OverallMorocco remains a safe place with one of the lowest homicide rates in the world and among, if not the safest country in Africa. Morocco has its share of problems, but they can be easily avoided should you follow common sense. Avoid dark alleys. Travel in a group whenever possible. Keep money and passports in a safety wallet or in a hotel safety deposit box. Keep backpacks and purses with you at all times. Make sure there is nothing important in outside or back pockets.
Women (General)Women especially will experience almost constant harassment if alone, but this is usually just cat-calls and disturbing hisses. Don't feel the need to be polite--no Moroccan woman would put up with behaviour like that. Dark sunglasses make it easier to avoid eye contact. If someone won't leave you alone, look for families, a busy shop, or a local woman and don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are so inclined, you could wear a hijab headscarf, which is not necessary. Morocco can be a very liberal country and many Moroccan women do not wear headscarves. However, women should always dress conservatively no low-cut tops, midriffs, or shorts, out of respect for the culture they are visiting.
The general rule is to follow the lead from local women. Locals will assume that Moroccan women venturing into nightclubs or bars alone are prostitutes in search of clientèle but foreign women entering such places will be not be so considered but will be thought of as approachable. Be careful about being drugged, especially as a solo traveler.
Hustlers :They can be a big problem for people travelling to Morocco. It's sometimes difficult to walk down the street without being accosted by somebody offering to give you directions, sell you something, etc. Your best bet is to politely refuse their services and keep walking, as all they are after is money. There are some legitimate tour guides, never let yourself be pressured into purchasing anything you don't
Con Artists :Con artists are a persistent problem in Morocco. Most are relatively easy to spot, but others seem quite genuine for several days. This latter type pretends to be the tourist's friend for multiple days, shows them the city, and gives them tips on where to stay. It is only when the tourist finally believes them to be genuine that the con artist steals everything they can from them. Some of these people are quite well-known for employing this lengthy confidence trick.
DrivingDriving under the influence of alcohol is strictly illegal
DrinkingAvoid drinking in public. alcohol
HomosexualityBe aware that homosexuality is illegal also in Western Sahara and is punishable.
OtherArmed fighting in the disputed areas of the Western Sahara near the southern borders is extremely rare. However, don't wander too far off the beaten paths either as this region is also heavily-mined.
For tourists from countries that need a visa to enter Morocco, the Moroccan Embassy is usually the first port of call. The embassy charges the equivalent of GBP17 for a single entry and GBP26 for double or multiple entries. Double or multiple entry visas will be issued at embassy discretion. Visas are usually valid for 3 months and take around 5-6 working days to process.
Visa requirements include completed application forms, four passport-size photos taken within the previous six months; valid passport with at least one blank page and a photocopy of the relevant data pages; fee, payable by postal order only; photocopy of all flight bookings and a hotel reservation.
Tourists can stay for up to 90 days. Visa extensions can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. You may find it easier to duck into the Spanish-controlled Ceuta or Melilla and then re-enter Morocco for a new stamp. Anti-cholera vaccination certificates may be required of visitors coming from areas where this disease is prevalent, and pets need a health certificate less than ten days old and an anti-rabies certificate less than six months old.
email & internet
Moroccans have really taken to the internet. Internet cafes are open late and are numerous in cities and smaller towns that see significant tourist traffic. Rates are about 4 - 10 dirhams per hour and they are often located next to, above, or below the telekiosque offices. Speeds are acceptable to excellent in the north, but can be a little on the slow side in rural areas. Most internet cafes will allow you to print and burn CDs for a small charge.
Moroccans have also really taken to 3G coverage. There is excellent access to email and the internet via Mobile Phones and it is relatively cheap. As a result, there are fewer Internet cafes in tourist areas. There is 3G access throughout the mountains and in the desert, as well as in all cities. To obtain 3G pay-as-you-go SIM cards from the phone network's stores, you will need to show your passport. These stores cost the same as the unauthorised vendors but often provide better service for tourists, telling you your phone number, showing you how to top up and giving you tariff information, etc. These extra services make the long queues worthwhile!
Some Moroccans that you meet on the streets have come up with dozens of ways to part you from your money. Keep your wits about you, but don't let your wariness stop you from accepting any offers of generous Moroccan hospitality. Put on a smile and greet everybody that greets you, but still be firm if you are not interested. This will leave you significantly better off than just ignoring them.
Faux guides and toutscongregate around tourist areas and will offer to show you around the medinas, help you find accommodation, take you to a handicraft warehouse, or even score some drugs. While these men can often be harmless, never accept drugs or other products from them. Be polite, but make it clear if you're not interested in their services, and if they get too persistent, head for a taxi, salon de the, or into the nearest shop - the shopkeeper will show the faux guide away.
