Morocco help

Old Dec 4th, 2016, 06:15 AM
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Morocco help

I'm just in the beginning planning stage of a trip to Morocco in mid to late Jan. with a friend , who may not stay with me for the entire trip. We are departing from IST and probably will fly into CMN. I would love to see not only Marrakech, but also Fes, Erg Chebbi or a desert overnight trip and Chefchaouen. Is this doable in about 10 days without feeling rushed? Is it advisable to book everything in advance or can I wait until we arrive in Marrakech to make further plans? I'm still researching recommended tour agencies to help with the logistics. Any advice is appreciated!
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Old Dec 4th, 2016, 11:24 AM
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Despite being a desert country, be aware that winter is still cool to cold in Morocco and not optimum weather-wise for visiting. In my own experience, one trip in March I about froze in Marrakech as it was cold and raining with no heat in my hotel, not unusual, so bring your long johns. The desert overnight may be particularly of concern as nights are notoriously cold, daytime highs in the 50s F.

Timewise, your number of full days in unclear. If you travel in & out on days 1 & 10, you have 8 full days. If you wake up in Morocco on day 1 and leave the country on day 11 then you do have 10 days. In either case, I'd omit the desert and visit 3 locations of your choice. The 3 you have are fine, keeping in mind you lose most of a day traveling between locations. If you do, in fact, have only 8 full day, 7 after travel from 1 place to another, I'd reduce it to 2, likely Fes & Marrakech.

Please clarify your real time in the country and we can talk more. If you count nights in Morocco, rather than days, it will be clearer.
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Old Dec 4th, 2016, 02:41 PM
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Agree with Mme. Perdu that you should drop the desert, whether you have 10 or 8 full days. Training between Fes and Marrakech is an 8 hour journey, so you'll lose basically one day there. If you have 9 full days, ex the train between Fes and Marrakech, you can comfortably fit in Fes, Chefchaouen and Marrakech. Perhaps fly into Tangiers from Istanbul (as Chefchaouen will be a much shorter drive from there), then head to Fes and fly home from Marrakech.
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Old Dec 4th, 2016, 02:56 PM
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You might also easily make it a tour of just Northern Morocco, fly into either Tangier or Casa, visit either Rabat or Meknes, plus Fes & Chefchaouen.

I like Tangier, too, if you fly into there, make it a compact circle of Tangier, Chefchaouen & Fes. Volubilis for an exploration & picnic between Chefchaouen & Fes.

In the south, flying into either Casa or Marrakech, you could make a very nice trip out of Marrakech, 2 or 3 days in Essaouira on the coast (about the same temp in the daytime, warmer at night than Marrakech), then back to Marrakech before departure.

I like this site for compare weather: http://www.weatherbase.com/
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Old Dec 4th, 2016, 11:15 PM
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Thanks so much for your responses. I am flexible with dates so can spend 10 full days in the country and cold temps don't worry me. I'd still love to do a desert trip, though not camp ,but maybe stay someplace at the edge of the desert, heated preferably? The train between Fes and Marrakech is awfully long so I'd like to break that up too.
It sounds like I really need a full two weeks to see what I want to see because all of those other places you mention, and that I've read about, sound fascinating too.
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Old Dec 5th, 2016, 06:24 AM
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Yes, if you must visit the desert, you'll need 14 ground days. It's basically a one day trip each way from either Marrakech or Fes.
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Old Dec 5th, 2016, 10:18 AM
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"The train between Fes and Marrakech is awfully long so I'd like to break that up too."

Just so you know, the train serves the north & west of the country, not the desert in the south. To include the desert you'll need either private transport arrangements or use slower public options. Most people who go are, I believe, on a tour, so keep it in mind when allotting your days.
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Old Dec 5th, 2016, 04:58 PM
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A desert visit from Marrakech takes 3 nights/4 days to do with reasonable comfort imho. That is, if you want to enjoy the trip & not just scream there & back. If funds allow, you can book a private driver from a number of companies in Morocco. We successfully used Desert Majesty of Ouarzazate. They can also advise you on conditions in January.

Ian
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Old Dec 5th, 2016, 10:54 PM
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Thank you so much everyone and I will now think of a 14 day trip since I don't know if I can get back to see the desert at another time. I think I will just add on the days in either Marrakech or Fes and then book the desert portion from a company once I'm there.
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Old Dec 5th, 2016, 11:11 PM
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More Morocco is never a bad thing. Have fun.
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Old Dec 6th, 2016, 05:04 AM
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Personally, I wouldn’t wing it & book a multi-day tour once there. Your driver will make/break the trip since you will spend a whole lot of one-on-one with him in an SUV, so some research might really pay off.

When we think back now to our Morocco trip, our biggest highlight was not the hustle of the cities but the absolutely gorgeous countryside over the Atlas and down the Draa. Mountains, crumbling ksars, villages, palmeraies, and the Chigaga desert. All of it was stunning & more than worth the time we devoted to it.

See http://imcarthur.weebly.com/morocco.html for my trip report.

Ian
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Old Dec 6th, 2016, 06:09 AM
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Thank you and yes, I plan to do a whole lot of research before I book anything other than the flights. I want a good driver/guide and I may be doing this alone as my friend can only join me for part of the trip. I would like to get it all booked beforehand if possible.
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Old Dec 6th, 2016, 06:22 AM
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Very nice trip report Ian!
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