I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Fes, Morocco. I found Mint Tea Tours here on... read more
I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Fes, Morocco. I found Mint Tea Tours here on... read more
We were planning a 9-day trip in Morocco to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, and I knew better than to think I could drive there (and after seeing the drivers, especially in Casablanca and Marrakech, I knew I was right)! We (briefly) considered tours, but really wanted to customize our experience. I considered several private car/driver tours, but Mint Tea seemed the best fit for us, and I’m pleased to say that our experience with them could not have been better! It started the trip planning with Ellen who seemed to understand exactly what we were looking for. She offered to arrange for lodging for us, but I declined as my wife is pretty particular about where we stay. I had trouble finding lodging to our liking online in a few places, and Ellen was helpful in offering some suggestions. In hind-sight, I should have let Ellen book them all for us, as her suggestions were over-the-top. It seemed a bit sketchy having to do an international wire-transfer for a 50% deposit, but it is Morocco which is mostly a cash economy still! Ellen held our hand through this process and even more through the weeks that followed to plan out all the details of our trip – what we wanted to see, do, options, etc. Ellen prepared a very detailed and informative itinerary for us, we details and history of what we were going to do and see.
Our...We were planning a 9-day trip in Morocco to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, and I knew better than to think I could drive there (and after seeing the drivers, especially in Casablanca and Marrakech, I knew I was right)! We (briefly) considered tours, but really wanted to customize our experience. I considered several private car/driver tours, but Mint Tea seemed the best fit for us, and I’m pleased to say that our experience with them could not have been better! It started the trip planning with Ellen who seemed to understand exactly what we were looking for. She offered to arrange for lodging for us, but I declined as my wife is pretty particular about where we stay. I had trouble finding lodging to our liking online in a few places, and Ellen was helpful in offering some suggestions. In hind-sight, I should have let Ellen book them all for us, as her suggestions were over-the-top. It seemed a bit sketchy having to do an international wire-transfer for a 50% deposit, but it is Morocco which is mostly a cash economy still! Ellen held our hand through this process and even more through the weeks that followed to plan out all the details of our trip – what we wanted to see, do, options, etc. Ellen prepared a very detailed and informative itinerary for us, we details and history of what we were going to do and see.
Our trip itself started in Casablanca (after a long trip from New York), where we spent the first day on our own. The next morning, our driver Mimoun was waiting for us in a clean, comfortable mini-van style Mercedes. He took us to Meknes and on to Volubilis where Mint Tea arranged a very knowledgeable private guide to explore the amazing Roman ruins. We were blown away. We went on to Fes for a couple of days, where Mimoun chauffeured us outside the medina, and another excellent guide, Azadine, gave us a great lesson in the history and culture of Fes – both the medina and the new city.
Following our time in Fes, Lotfi became our driver for the balance of our trip. We went through the Middle Atlas seeing Ifrane, the cedar forests, the Macaque monkeys, and on our way towards the desert. Lotfi knew the best authentic roadside places to stop, and did a great job of explaining the local culture and variations. Being Berber himself (as are Jamaal and Mimoun), we gained a much deeper appreciation of the culture. Over the next days, Lotfi took us to the Rissani souk, Erg Chebbi desert for an overnight into the Sahara (definitely a must-do! Even in the heat of July it was an amazing experience!!), Todra Gorge, Boumalne Dades, Skora, Ouarzazate, High Atlas mountains, an Argan oil cooperative, and ending in Marrakech. Throughout all this, Lotfi cared for our comfort, safety, and well-being while sharing his deep knowledge of his homeland in an entertaining and engaging way. Thanks to social media, we’re still in touch!
After our time in Morocco ended, and we went on to a week in Spain, a 10 day luxury Mediterranean cruise, and a week in Greece – a 30-day trip to celebrate our 30th anniversary – but it was our time in Morocco that we look back on most fondly. Thank you, Mint Tea Tours, for making our trip so memorable and enjoyable.More
I recently returned, along with two of my friends, from a fifteen-day trip to Morocco organized by Mint Tea Tours. This voyage of discovery was wonderful in every way, and I commend Jamal and Ellen, who run the company, along with Hicham, our driver, for their professionalism, their wisdom, their patience, and their good humor in ensuring that we would enjoy a trip of a lifetime.
None of us had ever been to Morocco, and we contacted Ellen and Jamal upon reading the excellent reviews of Mint Tea Tours on TripAdvisor. For more than a year, we worked out an itinerary, discussed our personal goals for the vacation, and set out our priorities. We decided what kinds of hotels we wanted to stay at, and we established the pace of the trip. Ellen and Jamal proved excellent “listeners,” and they came to know us, which was vital in putting together a trip that we would find appealing. I also would like to point out that the three of us asked *many* questions along the way, and Ellen and Jamal always responded in a timely fashion, reassuring us that we would be in excellent hands.
