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Morocco newbie needs your advice!

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London, England
posts: 170
Morocco newbie needs your advice!

My parents, myself and my twin sister (we're 18 year olds) are looking to plan a magical family holiday before university splits us up. (I've been stuck with the planning, lucky me). Morocco sprang to mind as we've never experienced Africa, it is not hugely far to reach from our home in London, and it sounds as if it'll suit my dad's love of adventure, exotic landscapes and historical sites, and my mum's of tranquillity, luxury, and shopping for traditional gems. I've been doing some research and Marrakech sounds like a good place to locate ourselves. We hope to fly out on the 26th of August and return on the 31st. What's Marrakech REALLY like though? Does it sound suitable for our family? What sorts of things would you recommend we include in our itinerary during our time there? We're also interested in seeing the mountains and desert during our stay, but don't wish to spend any nights in those places - how much would it cost to reach them and would you recommend a guide?

Sorry about the vagueness of this, but I'd appreciate any help on anything at all really. Thanks a lot!

1. Re: Morocco newbie needs your advice!

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Removed on: 9:38 am, June 18, 2006
London, UK
posts: 22
reviews: 3
2. Re: Morocco newbie needs your advice!

Marrakech is a crazy mix (I've just got back after 6 days there). The hotels, restaurants and similar are sumptuous and luxurious and very beautiful but the streets are noisy, dirty and quite tiring for the average westerner.

You will be hassled no end when you go out and about (especially you ladies) although some see that as part of the fun. I got pretty fed up with "Eeeenglish girl, juz looooking, come here, hey!" etc., etc. after a couple of days. It really is relentless.

The square (Jmaa el Fna) is quite an experience - it was a bit overwhelming on the first day, and all the stuff that guidebooks suggest checking out (the monkeys, the snake charmers, etc) is just a big tourist show. And the food is rough there!! But it should absolutely be part of your itinerary if you do choose Marrakech. And the sunset is fabulous from the square.

There are a couple of GREAT restaurants I can recommend: La Maison Arabe (the one attached to the riad of the same name, not the stand-alone restaurant) which is in Bab Doukkala, Medina - for lovely, authentic, rich Moroccon food in gorgeous surroundings; La Trattoria Giancarlo in Gueliz. Fantastic Italian food.

The best people we met were taxi drivers - they were super-friendly and knowledgeable - and the worst activity is the horse-drawn carriage ride, mainly because of the looks of utter hatred from the people out in the streets when they saw us swanning around like royalty ... perfectly reasonable!

Finally, a great book: Time Out Guide to Marrakech. Gives tons of info on hiring taxis etc. for excursions - sounds perfect for your trip. You can get it at Amazon / Waterstones / etc.

Kansas
posts: 16
reviews: 40
3. Re: Morocco newbie needs your advice!

Spent 3 weeks there in October, touringthe country by ourselves and other thatn the wonderful Riad Kniza in Marrakech. I would not recomend Morroco as a tourist destination. Simply put the there does not seem to be the trade offs of interesting things in exchange for the travel problems/efforts. I would reccomend Eypgt, probably as my favorite place in Afria. Much more exciting, and things to do or see.

For a weekend trip to see the best of Morroco I would fly directly to Marrakech and book a 3 or 4 night package with Riad Kniza. It is a magical plae in a refurbished Merchants mansion and is gorgeous and fun. Kamel the manager is wonderful.........

UK
posts: 7
reviews: 2
4. Re: Morocco newbie needs your advice!

Hi

Been to Marrakech a few times now, and it's got to be one of my favourite places to travel to. The people are friendly and welcoming, even if it is to try to get a sale!

The Ourika valley is a couple of hours drive outside Marrakech, and you would be best hiring a taxi for the day. We got one for about ��25 for the whole day, but you need to negotiate hard. The desert is much further, and you might need to consider flying to one of the more southern cities, e.g. Zagora or Ourarzazate.

Beautiful restaurant is Le Fondouk, but seems to cater predominantly for tourists. Having said that, the pampering you receive is well worth it.

There is some fantastic shopping to be had in Marrakech, and I have found the quality of goods there far superior to places I've visited on the coast. There are some great boutiques as well as the souks, and the artisanal collectives (fixed price shops) give you a good guide to prices. The Djemma el Fnaa is buzzing, more so at night, and it's lovely to ensconce yourself in a cafe on one of the panoramic terraces to watch the sun go down. As you are travelling to a third world country, don't expect pristine conditions, and take common sense cautions.

Visit the Majorelle gardens designed by Yves Saint Laurent and talk to everyone you meet. Most of all, have fun.

pa
posts: 9
reviews: 3
5. Re: Morocco newbie needs your advice!

Hi

a lot of what the other posters said is true but they all fail in one peice of advice ( especially the blueman person)

my top advice ( i love morocco) would be TO NOT GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

do you have any idea the temp in aug???

i was there a few times in june and july.

and in july i never has a day under 100 deg f

many days were over 110.

atleast at night it cooled off to high 80's

but still you are here to see things not to be stuck in the hotel all day savoring the air conditioner.

and as to the blueman's crazy idea to come visit them in aug

I can only guess as thier hotel is empty then , they figure that mad dogs and englishmen ( and women) really do go out in the noon day sun ( which can be 120 or 130 deg)

well not this guy.

do not get me wrong i love morocco

in fact I am writting this post from the cyber cafe in Hotel Ali in Marrakech.

where as i whipe the sweat from my brow it is a chilly 93 deg

at 5 pm in the eve.

my best advice would to save the jewel that Morocco is to a time when you can enjoy it and either choose a better place.

or keep your trip to the north morocco or the coasrt of teh med. or atlantic.

best travel

caracol village
posts: 19
6. Re: Morocco newbie needs your advice!

get a official guide at the tourist office, then you know what you are going to do and people won't bother you anymore.

if you get a giude who says he is a friend of you and want's no money, you know he is bringing you to family to sel things and

af you don't buy enough(commission for him) he will end the tour unfriendly

marakech is very hot in the daytime and on the square is nothing to do.

Morocco and Spain
posts: 141
reviews: 1
7. Re: Morocco newbie needs your advice!

Be sensible!! Plan your day. In the am, go to the gardens, etc.

In the afternoon, the medina and souks are tolerable as they are covered and coolish. Make sure you have A/C in your hotel/ryad and use private transport with a/c. Best with an official guide one day to get your bearings.... Perhaps an afternoon nap for your Mum. The activities in the square change from midmorning to afternoon.