Frequently Asked Questions

Published facts and figures for the Kingdom of Morocco

  • Arab Name: Al Maghrib
  • Political Capital: Rabat
  • Economic Capital: Casablanca
  • Surface Area* 710,850km squared
  • Population: 30 million (official estimation)
  • Density: 63 per km squared
  • Official Language: Classical Arabic
  • Spoken Languages: Dialectal Arabic, Berber, French, Spanish. Many Moroccans have self-taught English, German, Italian and other languages. English is taught as an option usually for 2yrs in High School
  • Religion: Islam
  • Currency: Dirham (DH / MAD)

Although Morocco is a tolerant society, it’s advisable to dress respectfully if you do not wish to attract undue attention. This typically means covering your body between your knees and elbows.  i.e. trousers, long shorts or skirt to the knee (at least) and short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts.

In large cities Moroccans can often dress as fashionably as they would in New York, London or Paris. Conversely, next to the fashionably clad you will also see women traditionally dressed in derra (hood like scarf that covers all the hair and is tied under chin). Men often prefer to wear a Djellaba (long-sleeved, ankle-length, flowing garment).

In rural areas women usually wear traditional clothes and you are encouraged to dress more conservatively when touring.

In summer (April to October), loose clothing is comfortable in the heat and when travelling.

In spring and autumn (March, April and October), a warm fleece or jacket is recommended for chilly evenings, although days are usually warm and sunny.

In winter (December to February), warm clothing is essential. It is particularly cold at night in the desert and mountains.

Drones are NOT permitted into Morocco and will be confiscated on arrival. Please do NOT bring a drone.

The voltage is usually 220v although older buildings may have 110v or a mix of both – if you are unsure, ask.  Sockets take 2-pronged European-style plugs and you may need to pack an adaptor.

Aside from the requirements for hiking or camel trekking, this is our suggested list of essential packing:

  • Passport – 6-month expiry date (see passport and visa below)
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Cash (euro, USD and other major currency notes, debit or credit card. Australian dollars and travellers cheques are not accepted
  • Driving licence (not required unless you plan to rent a car)
  • Appropriate dress – see Dress Code
  • Alarm clock  to wake up (or use your phone)
  • Hat, sunglasses  and sunscreen
  • Travel adaptor – 3 into 2 prongs
  • Matches or lighter
  • Torch/Flashlight (or use your phone)
  • Medicines e.g. eye drops (air is very dry), painkillers, plasters, Imodium, motion sickness pills and bug spray just in case
  • Cosmetics to include sunscreen and lip balm
  • Biodegradable plastic bags for laundry and rubbish
  • Sarong to use as a wrap or lightweight towel
  • Quick-dry towel for local hammam if you plan to visit one (included in tourist spa hammams)
  • Flip-flops or rubber shoes (hammam/bathroom) and comfy shoes for walking around the cities
  • Zip-Up bags for camera etc
  • Lightweight fleece or jacket (April through October just in case of a chilly evening/night)
  • Cool natural fibre clothing in summer that you can layer on a chilly evening or at altitude (April through October)
  • Waterproof light jacket for trekking in the mountains (summer)
  • Layers, windproof jacket, hat, gloves from November to April when days and nights can be cold especially at altitude)
  • Wet-wipes or dry-hand cleanse.
  • Covid 19 avoidance hand sanitiser!
  • Camera and spare battery
  • Bum-bag for valuables
  • Day-sac to carry things including water and leave hands free i.e. hiking or riding a camel
  • Small denomination notes and coins for tips along the way

For details of the music festival in Essouira:

For details of the annual Festival of Sacred Music in Fez:

Moroccan cuisine is delicious and intrinsically healthy, based on salads, vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, herbs, meat, fish, nuts and honey. Spices add a vibrancy and fragrance to everyday ingredients and even Moroccan cooking methods are nutritious – tajines, in which ingredients are slow-cooked in a conically shaped pot, retain the food’s goodness.

Vegetarians are easily catered for with the wide range of fresh vegetables and pulses; bottled mineral water is readily available.

It is recommended that you always drink bottled mineral water.

Trains, buses and grand-taxis are an easy way of getting around Morocco as is renting a car and driving at your own pace for those brave enough! For journeys into remote parts of Morocco we recommend hiring a 4×4 with an English-speaking driver. Not only does this open up access to remote parts of Morocco, your driver will be a mine of information and an invaluable travelling companion.

