Volubilis and the Sahara Desert

Old Jun 6th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Volubilis and the Sahara Desert

Hi,

Is Volubilis worth a visit? From which city can I visit it as a daytrip?

From which city can I visit the Sahara Desert as a daytrip?

I'll spend from 10 to 12 days in Morocco the 2nd and 3rd week of September (Casablanca-Fes-Marrakesh-Essaouira-Casablanca).

Thanks.
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Old Jun 6th, 2007, 03:36 PM
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Yes, I was in volubilis and loved it. Itīs one of the best places to see roman ruins. I went there for a day trip when I was going from Meknes to Fez.
I guess you canīt visit the desert as a daytrip because it takes some time to cross the Atlas. I recomend you to go from Fez to the desert and sleep one night on the dunes of Merzouga and another one in Ouarzazate, then you go from Ouarzazate to Marrakesh.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 02:17 AM
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Volubilis is worth a visit (from Meknes or Fes).

The Sahara cannot be reached as a daytrip from any major city. It is about an 8-9 hour drive from Fes to Merzouga and roughly the same from Marrakech to Zagora (further if you go on to M'hamid).

Also, keep in mind that Ramadan starts on Sept 12 (roughly - it depends on the moon), so be sure to factor that into your planning.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 03:13 AM
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Hi,

Would it be inconvenient if I visited Morocco during the Ramadan?

I'm still torn between how long to stay in each city.

So far I have this:

1 night in Casablanca.
4 nights in Fes (day trip to Volubilis)
3 nights in Marrakech.
3 nights in Essaouira.
1 night in Casablanca.

I'm not sure whether to spend 3 or 4 nights in Marrakech. Some people have told me 4 nights are OK, some other have told 3 nights are OK and I've read on itinerary suggestions that 3 nights are OK.

My interests when I travel are to wander through the old quarter and markets to get the atmosphere of the place, try the typical food and visit one or two religious buidings.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 05:49 AM
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Your itinerary looks good, but remember to factor in travel times. You'll lose one whole day on the train from Fes to Marrakech (8 hours). If you need some extra time to allow for travel, you could easily drop one night in Essaouira.

Regarding Ramadan...is it inconvenient? It depends largely on you and how you feel about it. Many street cafes and smaller establishments will be closed during the day (or in Fes, some of them close for the whole month). Restaurants and shops catering to tourists will be open.

Your behaviour should be modest and respectful- no eating, drinking, or smoking in the street. Transport around the time of the breaking of the fast (sundown) can be a nightmare as most people are rushing home to eat, so its not a good time to try to hail a cab. I had friends arrive in Fes on the train from Marrakech at roughly 6:30pm and they could not find a taxi to bring them to the medina for over an hour.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Hmmm... now I'm worried.

I've read a lot of mixed reviews concerning whether or not it's a good idea to visit Morocco during the Ramadan.

Knowing that street cafés and small stablishments will be closed disincourages me because I'm not that interested in visiting tourist-oriented shops and restaurants. I want to experience the real deal in the little time I have.

I was so excited about making this trip because it was somehow unexpected.
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Old Jun 8th, 2007, 03:13 AM
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First of all, street food is definitely an interesting experience one shouldn't miss while in Morocco, but there is no reason why you would miss it if you visited during Ramadan. Everything opens up in the evening. If you really want to experience the "real deal", then do what the Moroccan's are doing, and fast during the day. Once sundown and the maghrib prayer arrives, you'll break the fast with the other 39 million people in the country and gain a real understanding of the culture....and what's more, if you tell people you are fasting you will almost certainly be invited to a Moroccan's home to partake in the breaking of the fast. It doesn't get any more "real" than that!

By the way, I'm not sure exactly what you are refering to by "shops", but if you mean places to buy locally made goods, then I can assure you they are all tourist-oriented. Your average Moroccan does not decorate their home with much artisanal goods, the majority of the handicrafts made in Morocco are for tourists or for export.
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Old Jun 10th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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do not miss the mosque in casa, closed on friday, tours at 9, 10, 11 and 2 fantastic modern and HUGE

also to wander arorund art deco area in casa is interesting. lonely planet has walking tour

would not do 2 nights in casa. would spend one of them in rabat, only 90 min from casa.

imo 3 days in essaouira is kind of a lot. we also really like to meet people and wander, but it is small city, but very interesing. we spend late afternoon and half of the next day.

would spend a night in the mountains. from essaouira if you have a car you can get to Imhil (sp?) in about 3 1/2 hours and stay or at least visit the restored Kasbah there. you walk up to it about 20 minutes and luggage if you stay is brought by donkey. VERY scenic and really not a very big detour from your route. You could stay at the kasbah or even walk a day from there and stay at their luxury spot further into the mountains. Or you could visit Richard Branson's place for lunch or overnight.

desert is too far for 10 days, but on 12 day trip you could do a big loop and incorporate desert and mountains. you would be on the move, but it is really pretty relaxing.

Bonnie
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