What’s the difference between a private tour and a group tour?
In essence, a group tour comprises a group of people from different sources and agencies who travel together on a tour. A private tour is exclusive to you and the friends or family members you choose to join you on your tour.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with a group tour but it can be a bit of a lottery as to who your travelling companions might be!
On a private tour, it's your tour – not the tour operator's. You can stop when you like, where you like. Whether for refreshments, photography or simply to stretch your legs during the journey. Also, on a private tour, you can choose your accommodation en route. We hope you'll like our recommendations, but if you'd rather go to a luxury hotel than a traditional riad for example, that can be arranged for you in advance.
One more point to bear in mind is that your private tour is arranged to suit your time schedule. Our tours are available for you to book throughout the year. Travel on the days you want to, rather than on the days when an agency states that there are places available on a group tour.
Please be aware that extreme weather conditions such as a sudden heavy snowfall in the mountains or unbearably hot temperatures in the desert may affect your itinerary. Apart from that, prices are comparable. So in our opinion, a private tour – especially with Magnificent Morocco – offers much better value for money. We hope you agree.
What can I expect at the desert camp – and what do I need to bring?
It might be more civilized than you imagine! There’s running water, solar-powered lighting and toilets – as well as the dramatic landscapes of the Sahara.
But let’s talk you through how it all works. Read more…
We arrive at an auberge or ranch at the edge of the desert. Here, you’ll check-in and be given keys to your room where you can freshen up with a shower after the camel trek and keep any luggage stored that you do not need to take overnight.
If you prefer not to take part in the camel trek or stay overnight in the Berber camp, you can stay in your accommodation at the auberge. This option is included in the tour price.
You’ll be introduced to your guides who will be your hosts for the evening as well. Then, it’s time to climb aboard your camel and head off into the dunes. Depending on the tour and which camp has been designated for your stay, the camel trek can range from 45 minutes to 2 hours in duration.
On arrival at the camp, you will have a brief familiarization tour of the amenities and shown to your accommodation. This will be a traditional Berber tent that can sleep up to six adults. Mattresses, sheets and blankets are provided.
Part of the evening is spent enjoying a traditional Moroccan meal prepared by your hosts before gathering round the campfire. Here you will be entertained with music and dance – and be invited to join in as well!
Bottled water is available and you are welcome to bring alcohol with you, although we do ask you to respect your hosts as they will not indulge.
After an enjoyable evening under the stars, your party will retire in preparation for an early start to catch the sunrise. There are no phone charging facilities at the desert camp, so do make sure you have sufficient battery life for your phone or camera to capture the day breaking over the dunes.
With the desert now bathed in sunlight, your hosts will help you back on to your camels for the trek back to the auberge. On arrival you can shower and change, and then regroup for breakfast served in the restaurant of the auberge.
We reload the vehicle and set off for our next destination.
Preparing for your camel trek and the desert camp
Preparation is mainly down to common sense for the local conditions and the time of year.
Temperatures vary significantly by day and night throughout the year so we always recommend several layers of clothing so you can adjust accordingly.
Coats, fleeces and scarves would be needed during a winter stay, but short-sleeves and shorts are good for the summer allowing for an extra layer as the night time temperature falls. Flip-flops and other loose shoes are pretty ineffective in the sand, so trainers or classic “desert boots” would be far more appropriate.
Have a browse through our suggested checklist of items you may like to bring.
• Bottled water
• Basic first aid kit
• Additional layers or items of clothing to keep warm or protect from the wind or sand
• Practical footwear
• A plastic bag to contain your trash (which you can take with you when you leave the camp)
• A re-sealable bag to protect phones and other devices from the sand
Of course, if you need any more information prior to your trip, just send us an email and we’ll be happy to advise you.
What are the rules about buying and consuming alcohol in Morocco?
Morocco’s attitude towards alcohol is becoming more liberal – in spite of it being a predominantly Muslim country. For some, this is welcoming. For others, it’s more surprising and confusing.
With it’s climate and strong European influences – particularly from France – Morocco is now producing some exceptionally good wine and the popular local brands of beer like Flag and ‘Casa’ continue to win new friends among visitors to the country. Read more…
Common sense and respect prevail when it comes to alcohol in Morocco. So here are a few hints, tips and observations to help you see through the myths and mists that surround this situation.
What happens if I need to make alterations to my tour booking?
Let us know as soon as possible and we’ll do whatever we can to help.
While making your tour booking you will have received our Terms and Conditions that make reference to changes in your booking.
Minor changes we can normally accommodate for you without any additional cost. But changes to an itinerary or incorporating extra activities or guests are likely to carry more charges.
The best thing to do is to inform us of any proposed alterations at the earliest opportunity so that we can advise and assist in carrying out your requirements.
Are there any restrictions on photography in Morocco?
Respect and discretion are the general rules of thumb here. With such a diverse landscape and abundance of photographic opportunities, it’s worth knowing where you stand. Read more…
Taking stills or video of military installations and government buildings should be avoided. To do so could result in lengthy questioning by the authorities and confiscation of your photographic equipment.
