9 reasons to book a private tour of Morocco

Visiting Morocco on a private 4×4 tour has increasingly become the popular way to see Morocco in the last few years. Of course, many people still prefer other options: join a group tour or rent a car and/or DIY. However, booking a boutique or luxury tour of Morocco grants you the exclusive use of a knowledgeable driver and a spotless modern air conditioned 4×4 that can take on steep gorges and towering desert dunes. Here are nine good reasons why you should consider booking a private Morocco tour:

1. Tailor-made itinerary all the way

A good agency will customize a private tour of Morocco according to the guest’s taste and needs. After due exchange of emails, a day- to- day itinerary is provided with daily sites and activities included. But here is where the difference between good and excellent lies. People like to plan things but also to have some spontaneity thrown in for a good mix. And so, the agency should be able to customize some of the things on the go. Suppose that one morning you’re too lazy for the Atlas Mountains trekking you had planned and just want to reach the Sahara early so you can laze away in the dunes the whole afternoon.

Atlas Mountains trekking

Or perhaps the eco lodge where you just spent the night has impressed you with the dinner so much that you may want to partake in some of their culinary ideas. An impromptu Moroccan cooking class can be arranged where the chef will show you some of her/his secrets, assisted by a translator.

2. Off-the-beaten track experience

Anyone can rely on a Lonely Planet guide or similar when it comes to selecting the sites and activities to be seen or done when on a Morocco trip. After all, nowadays, one can reach Sahara’s dunes in Merzouga by rent a car or even bus. But what about drifting in the dunes in a customized 4×4 or have tea with the nomads in the middle of the dunes where the Paris- Dakar rally used to pass? The same way one can wander by himself through the honey- comb adobe homes of UNESCO World Heritage Site Ait Benhaddou.

Ait Benhaddou UNESCO World Heritage Site

But what about visit the nearby troglodyte grottos? Or learn how the Berber granary was the village’s safe house, centuries before banks came around ? In a country where tarmac covers more and more routes, the true immersion often commences where tarmac ends. Similarly, the Erg Chigaga represents the real Sahara as opposed to the somewhat beguiling dunes of Erg Lihoudi, where most of tour operator tours camp.

Erg Chigaga luxury camp lounge

3. Local authentic boutique accommodation

What makes Morocco great with intrepid, boutique hotel travelers is the number of chic- yet- authentic family run, cozy guest houses, Riads, kasbahs and eco lodges. Most of them offer great cuisine with ingredients coming from their own organic back yard. Wouldn’t it be a shame for you to have a buffet dinner you could have anywhere else in the world ? The owners will often join you for a coffee over breakfast, share insider tips on what there is to do and see in the area or where to have lunch on your way to the next stop. Woke up too late to have breakfast? Arrived too late to have dinner? There’s no such thing here. Let’s be honest, what tour operator or all inclusive travel agency will offer this kind of accommodation? None. They work with large volumes and large volumes can’t be accommodated in guest houses where the average room number is at best a dozen.

Kasbah Tamadot suite

4. That you have time to enjoy

Another aspect is the time available. There is no point in carefully selecting the best accommodations available in Morocco if you don’t have the time to enjoy them. A good Morocco tour agency will carefully balance the time spent inside the vehicle with the time spent visiting sites and enjoying the lodge’s facilities. What is the point of staying at say, the arresting Azalai Desert Lodge set on the edge of Zagora’s palm grove, if you arrive late at night just in time for dinner or leave next morning right after breakfast?

Azalai Desert Lodge pool and garden

It would be a pity not to spend some time around their exquisite library packed with livres des voyages. Or go on a bicycle ride in the surrounding palm grove. Plunge in the inviting pool whether it is February or June. Or learn from the owner himself why rooms have names such as Karen Blixen or Saint- Exupery…

5. A driver and much more

The driver on your tour is more than just driving you around the ( sometimes mad) traffic in Morocco. In most cases, he is an expert in the culture and traditions of the areas you will cover. He is the one making possible your immersion into the local culture, carefully selecting the local guides, the best spots for stunning photos or the pace of the day. In some of the most remote areas , the locals will only speak Arabic or at best, one of the Berber dialects. The driver will be there to help translate in your own language topics as diverse as the defense of a ksar or the meanings of the different kaftans worn by a Moroccan bride during her wedding. Throughout your tour of Morocco you may even get invited to have lunch with a local family, perhaps a unique chance of an initiation to the local day to day life.

He is also a fine psychologist, using his intuition to carefully asses if the people he is with on the tour are more the extravert or introvert type, what are their interests and carefully match these with what is available locally. He will also judge the right time to talk and the right time to keep quiet, creating a comfortable ambiance during the tour. Most times, by the time the private tour is over, he will have established a friendship with his guests and more often than not, these will, in return, recommend their friends or family to come and discover Morocco with the same person and no one else.

6. Interacting with the locals

Moroccans are Morocco’s greatest asset. Humble, joyful and hospitable, often deprived, they will always share the little they have with their guests. This is also where a private tour makes a difference – it makes possible such encounters while keeping away overworked touristy receptions and convenience smiles. Arabs, Berbers, Europeans, Jews and Blacks have shaped a uniquely diverse cultural identity over centuries. How would you feel passing by it? Sometimes these encounters happen spontaneously – the Kasbah’s guard might invite you over for tea in his home. Other times, moving life stories are to be heard – such as the palm grove’s guide whose passion for his homeland made him teach himself English and open a small yet rich museum to document the life in the palm grove across generations. He will tell you stories of tribes and colors, shrines and caravans, and how the Berbers make rain happen… dedicated staff are constantly travelling across Morocco, uncovering such out- of- ordinary characters that document and maintain local cultures alive.

