Posted by: yourmoroccotour | July 13, 2015

Our favorite places to stay in Southern Morocco

One of the traveling experiences in Morocco should be to try the different types of accommodations the country has to offer. Hotels you find anywhere in the world, but where you can stay in riads, auberges, kasbahs, caves, desert camps? We think only in Morocco.

Here is list of our favorite places we recommend while journeying through the Southern Morocco:

1. Auberge Le Festival

This small auberge with just few rooms, is located just by the Todra Gorge, not too far from Tinerhir. We love this auberge for several reasons. You can spend night in comfortable ensuite bathroom in real caves. The location is built in very quiet area, where at night you see millions of stars. The owner of the property, Moroccan man with his wife, lives on site ensuring that all runs smoothly. http://www.aubergelefestival-todragorge.com

Auberge Le Festival

Auberge Le Festival

2. Ksar El Kabbaba

This is a large Kasbah type of accommodation. It is set in the Skoura Oasis in the midst of the palm trees. What we like about it is the large garden full of organic vegetables and many hidden secret corners where one can hide and enjoy the garden. There is large pool and even small that is great for children.

On the property you find also gym room, beautiful spa with some amazing Jacuzzi. The rooms and suites are comfortable, all done with great eye for detail. We personally love that right next to the Ksar is an old Kasbah. You get to see the new and old next to each other. Bonus, great views from the terrace on the palm trees of Skoura and also the High Atlas Mountains in the background.http://ksar-elkabbaba.com

Ksar in Morocco

Ksar in Morocco

3. Desert Luxury Camp

While in Merzouga, Erg Chebbi, you should stay in this comfortable Desert Luxury Camp nestled in the middle of the desert sand dunes. Here you find large tents with the comfort of anything you might need. Floors are laden with beautiful, colorful Moroccan handmade carpets, comfortable bedding with luxury blankets and pillows. Of course your ensuite private bathroom with hot and cold water part of your tented accommodation.

It is not only the tents that make this desert camp so special. It is the entire camp where you can unwind and recharge your battery in the many places spread around the camp. Or if you prefer to be more active, camels, sand boards, 4x4WD, guides are all available to take you around to show you the beautiful apricot wind swept desert. http//www.desertluxurycamp.com

Desert Luxury Camp

Desert Luxury Camp

4. Kasbah Azul

This is Kasbah that is located in Agdz. What we love about this property is the location! Located right on the edge of the palm tree oasis of Draa Valley. This is lush green paradise of Morocco, the longest river valley of Morocco. You can easily take a stroll in the palm trees right from the auberge.  http://www.kasbahazul.com

 

5. Atlas Kasbah Eco Lodge

Eco Lodges are another different type of accommodation spread around Morocco. We use on our tours the rewarding winning Kasbah Eco Lodge located in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains very close to Agadir. It is literally a fortress on a hill, with outstand- ing views of the Argan forest, and just 20 minutes from the beaches of Agadir. http://www.atlaskasbah.com

6. Douar Samra

Douar is another type of accommodation. Located in the Berber village of the High Atlas Mountains only 1 hour away from Marrakech. The accommodation is typical and merges very well into the Berber villages. The rooms are comfortable, with fireplace that is great touch in the winter months. The property has great views of the mountains, beautiful garden and great evening atmosphere full of candle lights.  http://www.douar-samra.net

7. Kasbah Toubkal

This property is like a castle retreat in the High Atlas Mountains close by the village of Imlil. It is located in the high above sea level and overlooks over green mountains valleys, and majestic rocky mountains to over 4000 meters. We love that part of the room cost goes back to the community of the Berber villages. http://kasbahtoubkal.com

 

8. Dar Sofian

Dar in Morocco means home and indeed this “hotel” is an actual large house that ones belong to wealthy Moroccan family. The house is located in Zagora in the Draa Valley, great place to split the drive to Erg Chegaga desert dunes.

Some of the rooms are perhaps small, but in compensates by the beautiful décor and mainly the service and attentiveness of the staff.  http://www.riaddarsofian.com

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Posted by: yourmoroccotour | February 24, 2015

Flights to Southern Morocco

Moroccan desert is a hot destination and on many client’s wish list when planning their Morocco vacation. Most of the times travelers have limited time yet the traveling distances are long in the South.