Trains in Morocco – trains run between Tangier, Meknes, Fez, Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech. There is an overnight sleeper service between Tangier and Marrakech. The trains are safe and comfortable. There is also a recently completed high speed TGV between Tangier and Casablanca. The Moroccan national train service ONCF lists the schedules and fares:

Buses in Morocco – there are many bus companies operating in Morocco. The most efficient, safe and reliable are Supratours and CTM. Both companies operate a comprehensive service throughout Morocco

Taxis in Morocco – taxis are either ‘petit’ (within towns and can take up to 3 passengers) or ‘grand’ (inside cities or between towns and can take up to 6 passengers with a squeeze). Petit taxis work like regular taxis anywhere and, by law, should have a meter – if it doesn’t work negotiate your fare in advance. They are amazingly cheap, so please tip very generously if using the meter. Grand taxis (usually Mercedes saloons) are shared taxis but you can negotiate a price if you want the journey to yourself – a well turned out vehicle and driver is usually a good indication of a well maintained vehicle.

We recommend you only eat freshly cooked food and avoid salads or anything you cannot peel; always drink bottled mineral water.  That said, you can eat salads in good restaurants and riads where the food is freshly prepared – use your intuition and taste your food i.e. if it does not taste right don’t swallow it; ensure eggs and meat are cooked through and not runny/raw.  Remembering to wash your hands before eating can go a long way to keeping you healthy and it is a good idea to carry some wet-wipes.

No immunisation is required for Morocco – there is no malaria, typhoid, yellow fever or other tropical diseases prevalent in the country. However a vaccine for covid-19 may be required, as and when one is eventually developed.

Photographing landscapes or crowds-in-general poses no problem although you may be challenged if using a tri-pod. If you want to photograph people (e.g. portraits), you are advised to ask permission first – sometimes you will be given the go-ahead, sometimes you will be asked for money in return and sometimes the answer will be no. Taking photographs of people can be very sensitive, so please be aware to act with caution and respect!

Ramadan is the Holy Month of the Islamic calendar and a time when Muslims fast from first light until sunset. Fasting means ‘nil by mouth’ including food, water and cigarettes. The day’s fast is broken at sunset, often with soup and dates.

Many local cafés and restaurants remain closed during the day. However tourists are not expected to fast and there are cafés and restaurants that stay open to cater for non-Muslims.

During Ramadan you are encouraged to show your respect by not walking around in public eating, chewing gum, smoking or drinking – it is OK to do so in your hotel, in a cafe/restaurant that stays open and in your vehicle.

During the month you will find that tourist sites often close early to allow staff to return home in time to break their fast. Shops often open late and close early, hotel staff may disappear for around 30 mins at sunset and your driver/guide will need time to break their fast if you are travelling at sunset.

It is generally fine to travel to Morocco during Ramadan – life carries on almost as normal. However, people can of course be more tired and irritable, so a degree of tolerance and latitude might be required.

  • Bathrooms and Hammams. Bathrooms and Hammams have tiled floors and are slippery when wet. Rubber-soled shoes are recommended for your safety and hygiene.
  • Camel Riding. Helmets are not provided for riding a camel and there is no requirement to do so in Morocco.  Follow the instructions given by your guide i.e. sit with your legs across the camel and hold on to the bar in front of you. And hope for the best.
  • Catching your flight. We allow extra time for journeys that include an airport drop for reasons beyond our control (i.e. adverse weather conditions, punctures, etc) Moroccan Authorities currently request that passengers check in 3 hours before their flight due to heightened airport security.
  • Crossing the road. Remember to check carefully before crossing any road. Cars, motorbikes, taxis, buses and donkeys might be coming from a direction you do not expect.
  • Please check the escape route in hotels when you check into your room. A torch/flash-light is recommended.
  • Health and hygiene. Washing your hands before eating will go a long way to keeping you healthy. Avoid salads and unwashed fruit and drink bottled water.
  • Heat stroke. Whilst Heat stoke is more probable in the summer months, the sun is hot all year. Please ensure you carry adequate supplies of water with you at all times.
  • Henna is a herb that is grown and used locally to condition and protect the skin with no ill effect. However, some henna artists offering henna tattoos (in the Djemaa el-Fna), mix the herb with chemicals to produce a toxic mix that can burn the skin. It is therefore advisable to have a tattoo (if you wish to have one) in a henna café or licensed beauty parlour.
  • Petty crime. Morocco is an amazingly safe country and there is no tolerance of crime. However, there is still petty theft and you should take appropriate care of your valuables and money at all times.
  • Terrorist event. Morocco has a highly sophisticated security apparatus and therefore there is virtually no risk of terrorism in Morocco. However, like everywhere in the world, the unexpected can always happen. We recommend you check your countries foreign travel advice, although they tend to err on the side of caution. The border of Mauritania in the Deep South is off limits, but this area is over 1,000KM from wherever you are travelling.
  • Tiled floors. Many Moroccan hotels have tiled floors. These floors can be slippery, especially when wet. Take care and rubber-soled shoes are recommended.
  • Although uncommon, if you are bitten by a dog, cat or monkey, seek medical advice immediately. If on a tour we will take you to a local hospital.
  • Scorpions and snakes. Scorpions and snakes are a part of desert and mountain life, although they tend only to active in the summer months.  The best precaution is not to walk barefoot, don’t pick up stones to see what is underneath, keep your bags zipped, check your shoes in the morning and shake your clothes if you have left them on the floor.
  • Swimming pools. Hotels do not typically have a Life Guard on duty.

