Travel Talk Tour Reviews : Exotic Morocco
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I was worried about booking a Travel Talk Tour
I was slightly wary about booking a Travel Talk Tour as it is for 18-39s, I am not out of this age range yet, but I was concerned I might be too old mentally to be touring with a bunch of young party goers.
I didn’t want a party tour, I am more about seeing the destination and due to getting tired easily due to my cancer I didn’t want to seem a party pooper by going to bed early.
I am also not a fan of large group tours as I find them quite slow going as you must wait around for everyone, and it can be frustrating. Although this happened a little on this Travel Talk Tour, because the group was young, they seemed to get on and off the buses quickly and there wasn’t too much waiting around.
I didn’t have anything to worry about it was an amazing tour with some amazing people. I wasn’t up all-night partying with them, but this didn’t make me feel awkward and I hope they didn’t think I was a bore, I didn’t feel pressurised into drinking or staying up late, like some of the group did. It felt as though I was travelling with friends and we all did as much or a little partying as we wanted. I was told by people on this tour who had also been on other Travel Talk Tours that some are more party focused like the European ones, well I will find this out soon as I have already booked two more tours.
Read More About Why I was nervous about this group tour
Sharing a room can also put me off these type of group tours. I could have paid extra for a solo room but to be honest this was more than what the tour cost, so I didn’t think it was worth it. I was lucky I had a nice roomie, she was the most considerate roomie I have had she liked a drink and would stay out late but she came in quietly and went straight to bed and slept as soon as her head hit the pillow. Most of the time I didn’t even hear her. We got on well which also made the tour a success with me.
Who uses Travel Talk Tours
This is my first Travel Talk Tour and it turns out it is a tour company that is common with the Aussie community in London. The majority of the tour group were young Australians who live in London and use the UK as a base to travel. I am so jealous of this kind of life which is why I think I got on with most of the group as we all had a passion for travelling.
It is a budget tour and often has good deals which is one of the reasons I booked with Travel Talk I felt as though I got a good price although when you think about the local payment and the extras it might not have been the best deal in the end but I was happy with the tour for the price that I paid.
The Exotic Morocco tour that I was on was a group of 41 mainly female but there was still a good proportion of male travellers. As I said most were Australians but there was also a couple of Brits, An American, 2 South Americans, A kiwi and a South African. There was even a couple in their early 70s who loved the itinerary of this tour and felt as though they could keep up pace with the group and to be honest, they pretty much did, and I am glad they were on the tour as it meant I wasn’t the oldest.
There was another travel blogging couple on the tour, who were Utubers but they pretty much kept themselves to themselves.
Would I recommend Exotic Morocco Tour with Travel Talk Tours
Yes I would, I had a great time. It is not slow travel as it is cramming so many destinations into 10 days and maybe this lets the tour down slightly as most of the time is spent on the bus and not exploring the destination. However it was still a great introduction into Morocco.
Some days had up to 12 hours bus travel which with stops built in didn’t seem that long. One particular place we visited Essaouira needs more time. We didn’t arrive until night and then left first thing in the morning so didn’t really get to see much which seemed a bit of a waste and when I talked to others most of the group felt the same.
Our tour guide Abdul was great and helped with any problems. I felt safe and I would recommend the tour to others if you are looking at crossing the cities off your list rather than getting a cultural experience. If you do book this tour add a few days on or after in Marrakesh to explore and get more of a feel of the city.
Good and bad points about Exotic Morroco with Travel Talk
When people find out I am a blogger they tend to tell me all the things that are wrong about a trip and what needs improving, not sure why as there is nothing I can do but it does mean I get to hear other peoples opinions so if a tour is really bad I know it’s not just me that thinks that.
This tour did have a few bad points but these can be personal taste and might not happen on every tour and it was nothing major that would put me off booking another travel talk tour.
My suggestions on how Travel Talk Exotic Morocco could be improved
These are my personal suggestions and from talking to others on the tour most of them felt the same. After the tour I asked people what improvements could have been made in case I had missed anything and all the comments were similiar which I have outlined below, so you can see what people who have used the tour think of how it could be improved.
A bus with a toilet and therefore less toilet stops might have been a better option which would have meant we could have had more time in the destinations. However we were informed that no buses in Morocco have toilets so if this is true there is nothing Travel Talk can do. Then you also have the possibility that if we did have a toilet I might now be writing it as a bad point as it was smelly or something.
There was a tv on the bus where we could have watched movies especially Casablanca on the way to Casablanca, as the tour guide kept referring to the film but not many on the bus had seen it. We could also watch travel programs about Morocco. Could even watch travel programs about other destinations as it could convInce people to book another tour. Not too sell but most people on the tour are keen travellers so it would appeal and then just mention travel talk do this and the itinerary. The travel days on the bus were long and this would have made it a little bit more interesting.
If someone with a disability, contacts the company don’t make them feel inadequate, offer support for example the camel ride could have been avoided I nearly cancelled because I didn’t think I could manage it again this is my personal experience of Travel Talk Exotic Morocco.
