We are visiting Marrakech for a week at the end of October and are really looking forward to our stay in this colorful and lively city. However this is our 1st trip to Morocco and are concerned we will be missing an experience if we spend the full week only here, so we are looking into taking a couple of trips allowing us 5 nights and 3 days in Marrakech and 2 nights and 4 days exploring. I am not familiar with the best transport options or distances involve, but so far we are considering an overnight stay in Essaouria, from what I have read from previous posts the Supratours bus seems the most favorable option to travel to and from. Also a journey to Ali Ben Haddou, again spending the night there in order to take advantage of what I've read to be the most favorable lighting conditions at sunset and at dawn. I may not yet fully appreciate the magnitude of the place but I believe a couple of hours is ample to wander round the Ksar, is there anything else we should do when visiting this wonderful Unesco site?
I believe the journey to and from Marrakesh will take us through the Atlas Mountains are there any specific places/ things we should stop and see enroute. What would be the best means of transport, would it be advisable to hire a car and drive? I would love to know if my suggested plans sound plausible and if this sounds like a sound plan. I would be very pleased to hear any recommendations.