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3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

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3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

Hello, we (myself, husband and our 6 year old daughter) are going to Morocco (all the way from New Zealand!) for 3 1/2 weeks in September/October. I spent about 5 weeks in Morocco about 15 years ago and can't wait to go back with my family. We are pretty independent travellers and hope to spend most of our time staying with local families, booking our accommodation though airbnb.

I went to Rissani/Erfoud/Merzouga on my 1996 trip and it sounds like that area has changed quite a bit in the intervening years. It felt very isolated back then but it seems the area is more accessible now (I don't remember a road to Erg Chebbi back then?!) and have read stories about dune buggies (!) sand boarding and lots of visitors. We would love to take our daughter to the desert so are considering Erg Chigaga instead. Does that sound like a better plan? Here's our itinerary based on visiting Erg Chigaga - I'm keen to know what others would recommend!

Day 1 arrive Casablanca (we fly into Casablanca from Dubai).

Day 2 Train to Fez

Day 3 Fez

Day 4 Fez

Day 5 Grand taxi to Chefchaouen

Day 6 Chefchaouen

Day 7 Grand taxi back to Fez. Pick up hire car and stay that night in the Atlas somewhere

(recommendations?)

Day 8 Todra

Day 9 Dades

Day 10 Dades

Day 11 Zagora

Day 12 M'hamid/Erg Chigaga camp

Day 13 M'hamid/Erg Chigaga camp

Day 14 M'hamid/Erg Chigaga camp

Day 15 Tafroute

Day 16 Tafroute

Day 17 Essouira

Day 18 Essouira

Day 19 to Marrakech (drop hire car off)

Day 20 Marrakech

Day 21 Marrakech

Day 22 Marrakech

Day 23 Marrakech

Day 24 Train to Casablanca, fly out back to New Zealand.

We have quite a few days in Marrakech as my husband has a conference there so my daughter and I will be exploring ourselves so would love to hear of any Marrakech must do's for kids!

I look forward to hearing others thoughts!

Edited: 16 June 2014, 03:16
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Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco
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1. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

Rather than go Casa - Fez - Chefchaouen - Fez, you could take the Tanger train from Casa and get off at El Ksar el Kebir, then grand taxi to Chefchaouen. Then on to Fez.

Azrou would be a good place to stop south of Fez.

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2. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

Hi Tim, thanks for your reply.

Great advice! - we'll definitely do it that way. We didn't realise the train line went that far inland.

We arrive in Casablanca in the afternoon (after a 30 odd hour plane journey from NZ!) so think we will stay that night in Casblanca, then catch the Tangier train to Ksar el Kebir and grande taxi onto Chefchaouen the next day.

Can you recommend a place to stay in Casablanca that is in a location relatively handy to the airport and train station?

Thanks for your help!

Lisa

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3. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

For a little adventure on the way to Azrou you could leave Fez on the R503 through Séfrou, then 24km past Sefrou turn right (west) and travel through the 'lake district' to Dayet Aoua, then join the N8 near Ifrane.

How to find the wild monkeys near Azrou: tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g616013-c145720/Azr…

Kasbah de la Vallée ( http://www.kasbah-vallee-dades.com/ ) is one of many options for the Dades Gorge. For Zagora you could consider Dar Raha ( http://www.darraha.com/en/ ) in Amazraou which is a couple of km past Zagora.

You may want to cut one of the days in Erg Chigaga and spend it in Tafraoute. On the way to Tafraoute, the N12 route from Zagora to Foum Zguid by now should be open as a tarmac road, which will save you having to loop round via Agdz.

Tafraoute is one of my favourite places in Morocco. You could stay in town, or in the Ameln Valley a few km to the north in which case I would propose Chez Amaliya ( http://www.chezamaliya.com/en/ )

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4. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

I wanted to suggest to take the trip from Casa first up to Chefchaouen and then ... when I have read the same suggestion as Tim wrote.

Anyway, it is good decision to go this time to Erg Chigaga so you can keep in memory Chebbi as it was 1996. Even if it is still very nice there but probably not so empty and primitive like before.

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5. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

The easiest hotel for Casablanca is the Ibis ( accorhotels.com/gb/…index.shtml ) which is right next to Casa Voyageurs station that is the station you would have to change at anyway when coming from the airport.

Google for ONCF and select 'translate this webpage' to get the train site in English. The airport is called AEROPORT MED V (translated as Airport Med V) and CASA VOYAGEURS will be translated as Casa Travellers. And Ksar el Kebir is referred to as EL KSAR EL KEBIR.

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6. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

P.S. OP already plans to spend 2 nights in Tafraoute. From M'Hamid to Tafraoute it is a little far so it would be good to spend one night somewhere on the way, for example in Tata.

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7. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

The R410 from El Ksar el Kebir to Chefchaouen follows the Loukkos river for some way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kyZsn9umhs

From 1912 to 1956 the river was the frontier between what was Spanish Morocco to the north and French Morocco to the south.

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8. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

Hi Tim, we like a little adventure so your ideas sound great!

Last time I was here we went to Azrou and the surrounding area and we went to (I guess? - it was a long time ago!) the lake area and went to the headwaters of a river there where terraces had been built out over the river and you could hire one and have tea and snacks. It was really lovely but I can't remember the name of it or where it is exactly. Do you by any chance know where I mean? :)

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9. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

Hi Khamlia, thanks for your reply about Erg Chebbi/Erg Chigaga! I agree - and it will be great to go somewhere completely new with my family! :)

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10. Re: 3 1/2 weeks in Morocco: itinerary suggestions?

>it would be good to spend one night somewhere on the way, for example in Tata.

Tate would be OK but possibly a bit early seeing as the N12 is a fast main road. Another 'adventure' option would be to carry on the N12 past Tata and Akka, then turn north for Amtoudi (use Google Maps to find this).

Stay overnight at Ondiraitlesud ( tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g1576738-d157… ) then in the cool of the morning climb up to and explore the wonderful agadirs (fortified communal warehouses), see http://looklex.com/morocco/amtoudi.htm

(The 'ventilation system' described on the link above is actually bee hives.)

Afterwards approach Tafraoute from the south, but as the owners at Ondiraitlesud which is the best route.