Travelling to Morocco? Here’s 11 Tips You Need to Know

Travelling to Morocco?

Keep reading to get in the know before you leave!

Guest Writer: Summer Krecke

11 Tips You Need to Know Before Travelling to Morocco

Hey guys, just spent ten amazing days [in Morocco] and thought it might be helpful to provide some travel tips based on my own experiences since there’s been a lot of back and forth about varying expectations:

Morocco is beautiful…
but it’s also not highly industrialized everywhere so go into it knowing the level of cleanliness or technology you’re used to goes right out the window. But that’s ok-if you roll with it you’ll be fine. And when it comes to wifi? Prepare yourself to go on and off the grid pretty frequently.

Don’t drink any water except in a bottle…
In fact, brush your teeth with bottled water if you can. Everyone in my group of 11 was super careful and three still got sick. And trust me you don’t want to be vomiting or have diarrhea in the desert.

The men in the markets of Marrakesh are aggressive…
If you go (best time is early morning on a Sunday – worst time is night any time) even having your boyfriend or husband with you is not going to deter them. Case in point: two girls in my group had their asses grabbed right in front of their boyfriends and we’re talking in the main square in the Old City. Another guy in our group was cursed out for not wanting to eat at an outdoor stall. Best bet: hire a local guide. Nobody messed with us when we were with him.

You will likely not experience this in every market in Morocco…
or in small towns in the Sahara. Our Berber guides in the desert were extremely respectful and I much preferred the relaxed shopping environment in Essaouira (not only is everything cheaper, but we also had tea served to us while shopping in a leather shop and most the other merchants took a step back and just let us shop at our leisure).

If you take a photo of a performer they get super pissed…
and will chase you if you don’t tip. Also it’s rude to take a picture when shopping in the markets without asking permission first. Some stalls even have signs that tell you not too. General rule of thumb: if you’re buying something they’re usually fine with it, but always ask anyways!

Most roadside cafes and restaurants we encountered required…
you to pay to use them (the bathroom). If you are on a guided tour like mine our guide took care of that for us. Also, some are just holes in the ground and don’t come equipped with toilet paper, so travel with a few rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Moroccan people love playing host, and they do it well…
Meals are meant to be savored, so don’t rush it!

There are cats EVERYWHERE…
in restaurants, hotels, stores and even when camping overnight in the Sahara. If you are allergic to cats this is NOT the country for you. If you love cats, then welcome to heaven.

Couples should not hold hands, kiss or hug in public…
It’s considered offensive to those that practice the Muslim faith and is extremely frowned upon.

Yes, you can drink, but not to an excess in public…
We thought this would be a problem but we’re quite surprised to find many bars and restaurants in Marrakesh and Essaouira that had good selection of cocktails. Pro tip: I stopped at duty free at JFK and brought a bottle of vodka with me to enjoy at various hotels with the friends we made in our tour. (Also everyone seems to smoke and they do in all the outdoor cafes).

Finally, despite dressing respectfully, you will still likely get catcalled…
Some men do it in a teasing manner (my favorite was the one guy who was like, “well hello Lady Gaga!”), but your best bet is just to ignore it. Most are harmless, but be smart. We made the mistake of going to the New City Market in Marrakech at night (4 girls) and we were harassed, honked at, whistled at and pretty much pestered from the time we got there to the entire time we walked back to our hotel. Our local guides all suggested hitting the markets early in the morning to avoid a whole lot of crazy that goes on when they’re at max tourist capacity.

Ultimately…

I say all of this not to deter you, but rather to encourage you to visit what has to be one of the most beautiful and gracious countries I’ve ever traveled to. Just do so with a realistic understanding of what you might encounter and a respect for the culture and people that exist here. The majority of them take great pride in showing off their cities and goods and they really appreciate thoughtful questions, politeness and a general curiosity about Morocco and all that it encompasses.

 

Follow more of Summer’s travels via her Instagram!

Want to share some tips you’ve picked up while travelling? Send an email to wanderingworldie@gmail.com

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