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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Marrakech Tours - Excursions
Marrakech Tours Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Walking Tours

It used to be common to step outside a hotel and find a ‘guide’ willing to give you a tour around Marrakech for a small fee, but today the tourist police have clamped down on the unlicensed escorts. If visiting Marrakech for a short time, a guide can be indispensable for revealing the little-known parts of the city and these freelance guides can still be found but it can be a hit and miss affair. As always, a fee should be negotiated in advance and tourists should be particularly cautious in the souks, as many guides have commission arrangements with the various shops and these will be the ones you will be ‘guided’ to see. Better still, official and fully licensed guides can be hired from any of the good hotels or from the tourist offices but even these guides often have some commission arrangements.

The following company can arrange various walking tours, such as exploring the medina or the tanneries.

MCI Tours
154 avenue Mohamed V
Guéliz
Telephone number: (044) 438 742
Website: www.mcitours.ma

Other Tours

Grands taxis can be hired for tours of the Marrakech and day excursions from the ranks in Guéliz by the Post Office or at Jemaa-el-Fna. It is also possible to hire a calèche for a tour of the city and for both modes of transport the price should be negotiated in advance.

There are scores of travel agents in the streets around place Abdel Moumen ben Ali.

Travel Link, 19 rue Mauritania, Guéliz (telephone number: (044) 448 797), offers hot air ballooning just outside Marrakech, as well as helicopter tours of the ramparts and High Atlas Mountains.

There is a growing market in the more adventurous excursions, such as 4x4 safaris, hunting, fishing, Atlas trekking and whitewater rafting in the High Atlas Mountains. Operators include:

Voyage Voyages
194/7 Résidence Firdaous,
15 rue Mohamed el Baqal 15
Guéliz

Telephone number: (044) 420 667
website: www.voyagevoyages.com

For a Half Day

Setti Fatma

Set within lush terraces, the riverside hamlet of Setti Fatma is located 40 miles (60 kilometres) southeast of the city of Marrakech. The village is set at the end of the winding Ourika valley beyond the reach of most of the tourist coaches.

Setti Fatma itself is simply a mud-brick village, if rather pretty, but the 7 waterfalls that tumble and tear through the craggy rocks above it make it a very well-known location. The 1st of the falls is quite an easy climb and it is possible to swim here in the icy cold waters of the rock pool and to sunbathe on the rocks. The higher falls are harder work and sturdy shoes and a good head for heights are required, although there are a number of guides willing to offer help. The banks of many falls are lined with nice cafés and restaurants. The best way to get to Setti Fatma is by grand taxi from the main bus station in the city of Marrakech.

For a Whole Day

Essaouira

Situated 180 kilometres (112 miles) west of Marrakech, this 18th-century coastal resort provides a very welcome escape from the heat and the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. A trading and fishing port with a history dating back to the 7th century BC, it was massively rebuilt in the 18th century and modelled on St-Malo in France. With its fine sand beach and blue-and-white-painted houses, it has a long association with artists. A series of forts built along the seafront, a blend of French, Portuguese and Berber military architecture, lend an influential mystique to Essaouira. Orson Welles shot some of his famous film Othello (1952) on the ramparts, the Skala du Port, here. The cooling Atlantic breeze, the alizee, has made it renowned for windsurfing. Jogging, sunbathing and games of football along the beach are popular activities. It is 1 of the most European of the cities in the country and is popular with the laid-back, wind-surfing crowd.

The tourist office
10 rue du Caire
Telephone number: (044) 783 532 or 473 819
website: www.mogador-essaouira.com

The fastest way of getting to Essaouira from Marrakech is by grand taxi, which has the added bonus of probably witnessing tree-climbing goats en route. ONCF Supratours Express Buses leave Marrakech train station (telephone number: (044) 447 703/768), twice daily.