A couple were put off my camping in the shared camp but there was actually a possibility to upgrade at the desert camp. This could be mentioned before hand and off course say it’s due to availability as again this might be putting people off booking the tour.
We didnt arrive to some of the places until after dark. One of the most pointless tours was a walking tour of Essouria. It was dark we couldn’t see anything, nothing was going on like in other medinas at night it was raining and freezing cold and we went to one dark gravel yard to be told something and then to a half demolished mosque or something as it was pitch dark no one could work out what it was. This made people miserable, either give more time or skip it. It was the beach area and we didnt even get to see it until the morning when driving away which nearly everyone on the group was disappointed with.
One major complaint was the hotel situation in the blue city of Chefchaouen. We were told we could not stay in the blue city because there are no hotels to cater for large groups and that the breakfasts were poor quality as it is normally just tea coffee and bread, which is fair enough.
We ended up driving 1.5 hours to reach a hotel in a destination that we literally just went to sleep then 1.5 hours back the next day to have some more time in the Chefchaouen. It is basically a wasted 3 plus hours. Nearly everyone said they would have skipped breakfast to stay local. To be honest the breakfast we did have was the worse of the trip anyway. We saw lots of hotels and riads maybe there is the opportunity to get to try a riad split the group up it is only for one night or move the internary so we arrive early get our time there and then drive to hotel en-route to next destination so not backing up on self. This definitely needs to be re worked as it lets the tour down.
Good points are mentioned through out this article. I do think it is a good tour and I would recommend,if you are looking for a group tour of Morocco that explores most of the main area. Most things ran smoothly there were no major delays and nothing was missed off the itinerary.
Detailed itinerary of Exotic Morocco with Travel Talk Tours
I have written a detailed internary of what we got up to on the tour, the places we stayed and the most important fact how many toilet breaks This might not seem important to many but it was to me with my medical condition I was worried about 12 hour bus journeys but there was no need to worry as there were plenty of toilet breaks on this tour.
I flew into Marrakesh Menara Airport with EasyJet and after the stress of getting through passport control, I easily found the Travel Tour pickup and waited for others to arrive. We had to wait about 2 hours as I had just missed a bus heading towards the hotel so once they had a bus load we were on our way. This was OK though as it gave me a chance to get to know some people that were on the tour.
Turns out both the Exotic Morocco and Adventure Morocco tour start on the same date, so I got talking to some people that were on the other tour.
Read More : About Marrakech Airport
I had some time at the hotel before we were having our welcome meeting and I arrived before my roommate, so I got some time to rest before she arrived.
Our first hotel was Hotel Blue Sea, we also had this hotel on the last night of the tour. It was situated in the new town a little away from the old town but it is easy to get there in a taxi, we got a taxi on the last day which cost 50 Dirham to the Medina and this seemed to be the going rate. Our first hotel was lovely we had a nice room with 2 double beds and a 3rd put me up bed we were wondering if someone else was going to join us, but it was only 2 per room for everyone on the tour.
There was air conditioning, a fridge, TV although we didn’t turn it on. Breakfast was nice, cakes, coffee, tea, juices, breads, 2 Moroccan dishes that looked like chick peas. Omelettes and eggs were cooked to order, outside on a grill, as well as pancakes. The staff were friendly there was a bar which was a little pricey but then most places that serve alcohol in Morocco is expensive. It was 45 Dirham for a Beer and 85 for a Vodka and sprite.
Meeting out tour guide and group
Our group tour guide, Abdul was friendly happy to answer all questions even silly ones. We have the same bus for the trip with the same driver and a guy to help with cases etc.
We went to dinner together, this was optional, it was tasty and a great way to get to know the rest of the people on the tour. Not everyone came to dinner, but I would recommend it if you arrive in time as it is a good ice breaker. Dinner is not included but it was a set menu and cost 100 dirham. The food was good quality and worth the money.
Most people on the tour are Australian in their 20s, living in the UK and travelling when they can. However, there was an elderly couple in their 70s so there is not age limit although it does recommend 18-39. There were other nationalities including Spanish, English and South African.
It turned out we had a good bunch of people and we all seemed to get on well. My room mate was a professional Australian currently living in London and she was lovely which is great as I do worry about sharing with someone who is a nightmare or even worse if they think I am.
My first ever room share was horrible, and we didn’t get on at all, but I did not let this put me off.
Day 2 – Marrakech Old Town to Essaouria
After breakfast we got on the bus and headed to Marrakech Old town for our tour. We had a brief walk around the old town and it was explained we would return on the last day to explore more. It was my first time seeing the animals in the Medina which I have heard about so much whilst doing my research on Marrakech. It was quite a interesting place and I can’t wait to explore more at the end of the tour.
Read More : about Marrakech in my 10 days in Morocco
After our brief walk around Marrakech old town we got on the bus to head to Essaouira. We stopped at a supermarket to stock up on water and snacks, but they didn’t have any alcohol. Only a selected number of specialist’s shops stock alcohol but our tour guide assured us we would be stopping to make purchases.