7. Peace of mind

A reliable private Morocco tour agency will offer 24 hour assistance during your travel. Whether this means booking last minute the trendiest French restaurant in Marrakech or a good dentist, it all comes down to the same thing: your peace of mind. A luxury Morocco tour means not only staying in the best available hotels at each location and paying top dollar for it, but also have a backup 4×4 available to be delivered timely in the unlikely event that your designated 4×4 breaks down. Or a driver being there at the airport with your name on the board even if your flight is x hours late. Recently we were forced to reverse the order of a tour and rebook all accommodations due to unforecasted bad weather. The same way, an unexpected sand storm may threaten the desert camp where you were supposed to spend the night. A comfortable double room in the Kasbah by the dunes will be accommodated swiftly. Early next morning, once the dust has settled, a camel ride will take you inside the dunes.

Morocco desert luxury tent

8. It saves you time

Imagine renting a car and going out down the Draa Valley looking for the most spectacular Kasbah or the lushest patch of palm grove. Let alone have a guided tour of either of them by someone knowledgeable. Getting lost and asking locals for direction in a language they don’t understand. Or joining a group tour and having to wait until everyone has finished visiting the local fossil shop in order to get to the next attraction. A shop you were not interested in visiting in the first place. You get the picture. None of these ordeals happen when you book a customized private Morocco tour.

Jemaa El Fna Square by dawn

9. The surprise

Many Morocco visitors book a private tour as a celebration of a special event. A birthday, a marriage anniversary or honeymoon. Some agencies would offer something extra. As birthday cakes, flower bouquets or bottles of Champagne are failing to impress the way they used to, new ideas surge. The essential is to pleasantly surprise your guests by offering them something unique.

Dar Ahlam wild camping

It may be a signature home perfume to remind them of the almond trees blossoming in February in the valleys of the Atlas Mountains. An exquisite album with photos of the dreamiest places in Morocco perhaps inspiring one day the next generation to come and visit the same latitudes. A leather-cover travel diary where they could put down the memories of a journey that would have transformed them.

Cristian Martinus is Managing Director at Sun Trails.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (9)

  1. Francois says:

    Great article! Morroco is a very nice destination, far far away from all the bad things we are seeing nowadays at TV. Casablanca and Marrakech are my favourite cities and allow to visit the “true” Morroco, not like tourist factories…

  2. Thank you Cristian, you have me sold. :) I went to Morocco aged 17 or 18, at an age when I had no idea of the culture. It was a last minute cheap sun holiday from my perspective, so the culture shock was huge. Of course that was due to my own ignorance. These private tours sound fantastic. Super article.

  3. Brahim_M says:

    Great article!! and you are definitely right, private tours are the best, and 100% of the people who can afford them book them, because like you said, it gives you total control of the whole journey, even the music type you want to listen to in the car.
    Definitely recommended for people who want to discover culture and authenticity of Morocco

  4. Casandra says:

    My husband and I have travelled extensively and always independently but decided to book a desert tour during our honeymoon. we Started our tour Marrakech and Ended it in Marrakech, The things we saw were amazing too. The snow covered High Atlas and Middle Atlas mountains, we visited several Kasbahs such as Kasbah Taourirt \ Kasbah Amridelt the best being Aït Benhaddou and Oasis, and some impressive valleys like Dades Valley where we spent our first night in a beautiful hotel as well as Todra Valley & Draa Valley.

    The highlight of the trip was a camel trek out into the Sahara, with a berber camel guide to sleep in a berber camp. Riding a camel is a bit of an adventure, but you really need to do it! The camp is very basic & authentic, drum players came to our camp to sing and entertain – and sunrise was awesome.

  5. Hmmo says:

    If you are planning a vacation, Morocco is perfect place to spend an unforgettable experience. If you have an idea of exploring the historic imperial cities, hiking the Atlas Mountains, camel trek in the sand dunes of Sahara desert, and sleeping under Berber tents, exploring Berber villages and visiting Atlantic coast, Morocco is right country for you.

  6. Abe says:

    It pays to book a private tour, especially when you travel to a different country where things are usually taken for granted, and locals are easy going. Choosing the right tour company is a key element in the success of your tour though. Thanks for posting!

  7. moha idir says:

    great article, Morocco is definitely a beautiful country to travel to, especially in a private tour.

  8. Brahim says:

    Great Article!

    Here is also few tips for those are interesting in visiting Morocco, hope it helps!
    -Morocco is at its most beautiful in spring (mid-March to May) when the landscape is green and lush, making for spectacular mountain hiking. Morocco is also lovely in Autumn (September to October) when temperatures are very pleasant.
    -Weather in May :
    Expect daytime temperatures to reach 27°C with on average 9 hours of sunshine per day in Morocco in May.
    -Popular Morocco destinations for those short on time : Marrakech with its famous square, Fes with its old Medina, Ride camels in Merzouga desert, Ouarzazate ( See the old Kasbah Of Ait Ben Haddou).

  9. Joe says:

    Definitely right!!!! Private tours are the best way to experience Morocco especially when contracting a professional travel company among the crowd of opportunists online.

Leave a reply



Your actual name, not your online persona, website name, company name or keywords, otherwise your comment won't be published





Please do not advertise and make sure your comment adds value, otherwise we regret that it won't be published. Links are not allowed here - if you would like to advertise, please contact us for details.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

Our readers also enjoyed these posts…