Morocco (1 Viewer)

Tony Pro

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I'm in the early stages of planning my next trip to North Africa and I know there are some globetrotting veterans here; if anyone's been to Morocco I'd love to hear some stories or inspiration as to where to go next. Or any stories at all, just to keep me sane while I twiddle my thumbs and wait for flight prices to go down.
I usually avoid the north just because I don't speak Arabic or Spanish, but it looks damn cool on google earth. No idea what's there, though.
I can't afford to stay in hostels at the moment, but while we're on the subject what are some good hostels/traveller hangouts in the country? Melting Pot Hostel in Tangier and Rainbow Hostel in Marrakech are places I'd like to spend a week or two one day when I'm feeling rich.
I'll probably be going in April, when the weather's good enough in the mountains that I won't need a tent, but there's enough snowmelt to keep my water bottles full. Traveling by thumb.
 
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T Paradise

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Will be in morocco in december/january. Does anyone have any recommendations on what to see, what to eat, where to sleep,...?
Hitchwiki has some infos for anyone who might be interested: http://hitchwiki.org/en/Morocco.
Looking for more first hand experiences though. I will take the ferry from spain and flying out of marrakesch again. I guess I will travel through the east south to get to the ocean and then travel back north to Marrakesch.
 

Tony Pro

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What are you interested in experiencing?
The classic backpacker route includes Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech, Essaouira, and the sand dunes at Merzouga. Unfortunately those places are all poisoned by hustlers, scammers, and mass tourism (ok, Essaouira isn't so bad). If you want some quiet, check out Rabat, Meknes, Taroudant, Tafraoute, and of course you can go hiking in the mountains.
There are lots of chill coastal towns on the Atlantic coast, but I haven't visited many of them. Taghazout is good for surfing and hiking. Agadir has nothing of interest except nightlife.
>Where to sleep
In Tangier, Melting Pot Hostel is a fun backpacker joint, but you'll need someone to show you where it is. In Fes I like Funky Fes hostel, in Marrakech Rainbow Hostel is good. If you have a sleeping bag, many hostels let you sleep on the roof for a reduced price (you'll be woken at 5am by the call to prayer).
Stealth camping is also very easy; local people don't care, and they will probably offer you a bed if they find you.
>What to eat
Don't get tagines in the city centres, they are always bad. Look for small restaurants with tagine pots sitting outside on charcoal; then you know they're slow-cooked the traditional way. Rabat and Fes have the best street food. Marrakech is famous for the tanjia. Or just walk around the Berber markets and buy fresh local produce and dairy products.
>transport
Hitchhiking is generally easy, especially on the coastal road between Casablanca and Agadir. But buses are very cheap. For example the bus from Fes to Tiznit is 11 hours, and costs only 15 euro.
 

Tony Pro

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I forgot to say, beware of hustlers when you get off the boat in Tangier. Just politely ignore them when they approach you. Whatever hotel you want to stay in, they will try to convince you it's closed, and you should go to their friend's hotel. And you don't need a taxi when you arrive; the old medina is just 5 minutes walking from the port.
 

T Paradise

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Thanks for the advice!
I am not interested in touristic cities, but would spent a day or two in the ones I pass through probably. My main interest would be hiking and just explore the nature and culture outside of the tourist centers.
The problem with hiking will probably be the weather though. I don't really have the gear to sleep outside at temperatures around or below the freezing point and apparently it will get pretty cold in the mountains as well as in the deserts. So I will probably try to stick with day hikes that end at reasonable altitudes, or longer treks where accommodation can be found (or that are in places where it gets not quite as cold). Or jsut get some extra blankets or something.
Well at least the scorpions and snakes won't be active in the winter. Or at least that's what I hope, I don't have a tent and surely don't want to end up with a snake or scorpion in my bivy.
Do you have any proposal for a rough travel route to get a good impression of the country, apart from the tourist centers, within around a months time, starting in the north end ending in marrakesch? Or just go with the flow?
 

Tony Pro

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I haven't done much hiking north of Marrakech. Akchour is amazing, and is very close to Chefchaouen. Check out Talassemtane National Park too. I really liked Tazekka National Park which is about 2 hours from Fes, but I wouldn't recommend going out of your way for it.
I found the forests around Azrou and Imlil kind of disappointing because there's too much over-grazing and a lot of plastic pollution. But it's still interesting to see big cedar forests with monkeys living in them.
The area around La Cathedrale and Zaouiat Ahanesal is probably the most impressive region in Morocco, but it's difficult to get to.
The region around Imlil and Toubkal is incredible but unfortunately most people there will try to get your money, and they leave a bad impression. But accommodation is very easy to find; there are many 'gites' and most people run their own houses like B&Bs.
Really, anywhere in Morocco you can rely on sleeping in people's houses, either for free as a guest or sometimes paying a little money. I don't take a tent to Morocco even when I plan big treks (but you're right it gets damn cold; I have a good sleeping bag in case I can't find a house)
 

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