Travel Tips & Useful Info

Blue boats in Essaouira - Morocco Tours - On The Go Tours

Thinking of heading off to Morocco and need a little advice to help the preparation? Start your holiday planning the right way with our top travel tips that cover everything from health precautions to take before you set off to what to expect of the food and shopping when you land.

What vaccinations do I need for Morocco?

You should seek medical advice from your local health practitioner before travelling to Morocco and ensure that you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations. As a guide Tetanus and Hepatitis A are strongly recommended. For more information on health precautions for Morocco, check out the NHS Fit to Travel page or the CDC Traveler's Health page.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Morocco?

Tap water is considered unsafe to drink in Morocco and therefore visitors should stick to bottled mineral water, which is readily available. Alternatively, tap water can be consumed once it has been boiled or treated with purification tablets.

Moroccan tagine - Top Travel TIps
Tagine is one of Morocco's most famous dishes and served in beautiful pots

What's the food like in Morocco?

Food in Morocco is a veritable explosion of taste and colour. One of the most popular dishes, and one that can be found throughout the entire country, is tagine. This fragrant stew consists of chunks of meat - usually beef, lamb or chicken, vegetables, dried fruits (typically apricots) and nuts, and is cooked in a large earthenware pot with a conical lid.

Many meals are accompanied by couscous or rice, which are considered staples in a Moroccan diet. As a meat-centric cuisine, some other national favourites include brochettes, skewers of meat, keftas, herby meatballs, and merquez, spicy beef or lamb sausages that are often served with spicy harissa paste. Bread is also served with every meal and is used for dipping in and mopping up sauces.

For dessert, many Moroccans will indulge in a piece of super sweet, syrupy baklava, which consists of flaky pastry stuffed with chopped nuts. In the afternoons, it is also not uncommon to see friends gather around a pot of mint tea which has been sweetened with a generous amount of sugar.

Safe eating while travelling in Morocco

Generally, it is best to avoid anything that might have been washed in tap water and drinks with ice in them and only eat fruit that you can peel. Stay away from street food that looks like it has been sitting in the sun for hours and be sure that if your food is meant to be hot, it is served piping hot. Busy restaurants are usually a good sign and will normally have good quality food that is not likely to make you sick. Anywhere that looks run-down or abnormally empty should be avoided.

Is it standard to tip in Morocco?

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to tipping in Morocco but people will normally leave a 10% tip in a restaurant if the service has been of a reasonable standard. Taxi fares should be rounded up to the nearest multiple of 5 and bellboys can be tipped around USD $1 for taking your bags. In more upmarket hotels a tip of USD $10 per week is acceptable to leave for maids and housekeeping. Occasionally, in the medinas, if you look lost, it is not uncommon for a ‘tour guide’ to suddenly appear at your side and offer you assistance. Be wary of these people as they might simply direct you to their, or a friend’s, shop and then leave you stranded, but not before demanding a hefty tip. If someone has been genuinely helpful and guided you to the right place then USD $0.5-1 is an adequate tip.

Moroccan leatherware - Top Travel Tips
Colourful hand-crafted leatherware on sale in Essaouira

What to shop for in Morocco

Moroccan markets are known for their dazzling colours and fabulously diverse array of items, making the experience of exploring these bustling bazaars a dream come true for avid shoppers. Carpets and rugs are probably the single most popular purchase for travellers as they can be found in every colour imaginable and are usually woven with beautiful patterns.

Brightly coloured traditional Moroccan clothing such as djellabas, tunics and kaftans, as well as bed linen, can be found in abundance and are made using either cotton or silk thread. Leather bags and belts are also a favourite with visitors. While slightly trickier to transport, ceramics, lamps and lanterns make beautiful souvenirs that will transport you straight back to Morocco every time you look at them.

Argan oil is another popular product in Morocco and is great for your hair and skin as well as for cooking. Culinary and cosmetic argan oil is different though, so be sure of which one you are purchasing. Spices and dried goods can also be bought in most markets and are easy to transport home.

Is bargaining acceptable in Morocco?

Yes. Markets and bazaars are a huge part of Moroccan culture and, unless stated otherwise with a ‘fixed price’ sign, they are always open to haggling. This process might take a while and may also seem slightly nerve-wracking but vendors are usually very good humoured about it. There are some shops that will allow you to negotiate with them, same goes for taxis. Hotels and restaurants, however, almost inevitably have fixed prices.

Travelling in Morocco as a solo woman

While Morocco is generally safe for women travelling alone, the constant attention from men can become tiresome, annoying and, at times, even intimidating. Hisses, clucks, stares and possibly even an attempted grope will, unfortunately, be regular occurrences for most women travelling alone. Ways to reduce these advances include buying a fake wedding ring and carrying around a photo of a man who you can call your husband, wearing sunglasses to help avoid making eye contact and dressing conservatively as skimpy clothing will typically be equated with loose morals.

