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“Unsafe driver; inadequate organization”
Review of Moroccan Views

Moroccan Views
Ranked #224 of 544 Outdoor Activities in Marrakech
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Owner description: Come to Morocco and discover one of the most fascinating, diverse and extraordinary countries in the world. Join Moroccan Views on some of the most exhilarating adventure tours in Morocco and travel to the sea, to desert areas, mountain ranges and fertile oasis for an unforgettable experience.Moroccan Views is a unique travel company that organises fantastic excursions tours and adventure activities in Morocco to some of the most amazing places in the country.
Reviewed 12 January 2014

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.

3  Thank Wayne C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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31 - 35 of 83 reviews

Reviewed 5 January 2014

At 120 euros per person this is one of the cheaper means of getting out for a night on the dunes as a solo traveller/small group and it was a fantastic experience. The journey is made in a mini-bus with an English speaking guide and a group size of up to 13 people.The guide occasionally pointed out details on places we passed and was happy to answer any questions that we raised.

The trip went as follows.

Day 1: Leave Marrakech heading for the tizni n'Test pass, stopping for photo ops at a few outlooks and Berber villages along the way (one featuring an argan oil shop with a demo on how it is made). Arriving at ben ait haddou around midday, tour around the site then lunch. Driving on through Ouarzazate (no stop for the studios if that is a major point for you), and the Valley of the Roses to the hotel. The hotel was a pretty nice, clean modern building with a decent enough meal and even wifi if you want it.

Day 2: breakfast at hotel. Drive on with stops for scenic points. A stop at a Berber museum for a look at how carpets are made (with a mandatory but fairly relaxed sales pitch thrown in), then onto a quick walk through part of the Todra gorge. Driving on to Merzouga with a lunch and few rest stops. At Merzouga non-overnight luggage was put in a hotel room and we jumped on camels (lots of room on the saddle and a big handle to hold onto). Led at a slow walking pace into the dunes with a break or two to take in the sunset. The camp is not exactly the most authentic of places (the flushing western toilets are a little out of place) but the 'nomads' on hand were friendly, the food was amazingly good, followed by drums around a fire and then being led out to stargaze on top of a dune.

Day 3: Wake up at 6am. Jump on camels for slow walk back to the hotel whilst enjoying the sunrise. Collect bags and breakfast at hotel then basically drive back a largely similar route to Marrakech with rest stops along the way.

Despite being deposited in a few places with salesmen there was never any pressure from the tour staff for anyone to purchase anything or even look at anything. For lunch on each day you are deposited at a restaurant but are free to find another alternative or bring your own food so long as you don't interfere with the tour timetable. I would highly recommend skipping the restaurant on the first day to spend some more time in the site with your own packed lunch.

The only real problem for me was the sheer amount of driving, but with such a distance in only a few days it is unavoidable. Being a fixed tour you will likely prefer spend more time at one thing and less at an other (or drop another totally) but that is the way of things. The people you are with will also be a major factor, luckily everyone on mine was fairly similar and friendly so we all got along and integrated well, but this again is a risk you take with this sort of trip.

1  Thank Alistair_B_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2014

We chose this company because we wanted a group tour to the Sahara (less expensive than a private one) that we could book in advance, and we were not disappointed. It goes without saying that the scenery and sights were incredible, so I'll focus on the other aspects of the trip. Payment was easy (20% by credit card before arrival as a deposit, and the rest in cash on arrival) and we were picked up from the door of our riad right on time (7 am) on the first day. Since it was low season (early December), there were only four guests all together plus a driver and our guide. The vehicle was large, modern, and comfortable enough, which was fortunate since we spent so much time in it. As others have said, there is a lot of driving involved, but this is unavoidable. Be aware that several hours of the drive are spent on windy roads through the High Atlas mountains, so bring some medicine if you get car sick easily.

The hotel for the first night was a bit of a disappointment (had to pay extra to use the heater, broken door and window in the room repaired with tape, huge hole in one of the towels, etc.), but there was hot water, free wifi, and good dinner and breakfast. The second night in the Berber camps was truly amazing. You get your money's worth with a long camel ride through the dunes, and the Berbers who run the camp were incredibly friendly. They prepared dinner and tea (which was, of course, amazing) and led us up a nearby dune to stargaze. The camp even had real bathrooms (which was unexpected, but certainly welcome). As others have said, it gets incredibly cold at night and stays that way well after the sun has risen, but it's part of the experience--just come prepared.

Both on the way to the desert and on the way back, there were plenty of stops for meals, bathroom breaks, photo taking, and souvenir shopping (though we never felt obligated to buy anything). We arrived back in Marrakech right on time (7pm) and were dropped off at the door of our hotel. For 120 euros per person, we found this trip to be a great deal and an amazing experience.

Thank Andrew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014 via mobile

I've been on some poor tours, but I'd never been abandoned in a freezing desert before.

The highlight of the Moroccan Views Erg Chebbi trip is a camel ride into the Sahara to camp at a Berber nomad-styled site.

On our way out, they ran out of camels. Our guide, Ishmael, was nowhere around to help. The other folks we'd been left with (who we had not been introduced to or ever met before) split our group and drove some of us to the camp in a car. The driver, noting there were no police around, stopped halfway through the desert to drink a beer.

That night the temperature dropped below freezing. We were each given one thin wool blanket to sleep under. Friends who stayed as guests in Berber homes were given 4-6 blankets due to the weather. Even in Marrakesh, where it is warmer, I was given two. None of us were able to keep warm, and we found it impossible to sleep through the night. Our guide was no where around (we suspect he slept at a hotel back in town). There was no one else to ask for help or for more blankets.

I grew up in snowy New York State and am no stranger to winter camping. On this trip we were told to bring as little as possible and to rely on what the camp provides. What they provided wasn't nearly reasonable. At least one of us came down with a bad cold the next day.

On the way back the camels ran short once more, and for a second time they split our group and brought some of us back by car. Again, our guide was nowhere to be found.

The rest of the trip ranged from fairly good to somewhat disappointing. We did have fun, and there were some lovely moments. But In the end, it was a mediocre tour that, in what should have been it's most amazing moments, failed to deliver comfort, safety, or even enough camels on a camel trek.

This was over New Years and I assume they were busier than normal. It pains me to leave this for a company that is otherwise so well reviewed. But part of running a tour is not overbooking. Another part is having a guide present in case problems occur.

Morocco is glorious. Please see it with a company that offers more kindness and respect than Moroccan Views.

1  Thank Reed K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 2013

We went on the Marrakech to Sahara 3 day tour and had a fabulous trip! The tour guide Ishmial was helpful, friendly and informative. We had a good and safe driver the whole trip and accommodation that was provided was comfortable. The desert trip itself was fun and laying under the stars a highlight. The berbers were so welcoming warm and friendly and the food was delicious! If your planning a trip in Morrocco I would recommend this company for excellent value.

Thank marcella h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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