The best way to avoid Faux guides and touts is to avoid eye contact and ignore them, this will generally discourage them as they will try to invest their time in bothering another more willing tourist. Another way is to walk quickly; if eye contact happens just give them a smile, preferably a strong and beaming one rather than a shy one meaning no! thanks they are very clever in judging human emotions and will bother you if they feel a weakness. The word La Arabic for No can be particularly effective, since it doesn't reveal your native language. Just another is to pretend you only speak some exotic language and don't understand whatever they say. Be polite and walk away. If you engage in arguing or a conversation with them, you will have a hell of time getting rid of them, as they are incredibly persistent and are masters in harassment, nothing really embarrasses them as they consider this being their way of earning their living.
Some of the more common tactics to be aware of are as follows.
Many Faux guides will pretend they are students when they approach you and that they just want to practice their English and learn about your culture, invariably if you follow them, there is a big chance you will end up in a carpet or souvenirs shop. A variant is they will show you an English letter and will ask you to translate it for them, or will ask for your help to their English speaking friend/cousin/relative etc abroad.Expect to be told that anywhere and everywhere is 'closed'. Invariably, this is not the case, but a con to get you to follow them instead. Do not do this.Do not accept 'free gifts' from vendors. You will find that a group of people will approach you accusing you of stealing it, and will extort the price from you.Always insist that prices are fixed beforehand. This is especially true for taxi fares, where trips around a city should cost no more than 20 Dirham, in general, or be done on the meter. This cannot be stressed enough. In ALL situations including Henna tattoos always agree on a price before!
When bargaining, never name a price that you are not willing to pay.At bus/train stations, people will tell you that there have been cancellations, and that you won't be able to get a bus/train. Again, this is almost always a con to get you to accept a hyped-up taxi fare.In general, do not accept the services of people who approach you.Never be afraid to say no.
Drugsare another favourite of scam artists. In cities around the Rif Mountains, especially Tetouan and Chefchaouen, you will almost certainly be offered kif dope. Some dealers will sell you the dope, then turn you in to the police for a cut of the baksheesh you pay to bribe your way out, while others will get you stoned before selling you lawn clippings in plasticine.
Ticket inspectorson trains have reportedly attempted to extricate a few extra dirham from unsuspecting tourists by finding something 'wrong' with their tickets. Make sure your tickets are in order before you board, and if you find yourself being hassled, insist on taking the matter up with the station manager at your destination.
Moroccan toiletseven those in hotels or restaurants, could lack toilet paper. It is worth buying a roll french: "papier hygenique".
Try to learn at least a phrasebook level of competency in French or Arabic Spanish may help you in the North - but not largely. Just being able to say "Ith'hab!" "Go Away!" may be useful to you... Many locals especially the nice ones who are not trying to take advantage of you will speak limited English. If you can at least verify prices in French with locals, you could end up saving a lot of money.
what to wear
You won't need high and heavy mountain boots unless you go in coldest time of the year like February: it's quite warm in the country even when it's heavy raining in November. Even in medinas, streets are paved if not asphalted--just be sure your footwear is not toeless in medina, as it may be dirty or unsanitary.
For trekking in valleys, low trekking shoes will be likely enough.
For a desert trip to dunes, ensure your pockets can be easily shaken out as sand gets in there very quickly.
The Moroccan postal service is generally reliable and offers a post restante service in major cities for a small fee. You will need some identification preferably your passport to collect your mail.
Items shipped as freight are inspected at the post office before they are sent, so wait until this has been done before you seal the box.
Don't leave postcards with the small post office at Marrakech Airport as they'll never be delivered, despite taking your money for postage stamps. Postboxes on streets seemed to be a more reliable means to send postcards.
It would greatly enhance your visit, increase you understanding of signs and notices, and avoid difficult situations if you were to brush up on your high school French or embark on a course of Arabic.
Moroccan Arabic a dialect of Maghreb Arabic, also known as Moroccan Darija. The language is extremely different from Standard Arabic and is also slightly influenced by French or Spanish depending on where in the country you are, so don't expect to understand a word of what the locals say to each other even if you are competent in Standard Arabic, or any non-Moroccan dialect. However, all Moroccans learn standard Arabic in school, so while not the first language of choice, speakers of standard Arabic should not have any problems communicating. Officially, about half the population cannot read or write, so there are always translators around and people to assist filling in forms for a small fee around most places where such forms are required such as ports, etc.
Berber, or the Amazigh language, is spoken by Morocco's Berber population. In the mountainous regions of the north the dialect is Tarifit, the central region the dialect is Tamazight, and in the south of the country the dialect is Tachelheet.