You’ll probably be aware that non-Muslims are not permitted in active mosques and photography of Muslims at prayer is definitely off-limits. However, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca does allow entry to non-Muslims (at certain times of the day) and the guided tours are exceptional value for money. Photography at Hassan II is unrestricted within the tour schedule.
Public places and general shots are quite acceptable. After all, Morocco thrives on tourism and it is quite the norm nowadays. But things can get a little complex when photographing individuals or certain environments.
Respecting people’s privacy should always come first, no matter how appealing the frame might be. It is customary to ask permission – and anything between 10 and 50 MAD should be sufficient. Ultimately, it all depends on how much you are willing to pay for that all-important image.
You will also find that many Moroccans – particularly the “performers” in Jemma El-Fna Square in Marrakech – see photography as a lucrative revenue stream. If a monkey is suddenly placed on your partner’s shoulder, expect to have to pay for the privilege of the photograph.
Similarly, you may stumble across a shop or kiosk in one of the souks that is simply bursting with colour or handmade goods. It’s always wise to seek permission before getting into any confrontation. The same principle applies in many museums and sites of historic interest.
Can I bring a drone into Morocco? As a general rule, the answer is 'no'. Please note that currently the importation of drones to Morocco is prohibited unless you have been through the appropriate application and approvals process.
As a professional photographer, you will operate to your own codes of conduct. But it’s worth noting that anybody taking stills or movie featuring specific individuals with the intention of using that material for commercial purposes should ensure they have the appropriate release forms to hand.
If in doubt, ask.
What type of accommodation will I be staying in on my tour?
Throughout our private tours you will be staying in either a traditional riad or a hotel. Our policy is one of preference for Moroccan-owned and -managed accommodation. Not only to offer more authenticity but also to support the local economies. All accommodation is designated either three or four star status – but you will always have the option to upgrade when booking your tour.
A riad is a traditional Moroccan town house found mostly within the Medinas of the towns and cities. In many cases, these were formerly homes of merchants or wealthy families. When many of the owners migrated to the nouvelle ville districts, the riads took on a new form of life and were transformed into guest houses – many of which are decorated lavishly but with great taste, charm and authenticity.
Key features of a riad are an absence of windows to the outside world (a legacy from Islamic privacy), a central open-air courtyard or garden and roof terraces from which to enjoy absorbing views of the locality.
All the riads and hotels we use offer a choice of twin bedded or double rooms, private bathrooms, WiFi and 24/7 security.
Apart from riads and hotels, the other type of accommodation we offer is at our desert camps. Please see the section above on "What can I expect at the desert camp..." for more information on this.
What's the weather like in Marrakech during December?
Quite a contrast to the intense and dry heat of the summer months – but a welcome break from the freezing temperatures of more northern climes.
You can expect average temperatures of around 14°C, with daytime temperatures often reaching 24° but evening temperatures sometimes dropping to around 5°C. Clear blue skies are the norm but the odd shower or several days of prolonged rain should be expected too.
From the rooftops of Marrakech on a fine day you can clearly see the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains which provide a dramatic backdrop to this year-round holiday destination.
What to bring and wear for Marrakech in December? Our best advice is plenty of layers. Your T-shirt might get an airing during the day, but you'd certainly appreciate the comfort of a fleece, scarf and warm coat during the evenings if venturing out. And should you forget a scarf, there are plenty to choose from and bargain for as you wander around the souks!
We live in a changing and sometimes unpredictable world – so it’s no surprise that this question is often asked by Magnificent Morocco clients while booking their private tours with us.
Few countries are immune from the likelihood of a terrorist attack. But then few countries have the same resources and commitment as Morocco to minimize the risk of this happening.
Apart from its culture, history and diversity of landscapes, Morocco has so much going for it. Foreign investment is continuing to grow. Employment is rising. The Kingdom prides itself on its political stability. And, in 2014, Morocco recorded 10.2 million tourist arrivals – more than any other African nation.
All these are attributes that Morocco will not want to relinquish lightly. As a strategic partner of NATO and a depth of counter-terrorism intelligence – nationally and internationally – that we can only begin to imagine, Morocco’s commitment to the safety of tourists is very high on its agenda.
So, is it safe to visit Morocco?
Our general rule is "business as usual" until we believe or are advised otherwise that the safety and security of our clients could be compromised in any way while taking part in a tour.
Ultimately, unless governments advise against international travel to and within Morocco, we would ask and expect our clients to make an informed decision based on their own judgement as to whether or not they feel safe to travel.
Naturally, it is vitally important that you have valid personal travel and health insurance in place as this will be essential in seeking a refund if you are unable to travel because the Advisory Level by your home nation increases to "travel not recommended" or similar.
Morocco’s investment in tourism, as part of its “2020 Vision”, includes a policy of improving the country’s offering to tourists and a greater focus on sustainable development and ecotourism. Here at Magnificent Morocco, we want to be part of – and contribute to – this exciting future. We hope that you will too.