first published on open forum Out & About Live 27 May 2010
We used the ferry from Barcelona to Tangier Med as it was cheaper for us than driving through Spain at the time. We bought 6 months insurance from the booth at the port as our policy won't cover us. There was a cock up in lining up everyone disembarking, we were sidelined with all other 4x4s and left till last, once that had started noone would change it, or seemed to know why?
Bad weather as the boat was sailing to Italy on its Med loop meant our boarding in Barcalona was pushed back about 6 hours. This meant arriving at Tangier customs early evening, and getting out took 5 hours, noone actually looked in our camper after all that waiting. Some flashy Moroccans sped straight through with a lot of back slapping?.
Then the insurance booth was shut. We were told by the Police it would be fine to continue without insurance, if we drove slowly, to the next town with an office perhaps open the next day, but chose to wait. I suppose if we drove slowly everywhere therefore we wouldn't need insurance at all?! The port office wasn't open the next day anyway, so we waited a bit more, enjoying watching stressed locals and tourists alike
We've been here 9 weeks, and hope to pop out and back in again in Ceuta in two weeks or so to obtain another 90 days, then back via Barcalona probably again. I'm told some big campsites can get your passport stamped for you to save you the drive? We'll see on that one!
Morocco is a great and very safe country to visit with a motorhome but our mistake was going with Desert Detours. This company may have been good in the past when they took very small group but not now as most of us on the tour felt that Desert Detours did not live up to their promises. We paid Desert Detours 1,940 Euros per couple but calculate that if we had done the same tour on our own it would have cost each couple together less then 270 Euros for the same items paid for by Desert Detours.
VirariousBooks.co.uk publish a great book “Camping Morocco” that provides practically all the information required for touring Morocco, certainly better then that given by Desert Detours. Over 150,000 motorhomes go to Morocco each year, mainly French but a considerable number from the UK travelling independently. You do not need to go with an organised tour; Moroccan people are friendly and very helpful with plenty of policemen about to ask directions if required.
Costs paid by Desert Detours – Ferry 134 Euros (return Algeciras / Ceuta for motorhome & two adults); Campsites 93 Euros (all those used are in the “Camping Morocco” book and cost taken from that book, yes campsites are cheap in Morocco but not of a great standard); Meals about 37 Euros per couple (Ray provided 3 meals, one in Merzouga that was reasonable; a paella cooked by Francisco with little ingredients for the 40+ persons apart from rice; and a piece offering meal at Essouira, I had a piece of dried up fish); Guardians max of 2 Euros (campsites in Morocco include guardians); Museums fees - zero (as Ray did not include any in our tour). Total cost 266 Euros yet we paid Desert Detours 1940 Euros. All the restaurants we were taken to by Ray were all very expensive by Moroccan standards; we often pay less in France and Spain.
The tour that we were taken on was the ‘Classic Moroccan Tour’ which can be found detailed in many travel books on Morocco and the internet.
Ray’s had two Europeans assistants, Steve and Francisco, but both were without previous touring experience of Morocco and of motorhomes leaving us totally dependant on Hammid as Ray himself spoke only English.
Regarding Ray we found him to have a quick temper and at times he was very unpleasant to quite a number on our tour. Even Debbie Ray’s wife had warned Francisco of Ray’s temper before leaving on the trip.
One client of Desert Detours had to cancel his trip with our tour after paying the deposit due to his wife being diagnosed with terminal cancer but Ray refused to reimburse him his deposit.
Ray included horror stories at each of his daily briefings which we felt were included to justify our reason for travelling with him, strange how many 1000’s of others tour Morocco independently without incidents.
A number of independent British motorhome travellers we met during our tour said that they had had zero problems interring Morocco or during their travels.
Ray appeared to care more for his dog, which went on the tour, then his clients.
All these views on Desert Detours were talked about between us and even his assistants during the tour.
When the tour departed Essouira and headed back to Spain one of our group was left stranded in Essouira due to a mechanical breakdown.
Anyway had a great holiday but should not have gone with Desert Detours.
Beware – Desert Detours are also using this site to post anonymous great reviews about themselves.