They assigned Hicham to serve as our driver. What a fortunate decision! Hicham was excellent in every way. First of all, he is actually a terrific driver, which is essential in Morocco. But more importantly, he proved a great and knowledgeable companion. We learned about Moroccan culture, history, mores, religion, and more from him throughout every day. He listened carefully to our questions, and he helped us deepen our growing knowledge of his fascinating homeland. We were struck by his good sense and his good humor. He could read us. When we were tired, for instance, he was content for us to drive in quiet. When we were tired of shopping, he made sure that we had other activities to do. He recommended tasty, inexpensive, and healthy restaurants for lunch, and he helped us arrange dinner most evenings. When we mentioned that we wanted to hear Gnawa music, he worked out a visit to a small concert. Every day brought forth new experiences, most thanks to him.
For the most part, we stayed at riads. They were gorgeous. Generally-speaking, the people who worked at them were friendly, accommodating, and helpful. Whenever possible, we took our dinners at the riads where we stayed, and when we return to Morocco, we will certainly do that again.
We are very grateful to Ellen, Jamal, and Hicham for insuring that we had such a great experience in Morocco!
A+ experience with Jamal and Mint Tea Tours! I travel all over the world and this was probably the most special tour Ive had in any place. I only did a day tour of Fes with the firm, but I would have them plan the full tour on my next trip to Morocco. From the beginning, booking was seamless and very straightforward. Very quick and thorough responses. I was lucky to have Jamal as my guide - he is the owner and grew up in the heart of the Medina of Fes. He is extremely knowledgeable and knows the in depth history of all facets of Fes and Morocco. (His english is impeccable too, you could mistake him for an american). He doesnt just lecture, he made the tour engaging and very personal to me. I was interested in the Jewish history of Morocco and he gave extra emphasis towards that. You can tell his job is his passion and he is always looking to learn more to share w his clients. Given that he grew up in the Medina, he showed me the true insiders look at the Medina where there were few, if any, other tourists. He also spent more hours than booked to show me around - clearly proud to show off his hometown and make experience as full as it could be. I was interested in buying a rug and brought me to a store he said was reputable. The experience was one you cant find with any other tour guide. I highly recommend Jamal and Mint Tea Tours
We were a group of 10 friends coming from all around the world. Our drivers, Hicham and Lotfi picked us up at the airport with no problems at all. The vans were always very clean, had bottles of water and even had moroccan biscuits and a gift for each of us when we arrived. We spent 11 days touring the beautiful country. Our drivers were more than just drivers. Both spoke English well. They looked after us and cared for our well-being and comfort even when not driving. They would help us order food and check the bill, warned us of potential scams and warded off touts when they became uncomfortably insistent. You can't go wrong booking with Mint Tea Tours!
We were a group of 4 adults and we only had 1 week in Morocco. Morocco is really difficult to see in just one week and efficiency when getting from major city to city was important to us. I was happy to find that Mint Tea Tours provided private car transportation from city to city for an affordable price (as an alternative to flying) which allowed us to maximize the time we spent in Morocco. Our journey with Mint Tea Tours started in Marrakech with a day tour of Essaouira (beautiful coastal day trip getaway from busy Marrakech), then the next day we were transported from Marrakech to Fes with stops in Meknes and Volubilis. Please do yourself a favor and make a stop in Volubilis- ancient Roman ruins on the way to Fes. We had a private guide at the site as well and he was so informative about the ruins. It was one of the highlights of our trip. Then we scheduled a private city tour of Fes- which I also highly recommend because Fes is extremely confusing to get around in- the medina in particular compared to Marrakech medina. Then the next day we had a private transfer from Fes to Tangier with stops in Chefchaouen (the blue city- so beautiful, definitely go!) and Tetouan (short stop). We finished our journey in Tangier and wish we could have spent more time there before our flight to Lisbon the next morning. Tangier looked a bit more modernized and the European influence was noted within the architecture.
We enjoyed every part of our journey with Mint Tea Tours, especially with our great driver Hicham. He was with us during our entire journey and we appreciated his long hours of driving us to all the locations on our itinerary. If you're looking to simplify your trip to Morocco and only work with 1 company for your transfers to see as much of Morocco as possible, I highly recommend Mint Tea Tours. They were very flexible with our needs and they also offer to book your accommodations. We did not book our accommodations through them as I found this company after we had already booked our hotels so I cannot speak for the quality of the accommodations they offer.
The day before our trip to the desert, Mimoun, our amazing driver from Mint Tea Tours gave us appointment for 8 am the next morning at the closest square, since the riad where we were staying was lost into the little street in the medina of Fes.
At 8.10am we were still at the riad waiting for the rest of our friends to check out when Mimoun comes to see if were okay. He ended up helping with the luggage all the way to his car.
The car was immaculate:very clean, very comfortable and very spacious:both my husband and his friend are over 190cm tall and had a lot of space for their legs.
Mimoun made our 8 hours long drive to the desert seem not too long: we stopped and discovered Ifrane, the monkey forest, and a few other villages. He was also an excellent guide: knew a lot about all those little villages we drove past, he explained us so many things about the Moroccan culture, tradition and history, and I have to say that I was actually surprised to learn all those things since I've got a Moroccan background and I thought I knew everything about local culture and traditions.
Mimoun allowed us to eat some snacks in the car and to put out music on. He was also really patient and had always the smile on his face even when we kept asking him to stop every hour to buy more snacks and go to the toilet.
I can't recommend this company and this driver enough. My husband and I are already planning another trip to Morocco for next year and we will definitely book a longer trip with Mint Tea!