You may want to visit Morocco because of its beautiful deserts. But the country’s tourism offers more than just that. You will also find other geographical features like mountains, valleys, and plains. In order to have a nice trip, there are many things to know about Morocco before traveling there.
Known for their hospitality, Moroccans are also diverse, with lots of ethnicities mingling together. Their diversity and rich heritage are more prominent in their language skills. Plus, you will also notice facial features from Africa, Asia, and Europe appearing among the common folks.
Things to Know Before Traveling to Morocco
Here are a few tips that will let you mentally prepare for cultural diversity in Morocco, as well as make your journey smooth and enjoyable.
Keep Ready with Local Currency
Whether you want to survive in Marrakech souks or you want to go hiking in Imlil, you don’t want to rely on local vendors to accept dollars or any other international currency as payment. Plus, you cannot rely on an ATM to provide for your cash needs in the eleventh hour. ATMs in Morocco are known for their shakiness.
Budget the costs and prepare cash – Moroccan Dirham – for the planned expenses before you leave your hotel. A reasonable amount is 100 euros per person per day. But it will change depending on the activities you want to engage in.
Also, keep coins ready if you don’t want to overpay for small items.
Related Read: Marrakech 4-day Itinerary, Morocco
Don’t Enroll Your Local Guide to Haggle for You
If you want to buy something from souks in Marrakech or Fez, haggling is a must-skill for you.
You may want to help the vendor, and giving in to the asking price may seem like a legit method. But note that even after haggling, you will be paying more than 50% in profit to the vendor.
That’s because it’s a common practice in these souks to ask multiples of the price they want from you. They expect you to bargain in response and settle the price 25-50% lower than the asking price.
Beware of your local guides pushing you to buy items at the stated price, quoting it to be the best price you can get. Usually, these local guides have agreements with the vendors, and they get a commission for every sale that happens through them. You will find better deals with some haggling skills and without help from your local guide.
Be Mindful of Their Holy Days
Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country. Fridays are holy days there. You wouldn’t see much hustle and bustle in souks or riads on Friday. If you are in a remote area, pack yourself breakfast for Friday the day before. Or you may end up waiting in vain for the cafés to open and serve breakfast all day long.
You will want to be in major cities on Fridays to enjoy the local tradition of getting together to celebrate with couscous.
Also, be mindful of the month you have chosen for your visit. If you are visiting during Ramadan, you should stick to visiting tourist hubs like Marrakesh and Fez to keep food in access. Tourists have reported that in rural areas, it becomes difficult to get food during the daytime because of the fasting routine.
Brush Your Language Skills
Morocco lists Arabic and Berber as their official language. French is the third most spoken language in the country. Darija is another language – which is a dialect of Arabic – that is read and taught in schools. Locals also learn Spanish and English. But English is not a very common language among them.
We can see that Moroccans are multilingual. This feature helps tourists, especially in large metropolitan areas of Morocco. As you go deep into the mountains and deserts, the residents start using more and more local languages like Berber and Darija. In those places, you have to rely mostly on your guide to help you navigate these hosts.
Even if your Morocco visit is short, you will get help from knowing a few phrases in local languages. La Shukran (no, than you) is the first phrase many former visitors of the place want you to know. This phrase will help you get rid of a pestering local vendor.
Related Read: Best Time to Travel to Morocco
Mosques are Open to Muslims Only
If you are non-Muslim, you only have Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca to visit. All other mosques are off-limits to you. You may take photos from the outside.
Whether you are Muslim or not, it is encouraged that you dress up conservatively to visit these religious buildings. Cover your head and shoulders if you are a woman. Men also cover their heads in the mosque and dress conservatively.
Consider Adapters and Converters
You don’t want to go without the internet during your travels. If you are visiting from the US, your converters and adapters will not work here. The Moroccan power outlets provide 220V. You can get the right converters for your gadgets from the local market or pack them from your country.
Be Ready with Toilet Paper
You will not get this luxury in every bathroom in Morocco. You may get more than a few ‘fully-equipped’ bathrooms in large cities and tourist spots. But as you go out of the most attractive markets into the rural areas, you will find fewer and fewer bathrooms. And to add insult to injury, even the rarely-seen bathrooms aren’t too comfortable.
Don’t even think about finding toilet paper in these public bathrooms.
And it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Enjoy Freshly Squeezed Juices
While you may have to forgo some comforts to visit and explore Morocco, this journey becomes worthwhile because of the numerous luxuries. Beautiful sites of the country and multiple adventure opportunities are topped off with delicious local cuisine.
And if that was not enough, you get fresh juices in souks and restaurants for an insignificant price.
Enjoy this luxury as much as you can while you are in Morocco.
Planning a trip to Morocco and want detailed tour itineraries with everything included? Be sure to check out cameltripssahara.com, from my own experience visiting this African country, by far the best tour company out there.
Once you are in Morocco, you will want to extend your stay to enjoy the local culture, hospitality, and natural beauty. It’s even truer if you are adequately prepared.
This post covers a few tips you should use while planning your trip to this north-African country.