Morocco tours / chauffeur recommendations?

At the stage of planning our 10 days trip to Morocco next Dec, we re looking into hiring a local chauffeur..can any make a suggestions? any tip would be appreciated.
Thanks

Nicole 11/09/13    Getting aroundMorocco Link Report

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Hello.
Thanks alot for the recommendation.

Nicole 12/09/13    Link Report

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  • Hi Nicole,

    Welcome to the RG Community. I am the moderator here so have edited the title of your question so people know what you’re asking for – hopefully that’ll get you some good responses.

    In answer to your question: I travelled with Moroccan Nature Trails (www.moroccantrail.com) into the desert for a one night camping trip, our guide Mustapha was fantastic. He was really friendly and even after our tour he had tea with us at our hostel, recommended other places to go and restaurants to eat.

    Hope this helps and happy travels!

    Lottie Gross 11/09/13    Link Report

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  • We were fortunate to stay in the equivalent of five-star hotels. But they’re more elegant guest houses than hotels. While there are many Western-style hotels in Morocco, we opted to stay in dars and riads. A riad by definition, is a building that surrounds an inner courtyard. The courtyard usually has a pool or fountain and is a quiet refuge after a day in the souk. ‘Dar’ means house. They’re usually very small; the most rooms any of ours had were seven.

    Our rooms were exquisite. The bathrooms were beautiful, usually decorated with beautiful ceramic tile. No detail was overlooked. All three of our riads/dars had rooftop terraces. The terrace of our riad in Marrakech offered a view of two stork nests. We spent a lot of time engrossed in the nesting culture of storks; it was fascinating.

    The terrace of our dar in Fes overlooked the entire old medina and from the terrace of our dar in Tangier we were able to see the Rock of Gibraltar across the Mediterranean. Since the weather was warm and perfect throughout our stay, breakfast was served every morning on the terraces. Breakfast usually consisted of yogurt, fruit, wonderful Moroccan bread, crepes, fresh orange juice and coffee or tea.

    The owners of two of the riads were French. The owner of the dar in Fes is American. She painstakingly restored every detail of it over a period of years and hired a young couple to manage it. All of them welcomed us as family visiting their house.

    I found all three Riad And Morocco Excursions Company on Trip Advisor after a lot of searching and reading reviews. I’d highly recommend each one.

    Riads

    Marrakech – Riad Badi http://www.riadbadi.org/fr/

    Fes – Dar Roumana http://www.darroumana.com/

    Tangier – Dar Chams Tanja http://www.darchamstanja.com/‎

    Morocco Excursions Company ( Morocco Tours and Desert Treks )

    http://www.Morocco-Excursion.com

    ellende 24/06/14    Link Report

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    I and my friends had an amazing time in Morocco we used Hassan Mouhou from Morocco Excursions Company An experience we will never forget. It started with Ali (our tour guide) collecting us from our Riad in Marrakech on a rainy Tuesday. After that the whole experience just got better and better. Ali drove us through snow (It was February) over the Atlas Mountains and then down in between the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains. We stopped off wherever required, so had plenty of breaks at some really interesting places (one of my favorites is Ouarzazate). He knew all the right places to stop off at so we didn’t waste time seeing the best sights. After that we stayed at Dades Gorge in an interesting hotel. It was a freezing night outside, so be prepared to take warm clothing if you go in Winter (and want to go outside), however the huge fire they had in the restaurant was lovely. The next morning Ali greeted us to take us out to the desert. We drove to the top of Dades Gorge and then went out to another Gorge, which was equally stunning. Take a big memory stick in your camera, because you will use it!
    I think the most amazing part was the actual time in the desert. Ali’s great fun, so with the 4×4 we took an offroad route to get to Merzouga quick. Great fun! After arriving at the hotel in Merzouga, which literally is on the edge of the desert, I met the famous Hassan. Hassan sat down and talked with us over a cup of tea. He made it quite clear that we don’t need to take the kitchen sink with us, since we were only going to spend the night in the desert (we were on the 3 day excursion), therefore we really just needed something warm to wear if we choose to venture outside, as well as something for bed. Even though you’re in the desert, the sand doesn’t stick to you, so it’s got little chance of making the tents dirty.
    The camels are great fun to ride, and the man who walked our camels the one hour to get to the tents was probably one of the fittest guys I know. He’s Aziz and wears flip-flops to walk up and down sand dunes. Doing that for 5 minutes for me is exhausting (and I run marathons), yet Aziz is able to do this for hours on end…. With flip flops.
    We arrived close to our tents in the desert and spent the sunset snowboarding down the dunes (absolutely terrific fun) as well as photographing the amazing sun set you see there. After sun set, Hassan lead us down the dune to our tents. The actual tent layout consists of about 7 tents, all big. One of the tents is for dinner and I think 4 are for the guys working there (5 star service!). I guess that leaves 3 for guests to sleep in.
    Dinner was freshly cooked and served by Hassan’s team. It’s unbelievable to have such nice food all that way out in the desert, followed by everyone, including some of the guys who prepared dinner joining us to sing some Berber songs for us. There’s an abundance of drums, which Hassan and his friends are very good at playing. We had great fun, and it was an honour to hear some genuine Berber music played live for us. A really special evening!
    The sleeping tent has candles and plenty of blankets. It was probably one of the deepest sleeps I’ve ever had. No problems with scorpions or any other creepy crawlies, since they don’t come out in winter. Also there’s a few cats around that deal with any nasties like that. It felt weird for me to go to sleep in bed without first having a shower (since we had just been snowboarding down sand dunes), but as I said, the sand doesn’t stick on anything, so you’re clean just by patting it off. It’s true what Hassan said, the sand’s clean.
    All in all, we had an incredible time. We enjoyed every single day, both the excursion and the warm company that joined us. We thoroughly recommend Morocco Excursions, and will happily join Hassan and his guys again. – Absolutely loved every minute of it.

