Morocco Travel Planning

13 Sep

Morocco Travel Planning is the summary of my six-week trip to Morocco during the autumn of 2015 (October and a bit of November). The pace of traveling was slow, in accordance with the flexibility I had to go and stay wherever I wanted with a rented car.

Morocco Travel Planning – General Planning:

My travel planning for Morocco started two months before the trip. I used the Lonely Planet Guide and ignored any other articles about Morocco on the internet. I considered that the guide book offered me enough, very well synthesized information to plan my trip. From the guide book, I could choose the places where I wanted to go during a period of six weeks – touristic places, UNESCO heritage sites, as well as off the beaten track places. However, after booking the flight, I realized that six weeks weren’t enough for how much I wanted to visit, so I had to give up my plan to go to the very southern part of the country (Agadir, Taroudant, Tiznit, Tafroute, Mirleft, Laayoune, Dakhla).

Morocco Travel Planning – Fixed Plans:

Before leaving to Morocco, I had contacted hosts for most of my trip (80-90 %) because I considered that I wouldn’t had time during my trip to do that (and it was good I had done this so).

– my flight ticket, which I bought almost two months in advance

– my car, which I booked a few days after buying my flight tickets

– a couple of CouchSurfing contacts who could have helped me with information, accommodation, and phone calls if anything happened to me in Morocco during my stay

– a couple of couchsurfing requests accepted in Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Rabat (I messaged to my hosts before my departure to Morocco as I knew I wouldn’t have time for messages during my stay in Morocco)

– a collaboration with a traditional riad in Fes-el-Bali (the old medina of Fes): I wrote about Casa Aya Medina in exchange for free accommodation.

– a four-day camel trek in the desert near Zagora-M’Hamid/ Erg Chigaga (the highest chain of sand dunes in Morocco): I wrote about this Desert Camel Trek with Tizi Trekking in exchange for a free camel desert trek (4 days)

Morocco Travel Planning – Intentions, but nothing fixed

When I left for Morocco, I wanted to do/to go to the following places but I hadn’t fixed dates for them:

– stop in Bhalil village for an interview with Kamal Chaoui, the owner of an authentic Berber guest-house

– explore in all of the four Imperial Cities of Morocco (Fes, Marrakesh, Rabat, and Meknes)

– stay in local, traditional riads as much as possible and enjoy their elaborately colorful decorations (wood, tileworks, stucco plaster)

– sleep in local campgrounds as much as possible (Dades, Todra, N’Kob, Zagora, Chefchouan) – I brought my tent with me during the trip

–  explore some local fortified mud-brick villages (ksar/ ksour)

– go to at least one local hamam and see how Moroccan women integrate this in their daily lifestyle

Morocco Travel Planning – Final Result:

The final result of my trip in Morocco, where I stayed for five weeks, is a series of 21 travel diaries (which I am writing now). Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about Morocco. Which is your favorite place in Morocco? Why?

Morocco Travel Planning 2015

Morocco Travel Planning 2015

Fes old medina and the new town (4 days) –

  • two flights from Bucharest (Romania) to Fes (Morocco), via Brussels Charleroi (Belgium)
  • explored Fes old medina (Fes-el-Bali)
  • hiked up to Borj Nord and the tombs of the Merinides
  • explored Fes new medina (Fes-Jdid) and the Jewish quarter (mellah)

Fes old medina (I): smells and prayers – Morocco

Fes old medina (II): smells and prayers – Morocco

From Fes to the Tafilalt Oases passing the Atlas Mountains (4 days) –

  • explored the old medina of Sefrou; the travel writers’ meeting at Dar Kamal Chaoui in Bhalil village with troglodytes caves
  • road trip from Bhalil to Midelt, via Dayet Ifruah Lake – Ifrane – Azrou – Middle Atlas Mountains
  • discovered Kashbah de Myriem (monastery and Berber carpet workshop) near Midelt; road trip from Midelt to Erfoud, along the Ziz Gorges & Valley
  • half-day road trip around the fortified mud-brick villages near Rissani (ksar/ ksour)

From Fes to Midelt, passing Sefrou and Bhalil – Morocco

From Midelt to the Tafilalt Oasis, passing the Ziz Valley – Morocco

From Erfoud to Zagora, passing the Todra, Dades, and Draa Valleys (5 days) – 

  • road trip from Erfoud to the Todra Gorges, with a stop in Majha Fezna (khattara underground irrigation system) – Ksar el-Khorbat, and Sources Lalla Mimoun
  • road trip through the Todra Gorges all the way up in the mountains to the Berber village of Tamtattouchte; arrived in the Dades Valley
  • driven up the serpentine road through the Dades Gorges; road trip from the Dades Valley to Ouarzazate, via Boumalne des Dades – Kella M’Gouna – Skoura – Ouarzazate
  • explore the town center of Ouarzazate; road trip along the Draa Valley, via Agdz – Tamnougalt and a short detour to N’Kob desert town
  • returned and driven along the Draa Valley, via Oulad Othmane – Ksar Tissergat – Zagora

From Erfoud to the Todra Gorges, passing Ksar El Khorbat – Morocco

From Todra and Dades Valley to Skoura and Ouarzazate – Morocco

Traveling the Draa Valley to Zagora, with a detour to N’Kob – Morocco

Camel Desert Trek – Camel Desert Trek from Zagora to M’Hamid (4 days) –

Camel Trekking - Zagora M'Hammid (yellow - car, green - trekking)

Camel Trekking – Zagora M’Hammid (yellow – car, green – trekking)

  • Day 1: hike & ride in the Jbel Bani Mountains, via Faija Plateau – Col Oum Laachar Pass – Oued Lemhassa Valley – near Tighrghrin Oasis; camp near the well.
  • Day 2: walk & ride via Tighrghrin Oasis – Ouad Mhasser Valley  – Afrokh Nomad Camp; camp between the dunes in Erg Chigaga.
  • Day 3: walk & ride from Erg Chigaga Dunes to the Bogarne Dunes.
  • Day 4: walk & ride from the Bogarne Dunes to Ouad Naem; jeep ride to M’Hamid Lghzlan Camping.

Camel Desert Trek – from Zagora to M’Hammid – Morocco

Long drive from the desert to Marrakesh (1 day) –

  • road trip from Zagora to Marrakesh, with a stop in ksar Ait Benhaddou and drive past the Tizi N’Tikka Pass in the High Atlas Mountains

From Sahara to Marrakesh, with a stop in Ait Benhaddou – Morocco

The pink city of Marrakesh (4 days)

  • explored Marrakesh old medina (souqs and madrassas)
  • explored Marrakesh old medina (palaces, tombs, and mellah)
  • explored Jardin Majorell; lunch at Naima’s family + local hammam in the afternoon
  • randomly strolled the old medina

Marrakesh: the pink city – souqs and luxury (I) – Morocco

Marrakesh: the pink city – souqs and luxury (II) – Morocco

From Marrakesh to Casablanca, passing Essaouira and El Jadida (4 days)

  • road trip from Marrakesh to Essaouira, with stops at Argan oil cooperatives
  • explored Essaouira for one day
  • road trip from Essaouira to El Jadida, with a stop in Safi and Oualidia
  • explored El Jadida and Azzemour

From Marrakesh to Essaouira, passing Argan oil cooperatives – Morocco

The road from Essaouira to El Jadida, with stops in Safi and Azemmour – Morocco

This is the summary of my six-week trip to Morocco. Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about traveling to Morocco. Which is your favorite place in Morocco? Why? Where would you go?

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