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GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Leeds, England
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GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Pretty much just that, after some trawling on the net, they seem like one of the cheapest options out there, but has anyone been with them or know anything about them other than what's on their website?

Washington D.C.
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11. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Good point KepinItReal...no news is sometimes good news.

12. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

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amydelez
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13. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Ok, so I did a 3 day/2 night tour with them right before Christmas ('08) and here's my review:

Gomoco runs completely through Sahara Expeditions, which is one of the main desert tour guides in Marrakech. Lots of people book through Sahara Expeditions either directly, or through companies such as Gomoco. So basically, you don't deal with or experience Gomoco at all, just Sahara Expeditions. From what we saw, the prices were the exact same if you book directly to Sahara or through Gomoco.

It's one of the cheapest tours out there I've seen and it certainly felt like it. I'll go into more detail, but for those who aren't going to read past this paragraph: it's cheap, it's obvious it's cheap, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. And an obvious disclaimer: this is all strictly coming from my experience, others may have had different experiences on other Sahara tours.

I'm just going to bullet-point the key things about the trip.

The Transportation- Sixteen of us were crammed into a Dodge Sprinter van, which probably was really meant for 10 people. I complain because my boyfriend and I are 6 feet tall, so we were incredibly cramped the whole time. However, apparently we had it pretty good because the other van (there were two vans on our tour.. total of about 25 people) had windows that didn't close properly so everyone on that van froze the whole time. Really, the vans were one of the worst parts of the whole trip. Wasn't very comfortable at all.

The Driving- Total, I think we spent about 25 hours in those vans. The driving was soooo exhausting, which was of course aggravated by the cramped van conditions. In the end I really feel like the 3 day/2 night tour was 80% driving and 20% doing stuff. BUT, truth is, to get to the desert and the gorge and all the other destinations the tour takes you on, it's just really far away from Marrakech and there's no way around long hours in a van.

The Guide- Our guide was essentially our driver, who didn't really speak English. There was no "look to your left and you'll see this" or even when we pulled into a place he didn't even tell us where we were, he'd just say "20 minutes return" and I just had to refer to the schedule I printed off the internet to figure out where we were. For me though, I wasn't expecting a full-out guide and didn't necessarily want one, so I wasn't disappointed. But for people who want to be told all the history, info, etc. about the locations you're going to, this tour isn't for you.

The Destinations- They take you to the main tourist stops people want to see when they go on these tours and they were of course great. It was frustrating twice when we were dropped off at the Kasbah and the Gorge and we were told we only had 30 minutes to explore. Our van teamed up together though and decided to collectively come back late :) Another little bummer is for the lunches (which aren't included) the driver drops you off at a specific restaurant and that's really your only option. The food was always good, overpriced, but just fine. And all of the locations were teeming with vendors trying to sell you tourist crap, but that's to be expected.

The Hotel- It was actually better than I expected. Because it's such a cheap tour I assumed they were giving us the cheapest sleeping accommodations, but I thought it was pretty decent. I think it was a 2 star hotel and we all got our private (as in 2 bed) rooms and showers with hot water.

The Desert Camping- This was definitely my highlight. The camel ride was fun, but a bit disappointing because we were supposed to ride at sunset but we got there too late and ending up riding in the dark, but fun nonetheless. They serve you a really good meal in a tent, the local berber guys treat you well and play songs and it's a lot of fun getting to know everyone during dinner. Camping was cold and definitely roughin' it, but they give you extra blankets if you need it and I slept just fine. Camel ride in the morning, again fun but disappointing cause we did it too early this time and the sun came up just as we ended the camel ride.

The Food- The food they served us was always pretty good. Always a chicken tagine or a chicken couscous, but filling and satisfying. Breakfast was always just coffee, juice, toast. Very basic but just fine.

The Company- To me was the best part. I really enjoyed going with some 25 other people, made the long hours in the van a lot more enjoyable and meals together were nice. I made several friends I plan on keeping in touch with.

Final thoughts- When I returned I was glad I did the trip, glad I only paid some $100 for it (really the cheapest possible way to see the things we did), but didn't come back thinking it was a 'great' tour. Good for the money and quite an experience (good and bad), but not amazing by any means. So I would recommend it to people who want the budget tour. People who don't mind cramped car rides, guides who don't speak English, and really not being catered to one bit, BUT, who want to see a bunch of amazing Moroccan sights in a short period of time.

Small editorial: There was another couple who booked a private tour (just the two of them and a driver in a Jeep) and they followed the exact same route as us; stopped at the same places we did on the same schedule. These guys paid almost 4 times as much as I did. In their case, I feel they only paid for a much more comfortable car and a guide who spoke better English and gave them some info on the sights, but other than that it was the same exact tour. However, I don't know how other private tours are, maybe others are more personalized.

Washington D.C.
5 posts
1 review
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14. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Great trip report Amy, and much appreciated.

Anyone planning on doing a desert tour from March 23rd to the 25th? My friend Tim and I found a highly recommended tour service that does the 3-day/2-night itinerary (with everything included, even lunches which is like $40-60 USD on the tourist route) for $95 EUR per person, per day if there are four of us. I'm guessing it would be even less expensive for 5 or 6.

If it costs me any more than $300 USD, I'm just going to go for Sahara Expeditions.

Thanks, Kamal

(I'd be happy to share my Facebook page with anyone interested)

Manchester
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15. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Hey Gringo, (pun intended!) I'm heading out to marrakesh on the 9th March 2009 for 10 days, and was planning on taking the gomoco 4 day tour at some point, but am still undecided...If you can send me a link to the site of that alternate tour operator thatd be great :0)

Also, on a side note, anyone have any advice on good backpackers hostels in the area?? Im thinking equity point, though security looks a little lax!

Cheers in advance peeps.

amydelez
3 posts
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16. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Equity Point is a great hostel to stay at if you want to meet people. I only stayed there one night but hung out in their common area for several nights while I was staying at another hostel. Seems most people I met were staying there. Price is decent, it's clean, very comfortable, gorgeous inside, and they serve breakfast.

Their front door is locked at all times and you've got to buzz to get in, but at the same time, no one noticed or seemed to care that I hung out there almost every night I was in Marrakech yet wasn't paying to sleep there..

amydelez
3 posts
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17. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Equity Point is a great hostel to stay at if you want to meet people. I only stayed there one night but hung out in their common area for several nights while I was staying at another hostel. Seems most people I met were staying there. Price is decent, it's clean, very comfortable, gorgeous inside, and they serve breakfast.

Their front door is locked at all times and you've got to buzz to get in, but at the same time, no one noticed or seemed to care that I hung out there almost every night I was in Marrakech yet wasn't paying to sleep there..

Surrey
1 post
2 reviews
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18. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Hi Gringo

Any chance of sharing the name of the tour service recommended to you - not the GoMoCo which sounds a bit rough and ready.

The Hogsta

Washington D.C.
5 posts
1 review
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19. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Some (more expensive alternates) I found that were around $450 USD for a 3-day/2-night:

toudaoui@trekkinginmorocco.com

info@desertmajesty.com

Good luck all, Kamal

p.s. Look for my trip report sometime in May.

UK
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9 posts
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20. Re: GoMoCo.net - desert tours. Anyone any experience of them?

Thanks for the review Amy. I'm so glad you wrote it because it made me realize I might not survive that van journey and we may have to shell out for a rental car instead and just do it on our own.