The biggest problem for me on this trip was the driving. It was frankly unsafe. I love road trips. They are such great opportunities to see life unfold as you drive through it. We passed through some spectacular countryside on this trip but I could not enjoy it due to the driving. My partner and I have travelled in 14 African countries as well as in South America, India and Nepal. This is to say that we are no stranger to crazy winding roads and Developing World driving practices. We're generally OK with these things and that is why we signed up for a trip that would involve such long periods of time spent driving. But we both felt this driver was the worst we had encountered in our travels. He was certainly more aggressive than any other Moroccan driver on the road during the three days of our tour. The evidence being that he constantly passed both cars and tourist buses, while being passed himself but twice in three days. He drove like he was in a video game collecting points for every pass made. He sped up into every corner and then rode the brakes out of it. I watched repeatedly as he quite literally leaned his body into every turn, jerkingly willing the vehicle into the turn. (I am surprised he didn't pull a muscle doing it). I was aware that at least 4 of the 11 clients spoke to the guide about the driver after the first day and expressed their discomfort and requested he drive safer. The following day I was happy to see that he drove very well. I really enjoyed watching Morocco go by. However, on the third day he ramped it up again and drove the same as the first day. Once, I physically reached forward and tapped his arm and expressed my displeasure after an unsafe move. He apologized but really made no change in his driving practice. It simply was neither fun, nor restful being in his vehicle.
Other than the driving, there were other concerns as well: some big; others small. We slept in the desert in a camp that housed probably about 40 tourists from other groups in addition to ours. The food was excellent and plentiful that night. Great energy in the meal tent during the dinner hour! But it didn't appear to me that any staff whatsoever slept in the camp that night with us tourist folk. Our guide slept at the hotel in which we were taken for breakfast the following day. When we awoke before sunrise, as directed to do, there was no one there to greet us or to organize things. We stood silently in the darkness along with the other tourists wondering when the camels would show up, where they would come from and where we were supposed to wait. There were not enough camels for everyone in all groups and this was known by tourists and guides alike because it had been an issue on the way into the camp. The camels eventually appeared over the horizon and they were walked into position by the camel caretakers who came over the dunes with the animals. In the absence of any guide to organize things, all the tourists basically rushed forward to get themselves a camel at the expense of others. Our group of 11 people got scattered in and amongst other tour groups and 4 members of our group ended up not getting a camel at all. They had to wait about 30 minutes in the cold for a truck from the hotel to come into the desert and get them and drive them out. I feel that our guide should have slept in the camp with us and got up in the morning a few minutes before us to put some order to the morning and to ensure that our group had 11 camels waiting together for us. Not doing this was an especially poor showing since he knew that there were not enough camels. If I was the guide on this trip, I would have slept in camp with my clients and I would have gone the extra mile to wake up 15 minutes before my clients to relight the campfire from the night before so that my clients could have stood around a warm fire while waiting for the camels to arrive (my thermometer showed 1 degree Celsius at wake-up time).
There were also some smaller issues that frankly didn't bother me but got others upset such as no warm water at the hotel we were taken to for showers after the cold night in the desert; guests having to wait an hour or more at their hotels to be picked up on day one of the trip; thread bare towels at the hotel on night one). I have no trouble still having fun when encountered with these smaller issues. In fact I expect them when traveling in Africa, but the unsafe driving and the inadequate organization at the desert camp were fatal flaws for me; look to another tour provider for your 3 day Merzouga Adventure.
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