Morocco travel information – Everything you need to know about Morocco as a tourist destination

Basic information about Morocco:

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Marokko Reiseinformationen, Flagge

Official languages: Arabic and Berber

Second official language: French

Capital: Rabat

Currency: Dirham

Head of state: King Mohammed VI.

Area: 446,550 km² (712,550 km² with Western Sahara)

Population: 33,986,655 (34,589,908 with Western Sahara)

Entry to Morocco:

Travellers with a German, Austrian or Swiss passport can enter Morocco without a visa. Many other European countries

Medical infrastructure:

In the cities, medical care is quite good and largely geared to the needs of tourists. In general, private hospitals are preferable to state hospitals, as the range of therapies on offer and the know-how are usually better. The situation is different in rural areas. Although there are pharmacies almost everywhere, the density of well-trained doctors is much lower. When travelling to remote regions, a well-equipped travel pharmacy is a good choice. Medicines against pain and diarrhoea, as well as a disinfection spray should not be missing therefore.

Travel insurance:

All our trips are insured against insolvency in accordance with the statutory provisions. In addition, however, we recommend taking out travel insurance (travel cancellation, travel health insurance, etc.). Our insurance partner MDT travel underwriting GmbH offers you a comprehensive range of insurance products. Here you can take out insurance directly or contact us and we will be happy to advise you.

Water and hygiene:

In most areas tap water is not suitable for permanent consumption. We recommend drinking water from packaged and sealed water bottles. These can be bought everywhere at reasonable prices. Boiled water or water treated with appropriate cleaning tablets is also preferable to tap water. Other drinks in packaged bottles are no problem either, but you should avoid ice cubes if they are made from tap water.

Power supply:

In all hotels, guesthouses and riads as well as in many desert camps there is a good power supply with 220V and a frequency of 50 Hz. Sockets of type C and E are used, therefore many European tourists do not need an adapter.

Telephone and Internet:

Morocco’s international prefix is +212. The Internet TLD of Moroccan websites is .ma.

There are telephone booths and call shops everywhere in Morocco, even in rural areas. This is also true for the Internet. The mobile Internet is by the way very well developed and one has also in many regions apart from the big cities a fast mobile Internet connection. 4G or even 5G are almost everywhere available and the prices for mobile Internet are very low, so you can already get 1GB mobile Internet for one euro. Prepaid cards are available at almost every corner and for 5-10 € you usually get enough phone and internet credit for a trip of two weeks.

Currency and money:

The currency in Morocco is Dirham (MAD). For one Euro you get about 10 Dirham.

The exchange offices give almost all the official exchange rate and exchange fees are incurred in the rarest cases, so you can also with a clear conscience at airports, immediately after leaving the plane money at good conditions. You can withdraw money from almost all ATMs using EC cards or credit cards. This also applies to small towns. But beware: Some banks have to activate the cards for use outside Europe first! It is best to call your bank briefly to find out whether it is possible to use the cards in Morocco. In the cities, many riads, hotels and restaurants also accept cards. Also the payment directly in euros or dollars are often accepted, the exchange rates are then, however, mostly much worse than the official exchange rate, which one gets in exchange offices.

Outside the city, it is better to take cash with you

When staying in rural areas, we always recommend carrying a reasonable amount of cash in Dirham, as cash is still preferred in remote areas and card payment may not be possible.

The import and export of the local currency (Dirham) is generally prohibited, but there is a tolerance limit of up to 1,000 MAD. Also the import of foreign currencies with a value of more than 100.000 Dirham must be declared on entry.

Language:

The official language in Morocco is Arabic and Berber, the second official language is French.

