Africa: ONCB Morocco

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185

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Operation: Certain Death :(

Okay, time for the silly season of ridiculous trips again. Last year, went by land from Manchester to.... Gibraltar. This year, I'm planning

-Easyjet from Liverpool to Gibraltar (one night stop),
-then ferry across to Tangier (one night stop),
-ONCB train down to Casablanca (one night stop)
and finally
- ONCB train to Marrakesh (one night stop).

Flying back from Marrakesh with Easyjet.

Anyone done something similar to that trip before? Am I likely to be eaten/murdered/jailed?
 
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WestCoast

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I've been on the ferry from Algeciras to Tangier, but I haven't done much travelling on ONCB.

I sat next to a hen on SNCFT (Tunisia) between Hammamet and Sousse though, wasn't so keen on the sweaty plastic seats either :lol:
 

laphroaig

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I took a couple of journeys on Moroccan trains last month, it's ONCF by the way - Office National des Chemins de Fer - from Marrakesh to El Jadida via Casablanca and back, the trains were great.

The main line service out of Marrakesh was a nice, electric hauled, train of what looked exactly like French 'Corail' stock with a choice of open or compartment carriages in both classes. I went 1st, since it was only around £12 one way instead of £8 2nd for a journey of around 200 miles. Those are turn up 'n' go fares, no advance nonsense there. Very pleasant journey, scenic hilly terrain.

I doubt you'll be eaten / murdered or jailed, as long as you behave yourself! You will encounter (assuming you don't look Moroccan) people who want to find out what you're up to and 'help' you, i.e. help you spend your money, but I never had any trouble after declining politely but firmly.

Your itinerary looks good, go for it, and have fun.
 

atillathehunn

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I haven't caught a train in Morocco, but we have visited. Morocco is pretty much fine. We've never had any trouble out there. Obviously usual precautions apply, but don't do anything stupid and you'll be fine.
 

aformeruser

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-then ferry across to Tangier (one night stop),
I went to Gibraltar last year but decided against going to Tangier as it was difficult to accommodate. There is one return ferry working from Gibraltar to Tangier Med per week and it's times accommodate the Moroccan workers who want to go home at the weekend. It leaves Gibraltar at 19:00 on Friday and the return working leaves Tangier Med at 18:30 on Sunday.

So unless you're planning to catch the Thursday flight out, then one night in Gibraltar won't work.

Note the bit I've highlighted. The ferry goes to Tangier Med, this is a port 40 miles east of Tangier. The ferries from Algeciras also go to this port, the ones from Tarifa go directly to Tangier. There are regular buses between the bus station the Spanish side of the Gibraltar/Spain border and Algeciras but no direct buses to Tarfia.
 
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WestCoast

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Algeciras is around 45 minutes on the bus from La Linea bus station (just over the border from Gibraltar near the airport - it's walkable). The bus runs fairly frequently and there are non stop services every so often.

Ferries leave from Algeciras to Tangier Med roughly every hour or so.

FRS run the high speed catamaran from Tarifa to Tangier City and I believe they provide a bus from Algeciras to Tarifa.
 

185

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... and it's times accommodate the Moroccan workers who want to go home at the weekend. It leaves Gibraltar at 19:00 on Friday and the return working leaves Tangier Med at 18:30 on Sunday.
.. The ferries from Algeciras also go to this port, the ones from Tarifa go directly to Tangier. There are regular buses between the bus station the Spanish side of the Gibraltar/Spain border and Algeciras but no direct buses to Tarfia.
Cheers, I was considering that but realised on Wikitravel it wasn't too frequent... I'll probably catch the shuttle boat first over to Algeciras, I think it's about £6. Had considered Tarifa too, but I thought it was too far by bus.
 

WestCoast

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Note the bit I've highlighted. The ferry goes to Tangier Med, this is a port 40 miles west of Tangier. The ferries from Algeciras also go to this port, the ones from Tarifa go directly to Tangier. There are regular buses between the bus station the Spanish side of the Gibraltar/Spain border and Algeciras but no direct buses to Tarfia.
There's a free bus from Tangier Med to the City, paid for by the ferries companies.

You have a choice of Comarit, Baleria, Trasmediterranea and Euroferries between Algeciras and Tangier Med. There's a lot of choice and prices depend on whether you book online (often the dearest), at a broker officer or at the ferry terminal.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'll probably catch the shuttle boat first over to Algeciras, I think it's about £6. Had considered Tarifa too, but I thought it was too far by bus.
Don't - the ferry from Gibraltar to Algeciras is overpriced (the prices on the website are wrong as they are from when the service first started) and by the time you've faffed about with check-in and a full passport check/customs scan at Algeciras with the passengers arriving from Morocco it takes just as long as the bus from La Linea which is 2 euros!

The "transcoma" company refused to give me the cheap promotion and charged me 14 euros!
 
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aformeruser

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Don't - the ferry from Gibraltar to Algeciras is overpriced (the prices on the website are wrong as they are from when the service first started) and by the time you've faffed about with check-in and a full passport check/customs scan at Algeciras with the passengers arriving from Morocco it takes just as long as the bus from La Linea which is 2 euros!
Bus to La Linea bus station to Algeciras was 2 Euro 10 single last year. They're mainly old coaches with shabby interiors but a lot more frequent and lot cheaper than the ferry.
 

QJ

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I went to Morocco a year or so ago. I had my wallet pinched the first day I was there - on a train to Marrakesh. I got it back though minus the notes that were in it (fortunately for me - not the Moroccan cash I had obtained. I was able to continue with the holiday once I had retrieved the wallet with my first class train pass and reservations [reservations compulsory in first class] still in place).

Other than that I didn't have much of a problem in Morocco having obtained a photo permit to allow me to photograph the trains; particularly the diesel workings east of Fes. Admittedly I was helped by someone that had been before and knew how to arrange these things. It also helped that there were IBIS hotels close to some of the stations (Fes, Bouarfa in particular).

Some areas around stations are not recommended for lingering too long and I was overcharged for the taxi fare from the airport to the station in Fes but that can happen in any town/city.

Be careful (unlike me on my first day) and you should have a great time however long or short your visit. Remember to check the time zone differences. A friend of mine got caught out when wanting to travel overland (and sea) from Morocco back to Spain.
 

phil1960

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Operation: Certain Death :(

Anyone done something similar to that trip before? Am I likely to be eaten/murdered/jailed?
Did a trip about 8-10 years ago and covered all the ONCF system as it was at the time. Interesting railway.

Had to say, got "hassled" by the locals esp. in the tourist spots. They have a habit of not leaving you alone and treat you as someone who has never travelled before. Worst place was Tangiers.

Regards,
 
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