What’s the best way to tour Morocco?

Clients always ask us “what’s the best way to tour Morocco?” As you research going to Morocco for your trip of a lifetime, you’ll find three ways to do it. First is with a bus tour, second is on your own, and third is with a private SaharaTrek tour. Each has advantages and disadvantages when comparing itineraries, prices, and ease. Let’s review the options so you’re well-informed about choosing the Morocco experience for you.

Tour Morocco by bus
Seeing Morocco on a bus tour

Bus Tour

So we’re comparing same to same, let’s use the 10-Day Deluxe Morocco offered by Gate 1 Travel[i] (an established and reputable company that we’ll often recommend to clients looking for a bus tour). For $3239 per person, ground only, you’ll get:

  • 8 nights Deluxe accommodations
  • 2 nights Fez
  • 1 night Casablanca
  • 3 nights Marrakesh
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • Maximum 28 passengers per tour
  • 18 meals: 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners with wine
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Services of local guides in each city

This is as hassle-free as Morocco can be! With a bus tour, everything will run like clockwork. Every activity, transfer, accommodation, and meal is precisely measured and timed down to the minute. Every experience is carefully planned, and every destination is polished and organized. Every shop you walk into, and even the Moroccans you encounter, will probably be on the payroll. The only thing you’ll need to bring is yourself. The only planning you’ll need to do is get a plane ticket to fly in. Once there, sit back and enjoy the ride. Disney couldn’t do it better!

Bus tours are an excellent option for tourists who want it as easy as possible and don’t mind the tour’s structure and more sanitized feeling. But not everyone does. What if there’s something that you’re really interested in and want to spend more time on? Sorry, back on the bus, it’s time to move on. What if there’s something you’re not interested in at all? Sorry, get off the bus; we’re all going, and so are you. While it’s nice not to even think about where or what you’re going to eat, what if you want to try something different? You don’t have to eat but have already paid for it. What if you don’t get along with one of the other passengers? Good thing there’s 27 other people you’ll be traveling with 24/7. And what if you want to customize the tour? Now that’s funny!

Police ticketing a driver while he's seeing Morocco
The Gendarme: Do you know why we pulled you over?
You: Because you wanted to welcome me to Morocco?

On your own

Experiencing any country on your own is what separates Travelers from Tourists. Weeks (if not months) of research on the country, every city, every attraction, and every mile of road. You’ve arranged accommodations, car rental, guides, and even learned some local languages. You’ve read every travel guide and blog you can find cover to cover. You’ve even purchased BDU pants with pockets big enough to carry your guidebook with you at all times. You’ve planned the perfect experience, it’s just what you wanted, and the trip should be easy since you’re that prepared.

Let’s start by comparing bus tour prices vs. doing it on your own for you and your bestie.

  • 8 nights Deluxe accommodations
    • 2 nights Rabat ($580)
    • 2 nights Fez ($398)
    • 1 night Casablanca ($187)
    • 3 nights Marrakesh ($1,102)
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges ($50)
  • Hotel porterage ($40)
  • Rental car ($268)

So far, you’re at $1292 each, and we’re just getting started!

You’ll also at least need:

  • Gas: $5.20/gallon ($1.40/ltr)
  • Morocco SIM card: $40

We haven’t even talked about meals, guides, admissions, or police bribes (sorry, “speeding tickets”). And that’s just some of the expenses you’ll be paying.

What about the hassles of doing it on your own? Even just getting around Morocco is an adventure. The Moroccan government has been improving the country’s infrastructure to make it easier for tourists to drive around. They have been building new roads and highways that are safer and more efficient than the old ones. Even so, if you consult Google to get the time needed to drive between destinations, you’ll still need to add a couple of hours to make it realistic. Livestock in the roads, construction, washed out or snowed under roads, etc., all conspire to slow the uninitiated. You may have successfully driven in Paris or Rome, but Morocco will leave you in tears.

If you have a car, you’ll also need accommodations with a parking lot, which means the bigger tourist hotels outside of the old town (often the same used by the bus tours). So while the modern amenities of a brand new hotel are nice, staying in a Riad in the old town is a truly unique and memorable experience that many travelers claim as the highlight of their trip.

So if you want the most authentic Moroccan experience, doing it on your own is the best way. You’ll see Morocco like only the adventurous can. It’s beauty, its adventure, its history, and its people. The downside is you also experience bad roads, corrupt cops, no parking, unforeseen expenses, unexpected hassles, and “TIM.” Great stories for when you get back, but make sure you pack a lot of patience and humor before you go.

Private SaharaTrek Tour

SaharaTrek tours were created to be a balance between on your own and a bus tour. Let’s look at SaharaTrek’s 9-day Deserts and Empires private tour. Although it’s a day less than Gate 1’s tour, it’s the same number of nights with many more destinations and activities included. For $1902 per person (minimum of 2), ground only, you’ll get:

  • 8 nights Jr Suite Riad accommodations
    • 1 night Essaouira
    • 2 nights Marrakech
    • 1 night Todra Gorge (with hiking)
    • 1 night Sahara (with sunset camel ride)
    • 2 night Fez (with Meknes, Volubilis, and a Ghost Tour of Fez)
    • 1 night Casablanca
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles with WiFi
  • 100% Private Tour
  • 11 meals: 8 breakfasts, 3 dinners
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Services of local guides
  • Fully customizable before and adjustable during your tour

A SaharaTrek private tour provides the best of both worlds. A tour that moves at your pace based on your interests with a mix of structured and free time for just you and your traveling companions. While simultaneously removing the hassles of booking, organizing, and getting around Morocco on your own. All at a cost less than a bus and much less headache than doing it yourself.

Let’s Go

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of Morocco travel options, we hope you’ll pick what’s best for you and enjoy Morocco!


[i] Any trademarks are the owner’s property, and their use here is solely for comparison.

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