Is Morocco on your bucket list? If it’s not, I highly suggest you think again and add it to your list! If you follow me on Social Media, you’ll see that I just had the most amazing, unforgettable getaway with 4 ladies to Morocco. As a result of this, I’ll be sharing with you the travel tips – 10 important things to know before visiting Morocco by Fey Kamson.
We also recommend our guide to top 10 famous Hollywood movies shot in Morocco.
I’ve had a number of people ask me for tips and advice before they embark on their Moroccan journey which makes me so delighted as this is really all I want for you. To explore Africa and have everything you need to make every journey as stressless and as amazing as possible!
Its official language is Arabic but French, Berber, Spanish and English are commonly used as well. You’ll find that most people can speak English, especially in Casablanca, Marrakech and Chefchaouen. If you ever encounter anyone you can’t understand, just tap the first person you see to help out. They are incredibly friendly in Morocco.
It will be nice to get familiar with the locals and score some points!
Easy Phrases: Their greetings are commonly done in Arabic.
• Thank You: Shukran (this is my personal favourite, I literally did the most with saying thank you)
• Hello: Asalam Alekum • How are you?: La bas?
• Please: Fadlak • Yes: Na’am
• No: La • Goodbye: Ma’a Salama
The Local currency is the Moroccan Dirham. If you are wondering “what’s the best currency to take to Morocco?” I’ll say American dollars or Euros. It is also good to know that if you run out of their local currency, some restaurants, hotels and tour companies are happy to take USD, EUR or GBD. Do not be tempted to make currency exchange from your departure airport as It is best to buy Moroccan Dirhams when you get to Morocco. Either at the airport arrivals or in the city. (The city has the best rate)
1USD = 9 MAD, 1GBD = 11 MAD
Expenses per day will vary depending on your travel style. However, from a bit of research, travelers spend around $40 – $45 per day. One last thing, the majority of businesses in Morocco are cash only so make sure you always have enough to cover your purchases.
Wifi & Data
We all know how much we love having access to the internet. Although most restaurants, cafés and hotels will have free wifi (I even figured out their password trend- it starts with their brand name as the prefix and the current year as the suffix )
You should get a local SIM card from the airport as it is free. You can also get 10gb of data or less for 50-100 dirhams (5-10 USD). I hope you don’t make the same mistake I did which is trying to get a sim in the city. The locals can always tell that you are a foreigner/tourist and they inflate all prices. They basically tried to sell me a sim x5 of the actual price. I even had a moment where I laughed my way out of a shop. It’s almost like we all had a “cheat me” label on our foreheads which brings me to my next point.
Haggle, Haggle Hard
Best believe that the first price they tell you is not the actual price. I told the ladies on the FNP Getaway that whatever price a merchant gives, divide it by 4 (lol). No joke, they are brutal. The haggling process is actually fun and surprising. Imagine being told something is 500 dirhams and leaving the shop with the same item for 70. WOW!
Ask for permission
Dear picture lover, be careful not to take photographs of people, items or animals without the subject’s permission. If you do, they might get pissed off or demand money from you. Always ask first.
Culture & Style
Throughout Morocco, it is considered a sign of respect to keep your knees and shoulders covered. It’s important that you observe cultural norms and practices, especially so you do not draw unwanted attention to yourself.
Nothing is free
The locals are friendly but not that friendly! lol. If anyone volunteers to help you out with anything or take pictures or give directions, have it at the back of your mind that they WILL ask for money. Do not accept any help except you are willing to pay something, especially in the medina.
If you are female, getting henna is probably on your list. We were told over and over not to get henna at the Jamel el Fna square. We wanted the black henna, so it’s more visible on our skin but the locals kept saying “its a chemical, not good for your skin” so we opted for the “natural henna”. Err, it was green and not visible. We weren’t pleased. Just thought I should give you heads up! If you still rather get the black henna, please assess the surrounding and the henna as vendors may try to cut costs by switching up the mixture. Its advisable to do a small test patch first to check for an allergic reaction.
Most people think Morocco is hot all through the year but it is really not, Morocco experiences winter and it is important to check the weather condition for the time you are going. I visited Morocco in November and although it was hot during the day, it was so cold at night, I had to buy a coat to keep warm.
Although the girls and I had a private car service throughout our entire stay in Morocco, you’ll find that Marrakech is a walkable city and most tourist monuments are closely situated. There are also a lot of taxis around but be careful not to get cheated especially if you are told the meter is broken. Make sure to ask your hotel/riad receptionist or your Air-bnb host for the price range so you have an idea of the cost.
I also tried the rail transportation for a day and it is extremely cheap, clean and convenient. If you are thinking of intercity travel at a very affordable rate, opt for the train!
I hope you found these tips useful and make a decision to see Morocco! It is truly a unique and amazing country.
Fey Kamson from FNP Travel.