IMG_5688If you have limited time and don’t want to spend hours car driving you can consider some of these following flight options:

  • Ouarzazate Airport 

The city is called the gateway to the Southern Morocco and to the desert. It is great place to start your desert adventure.

From Ouarzazate to Merzouga (Erg Chebbi dunes) is about 5 – 6 hours drive on main pave road

From Ouarzazate to M’Hamid and farther to Erg Chegaga is about  5 hour drive – must have 4x4WD

Royal Air Maroc serves daily flights

From Casablanca to Ouarzazate departures late evening

From Ouarzazate to Casablanca departures early morning (you generally reach Casablanca by 9am)

Ouarzazate is international airport and Air Europa serves direct flights from Madrid two times a week on Thursdays and Sundays.

  • Zagora Airport

Zagora provincial city is great gateway if you want to head to M’hamid and to the dunes of Erg Chegaga.

From Zagora airport to Erg Chegaga it is about 4 hours 4x4WD is need it for part of this route

Royal Air Maroc serves 2 flights a week between this route (Mondays and Tuesdays)

From Casablanca to Zagora departures are early morning

From Zagora to Casablacan departures are mid morning

  • Errachidia Airport 

Errachidia is a great gateway if you want to visit Merzouga and Erg Chebbi dunes.

From Errachidia to Merzouga and Erg Chebbi dunes it is about 2 hours drive via pave road

Royal Air Maroc operates this route 3 times a week:

From Casablanca to Errachidia on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays late evening departure

From Errachidia to Casablanca on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays  early morning departure.

Please note that  timetables can change according to daylight saving hours (i.e one hour earlier during Winter). Flights can be purchased online.

Your Morocco tour can arrange a driver/guide to collect you at any of these airports and customize the itinerary of your travel accordingly.

Posted by: yourmoroccotour | February 10, 2015

Rent Car or going on organized tour Morocco

I was always a fan of renting car and traveling on my own. It gave me great amount of flexibility and yet I could make the travel my own speed.

When I was planning my travel to Morocco, I had very limited time, and since Morocco is third world country and I was not sure what to except, how were the roads, signs and mainly safety I decided to go on personalized morocco tour.

 

The trip turn out great, in reality was one of the best trips I ever took and I realized that actually going on organized private tour is so much better then driving myself.

 

Here is why.

 

  1. Sit back and relax

 

You no longer have to worry about the navigation, signs on the road, looking for your hotel. You can just sit back and relax taking in the passing landscapes.

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  1. Planning with professional

 

When renting car you have to rely on Google. Maps or other sources for knowing the distances for each places and the information available can be very misleading. Many times the information is not accurate and it can largely mess up the schedule.

You also need to spend some time on line looking for the hotels to stay that can be very much time consuming.

 

Contacting local travel operator makes life so much easier. They can outline several itineraries for you customizing your morocco travel. As long as you let them know how many days you have, where you like to go, what type of accommodation you like to stay. They can tailor the perfect itinerary for you.

 

 

 

  1. Flexibility and your pace of travel

Going on private customize tour means that you have the same amount of flexibility and pace of travel as you would have in rented car. You can make your stops as long as you like and as many as you like. It is not a tour where you have to wait for others travelers finish their meals or visiting sights. It is your trip and hence you have the flexibility to do as you please.

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  1. Learn more about the country

I was worried that having another person driving us around will ruin the fun of traveling. In really it was the opposite. Having your personal driver makes the Morocco travel experience so much more authentic. You learn more about life in the country, about the traditions, culture, possibly politics and learn about the music, books and other staff you would not have if you travel alone.

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  1. Cost

Cost was always the major factor while I prefer renting car and travel on my own. However, I realized that booking personal morocco tour does not have to be expensive. If there is 4 people or more it might cost the same as renting a car.

True, for 2 people it does ends up being more expensive if you include cost of the gas, but the simplicity of the organization and travel is just so worth the extra cost.

 

  1. Emergency

It has happened, traveling on your own and your car breaks down, you get sick, your luggage gets lost. Anything can happen when traveling. Having someone accompanying you the entire time of your vacation makes it so much easier. He is the ambassador of you and will always act on your behalf. Can help you to find medical help, sorting the luggage with the airlines, finding other ways of travel.

 

Going on organized personal Morocco tour is the way to go!

