Travel Talk Tours is a UK based company that came highly recommended to me by a friend who travelled with them in 2014. I chose the ‘Adventure Morocco’ itinerary based on the fact that it spent the most time in the Sahara Desert however there are a variety of different tours on offer for each country so you are able to choose a trip that is best suited to your interests!
On arrival to Marrakech a complimentary airport transfer to the hotel was included which was really convenient. The Golden Tulip Marrakech was a lovely establishment with both the dinner and breakfast buffets having a range of western and Moroccan cuisines. The rooms were simple, clean and the pool in the second building was nice to relax by (the main pool was out of service but we were directed to the alternate option by the friendly staff). As I booked as a solo traveller and there were an odd number of participants (usually you are paired with another solo traveller), I was treated to a huge room to myself which was a really lovely surprise 🙂
The first night usually has an optional group dinner and a trip to the central Marrakech square (Jemaa el-Fnaa) however there were issues with finding a bus so this was not available. Unfortunately, we were not informed about this or that the group meeting had been delayed so a lot of people stayed at the hotel instead of exploring Marrakech expecting to be required at 6pm. I would recommend going into Marrakech on the first night as all the information given at the meeting is repeated throughout the trip to refresh your memory. As we would be spending our last night in Marrakech I did not miss out on the square however, I would have loved to have gone to the leather tanneries on the last day instead.
Later in the day we stopped at a traditional Moroccan market. The meat stalls were not for the light hearted as there were live animals on death row!
From there we travelled through stunning landscape, making two stops for photo opportunities.
The last stop of the day before Zagora was Ouarzazate the ‘Hollywood of Morocco’ which was home to the film sets of Gladiator, Game of Thrones, The Mummy and Jewel of the Nile. Here we climbed to the top of this UNESCO World heritage site and got a view of the desert, green oasis and snowy Atlas Mountains all in the horizon.
While there we stopped at the Kasbah of a woman who lives in Ouarzazate and who served Russel Crowe when he was filming there, here we were given tea and snacks.
In Zagora we stayed at Hotel Kenzi Azghor. Once again the accommodation was simple and clean and extremely roomy.
From Zagora we travelled to our first Sahara Desert stop in SUV’s. On the way we stopped at an oasis for lunch, then continued on to the campground.
The SUV ride was a highlight of the trip with some of us opting to hop on top the cars.
Without a doubt my favourite stop of the entire tour, the landscape surrounding the first campsite was stunningly surreal and unforgettable.
That night we had a traditional dinner in a berber tent with Moroccan music, then headed up to the sand dunes to have a few drinks and watch the beautiful sunset over the endless dunes.
On the way to our second desert campsite we stopped at a traditional Moroccan ceramic establishment where we watched the creation process.
On arrival to the second campsite we took a camel ride to lunch at a local’s house. The camel ride was so much fun however be prepared, after 1+ hours it can be uncomfortable. At lunch the girls had the option to have henna done.
As the men in charge of the camel rides went to leave we were informed we needed to tip 50 Dirham for the camel instructors and 70 Dirham for the SUV drivers – as a note it would have been better if we had been told this before we left for the desert so we could have withdrawn sufficient money from the ATM in advance. Even more practical would be if this was added to the local payment (£160) that we paid on arrival so that getting cash out for tipping was not necessary.
Our second desert campsite was vastly different to the dunes on the first night and while I still really enjoyed it, the first campsite was a clear winner in terms of its unbelievable landscape. Like the previous night, there were hot showers, flushing toilets, an amazing tagine dinner and (considering we were in the middle of nowhere) an awesome breaky the next day.
The largest travel day was from Zagora to Agadir. Plenty of stops were made on the way to break up the journey and the amazing scenery meant the time flew by. Compared to the other towns there was probably the least to do in Agadir. I recommend taking a beach walk as this is where we ended up relaxing for most of the day.
Staying at the Tulip Inn Oasis was very convenient as it was right on the beach and central to all the restaurants and nightlife.
On the way from Agadir to Essaouira we made a stop where our guide Abdul helped us find scorpions for him to pick up so we could get a closer look at them.
By the time we got to Essaouira the sun was setting so we only got to see the last few seconds of it but it was absolutely amazing. Essaouira was probably my favourite place other than the Sahara that we visited and I really wish we had more time in this city. If you are planning your own trip I highly recommend spending an extra day here instead of Agadir.
The dinner restaurant we were taken to was nice but I would advise on going to a place actually inside the old city instead (both in terms of quality and price). Additionally, if you go on this tour I highly suggest exploring the old town after dinner as you only get half a day there the following morning.
Essourisa old town had an awesome vibe. It was colourful and had a vast array of markets and restaurants. The beach also offers a wide range of watersports activities, as well as camel rides and quad biking through the sand dunes. Unfortunately we only had time to wander the old town, but when I eventually return I cannot wait to explore more!
After half a day in Essaouira we departed back to Marrakech. On the way back we stopped to view goats that climb trees in Morocco. This was strange to see however it was also quite sad, as all of the goats we saw were not naturally doing this and had been tied to the trees by their owners who get tourists who stop to pay them. Consequently, a lot of us did not hop out (the goats were tied up with no shelter from the sun and appeared frightened). A few people on the trip hopped out to see them but as this took an hour out of our time in Essaouira, it is an activity I would have omitted.
On arrival back to Marrakech we set off for the stunning square. Here we wandered the markets, saw snake charmers (it is around 20 Dirham if you want a photo of them), male bellydancers, monkeys and a vast array of market stalls.
The group then found a restaurant overlooking the square to have dinner and watch the sunset.
On the last day goodbyes were said to trip mates over a buffet breakfast and a complimentary airport transfer for departures was included. Overall, I highly enjoyed my Travel Talk Tours Adventure Morocco trip and would recommend them to others. In particular the knowledge and experience Abdul the tour guide provided made this trip really stand out. His enthusiasm for the tour and smooth running of the itinerary also made this tour unique. However, I would advise to take a couple of things into consideration –
- I am a solo female traveller who had never been to Morocco before so naturally I felt a tour would be a simple way for me to get a feel for the country. Furthermore, seeing the Sahara would have been significantly more complicated in terms of transport and accommodation without a tour. However, when it came to the Agadir, Essaouira and Marrakech – this could have all been booked independently and personal preferences in terms of how much time you want to spend at each place could be taken into consideration – eg. in future I would spend more time in Essaouira and skip Agadir.
- Additionally, the group is taken to restaurants and activities recommended by Abdul (which are usually really good) but remember that you don’t always have to take up these suggestions and it is ok to leave the group. In fact, I would recommend choosing your own restaurants when possible (such as in Essaouira and Marrakech) as the times we did this ended up being some of the most memorable places. Another example of this would be when we were taken to the silver shop in Essaouira. Considering the very limited time we had in the city, leaving the group to spend more time in the old town (especially as it was more of a sales activity) was a better use of time.
Keep an eye out for sales as I scored an amazing 40% off meaning I saved around £200. If you live in the UK TNT Travel Show is a great way to get sales on tours, and Travel Talk Tours in particular always have good discounts at these events.
Also remember to add the £160 cash local payment on arrival to your budget.
Suitcase And I attended Travel Talk Adventure Morocco Tour as a paying customer who researched extensively when deciding on a tour company to visit Morocco with. As always, the opinions in my review are my own.