Taking a holiday in Morocco is all about embracing the new. In this North African gem you can enjoy a vast range of landscapes from endless coastlines, to deserts and majestic mountains. Add to that a host of vibrant cities, a fascinating ancient culture and friendly people, and you have a travel destination that appeals on many levels. Whether travelling as an individual or in a family group, Morocco is generous with her charms and once visited is never forgotten.
Moroccan culture is diverse and eclectic and to a large extent remains a mystery to westerners. One of the best ways of discovering a new country is to be shown it by the people who live there who are passionate about their home. Travel companies such as Moroccan Views are able to put together itineraries based on your holiday wishes. Whether it’s trekking in the Atlas Mountains, wind surfing in Essaouira or camel riding through the desert, with Moroccan Views running the show you can relax and let the magic of this wonderful country do its thing.
If you are joining a tour or going it alone, Morocco is a place of surprises and pleasures. Read on for useful information and practical tips to help orientate you and allow you to hit the ground running when you touch down on North African soil.
The currency in Morocco is the dirham,often seen as the abbreviation dh or Dh, but the official currency code is MAD. The Euro is usually widely accepted as well and ATMs are pretty easy to find in cities and towns. Most ATMs in Morocco will not dispense money until you remove your card from the slot. ATMs are easy to use and most have the option for English speaking instructions.
On Speaking Terms
Which leads us on to the language in Morocco. Officially, the languages in Morocco are Berber and Moroccan Arabic, but you will discover most Moroccans can speak French. If you have a basic grasp of French from school days you will find it easier to converse with the locals. That said, in many bigger towns and cities it won’t be difficult to find English speakers and in the far northern and deep south, Spanish is frequently heard.
Keeping in Touch
During your travels you will want to keep in touch with friends and relatives. The internet and communications are quite patchy in Morocco but will find coverage and service stronger in the cities. SIM cards are good value and can be purchased cheaply. A telecarte is recommended for making international phone calls and these can be used on Orange public phones, pay phones and landlines – they will not work with mobile phones.
WIFI away from the bright lights can be a problem, so make sure you have a big communication push when you hit the city. Many travellers purchase a USB 3 G Modem at a Maroc Telecom branch, this usually includes a month’s service as well. There are rechargeable options for mobile phones and internet – if you are planning on staying a while, speak to the advisers in the telecoms office about the best deals available.
Morocco is a Muslim country and visitors should be sensitive to cultural differences. Whilst the people are warm and hospitable it is essential that visitors are respectful of local customs. Women in Morocco tend to dress modestly and travellers should take their cues from this. In general the attitude to women is polite and respectful, however in some of the larger cities females may need to be on their guard more. The Muslim call to prayer happens several times a day, starting early in the morning. If you enjoy rising late, check for minarets close by to accommodation before you check in. Staying asleep when there is a mosque next door calling the faithful to prayer is no easy feat.
As a Muslim nation you won’t find pork, ham or bacon on the menu in many places. Alcohol is usually only served in tourist restaurants. The food in Morocco is delicious, flavoured with exotic blends of spices fresh from the souk. Try a traditional Tagine with couscous and wash it down with sweet mint tea, the national beverage. Eating with your hands is not uncommon in this country.
Feeling tempted by a North African odyssey? If so, dig out your passport and sunglasses and prepare to be charmed and excited in equal measure by the sights, sounds and people of Morocco. For an intoxicating blend of sea, sand, cities, mountain and desert, Morocco is hard to beat…