A day in Tangier with our guide
We have now worked for several years with our guide, Said. We regularly spend a day with him ourselves which we thoroughly enjoy and which enables us to talk not only to him but to the owners of the various establishments to which he takes Dar Cilla guests.
Many visitors going to Tangier for the first time are afraid of being hassled or obliged to purchase items they do not really want. We emphasize to both Said and the shopkeepers that in no way should they pressurize our Dar Cilla guests, and we emphasize to our guests that they are under absolutely no obligation to buy. Once you know this you can relax and enjoy your day. You can decline to go into a carpet shop at all, but I personally always rather enjoy this and see it as a sort of ‘art gallery’. Of course they are disappointed if you don’t buy (it is, after all, their livelihood) – and you may well be tempted, but if you say NO firmly, and with a smile, you still part as friends.
But I am ‘jumping the gun’, as you only go into any shops in the latter half of your day with Said (unless you specify otherwise). Said picks you up in the harbour of Tangier (we give you explicit directions to make your ferry journey easy and to enable you to find Said without problems) and takes you straight to his minibus with (charming) driver. Now just relax and enjoy.
You will not be hassled at any point in the day, Said is an excellent guide who is extremely knowledgeable and open to discussing any issue surrounding modern day Morocco, the role of women, the Royal Family etc. but does not bombard you with endless dates and an overdose of information. He is a gentlemanly gentleman, he is very knowledgeable, he knows everybody, he is excellent with children and –a detail- he loves cats!.
You see the northernmost lighthouse of Africa (where you enjoy a breakfast, let Said advise you what to try), you see where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, you pay a short visit to the caves of Hercules, and from there you make your way in to town. You can choose where to have lunch, but we recommend our favourite fish restaurant. You then walk around the Medina, you see the bread ovens, you visit the weavers market, the vegetable market, the shoe market etc. you visit a silver shop, you can visit a workshop where the Moroccan women are making various handcrafted items, you can stop to buy some items of pottery .... It is a wonderful place for photos, the Berber women wearing their colourful hats, squatting on their haunches to sell their products. The smell of the fresh mint, the wonderful flower stalls, and then a patisserie shop where we recommend you make a selection and bring a small box back with you – they are not too sweet and are predominantly made with almonds.
Said takes you to the Hotel Continental with the wonderful view from its terrace for your last glass of mint tea, a last glance around Jimmy’s shop (Jimmy is a character, we have known him and enjoyed his warm welcome for years now) and from where you can see the ferry coming in. Said escorts you back to the harbour, gets you through passport control (wonderful to ‘jump the queue’!) and you are back on the ferry .... where you may very well wait considerably beyond the scheduled departure time! Just take this in your stride, there is good coffee on the ferry. Oh yes, and you’ve never ridden a camel? It may sound ‘touristy’ (and it is!) but it is such fun and a great photo-moment.
On arriving back in Tarifa you can have a tapa on the way back up to Dar Cilla and my guess is that by then you’ll feel pretty exhausted, glad to have a shower, a last glass of wine on our roof terrace looking back across to Morocco, and then to bed.
Just one last comment – you have booked this individual tour through Dar Cilla with our personal guide, and you will not find yourself put together with other people. You will feel pretty superior when you see some of the lines of tourists being herded through the narrow alleyways behind a flag-waving guide. You have your private guide and are free to stop where and when you will. I would not go any other way to Tangier. The price is only marginally higher than that of a group tour organised by the ferry company (you can make the comparison yourself) but your enjoyment will be far, far greater.
It is really a great day.
However, you have only had a very first taste of Morocco which is a fabulous country and gets ever more beautiful the further south you go to the mountains of the High Atlas and the desert. Martina and I are addicted, so forgive our unbridled enthusiasm, and look on our Travel Morocco website, www.travelmorocco.org.
Some excerpts regarding A Day in Tangier from reviews from Tripadvisors
Martina set us up with a guide when we went to Tangier, Morocco. She told us what we had to do and she was bang on, and the Guide was extremely knowledgable. We wouldn't have seen as much if not for the Guide.
Our visit to Dar Cilla, the incredible Tarifa beach, the lovely Palmar apartment with its access to a splendid rooftop terrace with a view of the African coastline, and our trip to Tangier were certainly highlights of our unforgettable trip to Spain!
Dar Cilla also arranged for us to take a day trip to Tangier with their highly respected and knowledgeable guide Said. This was a once in a lifetime experience that was made all the more enjoyable as a result of all the advice and assistance that Martina and Zoe gave us in the days leading up to it.
They also arrange day trips and longer to Morocco, incorporating ferry tickets, and trusted English speaking Moroccan guides. We did such a three-day trip to Tangier and Assilah on the west coast of Morocco which gave us a taste of the country. Everything was seamlessly organised by the team. All in all a lovely experience and highly recommended.
Martina made our holiday great! We booked a trip with Martina into Morocco, for 6 days. I was traveling with my Mom (putting it delicately, she is a senior!) so I wanted a safe and reliable itinerary. Since we had stayed at Dar Cilla four years ago, and liked it, we agreed to let Martina create a Moroccan itinerary. The itinerary was interesting, exciting, very safe, and we trusted her choice of guides. In short --- a resounding success.
I had the most fantastic 10 days with Zoe arranging lovely trips to Bolonia and Cadiz. Take advantage of the advice to go to Morocco - again, very different and if you go with Dar Cilla's favoured ( and incredibly knowledgable, intelligent and friendly) guide, Said - you will have a fabulous day trip to Tangiers.
Martina (the manager) of Dar Cilla was excellent, kind, easy to contact and gave great advice and detailed instructions for our visit to Tangier, Morocco. She arranged for us to have a private guide (Said) in Tangier which is the ONLY way that you should see Tangier, Morocco.
I highly recommend a trip to Tangier and also Said, the guide recommended by Dar Cilla. I had him to myself for the entire day, he tailored his tour to the things I was interested in and his knowledge is very impressive. The ferry companies do package trips which looked ghastly, regimented and with a horde of other people, and they were only $US20 cheaper. I felt his fee was far too cheap and suggest you tip generously.
Unless you are ‘devils for punishment’ PLEASE take our recommended guide.
If you want to get the most out of your day, if you really want to enjoy it, PLEASE take our recommended guide.
If you really want to eat well, be it Moroccan or international, PLEASE take our recommended guide.
If you don’t want to feel like one of a herd of sheep in a group tour, PLEASE take our recommended guide.
If you want to avoid the otherwise inevitable hassle of queues and more queues for the ferry and quite often chaos as you are suddenly turned round and the whole queue is pointed in the reverse direction, PLEASE use our recommended guide.