Practical Information About Morocco
Practical Information about Morocco
Travel to Morocco is an unforgettable experience. Be in the know before you go with these helpful tips. For more info, see our Morocco Trip Prep Page.
Do I need a visa to visit Morocco?
Each country has different visa requirements. It is important to check with your home country and the country you are visiting prior to travel. British visitors do not need a visa to enter Morocco. However, everyone should have a passport that is valid for up to six months after your stay. For up to date visa information see UK’s travel advice page.
Where do I Arrive When Visiting Morocco?
There are many different cities in Morocco with international airports. Casablanca, Marrakesh and Agadir all have flights from Heathrow. Marrakesh is likely where you will fly in when arriving to Morocco as it’s the closest airport to our treks.
Will I Be Able to Contact Home While I Am Away?
Moroccan time is GMT/UTC +0 hours. Morocco’s country code is +212. For making calls back home, international rates can be quite expensive, be sure to check with your local carrier prior to visiting Morocco. Consider downloading WhatsApp, a free internet-based texting and calling service to keep in touch with loved ones. Wi-Fi is available in most hotels and cafes in major cities. Along trekking routes, some locations may have WiFi but connection speeds tend to be slow.
Cellular service is reliable throughout most of Morocco. However, keep in mind that you are still traveling through remote areas. Service is not always working or reliable. Since you will be traveling in remote areas, we cannot guarantee cellular services or internet. Expect to be un-plugged for the majority of the journey.
What Vaccinations Do I need?
We heavily advise that you schedule an appointment with your doctor, or a travel-specific doctor prior to coming to Morocco to discuss your health needs. Depending on where you are traveling and where you have traveled prior to arriving in Morocco may affect what kind of vaccinations you may need.
Do plan on bringing any prescriptions you may require during your stay. Medication does exist in Morocco, but the quality and type may not be something you are used to. We suggest you bring any over the counter medications from home that you use on an regular basis.
What is the Quality of Medical Facilities in Morocco?
Morocco has a two-tiered healthcare system with private and public clinics. The private clinics are much better than the public ones. If there is an extreme illness or injury, medical evacuation to a nearby country or your home country may be required.
Although we do not anticipate any troubles while you are in Morocco, accidents do happen. Here at Adventure Alternative we take care of you in the event of an emergency and help get you to proper care. However, we strongly urge you to carry traveler’s insurance that covers you for the activity you are doing. Be sure the plan includes the altitude in which you will be traveling at.
Will I have Access to an ATM in Morocco?
The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham. Current exchange rates can be found here. You can exchange USD, GBP, and Euros in Morocco, but the bills must be crisp and free of any tears or ink marks.
ATMs are available throughout most of Morocco. ATMs typically only dispense 100 and 200 dirham notes. Change for small items is hard to come by. Limits vary by bank, and typically your home bank will likely over-ride any withdrawal limits at an ATM.
Reliability of ATMs is improving, but do not rely on them all the time. Certainly, be sure to keep cash on hand, especially when traveling in rural areas. Credit cards are taken in more posh establishments, however there is usually a service fee applied to them, so it’s best to use cash.
What Can I expect from Toilet Facilities?
Western style, sit toilets are common in hotels in major cities. Toilets in major cities flush. The story in more rural areas is quite different. Morocco is a country where water is scarce. Outside of major cities toilets are usually squat type toilets. Long-drop pit toilets are not uncommon. Another common type of toilet are the bucket flush types. You have to flush by pouring buckets of water down the toilet.
Please do not dispose of any paper products in a bucket flush toilet. Instead, use the dustbin provided. Always remember to use hand sanitizer after using a toilet. Do take care to watch where you step when using public restrooms.
We advise to always bring toilet paper for your trek. For ladies, utilizing a wee-rag or “Shewee” device helps when you need to wee. A wee-rag is a small bandana or cloth that you use when you go number one. Simply wipe when you are finished and attach the rag to your pack to dry and disinfect when you are finished. A “Shewee” is a device that enables females to wee standing up, certainly handy along the trail. For feminine hygiene products consider investing in a moon or diva cup. A menstruation cup is reusable, after being cleaned per manufacturer instructions. This helps eliminate the need of hygiene product waste, making life on the trail a much simpler experience.
What is the Water Quality in Morocco?
You should always treat any tap or well water in Morocco. Purification can be done using one of several methods. A SteriPen is a good option, however be sure to bring plenty of extra batteries. You can also bring iodine and chlorine tablets to purify your water. Another option is to use a backcountry or wild camping water filter. Whichever method you choose it is important to also bring a backup method as well. Some hotels may offer guests free filtered water for use.
