Arabian nights!! The song that kept going through in my head whilst riding through the desert cliché I know but its hard not to think of it. So lets start from the beginning, I decided to book Morocco for my holiday this year mainly because I was picking between Peru and Morocco and then I realised how expensive Peru would be to visit. After speaking to a few friends who’d visited Morocco before they’d suggested to me that it wasn’t a good idea to travel there on my own so I decided to book a group holiday via STA Travel .
The desert adventure trip was organised by G Adventures and you have tour guide (CEO) who takes you around the country to visit the places on the itinerary. For this desert adventure trip we started at Marrakech, moved across to Nkob, then to Todra Gorge, back down to Ait Ben Haddou, over to Essaouira and back round to Marrakech. I decided on this trip because I thought it was a good length (8 days) and also because I really wanted to camp in the Sahara desert and visit Ait Ben Haddou, which is the world heritage site where they filmed Gladiator and Game of Thrones (big fan of both!!).
This trip was my first G Adventures trip, well to be honest it was my first group holiday! I went on my own so was a bit nervous about meeting new people and spending 8 days with a group of strangers. It was a great first group experience for me! I really enjoyed it, I did find the group structure hard however speaking to others who’d done previous G Adventures tours they said the group structure was easier to get on with. However, I was happy that I had only picked the 8 day trip and not the 15 because I was starting to miss my boyfriend a lot which was accelerated by the fact I didn’t really bind with my group. So towards the end of the 8 days I was ready to come home. Our tour guide (CEO) was really nice and easy to talk, you could ask him loads of questions about Moroccan culture which he was happy to answer and did try to get the group to get involved more which was hard work for him as the group wasn’t really like that.
As mentioned before a lot of people thought it would be too ‘unsafe’ for me to travel to Morocco on my own however while I was there I never felt I was in an unsafe situation and I did go out without the guide and just with other members of the group. I think travelling to Morocco on your own isn’t a big deal and can be done especially if you visit cities like Marrakech and Fes. You just have to ensure to dress well making sure you cover your shoulders and knees, I saw many women from other countries visiting and not at all respecting the Moroccan culture and religion and they are shocked when they’re treated differently whilst they visit.
So on that note I’ve listed a few tips and tricks on how to make your journey to Morocco a nice smooth experience.
- Tipping – Expect to tip everyone ALL of the time (how I imagine it is over in the US), so make sure you take for that in your money budgeting. If you stop off at a services you will need to tip to use the bathroom, it won’t be a lot only 1 or 2 dirham’s but when you’re in restaurants and cafes it’ll be more. Also if you book through G Adventures and have a tour guide you will need to tip them at the end of your trip and also the driver who takes you to each place. Just something to bare in mind before you book your trip or decide on how much you will take with you.
- Medication – When I arrived to meet my group they’d already been in Morocco for a week doing another trip and when I met them they all had sickness and diarrhoea and very bad in fact they had it for days. So that said, you need to ensure you take diarrhoea relief tablets and rehydration powder as an essential! I however didn’t get sick so I didn’t need to use mine but I did ensure I packed some just in case.
- Water – Some people might not agree with this one however I wanted to ensure I was healthy the whole time I was in Morocco as I was travelling a lot and was never at the same hotel for more than two nights therefore I only drank bottled water. I never usually drink bottled water at home or in European countries however it is very advised to drink bottled water in Morocco as the countries plumbing isn’t great. In the long run you will save yourself from feeling unwell and possibly getting sick.
- Long journeys – If you book to the desert adventure trip then do be very prepared for long car journeys as everything on the itinerary is a lengthy distance away and in between each one there isn’t much else to see. Great scenery but when you have 7 hour car journeys you can’t keep stopping every 20 mins to take pictures (although that would be amazing! I did miss a few good shots).
- Dressing – As mentioned earlier the way you dress when your in Morocco is very important, you should want to respect the country you’re visiting. So for women to ensure you have covered your shoulders and knees and for men ideally you shouldn’t be wearing shorts.
I had an amazing time in Morocco and got to visit all the places I wanted to see and really enjoyed shopping in the Essaouira medina it was much more relaxed then the Marrakech one. I would say my highlights of this trip were (and must do’s while in Morocco!) camping in the desert it is such a great experience which you will never forget and visiting Ait Ben Haddou (you only need to visit for a few hours though and not a whole day!).
If you’ve visited Morocco yourself please share your experience with me over on Instagram and Twitter!
Much love x