Input on proposed (unusual?) Morocco itinerary

Old May 28th, 2021, 07:33 PM
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Input on proposed (unusual?) Morocco itinerary

With $800 flight credits from a cancelled 2020 trip that American Airlines is insisting we use by the end of 2021, we had to squeeze in a trip amidst vacations already planned. With 4 people's different schedules (husband and I both early 50's and 2 of our sons, ages 21 and 17) and few vacation days available, the only time we could make a trip work was over Thanksgiving. I then searched for direct flights from our home on the East Coast to pretty much anywhere within a reasonable flight time that would cost close to the credit value, and Casablanca was the clear winner. We will depart on Tuesday night, November 23, arriving on Wednesday morning, and depart for home on Sunday at 5:00pm. This all assumes travel from U.S. to Morocco is not a problem in November. Fingers crossed.

I have wanted to go to Morocco for some time, and had planned to do the Casablanca-Fes-Desert-Marrakesh route. With only 4 1/2 days, however, I knew that wasn't going to work. Originally I eliminated the desert because that would be too much travel time. However, after reading tons of trip reports and blog posts, it became clear that the desert experience was the highlight for most people. And since we as a family love nature, wildlife, and similar experiences and strongly dislike/despise crowds, shopping, and being hassled, Marrakesh and to a lesser extent Fes had less appeal. The more I read about Rabat, the more I thought "this is the city for us!" And then I discovered we could fly to the desert cheaply. So after countless hours researching various scenarios, I came up with this plan:

Wednesday - arrive Casablanca, fly to Errachidia (note: unfortunately, we arrive in the morning and the only flight to Errachidia departs at 10:45pm! We will visit the Mosque, explore Casablanca if we are up for it, and maybe even rent an inexpensive hotel room for a nap assuming we are beat from the overnight flight while waiting for our flight to Errachidia) Arrive in Errachidia past midnight, pass out from exhaustion at local riad.
Thursday - Sleep in, travel to Merzouga, overnight desert camp
Friday - would like to fly back to Casablanca, but the flight is at 8:00am and I don't see how we would make that (right?), so spend the day in the area (suggestions?), overnight back in Errachidia (why are all the flights so early morning or late night??? They do not line up well for desert tours!)
Saturday - 8:00 am flight to Casablanca, train to Rabat. Spend day enjoying Rabat and night in a riad.
Sunday - More time sightseeing/taking a pottery or cooking class in Rabat, head to Casablanca airport for late afternoon flight

This is a very untraditional trip to Morocco. I have never read a report about anyone's trip that did not include Fes or Marrakesh. I'm looking for a sanity check - does this seem like a reasonable/enjoyable itinerary? We do not want to spend lots of time in a car/bus/train travelling between cities and we are very experienced travelers who don't feel the need to "see it all." We have learned we enjoy moving slower, spending quality time enjoying a few things rather than checking off everything the tour books say we must see.

Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Last edited by PointsWellTaken; May 28th, 2021 at 07:35 PM. Reason: mistake in date
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Old Jun 2nd, 2021, 02:31 AM
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I could never imagine a trip to Morocco without visiting Fez and Marrakesh - but if you 'strongly dislike/despise crowds, shopping, and being hassled' - they are best avoided. Your plan is great given your preferences.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2021, 07:42 AM
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Just to tweak this a little...while I couldn't imagine doing this trip, either - missing Fes would be unimaginable, but that's my preference, clearly - Salem, who was our guide in Morocco and has since become a good friend, suggests the following, which is a variation on what you've planned:

"Arrive at midnight to Errachidia airport. Pick up and drive to Merzouga (1 1/2 hours), spend the night in a nice Riad on the edge of the sand dunes, the next day day you can enjoy the Sahara sightseeing and the local market in Rissani. Back to Merzouga by the afternoon and ride on the camel to the desert Camp for overnight, then leave the Sahara in the early morning to travel to Errachidia airport and fly back to Casablanca".

