Morocco tour companies. Some key points on what to expect.
Trip Advisor forums from time to time raise the question of what exactly do Morocco tour companies include as part of their package and more pertinent is what should they should indeed offer. What you’re essentially paying for is a company that will arrange collection/transfer from and to the airport, book all the hotels or accommodation, provide an English, French or Spanish speaking driver and guide and organise any activities that you would like to do. Ideally the driver guide should offer an insight into the culture but there’s more besides, that can sort the wheat from the chaff.
Accredited and safe
It goes without saying that you would like your tour to be safe. Your vehicle should look new — it will be MOT’d and licensed by the Moroccan authorities. There’s no way around this due to police checks. Morocco’s roads are fraught with obstacles but your driver will know all about them and be in a much better position to anticipate them than you would. That’s not to say you can’t self drive but you have the hire company to deal with as well as the road police checks which are fine — you may find them a bit uncomfortable if you’re not well travelled. Your driver greets all with a smile and carefree attitude which is a great comfort. However he should be within the speed limits in built up areas and of course should not be dangerously overtaking on blind bends. Other peoples actions of course are part of the experience but he’ll be able to see them coming.
In most cases the driver can also be the guide for the greater part of the tour but where city stops are part of the itinerary then they will defer to a local city guide who more often knows the location better and is also licensed by the local authority. So the use of different guides throughout the tour is perfectly normal. Sometimes these guides will have relationships with different merchant sellers. If you are not interested in purchases or wish to find your own bargains in the markets then you should make this clear from the outset. Your driver should be friendly and patient, liaising with hotels to make your stay as smooth as possible. Moroccans are welcoming to families and children and you’ll be surprised at how patient drivers and guides are with young children.
It’s fairly typical to pay a deposit into a Moroccan bank account. It’s difficult to get a Paypal account without access to a western bank account so many companies here reply on transfers from your bank or via Western Union or similar. Providing the company has a strong profile on search engines then your money will be safe. You don’t want to pay more then 25-30% for your deposit. When sending money, keep in mind that what you see as the exchange rate on xe.com is the interbank rate. What the company receives will be less so you’ll need to factor this in when agreeing the payment amount.
What’s fair to pay?
Tour costs can vary considerably from company to company. Some trade on their reputation and charge accordingly whilst offering the same as another less well marketed set-up. I’ve listed a rough guide to prices based on a typical day. The 4×4 is a guide price if you were to rent it yourself.
Toyota 4×4 TX – £80 (this car is new, smart and comfortable). Petrol – £20. Driver – £25 Driver food & accommodation — £10. Client hotels — £40-£60 inc. food. TOTAL £185.
Back end costs should also be factored as well as profit of course. Realistically £250/€300 a day for a couple is a good ballpark figure for a private tour and for that you can go anywhere in Morocco. For extra people in the car, it’s worth negotiating as only room costs and food substantially increase.
Trip Advisor forums and reviews are aggressively used by Moroccan tour companies that’s not to say the reviews are untrue but they do ask previous clients to write up a substantial review once they returned home, perhaps even whilst still on tour. Sometimes these can seem a touch false but in most cases they appear to be genuine. In my experience clients tend not to write such extensive reviews in detail as do appear from time to time, without some coaching. If you’re unsure regarding the authenticity of a review then write to reviewer and check the grammatical response. Small lapses will be revealed even in an excellent student of the their second or third language if it’s not from the actual person.
Whilst you’ve chosen and agreed an itinerary with the tour company it may be that once in Morocco you decide to alter things a little. It’s your prerogative. Within reason your tour company should be able change hotel nights and stopover points if distances are not hugely changed. Routes are limited in Morocco so wholesale changes may not be feasible. Companies have ongoing relationships with accommodation establishments so a cancellation is reasonable and part of the business.
In summation there are a wealth of Morocco tour companies out there and it can be tough to decide who to book with. Generally look at the quality of their website. If it looks professional then that offers some indicator as to their overall approach. More importantly is the website updated regularly and are there links to social media with feedback and photos from guests, not just links to Trip Advisor. Once you’re happy with your responses there you’re nearly home and dry. Morocco is a safe country, with hotels offering peace of mind and tour staff friendly and accommodating. You can find out more about the tours we offer at: Wheels Across Morocco.