Reporting back on Morrocan tour
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Sep 18, 2012 3:58 PM Last Post By: travelinFeet
Sep 17, 2012 5:21 PM
Reporting back on Morrocan tourHello. I am not a tout but rather a woman who went on a dream vacation to Morocco. I had three weeks to prepare and turned tothis forum for help. Some here, such as Tim, were incredibly kind and helpful. Others however were not.
First of all I would say that tour/driving companies such as Zebra etc are not at all cookie cutter tour groups. Rather they are native drivers in sturdy SUVs that will take u places you couldn't get or wouldn't see without them. I used one for eight days of at month long trip and am very glad I did. The prices were quite good, as were the accommodations. And anytime I wanted to change plans or stop to seesomething it was fine. I got to meet with Bedouins known to mydriver and much more.
Friends I spent weeks worrying over which company to use, as you can see from prior posts. I was also called a useless one - timer who would not report back. But watch. Now that I report back i will be called a tout. Lol. No its not funny because people deserve to learn from others here. All of which meansthat I hopethere will not be attempts made to delete this post. I used Desert Majesty and could not have been happier. Very professional and flexible organization. As a woman traveling alone I felt safe and carefullycared for in a professional manner. The cars were new with great air con, and the restaurants great. I nevler had a bad meal (except the one time i didn't listen to drivers advice-- my fault. )
I did not feel a need for a driver in any of the cities, but did use a knowledgeable day guide in fez where they are licensed. But for driving though the countryside I wouldn't do it any other way. And those who denigrate the experience or the company are clearly not speaking from experience. (Hmmm. Maybe they are the touts.
This was to be and in fact was my dream trip. I hope you all enjoy it even half as much as I did!
Sep 17, 2012 5:39 PM
Sep 17, 2012 5:59 PM
2I don't know what a " cookie cutter tour " is either, this modern American phraseology leaves the rest of us plebs confounded..........
By the way, who were the alleged " unhelpful " forum posters ? I do hope it wasn't me with Matron, in tow.......are you prepared to name and shame.....J'espere que oui !
Sep 17, 2012 7:46 PM
3Ah... "cookie cutter" : all the same, all stamped out from the same mould!
As for the not-helpful, well if you find the thread you will see that some people were just plain nasty. Es verdad. En plus, c'est triste. (Sometimes you have to wonder at people who go out of their way to be unhelpful or mean... I mean what is their motivation?)
Sep 17, 2012 11:42 PM
4Glad you had a good time. Although I've not taken a tour with Desert Majesty I was impressed with the company when I spent several hours with them. I was in the company of my friend who runs motorcycle and 'hardcore 4x4' tours and he reckoned the Desert Majesty prices were good value.
The subject of tour companies is an emotive one. I think most companies want to do a good job. And most clients are so fascinated by the cultural and scenic differences of Morocco that they are highly satisfied with the company. Key to this is a fairly in-depth exchange beforehand to ensure the clients understand (and agree) the degree of travelling involved, and the company understands what the client really is interested in.
Budget tour companies often get lambasted for hours of travel in cramped non-airconditioned vehicles but when the client is looking to "do the desert" in a two day trip at low cost what can you expect?
Sep 18, 2012 12:21 AM
5Hi Tim! Good to hear from you! Yes, I had a fabulous time.
I'm not the easily satisfied type. I wouldn't have even gotten into a crummy car, or one without air/con!Now I would not have complained as long as I was reasonably comfortable, but wouldn't have had praise either.
OTOH I spent a LOT of time corresponding with Desert Majesty before going. We were clear that what she needed to know was the start and end date and places and some idea of the path. But I changed my itinerary twice -- once when I got to the desert and didn't want to leave, and once when I got badly hurt and couldn't walk much. In addition I asked for two extra days. That was very hard for them to arrange, but they did it. We got to one hotel where I saw a couple of large bugs. I asked the driver if this was expected (after all we were in the desert) -- he wisked me out of there and into another nicer hotel very quickly.
In addition he knew the desert and Bedouins very well. He took me to visit several families, as well as a brand new "school" that they are building in the desert for the Bedouin children.
OTOH he wasn't a guide, thus he didn't have that level of knowledge of the things that we saw, but he knew his way around and found me absolutely every single thing that I said I wanted to see, from a souk (we had to find the right day to be in the right place) to a night in a Kasbah. And when I got hurt he was very solicitous -- he even went into a store and found and bought a little stool to help me get in and out of the car. And he got up with me at 5:00 a.m. to show me where to see the sunrise over the desert.
NO one should go into the desert without air con! Ouch! The bit about the car condition is an important one that I did not think to investigate -- just the air con and 4 wheel drive. I did see some crummy vans that I would have been very unhappy with. I can't imagine how one could go through the desert without 4-wheel drive. Some places there are barely any roads. Heck, I don't even know how he knew where he was going -- it all looked the same to me!
Interestingly I found almost 100% difference among prices for the same tour. Desert Majest was slightly lower than the middle. Lahcen was higher until I told him the DM price, when he brought his down. In the long run, this website and another that-shall-not-be-named were my primary source for picking DM -- and I did get names of and speak with two women who had used the company. That's how I picked my specific guide.
