Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page >

Some Questions About My Travel Options within Morocco

Some Questions About My Travel Options within Morocco

Dec 6th, 2015, 04:32 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 799
Some Questions About My Travel Options within Morocco

Hello everyone. As many of you know, I am planning to visit Morocco in April 2016. My itinerary is set and fixed, both with flights to/from Morocco as well as hotel reservations and dates. So not looking to make any changes there. I've now begun researching my transportation options between cities and would like to get your feedback as to whether I have other practical options in addition to what I've researched.

First, a general question. My understanding is that when it comes to Grand Taxis, they are roughly equivalent in price (per share) to a similar bus ticket. I also understand that unless you buy out all 6 of the Grand Taxi shares, you have to wait until the driver has a full set of passengers before departing. So my question is...what, if anything, is the benefit of a Grand Taxi vs. a bus? Are they any faster?

Now, here are the most likel options I have identified for transporation between cities. There are partly based on the 2015 CTM schedule currently shown on the website. Since 2016 is not yet shown, I'm assuming it will be similar to 2015:

*Casablanca to Chefchaouen: one daily CTM bus, departing Casa at 13:30 and arriving Chefchaouen at 19:00. So 5 1/2 hours. Else, take a Grand Taxi if that makes more sense.

*Chefchaouen to Fes: 3 buses daily that arrive prior to early evening. Each about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours. Else a Grand Taxi if that would make sense.

*Fes to Marrakech: ONCF train-time to be determined. About 7 hrs,

*Marrakech to Essaouira: Two CTM buses that arrive iether late morning or mid-afternoon. 2 1/2 hours.

*Essaouira to Casablanca: Heavily leaning towards a Supratours bus and corresponding ONCF train, taking about 6 hours total.

So, what would your feedback be on the above options?

Thank you everyone!
MinnBeef is offline  
Dec 11th, 2015, 05:51 AM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 799
Helloooooooo, is anyone out there?????
MinnBeef is offline  
Dec 11th, 2015, 03:35 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,857
Yes, but can't be much help.

I took the train from Casa airport to Rabat and back to Casa proper, and from Casa to Meknes. I also took a Supratours bus from Marrakesh to Essaouira and back. Otherwise I was on an Intrepid tour.

The trains were fine, if somewhat dated. The third one ran a bit late, but nothing excessive. The Supratour buses were OK for a short trip, not sure I'd want one for a long journey, but then I usually prefer trains.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 12th, 2015, 12:46 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 19
I would look at comparing costs with a driver/guide where you would be in command of your schedule ,when to stop and how long. Compare the total cost using the same or better lodging thru a company booking you.
We have driven Morocco many times ourselves when we resided there but on our next trip we found the price for a trip with all highly rated hotels/riads and tent camps much less than we could book ourselves.
On a driven trip you can go by yourself when you want and get picked up when you desire. Don't waste tiem and money. Enjoy.
cgeidl is offline  
Dec 13th, 2015, 07:50 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,761
It makes a great deal of difference on how much you want to spend for your transport. If the least possible then, as Thursdaysd mentions, trains, when there are trains, for the longer distances. Otherwise less expensive, CTM or Supratours buses, which I find very comfortable for shorter runs.

If you are referring to only the shared variety of grand taxi, then I assume the advantage is either they cover routes the buses & trains don't or that they are available regularly any time of day. I haven't used them. But I have used private grand taxis a number of times booked by friends, or my hotel or riad, not the cheapest but, I think, good value, especially if you want to stop en route, for lunch, toilets or an attraction. They are at your command and you can hire them for just a point to point trip, 1 way or return.

If there are trains where I want to go, I take a train. If not, and a relatively short trip, Marrakech to Essaouira, for instance, a bus. If I'd like to stop along the way, then private grand taxi.
MmePerdu is offline  
Dec 15th, 2015, 09:29 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 799
Thank you everyone for your replies. Yes, I definitely plan to take a train for the two longest legs (Fez to Marrakech and then Marrakech (from Essaouira) back to Casa. Mme Perdu-thank you for the grand taxi clarification--I was not aware of private grand taxis. I will probably opt for buses on the shorter routes as you've mentioned, but it's good to know that if bus times aren't convenient or I happen to miss one, that hiring a private grand taxi is a viable back up plan.
MinnBeef is offline  
Feb 20th, 2016, 01:22 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 799
So I've tried to buy advance tickets on both the Supratours and ONCF websites but am not having any luck. I can find the timetables without any difficulty but there do not appear to be any links that allow me to buy tickets now. I speak enough French where if the links were there, I'd exepct to recognize them. Can anyone advise? I hate to wait until I'm in Morocco to buy the tickets as a few routes only have one bus/day.

Thanks.
MinnBeef is offline  
Feb 20th, 2016, 01:45 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,761
I've never been on a bus (to Essaouira only) that was anywhere near full and bought my ticket just before departure. You can also go the day before to be sure. Trains, though, can be full, in my experience, especially 1cl. between Fes and Casa & Marrakech. But buying a ticket after arrival, a day or more in advance has always been enough.