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Posted by: yourmoroccotour | November 19, 2014

City Guides

Djema El Fna Square“The rate for official guides (hired at the tourist office or your hotel) is around 120Dh for a half day” – quoted from Insight Guides, 2012 edition.

Official guided book should provide helpful and correct information, but hiring guide for 120Dh for half day tour will lead you to just stressful half day guided trip of Marrakech. Guides take on commission from purchases you might make while on the tour with him and therefore if you pay for your guide 120 Dh for half day it will guarantee that you will be taken from store to store and instead of sightseeing tour you will end up doing shopping tour of Marrakech. You might end up buying things that you don’t even want or need.

Not all guides are like this and hiring guide can be very fruitful experience. Excellent guides that are interested only in promoting the city sights will cost you around 600 Dh for half day and 1000DH for a full day trip. Price might seem high but if it guarantees that you learn about the history and the facts of the city and will be visiting only the actual sights then it is very good deal. It might be bit of challenge finding excellent guide for half day only as they are interested in full day excursions.

Please be also aware of so called “faux – pas” guides. There are many young man in the medina (the old city) trying to make extra bug any possible way. They might come right to you and offer you their guided services. Please ignore these false guides. They have absolutely no interest in guiding you. They will be taking you to stores to make commission. I even heard of horror stories where they make you purposely lost, demanding money to get you back to the main path of the old city.

Government is trying to clamped down on these false guides in recent years, and if there are caught by the police, they are liable to be thrown in prison.  Many of the cities in Morocco like Marrakech has tourist police so sometimes even frightening these false guides by the though of calling them might scare them away.

I like to point that Marrakech, in spite being it maze of streets, is ok to visit on your own. There are sightseeing buses or just having some draw map from your hotel/riad will help you to navigate the streets and sightsee the old palaces, madrasas, gardens on your own. The urgency of having guide in Marrakech is not as must as in other cities.

Posted by: yourmoroccotour | May 29, 2014

Traveling to Morocco during Ramadan

Ramadan is name of a ninth month in Muslim calendar. It is the most important month and obliges all Muslims that are able to obstint from things that give them pleasure during the daylight hours such as eating, drinking, smoking, having sexual encounters and others.

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Should tourist travel to Morocco during Ramadan?

Here are few things that we felt tourist might get affected if traveling to Morocco during Ramadan:

  • Souks and other stores will open later in the morning around 9:30am will close earlier then usual just before sunset as people go home to eat and pray
  • Museums and sights may close also earlier just before dusk when people go home to eat and pray
  • Restaurants and cafes that target to locals will be closed – there are many cafes and restaurants still open especially in Marrakech that provide meals to tourist
  • Friday is sacred day in the Muslim calendar so expect many places to be closed in Ramadan during this day especially if you are in Fes.
  • Streets will be deserted during the call for prayer that announces break of the day fast. Everyone goes home to be with their families

Here are few advantages traveling to Morocco during Ramadan:

  • The last  prayer around 22H is quite magical to experience. It is after everyone had their breakfast.  The streets are full of people  as everyone goes to pray. You will see people praying even outside as the mosque are unable to fit all the believers. It is very magical time where one can experience something quite out of ordinary on their travels
  • At the end of Ramadan there is a big feast that breaks the fast. There are days fill with celebrations where families get together, decorate their homes and dress into finest clothes

 

What you should consider if you are in Morocco during Ramadan

  • Don’t eat, smoke or drink in public. As tourist you are not expected to observe the fast but you should respect the local custom and be discreet.

 Interesting facts and points

  • Moroccans during Ramadan buy more food then during any other time of the year. If you visit souks you will see that people during day go food shopping. They buy a lot of bread, fruits, eggs, vegetables and other commodities. They might not necessary eat more but I guess if one is shopping hungry you buy more

 

The fast is broken after the evening prayer just around dusk. People go home to eat and then pray in night prayer, the last prayer of the day. The fast is broken by breakfast with dates and milk and other special sweets. If you are in Marrakech and want to try to fast then we like to invite you to have your evening breakfast at the Amal Woman Restaurant  Training center. https://www.facebook.com/AmalNonProfit

Please share with us in the comments bellow if you would recommend traveling to Morocco during Ramadan and if you have been that what it was like.   Thank you!

 

Posted by: yourmoroccotour | May 7, 2014

Summer Tour in Morocco – Places you should not miss

Summer is time when people travel to vacation as families together.  Choosing the right destination might not be the easiest and most likely Morocco will not make the list. But there are great places where you can escape the heat and have wonderful cultural holidays that even your children will treasure. 

