On days we’re not planning fun trips, you’ll find us supplying on-the-trip coordination services.
Abay Tours, a reputable travel company in need of excellence, sought our coordination services for a group of 27 people to Morocco. These were guests from Ghana and Nigeria and we all came together with one aim- to have fun, and did we? Oh yes we did! and it sure was one of the best memories of 2017.
This was a 6 night 7 day trip to the Western region of Morocco (Cities included Casablanca, Marrakesh and other spots such as the Sahara desert expedition, the Ourika Valley and the waterfalls experience)
CASABLANCA TO MARRAKESH
We began our trip with an airport pick up from Casablanca to Marrakesh (Yes, you can connect flights from Casablanca to Marrakesh but the waiting time is as good as a 3-hour road trip). We helped our guests settle in and relax into their new home in Marrakesh (which they loved so much), before setting out to dinner in Djema el fna.
Dinner time was so much fun, we played fun facts games, and got to know ourselves better while eating delicious Arghoum bread with honey and olive oil dip and sipping on Moroccan hospitality tea while waiting for our main course.
Our main meal of Tagine (lamb, chicken or fish options ) finally arrived with rice, potatoes and cous cous options. This was a first for many people. Some loved it while others weren’t even having it, literately (we suspect the lack of pepper must have been why).
We spent the second day visiting Marrakesh city and hearing the stories of their historic landmarks (Palais Bahia, Saideen tomb, Koutoubia mosque, Jardine Majorelle). After this, the tired ones returned to the hotel while the active travellers continued to the souks for shopping.
OURIKA VALLEY AND WATERFALLS (day trip)
We visited Ourika valley and the cascade on the third day. As we suspected, a few people stayed back in the hotel when they heard the full details of the trip (I wouldn’t blame them either).
This was however the most exciting part of the trip for those who went. We embarked on an hour’s journey to Ourika Valley, enjoyed the paranomic view from the top, and made our way to the waterfalls.
We climbed up the Atlas mountains to reach the water falls (the least fun part of this journey ), we had people give up along the way because they were scared of heights. Some of our men on the trip offered backpacking services to help people up (Talk about some fun team work ey?).
The reward of the climb lay in the beautiful waterfalls-the cold spring water was the most refreshing thing ever, more refreshing than a glass of cold chapman or *insert your favourite drink here*
We made beautiful memories at this site, singing, dancing, taking photos and of course recording videos.The climb down was way easier than the climb up and we were ready to return to Marrakesh by 3:00pm.
We had night life exploration as part of our itinerary, so we kept to our words and took our ‘non tired’ guests to the Famous 555 for a well deserved night out.
MARRAKESH TO THE SAHARA DESERT
We set out early on a 2-day journey to Merzouga, the nearest city to the high sand dunes of Erg Chebbi (it’s one of the two biggest sand dunes in the Sahara).
Day one travel from Marrakesh to Dades Valley (refuge point)
To be honest, we didn’ t prepare our guests for this journey of a life time and those who stayed back in Marrakesh thanked their stars when they heard our story (not to say it was entirely bad news, but it was just really hectic)
Stops enroute included Atlas tichka and we had lunch in Ben Ait Haddou with the view of the Kasbah (Game of Thrones site). We stopped in K’lat Mgouna (Rose valley) even though we didn’t find any roses. We finally got to our hotel in Dades Valley at 10/11pm. The total journey time was 10 hours.
Day two to Merzouga
We set out early for the final leg of our journey to the big Sahara. The views en route were amazing and indescribable (you need to see for yourself). Our first stop was Boulmane Dades because of the view of the valley and amazing picture opportunities. Next we stopped at the phenomenal Togha Gorge (which we think should really be added to the wonders of the world).
We finally made it to Merzouga, the final road point before the no true road journey to Erg chebbi. You can either travel 1 hour 30 mins on a camel or for an extra cost travel via 4 by 4 (We recommend the latter ).
The 1hour 30 mins is the most painful experience your loins might face next to child birth ) okay I exaggerated, but please don’t! If you can avoid it, just do so and go with the option of a 4 by 4.
Just because our group was every shade of fun, we ignored our pain and played fun games such as Chinese whispers and ‘I spy’ which helped while away the time.
We finally made it to our desert camp, had dinner and settled for games, bon-fire or joining discussions of interest.
The brave ones among us climbed the 150metres high sand dunes while the rest stayed back and clapped.
Spending the night outside our tents watching the beautiful stars in the sky was the most rewarding part of this trip for us all.
Day three back to Marrakesh took us 10 hours. The journey was so tiring and everyone couldn’t wait to return to Marrakesh,everyone’s reactions on arrival was epic “Hallelujah we’re home!”
MARRAKESH TO CASABLANCA
Abay Tours was gracious enough to apply late check out for all to allow longer lay in, this led to a cancellation of the Casablanca tour as it was scheduled to start early . (Like we said, this journey is not for the unprepared).
A trip with 3 days journey to the desert shouldn’t be in a 7 days itinerary in Morocco. The trip is tiring and recuperation days should be included in the itinerary.
This trip wasn’t for a typical Naija person either with the shopping and relaxation itinerary as we love hence left people unsatisfied. Some of us returned to the Souk on arrival from the desert to finish our shopping, whilst others went in the morning.
In future, lesser activities would be factored in for the duration of the stay. Diverse travel personalities would also be considered as opt out options will now be available at the time of bookings.
We appreciate the variation in personalities hence, we look forward to future group trips either as the planner or coordinator.
The most important lesson of all is ‘the itinerary doesn’t make the trip, the people do’. This trip provided us with long standing friendships, network expansion and it definitely did cure our ignorance on certain facts and figures.