French is widely understood and spoken in Morocco due to its history as a French protectorate and is taught in schools from relatively early grades, making it by far the most useful non-Arabic language to know. Most urban locals especially young people you meet will be trilingual in Moroccan Arabic, Standard Arabic and French. In the northern and southern parts of the country many people speak Spanish instead of or in addition to French.
While knowledge of the English language is increasing among the younger generations, most Moroccans don't speak a word, and even those that do will most likely speak better French. Although you will find a few people who speak English among the most educated people, in urban areas most of them are touts and faux guides. Some shop owners and hotel managers in urban centers also speak English.
Spanish is spoken by some Moroccans due to Spain's proximity and the volume of Spanish tourists. Additionally, many Moroccans go to Spain on temporary work visas and learn the language while living there.
Public telephones can be found in city centres, but private telephone offices also known as teleboutiques or telekiosques are also commonly used. The international dialling prefix to dial out of the country is 00, but international rates are comparatively expensive. If you have a lot of phone calls to make, it may be worth ducking into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta or Melilla.
The telephone numbering scheme was changed in March 2009. All fixed telephone numbers have a 5 inserted after the 0, and all mobile telephone numbers have a 6 inserted after the 0. All numbers are now ten-digit long, counting the initial 0.
Useful NumbersPolice: 19; Fire Service: 15; Highway Emergency Service: 177; Information: 160; International Information: 120; Telegrams and telephone: 140; Intercity: 100.
The GSM mobile telephone network in Morocco can be accessed via one of two major operators: Meditel (http://www.meditel.ma) or Maroc Telecom (http://www.iam.net.ma/). Prepaid cards are available. More infos on available services, coverage and roaming partners are available at: GSMWorld (http://www.gsmworld.com/r...).
It is very easy and cheap to buy a local GSM prepaid card in one of the numberous phone shops showing a Maroc Telecom sign. The SIM card carte Jawal costs only MAD30 €3 with MAD10 €1 airtime. The rate is national: MAD3-4, to Europe ca. MAD10, SMS MAD3. The card is valid 6 month after the last recharge.
Travellers will often be required to pay for drugs/treatements received up front.
PharmaciesPharmacies are denoted by a green cross, usually in neon. They sell medicines, contraceptives, and often beauty and related products .
Most general practitioners, specialists, and dentists are self-employed; look for signs saying "Docteur" . An average doctor’s check-up in a city costs between 150 and 300 dirhams. In general, the quality of the doctors work is decent, but you should always try to ask some locals for a good doctor recommendation. There are few English-speaking doctors, though French is widespread.
Treatments in private clinics will be quite expensive and travelers will be required to pay for any treatment received up front.
Government hospitals are cheap and okay for minor injuries and minor problems, but they tend to lack of money and be very crowded. For anything serious, a private clinic is generally preferable.
Rural AreasMedical care can be difficult or impossible to find in rural areas
used to traditionally be considered 'unclean' in the Muslim religion and Amazigh nomadic cultures, as they used to be reserved for hygiene in toilets. As in many cultures it could be considered impolite to shake hands or offer or accept something from someone with your left hand, more so is giving money by your left, so try to avoid that. While left-handed people may get an occasional exclamation, and local children may get pressured by parents to use their right in traditional societies, most people will understand if you do your own business with your left hand.
Moroccans still have the tradition of highly respecting their elders and the sick. If someone who is handicapped, or older than you is passing, then stop and allow room for them. Or if a taxi arrives and you are waiting with an elder, then you should allow the older person to take precedence over you. Tourists are not held to these expectations, but it improves regard for tourists in Morocco when they adhere to the same traditions.
No particular inoculations are needed for Morocco under normal circumstances, but check with the CDC's travel web pages for any recent disease outbreaks. As with most travel, it makes good sense to have a recent tetanus immunization. If you plan to eat outside the circle of established restaurants, consider a Hepatitis A inoculation.
Food and Drink
Avoid uncooked fruits and vegetables that you can not peel. Avoid any food that is not prepared when you order it i.e. buffets, etc. Usually fried and boiled foods are safe. Some travellers have also had problems with unrefrigerated condiments such as mayonnaise used in fast food outlets.
It is advisable to drink bottled water check that the cap is sealed - some people might try to sell you tap water in recycled bottles. Be wary of ice or cordials that may be made with tap water. Some hotels provide free bottled water to guests and its wise to keep a supply in your room so as not to be tempted with tap water.
Present in the northern, coastal areas of the country but is not a major problem. Take the usual precautions against being bitten light coloured clothing, insect repellent, etc and if you are really worried see your doctor about anti-malarial medication before your departure.