Just a little refinement on your plan.

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Old Mar 27th, 2022, 06:35 PM
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Salem

Originally Posted by progol View Post
Just to tweak this a little...while I couldn't imagine doing this trip, either - missing Fes would be unimaginable, but that's my preference, clearly - Salem, who was our guide in Morocco and has since become a good friend, suggests the following, which is a variation on what you've planned:

"Arrive at midnight to Errachidia airport. Pick up and drive to Merzouga (1 1/2 hours), spend the night in a nice Riad on the edge of the sand dunes, the next day day you can enjoy the Sahara sightseeing and the local market in Rissani. Back to Merzouga by the afternoon and ride on the camel to the desert Camp for overnight, then leave the Sahara in the early morning to travel to Errachidia airport and fly back to Casablanca".

Just a little refinement on your plan.
Could you please provide Salem's contact info. Thank you.
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Old Mar 29th, 2022, 07:30 AM
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Hello, darnestown,
Salemís contact info:
Company: https://moroccan-family.com
email: [email protected]

Iím sending you his personal email in the private messages

Hereís my trip report, if you are interested:
Morocco, A Visual Journey
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Old Mar 30th, 2022, 07:48 AM
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Update on Trip from OP/Trip Report

Just an update since I see this tread is still active. We made this trip November 23-28, largely as I set out in the original post. And it was wonderful.
Cast of characters: My husband and I (both 51), and 2 of our sons ages 17 and 21. Middle son couldn't make this one.

Flew from Dulles to Casablanca, arriving Wednesday morning. I had a very last minute idea to hire a guide I read about in the forums named Mohammad from Moroccan Food Tours to spend the day with between our arrival and our nighttime flight to Errachidia. This was the absolute best decision we made! After corresponding with Mohammad, this turned in to pick up at the airport in Casablanca upon our arrival in the country, tour of the mosque in Casablanca, lunch, then dropping us at our hotel. Mohammad was the perfect guide. He is personable, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to spend the day with. He is willing to change course when necessary (like when it was obvious we were exhausted from our overnight flight and needed a restaurant rather than food in the central market) and was very in tune with what we were interested in - 2 adults and 2 teenagers don't always share interests! His driver picked us up right from the airport and drove us around in a nice car. I booked a fairly inexpensive hotel near the mosque so we could rest in the afternoon and he deposited us there, with his driver coming back later and taking us back to the airport for our 10:45 flight.

Arrived in Errachidia very late and prearranged with riad to be picked up. Auberge Tinit Riad was fine, with a good breakfast. Booked a desert tour with Ali & Sarah's Desert Palace, Ali picked us up in the morning and off we went. We loved Ali & Sarah's place, and enjoyed camel ride at sunset and sunrise, wonderful food, and dune buggy driving.

Headed out in the afternoon and Ali drove us back to Auberge Tinit, where we spent the night before our early-morning flight back to Casablanca. Had arranged with Mohammad to meet us again at the airport, and his driver whisked us off to Rabat. Mohammad took us to many and varied stops for samples of some of Rabat's finest items in the markets. There was absolutely no pressure to buy anything, and we never felt like we were taken anywhere as any quid pro quo - truly only because Mohammad thought we would like where we went - and we did! I can't imagine we could have had a better time. We drove all over the city getting out whenever we wanted - doing whatever we asked to do. I would book with Moroccan Food Tours again without hesitation.
At the end of our day-long tour, Mohammad dropped us off at Euphoriad. OMG - this place was AMAZING. Truly luxurious. We appeared to be the only guests, and were upgraded to the 2-story room. Our sons had a regular room. Both were wonderful and the breakfast was amazing.

The next morning Mohammad's driver came back to drive us to the airport for our flight home. News broke in the morning of the new Omicron variant and the very next day Morocco closed its borders! So we just made it out and I'm so glad that we got to experience this trip.




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