16 independent reviews for Morocco vacation, Marrakech to the Sahara

Reviews for Morocco vacation, Marrakech to the Sahara

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review 4 Jul 2018

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

Marrakech was magnificent, magical and mad! It was one of the most interesting and delightful vacations we have ever had as a couple. Driving across the Atlas mountains to the Sahara was simply breathtaking and an awesome experience. Essaouira was filled with wonderful, interesting people, restaurants and places. We loved the windy city with its street cats, eclectic restaurants and arty ambience. Most of all, we loved the Riad in Marrakech. It was gorgeously decorated, with plenty of delicious food and the staff amazingly kind, sincere and friendly. The Riad owner was welcomed us warmly with mint tea and sweets on the day after our arrival and gave us detailed explanation of all that there is to see in the city! If you are looking for a shake-up of the senses and experiencing stark differences, from the madness in Marrakech to the silence in the Sahara to the breath-taking mountain top hotel, then this trip is for you.

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

We went in the middle of Ramadan which was not a problem. However, we felt a little bit guilty eating in the restaurants and cafes as you could see the staff were fasting and often, mostly tired during the afternoons. And just before sunset, it seemed like everyone was rushing around and going crazy in the city, trying to get home in time to eat. So in hindsight, we would not book during the Ramadan period. The drive to the Sahara was very long and tiring which we did not realize when we booked the tour. If we had known, we might have opted for a longer stay at the camp. Also, our camels did not have the best saddles so we both suffered with sores for days afterwards. Although the Moroccans are quite easy going and international in their outlook, because of the tourism, I would still recommend ladies not to wear skimpy clothes showing lots of skin just because I feel it is more respectful. Inside the hotels/pool areas you can dress as you like but not when out and about. Be really prepared for the onslaught of the sellers in the markets and shops. No need to be rude but just smile, not make eye contact and walk on. Also, we spent quite a lot on giving tips to our tour guides, hotel staff and the restaurants. For us, this was fine and we looked at it as though giving to charity, especially since it was Ramadan.

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

The Moroccans clearly benefit much from tourism. It was good to see that the places we stayed at using less plastic and they all recycled whenever possible. We were happy to find the hotel in the mountains cooked with fresh produce, grown in their own gardens. Mint tea picked straight from the garden was marvelous!

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

I started off by choosing a package from the website but after contacting the agency was offered the tailored tour. Which turned out to be so much better than I/we ever expected! So, I would like to thank the Responsible Travel team for making excellent arrangements with their partners in Morocco and offering us a great value vacation and a real life time experience. It was only after we arrived at the hotels and Riads that we realized just how lucky we were with our prices. Moreover, all of the people who took care of us made us feel welcome, safe and did their very best, from start to finish. Overall, we got much more than we thought such a vacation might give us. For this, we are deeply grateful and would thoroughly recommend the service. Can I give more than 5 stars?

review 22 May 2017

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

The trip to the desert was an adventure that everyone should experience once in their lifetime. The stay in SKhoura was idealic.

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

Be aware of how far you will need to travel to get to the desert and be prepared for the vastness and the basic facilities

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

Yes, but we did feel that the trip to the Koran Libary and Potteries were more about donating money than for our pleasure

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

Our vacation was first class, the booking agent understood our requirements and delivered. Highly recommended

review 10 Oct 2017

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

Driver we had for 5 days who was excellent. Riad berbere really lovely and well run and jardins de skoura too. Live most of it.

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

2 days in desert might be too long especially in merzouga luxury camp as all staff just busy changing tents, bed etc all day and so not very peaceful. Geared up for one night stay really. Be aware in Marrakech of people telling you places are closed or trying to lead you.

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

Bought local things. Staff were all locals it appeared

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

Excellent and lots of variety

review 22 May 2017

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

4X4 travel through remarkable scenery.

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

Lower expectations about the camel ride from Zagora to Tellougui. Be prepared for very long travel days in the vehicle and marginal bathroom facilities.

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

We were happy to support the ceramic cooperative at Tamegroute and the weaving cooperative at Tazenahkt.

