More detailed blogs are coming, complete with the infamous Riki photos (of which there are 4,000 to go through). But for now, here is our trip report from our 12 day journey in Morocco. Check out 15 Tips for a Morocco Road trip as well.
We flew in and out of Marrakech, but this could be done from Casablanca as well, or even starting in Marrakech and ending in Fes (with a one-way rental).
12 Days in Morocco Itinerary (Short Version)
- Arrive in Marrakech.
- Explore Marrakech.
- Drive 4 hours to Ait Ben Haddou. 2 hour visit with lunch. Drive 3.5 hours to Todra Gorge.
- Drive 3 hours to Hassilabied (Merzouga). 1.5 hours on camel to camp.
- Camel ride and climb Erg Chebbi dunes.
- Camels back to Hassilabied. 4 hour drive to Midelt. Stop in Rissani to see kasbahs. Amazing views of Ziz valley. Stop at Source Bleu in Meski.
- 3.5 hour drive to Fes. Drive through cedar forest near Azrou with Barbary monkeys. Stop at Dayet Aaoua lake.
- Explore Fes.
- Explore Fes.
- Drive 1.5 hours to Volubilis. 2 hours visiting site. 45 minute drive to Meknes.
- Drive 2.5 hours to Mohammedia for lunch. Drive 3 hours to return car at Marrakech airport.
- Last minute shopping and return to Marrakech airport.
12 Day Morocco Trip Report
Day 1: Arrive in Marrakech late morning. Bus #19 (20 Dh low season, 30 Dh high season) to Jemaa el-Fnaa. Walk to Riad dar Nael (270 Dh/night plus city tax, incl. breakfast) in Medina. Explore souks. Visit El Badi (10 Dh).
Day 2: Ben Joussef Medersa (20 Dh) to see amazing tilework and student dorms. Visit Ensemble Artisanal for handicraft market with fixed prices. Explored Kasbah neighborhood and went to El Bahia Palace (10 Dh). Bus from Jemaa el_Fnaa to Gueliz area (new part). Walked back. Ate at stall #1 on Jemaa el_Fnaa (90 Dh for 12 sticks of meat and vegetable couscous).
Day 3: Bus #19 back to airport to pick up rental car (Hertz via Holidayautos for $139 (1400 Dh) for 9 days, mini). Drive 4 hours to Ait Ben Haddou. Visit ksar and climb to top (free). Drive 3.5 hours to Todra Gorge. 7 police checkpoints. Check in to Auberges Cavaliers (190 Dh room, 100 Dh dinner, 50 Dh breakfast).
Day 4: Drive 3 hours to Hassilabied (Merzouga). 3 police checkpoints. Leave bags at Camels House (375 Dh/night in tent incl camel transport and all food/water). 1.5 hours on camel to camp.
Day 5: Sunrise in the desert. 1 hour on camels to base of Erg Chebbi dunes. Climb dunes. Lunch at other camp. Return to our camp for sunset.
Day 6: Sunrise in the desert. Camels back to Hassilabied for breakfast and shower. 4 hour drive to Midelt. Stop in Rissani to see kasbahs. Amazing views of Ziz valley. Stop at Source Bleu in Meski (5 Dh). 4 police checkpoints. Overnight at Riad Villa Midelt (350 Dh incl breakfast).
Day 7: 3.5 hour drive to Fes. Drive through cedar forest near Azrou with Barbary monkeys. Stop at Dayet Aaoua lake, but its half dry and has few birds. Arrive in Fes and park at Ain Azliten (30 Dh/night). 3 police checkpoints. 3 minute walk to Fez Dar (215 Dh/night plus city tax, incl breakfast). Nejjarine Museum right before closing (20 Dh) for woodworking exhibit and terrace views.
Day 8: Early to Medersa Bou Inania (20 Dh). Explored medina and souks. Medersa Attarine (20 Dh). Art shopping at Galerie Yessari. Through Jnane sbile park to Mellah, the Jewish quarter.
Day 9: El Batha Museum (10 Dh) to see handicraft antiques. Chouwara tanneries from viewpoint above (10 Dh to the door guy just to look – no shopping). Walked in El Andalus area and up to Bab Guissa and Merenide tombs (free).
Day 10: Drive 1.5 hours to Roman ruins at Volubilis and museum (10 Dh). 2 hours visiting site. 45 minute drive to Meknes. 1 police checkpoint. Parking at Place Lalla Aouda (20 Dh/night to parking attendant). Short walk to Riad ma Boheme (200 Dh plus city tax incl. breakfast). Explored souks and silverworks.
Day 11: Drive 2.5 hours to Mohammedia for lunch near beach. 2 police checkpoints. Drive 3 hours to return car at Marrakech airport (159 Dh in tolls). Bus #19 back to Jemaa el-Fnaa. Walk to Riad Riva (215 Dh plus city taxes, incl. breakfast). Wander souks and leisurely dinner.
Day 12: Last minute shopping. 40 Dh taxi to the airport. Bus price went up April 1 to 30 Dh / 3 Euro each. Long lines at airport and passport control.
Car and Gas: Fiat Punto, approx 700 Dh / $70 in diesel (not incl. $10 scam), unleaded was about 1 Dh/L more expensive (~9.50 Dh vs 10.50 per liter, March 2017)
Total distance: 1650 km / 1025 miles
Total hours: ~26 hours, with plenty of photo stops
Tolls: 6, all between Meknes and Marrakech, 159 Dh / $15.80
Police checkpoints: 20, most in the south, stopped at 0
Map available here : 9 day road trip
More tips here: 15 Tips for a Morocco Road trip