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How to Have the Best Morocco Travel Experience

Morocco Travel desert

Morocco travel is all about experiences. From the smells of spices to the bustle of the souks (markets) and kaleidoscope of desert landscapes; Morocco is all about a sensory overload. If desert landscape and Africa is on your travel bucket-list, then you must plan a Morocco holiday for an African desert experience in an Arabic country. Do not let traveller stories about harassment from touts and scammers deter you. If you know what to avoid and follow the rules, you can have a wonderful Morocco travel experience.

So book your tickets. Plan your point of entry. Will you fly out or take an adventurous boat trip from Spain or France?

Whatever you plan, do your research well and travel in a group. Solo travel or DIY is certainly not an option for Morocco.

When to go

Like most African countries, the best time to visit depends upon where you are going. If mountaineering is on your agenda, the summer months are the best. However, summers are best avoided for travel to other parts of Morocco, as midday temperatures soar across this desert land. Spring months of April and May are the ideal time for a Morocco holiday.

Things to know

Morocco Travel shop

Morocco is a Muslim country, where you can expect to be woken to the muezzin’s calls for prayers.

French occupation and proximity to the European nations have influenced the local culture and dialect in many ways. You can expect the locals to speak in French as fluently as the Moroccan dialect, Darija. The cuisine too bears testimony to the fusion of cultures.

In Morocco, you can expect to be assailed by a variety of smells wherever you go, be it exotic spicy foods, strong pungent aroma of spices, incenses or the traditional apothecary, ittara. However, once you are used to the smells wafting around you, you may not even notice it in the chaos of city streets and endless open spaces of the desert.

Traveller rules for a great Morocco experience:

  • If you are not on an organised tour, then cars for hire and trains are the best options to get around. Make sure to book a first-class seat, as first class carriages have AC.
  • Keep in mind that Morocco is a conservative Muslim nation. Dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention or groping in busy streets.
  • Moroccan toilets often lack toilet paper, so make sure to carry a small roll or tissues with you.
  • Do not walk about alone if you are a woman. Travel in big groups and wear minimal jewellery. Do not venture out alone at night, even if you are a man, unless it is a well-lit and busy urban neighbourhood. Avoid small back-alleys.
  • Do not carry valuables with you on the roads or bazaars. Getting hassled or accosted are common incidents faced by tourists. Petty thefts and crimes are widespread, so keep your passport too in your hotel room.
  • Do not accept drugs, as there may be a catch. You could be turned over to the police by the drug middleman in exchange for an “official payout”.
  • Driving under influence of alcohol is illegal, even if you had a single beer!
  • Bargaining is a way of life in Morocco. So make sure to haggle as items are over-priced in the expectation that you would bargain to bring down the price.
  • Morocco’s high tourist footprint has made travellers most vulnerable to scamsters, touts and cheats. Always negotiate a price upfront, whether for a taxi fare or a buy. Avoid fake tour guides who try to coerce you into their shops or demand money for services that could best be called extending courtesies!

Local culture

Be aware about the local culture. Greetings are not accompanied by physical contact between individuals of the opposite gender. Using the left hand to give money or accept something is considered rude. The elderly in Morocco are held in high regards, and allowed to be preceded in queues.

Top Attractions of Morocco

Morocco Travel mosque

Morocco offers a diverse range of attractions and activities.

Marrakesh Medina is an old city that is symbolic of Moroccan culture and ethos, with its alleys and bazaars filled with colourful sights and sounds.

Casablanca city’s iconic Hassan II Mosque is a modern colossal structure spread over a two-hectare site. The sheer grandeur of the mosque, with its intricate marble carvings and colourful mosaics in true Islamic architectural style, is a must-see.

Chefchaouen is a not-to-be-missed quaint town of blue buildings. It is also a starting point for hiking and trekking in the Rif Mountains.

Essaouira is a laid back seaside town with great seafood scene, beaches and surfing.

Morocco Travel desert 2

The Erg Chebbi lies in the eastern Sahara region. This is the  seat of all desert action. Navigate the rippling sand dunes of this region. Go dune-surfing, four-wheel-drive dune-bashing, camel trekking and desert camping.

Dades Valley with the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains in the backdrop is a great place for hikers, trekkers, and nature lovers.

Fez is Morocco’s culture capital, a UNESCO World Heritage site with an old-world charm.  Attractions include the Imperial Palace and the Saadian Tombs.

Must-dos in Morocco

Morocco Travel shell

For a quintessential Moroccan holiday, these are some things you must do:

  • Take a camel ride through the golden sand dunes.
  • Spend a night in a desert tent under a starry sky
  • Pamper yourself at a tourist hammam or steam-bath.
  • Plan a stay at Marrakesh.
  • Take home dates, Argan oil and products, handmade Berber carpets, leather ware, bejewelled slippers, perfumes or spices.
  • Shop at a souk/local market for a unique Arabian experience straight out of The Arabian Nights.
  • Get yourself a sun tan and swim at Essaouira.
  • Try some of the famous Moroccan foods – Couscous, Tagine, Kaliya, Bastella, Harira or Bissara soups, and not to forget their mint tea.

Want to know more about Moroccan travel experiences? Read more here!