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Authentic Morocco Travel Tours and Treks

Sep 20

Written by:
9/20/2010 9:11 PM  RssIcon

The interview below is with Liz Williams the owner of Authentic Morocco, a UK based travel tour operator that specializes on Morocco tours.
What is Authentic Morocco?  
Authentic Morocco is what I call the ‘real’ Morocco - a mix of the traditional and the modern.  Here is a country where daily life has quickly changed in the cities and is changing more slowly in the countryside.  In the more remote villages, especially those off the beaten track, cultural traditions are strong and the Berbers live off the land as they have for hundreds of years i.e. growing crops and herding livestock (goats, sheep and camels).  All that said, travel anywhere in Morocco and you will see satellite dishes beaming into the homes everything from Egyptian soap operas to news from Al Jazeera -  only the nomads appear to have avoided the lure of the TV.
How long have you been operating Authentic Morocco travel tours, and did you have any travel experience prior to that? 
I had experience organizing travel tours in Morocco before setting up Authentic Morocco in 2006 to provide good quality tours that I had enjoyed as an independent traveler.The company was an immediate success. Also, I have subsequently set up Authentic Journeys Morocco – a local  Morocco tour operator, with an office in Marrakech, that is registered with the Ministry of Tourism in Rabat.  It has been an exciting time and the team, other than myself, are all Moroccan.
Why Morocco?
I grew up in Kenya where I spent long summer holidays on the coast around Mombasa. When I returned to UK as an adult I realized that Africa was not so far away and I took my first holiday in Morocco.  I loved it for the landscapes and wide open horizons that reminded me of Kenya and a culture that resonated with my memories of Mombasa - my passion for Morocco was born.  The country became the focus of my photography and I grew to know it better than the UK.
What is your favorite Moroccan town? 
I don’t care much for the towns even though our office is in Marrakech and I spend a lot of time there – I like wide open spaces and big horizons.  My favourite places are the desert dunes outside of summer or the High Atlas mountains in the summer months.  What is your favorite Moroccan dish? probably home-cooked beef tagine. What is your favorite Moroccan music? live gnawa musicians, especially around a camp fire in the Sahara. What is your favorite Moroccan spot? sitting on a high dune in the pre-dawn silence waiting for the sun to rise across a desert landscape What is your favorite Moroccan city? Fez is interesting, Marrakech is often referred to as ‘an assult on the senses’ and I like Rabat for the mix of the old and the new i.e. there are Roman ruins here as well as it being the capital of Morocco.  The contrasts in Morocco are often extreme.
Which region of Morocco gets more attention by your clients or surprises them?
Most clients say that camel trekking in the Sahara is the highlight of their tour and seeing so many stars in the night sky is the biggest surprise for them.  The local hospitality is often commented on.
If someone had only 2-3 days in Morocco, Which city or town would you recommend for a short stay?
For a short stay it is important to choose a city with an accessible airport and the obvious choices are Fes and Marrakech.  From Fes, Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains is a great place to spend a couple of days and from Marrakech there are some interesting day trips i.e. the coastal town of Essaouira or the High Atlas Mountains.
In your opinion, what is the best time of the year to visit Morocco?
April and May.  This is the time of year when roses bloom in Kelaa Mgouna (rose valley), the seasonal lakes around Merzouga are full and the flamingoes arrive, the fields are filled with crops i.e. wheat and barley and the rivers flow.
What kind of tours Authentic Morocco specializes on?
We specialize in private tours with a local Moroccan driver.  We offer as much or as little assistance as our clients want i.e. longer tours from airport arrival until airport departure, short desert or imperial cities tours or as little as a day trip from Marrakech.  Most of our tours are small groups (couples, families and friends) and we also advertise tours for anyone wanting to share their trip and the costs involved. 
According our Moroccan tourism insights post, France, Spain, Germany and UK are top visiting countries in 2009, is that reflected in your clientèle?
Our clients are mostly, in no particular order, Canadian, Australian, American and English.  On addition we have clients from India, South Africa, South America, Singapore and we had our first clients from Russia in 2010.
Any comments or addition:
Morocco is a country that can capture and inspire us with its contrasts, colours and rich cultural heritage. However it can be a challenging experience at times i.e. things don’t always happen on time and service can sometimes be slow.  It is a country of bartering, which many people are uncomfortable with, but this is the way of life here and Moroccans barter with each other on a daily basis.  As with all travel, Morocco is best approached with an open mind and an acceptance of the differences you will find along the way.
Thank you so much Liz for this interview.
Please see below for more information about Authentic Morocco tours.
Website: Authentic Morocco 
Email: info@authentic-morocco.com
Phone: 44 0 177 373 9145
Bahia Palace Marrakech
Bahia Palace Marrakech


4 comment(s) so far...


Re: Authentic Morocco Travel Tours and Treks

Great post, thanks for sharing it!

By Louis on   9/22/2010 8:30 AM

Re: Authentic Morocco Travel Tours and Treks

Local offering Trekkers any outdoors activity in the Atlas mountain.
Rachid is one of the best english speaking guide in the High Atlas mountain.

By Atlasino on   11/14/2010 6:32 PM

Re: Authentic Morocco Travel Tours and Treks

I got to know alot from this post.Thanks alot for sharing this article.

By Rome Vatican tours on   11/22/2010 2:11 PM

Re: Authentic Morocco Travel Tours and Treks

I don't have any words to appreciate this post.....I am really impressed ....the person who created this post surely knew the subject well..thanks for sharing this with us.

By Cheap Tickets to Lagos on   1/3/2011 10:54 AM

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It was just the other night that I was paging through my album, the photos depicting the utter chaos of the market streets and the beautiful colors on display. It was a visual spectacle. The food was a gastronomic spectacle. My personal favorite dish while visiting Morocco was the lamb tagine with dates. The tenderness of the lamb coupled with the sweetness of the dates was a mere delight and surprise to my palate. Thank you for helping me relive my Morocco experience. Morocco is a must-see travel destination and for more information visit www.essentialtravel.co.uk/magazine/country-guides/morocco/travel-to-morocco.asp for some great travel tips and facts about Morocco.
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