We are going to Morocco, and despite of what most of western media says, we are entering one of safest countries in Africa. Prepare yourself for a memorable experience and to fall in love with a captivating country that you’ll definitely want to come back to. We are giving you a list of the 11 best pieces of advices to travel to Morocco that will come in handy when you decide to explore this fantastic country through one of our Moroccan tours.
1. How to not get stuck in the border
If you’re a Spanish citizen, all you need is a passport valid for at least 6 months. If you are coming from a different country, you may need a visa. You can get this in the embassy or consulate, or through your travel agency. Once you have all your documents ready, you can enjoy your Morocco travels for 3 months. In case you wish to extend your stay, you must contact the country’s authorities. You can do it a police station and ask to lengthen your stay.
2. Don’t get confused with the exchanged rate
The official Moroccan currency is the Dirham (1 euro = 11Dh approximately). It is advisable to exchange your money in a banking branch. Though some hotels also offer this service, their exchange rate may not be as favourable. Lots of places also accept foreign currencies and credit card payments. In any case, you should take some cash with you, especially if you want to travel to in-land or in less touristy areas. You are in an inexpensive country, therefore if you manage your money well, it should last.
3. Better to be safe than sorry
You’re in Africa, and despite what you think, you’ll see that there is a lot of myths surrounding Morocco. Jabs for example, aren’t compulsory. If you are a hypochondriac, you should know that the only advised vaccine by foreign authorities is TB. Similarly, if you going to spend a long time in this country, or another remote area, you should complement your vaccine card with Hepatitis B and Typhoid. As I said before, it is not compulsory and with a professional tour guide team, you’ll be kept out of trouble and will have guaranteed fun.
4. If you’re unwell
Hopefully you won’t need any medical assistance, but in case you do, you should know there are excellent professionals in Morocco, and most have done their further studies in European countries such as Spain, United Kingdom or France. In the main cities there are good hospitals and private clinics. With regards to medical infrastructure, this is slightly different in more remote areas. In any case, in a first aid kit, it is important to take anti-diarrhoea, paracetamol and ibuprofen. If you’re into extreme sports and like to travel stress free, travel insurance is advisable. One that includes illnesses, hospitalisation, surgery interventions or even with a repatriation policy since some of the private clinics may not be economically accessible. Your travel agency can help advise on this and cover you for just a couple euros a day.
5. Food and drinks precautions
Another piece of advice when travelling to Morocco: you cannot miss out on Moroccan food. If you do, you will have missed out on trying first hand one of the world’s most aromatic and flavoursome cuisines. However, watch out for the tap water. Your body is not used to it, and diarrhoea can ruin a holiday, even for the most equipped traveller and that’s not what we want. We’re going to Morocco to have a good time. The best thing to do is drink bottled water, avoid salads and fruit that you cannot peel yourself, and the ice cubes in drinks as they could be come from tap water. In most hotels, this tends not to be a problem since they use mineral water for the ice cubes and disinfectant to wash the fruit and veg. Furthermore, look to enjoy the food in the most popular places, visited by the locals. You’ll see that the food there is tasty… and cheap.
Morocco is one of the most welcoming places in Africa, but we can’t ignore the fact that it is a predominantly Muslim country. In general, most Moroccan Muslims are very open and tolerant. Having said that, try to use your common sense and not offend people when it comes to religion. You may not be able to enter most temples unless dressed appropriately (long trousers for men and hair, legs and shoulders covered up for women). Although in the most touristy ones you might not have a problem. Don’t worry too much about it, at the entrance they tend to offer a type of jellaba in order to cover up. You will have to take your shoes off before entering a mosque.
7. Education and manners
When meeting a Muslim, never give two kisses, especially to a Muslim woman. Naturally, in certain interactions, and especially amongst younger people, social and religious formalities are more casual. Ask for permission before taking photos, since it is not allowed in some buildings for state security reasons. When invited to a private house, take your shoes off before going in.
8. Moroccan adventures
Morocco is a safe country for women who travel alone and actually, there a lot of women who enjoy travelling around this welcoming country by themselves. A girls’ trip could super fun. There isn’t a dress code. The Moroccan people are accustomed to interacting with foreigners and accept without any problems the clothing they wear. You’ll just have to dress slightly more reserved if you want to enter sacred places.
9. Alcohol and illegal substances
As it is a Muslim country, the Muslim people have banned the consumption of alcohol, although the laws on this aren’t very strict. In any case, the foreigners won’t have a problem drinking alcoholic beverages in hotels and in a number of other places (pubs, bars, clubs etc.) that have a license to serve visitors. Now, be very careful with illegal substances. The consumption or possession of drugs can result in prison.
Due to the colonial presence from various European powers in the past, is easy to get along with people in Morocco. Although the official language is Arabic, they also tend to speak French and Spanish quite regularly. However, if you learn a few words in Arabic, it will be greatly appreciated by the Moroccan people:
- Hello-Salam ‘aleykum
- Please-Min Fadilak
- If God wills it- Insha’Allah
- Thank you -Shokran
11. Haggling and tips
The last piece of advice for travelling to Morocco: don’t forget that you are in a very poor country. Enjoy the art of haggling in the souk market stalls, but don’t abuse it; offer a fair price. It won’t cost you anything either, leaving a few dirhams as a tip for a good service, a favour of useful information.
Translated by Sarah Silveria