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1. Essaouira

The former pirate’s lair Essaouria is wonderful place to spend several days. The city is on the Atlantic coast and has lovely beach where you can enjoy camel or horse riding and even quad biking.  The city itself is full of character with great bohemian ambiance. The medina of Essaouira is much smaller then in other Moroccan cities and very laid back. Here you can easily walk not being bothered by any of the shop keepers. You can enjoy the fortified wall city and its bastions, white and blue washed out houses and many art galleries.  The city is also known for many of the thuya wood works. 

There are many other sea side cities in Morocco that you can enjoy where the temperatures is ideal all year round just like on the Canary Islands. You can head to Oualidia beautiful lagoon town known for delicious oysters. Or if you are looking to get away from crowds that the beaches of Sidi Kaouki nearby Essaouria are your best bet. Come here to enjoy the clean air, the tranquility and one of the best sea food. You can stay in many beautiful seaside hotels here or even in luxury tent just like you would have in the Sahara. Or enjoy the highest luxury by staying in the Sultana resort in Oualidia.

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2. Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains are just 1 hour drive away from Marrakech yet the temperatures here can drop 20 C less then in Marrakech. It is paradise of forests, lakes, waterfalls dotted by many Berber villages. It is another great place to go with children, as you can as family enjoy several nice hikes in the area, or go for donkey rides or even horse riding, get friendly with the local animals or just splash around the pools that some of accommodation offer.  Or you can let your driver-guide take you on driven tour to the surrounding areas whether it means having mint tea or lunch with Berber family or visit of still waters of Ouirgane lake or travel to the the 12th century mosque of Tin Mal or even walk the waterfalls in the Ourika Valley. 

This all can be enjoyed either from very high end luxury accommodation such as Kasbah Tamadot to stunning properties such as Kasbah Bab Ourika or Kasbah Toubkal or in many typical local establishments like Douar Samra

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3. Marrakech 

Trip to Morocco would not be complete if you don’t stay few nights in Marrakech. The city during summer will be hot but the courtyards of the magnificent riads will offer great cooling especially if they have splash pools or jacuzzi.  Or stay in one of the hotels in the palmerie where you will be shaded by the palms from the heat. 

The red city has so much too offer from historical and cultural sights as well as some great shopping.  You should consider visiting the Medersa of Youssef from the 15th century koranic school, the Bahia palace, Saadian Tombs. All these historical heritages are a symphony of stunning tiles, marble floors and noble cedar wood. Of course don’t forget the most important sight of Marrakech, the Jemaa El Fna square. This square can be deserted in the morning and as day goes it gets more and more busier. At night the square is alive with dancers, musicians acrobats, snake charmers and the food stalls. 

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Posted by: yourmoroccotour | April 25, 2014

Desert Luxury Camp Morocco, Erg Chebbi by Merzouga

Staying in the desert does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of hot shower, flush toilet and other luxuries. Today you can book yourself in Luxury Desert camp where you find many wonderful amenities in your tent including your own bathroom with running hot and cold water.

Recently there was a new Desert Luxury Camp that opened in Merzouga, Erg Chebbi sand dunes. We had the chance to stay there for 2 nights and absolutely love it. Why:

  • Location

It is located away from other camps and deep in the desert! It is in completely  isolated and even in the busiest time of the year, you will not see any other tourists except the one staying in the camp.

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  • Design and Layout

All other luxury camps in Merzouga are designed for you to come in the evening, have dinner , go to sleep and next morning depart. This camp is different. It has been design to accommodate you for 2 or more nights. There are many areas around the camp spread out for you to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Here you find sun loungers, hammocks, cushions, Moroccan salons and other cozy areas.

Sun Loungers at Desert Luxury Camp

  • Tents

Tents are the biggest we have seen in any of the luxury camps in Morocco. The smallest tent is 28 sq m excluding bathroom. With the bathroom the tent is 32 sq m (the smallest one). The bathroom is separated from the main tent as another connected tent. This is great as your sleeping tent is not part of your bathroom. It gives you privacy and protects it from any bad odor.

Desert Luxury Camp

  • Furniture

Everything in the camp is handmade in Morocco, even the tents. The tents are  sow by hands just like the furniture in the tents or around the camp. Furniture has been design to offer comfort and luxury and yet to give great Moroccan appeal.

