did a GREAT job for us mapping out a plan from Fez to the Sahara to Marrakesh.

We were just there in early March. Just my wife and me. Really cannot say enough about Travel Explorations and Tahar.
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May 16th, 2014, 09:57 PM
  #3
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Fabulous blog - I love your SOH (maybe you are a sub-editor in real life?)- makes me anxious to get there!

Thanks for sharing
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May 17th, 2014, 06:56 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Great writing and wonderful vistas! Would it be possible for you to post a short summary of your itinerary? Also could you comment on what you would change in terms of destinations and how many days at each one? I realize this is very personal, but it might be helpful to us as we are planning a similar trip. We will be flying from the US west coast via Paris, I hope.
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May 28th, 2014, 05:19 AM
  #5
BKD
 
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natandmiriam-thank you for the kind words. I'm not a sub-editor (don't even know what that is!), just like to write.

Zinfanatic-thank you also for the kind words. Your moniker, by the way, would suit me fine as I am a Zin lover as well. As an aside, my daughter is studying to be a wine maker at UC Davis. We are a wine passionate family.

Regarding a change in itinerary I would have liked to have stayed two nights at the Villa Mandarine in Rabat instead of one. In Fes, I would have stayed closer to the Blue Gate and I would have made it clear to anyone wanting to be my "guide" that they be very clear to me that they are making commissions when they take me into shops (have no idea why that has to be a secret). While I liked Fes, the whole guide thing was a complete turnoff, which was a shame because it's a remarkable city. The rest I would not have changed. I did think that spending the first night in the desert at a hotel was the right thing before staying in the tent the second night though our hotel was not great. Hope that helps!
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May 29th, 2014, 06:21 AM
  #6
BKD
 
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Zin-reconsidering my previous post. I think one thing I would have changed was not going to Todra Gorge rather than go to both Todra and Dades. Dades to me was more spectacular and less touristy probably because it's harder to get to. There are some nice hotels at Dades, too. I'm sure others would disagree, but the extra time it took to get to Todra didn't seem worthwhile when Dades was a better experience. I just don't need to see that many gorges in one day. One is enough for me.
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May 30th, 2014, 05:39 PM
  #7
 
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We hired a driver for about a week- I can't remember how we found him- he was an independent person. May have been recommended by a hotel although we booked ahead. We took the ferry from Spain to Tangier then the train to Fez. Our driver met us after Fez and took us from Fez, down to Merzouga where we stayed 2 nights (1 night in the desert after a camel ride- the best experience of my life!!!), up to Ourzazate for a couple nights and then onto Marrakesh (after which we flew to Italy).

He stayed with us the whole time (well he found his own accommodations somewhere)and would just pick us up at our hotel when we told him it was time to move on. I planned the trip myself and had booked where to stay ahead of time. He was wonderful- would have the car washed for us every time we moved on, would pull over to scenic places so I could take pictures. I don't remember how much he was (it was about 5 years ago) but it wasn't too bad. Only problem was he really only spoke French, and our French was extremely limited..... but we managed fine.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 09:16 AM
  #8
 
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BKD, Thanks for both of your replies. I had a hard time following your exact route so that is why I asked you for a brief recap of your route. Yes I have read all the same about Dades gorge being the best. How do we know what roads are "close to the Blue gate"? Yes Zin is still up there with my wines, but they got a bit too alcoholic for me - although they are being made with more finesse now.. Congrats on your daughter. Love Pinots now. Heading to Paso for Rhones in a few days.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 05:19 AM
  #9
BKD
 
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Zin,

Itinerary was:

Rabat-1 night
Fez-3 nights
Desert- 1 night in hotel (Yasmina-not great but on the edge of desert) and 1 night in overnight camp.
Dades Gorge- 1 night
Skoura-2 nights at Jardin de Skoura (wonderful and relaxing, no touring just chilling)
Ait Benhaddou- 1 night
Marrakesh-2 nights night flight to Manchester so three full days. Would have liked to have spent one more night.

The Blue Gate is the main entrance to the Fez medina. We stayed at the "back" edge of the medina but the streets are way too confusing to find your way to the Blue Gate which is where the "action" is. I would stay in the medina but closer to the Blue Gate.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 10:54 AM
  #10
 
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BKD,
Thanks for your outline. I have to purchase a map and see how to plan our route and also what city is best to fly into from the West coast of US. We too want to chill during part of our trip so we too like the idea of the Jardin de Skoura.

If you ever need tips on wineries in California, Oregon or Wash, let me know!
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Jun 4th, 2014, 10:26 AM
  #11
BKD
 
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Zin,

Headed to Pebble Beach and Yountville in September. I welcome winery recommendations. Thanks!
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Jun 5th, 2014, 07:27 AM
  #12
 
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Hate to use this space to communicate about a different topic. Can we send each other private messages as one can on Tripadvisor?
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Jun 9th, 2014, 01:35 PM
  #13
BKD
 
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Here's my email address: [email protected]
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Jun 12th, 2014, 09:29 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Blue gate or Bab Bou Jeloud is located within less than 5 mins walk from Place du Batha, nearby is Dar Batha Museum which a must see.
Cheers.
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