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

Good. The food at both tented camps was very impressive, given the circumstances. We felt the camel ride to Tellougui was a bit twee and touristy, and too much in town; children in Zagora were actually throwing stones at us, and the chamellieres did nothing more than walk along and talk on their cellphones. The camp at Tellougui was so close to the road one could hear traffic--hardly a wilderness experience. Other than the food and reception at the camp, we'd rate the first day a 'fair' at best. The second day at Erg Lihoudi and Erg Ch'Gagga was a vast improvement.

review 18 Sep 2016

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

We loved the three day desert tour. Trekking through the oasis on the slightly comical, docile camels was really good, with the wonderful backdrop of the mud-walled kasbah village and the date palm trees. Once we arrived at our "glamping" site we were treated to delicious freshly-cooked tagine and then left to relax under the stars. The next day we moved on to the proper desert for off-road driving across the dunes and another night in a camp. Watching the sunrise from the top of the golden sand dunes was as atmospheric as we hoped. In hindsight, early September is probably unwise for a Sahara trip in terms of the climate - our local guide thought we were mad to want to have lunch out in the dunes rather than at a comfy hotel, and although it was a thirsty, sweaty two hours we had no regrets - all part of the Bedouin experience!

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

It is worth extending your stay with a few more days in Marrakech - we enjoyed being able to take our time wandering around the Medina and also having free time to spend in the riad (we stayed at Les Trois Mages which has beautiful rooms, a rooftop pool, great food and charming staff). I downloaded an app called Hip Marrakech which had a really useful GPS map of the Medina as well as some good restaurant suggestions. Don't be afraid to walk everywhere: the hassle from local "guides" is annoying but mostly non-threatening and the city is best explored on foot. Our main (and seemingly obvious) tip for the desert trip is to stock up on about five times as much water as you think you will need...although the tour description said bottled water was included with meals, we found this wasn't always the case, plus we simply underestimated the effect of the intense heat even when most of the day was spent in a car.

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

I think it benefited local people as we put a fair bit of money into the local economy by eating and shopping at the markets. I can't say that the environmental impact was particularly good as we spent several days driving in a 4x4. There was noticeable litter in the desert which presumably comes from tourists.

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

Amazing! Marrakech was fascinating and we loved the nightlife in Djemaa el-Fna square. We had great guides at every stage of the vacation and learned a lot about the Moroccan culture. All the organisation from the vacation provider went very smoothly and I would use them again.

review 20 Mar 2016

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

The visit to the local pottery where every thing was made traditionally starting from making clay from the mud was really interesting. The adobe villages and the palmerie were also fascinating.

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

When you change your currency try to get as much small notes and coins so you have money available for tips and for going to the toilet.

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

Yes. All local people were employed and local food provided. There was also lots of opportunity to buy local products.

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

The vacation was luxurious and well organised. We had lots of privacy and personal service. Our main driver was very knowledgeable about the area as is a qualified guide and he was very attentive to our needs. He made our long road trip a pleasure. All of the people who received us at the accommodations, lunch stops and activities were all very welcoming friendly and efficient

review 13 Feb 2016

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

Sitting on a high dune in the Ch'Gagga desert at sunset without anyone else around apart from my husband and then later that evening stargazing at a sky with no light pollution.

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

Do some background reading on the history of Islam (if you have a very shallow knowledge like we did) and then take advantange of the time you have with your guide to really understand the culture and history of this wonderful country.

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

Yes we met many local people through our guide and in the Riads that we stayed in. We did alot of driving, 1200 kilometers in 4 days, but at least our vehicule was not spewing out nasty fumes which unfortuantely was very noticeable in Marrakech.

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

A lot of driving, but some beautiful roads through the Atlas mountains and worth it when we got to the desert and it was deserted!! Merzouga and the dunes at Erg Chebbiare probably easier to get to but many more tourists because you don't need a 4x4 to get there. We loved the fact that for one night we experienced what real silence is really like.

review 23 Jun 2015

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

The reliability of all of our arrangements in advance...so well organized. Two sets of people meeting up in Morocco from diverse parts of the world..friends for over 40 years! And it went without a hitch!..Australia and UK.

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

Do your research...don't just go with the famous names vacation companies...we met real guides...real people who helped to make it a special vacation!

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

Absolutely..we stayed in lovely places and met many local people. We felt more at ease in a less formal environment.

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

Excellent...great places to stay, lovely people...we talked with our guides..we were not just talked to! We were out of our comfort zone when we arranged it for us to share with old friends...who had flown half way across the world...but we were not disappointed! We are all over 60...no problem with the vacation we booked..we would use you again

review 17 Nov 2015

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

I loved the overnight in the Sahara Desert as well as the hike in the Atlas Mountains

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

Prepare for tipping - you need to tip everyone.