Bartering is a way of life in Morocco and rest assured, it is not just visitors who have to haggle – Moroccans do it every day of their lives! A great experience and one not to be missed, is a visit to the souk (market) where the merchants will do their utmost to catch your eye with cries of ‘Just Looking’ or an offer of mint tea.  When buying a large item like a carpet, take your time and be aware of the cost in your own currency – if you lose out for the price you are willing to pay in one shop you are likely to find it in another one.

Colourful souks are a major part of Moroccan life and many villages have a weekly souk when people from a wide area turn up on their donkeys to buy their weekly provisions – in village souks it is often the men who do the shopping. In contrast, the souks in towns and cities offer an extensive range of goods aimed at the tourist market.

Although Morocco has a tipping culture and Moroccans tip each other, tips are at your discretion.  A rough tipping guide is: waiter in café or restaurant@ 10% of the bill; guardian @ 20MAD; hotel or riad porter 20MAD to 30MAD; drivers @ 100MAD per day.

Visa requirements are country-dependent and the safest option is to contact your country’s Moroccan Embassy for up-to-date visa information. As a general rule visas are not required for arrivals from Europe, US, Canada and Australia. On arrival in Morocco your passport must be valid for the length of duration you wish to stay in Morocco, although for some countries (i.e. Australia) your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your intended stay. But the rules change all the time so it’s best to check in any case before you travel.

  • By Ferry.The most popular ferry routes are from Tarifa in Spain to Tangier (45 minute crossing) and from Algeciras in Spain to either Tangier Med or the Spanish enclave of Cueta (both one hour). We highly recommend taking the Tarifa option – it’s far better organised and less stressful (although the route can be closed in bad weather, in which case Algeciras is the only option). There are also ferries to Barcelona, Sete and Genoa, but the service is infrequent. FRS Ferries operate the most reliable crossing from Tarifa.
  • By Air.  Travellers from Europe normally fly to Marrakech or Fez. Travellers from outside Europe either fly to Casablanca or transit in Europe before flying to Marrakech or Fez. Casablanca is the hub for all internal flights operated by Royal Air Maroc. There are some flights from Europe to other cities in Morocco, including Agadir, Tangier and Ouarzazate. There is a limited internal flight network either operated by Royal Air Maroc via Casablanca or by Air Arabia who have direct flights from Fez to Marrakech and a few other destinations.

For trekking in the Atlas you should prepare as you would for any mountain as it can be warm and sunny when you set out but the weather at high altitude can quickly change to snow and cold winds at anytime of year.

Atlas Treks are tailored to match the season and your level of fitness. You have the choice of basing yourself in a Berber guesthouse, from where you can take daily walks, or you can trek with mules to carry the kit. On mule treks you usually have the choice of staying in Berber family guesthouses or wild camping in 2-person tents.

Atlas trekking tours from Marrakech can include the ascent of Mount Toubkal although, in the winter months, you should be an experienced trekker and may have to hire crampons to summit.  Mules carry your luggage – soft bags are essential and two small bags is better than one large one.

  • Walking boots and socks – broken in and good quality
  • Shoes i.e. change of shoes for evenings
  • Sleeping bag (3-4 season); plus thermal liner in winter
  • Good fleece and waterproof outers (summer)
  • Layers, windproof jacket (autumn/spring)
  • Hat for summer and warm beanie for winter plus gloves
  • Thermal underwear (winter/autumn/spring)
  • Goggles (winter) and sunglasses (summer)
  • Walking stick (useful)
  • Personal items: towel, sunscreen, wet wipes, loo roll
  • Toiletries that are eco-friendly e.g. soap, shampoo etc.
  • Small First Aid Kit e.g. insect repellent, plasters, meds
  • Small rubbish bag to carry out what you carry in
  • Matches e.g. burn toilet paper
  • Day sack/backpack
  • Water bottle or Camelbak (recommended)
  • Water purification e.g. iodine
  • Torch/Flashlight and spare batteries e.g. head torch
  • Penknife (useful)
  • Trail snacks
  • Zip-Up bags for camera etc
  • Suitable clothing e.g. long shorts or trousers depending season
  • REMEMBER your rubbish – carry out what you carry in.

Women often ask if it’s safe to travel alone. Based on our personal experience we would say yes but any woman travelling alone must take care to avoid unwanted attention. You should dress respectfully (avoid short skirts and tight clothes) and even if you don’t feel it, appear confident and self-assured; be polite but formal in response to any uninvited comments. There is no requirement to wear a scarf or veil.

Please be conscious of your waste. If there is no disposal facility i.e. when wild trekking, please burn toilet paper and feminine hygiene products or carry them with you for disposal at an appropriate time. Anything buried in the desert sand will eventually be exposed by the wind.