    Here is pictures from our trip :http://conexaobrasilitalia.blogspot.de/2013/03/marrocos_27.html

    menmen 28/06/14    Link Report

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    I travelled with a girlfriend of mine for 11 days in Morocco, starting in Casablanca and ending in Tangier visiting the most interested places..
    Our itinerary was:

    1st day : Milan – Casablanca
    2nd day: Casablanca – Rabat
    3rd day: Rabat- Marrakech
    4th day: Marrakech
    5th day :Marrakech – Essaouira – Marrakech
    6th day : Marrakech – Atlas moutains – Kasbah Aitbenhaddou – Ouarzazate – Dades Gorges
    7th day : Dades Gorges – Todra Gorges – Merzouga – Camel trek for one night in desert
    8th day : Merzouga – Errachidia- Medilt – Azrou – Fes
    9th day : Fes
    10th day: Fes – Chefchaouen
    11th day: Chefchaouen – Tangier

    Casablanca and Rabat :
    Rabat’s medina is different to that of Fez and Marrakesh, which attracts more attention in the guidebooks.
    The medina may not be as big or impressive as the medina’s of the other 2 cities, but the medina hugs the coast, making it very unique. There is also far less harassing and prices are lower here than the rest of Morocco. It’s the main attraction in Rabat, so if one visits it, the Medina is a must see!
    Casablanca
    I have visited many medinas and I found this one very disappointing. It was crowded, which is to be expected, with tiny alleys and shop keepers who either completely disinterested or overpowering. The goods were poor quality and very few were not imported. I found it quite sad really as it had an air of defeat about it unlike the vibrant, lively centres visited in other areas. I visited as a single woman and never felt intimidated or unsafe so that was a positive but fifteen minutes was enough and I felt pleased to escape. It’s all relative I know but to me this was a poor example of the vibrant and colourful medinas of Morocco.

    Marrakech :
    Well, what can I say..just visited Marrakech and stayed within the Medina. It’s a rather smelly place, ranging from bad to good. Nice spices and soaps to the opposite extreme! I am in my 40s and felt quite safe in the city, but I can easily understand why you may not. There are many dark alleys and poorly lit areas. It is the sort of place to go for an experience but I certainly wouldn’t take children, elderly or disabled people . The place just isn’t equipped for it. Forget it if you are in a wheel chair.

    We met an American family and the two children were quite distressed by the way they perceived the animals being treated. Thin donkeys, horses and cats.

    I guess it could come across as being unfriendly but then why wouldn’t it when, to a local, every tourist he meets wants to screw him down to the last penny of profit! These people are the same as us, they want to make a living. Pay them what they ask and they might be friendlier. How would you fancy having to haggle for your wage every month?