BTW, I've found on trains, young women giving themselves an upgrade and moving from 2cl. to 1cl. and sitting in my assigned seats, with all others full. Should you find your reserved seat so occupied, I find being politely firm, ignoring eye-rolling from said young person, does the trick. They don't want you to call for the conductor and will go.
MmePerdu is offline  
Feb 21st, 2016, 11:53 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 799
Thank you Mme Perdu. That is good to know that I would likely have no issues reserving a day or two in advance. But do you or anyone else know if it IS possible to buy online in advance? I'd just really like the peace of mind of knowing my travel needs are reserved before I leave.
MinnBeef is offline  
Feb 21st, 2016, 12:16 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,761
I understand entirely and while buying tickets ahead of a trip is something I always want to do in Europe, in Morocco I started out getting them as I go because I don't plan ahead as much and have just always continued that way without difficulty. If DarrenHumphrys turns up, he'll have an answer for you. I suspect a travel agent could do it, or ask your hotels.
MmePerdu is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2016, 05:28 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 799
Thanks MmePerdu-good to know and great idea about having my hotel try to reserve at least a few of the tix in advance. Darren-any knowledge whether I should be able to do this myself over the Supratours or CTM websites?
MinnBeef is offline  
Feb 28th, 2016, 10:27 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 157
Sallam 'lekum MinnBeef, MmePerdu and my other fellow travelers. Apologies for my absence...once again I find myself in the somewhat luxurious situation of being in demand for organizing/guiding journeys. Alas, enough idle chat...
MinnBeef, I'm afraid to say that you'll have no luck trying to purchase a ticket online for CTM or Supratours...contrary to what they say, their websites are merely for information purposes only. Every now and then it appears that the ONCF national railway's website (https://www.oncf-voyages.ma/SaisieInformations.aspx) is accepting online bookings up to 1 month in advance...but it's a very rare occurrence I must say.
I think you'll be fine by booking all of your tickets once you arrive in Morocco, as April doesn't encompass the busy times of Ramadan (June-July 2016) or the August holidays. But I also understand that this doesn't sit well with you and your structured itinerary. Should you want to get all of your transport pre-organized, then contact a local agency to do this for you (as Mme Perdu once again wisely presumed). They will literally send someone down to the CTM or ONCF stations and purchase your tickets over the counter. I have previously been reprimanded by a fellow Fodorite for self-promotion, so shan't offer any other advice regarding which agent to contact.
Greetings from Africa,
Darren
DarrenHumphrys is offline  
Feb 28th, 2016, 07:32 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 799
Mme Perdu and Darren, thank you both very much. Good to know that April should not be a busy travel month. I am most concerned about one Supratours route so as Mme Perdu recommended, I will contact my hotel to see if they could book the ticket for me in advance. I will plan to make the other reservations when I get to Morocco next month.

Looking forward to visiting Morocco!
MinnBeef is offline  
Feb 28th, 2016, 09:34 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 157
Happy travels, MinnBeef.
DarrenHumphrys is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 07:23 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 22,831
The train-bus combo between Casablanca and Eassouia was a cinch. I have to think the other way would work the same way. At Marrakesh train station, the window for bus tickets is right there along the station. We got to Casablanca the night before and stayed at the Ibis hotel right along the station parking lot. Bought tickets that night but didn't really need to. Next morning we hoped on. At Marrakesh, walked from the platform to the bus counter, bought Supratour tickets and walked to the bus. Managed this knowing only English. Bus left within the hour. Easy peasy, the bus is very nice.


We also went the opposite way from Chefchouen to Fes. Fes's station is in the new town, so you may need a taxi there. In Chouen, the stop was just down the hill from the main square. You shouldn't have a problem finding a place to buy tickets - lots of shops, lots of English. The buses aren't as nice as the Supratour, but ok.. Not overcrowded, there are assigned seats. You stop midway for a bathroom break and a snack if you want.

Enjoy Morocco!
CounterClifton is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 07:28 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 22,831
ps - the Supratours buses had their own bus station in Essaouira, further south and outside the walls, as I recall. Not a hard walk, but not the same spot as the other bus companies.
CounterClifton is offline  
Mar 4th, 2016, 10:14 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 799
Thank you, CounterClifton.
MinnBeef is offline  
Aug 15th, 2016, 09:37 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 330
Dear MinnBeef,

Found your old post and I have the same question on the 5 routes you mentioned. Would you mind sharing your final choice, including the actual travel time and cost?

Thanks.
carcassone is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
isaacbok
Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
14
Sep 5th, 2016 07:57 PM
thursdaysd
Air Travel
9
Aug 22nd, 2016 05:02 AM
Nick04
Canada
5
Aug 16th, 2016 09:17 AM
lreynold1
Air Travel
4
Aug 16th, 2016 06:11 AM
catspajamas
Air Travel
16
Aug 13th, 2016 11:34 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:30 PM.