Travelling with Children

Morocco is a great place for the whole family with a host of experiences that appeal to all ages from camel trekking in the Sahara to enjoying the beaches along the Atlantic coast. We have three family tours which are suitable for children over 5 years of age, in addition to our Morocco with Teens tour which is suitable for parents with children aged 12 and above. On our standard group tours, we welcome teenagers who are 16 years or older, accompanied by a parent/guardian if under the age of 18. We also welcome children of all ages on our private tours and tailor-made holidays.

What is the duty free allowance for Morocco?

The following goods may be brought into Morocco without incurring customs duty:

  • 200g of tobacco products
  • One bottle of spirits and one bottle of wine
  • 150ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette
  • Gifts to the value of USD $200

The following are banned from being imported in to Morocco: firearms and ammunition, narcotics, absinthe, immoral publications, and plants and plant products considered a threat to national flora.

Changing money in Morocco

The currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham. It is a restricted currency which means that it cannot be taken out of the country and is not available abroad. It is possible to buy and sell Dirham outside of Morocco but there is an import and export limit of 1000DH. It is recommended that you withdraw Dirham from an ATM when you arrive at the airport rather than exchanging money before you arrive. Check OANDA for the latest exchange rates.

Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro and other major currencies can be exchanged in Morocco at various bureau de changes in major cities and towns, and most banks have ATMs. Please note that at this time it is still not possible to exchange Australian dollars whilst in Morocco. Credit cards are virtually useless outside main cities and towns. It's advisable to request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can sometimes be hard to get change from large notes and smaller notes are handy for smaller purchases and gratuities.

Traveller's Cheques are not recommended as they're often difficult to exchange and incur high fees.

What do things cost in Morocco?

Morocco is on the lower end of the scale when it comes to costs and is a reasonably affordable travel destination. Accommodation can cost as little as USD $15 and mid-range hotels will normally come to around USD $40 per night. A decent meal from a street food vendor or cheap restaurant normally won’t cost more than about USD $5-7 but alcohol will set you back a bit more as beer in a bar can come to about USD $4. Public transport is cheap and readily available but renting a car will cost at least USD $300 per week.

What sort of plugs do I need for Morocco and what is the voltage?

Standard voltage is 220 volts. Primary sockets require the European, 2 pronged variety. We recommend that you pack a universal travel adaptor. You will need a voltage converter and plug adaptor in order to use U.S. appliances.

Is WiFi widely available in Morocco?

WiFi is available throughout the majority of the country with most restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes and malls offering a connection free of charge for customers. Internet cafes are also widespread so people can get connected even when WiFi can’t be found.

What time zone is Morocco on?

Morocco is on Greenwich Meantime (GMT). Daylight Saving is currently being observed. However, it changes frequently and is not observed during the holy month of Ramadan.

Migration-of-the-Berbers-Itinerary-1-Trekking-Adventures-Morocco
Trekking with the nomadic Berbers of Morocco in the High Atlas

Atlas Trekking & Camping

If you're trekking in the Atlas Mountains, you will require a good level of fitness and should ensure that you pack a decent pair of walking boots that have been worn in before the trek, to avoid blisters and painful feet.

We offer a very unique Migration of the Berbers camping trek. On this trek we go off the beaten track and there are no official camp sites with facilities en route, so bush camps will be used throughout. Tents and sleeping mats are provided but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag. The guides and trekking crew will set up the camp each night and there will be a cook to prepare the food. With regards to ablutions, you will use a drop toilet (hole in the ground!) and there will be buckets of water for you to use to wash yourself, but no showers. This is a truly authentic experience, that offers a great insight into the nomadic Berber way of life!

Trekking Insurance

Most travel insurance does not cover for trekking above 2000m as standard and you may have to pay a premium to cover yourself for higher altitudes. It is essential that you get the correct level of cover so please check the maximum altitude you'll be trekking to before arranging your insurance. Our Migration of the Berbers trek reaches a maximum altitude of 3200 metres.

Camping in the Sahara

On our Morocco group tours a memorable night is spent at a remote Berber camp in the Sahara. This is a basic camp with a handful of communal tents, a toilet tent and an outside area for eating, there are no other facilities. Sleeping mats and blankets are provided. You can choose to either sleep under the stars (weather permitting) or inside the tent. The Berbers at the camp will provide an evening meal for you upon arrival.

Please note: Blankets are provided at the camp but you will need to bring a sleep sheet (if travelling May - Oct) or a sleeping bag (if travelling between Nov - Apr). If travelling during the winter months make sure you bring some warm clothing too.

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