    It is a place that thankfully we can visit and return from and maybe think that our own place isn’t that bad after all lol

    Atlas Mountains , Gorges & Oasis + Camel Trekking in Sahara Desert:
    while we wanted to mainly backpack on our own through the country, we were very happy to have made the decision book a 3-day tour starting from Marrakech and ends in Fes
    Having made a lot of research, I found that Hassan Mouhou from Morocco Excursions Company ( http://www.Morocco-Excursion.com ) were the most receptive to my emails. They required a 100Euro deposit through Western Union (Most companies in Morocco don’t accept credit cards) and the transfer went without problem.
    Rashid (our driver) picked us up promptly at 8am in Marrakesh and made all the stops promised (and more) along the way. Because he is at our full disposition, we were able to ask him to make specific stops (such as stopping in non-touristy super market to stock up on drinks, or stopping for a special picture, etc). Rashid was very friendly, kind and knowledgeable. He answered all our questions and talked about his life, his childhood as well as Moroccan culture and history in general.
    Hassan met us in the desert and took us in the desert. The camels were wonderful and the desert guides were very nice. We sand-surfed, had tea, dinner and they even played music for us. We proceeded to sleep under the stars in the middle of the desert (the tents were there, but the weather was nice and fresh, so we slept outside). We woke up before the sunrise and walked up the biggest dune to see the sunrise before returning to our hotel to get our bags and take a shower.
    All the meals included were great; and the ones that weren’t included (lunches), we could ask our driver to stop somewhere else, if we didn’t like what they had.
    Rachid is an excellent, careful, good driver with lots of charisma. We did Casablaca , Rabat…Essaouira, Marrkesh, Fes and Tagier on our own but saw so much more and learnt so much more than we could have seen those 3 days in the desert.
    It includes A LOT of driving but it is absolutely worth every penny and the car is new and comfortable.

    Here are some pictures from my girlfriends flickr : https://www.flickr.com/photos/elenale/sets/72157637559050673/

    Fes :
    After our experience in Marrakech medina, this could be such a great place and is, I guess; if you can handled being constantly having people introduce themselves and explaining they are “not guides” but would like to show you around… that is around to their friends places of business where they get a commission. It was endless, people approaching constantly and not like the first, second or third polite “no”. – They then take offence and say something rather rude. If you do get to a place where you are interested in buying something be prepared to haggle big time, so do some price shopping as the same stuff is everywhere. We went during Ramadan, which may not be the best time to go as the natives are tired and hungry + thirsty. Some folks were nice and we bought a few unique items. Know that the Medina is a “maze” try and find a map or take your time. Do not allow yourselves to be “guided” and if you do, know who you are dealing with and set a price and time frame in advance.

    All that said, it is well worth a visit. I would not consider this “child friendly” so I recommend adults only. So much walking and so crowded

    Chefchaouen :
    One of the best parts of exploring a city is to get lost and just wander around. If you have a good sense of direction, you are never really lost. Get up early in the morning before people are out and about. Enter the medina and wander off into the side streets. The blue walls and walkways are a photographers dream.
    When you get hungry, head back to the plaza where there are a bunch of cafes, specializing in a multiude of cuisines. For about $10.US you can have a three course meal.
    The vendors are not too bad when they make contact, but a firm “no merci” does the trick if you are not interested. Be prepared to bargain and haggle, and walk away if the price isn’t worth it .

    We used Royal Air Maroc ( http://www.royalairmaroc.com ) excellent food and crew very friendly. Excellent omelette for breakfast. New leather seats on both Boeing 767-300 from Casablanca and return on Boeing 737-800. I was surprised with their improvements….

    Morocco is an amazing country and we hope to visit it at last once again.

    cheal 06/07/14    Link Report

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  • Recently my friends and I come back from a Moroccan sahara desert adventure.

    The Sahara. The most famous desert around the world, and a source of fascination for a variety of reasons. Stretching over 9,400,000 kilometers (or 3,600,000 miles) the Sahara reaches from the Red Sea all the way over to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean, making it roughly the size of China or the United States. Its huge, hot, and sparsely inhabited. In Morocco, camping in the Sahara is one of the most popular attractions and brings people from all across the globe. Roughly a week and a half ago, The Breakfast Club (to recap, thats myself, Chase, Melanie, Matt, Meridith, and Sydney) decided we wanted to go camping there before the weather started getting cold. We also decided to see if a few other people wanted to go, because camping is always fun with a few more people and we knew how high the demand was for such a trip.