I was worried that because it was a tour for young people it might be too partying focused, not that I don’t like having a good time, but I don’t want my trip spoilt by hangovers or people being loud. I am glad to say it wasn’t like that at all. Yea lots of alcohol was drunk but no pressure was put on others to drink or stay out late if they didn’t want to.
Our bus is large, I was sat at the front I ended up having a spare seat next to me on the whole tour which was nice. I don’t think I would have liked to have had a companion next to me as that would have felt too claustrophobic. It seemed most people travelling solo got their own seat and I didn’t hear anyone complaining there wasn’t enough seats. As with all group tours we stuck to the seat we had from the beginning which was great so we could leave things on our seats. I had a bag of snacks, waters, scarf, my travelling essentials that I kept on the bus.
For lunch we stopped at a road side cafe after 1.5 hr drive. The food was cheap and cheerful. There were western as well as Moroccan choices and we ordered what we wanted in the café.
Sometimes during the tour, we ordered beforehand or it was a set menu. I had pizza which cost 35d it wasn’t the best, but it filled my tummy. tagines were 65d and various sandwiches salad and burgers. Service was super-fast considering we are a group of 40+ in and out in about 20 minutes which was good as we were then back on the road.
On the drive we saw the only Argan trees that are between Essaouira and Agadir. I thought Argan trees were found all over Morocco, but this is not the case.
Read More : About the tree climbing goats
We wanted to see the goats in the Argan trees but there were none as it was raining. Many of the group were disappointed by this and the tour guide even seemed a little bit gutted.
A few others and I kept our eyes peeled and we managed to glimpse a few goats hanging around a tree. It was quite funny as we started screaming goats, I never seen people get so excited by seeing a goat up a tree, but I guess it is not something you see every day.
Unfortunately, not everyone saw, and it was impossible to turn around on this stretch of road, but I am glad that I got to see them.
We stopped at a lady’s cooperative, where they make Argan oil products. I love Argan oil and use it on my hair but I didn’t realise there were so many other uses for the oil as well as eating.
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It is one of those typical shopping stops you get on group tours. I am sure the tour company get commission or something to include these in the tour, but it was nice to get off the bus for a while. They did not pressure us into buying anything and it was interesting to see how they make argan oil products.
They demonstrated how they ground the nuts to make the products and we were given the chance to taste 3 different types of oil and try some of the products such as hand creams.
I am not sure if it was more expensive to buy the products from this cooperative as I didn’t do much shopping whilst in Morocco, but it was 120 Dirham for the smallest cheapest oil for hair and body. A lot of people on the tour bought products here and I wanted some real Morocco oil for my hair, and I wish I had bought it at this shop as there wasn’t much more opportunities. I didn’t want to buy it from a medina as I was unsure if it was real so if you want to buy some argan oil products then do it at this stop.
Be careful of fake products when shopping in Morocco
The last stop was the promised alcohol shop. We went into the supermarket and it was funny as we were all walking around and around and could not find any booze. We had to go into a separate room which was finally pointed out to us. I think the staff were having fun watching us walking all around the store as they were giggling. However at least we knew for next time and wasn’t fooled again. Alcohol is not cheap I got 6 smalls cans of beer for 75d which is still only about £6 but more expensive than other countries I have travelled to.
Once we arrived at our hotel we had 1-hour free time where most of us went to our room to freshen up. Some brave people went for a quick dip in the ocean.
Then we had a walking tour of Essaouria Medina, it was dark so not able to see much. There didn’t seem a lot going on as it was also raining and freezing cold so think in the summer it will be more bustling.
Then we came across an American movie being filmed which was causing a bit of a commotion John Wicks 3 with Keanu Reeves. Our tour guide has been seeing him over the weeks unfortunately we didn’t gets a glimpse which would have been amazing as I love a bit of Keanu. We saw some more of the film being made when we got to the desert later in the tour.
We went to the port to see the fishing boats and in better weather our guide said they start selling the fish at 1am but it was too cold when we were there. We were then left to our own devices on where to get dinner. People separated into the groups that had already started developing.
We went to a restaurant with wonderful views but unfortunately it was too cold to sit on the roof terrace although we still sat outside. Food was available and some ordered but I had gone past hunger now and settled with a few beers. It was nice time to spend bonding with the group and I ended up spending most of my time with this set of people which was nice. Even though people were going into different groups there was no hostilities, everyone mingled well and there was always someone to talk to which is one of the things that made this tour so enjoyable.
Day 3 – Casablanca
We left Essaouria at 8am to drive to Casablanca. We really didn’t have enough time in Essaouira, when we arrived we saw the beach it is a windy city and is very popular for surfing and it would have been great to spend some more time here. In fact, most people commented that we should have more time in Essaouira to see it in daylight especially the coast line. Yes we got to see it again in the morning as the bus was driving away, but everyone wanted more time there.
Today we visited the The Hassan II Mosque also known as the Grande Mosquée Hassan II. This cost an extra 120dirham and it was optional to go inside not all the group did. I found it interesting as the mosque was spectacular inside. There didn’t seem to be must to do surrounding the mosque and people that did not go inside just sat outside people watching.
