A Blog Post About Attitude; Yes Really
Don’t just be a tourist, be an explorer.
In Morocco many of the best spots take a little uncovering – they are on the road less travelled. Many local Moroccan driver-guides just transport tourists from attraction to attraction and miss out on some of the most special experiences in between. That’s what they are trained to do, and for many years it’s what the tourists visiting their country have expected.
The best way to explore Morocco is to be what Cara, our principal here at Aussies In Morocco Tours™, calls slow, but active. Sure we can send you off on the normal tourist route, but where is the fun in that? Our mission is not just to show you Morocco, but to get you to discover and appreciate the Moroccan way of life. It turns out that to truly discover Morocco takes attitude, not just money.
Many people who go to Morocco return with a complaint that it was lots of driving and lots of panoramas, but they didn’t have a chance to see below the surface. They took the usual tourist route, that millions of others have done, with drivers who offer the basics because that is how they see their job.
In response, many tourism bloggers and operators then talk about slowing down to the rhythm of Moroccan time – the message is that slow travel, like slow food, is tastier. This is a call to moderate your expectations (see our “what to expect” tab on our website for further information here); to change your holiday behaviour so it fits in more with the Moroccan way. For us, there is yet another layer to having the right attitude to enjoy the best Moroccan experience.
Slow down. Great idea, but counter-intuitively we say that to get the most out of your holiday, you also need to get active.
But wait you say. How can you both slow down and get active?
The answer is simple.
~ Take time to absorb and not just observe.
~ Spend more time in various locales.
~ If dinner takes two hours to be served, don’t sweat it.
~ Also, to really lift your experience to the level of “special”, take a pro-active approach to your itinerary and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Check out these great Morocco Insider tips
- Ask us for ideas about things to see, to do and to avoid in each location before you go (we note some of these for you in your conditional reservation).
- For those of you in one of our group bookings, take advantage of our travel app (VAMOOS), to consider the best options when planning for each day, as this is where we note ideas and suggestions too.
- Engage your driver in the planning process on the day before, to make sure he adjusts the program accordingly and gives him enough time to do so, wherever possible. (It might also be nice to tip a bit more at the end of the tour, if you think your driver has been particularly flexible and helpful in enriching your holiday – particularly if it adds hours onto the day.)
- Be brave enough to say, “No” to visiting certain locales or venues that every tourist visits, but which deep in your heart you know would bore you. Resist the driver who says, “Everyone does it and it’s my job to take you there”. (For us, an example of this has to be the Todra Gorge.)
- Be conscious of – and ask about – likely driving times and adjust your itinerary accordingly. For example, some artisan co-ops look interesting and worthwhile ethically, but the drive to get there might be long and the road unsealed. Is it really worth it? Maybe yes or maybe no. We note some driving times on our website, particularly for our signature tours to help you decide.
- If you want something (fresh fruit in the car, such as oranges ), are missing something, or if something doesn’t seem right somehow (the guy at the front desk says you have to pay him 20 euro for each bottle of water you drank there), ask us or your driver before committing to any particular action you might later regret or resent. We have seen many reviews in Tripadvisor from Australians who complain about specific experiences in Morocco that could have been avoided had a simple request been made or query communicated. It seems as though Australians are at times too tolerant and acquiesce in silence to things that they should not (and then complain about it three months later on social media).
- Really think about each excursion and communicate what you want your local city guide to show you. Otherwise, he will have a tendency to take you to shops where hopefully he can earn a commission. This is ok (they have to live as best they can in this poor country), but it is your holiday of a lifetime, and it would be a shame to miss out on what you would find most interesting simply because you hadn’t done the research (begin via our website and suggestions). It’s up to you to communicate your expectations to your guide at the beginning of your morning tour.
- Of course, in taking a proactive approach you may ruffle some feathers, because you might be taking people like your driver out of his comfort zone. We don’t suggest you go against your nature if it makes you too uncomfortable. It is all about balance. Also keep the vibe friendly and light-hearted as Moroccans can be quick tempered, and you might need to be the adult in the room. At the same time, they are human beings who tend to respond very positively to a nice smile and a gently jocular manner.
- With packing, do your pre-trip research and with shopping, check first on the Australian Government Department of Agriculture website about what you can and can’t bring back into Australia. We heard of someone attempting to take straw bags through Australian customs. To the shock of the owner, when the customs officer hit the bags, little bugs crawled out.
You don’t know, what you don’t know
Remember – with an active approach to your holiday, the difference will be in the small details about things that matter to you most. After all neither we nor our Moroccan suppliers are mind-readers – so we don’t know, what we don’t know about your holiday priorities. Our drivers will be right there for you, and we at Aussies In Morocco Tours™ are only a WhatsApp call away. Enjoy!
Published October 2020