Morocco with Desert Majesty

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Oct 25th, 2013, 07:47 AM
  #1
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Morocco with Desert Majesty

Thanks to the kind people on this forum who are willing to share their travel knowledge, my husband and I just returned about 10 days ago from a 12 day trip to southern Morocco. We flew into Casablanca as airline rates were much cheaper there than if we flew into one of the other cities, at least it was when we found our 'deal'. We have always been independent travelers and just didn't want the 'guided tour' type vacation, so we began by assuming that we'd go it independently. After reading a lot on this and other forums, we decided since it was our first Moroccan trip, although we've traveled all over the world, that we'd feel better with someone who knew what they were doing in the Sahara Desert.

After talking with a number of companies that had tours in the area, we decided that the best deal for the money and Desert Majesty ( http://www.desertmajesty.com/gen/tou...s-morocco.html ) had the most competent people and the best solution to meet our needs. We had one big medical issue that needed some special attention in that my husband is an insulin dependent diabetic and we had to be sure his meds could be kept cool regardless of where we chose to go. Desert Majesty was quick to say they could have a cooler in the SUV and that wouldn't be a problem and it really wasn't. What we ended up doing was basically outlining what we wanted to see and deciding that we wanted a driver who was also able to translate for us when we needed it and that really worked well for us. We also wanted someone able to tell us what to do in the event of a sand storm.

Our rationale for doing the southern part of the country first was that we could easily do the northern part of the country along with a visit to southern Spain. However, we did fly to Barcelona for three days at the end of this visit. The most northern place we visited this time was Marrakesh and Casablanca. Our driver picked us up in Casablanca and we went to Marrakesh that afternoon and spent two nights there. We were rather tired from the flight from the states the so the first night we just had a nice dinner and went to bed early. The next day we visited the souks and medinas and bought a 'few' things.

After Marakeesh, we visited Gorges du Dades,Vallee du dades, Ouarzazate, Zagora,Essaouira, Cascades d'Ouzoud and back to Casablanca where we visited the mosque before flying to Barcelona. The hardest part of the trip was leaving our driver, Ali, to whom we had become quite attached. He was the most kind, understanding, flexible and just plain wonderful person we'd met in a very long time and we both wanted to just take him home with us. We were also impressed with the two partners in Desert Majesty whom we met. We first met, Felicity on line when we were deciding on the route we wanted to take. She was incredible as I had a million and one questions and she answered each and every one of them meticulously and patiently (or so it seemed) and in a timely manner which is important when you are in the planning stage. It was my introduction to her had made me decide on the company as I figured she wouldn't tolerate someone in her company not doing a complete job. Then in Ouarzazate, we had tea and cookies at their office and met the other partner and were equally impressed with him.

During our trip, we did a lot of traveling and that was what we wanted as we wanted to see the natural, unspoiled Morocco. We did go into the souks, but we didn't spend a lot of time there. We were more impressed by the fossil plant that we visited, where they made incredible tables, sinks and a lot of very nice smaller items. It was incredible!!! Wish I could go back there and get some more things. We also visited the Argon store where the ladies were making the Argon oils and of course, I had to have quite a bit of that, too. It's one of those times when you throw airline baggage requirements to the wind and get what you want.

We spend one night in the Berber tent after taking a camel ride to the sand dunes and climbing or trying to climb the dune. It's much harder than it looks to climb the dunes. My husband made it to the top, but I was satisfied with 3/4 of the way up the dune and decided to wait on him. I loved my camel though as he/she was so gentle, and it did make me feel 'good' to see that my husband was having a little more trouble staying on his camel than I was. ;-) (No competition there.)

I was so impressed with the safety that was felt in the country and the way we felt 'taken care of' by Ali. It felt like 'home' as we were made so welcome. They daylight savings time changed while we were there and like most of us, we were scurrying about trying to decide what time it was as there was some confusion on what day it was to change. We laughed when someone said 'It really doesn't matter.' so that became our attitude too until it was time to catch our flight.

I will say that, as you may have noticed, we were more than pleased with Desert Majesty. It doesn't get any better than the service they provided and the competence with which they do what they say and in a timely manner. Bravo, Desert Majesty.

