MORE ABOUT MOROCCO

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Oct 25th, 1999, 04:39 AM
  #1
Pauline
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MORE ABOUT MOROCCO

I have just returned from a week in Morocco. We arranged the trip at the last minute and had trouble getting the accomodation we wanted - we had to rearrange our itinerary. I definately recommend booking hotels asap, especially if over a weekend. We spent three days in Marrakech at the Es Saadi hotel (very nice, 4 star - but watch out for the price of breakfast). We also hired a car and drove into the High Atlas mountains, staying at Ouirgane (about 1.5 hours from Marrakech). We stayed at the Auberge au Sanglier qui Fume - a simple, comfortable and very French place costing US$60 half board. The Roserie next door looked lovely, but much more expensive. It was very relaxing there, amongst the Berber villages and in striking scenery. We spent a few hours in Casablanca to catch our flight home (we got the train there - 3 hours and US$10 each first class). Casa was horrid - much larger and intimidating. I would not recommend spending any time there. In general, food was as cheap or expensive as you wanted (eating street food or at palace restaurants), taxis were cheap, and there are lots of ceramics and leathergoods for souvenirs - we didn't do any shopping, however, as I'm dubious about the quality. I hope this helps!
 
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Oct 25th, 1999, 07:26 AM
  #2
SAADIA
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Pauline, thanks for your reply, yes it does help, however I just have a few questions I would like to ask you.

Should I book accomodation in South Africa before I leave or can I book when I get there ?

What is the price of the Es Saadi Hotel, and do the charge per room or per person.
(And does it not include breakfast ?)

What is the price of taxis and can you eat from the market/local restaurants ?

Thanks,
 
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Oct 25th, 1999, 08:21 AM
  #3
Pauline
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I would definately book hotels before you arrive - we tried over 15 hotels in Marrakech before deciding to go to the High Atlas first (even then, we didn't get into our first choice). The Es Saadi was around 1,500 dirhims (US$150) per night for the room, excl breakfast. Breakfast was an extra 140 (US$14) per person - ridiculously overpriced. Your travel agent is likely to get a better B&B deal.

Taxis never had a meter on - when asked how much, they normally said "whatever you want" (in French). We paid around 15 (US$1.50) per short ride around Marrakech, going up to 20 in the evening. In Casablanca, we paid 200 from the hotel to the international airport (40 kms outside of town).

For transport around Marrakech, I recommend hiring one of the many horse-drawn carriages. We paid 100 (US$10) for an hour and a half, and it was a great way of seeing the town.

For food, in Marrakech the main square comes alive with different food stalls in the evening - a lot of them specialising in goat's head. Try it if you're brave, but I never touch street food!

A final note - it helps if you speak a little French. Not many of the taxi drivers etc spoke English.

Have a great trip!
 
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Oct 25th, 1999, 12:31 PM
  #4
elvira
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We stayed in 2-3* hotels, so can't help you with 4*; I would recommend booking BEFORE you leave. As Pauline said, skip Casa. Marrakesh is astounding; rent a car AND DRIVER for a trip into the Atlas Mountains (much better look at Morocco than through Casa).
Avoid the street food, unless your guide or driver says it's ok (we actually had a hamburger sandwich from a street vendor when we begged Abdul V [every one of our guides was named Abdul, so they got numbers]for a burger, and had no problems with it. In fact, we had no problems at all with any of the food (and we ate in some pretty off-the-tourist-path places) or even the water (I would stick to the bottled stuff, though, just to be safe). We ate for less that $10 at dinner, and usually around $5 or less for lunch.
Morocco is very inexpensive; a guide for a whole day was $25; we bought pottery for a few dollars a piece; even rugs are 'cheap'. I would recommend hiring a licensed guide through your hotel or tourist office; they can take you into the medina and show you places and things you'd miss on your own; they also have extensive knowledge of the history of the country (they have to pass a test to become a guide) and, if you want to buy a rug, take you to a reputable place. Be prepared to haggle; it's just how it's done.
Alternative to the Atlas Mountains is Fez/Meknes/Volubilis - don't bother with Tangier.
 
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Oct 25th, 1999, 02:33 PM
  #5
sabrina
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If push comes to shove, you can wait to book in South Africa. Not sure where in South Africa you're going to be, but in Joburg and Cape Town they seem to have trouble filling the hotels (excluding holiday season). As a result I got an excellent deal at a beautiful hotel in the suburbs of Johannesburg called the Michaelangelo. Also got a great deal at a Holiday Inn in Greemarket Square in Cape Town.
 
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Oct 26th, 1999, 03:43 AM
  #6
SAADIA
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Thanks for all the information.
 
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