    Now, a lot of what we do here in Morocco is last-minute and hardly planned, just kind of hopping into a grand-taxi or on a bus and going until we stop. But for this trip, a certain degree of co-ordination and planning was required. So Melanie and I sat down to discover. After lots of google searches and trip advisor comparisons, we selected a company ( Morocco Excursions Company) with which to tour and emailed the guide for more information. The package we selected was a full day and night deal- starting with breakfast on the saturday and going through breakfast the next morning. ( here is the full itinerary from their website : http://www.morocco-excursion.com) We finally heard back from him on Tuesday and plans were set in to motion. In a group that started with 6, we soon found ourselves with 19 people. So until Thursday afternoon our plan was to take taxis from Ifrane (our town) to Fez (a bigger city roughly an hour away) and then an overnight bus down to Merzouga (the village on the edge of the Sahara) and do the same thing coming back. The problem with that ended up being the overnight bus would put us home around 8am Monday, and several of our group members had 8am classes. Then from there we discovered there was no official bus station, bus schedule, or way to purchase ticket in advance. That set off alarm bells all over the place, so once again Mel and I sat down to figure out an alternative plan. We ended up finding a private bus company, and with her mad French skills Mel managed to negotiate a bus to pick us up at school, drive us the 7 or so hours down to Merzouga, wait there, and then bring us home Sunday. It was a miraculous discovery that saved our sanity, time, and wallets. So everything was hunky dory and arranged. We ended up with 17 people, and finalized our plans less than 24 hours before our departure.

    So Friday afternoon around 4:00pm we all assembled. Everyone had their backpacks, passports and a water bottle, and we piled on the bus to go. The ride down to Merzouga was relatively uneventful- I ended up watching World War Z with Chase (which is actually a terrific movie), and we had a half an hour gas station stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere. We finally reached our hotel at around 12:20am, and they had dinner ready for us when we pulled in. Guys, you haven’t lived until you have consumed home-made Moroccan food. The flavors, colors and spices they blend are both a work of art and delicious on so many levels. I wish I could explain what they made for us, but its too difficult. A sum would be eggs, lamb meat, bread, and lentils. So good. So after we were all stuffed we went to our rooms and slept.

    Saturday morning dawned cloudy and cool, with enough of a breeze to be comfortable. We got up and had breakfast, then piled into four 4×4 offroading vans to set out for our daytime romp round the Sahara. Our first stop was a little village maybe two miles away, where we spent a while listening to and dancing with Sudanese musicians. They fed us tea and nuts, chanted and we had a grand old time. After that we drove across a volcanic rock field and looking for desert foxes. They are cute little white animals, with huge ears and gangly legs. The reason this is significant is because for the past two weeks or so our group has been in love with the new Ylvis song called “The Fox”. We were hoping these desert foxes would give us a hint a to what the fox does in fact say, but they merely sat silently staring at us as we ooooohed and aaaaahed over them.

    After we had our fill of fox, we hopped back into the jeeps and set off to find the fossil mines. These mines were basically holes where they dig for quartz, fossil rock and other cool stuff that they then use to carve pretty statues, jewelry, etc. From there we traveled north to look at some abandoned fortresses, and to see the Algerian border. We unfortunately couldn’t get close to the border, but it was neat looking out across the dunes and knowing that just beyond these three hills was the country of Algeria. So back to the awesome rocks, we kept running in to nomads selling their carved wares. I ended up purchasing two of this little figurines, an elephant for myself and a camel for my Chase. It’s always fun to buy trinkets out in the middle of nowhere, because you get to bargain and know that you are directly contributing to someone’s livelihood. This is where I am a bad Arab- I like to get the price down, but still allow myself to be overcharged because I know every bit help. In a place where haggling is a way of life, I probably fail pretty spectacularly more often than not.

    So post haggling and climbing and watching the guys strike gladiator poses, back in the vans to go find the lunching pad. I’d like to pause here and bunny trail for a second. Mel, Chase, Matt and I were in the “lead van”- the one with our main guide that was always in the lead. Mel decided that we needed code names for each van, so we could better keep track of who was where and so that each group would have a name. She ended up dubbing the vans Squad Alpha, Beta, Charlie and Delta. Of course we were traveling with several military kids, and it was hilarious listening to Chase explain to her why her reasoning was flawed and then letting her have her way in the end. Yet another bunny trail involves explaining the “family” dynamic that I have yet to mention: we are all very close anyways, and have reached that family attitude. Within that, the breakfast club and company have adopted specific roles. It’s kind of hard to explain, but just know that if you hear me causally say daughter or husband, it is within that realm. ANYWAYS! Lunch time. Our guide took us to a little cropping of buildings on the edge of some huge dunes. We were given roughly an hour to just relax, take pictures and enjoy the fact that we were IN the Sahara. Lots of due rolling, running, laying in the sand and pictures ensured. Lunch was delicious, they cooked what is called “Berber pizza” for us- think a huge pita pocket that is buried in the sand and cooked thoroughly. We had a great time sitting on the ground around the low tables, eating as much as they offered and laughing.

