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Getting from Merzouga to Fes

Sydney
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Getting from Merzouga to Fes

Hi all

I will be finishing my desert trip on October 3rd (I presume we will arrive back in Merzouga in the morning sometime). In Merzouga, I plan to separate from my tour guide and group as they are going back to Marrakech and I want to continue on to Fes.

I know that there is a night bus from Merzouga to Fes but I was wondering if there is a way to do this trip in the daytime, first because I'd prefer not to sleep on a bus and second, because I am not sure what there is to do in Merzouga while I'm waiting for the 7:30pm bus (suggestions welcome - perhaps see the markets in Rissani?)

I have had a look at this thread: tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g304017-i10021-…

which says that if you go from Merzouga --> Rissani --> Errachidia, there are daytime buses from Errachidia to Fes. However, when I have a look at the ONCF website, all I can see is a 9:30pm bus from Errachidia so I am a bit confused.

If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them. Would prefer not to pay for a taxi as am travelling solo and it's a bit pricey.

Thank you!

Edited: 10:44 pm, September 12, 2013
Sydney
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1. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

Hi all

I will be finishing my desert trip on October 3rd (I presume we will arrive back in Merzouga in the morning sometime). In Merzouga, I plan to separate from my tour guide and group as they are going back to Marrakech and I want to continue on to Fes.

I know that there is a night bus from Merzouga to Fes but I was wondering if there is a way to do this trip in the daytime, first because I'd prefer not to sleep on a bus and second, because I am not sure what there is to do in Merzouga while I'm waiting for the 7:30pm bus (suggestions welcome - perhaps see the markets in Rissani?)

I have had a look at this thread: tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g304017-i10021-…

which says that if you go from Merzouga --> Rissani --> Errachidia, there are daytime buses from Errachidia to Fes. However, when I have a look at the ONCF website, all I can see is a 9:30pm bus from Errachidia so I am a bit confused.

If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them. Would prefer not to pay for a taxi as am travelling solo and it's a bit pricey.

Thank you!

Edited: 10:44 pm, September 12, 2013
Stockholm, Sweden
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2. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

As I know so from Merzouga or Rissani etc Supratour bus go only over night. So you have to find some local bus, if it go over day. Or take grand taxi, maybe you can find some which can go the whole way. Or you need to change every time Merzouga - Rissani - Rissani - Errachidia and there to find some local bus going to Fes.

Taroudant, Morocco
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3. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

Little Petals, the best part of your Morocco experience may happen After you leave your tour group!

You are right in wanting to travel during the day, because otherwise you would be missing wonderful scenery.

Don't worry about not getting a Supratours bus, as there are many other perfectly decent bus companies in Morocco. You will make your way from Merzouga to Rissani and from Rissani to Erfoud one way or another, bus or taxi.

And you will find your way to Fes, with many interesting experiences along the way.

Marrakech, Morocco
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4. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

as mentioned there will be other bus companies going on this route, it is difficult to find out info about them as they dont have online schedules like CTM and Supratours.

Try to email wherever you are staying in Merzouga as they are likely to know the best way, or you will find out when you get there.

If you cant find a suitable bus then grand taxi is always an option for part of the journey, you dont have to hire the whole taxi and can just pay for 1 seat which is usually similar price as a bus ticket anyway.

Taroudant, Morocco
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5. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

That's a good point: the cost of a seat on a bus or a seat in a taxi is almost the same.

Taxi is faster, but much less comfortable.

Last November when I was on my way back to Taroudant from Merzouga, it was in *Erfoud* that I found a local bus which took me as far as Ouarzazate.

You may find a bus to Fes there or in Er Rachidia; I don't know for sure.

Sydney
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6. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

Okay thank you all very much. At least I know that the answer to my question wasn't that simple / I wasn't missing something. I didn't realise there were local buses, that's good to know. I don't know where I am staying in Merzouga as that will be organised through my tour guide. They may be able to help me with bus info as well, so I'll just work it out once I am there :)

Merzouga, Morocco
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7. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

• Returning after the desert

After an overnight desert stay you might return to Merzouga village as early as 0700hrs. If your tour company is leaving you at a riad it’s more than likely that you can stay there a while if you want and that one of the riad guys will help you to organise onward travel arrangements. If you return to the main street of the village centre, don’t worry, have a wander and find an open café or restaurant. The overnight bus from Fes arrives from 0700hrs onwards so there’ll be some people around.

• Taxi!

The taxi rank is at the top of the main street, you can’t miss it, if you do, ask.

From Merzouga to Fes – taxi cost is circa 1300dh for a non-shared taxi and for this the driver should make stops on the way, within reason. For people who go this route it’s helpful to have an English-speaking driver, Hassan the grand taxi driver in Merzouga fits this bill, his contact number: +212 (0) 662 637 429.

Taxi from Merzouga to Er rachidia – taxi cost is circa 400dh for a non-shared taxi.

Taxi from Merzouga to Rissani - taxi cost is circa 90dh for a non-shared taxi. It’s circa 15dh if you take a shared taxi - shared taxi takes 6 people + the driver, two passengers in the front, four in the back.

