2 independent reviews for Atlas Mountains trekking and Marrakech

Reviews for Atlas Mountains trekking and Marrakech

SHOW
2
0
0
0
0

review 27 Jun 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

We expected the mountain scenery to be as glorious as it was and the sights and sounds of the Medina also lived up to our expectations in Marrakech. The more unexpected memory we will take from it was the friendliness of the people. We obviously got to speak to our guides, drivers and the Riad and Kasbah staff - and our guide kindly took us to his home to meet his wife and children and arranged for us to visit another, more modest home - but the most memorable interactions were those accidental ones with local people, both in the mountains and Marrakech.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

First, just go! And go now - for all sorts of reasons! We wanted to see the 'real' Morocco not the westernised, tourist version/sights - we told of Marrakech guide that and he dutifully did so (and DO get a guide, both in the city and the mountains)! But we were struck by how quickly this country is modernising: the contrast between the Imlil Valley now, 25 years after the arrival of a road and electricity, and the Azzaden Valley (a road last year, electricity 2 or 3 years ago) only 3-4km away was striking in terms of both the volume of houses, cars and tourists. So, if, like us, you want a real experience, the second piece of advice is to be prepared to put yourself out and go find that experience. The walking isn't easy but, if you are fit and agile, as we were, nor was it very hard. The heat in June was not as oppressive as we feared (hard to understand why so many Europeans choose not to go in June - we had both the Riad in Marrakech and The Kasbah almost to ourselves! - although we understand August may be very different), even in Marrakech, but it was warm: the cooking was good if a little repetitive (this isn't a 5-Star, Hilton, Room Service Menu experience), the trekking lodge rooms are not huge (it is a Trekking Lodge!), our digestive tracts took a beating (Imodium is a must!), but what a time we had! Our third tip would be to give yourself to the people, be they the guides or the locals. Be respectful but don't be too hung up on the dress code! Trust them, speak to them (the guides speak English well but French is the best language for the locals), be inquisitive and smile - we learned so much about both the Islamic faith, dispelling even our quietly held and educated fears.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It's a question that really relates to the mountains, not Marrakech. We'd like to think that by purposely interacting with them, we 'built bridges': in the Azzaden (where they see a tourist once a week, unlike once every 5 minutes in Imlil), if we stopped in a village faces would appear over roof tops and walls, chatter would begin, smiles exchanged and so on. But perhaps the honest answer is 'Not as much as perhaps we expected or would have liked'. Whilst in the Kasbah there is plenty of signs about there being 5% levy donated to the local community and literature about the work for the Education For All Charity, it wasn't forced upon us: we walked past co-operatives selling local artefacts but the guides were at great pains to point out we were not obliged to look, let alone buy. There were also plenty of signs about not littering (slightly surprisingly, none that we can recall about water conservation) but if you are sensible and responsible it should all come naturally. As parents - and one of us being an ex-teacher - we'd really like to have had the chance to visit a school (a possible optional extra?): maybe there is scope to offer the chance to make a one-off donation at the end of the stay, or see more of how the 5% levy is being spent (if the guest is interested)?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We're a newly retired couple, either side of 60, who have had our fill of relaxing by pools and on beaches - we're absolutely not back packing, hostel living teenagers, even if we want the next few trips to be more about both seeing the places we've never seen and, above all, 'doing', 'meeting' and 'experiencing'. So we had a great time!

review 5 Jan 2020

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

great trekking

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

bring a water bottle

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The guides were local which was great, however, our guide did not really tell us what to expect, what options we had for hiking (going this way or that) and was not very knowledgable about local issues (!). Spent most of his time chatting with the various mule guides during the hike.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Fantastic

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Eben Thank you for your feed back which we really value and allows us to try and maintain our very high standards. I am glad that overall you thought your vacation with us was fantastic and you were generous to give us a 5* rating thank you. I am sorry your guide was not as good as he should have been and I will be looking into what happened here as it is certainly not what is normally the case as can be seen from the feedback we get. I apologise that your guide fell short of the standard we usually provide. Thank you again for your feed back which is really appreciated. Wishing you well Mike McHugo and All the rest of team

Holiday Reviews

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.

Read our review policy