This may sound funny, but one of the trickeist parts of travel in Morocco, in my opinion is finding a reasonable way to get to Fes Sais International Airport from Fes.
When it comes down to it, the problem is that there really isn’t any set and consistent way to get there. There is a dedicated airport bus, but it runs irregularly. The bus costs 20 dirhams or 2 Euro and runs from next to the Gare de Fes (Fes Train Station), come out of the Station, go to the right and pass the big lot filled with taxis, the bus is sitting on the far side of the next lot. And that’s the problem, it’s usually just sitting there and when you arrive, you think, ‘Oh the driver will come soon’. Sometimes that happens and sometimes you can sit there for hours.
The last time I went there, I sat for two hours on my suitcase along with a dozen other travelers, both Moroccans and foreigners. The driver just didn’t come. I held out because since you aren’t supposed to take Moroccan money outside of Morocco, I hadn’t brought much with me. Just enough for the airport bus. (Okay, and I always bring an extra 200 dirham note because it’s enough to get to Sefrou from Casa, Fes, or wherever if I should come and the ATMs aren’t working- but I don’t touch that until I return)
Other travelers slowly wandered off or banded together in groups of four or five or six and entered into negotiations with the taxi drivers who waited patiently on the other side of the lot.
Here is what annoys me about the taxis. A trip to Sefrou is roughly the same distance as a trip to the airport from Fes, about 30 km. While a trip to Sefrou costs 10 dirhams, a trip to the airport will cost you between 100 and 500 depending on where you are from, if you speak Arabic or French, and how well you can haggle. Most people end up paying about 250 for the taxi.
However, this is the reason why a trip to the Airport bus stop isn’t a wasted effort. The cost is for the entire taxi so if you can work it out the right way, you can actually pay less than the airport bus, although you will be in more crowded conditions.
As an example: this last time, I sat waiting and first watched a Moroccan man talk to the other Moroccan passengers. When he found six he walked to the taxis, negotiated, and then motioned to the others to come join him. Six down. Next, a Frenchman did the same thing with a number of foreigners, I passed since I didn’t have the 50 dirhams each he had negotiated (I’m guessing the Moroccans had paid 20 each). Five more down. Finally twenty minutes or so later, a Moroccan guy living in Spain negotiated a deal with a driver to get the cab for 100 dirhams. Four of us at 25 dirhams each piled in. A spanish backpacker, a French teacher of the mentally impaired, the Moroccan-Spaniard, and me. The French teacher made up the difference in my fare since I only had 23 1/2 dirhams.
So, for those who are wondering, that’s how you can get to the Fes Sais International Airport for those cheap RyanAir flights to Europe. In this case, I was heading to Rome and the Spaniard was kind enough to buy me a coffee with the last of his dirhams. He also introduced me to an Argentine backpacker named Josephina who was also going to Rome for a day. We had no language in common but a common destination.
From Fes to Roma – coming up next…