    After lunch we did some more hardcore desert driving, stopping at an outcrop of rocks to take more pictures and look at the vast difference between the desert to our left and the volcanic rock land to our right. We headed back to the hotel after that to clean up, change into warm clothes, grab our backpacks and head out into the heart of our Sahara for the epic camping trip.

    We reconvened around 18:00 (that’s another thing, time here is all military) and set out to the camel parking lot to choose our rides and head to camp. I was in the lead string with Chase and Landon, and we had a grand time choosing names for our camels and watching the sand go by. I named my camel Philipe, Chase named his Ben and Landon’s ended up being Walter. They were all lovely creatures, plodding along steadily ad trying not to throw us off. Side note: camels in Morocco are VERY different from camels in Jordan. They are smaller, single humped and the saddles are much less secure (at least in my opinion- I prefer having a front and back horn on my saddle, and lacking that was difficult) their pace was interesting; the Saharan sand is soft and deep, so half the time when they step they sink in. It isn’t so bad until they start going downhill and you suddenly see yourself falling head first off the camel and being trampled. Luckily that didn’t happen to anyone, and we arrived at the camp eagerly awaiting what was coming.

    The first thing we did after arriving was put down our luggage and check out the camp. I removed my shoes (I know, barefoot for two days in a desert that is supposedly full of scorpions, beetles and other yucky things. All I can say is I took my BFF Joy’s challenge of YOLO to heart, and didn’t concern myself with what ifs. I would have been miserable in shoes) and headed out to check out the dunes. Our guide provided us with sandboards (like snowboards, but for the sand) and we spent the next few hours watching people sandsurf, sandsled, roll down the dunes, and other fun frolicky type stuff. It was a really good time, and an excellent workout climbing the dunes up and down. Although the whole day had been cloudy, a section of those clouds broke just long enough for us to watch the sunset. Honestly, I was born and will forever be a desert child. I love the sites, smells and feels of the desert more than anything, and one of the most beautiful parts of all that is a desert sunset. There are no words in any language I know that can adequately describe the feeling you get as those colors change, the quiet looms and you really feel like there is so much out there to discover. It is a sensation that cannot be compared, and something I hope everyone gets to experience once in their lifetime. But I digress. So after watching the beautiful sun set over the dunes, we trekked back to camp and sat around conversing. There were tea and biscuits, and delightful company. After that they started bringing out dinner, and as always it was completely delicious. For this meal the appetizer was rice, and it made me so very happy.

    So after dinner noms, people kind of split off in to smaller groups to walk around, relax or sleep. I ended up laying out in the sand (on a blanket) with Mel, Meridith, Tyler and Chase, and we spent time just watching the tiny patch of stars peeking through the clouds and talking. Mel informed us that “THIS IS AFRICA” and we watched the earth rotate. We all fell asleep after that, and stayed out there until roughly 3am when we realized how cold it was. So we migrated to the tents and finished the night inside, dreaming of camels and s’mores. We woke up the next morning (didnt get to see the sunset, the clouds came back) hopped on our camels and headed back to the hotel. Everyone cleaned up a bit, we grabbed breakfast and hit the road.

    We all assumed that was the end of the adventure, and settled in for the long ride back to school. About an hour away from campus our bus ended up getting pulled over, and we found out it was for speeding. It was an adventure dealing with that whole fiasco (the bus driver was trying to tell us we had to pay the ticket, which wasnt true because it wasnt our responsibility) but with some intimidation from our Westpoint men and some Arabic, we got back on the road and made it home in time for dinner.

    3 days, 17 kids, and exploring THE Sahara. It is so much fun experiencing such a beautiful place with so many people that I adore, and getting to know my “family” better ever time we travel. I have been continuously blessed so far beyond anything I could have imagined, and am so grateful for just the opportunity to get to do half of what I am.

    So that was the Sahara! There was a lot more detail, but much of it revolves around inside jokes that would merely bore you or other such things. For anyone curious I am absolutely having the time of my life, and waking up each morning knowing I am living in Africa is dream I have yet to tire of. I bid you all adieu, and Inshallah you will be hearing from me sooner!

    Here is our blog form more adventures and pictures about Morocco: http://anospreyabroad.blogspot.com/2013/09/casually-conquering-sahara.html

    Peace, love, and lots of shawerma!

    Anna Barlow 25/07/14    Link Report

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