English is spoken in almost all tourist areas. However, when travelling to Morocco, you should not assume that you can speak English with everyone. A few chunks of French are helpful in any case. In the northern part of Morocco many people also speak a reasonable Spanish. In central Morocco and in the southern parts, various Berber dialects are often spoken, which can make it difficult to communicate. We recommend a guide for Arabic and French if you really want to be self-sufficient and enjoy getting in touch with locals. With Arabic language guides, it is important to choose a language guide that carries Moroccan Arabic, as High Arabic is very different from the Arabic spoken in Morocco.

Time change:

Morocco is further west than Central Europe and has a time difference of -1 hour compared to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The clock should therefore be turned back by one hour. The winter and summer time can be changed on a different date.

Customs regulations:

What may be imported:

  • 200 cigarettes or cigarillos or 500 cigars or 400g tobacco
  • 1l spirits or wine
  • Coffee and tea is only available as travel provisions

The import of radio equipment is prohibited and is subject to confiscation and punishment. The import of foreign currency with a value of more than 100,000 Dirham must also be declared upon entry.

Souvenirs may be exported provided they are not antique objects or works of art. When entering your home country, the entry regulations of the respective country must be observed. In addition to customs duties, an import turnover tax can also be levied on entry into the home country.

Alcohol:

Morocco is a Muslim country and the Koran prohibits the consumption of alcohol. This, of course, means that in many parts of the country, especially in rural areas or in regions with a very religious character, alcohol is not well regarded in society and is therefore difficult to obtain. In the big cities, on the other hand, alcohol is no longer a big issue. Although alcohol is not omnipresent in the cities either, hotels and restaurants that are aimed at an international audience very often serve alcohol. Even the big supermarkets now have alcohol departments. However, they are not open at all times of the day. Especially in the dark they are usually closed. Alcohol is also rather expensive in comparison to many European countries.

During Ramadan, the month of fasting, and three days before and after, Moroccan restaurants do not serve alcohol at all. Also supermarkets and many hotels do not serve alcohol at this time.

Better not drink alcohol in public

In general, alcohol is frowned upon in public and alcoholic beverages should be packed opaquely. Social drinking is not appropriate for everyone and a well-intentioned invitation to a drink is not well received by everyone, so sensitivity is required. In general one should be restrained with the alcohol, speak beer and wine in moderation enjoy. Usually many accommodations which do not pour alcohol themselves, however, allow on polite demand the consumption of alcohol brought along by themselves.

Clothes:

Light cotton or linen clothing is highly recommended as it is breathable and provides some protection from the sun. Short trousers, shorts or beachwear are considered unsuitable outside the beaches, because not only women, but also men in Morocco usually wear body-covering clothing. Especially in rural areas men with short trousers and tight muscle shirts are considered too scantily dressed and women with shorts and tight tops more or less naked. In general, shorts should cover at least the knees and tops and T-shirts should cover the shoulders and upper arms. Deep necklines are also inappropriate. A tidy appearance in the sense of Moroccan culture also helps to get in touch with the locals. Nudism is prohibited by law in Morocco.

In rural areas one is more likely to cover oneself up

In the western-oriented cities of Morocco, people also like to dress in western clothes, this applies to both men and women. However, many locals themselves do not like this and you should not use the “sexy outfits” of many big city dwellers as a model for your trip to Morocco.

Security:

In general, the crime rate in Morocco is very low, according to the Directorate General for National Security, Morocco even has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The proportion of violent crimes is also quite low at 9%. And the rate of awareness of 92% is very high. Morocco is therefore ahead of most European countries.

Morocco is safer than most European countries

As in any other major city, Moroccan cities can be subject to theft or assault, but these are less frequent than most European cities, and the group of perpetrators is often limited to young people under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, in order to minimise the risk, some rules of behaviour should be followed. For example, the display of expensive electronics and luxury goods should be avoided, as there are also envious people in Morocco and opportunity makes thieves. Better one stows expensive valuables rather in the backpack or the inside pocket. The dark backdrops of the big cities should be avoided as a single traveller at night rather.

