This was one of the highlights of our trip. After a few days wondering around the old town of Marrakech, our driver met us near the hotel with the guide. The two days were comfortable and interesting with our guide being helpful and professional throughout. He was informative and gave us plenty of opportunity to explore the different checkpoints of the trip in our own time and adapted the structure of the tour accordingly. Whether we were running ahead of schedule or behind, they made sure that we didn't miss out on the best parts of the trip - namely the camel ride and the night in the desert.
We were one of 2 couples on the tour on the same day and it was nice to meet them and share our experiences during the trip. Sitting around a camp fire in the desert with the stars above and eating in candle light in a tent was great fun too!
Finally, our guides went above and beyond for us - on the return journey I had left my rucksack at the restaurant we stopped at for lunch, and they did everything they could to locate it and drove back to pick it up. We returned to Marrakesh, late, tired from travel, but ultimately happy with the experience.
The only critique I have is with the pushiness of the carpet sellers in one of the warehouse shops enroute to the desert on day 1. Of course these visits are part of the tour system to boost commission and helps maintain the tour for future visitors. However, charming as the shop workers were, maybe for us Brits it was a bit awkard and difficult to walk out the door once we felt uncomfortable and decided we weren't going to purchase anything at international rates.
We did buy some of the pottery bargain with them!, and spice shop goods though!
Bring warm layers for the desert!
This was a wonderful experience. Our tour guides - Ramadhan and Isma were great. They stopped at all the interesting sites on the way up and on the way back from the desert stay. They took good care of us and were very friendly and hospitable. They explained the sights with background information which helped us understand Morocco and the way of life of its people. The desert trip - a one hour trek on the camel and the overnight stay at the desert can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was just wonderful and truly memorable. Lots to see and experience. Great trip!
Tour was as expected. The guide and driver were very helpful throughout the 2 day experience. At one point we left a rucksack at a restaurant 45min away and they went to full lengths to help us find it and get it back. They constantly tried to make our trip enjoyable and straightforward. My only criticism would be the choice of restaurants en route to the sahara in some of the towns where we stopped for lunch - the first had nothing in stock although our guide moved us straight away on realising this situation, to another place and generally if you don't eat beef the other option was vegetables. Hasim and Omar were wonderful guides.
- Customary stops at Carpet, Pottery and Herbalist stores where they are very keen for your custom. Don't be pushed into buying anything if you don't feel comfortable - the shop assistants at the Carpet and Pottery place were very informative and warm hosts, but if you don't want to buy anything stay firm!
- Lunch see above. Dinner in the Berber tent at the Sahara camp. Lunch the next day was covered.
- Camel ride was 30min through sunset. A great experience.
- Stops at various towns and Atlas Studios, where the Mummy 2, The Gladiator and other films have had scenes shot - worthwhile if you are a movie boff.
- The road trip is long but for the vast scenary, well worthwhile to appreciate
Our tour guide was pretty friendly and wanted to make sure our experience was as memorable as possible. The only reason why I don't give 5 stars is the following:
-We ended up doing all of the items on the itinerary but the tour guide didn't follow the schedule. He pushed off quite a bit of the sight seeing for the second day which can make a difference if you're not as well rested from sleeping in the camp.
-I didn't like being pushed to submit a review while still in the car on the drive back. I've noted this is a common occurrence in Morocco but personally can't stand this practice.
-The camp in the Sahara was lovely and had what we needed but it didn't really conform to expectations as listed in the viator description ex. there were showers at the camp site instead of being given a chance to shower at a hotel.
-I've been on several viator tours and have been offered to go see some local shops which is fine, since you can always decline and they will honor that, but the shop that we were taken to had a guy who could work on his customer service skills for women. My guy friend and the tour guide were pulling money out of a nearby atm and I was left with the shop owner of which whenever I declined his purchase suggestions, he would rudely say what, don't you have money? even after I've already given him a few hundred euros worth of business. Again, not fully a reflection of the tour guide but he should check his collaborators if he is offering their business to his tour group.
Overall, I'd still do this tour knowing the above as the tour price is reasonable especially compared to other Sahara tours from Marrakech / if you're limited on time and the Sahara experience is a MUST. I'd just be a bit more firm on making sure we're adhering to schedule so that I could get the most of the experience.
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