A shared taxi can be a tad squashed, you sometimes end up being a little closer to a fellow passenger than maybe you’d ideally like, there’s a lack of safety belts and also usually no window handles (if the windows mist up tap the driver on the shoulder and ask for The Window Handle and pass it around, the same handle opens all windows). However it’s still an idea to take the shared taxi, just the once if you like, for the experience.

If you’re organised and pre-book you can take a taxi from Merzouga to Rissani, have a look around the markets and then take the same taxi 2/3 hours later from Rissani to Er rachidia.

Or once you’ve finished in Rissani you can just make your way to the taxi rank where taxis depart for Er rachidia (different from where the taxis arrive from Merzouga) and take a different taxi to the bus station in Er rachida …….. or you can take a local bus from Rissani bus station to Er rachidia.

• Buses

The Supratours bus goes each evening from Merzouga village centre to Fes, there’s just the one and it’s a night bus, departing at 1900hrs, arriving in Fes approx 0530hrs, see website www.oncf.ma

The CTM bus goes each evening from Rissani bus station to Fes, again just the one and its a night bus, leaving at 2000hrs, arriving approx 0500hrs, see website www.ctm.ma

Local buses depart daily from Er rachidia bus station to Fes, and these are day buses. Bearing in mind the journey length it makes sense not to depart from Er rachidia too late, unless you want to arrive in Fes late in the evening..

• Merzouga and beyond

Some people like to stay a little longer in the desert area and if you’re staying in Merzouga for the day there’s enough to see and do, depending on what you prefer. As well as exploring the dunes you can visit Khamlia village where the villagers play Gnaoua music, an ancient African spiritual sound of religious songs and rhythms; you can go fossil hunting if that’s your thing; visit villages some of which are inhabited, some not; try your hand at baking bread the berber way in an outdoor oven; have henna body art painted by one of our local ladies and also enjoy medfouna, a local stuffed pizza baked on hot coals in the sand. It’s handy to have use of a vehicle for some of these activities or a man with vehicle.

If the plan is not to go too far afield and to relax for the day whilst waiting for the Supratours night bus to take you to Fes you can relax in a local riad. A traditional, simple riad with a great location is Auberge Les Pyramides. Here you can tumble out of the door, climb the highest dune and sit undisturbed reading a book for a good couple of hours. Les Pyramides +212 (0) 670 137 673.

• Rissani

If you’re thinking of visiting Rissani town it’s definitely an entertaining way to spend a few hours. Formerly known as Sijilmasa the town was an important trading route between the north and south in ancient times. It’s very much a local town and operates similarly to years gone by in that it remains a great opportunity for people to meet up and conduct their business.

03 October is a Thursday, one of Rissani’s vibrant and bustling market days, the others being Tuesday and Sunday. As well as watching the furniture makers and fossil polishers at work, there’s a fruit, vegetable and spice market, a clothes and artefact market and also a donkey market, you’ll need to get there early to get a good one as the best go quickly.

Rissani’s big enough to wander around and soak up the atmosphere and small enough so that you don’t get lost. You don’t need a guide but it’s certainly handy to have a guy to walk you about so that you see the places of interest in efficient time and also to ward off other persistent offers, although a polite ‘La shukran’ followed if necessary by a steely glare also does the trick.

At Rissani you can see Ksar Akbar, a ruined 19th century Alouite palace which once held many treasures, it's also home to the mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif who was considered to have been the founder of the Alaouite dynasty of Morocco.

Hope this helps.

Sydney
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8. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

I am continually blown away by the generosity of the TA community! Thank you so very much for taking the time to explain this in so much detail and for presenting me with so many different options. In particular, thank you for letting me know how much the taxi prices should cost from place to place so that I can make sure I am not getting overcharged.

I did read elsewhere as well that Thursday was a market day in Rissani which is why I thought it might be nice to stop there before departing for Fes. It sounds like it should be possible to get a taxi to Rissani, stay at the markets for a few hours and then a taxi to Er rachidia, and then a bus from there to Fes.

How long is the bus drive from Er rachidia to Fes? And do you by any chance know how frequently the buses depart? I definitely don't want to leave my departure till too late and then arrive in Fes late at night.

Thank you!

Marrakech, Morocco
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9. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

very informative post from sarabreeze !

on the subject of shared grand taxis - it is true they can be a bit squashed at full capacity so you can actually buy both seats in the front - still pretty cheap usually and more comfortable

Merzouga, Morocco
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10. Re: Getting from Merzouga to Fes

I'm glad the info was of some assistance.

I don't know how long the bus drive from Er rachidia to Fes takes but as the Supratours night bus states an 8hrs journey you could anticipate it being longer for a local bus, add some time for travelling during the day ie more traffic about and plus a little extra for 'Morocco time'.

(Bear in mind Merzouga to Rissani is 1/2hr, time spent in Rissani ?hrs, Rissani to Er rachidia is around 1 1/2hrs)

I also don't know how frequently the buses depart, but I'm looking into it and will let you know as soon as I know further.