Recommended driver in Morocco

By Deborah Filcoff
This item appears on page 24 of the September 2020 issue.
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I have been traveling for decades. I’ve gone with small groups rarely and at times with a few special friends, learning to spread our wings and do what we wanted on a journey. Then, as my friends couldn’t travel as much as I, I traveled by myself throughout South America, Europe, Asia, India, the Pacific and a few parts of Africa.

I am a blonde and have never encountered any scary or difficult situations traveling alone, mainly because I first have studied each place I visited, including the ins and outs of the area in case I needed to leave in a hurry.

Sometimes, instead of using public transportation, I’ve hired a driver (though almost never a guide) because having a personal driver has often allowed me to meet people and to visit areas I didn’t even know about. A good driver can offer rich knowledge not found in books, creating a heightened excitement about a country and its people.

Over the past several years, I’ve gone through two major back surgeries, the second one leaving me with a slight limp. In addition, I developed diabetes, which requires keeping medication in a refrigerator. Nobody expected me to travel again because of the difficulties involved with carrying bags, cameras, etc.

Well, after I had improved, I made a plan to visit Morocco. I had been there several times and always loved it. I’ve found the people to be incredibly kind and helpful, the food is a cuisine, the architecture is amazing and exotic, and the topography is so diverse! So in May 2019, I left on a 4-week trip to Morocco.

When one travels alone, it does not mean you will be “alone” or lonely on your trip. In my case, locals and other travelers have ended up being good friends. I was in Tangier for almost a week, walking through the medina and taking a few day trips suggested by people I met.

Lifting my suitcases on and off buses and trains wasn’t easy, however, and I decided my trip would be more exciting, and that I’d see much more of the country, if I hired a driver. At cafés, I asked around for a driver and was given an enthusiastic recommendation for Bestout Mustapha (phone +212 6615 64111, bestmustapha80@gmail.com).

When I called him, I mentioned my limp, that I sometimes used a cane and that I couldn’t walk fast. I also told him I needed a cooler in the van for my diabetic drugs. Without hesitation he said, “Okay.” I ended up hiring him for the next three weeks at $200 a day.

Having already picked out my lodgings, I told him the places I wanted to see: Chefchaouen (the Blue City), the Roman ruins of Volubilis, Ouarzazate in the desert, Marrakech, Agadir, Essaouira and Casablanca, from which I would fly home. I also wanted to make stops along the sea for sunbathing and to eat fresh fish.

When Mustapha heard where I planned to stay, he said I would have to cancel a few of the riads (gorgeous, exotic hotels converted from traditional houses) I had chosen because they had too many stairs and no elevators. He went beyond the call of duty and found me alternative hotels and recommended out-of-the-way places to visit as well as restaurants.

The trip was amazing. Mustapha is a superb, cautious driver, he was always on time and, best of all, he has a wonderful sense of humor. His van was air-conditioned and had Wi-Fi.

In conversation, he mentioned the King of Morocco’s horse show in October that featured Arabian and Berber original horse breeds, so I returned a few months later to see that, staying for two weeks. Because my trip lasted more than a week, he charged me $180 per day, which I paid in dirhams (ATMs are everywhere).

On each day he was with me, he stayed with me the entire day until I went to bed at night. Although he didn’t have to walk any medinas or other sites with me, he did. On the days I wanted to just be alone to visit a pool or beach, I could still reach him by phone.

Having Mustapha as a driver has upped my courage and enthusiasm for traveling on my own. Anyone with questions can contact me at 618/799-3874 or deborahfilcoff@yahoo.com.

DEBORAH FILCOFF
Granite City, IL

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

I have been traveling for decades. I’ve gone with small groups rarely and at times with a few special friends, learning to spread our wings and do what we wanted on a journey. Then, as my friends couldn’t travel as much as I, I traveled by myself throughout South America, Europe, Asia, India, the Pacific and a few parts of Africa.

I am a blonde and have never encountered any scary or difficult situations traveling alone, mainly because I first have studied each place I visited, including the ins and outs of the area in case I needed to leave in a hurry.

Sometimes, instead of using public transportation, I’ve hired a driver (though almost never a guide) because having a personal driver has often allowed me to meet people and to visit areas I didn’t even know about. A good driver can offer rich knowledge not found in books, creating a heightened excitement about a country and its people.

Over the past several years, I’ve gone through two major back surgeries, the second one leaving me with a slight limp. In addition, I developed diabetes, which requires keeping medication in a refrigerator. Nobody expected me to travel again because of the difficulties involved with carrying bags, cameras, etc.

Well, after I had improved, I made a plan to visit Morocco. I had been there several times and always loved it. I’ve found the people to be incredibly kind and helpful, the food is a cuisine, the architecture is amazing and exotic, and the topography is so diverse! So in May 2019, I left on a 4-week trip to Morocco.

When one travels alone, it does not mean you will be “alone” or lonely on your trip. In my case, locals and other travelers have ended up being good friends. I was in Tangier for almost a week, walking through the medina and taking a few day trips suggested by people I met.

Lifting my suitcases on and off buses and trains wasn’t easy, however, and I decided my trip would be more exciting, and that I’d see much more of the country, if I hired a driver. At cafés, I asked around for a driver and was given an enthusiastic recommendation for Bestout Mustapha (phone +212 6615 64111, bestmustapha80@gmail.com).

When I called him, I mentioned my limp, that I sometimes used a cane and that I couldn’t walk fast. I also told him I needed a cooler in the van for my diabetic drugs. Without hesitation he said, “Okay.” I ended up hiring him for the next three weeks at $200 a day.

Having already picked out my lodgings, I told him the places I wanted to see: Chefchaouen (the Blue City), the Roman ruins of Volubilis, Ouarzazate in the desert, Marrakech, Agadir, Essaouira and Casablanca, from which I would fly home. I also wanted to make stops along the sea for sunbathing and to eat fresh fish.

When Mustapha heard where I planned to stay, he said I would have to cancel a few of the riads (gorgeous, exotic hotels converted from traditional houses) I had chosen because they had too many stairs and no elevators. He went beyond the call of duty and found me alternative hotels and recommended out-of-the-way places to visit as well as restaurants.

The trip was amazing. Mustapha is a superb, cautious driver, he was always on time and, best of all, he has a wonderful sense of humor. His van was air-conditioned and had Wi-Fi.

In conversation, he mentioned the King of Morocco’s horse show in October that featured Arabian and Berber original horse breeds, so I returned a few months later to see that, staying for two weeks. Because my trip lasted more than a week, he charged me $180 per day, which I paid in dirhams (ATMs are everywhere).

On each day he was with me, he stayed with me the entire day until I went to bed at night. Although he didn’t have to walk any medinas or other sites with me, he did. On the days I wanted to just be alone to visit a pool or beach, I could still reach him by phone.

Having Mustapha as a driver has upped my courage and enthusiasm for traveling on my own. Anyone with questions can contact me at 618/799-3874 or deborahfilcoff@yahoo.com.

DEBORAH FILCOFF
Granite City, IL