Merzouga or Essaouira

Old Aug 28th, 2008, 07:53 AM
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Merzouga or Essaouira

I am planning a trip to Morocco for the end of November for 8 days and have 3 days of free time in Marrakech. Would it be better to go for a 3 day trip to Merzouga or should I split the difference and take a 2 day trip to Zagora and a 1 day trip to Essaouira?
Thanks!
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 04:49 AM
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I haven't been to Merzouga or Zagora. I did greatly enjoy Essaouira, especially because it is such a visual contrast to Marrakech, and really to the rest of the country -- whites, blues, the sea. Also to me it had a nice relaxed feel that invited you to slow down and catch your breath for a minute and sit and watch people go by.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 03:24 PM
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If you only have eight days and three days of that free, you may want to consider that Merzouga is a minimum 12 hour drive from Marrakesh and Zagora (which isn't really all that interesting) is at least 8. Spend the extra days in Essaouira, it will be the low season and you'll have the town more to yourself since it is outside high season. Merzouga is a must but with only three days you can't do it comfortably....unless you like to rush around and not really experience anything!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 09:23 PM
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Oh, you just can't compare Essaouria and Merzouga. But if I had to miss out on one, I wouldn't give up Merzouga. Takes a lot of time to get there, but even my husband said that was a highlight of our trip!! We were there in Morocco 14 days. Who could forget the vastness of the Sahara and the camels and the precariousness of it all? www.pbase.com/pattyroth
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 04:20 AM
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I agree with the previous post. Merzouga is great, you can get a camel trip in to the desert and sleep under the stars. You can go to a beach anywhere. We did a three day trip with a private guide from Marrakech, to Merzouga then back to Fes. The drive there was really interesting, made better by the knowledge of our guide, and we got to see lots of really varied scenery. Well worth the effort and it made for a very special holiday.
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 06:51 AM
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I agree with the previous posters about choosing Merzouga. I must admit that we didn't go to Essouria but Merzouga/Sahara was the highlight of our trip (and of many travels!!)

We were also in Morocco for 8 nights and we did - 3 nights Marakkech, 1 night Ouazarzate, 1 night Sahara, 1 night Merzouga 2 nights Fez. Here is a link to my trip report a long with pictures: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34974589
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Old Sep 8th, 2008, 05:57 AM
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Thanks to all! I was leaning towards a desert excursion, either Merzouga or perhaps M'Hamid. Now to decide on which tour outfitter to use. Any suggestions?
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Old Sep 8th, 2008, 06:32 AM
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We read about one and then met a young couple who had used the same one and they loved it. We really liked Mohammed (the guide) and Hassan (at the hotel) at Kasbah Mohajut and I think it was in Erfoud. We found the sign and took a side "road" across the rutted land to find them. It really does NOT look like a road and doesn't feel like one either. We called there from our hotel the evening before to reserve a place in the camel overnight excursion. www.pbase.com/pattyroth
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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Merzouga is GREAT -- you wont be disappointed. I have used a couple of different companies. The first time I went I used Sahara Expeditions, which is the ultra-low-budget-no-frills option for backpackers. I wasnt so much into the trip (14 people in a van with no air con, couldnt stop along the way at the places I wanted to, there was only a driver not a guide, and he didnt speak english so we never really knew what we were looking at or where we were going). But the night in the desert made up for some of this.

then the second time I went i used a company called Berber Adventures (www.berberadventures.c.la) -- I highly recommend them. There was ultimate freedom to stop whenever and wherever I wanted, which was important to me as a photographer. There were lots of perks too, like meeting my guide's family and learning to cook Berber 'pancakes'. I happened to be there during wedding season and so was taken to a berber wedding near the dunes. I obviously hired them for more days than you would be interested in, but the point is I was very pleased with their services and so feel the desire to recommend them to others. If you have any questions or you want to see photos, just let me know.
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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pattyroth - wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing.

luxxnatura - yes, please, I'd love to see the photos.
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Old Oct 10th, 2008, 07:10 AM
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I did both Essaouira and Merzouga last year. I agree with the previous posts to do Merzouga. Essaouira just feels like a relaxed, smaller, beach version of Marrakech; whereas Merzouga is completely different experience and well worth any extra driving time.

I used Morocco Explored for a 4 day excursion up to 4 Fes, and they have shorter trips available.
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