We spent 1 hour 15 minutes inside the mosque with a guided tour and we were able to take photos.
Read More about the Mosque in 10 days in Morocco
The famous Ricks Café was on the itinerary but basically it is a drive by we stopped for a couple of seconds but thought we were actually going to get off and I didn’t even get a view of it because I was sat on the other side of the bus and then we drove off people were like was that it…..
We went to the hotel to freshen up before exploring more of Casablanca by walking around the Medina and square, it was supposed to be a guided talk but to be honest it was just seemed a lot of wasted walking.
We seemed to walk to a white house in a square but none of us understood what we were being shown and after all saying what was that all about, we walked 20 minutes along a dusty busy road to the Medina to see a few stalls.
We walked down one lane and it all seemed pointless we then walked to another square with our tour guide in silence and we were all baffled at what we were doing before being taken to a resturant that he recommended.
We decided to not eat in this restaurant as it didn’t look authentic but more like a fast food joint. Apparently, the group members that did eat here said it was nice. We found a restaurant around the corner called El Barocco and this is where I tried my first Casablanca beer and have to say it wasn’t the last as it was pretty good. It was an Italian restaurant so I enjoyed a nice pasta and the prices were quite cheap highly recommend if you want beer with your meal.
There does not seem to be much going on in Casablanca and we could have had more time in the previous destination as the time in the medina seemed pointless. It was worthwhile going to see the mosque but apart from that there is not much in Casablanca.
It was a very early start today as we were leaving at 7am the hotel opened for breakfast early for us, which was good.
We drove to Rabat and or first visit was The Royal Palace Dar al-Makhzen residence to the King of Morocco. They have the changing of the guard every 2 hours, but we did not get to see this. It was raining and very cold it was nothing spectacular to see as we stood outside and took some photos. There was a free toilet here I wish I had used it when we arrived as there was no queue as we were leaving and another chance to use the toilet another 2 coach loads had arrived so the queue was long.
Next, we visited Al Hassan Mosque which was pretty. However there was a state visit and we had to wait outside again in the cold and rain for it to finish, the group were getting fed up and we all kept asking to leave but our CEO said it will be over in a minute just as we were about to leave the state visit finish and we got to go inside. It was pretty and worth it, and the wait was no fault of travel talk. There was opportunity for a toilet break for 1d which seemed to be the going rate so make sure you have plenty of small coins on you in case you need to use the toilet.
We then went on to visit a mini blue village, Kasbah des Oudaias, which is a smaller version of Chefaoueon where we were off to later.
It was pretty walking round and luckily the rain stopped. There are women offering henna tattoo and they will try and grab your hand and if they manage to get a speck of henna on you they will demand money they are in groups of 4-5 and it can be intimidating just make sure you don’t let them touch you and don’t make eye contact which can sound rude but otherwise they will demand money.
We went to a garden that was also quite nice and walked around some cobbled streets. It was a little steep and cobbly but even though I have mobility limitation we walked slowly, and I manged to keep up with everyone. Options for another toilet 2d this time;
We then started our 4-hour drive to Chefaoueon, we stopped for snacks at a garage and the toilets were free. We seemed to stop regular which was good for toilet breaks and I know I keep going on about the toilets but it is important for me as my medication means when I need to pee I have to pee.
We stopped again for the toilet this time it cost 2d make sure you have plenty of small coins to use the toilet, even if we didn’t need to go most of us did I guess it was incase we got stuck needing to go but even though there were a few close calls especially for people who was drinking lots of beer no one had to make an emergency stop but I am sure the bus would have pulled over to let someone pee by the road side if needed. Most of the toilet breaks we did make were clean I think that’s why we have to pay and I don’t mind paying small amounts if it means the toilets are clean as nothing worse than disgusting toilets and believe me I have had my fair share whilst travelling.
Later we stopped for 30 minutes at a resturant for soup and sandwiches since we would be having dinner in a couple of hours not many people ate here, and it seemed an unnecessary stop and most of the group felt the same way. The driver ate here though so maybe it was scheduled break time for him however if they removed this stop since we had all stocked up on snacks, we could have spent more time in Chefaoueon which everyone wanted to see.
We arrived in Chefaoueon which is also known as the blue city and again the rain stopped, I didnt realise it rained so much in Morocco. We had a orientation walk and saw some of the blue cobbled lanes which were so pretty, food stall and a waterfall. We would be exploring more tomorrow we had to get dinner here, no where was recommended but luckily a couple in our group had done some research to find out which restaurant had alcohol so we headed there.
At the Oum Rabie restaurant, the food was lovely, it did feel as though they didn’t really know how to deal with a group of loud English tourists, but they kept bringing us food we went there mainly as they served alcohol. We ordered meat and chicken tagines. Some of the food orders did not arrive but since they kept bringing us rice, fires, tomatoes onions and cucumber salad, potatoes and bread and the tagines we did get were large none of the group went hungry as we all shared. We had about 30 beers 4 tagines and a cola for 11 people cost 880d about £71.