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

Yes

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

Excellent.

review 18 Oct 2015

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

The trip to the Sahara was amazing - we marvelled at the fantastic stars and the contrasts the country offer.

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

Stay in the desert if you can - a bucket list must - wash facilities are basic but there were camp showers (rough and ready with cold showers and water buckets to flush to loos). Camp beds with clean sheets and were well fed with freshly cooked local food. We felt safe (as a couple)and were well looked after. Unable to charge things but used the 4x4 to charge the phone - perhaps would take a solar charger next time. Not sure we did as well as we might have re: haggling but paid what we felt happy with and after all, there is alot of poverty in this country and we have so much.

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

We tipped and bought food and items from locals, by traveling further south we are more aware of the country and its historical and cultural significance, as well as the poverty some still live in. Unable to comment on how much of the price of the vacation reached the locals who looked after us.

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

Amazing - so glad we went

review 10 Aug 2015

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

The scenery in the Sahara is spectacular. Marrakech is an incredibly bustling city and the guided walks in the High Atlas are fantastic too (they can be a bit hard in the summer heat).

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

I would go at a less hot time of the year as walking in the desert in summer is impractical.

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

I certainly believe it benefitted the local community. This was confirmed by our guides and by the Camel Drover.

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

Great if a trifle hot. The scenery was beautiful and varied as was the accommodation. Marrakech Riad was charming whereas the first Guest House was quite basic. All the people we met were very helpful with the exception of the snake charmers in Jemaa El Fna - be wary of them.

review 17 May 2015

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

Being in the remote High Atlas with our son so he could appreciate how much different the lifestyle is in some parts of the world. He held a baby goat that was born an hour earlier during the daily trip to the high pastures.

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

Don't hesitate to ask for changes to an itinerary on the website. It was a wonderful surprise to find that even our little family group of 3 could ask for a tailor made vacation at affordable prices.

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

Yes, especially in the High Atlas. We stayed in small gites and had local guides and mule man/chef. With tourism down in Morocco this year we felt appreciated and were very well taken care of by the locals.

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

Wonderful time as a family. Will definitely come back to Responsible Travel for the next vacation in a region with which we are unfamiliar. Maybe Burma...

review 1 May 2015

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

The visits to the Kasbahs and local cooking class

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

Be prepared for lots of driving and circuitous roads

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

To some extent

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

Quite enjoyable... and culturally informative; increased understanding of the country's topography

review 5 Apr 2013

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

It's difficult to choose what was the most memorable part of our vacation: wandering through the colorful and lively souks of Marrakech with our experienced guide? Enjoying the secluded and refined atmosphere of the Riad Ksar Anika? riding a dromedary at sunset? Or listening to Berber music around the fire in the moonlit desert?

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

Everything is very well organized, no need to worry about anything, during the desert trip the driver, the cameleer, the cook and the guides will take care of everything (like frequent flat tyres) and spoil you completely. The tour operator suggested bringing nibbles or dried fruit on the excursion, but the meals were so large and delicious (even in the desert camp!) that we took our nibbles back home to Italy!

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

Very much so.

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

Excellent! Very good value!

review 7 Sep 2012

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

There were several good pieces including the hospitality of the Riad landlord, and the warmth and friendliness of the desert tour driver/guide. Most memorable was seeing the beautiful scenery along the Marrakech/Zagora route, and sleeping outdoors in the desert under a moonlit sky.

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

Probably best to book a desert trip when the temperature is not 40 - 45 C !

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

Yes. Bought items, and tipped quite a lot!

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

Good. Worst part was when my driver didn't meet me at the airport upon arrival, and I had to take a taxi at my own cost to the Riad. Then when I got to the drop-off point, I was abandoned with having to seek my way to the Riad (which was difficult to find).

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you so much for your feedback and we are really happy to learn that you had a good vacation in Morocco. We were, of course, extremely sorry to hear about your arrival transfer, which we learned about from our Morocco office on the day. The flight you (and another couple) were on coincided with the arrival of a flight from Mecca and, due to the large amount of people on the flight and meeting the flight, the terminal building was closed to all other people. Naturally this was not ideal but our representative at the airport informed our Morocco duty office to advise that he and the drivers were waiting outside in the car park. The other couple on the flight called the emergency number and were able to very quickly rendezvous with their driver. Had you travelled with our driver he would have made sure that you got to the riad and would have made arrangements for someone to assist with your luggage. We are really sorry that these circumstances intervened at the start of your vacation but we are glad that you were happy with all other arrangements and had a good vacation.

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