As to our trip with Morocco Tours, it was really terrific. We had a wonderful time and couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves more. It was especially great having the independence of a small group, as were able to stop to capture unique events and adapt our schedule and pace to our individual needs. And our driver, Wahid, was a man of great integrity and a treasure trove of information. His knowledge of Morocco, his ability to “read” his guests, and his wonderful sense of humor contributed to the enjoyment we experienced on this trip. Not only would I recommend Morocco Tours/EIT to friends, but I would certainly consider another tour with you myself, should we decide to return to this part of the world in the near future.
Let me first say a few things about the itinerary and the things we particularly enjoyed and then I will comment about the organization itself.
For me, there were a number of highlights, most of which are part of your standard 13 night tour. The first was Chefchaouen, a real surprise and an absolute delight. A turn around every street corner reveals another magic photographic moment. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the wonderful streets and doorways and will send one or two to you for your gallery. We also took a walk up to the mosque which overlooks the town and provides a beautiful panorama of both the town and the surrounding valley. Wahid said that this was the first time he took people for the walk up to this viewpoint, but I would recommend it to your drivers for all of your tours, especially for people who like a little exercise and great photo ops.
Fes was of course another highlight. Our walk through the medina and the souks and visits to the medersas was great and we really enjoyed the tanneries, which was one of the few memories we had of Morocco from our visit there 40 years ago. Also, Wahid took us to a number of places on the hillsides surrounding Fes, which provided great opportunities to get a perspective on the city and a better appreciation of its size and complexity.
The camel ride in the desert and the night in the desert camp was also terrific. We arrived late afternoon and took our camel ride around 5 pm, which afforded us the opportunity to walk back on the dunes to a lookout point for a great sunset. Also got up early for a walk on the dunes just after sunrise. Wonderful! Also, the camp tent was a hoot and the people who served us were gracious and attentive. The cooking class at the Maison Arabe. Our overall experience at the Maison was wonderful (more on that to follow), but the cooking class was the highlight. Great facilities, wonderful teachers and a fabulous lunch. I would recommend this as a main feature of your tours for a stay in Marrakech. Essaouira. Like Chefchaouen, this wonderful port town provided a different perspective about Morocco and was well worth a detour. The riads, especially the Riad Lina in Chefchaouen, the Riad Fes in Fes, the Palais Berbere in Ouarzazate, the L’Heure Bleue in Essaouira and the Maison Arabe in Marrakech.
Surprisingly, our only disappointment was our return to the Djemma el Fna in Marrakech. Our memory of the square from 40 years ago was very exotic, with lots of African dances, snake charmers and story tellers. Now their numbers are fewer (the gaps have been filled with hordes of tourists) and the “performers” are aggressive and obnoxious. One dancer nearly grabbed my camera out of my hand to make sure I hadn’t taken his picture after I wouldn’t give him money. Another started cursing me out after I stood watching a boxing match at the back of a group, again after I didn’t give him money for watching the event. (I was the only one single out for a handout, since all of the other observers were natives.) However, the view from the cafe about the square was still terrific and it was fun to observe the scene as the light went from afternoon to sunset to early evening.
As for the overall itinerary, we were very pleased that we added the additional time, which gave us a little extra time to enjoy things at a little slower pace and add a walk through Tinehir and the Palmeries in the area near Todra Gorge to our trip. The one change that I would make would be to spend one night in Dades (rather than two) and two nights in Ouarzazate at the Palais Berbere just to break up the trip a little. I would also think again about the addition of Taroudant. I am glad that we did it ourselves because we were there on a Sunday and got a chance to see a great market, to catch a glimpse of camel herders trying to keep their camels off a main highway, and to drive through Agadir up the coast to Essaouira, which provided some beautiful scenery. But I am not sure this would be a great addition to the tour for other people.
Turning now to the organization itself, overall I was more than pleased with the way everything was handled from beginning to end. Kit, I thought you were a terrific representative of the company – very thorough and patient and flexible in your handling of clients. I think the flexibility was manifested in the substitution of the L’Heure Bleue for the original hotel in Essaouira, the modification of the meal plan to eliminate dinners in the cities and the extension of the trip to 17 nights, with the addition of a night in Dades, the addition of Taroudant and the additional night in Marrakech. I also appreciated Aaron’s (the Morocco Manager) responsiveness in trying the change our accommodations in Dades after our stay at a less-than satisfactory, last-minute, substitute riad in Erfoud. The change worked out really well. Most important was your ability to respond with a change in pick-up in Casablanca at the beginning of our trip. I honestly thought we were going to have to scrap the whole trip as a result of our delayed flight out of Washington. But your organization was thoroughly responsive and I appreciate all of your efforts on our behalf – especially having Wahid return in the middle of the night to pick us up at the Casablanca Airport.
Thanks again for a great trip.
Joel & Renee (USA), April 2014