We then drove to our hotel which was 1.5 hours away from Chefchaouen where we arrived at about 10pm and after those beers we had to make an unscheduled stop for people to have a wee by the road side which was funny. Luckily, I made it to the hotel but only just.
Now this is part of the tour that disgruntled nearly everyone I spoke to on the Travel Talk tour. It was annoying that we had to drive for 1.5 hours and then don’t forget we had the 1.5 hours of windy roads to drive back to the next day to go on our tour of Chefchaouen this is a wasted 3 hours.
Apparently, there are no large hotels to cater for groups in Chefchaouen and the hotels don’t focus on breakfast just serving tea and coffee. But everyone would have been happy with this or little hotels with no breakfast on one occasion in order to have more time in Chefchaouen, this is one part of the tour that needs looking into. I chose this tour as well as quite a few I spoke to for the visit to Chefchaouen so it would have been preferable to spend more time there.
The hotel we did go to was also the most disappointing of the tour. When we checked into the hotel our beds were un made and there were dirty towels in the bathroom the room had not been cleaned. We went straight to reception who sorted it and another couple came down to say a man was already in the room they had been given, they sorted it straight away which was lucky they didn’t walk in on the man up to something.
Beds were hard and I didn’t sleep well. The breakfast was nothing special.at the hotel we stayed at in fact it was also the most disappointed the way Abdul went on about the complaints they had got for the hotels in Chefchaouen, which was the reason we had to drive 1.5 hours out of our way seemed surprising as nothing could have been worse that what we actually got. The hotels must be really bad hotels in Chefchaouen, I would take a guess it is more to do with price why we didn’t stay there as Chefchaouen is one of the top places to visit at the moment as it has very Instagramable streets.
The hotel didn’t even have English tea which I was gasping for, but I can live without. It did have pastries, breads, cheese, salami ,cucumber, tomato, orange slices, yoghurts, a few people got fried eggs or omelettes, but they ran out however they did go to the shop to get some more eggs. There was three types of juice coffee which apparently had a hit factor and Moroccan tea. Now looking at the list it seems like a nice breakfast which it was OK but not compared to the others we had on the tour and to say we had only travel 1.5hors away for the breakfast then they did not need to bother.
Read More about Chefchaouen in 10 Days in Morocco
Day 5 Chefchaouen – Atlas Mountains
We had a few hours in Chefchaouen which is beautiful we had already had an orientation tour yesterday so it was free time. People went into different groups there was an option to walk up to the Spanish Mosque which gave amazing views over Chefchaouen, of course because of my mobility limitation I was not going to do this but my room mate took some pictures for me and if you can walk up then I would recommend.
I joined some others and walked around the streets which are so pretty, and we took some beautiful pictures. There are a few stalls and little shops to look at. There are so many cats like in all the places we visited, a few members of the group bought some cat food and fed the cats along the way in the tour.
We went for drinks in the Clock café which was nice, and we went back there for something to eat as they had camel burgers which we all wanted to try and they were so tasty.
Read More : Clock Café Review
After a few hours exploring Chefchaouen where we all tried to become Instagram stars we had a 5-hour drive to Fez over the Atlas Mountains which was windy, and people felt a little travel sick so be prepared and take motion sickness tablets.
After 1 hour 20 mins we stopped at the restaurant from yesterday for a quick toilet break 1dirham and after another 1 hour 40 mins we stopped for another toilet stop 2dirham we arrived at 6.30pm at our hotel in the new town of Fez. I am not sure if it is Fez or Fes as it is spelt both ways online and until I am corrected I will call it Fez.
The hotel was nice and had a lovely pool but unfortunately it was raining and too cold to use. The room was large we had two large double beds. WIFI was a bit hit and miss, there was a fridge and safe in room. The hotel was rather grand. Breakfast was OK selections of salad, fruit, yoghurts, sausages, tomatoes, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, potato croquettes and rice. Cereals and pastries and bread juice coffee and English tea. We were in our own area for breakfast.
Even though the hotel looked grand this was the worse night’s sleep I had, the beds were not comfortable I had the worlds squeakiest bed and so I felt as though I had to lie without moving as I didn’t want to wake my room mate up. However, the shower was nice and hot and toiletries were supplied.
The hotel has a couple of souvenir shops and snack shop and ATM but as our tour guide kept saying its very very very very expensive. There is a shop opposite to get water and snacks and a restaurant where meals are around 45 dirham.
We had a little free time and there was a dinner show organised for the evening. This was optional and most people did attend. It cost 250 dirham and started at 8pm to 11.20pm it was only a 10-minute drive from the hotel. The dinner show was fun and worth doing when in Fez.
The food was delicious, and it was another great night of getting to know people in the group that I had not yet talked to. Travel Talk must attend this dinner show often as they seemed to pick on getting our group up to participate luckily, they didn’t pick on me.
They had music, dancers and a magician it wasn’t the best entertainment, but it was a fun night out and there was so much food.