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  • Food and drinks

Any snacks or iced cooled beverages are included in the price of the camp for you to take at any time. The dinner is always 3 – corse meal with salads, main dish and fresh fruit at the end. Breakfast is a big affair too. There is fresh, hot baked bread prepared each morning for the guests. There are eggs, yogurt, old variety of pastries, marmalade, honey, cheeses and others.  If you are staying more than one night than lunch is also included. Any of the meals can be served on the sand dunes or in the covered restaurant.

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  • Staff

There were 3 people attending to our needs and each of them was the nicest man. The always make sure that we have plenty to eat, things to do. At night they provided entertainment, playing the drums and singing.

Mood at Desert Luxury Camp

  • Activities

If you think that staying in the desert for 2 days is just too boring, then think again. There is so much to do there. We have taken camel rides and also visited Nomad family living in the desert. We watched the sun setting down  and star gaze at the African sky full of stars. We have try sandboarding too. There were also several table games to play

Camel in Morocco

For more details about the camp, please visit http://www.desertluxurycamp.com

 

Posted by: yourmoroccotour | December 31, 2013

Souks Morocco

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If you are traveling to Morocco for cultural experience you should consider visiting one of the local souks. We don’t mean souks, the covered bazaars in the cities like Marrakech or Fes. By Souk we mean the weekly market places where people gather from local villages and mountains to trade their vegetables, fruits, meats, life animals , spices and many other things.

It is almost like a weekly meeting with friends and families.

Each bigger city generally have souk once a week.  One of the most well-known souks take place  in Agdz, Zagora or even Rissani by Merzouga where it is even 3 times a week.

 

 

If you are not traveling to the South on desert adventure tour, you still can visit souk in Marrakech. About 20 minutes away from the medina of Marrakech there is souk on the route to Fes that takes place every Saturday.

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Or you can travel into the High Atlas Mountains to the Ourika Valley, famous day tour destination from Marrakech, where souk takes place on Mondays.

Or you can head to Asni and Moulay Brahim Valley in the High Atlas Mountains. Asni has souk on Saturdays.

 

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The vegetables and fruits cost fraction of the prices from the major supermarkets. They are also fresher, sweeter and juiciest.

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Posted by: yourmoroccotour | October 5, 2013

Honeymoon in Morocco

Morocco is not the classic honeymoon country like Thailand or the islands somewhere in the Pacific. But it is shame, as  Morocco should be surely consider as the honeymoon destination.

Why?

  • Honeymoon should be at least in some way luxurious. Morocco is dotted by many upscale hotels and riads.  In Marrakech itself you find one of the best hotels in the world.  Even in the Sahara you can pamper yourself. Here you can stay in spacious comfortable tents that have ensuite bathrooms completely surrounded by the desert and nothing else.
  • So much to see.  Yes, Morocco has such a wide variety of places to visit.  There are plenty of cities that offer very rich cultural and architectural journey. There are breathtaking landscapes from tall peaks of the Atlas, green date palm oasis to of course the peachy color of sand dunes in the Sahara
  • Not an ordinary trip. We guarantee that honeymoon in Morocco you will treasure lifetime. Riding the camels across the desert, watching one of the  most beautiful sunset,  night sky covered by millions of stars will give amazing memories to your honeymoon.
  • There are also plenty of activities that you can do while on Morocco tour.  There are the opportunities of hot air balloon rides over Marrakech and Atlas Mountains or even the Sahara. There are many treks available for short walks or long extended trips. There are the sea towns where one can enjoy the lovely beaches. Or why not take cooking classes and learn something into your married life.

Morocco will treat you as royalty on your honeymoon. Please consider it in your plans. You will not be disappointed.

sunrise camel

 

Posted by: yourmoroccotour | July 1, 2013

Different culture

What I like about traveling around Morocco is the different culture visible at every corner. I am not talking about the religion really, it is more about the lifestyle. 

Ladies still wash clothes in the rivers and then lay them on the fields to get them dry:

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Many families spice meat and then let it dry so it can be used for long time. No like us, staffing it into the freezer 

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 Bread in many families is still being cooked in these “oven”

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Shopping is done in souks and most stores are specialized 

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Feel free to share with us what surprise You when traveling around Morocco

 

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