I made lots and lots of video footage which I always place on YouTube (after editing). So, while I don't take as many notes as many people do, I will have the videos later. I would have had them uploaded already but I've spent almost 4 days getting my e-mail back up and running.
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Oct 27th, 2013, 07:04 AM
  #2
Ian
 
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Your experience mirrors ours with DM - although we had a different driver - Said - who was equally as competent as you describe. We met Ali along the way at Ait Benhaddou & he seemed very nice. The two of them share an apartment in Marrakesh btw.

Please post your video links to this thread.

Ian
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Oct 29th, 2013, 02:30 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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I have never been to the deserts. Reading your experience has thrilled me so much. I am looking forward to do this exciting adventure.
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Oct 31st, 2013, 01:49 PM
  #4
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Ian: Yes, Ali said he had a couple of roommates in Marrakesh. DM can spoil us in a hurry. Yes, I will start working on the editing of the videos late this week. Since my husband has recently broken his leg, I'm having to fill in for him on some things which has put the video editing little behind, but I will definitely post it on this thread.

DCarla: Morocco is definitely a good place to start with exploring Africa. We've been to four African countries, found them all very nice, but Morocco is so accepting and easy going that it's a great place to start one's journey.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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Here's my first Morocco vide-oOuzoud Waterfalls (Cascades d'Ouzou). I'll have more soon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ljO4...SNQkjZARMNzQEg
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Nov 8th, 2013, 10:32 AM
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Brings back memories of a similar tour we did in May 2010, we had hired a car with driver and also spent a couple of days in the desert. Like you I loved the fossil factory, never knew they had them in such large quantities! Thanks for the TR
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Nov 9th, 2013, 12:43 AM
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Thanks 1Caroline for giving here a link.
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Nov 12th, 2013, 03:26 PM
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UPDATE: Here's the new link to the video above - Ouzoud Waterfalls (Cascades d'Ouzouas). I was able to upload it in HD. I didn't think I could get that much uploaded but it did, so here's the link to use.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6YR3...SNQkjZARMNzQEg
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Nov 24th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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Caroline,

I'm enjoying your trip report. We're going to visit Morocco for the first time in April. We too are independent travelers, but we've made the same decision you did about the Sahara portion of our trip and I had just found Desert Majesty before I read your report. I'm a little behind in planning, but right now at least, we're planning to visit Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fez, a couple days in the Sahara and Chefchaouen.

A couple of questions; did you have a driver throughout your trip? Did you take any public transportation (i.e., train)? May I ask where you stayed in Marrakesh? I loved the video; where were the monkeys?

I look forward to reading more about your trip!

Ellen
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Nov 28th, 2013, 04:04 PM
  #10
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Hi Ellen,

Yes, our driver was Ali and it doesn't get any better than him. We both absolutely loved the service that he gave us. He was always there when we needed him and he was always watching without us knowing it to make sure that we didn't get taken advantage of when paying for items. If we were going again, we'd insist on Ali. He was definitely the best.

We went through Marrakesh three times as we went to and from various areas. We did ask for suggestions from Desert Majesty with respect to Riads, but we ask that they give us several. The first night we stayed at http://www.riadmerstane.com and the other two times we stayed at www.darrocmara.com Both were nice but the second one was just 'cozy' and we loved it. However, we also loved the first one especially sitting at night on the rooftop and listening to the call to prayer. You wouldn't go wrong with either one. Should you choose the second one, the rooms are named and if the Rose Room is available, that one is a bit larger. If you need riads in either of the other places we stayed, I'll be happy to give you what I have.

We didn't go on any public transportation although we have heard various reports about the trains though most were good.

It is an amazing journey. We've traveled extensively, but I've never seen an entire country that seemed to agree on the color scheme. The entire country is almost completely pink. It was amazing and beautiful. I asked why it was all the same color and our driver said they were trying to match the natural beauty of the country.

You are in for a treat and if you go near the Aragon store, be sure to buy some although it is somewhat expensive. I thought I bought a lot but now I'm trying to figure out how to get more. So if you should go there, please get a business card and if they have a website, let me know. I'd appreciate that.
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 03:26 PM
  #11
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Ellen, here's Ali's email address if you want it. It's [email protected]
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Dec 29th, 2013, 01:16 PM
  #12
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Here's my Marrakesh video that in primarily of the Botanical Garden.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60Ya15tRo6s
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Jan 12th, 2014, 12:58 PM
  #13
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Here's the one I made at the mosque in Casablanca.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiWTN...re=c4-overview
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