Dont buy snacks water or laundry at the hotel very very very expensive (our guides words) I know I have already said this but Abdul kept repeating it which became a bit of a joke poor Abdul does like to repeat himself a lot but at least that way people don’t miss what he is saying, It was possible to get laundry in Sahara for 50dirham the same will cost 800 in this hotel.
Day 6 Fez
Fez was my favourite Moroccan city and you can read more details in 10 day in Morocco. We were staying in the new town and had a short drive to the old town to begin our guided tour. It was raining when we got there but it stopped as the morning went on, there were plenty of guys selling umbrellas if required.
We walked down Hassan 2 Avenue which is beautiful, with French influence this is how I imagined Morocco to look and I instantly fell in love with Fez. It I was to return to Morocco I would have to visit Fez again and spend more time in the cafes watching the locals go about their day.
We had a local guide join us for our tour of Fez who was very informative and interesting. He was also quite funny which mean’t it was fun listening to him. We visited the Royal Palace of Fes, you can not visit inside but it is worth visiting to see the impressive doors which are often seen on articles about Morocco. The doors are made from cedar wood, there were a few street sellers around here and we spent time
walking down streets with a Spanish influence as the Jews settled here from Spain.
It is full of wedding planning shops which I was not expecting. Our guide explained the traditions of proposal and marriage we then drove to a panoramic view of the city which looked amazing.
We visited a pottery school where they teach locals a trade. Each item takes 5 years, to be fully qualified to make, they learn each section of making the pot but will only learn how to make one type. The people who create the designs are very skilled as they look simple but I bet they are not. Some of them are amazing, we saw each stage of making the items they were traditional they make a fire in kiln with pressed olives. But don’t anymore due to the smoke it produced.
We saw how they create mosaic patterns for table tops now I realise why they are so expensive as each piece is laid separately and takes ages to make. The tables were beautiful. And I loved the giant vases some as tall as me. If I won, the lottery I would defintately go back and buy loads.
You can pick the design ,size, colours, everything and they will make it and ship it but I have no idea of the prices and it was something they wouldn’t answer. Must of known none of us were going to buy but a small simple bowl was 500 dirham so I can imagine they are going to be quite pricey.
We then went to the shop and again if money was no problem or space in luggage, I would have bought loads. They had these most beautiful large bowls that I fell in love with. I later saw them in the Medina. Teapots, cups, pots, plates, tagines, tiles. A small tagine pot with the group 20% discount was 600 I really wanted one but no I probably won’t cook many tagines at home as it just won’t be the same.
Be careful if buying Pottery in the Medinas as if you go for cheaper prices they will not be as good quality. My friend bought some cheaper bowls and they broke before she even left Morocco.
We had lunch in an organised restaurant it cost 80 dirham and there were a few choices. I had another chicken and lemon tagine which was nice. They also had lamb and prune veg couscous, chicken couscous, meat couscous and their speciality Moroccan Pastilla which is a pie with chicken, cinnamon raisons and almonds. I wish I had tried more of these as I had one at Marrakech airport as I was leaving and they are delicious even though they sound a little strange. ) Soft Drinks for 15 to 20dirham, no alcohol.
Then we visited the tannery oh my god, this is the smelliest place in Fez, probably the whole of Morocco. It stank of cow ass sorry to be so crude but that’s the only way I can describe it.
It was a cool sight to see we had to climb about 3 flights of stairs, so I got to the top and was puffing so much and then was greeted by the smell. I was trying to get my breathe and not take in too much of the stench. They give you mint leaves to rub under your nose, but I used my hand sanitiser gel that is quite potent and still avoided breathing through my nose. We visited on a cold raining day I dread to think of the stink in 50-degree heat.
It is worth it though as I have never seen anything like it before. There is also the option to buy some leather products and some of them were so nice again if money was no option, I would have got a few bags and a leather jacket. They looked great quality. They had a poof cushion cover which you filled yourself with newspaper or old tights like in the past when we used to make draught excluders did you ever do that or am I ancient. They were 1200dirham again I saw them later in the Medinas but I am not sure how you would know that you were buying the genuine article.
Our guide said we would be walking about 6km and I thought there is no way I can do that but I didn’t have any problems it was flat, and we went at a really slow pace maybe a little too slow sometimes since it was raining so after a few hours of still walking through the Medina people were getting fed up as we were so wet and cold. We drove up to get a panoramic view over the medina.
The medina is so easy to get lost in, each section has its own specialities for example the meat section, the seamstress,s nougat and the carpentry section here we got to see some coffins being made. Apparently only women go in coffins. We visited a fabric shop to get scarves for the desert and they were beautiful although a little pricey. You could get them cheaper in the Medinas if you have time to go shopping.
After the tannery it was time to leave the medina and head to the mall to get our alcohol for the desert. Typically, after a day of heavy rain this is when the sun decided to appear for about 10 minutes. There were lots of kids selling magnets, tissues, keyrings and they did get a little annoying as they were following us and pestering.
