We booked with Viator for a day trip from Marrakech to Essaouira. Viator used the local tour operator. Whilst it was a long journey to Essaouira approx. 3.5hours each way, it was good to see real life pass us by whilst in comfort. There were meant be six on us, but sadly two of our party were unable to join us, therefore we had a nine seater brand new people carrier to ourselves.
Driving in Marrakesh is crazy, but our driver Abdel was very safe, courteous and efficient, as was the guide Issam both of which spoke very good English, and were happy to answer our often random questions about life, religion etc. We enjoyed passing through the remote townships en route to Essaouira, and seeing sheep on motorbikes wrapped around necks like scarfs, or on laps seemed very common. But the stop to the argon tree laden like Christmas tree baubles with goats, was a highlight.
We visited a Women's Co-operative place and shown how the woman produce the famous Argan oil. When you see how long the process is to produce the oil completely by hand, and how tedious it is for the women, you appreciate why it is so expensive to buy. It was free to enter, and you did have the obligatory mint tea, and tasted some samples of the oil used for cooking and couldnt help but feel compelled to purchase something in the shop even if to support these women. You are welcome to take pictures here, but for some reason we felt uncomfortable.
Essaouira itself is serene in contrast to Marrakesh and far from the madding crowd. It is a seaside resort, with a distinct European feel and still has the Portuguese influence, with its bright blue and white architecture within its still intact 18th century sea walls. We felt very safe with Issam navigating us through the souks, and it was good to get a bit of shopping/bartering in, knowing you had someone by your side that could speak the language to ensure that you didnt get too ripped off.
A beautiful part of Morocco and well worth the trip. A few points I feel that need mentioning. The initial organization was poor. Had it not been for our hotel hostess who made numerous calls to a 24/7 number that did not answer and a last minute email on our part we would not have known time or place.
On arrival our guide although very interesting and informative was a trifle forceful. The tour did not include lunch, but despite this we were not given an option but were route marched to a designated restaurant, obviously commission is paid!!! The city is delightful and well worth a visit,a very pretty part of Morocco.
MissUK00 United Kingdom
We booked this tour with Viator and they used a local company called Easy Transfers.
There was a driver and no guide. The driver could not speak English at all. We stopped for a rest but the driver did not mention us that we can visit the women's argan oil co operative, so none of us knew this and didn't visit it. That was very disappointing.
The driver dropped us off and told us to meet in few hours time.
The day was great, lovely place.
We chose our own fish and had that for lunch, lovely food.
On our way back the driver drove like a maniac, he most probably was in a hurry to get back to Marrakech. It was very scary experience.
I did not like how a guide was not included in our package and missed the opportunity to visit the Argan Oil co operative.
I like Essaouira, it's a lovely beautiful place, but I would not recommend this local tour company.
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