Youssef Maamri was our driver and our guide for the entire 8 days of our stay in Morocco and in that role, he was nothing short of terrific. He was also a very pleasant and interesting companion. In short, you could not have found a better ambassador for your company. His English is quite good, and of course he speaks the languages of the country (Berber and Arabic and French). Youssef was entirely reliable the whole time we were there, meeting us at the airport as agreed, and every other time after that.
His vehicle was perfect for the journey. We had been concerned about the size of our luggage, but there was no reason for concern, there was room to spare.
On the first day, Youssef brought us to the medina and to the Boussa riad [Marrakech] after we arrived. We were greeted by a delightful French lady, Brigitte who is the proud owner. We were all impressed by the loveliness of the place and her many decorative touches.
We enjoyed our walk through the medina market with Youssef on day 1. Youssef brought us to various sights and ancient palaces.
In the evening for dinner, Youssef brought us to a nicely located restaurant on the second level of a building in the square where we could enjoy a fine meal and take in the action in the street below.
Joanne really wanted to see the Kasbah Du Toubkal outside of Imlil. This was not in the original plans and had to be discussed with our driver. After explaining the additional time that it would take, he agreed to take us there, even though it meant many additional kilometres of driving. To make up the time, we all agreed to leave earlier the next day. Joanne and Stu were especially thrilled to see the Kasbah, but we also appreciated the detour since the scenery was nothing short of remarkable on the way there and at the Kasbah.
Our second riad was Dar Daif, another beautiful Riad with a pool. Everyone in our group felt that the dinner and breakfast at Dar Daif were superb and above expectations. Some of us managed to get a nice late evening swim in the atrium pool under the stars.
The next day, we again enjoyed a wide array of exquisite sightings on the way there. The Todra gorge was perhaps the most spectacular. We stopped and took pictures, then we ate in the village. The scenery on the road in the Atlas Mountains was at times stunning.
We later stopped in a village where there was an argan oil factory. Some shopping was done by the girls who quickly made friends with the local artisans.
Later, Youssef brought us to see a primitive but very interesting Kasbah where we learned a lot about their origins and construction.
On the way to the desert, we came across a herd of camels crossing the road on their own. We stopped and took more pictures.
After going through what they call the door to the desert, we arrived at Dune d’Or, late afternoon under a hot sun.
We met our very nice Berber guide who was happy to show each one of us how to put on the colourful scarves that we had bought earlier as fashion items for the desert pictures. Dressed in a deep blue robe, our young guide was perfect for the photos. He told us how to mounting our camels and led us through an hour and a half ride through the dunes to our camp in the dessert, stopping occasionally to take pictures and to see the sunset. This was certainly a high point in our trip as none of us had ever experienced anything like this, even though the men in the group felt some discomfort from straddling the dromedaries.
When we reached our destination, we were quite hungry, and exhausted. We were the only guests at the camp that night. We relaxed as they prepared what turned out to be a delicious tagine, then chatted a while with each other and our guide under a full moon. Memories for a lifetime. In the warmth of the night under a full moon and without a single mosquito, we all fell asleep on the cots in the middle of the square created by the Berber tents, as we listened to the music from another Berber camp nearby. We only found our beds in the tent in the middle of the night when the air got cooler.
The next morning, no one wanted to miss the desert sunrise, and we all woke up before our guide arrived.
We mounted our camels and headed back to Dune d’Or for a great breakfast. Later, we met Youssef who drove us to Fes through spectacular terrain.
We drove through the pretty town of Ifrane and took a country road to Fes where we saw some native monkeys on the side of the road under the trees.
In Fes, we stayed at another beautiful riad, Dar Al Madina Al Kadima. The rooms were beautiful. There was a hint of odour in the rooms, perhaps coming from the shower stack.
We enjoyed more sightseeing with Youssef in Fes, who entertained us with impassioned talks about the city he knows so well and loves. The leather tannery was very interesting, as were the ceramic factory and the carpet factory.
We did buy quite a few leather souvenirs and some nicely crafted ceramic articles, and though tempted by the beauty and reasonable prices of the carpets, did not buy any
On our final night in Fes, Youssef brought us to an authentic Moroccan restaurant where the food and ambiance were delightful, and our hosts very interesting hosts to talk with.
The next day, we were to go straight back to Marrakech, a fairly long drive. To our delight, Youssef offered to change the itinerary and bring us to Casablanca.
We were all overjoyed by the prospect of visiting this legendary city and very much enjoyed seeing the great Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, which is the pride of all Morocco.
From Casablanca, we made our way back to Marrakech.
The last day in Marrakech, Youssef brought us as previously agreed to the medina market for some great bargains, which all had to be negotiated. We bought many unique souvenirs from local artisans there.
We can say that the four of us were extremely happy with our trip to Morocco using EIT Tours. From the beginning, Ruth provided excellent service, responding quickly to every request. Cathy who dealt with Ruth was quite impressed with the level of service.
As for Youssef, our trip simply would not have been the same without him. He was wonderful, bringing us to wonderful sights, buying water for us everyday and taking care of us as his family.
We were thus very pleased with every aspect of the service provided by EIT and we highly recommend it. The best reviews gave EIT five stars. We give it six. And by the way Jeff, we appreciated what you did for us too. You chose excellent riads, you gave us a fantastic driver and guide, you put together this superb tour package for us and answered all our requests, and for that, we are very grateful. Unfortunately, we did not get to meet you or Ruth. We also think you should know that we appreciated the amazing package of indispensable information and valuable advice we received from EIT before the trip. We especially appreciated the advice on what foods we should be careful about consuming. Some members of our group probably wish they had heeded that advice. We also very much appreciated the advice on tipping. We would also love to come back again one day for another Moroccan experience.
Cathy & Alain G.