Terrorism is not a problem in Morocco

According to the Travel Risk Map, the risk of becoming a victim of a terrorist attack in Morocco is no higher than in European countries such as Germany, Austria or France. Since the attack in Casablanca in 2003, the government has significantly increased security measures throughout the country. To date, there has been no kidnapping of foreign nationals by Islamist terrorist groups.

From our own experience, we consider the security level of Morocco and its cities to be very high. This is also reflected in the statistics, so the chance of becoming a victim of an attack or a violent crime is higher in many large European cities.

The roads are well constructed and there are many controls

Most roads are well constructed and can be used by foreigners without national experience without any safety concerns. The density of traffic controls and police stations in road traffic is significantly higher than in Germany.

The Western Sahara annexed by Morocco offers less safety and should be avoided as a single traveller. We do not offer trips to the Western Sahara region!

Women travelling alone:

Morocco can be travelled without problems by women travelling alone!

As in any other country, there are of course a few rules of conduct to be observed in order not to step into a cultural fat-head. Intensive eye contact, tight and tight clothing and a lot of naked skin can be interpreted by some Moroccans as an invitation to make contact and are not common in Moroccan culture. In general, restraint with regard to appearance can be a help in preventing unpleasant situations from arising in the first place. By the way, this also applies to men! This is not primarily owed to the female social image of the male Moroccans, but rather lies in the general code of conduct and cultural understanding of Moroccan society.

Beggars, poor and children:

A central component of Islamic understanding is appreciation and solidarity with the poor and the sick. It is part of the good tone to give money to old, poor and sick people so that they can live in dignity. Here you can donate some Dirham, as long as this is done with discretion. Only in the very fewest cases does one get begged for money. This only applies to adults! Many children and adolescents besiege you and can be very intrusive. It is easy to get into the temptation to let one or the other Dirham jump, partly because you just want to have your peace, partly because you want to do something nice. But please don’t give money to begging children! The locals don’t like this either. Even if it is difficult – ignoring is the best thing you can do in such cases.

Shop and trade:

The visit of a souk, also wrongly called a bazaar by many people, is a real highlight of every Morocco trip. The lively markets in the narrow lanes of the medina encourage haggling and offer an enormous variety of locally produced goods. Here you have the chance to get real handicraft and traditional art for reasonable prices. Ceramics, fabrics, leather goods, spices, metal and wood handicrafts are only a small part of the goods offered for sale. In many smaller cities there are also weekly markets, so it is never wrong to inform yourself about the market times when you are travelling overland.

Bargaining is part of it

Bargaining is always part of it! It is almost a kind of folk sport and one or the other can almost see the disappointment when the first price is paid immediately. Many travelers are not used to haggling from home and therefore do not know exactly how to proceed, therefore our tip: You can start with 20-30% of the called price, your counterpart will meet you and then it will be really exciting. 10-15% should be possible at the end of the negotiations in any case, if you are good at bargaining, you can get up to 50%. Many merchants have fun with price negotiations and offer their goods at a much higher price, who pays immediately is to blame.

Gratuities:

In Morocco, people are happy about tips. In the tourism industry, tips are expected and are usually a fixed component of the remuneration, even if no one would ever say that openly to the guests. The amount of the tip also depends on how satisfied you are with the service. The following values are only guidelines for group trips with up to eight travellers. It is usual that the amount of the tip increases a little with the number of days your guide is away from home. On a 4-day trip the tip per day can be lower than on a 14-day round trip. Also the number of participants is important, because with a group of 6-8 people there will be more together than with a small group. For individual trips the tips are therefore usually a little higher.

Guide values for gratuities:

  • Tour guide: 5-10€ per day
  • Cook: 2-6€ per day
  • Driver: 2-6€ per day
  • Donkey/camel guide: 2-6€ per day
  • Carrier: 1-2€ per day
  • Chambermaid: 1-2€ per day
  • In the restaurant: approx. 10% of the total value

Business and bank opening hours:

Winter: Monday to Friday 8.30-11.30 hrs and 14.30-17.00 hrs
Summer: Monday to Friday 8.30 am-14.00 pm
In Ramadan: Monday to Friday 9.00-15.00 hrs
Am Freitag und am Sonntag können einige Geschäfte geschlossen bleiben.

