Here we are, I promise this is the last post about Morocco. I had to split the entire experience in several posts just to try to give you a clear view on how our trip actually was. Now it’s time to get more practical and give you an insight of the way we organized the trip.
Well, let’s mention first that we decided from the beginning to have a guide. One that took us by car from the ferry boat station in Tangier-Med and drove us all over the country to our main stops and brought us back to the ferry to go back to Spain. Having a guide has, of course, its advantages and disadvantages. It was good to have him because he knows the culture and the country, knows exactly what to recommend to see, places to eat, places to sleep. He knows details about the country that sometimes you cannot find out from a simple google search. In the same time, having a guide means that you are on a tight schedule and you don’t have time to wonder around with no purpose. With our guide, well…it was a good idea to have him. But he was a 50 year old man, very proud of his country and sometimes the information that he offered seemed to be a bit too well packed for the tourists. Sometimes it was even hard for us to believe some of the things he told us. In the same time, his universe was quite limited, as he had never been out of the country, and for us, eager to find out more and compare it to the European culture, it was sometimes difficult to actually understand the whole picture.
Choosing this tourists agency spared us of a lot of work with planning the trip (transportation, accommodation), as they took very good care of everything. We had very nice Riads where we slept for the night, they also organized the trip in the desert. We only paid the agency a price for the entire trip and they handled everything for us. Which is quite good, because Moroccans do try to make tourists feel as good as possible in their country and they offer the best conditions possible depending on your budget.
Our 5 days itinerary was like this.
Day 1 :
– arrival in Tangier (pick up by the driver)
– lunch somewhere on the road after Tetouan
– visit Volubilis
– visit Meknes
– sleep in Fes
– depart toward Todra Gorges
– pass through the Altas mountains and stop to see the monkeys
– lunch near Midelt
– visit the city of Tinghir
-get to Todra Gorges in time of sunset and have a walk in the gorges
– sleep in a hotel near the gorges
Day 3 :
– depart towards the desert
– get to Rissani and visit the city
– lunch in Rissani
– get to the desert and start the camel trekking trip to the camp
– sleep in the desert in a nomad camp
– come back from the desert
– depart towards Fes
– see the Ziz Valley
– lunch somewhere in the Atlas mountain, before reaching Midelt
– sleep in Fes
– have a guided tour of Fes in the first part of the day
– depart towards Tangier, back to the ferry
– lunch somewhere on the road 20 Km from Fes
When I look at this itinerary, it might seem like we spent 5 days in Morocco and actually didn’t do much. But in fact, we did a lot of things and saw so many places. Also the distances are quite big and we were always on the road driving.
Which is something that I would actually suggest when planning a trip like this. Morocco is an absolutely beautiful country and is worth seeing it outside the city walls. Cities are, of course, the main attraction, but you also have beaches, mountains, sea side and desert in between the main cities which are very much worth seeing.
There aren’t too many highways in Morocco, but still the roads are in quite good conditions. Though, there is a lot of police on the road and many paper controls. Driving with a guide and a tourist agency car was helpful for us, because we where never stopped by the police in 5 days driving.
The Moroccan driving style can sometimes be a bit different than what we are used to in Europe, especially when you get in a city. Like a friend of mine says, when you get to a cross-road, you just close your eyes and drive. The driving rules are not followed too much in the cities so the chances to have an accident are quite big. Fortunately, they don’t drive with high speed. Mostly they use older cars and sometimes they get crowded with many people and luggage.
As for the accommodation, as I mentioned, the travel agency handled it for us, but I will still mention it as the Riads were very nice and the conditions were very good.
In Fes, we stayed in Dar Tahrya. Situated right in the middle of the Medina, it was really easy to have our tour of the city in our last day. A bit hard to find it if you are on your own as the streets of the Medina are narrow and the names are normally written in Arabic alphabet.
In the Togra Gorges we stayed in Dar Ayour, very nice Riad with a swimming pool, friendly staff and in a walking distance from the gorges.
At the edge of the Sahara desert we had a room at the Kasbah Bivouac Lahmada, but we use it just for a quick swim in the pool, shower and breakfast in the next morning. From there we started the camel trip into the desert camp were we spent the night.
A trip like ours was done on a medium budget. We chose Morocco Fes Desert Tour Agency and we paid 300 EURO for the 5 days trip which included all the driving, the accommodation, breakfast and dinner and the desert trip. It did not include lunch and all the entrances to some of the places we visited and also it did not include the tips we gave to our guide. By the way, giving tips is part of the Moroccan tradition and every person that gives you some pieces of information or helps you in any way would expect a tip, especially if you are a tourist.
Here’s the full list of the posts I wrote so far about Morocco:
So this sums up our first encounter with Africa. And hopefully not the last…