This was our first trip to Morocco and we wanted to spend a week getting a broad overview of the diversity of the country. We think this was achieved with the itinerary put together by TravelLocal and the active support of our guide and driver. We started in Marrakech and travelled through the High Atlas and Mid Atlas Mountains before going to Fes, Rabat and Casablanca. We're happy that we did not just stay in Marrakech because the aggressiveness of the various sellers and hucksters was a bit off-putting. We are not naiive travellers and I have been to many Arabic countries, but too many of the people there are rude and untrustworthy and the markets are filled with fake goods (for example, fossils). We stayed at the Riad Challa which is nice facility in itself. But Mustafa, who works on the desk, grabbed us on our way out 20 minutes after arrival and warned us not to trust any of the restaurants nearby because they were unclean and would make us sick. He offered to take us to an excellent place that was clean and could be trusted. Of course it was a ripoff place and we later met another couple on the rooftop he had played the same stunt with. I recommend you not use Riad Challa again because of this behaviour. We did enjoy our local guide (also called Mustafa) who had a great sense of humour and took us to some interesting nooks and crannies the average person might not see, like a small local bakery back in the area where they were making the dough and baking. The trip to the mountains was spectacular: magnificent vistas and good interaction with local activities. Our guide Hicham and driver Ali are both from the region and know it intimately. Hicham was very patient in answering all our questions. As a former journalist I tend to ask more questions that most and Hicham was careful and detailed in his answers. This is the advantage of a custom tour, lots of time for details and we could stop to look at things not part of the formal itinerary. For example, we went to a local weekly market with thousands of locals and we were the only non-natives. We stopped at a small olive oil pressing facility where Ali bought some oil and engaged the family in conversation. They were happy to show us the facility and to pose for photos. They even brought out a little table and bowl of oil with bread so we could taste it. We by chance encountered a Berber horsemanship event which we stopped for on our way to Rabat. Hicham is a skilled rider himself and has researched the competition "Fantasia" in great detail and gave us good background. My wife sometimes in a nervous driver and we were on some narrow roads through high mountain passes. But she had full confidence in Ali as a driver who was always careful and steady. We learned that he was a driver in the army for many years and this showed in his competence. We also found Ali contributed a lot to the trip because he engaged the locals everywhere with his good humour, sometimes giving gifts. We did not always understand the jokes, although Hicham tried to explain some of them. But it was clear he loves his work and is a good people person. Hicham worked very hard to ensure our needs were met and went out of his way to ensure we had everything we needed. He was thorough in his briefings and delivered on what he promised. We became very attached to both of them in our week together and would highly recommend both to future travellers.
Easy to deal with. The ability to customize the tour. Lot of questions answered. No one dropped the ball. All surprises were pleasant ones.
There should be a clean PDF of the final itinerary to load into a phone or mobile device. This was provided when we asked for it. Going in and out of the website can be awkward, especially if you don't have good internet access.
Hicham and Ali were both excellent as mentioned above.
Don't miss the Atlas Mountains.
Interaction with locals in smaller communities.