The one thing that I would advise anyone, with any company, would be to be sure to get one of their "regular" year-round drivers, and not an extra that they pick up at the last minute. And tell them the kind of driver you want. We met a couple who had a real guide, who was dressed in a sports coat and tie, and spoke with an English accent. His price had been quite high, but I suppose he was worth it, if that was your cup of tea. To me, being with a Berber, who was willing to talk openly about the country and who was young (same age as one of my kids lol) and excited about things, was what appealed to me.
Oh, and I did carefully check about the drivers being "appropriate" with women. There was never an issue of any kind.
I'm not sure I'm being coherent as it's getting late -- apologies if I'm not.
And again, thanks for all your kind and useful help!
Sep 18, 2012 2:13 AM
6...... this forum is for an honest exchange of information and experiences from fellow posters. When tour companies post here masquerading as fellow tourists / travellers its deception and the forum is compromised.
The companies you mention engaged persistently in deceptive postings, I conclude their businesses are also run in a dishonest way, its trickery. Morocco is daunting to most first-time visitors, they are easy prey to false reassurances and bogus posters. I was invited by PM by a company to "work together" to get tourists, I did not reply or accept the post.
On this forum are many honest and experienced contributors, the touts and tricksters hide among them, its very difficult on the internet to sort the wheat from the chaff, its the perfect medium for confidences-tricksters, you can't see body language or hear intonation, you should take it all with a pinch of salt.
Thank you travelinFeet for your post, I hope you are not a victim too, business advertising is not permitted, the forum is for honest comments, questions or answers, posts should be appropriate and respectful. Banter and humour always welcome, strong opinions and differences of opinions freely expressed and welcome. This fine forum is at risk from greedy touts and tricksters.
Sep 18, 2012 4:29 AM
Sep 18, 2012 5:42 AM
just for the fun of the story: you would be surprised how non 4WD cars are able to travel the Sahara.
When you travel in North Niger, in the Tenere, you see dozens of luxury 2WD European-plated cars crossing the desert. Touaregs are full of ressources.... ;)
Now i laugh big time when i see a 4WD on European roads thinking of those 2WD luxury cars capable of crossing the Tenere.... :)
Sep 18, 2012 11:05 AM
9sometimes I wonder how many 504's were driven across the Sahara ... millions? "the car that loves Africa"
Sep 18, 2012 12:58 PM
10..... to view a selection of 504's .... http://www.curbsideclassic.com/automotive-histories/the-worlds-greatest-wagons-peugeot-203-403-404-504-505-an-illustrated-history/
Sep 18, 2012 1:14 PM
11We've had a Dacia Logan on 100's of km's of piste road, sand, dirt and forded at least two 3 foot deep rivers in flood (and many more shallower) and never needed the extra 2 wheel drive......it makes it more of a challenge!
And we’ve never had a car with A/C, even in the desert. We didn’t die so it’s not as important as some make out. I usually just open the window and perspire in a ladylike fashion.
Sep 18, 2012 1:34 PM
12Tf - thanks for the report. While the TT forum was set up for, and is predominantly used by indepedent travellers, there are others who sometimes wish to travel in a different manner and all have sound and reasonable reasons for doing so. I'm another who uses a mix of independent and tour companies and to a certain extent it is a bit like a lottery as to how good they are, or how bad, but good homework and consistent delving into various forums and a certain sense of self preservation hasn't let me down yet. While I don't use the companies you mention there are as many good companies as bad ones and all information is valuable in working out the right combination for each individual.
Sep 18, 2012 1:35 PM
13I have no idea where the bit about DM touting came from. But I never saw it. And I did a search for them here.
Moreover, they have been under new ownership for a number of years. I posed some questions, in person with the owner, in a sneaky way (trained in surprise cross examination here) and the current owner hadn't even heard of this forum. She had heard of TA -- EVERYONE knows TA.
IMHO, and with all due respect, I think that this forum has gone a bit "tout crazy". And others apparently think that only certain "elite" people should even use the forum. (Did you SEE the comments posted on my prior thread? Like I have no right to be here cuz I'm not like them? Sheesh) It seems like some people have nothing better to do than run around bashing people.
Protection is important, but, except where it is beyond evident, why not treat us as grownups and let us decide. A WARNING THIS LOOKS PHONY should be sufficient. (In fact it's probably much better because then there is info to be found, rather than getting an empty search.)
Finally, please lets put this in perspective. These people are poooooor. (and from a different culture with different mores) Poor like many of you have never experienced. Most are not trying to cheat anyone... they're trying to drum up business. There is a difference. While the companies vary a lot in quality, and I do suggest buyer beware, most are trying to do their best. Let's show a bit of cultural understanding here.
Posting by a business is against the rules, but many of them can't read or understand the rules. Why not warn them, in plain English (and/or French or Arabic) that it is not allowed AND give them a chance to prove themselves. If someone formally associated with this company wants to PRIVATELY check my validity I'm happy to do that -- I live in California and run a business that has NOTHING to do with Travel. But please don't just delete my posts.
I spent hours and hours on different forums getting information for my trip. I would think you-all would want to hear the results -- and not just the bad ones lol. (Only one of those actually, thanks in part to all the good stuff here!)
But as a visitor to this forum I really really affirmatively want to know about the good experiences, so please don't remove them without giving people a chance.
And I sure am not going to spend a chunk of time reporting my findings only to have someone delete it because my findings were good ones!
Please just think about it?
Sep 18, 2012 1:36 PM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$289.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$271.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$269.00 per night