Back when traveling to Morocco was still “just” a destination on my travel bucket list, I had to consider how I could actually make this happen. As far as life goals, I was still young to actually consider travel as a pending bucket list, but for years and years, Morocco had been calling to me, so Morocco definitely was the #1 country on my “must-visit” list!
The best way to travel to Morocco
Without a doubt, I knew that I didn’t want to explore Morocco on a large coach tour. Morocco seemed too exotic, too intimate of a destination to share it with 50+ other people, so it was clear that a group escorted tour was not the best way for me to travel throughout Morocco.
Did I think I was “brave” enough to travel to Morocco as a solo woman? I did speak French and a smattering of Standard Arabic, and I had already traveled internationally alone, but I knew I was shy and perhaps (definitely!) not adventurous enough to navigate Morocco’s roadways, public transport or medinas on my own, and I also wondered if Morocco really was a safe enough country.
A friend had expressed interest in traveling to Morocco with me, but I was hesitant to travel with someone who had a different travel style than me, and honestly, since I had dreamed about traveling to Morocco for so long, I didn’t want anything (or anyone!) to spoil the magic of discovering Morocco for the first time!
All the research for my trip ultimately led me to the concept of private tours of Morocco. Initially, the notion and feasibility of a private tour in Morocco wasn’t one with which I was familiar. It seemed something only “rich” people could do, and while I had saved for what I was to consider the trip of a lifetime to Morocco, I wasn’t sure if I could actually pull this off.
One company offered a blend of transportation which included some routes with a private vehicle with driver but also some routes using the train or bus in Morocco. I briefly considered this but thought, if I were really going to treat myself to the luxury of a private tour package, then I wanted as hassle-free of a tour in Morocco as I could afford.
I also had come across a website which asked the question “Are you our ideal traveler?” I can’t lie, this initially came off a bit … maybe “elitist” would be a good adjective. As if I had to pass through THEIR hoops in order to “earn” my dream trip to Morocco!
I ultimately chose a Moroccan transport agency who customized my trip according to my interests and schedule, and for the duration of my private tour in Morocco, it would just be me and a private English-speaking driver, along with private guides to perform tours of select cities such as Fes and Marrakech. I can confidently say, putting my trust in this very experienced Moroccan transport agency to plan my dream vacation WAS truly the best way to discover Morocco for the first time!
Since that first and yes, magical, trip to Morocco, I had the opportunity to return several more times to explore even more off-the-beaten-paths before ultimately deciding to settle in Morocco. I continued to book a private tour a few more times and then I tried local means of travel, and I maintain that hiring a private driver still is the best, most comfortable and most hassle-free way of traveling in Morocco!
I’ve had time to reflect on that certain website’s wording, and I get now that what they were trying to convey is that each traveler has his or her own travel style and budget, and it simply makes sense that different companies have their own “target” traveler.
Personally, I’m past the point where sharing bunk beds in a hostel seems like a fun idea – I want the comfort of my own large bed and the safety of my own room with en-suite, preferably in a calm and beautiful riad in the safe part of the medina! I’ve done the local public transport in Morocco – petit and grand taxis, busses and trains – and can tell you that it’s often crowded, it’s not always convenient, it’s not always on time, it’s not always safe, and the “romance” of a night train or the Marrakech Express “taking the train from Casablanca going south” really isn’t all that romantic.
I’ve even done some driving around Morocco, and while the Moroccan highway system is good, once you’re on national or regional roads, or inside the cities, well, the fairly aggressive and/or lack of attentive drivers are NOT for the faint of heart! And if you want the opportunity to meet locals and actually converse with them, you will run into some challenges unless you speak Darija, the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, or Tamazight (collective term for 3 further indigenous languages).
Add onto that, while Moroccans have a wonderful reputation for being warm and welcoming to tourists, having a friendly and accommodating translator in the form of a private guide or private driver can really help to open some doors for you and provide not only historical but also cultural context that you can’t just read from a guide book.
I so strongly believe in this method of private tours of Morocco that despite living here for many years, I still choose to book private guided tours of cities for my friends and family who visit – you’ll know why once you set foot into the Fes medina which is rumored to have more than 9,000 winding alleys, and to explain the rich history of the Roman ruins at Volubilis, as well as private transportation to certain destinations, especially on the mountainous roads leading to Chefchaouen or overnight trips to the Sahara Desert.
Read also: Is Morocco a Safe Country for Travel?
Mint Tea Tours – Moroccan Hospitality at its Best! We specialize in private tours, excursions and shuttle services throughout Morocco – of course all accompanied by professional private English-speaking drivers or guides! Contact us today to plan your own customized trip to Morocco!