We drove to the mall, there is a separate shop for alcohol which we must have nearly bought out as we were stocking up for 2 days in the desert. There was also a supermarket to get snacks I got cheese for dinner as I had already brought some crackers and a chocolate mousse that was so delicious, and it was only 16p.
Then it was free time some braved it and went back to the medina, but we were warned it wasn’t safe after dark and so easy to get lost I would recommend having data on your phone or you could pay one of the little kids to help get you out. Some went to dinner and others just chilled as we had a 5.30am start in the morning.
Read More about Fez in 10 days in Morocco
Day 7 – Merzauga
At 5.30 we got a wakeup call although didn’t request it must have been our tour guide making sure we were all going to get up, after a quick breakfast we headed to the desert.
We stopped a couple of times on the way for photo opportunities, at one point there was snow on the ground although it wasn’t actually snowing, this is not something I was expecting to see in Morocco. It was quite funny as some people on the tour had never seen snow, so they went off the bus to have their first feel or the white stuff.
The cedar forest in the Atlas Mountains and sometimes monkeys can be seen although we didn’t get to see any. We did see nomad families walking along the roadside. These families move 2 to 3 times per year with their goats and sheep, later in the tour we went and visited a nomad family.
The mountains are beautiful and even just seeing them from a bus was amazing and breath-taking. We had four toilet stops one was free the others were 1dirham and we stopped by the dam for a photo.
Lunch included in a restaurant with outside seating and a pool first time we have felt the sun. Lunch was vegetable tagine, tomato salad, beef meatballs, rice, bread and oranges with soft drinks at extra change about 10dirham. Food was tasty and there were lots of it.
We stopped to buy some cheaper scarfs for the desert and the lads on the tour wanted to buy Djellabas so they looked the part in the desert but to be honest they reminded me of magical monks.
We arrived at the camels at 5.30pm, this was part of the tour I was dreading I don’t like camels and I don’t like the pain of riding one. We paid 70 dirham each to tip people whilst we were in the desert and this was given to volunteers from the group to pay our tips on our behalf. Be aware if you are on this Travel Talk it is a budget tour and there are a number of things you need to pay for along the way which seemed a bit annoying I wish it had all just been included. We had to pay money when we joined the tour and I presumed this was to cover tips and such like but it isn’t, so make sure you have some extra money in your budget.
Our luggage was kept on the bus overnight and we could take one backpack with us to the camp in the desert which was taken by 4×4 we could only take water and cameras/hones on the camel.
We rode on the camel in a convoy and I have regularly seemed pictures like this on the internet. It was worth it but not something I will want to repeat as it was very uncomfortable and felt like it was never going to end.
After 40 minutes on the camels we stopped at a high dune to climb to watch the sunset unfortunately I couldn’t climb the dune so waited at the bottom with a few others from the tour but saw the pictures others took it was a good view. After another 40 minutes we arrived at the camp it was nearly dark now.
Read More : Camping in the Sahara Desert
We arrived at camp and I was quite surprised at how it looked, the tents were metal containers with 4 or 5 single mattresses and they were actually quite comfortable. When we got off the camels it was a case of Abdul asking how many in the group and thats how the rooms got allocated so you could basically choose who you wanted to go with. I was the last one of the camels and into the camp and I was worried that I would be left to bunk up with the lads but my lovely roommate got us a room which was nice.
We were paired with two other Aussies who have been a little anti-social for most of the trip so my tip would be to get on a camel in front or split up your group who you want to share the camp with as I arrived late. We however didn’t let these two ruin our night and we still had fun.
You can lock the rooms with a key. They had a light and the bed mattress on the floor there is nothing else in the room but it is the basis camping experience that you want to experience as at the end of the day a night under the stars is unremarkable and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Stars at night were beautiful I have never seen so many or even the milky way, so it was a wonderful sight.
Dinner was a beef tagine bread olives nuts and fruit not the best so bring snacks. They played some drums and got people up dancing around the fire which was fun some of the group went sand surfing down the dunes on a mattress, but it was pitch black surprised there were no accidents.
There were 5 toilets no showers and the water did run low by the end of the trip just before we left, I went to wash my hands and no water from the taps.
It got very cold at night I didn’t bother changing into my pjs but slept in my clothes and hoody and even put a hat on and I was still cold so make sure you have something warm with you.
Day 8 Merzauga
People got up early to see the sun rise. It was still cold in the morning but once the sun came up it got warmer. Before breakfast we headed back to the hotel / camp where we would spend the second night in the desert. It was on a different route and not as long on the camel but luckily, I had got a space in the 4×4 and I was in too much pain to go back on the camel. Another 2 couples wanted to go in the 4×4, so our guide sent the 4×4 back to collect the other couples which was nice.
If I had known, we could have gone in a 4×4 I would have done this from the beginning. I can understand why they don’t advertise this as everyone would want to go in the 4×4 but I had even consulted them when booking the tour as I am registered disabled I thought it might be impossible for me to do the ride but they said it was compulsory where in fact you could have paid extra to stay at the main hotel / camp or there was a 4×4 and I think if someone has a disability this should be opened up to them.
