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Its kind of a drive from Marrakesh all over the High Atlas passing Tizi n Tichka along many ancient kasbahs to Ait-Ben-Haddou.
But the reward is beautiful nature and you get a feeling how diverse Maroccan landscape is - from the ocean, the mountains to the desert.
I booked this overnight tour on Tripadvisor/Viator and the value for the price is perfect since youre able to see all the places in just 36 hours. Disadvantage: you dont really have a guide but a driver who has to rush to get through his itinery.
Still: the view of the Atlas mountains, and walking through Ait Ben haddou was worth it!
overnight camping was amazing, the only negatives were the large amounts of driving each day as well as not having a set itinerary in advanced.
Sum-up: sites were awesome but the awful staff made this 2/5.
First, the communication was terrible. There was almost no info provided about who was picking us up and when exactly, what to prepare/expect, etc. They were a half hour late to pick us up because they got lost despite me calling/emailing several times to try to warn them that they would get lost.
The local tour operator looks more like a car rental than a guiding company, and boy does it show. It's like they used one of their vans and forced one of their poor employees to cart around a bunch of tourists. The guide, Mustafa, was aloof and grumpy the entire time. He wouldn't tell us basic things like when we'd eat lunch, he drove by places with nice views of the mountains and opt for a much worse view, and basically just was a total grouch about everything. We were supposed to see a kasbah at Ouarzazate according to the online itinerary and instead took us to a parking lot outside of a cinema museum and said we had 20 min. GREAT, just enough time to do absolutely nothing. We were told to pay 20 MAD each to a guide at Ait Ben Haddou, who also wanted a tip, even though it says small group tours and gratuities are included. When we complained, we suddenly didn't have to pay guides anymore, so that was clearly a scam.
Then the camels and Berber camp was also a mess. The staff again was just awful. They wouldn't tell us when we were eating, and when we did, it wasn't clear that we weren't just going to eat rice since that's all they brought for a long time. They did not offer any drinks to even pay for at dinner, so be sure to bring plenty of your own water. And be prepared to not have access to bathroom facilities. There were no toilets, and no warning about that. Or you could relieve yourself right next to the dining tent like one of the charming staff. DISGUSTING! I don't mind toileting outside if we had a warning, but communication was 0 here.
Choose another tour to see these awesome sites.
Very Bad. Avoid it
Many things happened in this tour:
1 . There is no guide. It's just a driver. An arrogant driver who had stopped to ask where and how long but still did not meet the times.
2. For this tour we paid 145 each and in the same micro bus were people who had paid 80 per person. And the hotel and breakfasts- bread, jam and cafe- would say that was worth even less.
3. The driver stopped at sites of interest - usually before the precise stop - where they had some local guides those who had to pay them for the local tour. All prearranged. And also he stopped to eat in places that were more expensive than they were a 1 or 2 block later.
4. Failure to comply with the schedules caused we arrived late to Merzouga and thus arrived at night to the dunes practically eat and sleep. We could not enjoy the desert and its dunes that was the goal of the tour.
5. In the desert out was at 5:30 am and finally left at 7:00 am.
If it were not for the places we visited we would say that the tour was a disaster.
I cannot recommend this tour due to what happened on our voyage. I booked the tour for the whole family of four a week before and everything went very smoothly and we received the information we needed. So far so good!
We were picked up as the first passengers at our Riad by two persons in a larger van. Then the trouble started. We went to pick up more passengers but it seemed to be some trouble with finding the persons. We went to a third place and more discussions in Arabic but no information to us six passengers in the van. After about an hour we all had to go out of the larger van and we were told that we have to switch to a smaller vehicle standing at a petrol station. A new chauffeur jumped in and started to drive. Two more young girls had joined, sitting in the front seat. Still no information to us!
After a while we addressed the chauffeur in French and asked if we were on our way. We received an oui.
According to the itinerary for the tour a guide would be included and normally I assume this is the chauffeur as well. Unfortunately, our guide spoke very little French and no English at all. We never received any information and were kept in the dark the whole trip. Luckily the two girls in the front spoke Arabic and could translate our most needed questions back in French. Due to the delay in the morning the chauffeur drove like a maniac because we needed to be at the place for riding the camels before sunset. Due to the crazy drive in the mountains the first passenger got carsick and had to vomit. The passenger swapped places with the girls in the front which only meant that they also got sick and we had to stop beside the road. I and my family were ok in the back but we were all so afraid when the chauffeur overtook all the cars on this winding mountain road. An absolute nightmare.
A stop at Ait Benhaddou for a quick lunch and a short tour as we were running late. Even if all the guided tours and the gratuities were included in the price we still had to
The drive to the desert was very long, without any explanation of what we were seeing. Wasn't drivers fault as he didn't speak any english only arabic. The desert experience was a bit of a rip off, you can see the city lights from where you camp.
Driver was great and so was the hotel accommodation in Gorges. Desert camp did not have bathrooms which was a huge negative mostly because this was advertised as luxury.
The Atlas Mountains were beautiful as was the desert. However our guide Mohammed was completely unhelpful, rushed us all day, wasted our time stopping at shops where he clearly got a commission, did not explain what we were doing, did not even introduce himself until asked, and was not able to manage time so that we could get to the desert to ride the camels by sunset. As a result we were riding at night with no view whatsoever. Also the trip was advertised as including the tour information yet the one place where we were given to a local guide we were charged extra albeit a very small amount. The camels were lovely as were the men who handled them. The lodgings in the desert were simple but adequate. However I am sure there are much better ways to have a camel trek in Morocco than this!