The water out of the tap throughout Morocco is unfit to drink, brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, etc. It will need to be purified using one of the methods described above. The same rules apply along the trek.
We do not promote the use of disposable plastic water bottles in Morocco. Unfortunately, there is no way properly recycle bottles in Morocco. Since you are in a desert environment and will likely be drinking large quantities of water, we recommend that you bring a method to purify your water.
Costs in Marrakech
We have compiled the following to give you a rough idea of the costs of various common goods and services in Marrakesh. This is to help you to budget and also not to pay over the odds for things. Prices up in the mountain villages will usually be a bit cheaper, maybe 10%.
However.... please do not take these prices as definitive, they are just based on our experience. As with many places in the world, there is a huge gap between "locals' prices" and "tourists' prices" and there will always be certain salemen who will be somewhat 'speculative' with their pricing!
Arriving at a price that is at an acceptable level somewhere in between the extremes is where the art of haggling and bargaining comes in.
Goods / Service
|Taxi Airport-Centre of Old Town||150 MAD/car|
|Meal in decent riad restaurant||150-200 MAD|
|Basic Tagine & Soda in central cafe||60-100 MAD|
|Tip for a waiter||5-10 MAD|
|Horse & Cart Tour||100 MAD /Half Hour|
|City Tour Guide (ask for official ID)||300-400 MAD /Half Hour|
|Cotton Fabric 2m x 2m||100 MAD|
|Cotton Fabric 2m x 3m||120 MAD|
|Velour/Silk Fabric 2m x 2m||160 MAD|
|Velour/Silk Fabric 2m x 3m||200 MAD|
|Tea Pot & 4 Glasses||150-400 MAD|
|Traditional Leather Slippers||150-300 MAD|
|Plain full size clay Tagine||100 MAD|
You will normally get around 13 MAD per GBP but you can check current rates at xe.com , bearing in mind that all foreign exchange bureaus will give you a slightly different rate to this to allow them to make their own commission.
A Few Realities of Moroccan Travel
Although Morocco is just a small hop across from Europe, it can feel very different. Most of the country is far less developed than the UK for example. Whilst we may expect reliable running water, electricity, warmth, comfort and even Wi-Fi as a matter of course, for most people in Morocco this would be considered luxury. For some travellers, this is all part of the charm and experience, at least at first. For others, they may get frustrated by black-outs, the water being turned off or the shower suddenly going freezing cold.
And now we come to the concept of the Moroccan mountain refuge. Some of you will have stayed in mountain refuges before; perhaps in the Alps or elsewhere. You may have also noticed that the level of comfort and luxury can vary quite a bit. Be aware, that the Moroccan refuges are generally nearer the bottom of the scale, especially when compared to those in the Alps. For some, it may be a fairly alien concept to find yourself in a queue of five or more people, all waiting in a cold communal washing area to use one of only a couple of toilets allocated to the full refuge of maybe 100 people. This is often a reality in a Moroccan mountain refuge. Keep in mind that this is not home.
It was Einstein who helped us all to understand that time is relative. Though he was perhaps not referring to time-keeping, the concept still holds. Those of you who have travelled, even within Europe, will know that 8 am does not always mean 8 am to everyone. In Morocco 8 am can easily mean 8:30 am, or worse. We do work hard to make sure that our Moroccan staff understand the cultural differences between Moroccans and their guests. However, you may still need to meet them halfway on occasion and accept that in Moroccan culture it is simply not considered rude to show up late. They will, of course, understand if you give them some light-hearted abuse if they are late; just please don't bottle it up and get frustrated.
Marrakech can be manic. It can be hot, dusty, smelly, and busy and it even rains sometimes. The Atlas Mountains can be hot, cold, dusty, snowy, sunny, rainy, clear, overcast and tiring. On some days we may expect you to up at 5 or even 4 am, long before any hint of the sun. Your leader may keep on at you to force down some breakfast and a hot drink, to check your pack and to recall which mountain we are off to today. You may then not be back for a proper meal until maybe 2 pm; you may have to survive on a few hunks of bread, a tin of sardines and a few handfuls of nuts for 8 hours on the go (especially if you ate all your personal snack supply the day before).
Lastly, remember that English isn't everyone's first language. Be patient with folks and try to learn from them. Before you go, try to learn some Arabic, so you can show locals that you care about their culture and language. Even if you sound silly, giving it a try goes a long way.