However, I can imagine if the 4×4 is an option most people would take that as a lot of people were in pain after the camels, although most did enjoy it, the ride is just too long and lots of people didn’t want to have to do it again in the morning.
We got back to the hotel/camp and had breakfast and could shower before we went on the activities for the day. The room tonight are metal containers again but still very comfortable.
We went a in 4×4 which held 6, we raced over the dunes and there were chances to change seats during the day, so everyone got to experience the difference between sitting in the front or the back. It is a very bumpy hair-raising ride. I had done this before during a desert safari in Dubai so I knew what to expect but I still ended up in the front seat to start off with which is the craziest view as you think you are going to crash into things.
We visited a nomad family and saw how they lived, they invited us into their home and offered us some home-made bread. The families come to the Sahara in the winter because of the weather. The family we visited was a grandma mum dad and children. The Dad looks after the animals and goes to market. There is no hospital in the Sahara so 90% will give birth in their tents but if there is an emergency an ambulance or helicopter can take them to hospital, they of course now have mobile phones. This family made carpets to make a living.
We went to listen to some traditional African music and got some amazing panoramic views over the dunes which was one of the highlights as it was beautiful.
Back at the hotel it was our first time that we really got some time to relax. Many of us went around the pool as the sun was out. Then we went to watch the sunset which was spectacular over the dunes. We got to see people coming back to camp on camels.
One of our group was taken ill with a high temperature. Abdul handled the situation very well. The guy was with his girlfriend and they had to pay for a driver to take them to the closest hospital as well as treatments at the hospital they reported that it was not the most hygienic of places but luckily he got the treatment he needed and quickly recovered. I carry a thermometer with me when I go travelling as I was not long after chemotherapy so I have to be careful if I get a temperature this is one time when I was glad that I had it with me as it could have been a lot worse for this guy if they didn’t pick up he had a temperature and a virus as quick as they did. I will now always take a thermometer with me on my travels in my trusty first aid kit.
We watched the sunset over the dunes with a few drinks and this was such a wonderful end to a magical two days in the Sahara desert. There were a few children hanging around who were hassling us for money. It was getting annoying as we were being polite asking them to leave us, but they kept hassling in the end we had to be quite firm and say go away which felt awful but out guide said to not give them any money.
Day 9 Back to Marrakech
Today was a very early 4.50am wake up call which was hard, but we had 12.5 hours bus journey so plenty of time to sleep. A basic breakfast was provided but I preferred the extra bit of sleep before getting on the bus we left the desert at 5.30 am and didn’t arrive in Marrakech until 6pm.
We stopped a few times along the way for the toilet and to get snacks and takeaway tea or coffee. We were given lunch options whilst we were on the bus and these were rung through ahead as it was only a small restaurant and it would take them hours if we didn’t order ahead. There were 11 options 2 pasta dishes 2 types skewers veg soup 3 tagines 3 omelettes Moroccan salad Ranges from 30 to 70 dirham. It was nice food, and no one complained. There were also options to buy coffees and ice creams and a few snacks.
We stopped at rose valley for a toilet break there were a café and snacks and a few souvenirs. We had a 20 minutes break here and the valley was lovely to look at.
We passed by the Al Wahda dam and have a quick stop for the cash machine. This area is famous for movies such as the gladiator, the towns symbol is a movie reel. Also, the bible and alexander were filmed here.
We stopped at a carpet shop which started at about 2000dirham. There were 2 ladies making the rugs and there was a free toilet. Stopped for 20 minute. Even though we had a 12 hour journey because it was broken up with lots of stops it did not seem that long. Actually every time I nodded off it was time to wake up again for another stop which did get slightly annoying but thats the joys of coach travel.
We had free time in Marrakech old town we explored the Medina did some bartering with the stall holders and got some street food. Be careful when choosing street food vendors as our stall kept bringing us food but it wasn’t free so you have to say no otherwise what should be cheap street food can work out very expensive. There are so many amazing places to eat in Marrakech that I would not choose the street food again as it was a let down but that is just our personal experience.
We arrived at the hotel we had on our first night we had goodbye drinks in the tapas bar in the hotel.
This trip doesn’t have much time in Marrakech even though it starts and ends there so I recommend adding a couple of days before or after to explore more.
Would I choose Travel Tour Talks again?
Yes, and I have actually already booked a Balkans and Croatia tour so come back in a few months to find out how I got on with these two tours and if I still feel positive about Travel Talk Tours.
I always choose my tours by what I feel is the best value for the internary and I feel that Travel talk tours are good value if you want to explore the tours they have on offer and their latest deals I would recommend looking at Tour Radar this is where I always book my tours.
Sorry I waffled a bit but there was just so much involved in this tour. Have you been on a Travel Talk Tour? What did you think even better if you have been on the Balkans or Croatia tours please let me know what to expect.
Further articles that may be of interest
Riad Abaca Badra Review: Where to stay in Marrakech before or after this tour
What to expect at Marrakech Airport
Having a Hammam in Marrakech
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