Journey Beyond Travel in Morocco

By George Carter
This item appears on page 30 of the February 2014 issue.
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For about a year, my wife, Louise, communicated with Thomas Hollowell and Fazia Farrook of Journey Beyond Travel (Avenue Lalla Amina, Residence Afifa, Apt. 1, Hay Riad, Ifrane 53000, Morocco; phone, toll-free from the US, 855/687-6676 or, worldwide, 765/387-4404)

From multiple tour offerings, we selected Journey Beyond’s “Eclectic Tour” and, with their considerable help, a Morocco adventure was shaped that stretches my imagination to describe.

We were caught up in the idea of the company providing us with a van and driver for a smaller-than-usual tour group, which included our frequent travel partner, Terri, and longtime friends Bob and Joan.

The responsiveness of Thomas and Fazia via multiple emails assured us that our two weeks in Morocco, Sept. 24-Oct. 8, 2013 (cushioned between five days in Spain and eight in Portugal), would be tailored to our interests and give us the flexibility we wanted. 

They understood that we were retired folks ranging in age from mid-60s to almost 80, had moderate mobility issues and were more interested Morocco’s ethnic, cultural and political history than in shopping.

Among their arrangements was a van with the driver Naim Souhel, whose near-perfect English made his service invaluable. We also appreciated his sense of humor. He is now a friend.

We paid $2,768 per person, double occupancy, which covered airport transfers; 14 nights in riads (inns); all breakfasts, five lunches and six dinners; a cooking class in Fez; local guides, and Naim’s on-demand driving, even on our free days in Fez and Marrakesh. Naim and the van were available to us if we chose to visit sites too far to walk.

Our group met in Casablanca, where our first day included the Hassan II Mosque, truly inspiring, and dinner at Rick’s Café, where ghosts of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman linger. 

Our itinerary then took us to Rabat, Meknes, Fez, Skoura, Marrakesh, Essaouira and back to Marrakesh. If you look at a map of Morocco, you’ll see that we started at the Atlantic Ocean and went through the Middle Atlas mountains, into the edge of the Sahara, across the High Atlas and back to the Atlantic. 

We had riads within the walls of ancient medinas; a camel ride featuring sunset views from the top of a high dune; an overnight in a Bedouin-style tent with a queen bed set on Moroccan carpets; lunch in Naim’s home, presided over by his mother; a startling drive over the High Atlas in which we competed for lanes with top-heavy trucks loaded with animals and produce, and much more.

One of the attractive parts of the tour was their clear statement that drivers and guides were paid in full, including an appropriate amount for tips; no tips were expected from us (though we sometimes exercised our option to tip an additional amount for extraordinary service). 

We heartily encourage a visit to Morocco and strongly endorse the services of Journey Beyond Travel.

GEORGE CARTER

Nevada City, CA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

For about a year, my wife, Louise, communicated with Thomas Hollowell and Fazia Farrook of Journey Beyond Travel (Avenue Lalla Amina, Residence Afifa, Apt. 1, Hay Riad, Ifrane 53000, Morocco; phone, toll-free from the US, 855/687-6676 or, worldwide, 765/387-4404)

From multiple tour offerings, we selected Journey Beyond’s “Eclectic Tour” and, with their considerable help, a Morocco adventure was shaped that stretches my imagination to describe.

We were caught up in the idea of the company providing us with a van and driver for a smaller-than-usual tour group, which included our frequent travel partner, Terri, and longtime friends Bob and Joan.

The responsiveness of Thomas and Fazia via multiple emails assured us that our two weeks in Morocco, Sept. 24-Oct. 8, 2013 (cushioned between five days in Spain and eight in Portugal), would be tailored to our interests and give us the flexibility we wanted. 

They understood that we were retired folks ranging in age from mid-60s to almost 80, had moderate mobility issues and were more interested Morocco’s ethnic, cultural and political history than in shopping.

Among their arrangements was a van with the driver Naim Souhel, whose near-perfect English made his service invaluable. We also appreciated his sense of humor. He is now a friend.

We paid $2,768 per person, double occupancy, which covered airport transfers; 14 nights in riads (inns); all breakfasts, five lunches and six dinners; a cooking class in Fez; local guides, and Naim’s on-demand driving, even on our free days in Fez and Marrakesh. Naim and the van were available to us if we chose to visit sites too far to walk.

Our group met in Casablanca, where our first day included the Hassan II Mosque, truly inspiring, and dinner at Rick’s Café, where ghosts of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman linger. 

Our itinerary then took us to Rabat, Meknes, Fez, Skoura, Marrakesh, Essaouira and back to Marrakesh. If you look at a map of Morocco, you’ll see that we started at the Atlantic Ocean and went through the Middle Atlas mountains, into the edge of the Sahara, across the High Atlas and back to the Atlantic. 

We had riads within the walls of ancient medinas; a camel ride featuring sunset views from the top of a high dune; an overnight in a Bedouin-style tent with a queen bed set on Moroccan carpets; lunch in Naim’s home, presided over by his mother; a startling drive over the High Atlas in which we competed for lanes with top-heavy trucks loaded with animals and produce, and much more.

One of the attractive parts of the tour was their clear statement that drivers and guides were paid in full, including an appropriate amount for tips; no tips were expected from us (though we sometimes exercised our option to tip an additional amount for extraordinary service). 

We heartily encourage a visit to Morocco and strongly endorse the services of Journey Beyond Travel.

GEORGE CARTER

Nevada City, CA