Photos and drones:

Photographing locals without asking is an absolute taboo! Please always ask first if you can take a photo or a video. Many locals do not want to be photographed and it came therefore already to wash genuine fisticuffs, because what for the Central European perhaps is not a big thing, is for many Moroccans just a big thing. Many jugglers, carnies and artists on the souks like to be photographed, but usually ask for a tip that is not too small. For military installations, public buildings, soldiers and policemen there is also a strict ban on photography.

Photos taken with the drone are forbidden throughout the country and are sometimes severely punished. Already the import of drones to Morocco is forbidden and drones can be confiscated.

For aerial photographs with drones in each case a permission is necessary, which must take place before the entry.

Mosques:

Almost 99% of the Moroccan inhabitants are Muslims, so there are many and beautiful mosques in the whole country. The best known is the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. With its 210 meter high minaret it is the highest religious building in the world.

Also for non-Muslims there is the possibility to enter mosques, but only if:

  • Outside of prayer
  • Present believers, in the best case the imam is asked for consent
  • One enters the mosque without shoes and with clean feet
  • Arms and legs are covered, as is the head in women
  • No photos or shots are taken

Climate and weather conditions:

Due to the geographical conditions in Morocco, there are altogether three different climate regions, which bring completely own weather phenomena with themselves:

  • Mediterranean climate on the coasts:

    In the northwestern part of the country, as well as in the coastal regions of Morocco, there is a Mediterranean climate. This means that the summertime is characterized by a dry hot climate and the temperatures are mostly between 24°C and 29°C. At night, the temperatures drop up to 17°C even in summer. Rainfall is almost non-existent during the summer months. In the winter months between November and March the average temperature is 14°C -16°C and there is a lot of rain.

  • Continental climate in central Morocco and the Atlas Mountains:

    Hot summers and cold winters reign here! In Marrakech there can be up to 45°C during the summer. In winter, however, temperatures can drop to freezing point. The higher one penetrates into the Atlas mountains, the colder the temperatures become, especially at night. In winter, snow usually falls in the Atlas Mountains. Many peaks of the Atlas Mountains are covered with snow until midsummer.

  • Desert climate in southern Morocco:

    South of the Atlas mountains and in the Sahara edge-areas a dry-hot desert-climate prevails. Rainfall is extremely rare and more than 200mm per year is exceptional. Water for agriculture is only available in the oases. The average temperature for the whole year is 31°C. Whereby already in March temperatures of over 25°C are not unusual. Also in November this can still be the case. In high summer (July/August) temperatures of over 38°C are more the rule than the exception. At night temperatures in winter can be around freezing. Also in the summer months it gets quite cool at night. So the average temperatures in March and November are 9°C. Only in the extremely hot months from July to September you can expect temperatures of around 20°C at night.

Holidays and holidays:

The most famous holiday of the Muslim faith is the 30-day Ramadan, followed by the breaking of the fast and the sacrificial festival. These are subject to the lunar calendar and are thus not every year at the same time, but shift each year by approx. 10 days. During Ramadan you are not allowed to eat, drink or smoke from sunrise to sunset. This is of course a big burden in everyday life, especially at hot temperatures. During the day, everything is a little more leisurely and many restaurants and shops only open in the evening. But almost everyone is on their feet until late in the evening and after sunset almost every dinner turns into a small celebration. Most of the sightseeings are open during Ramadan.

There are also religious holidays that are not days off.

Public holidays:

  • 1. January – New Year’s Day
  • 11. January – Declaration of independence
  • 1. May – Labour Day
  • 30. July – Throne feast
  • 14 August – Western Sahara Day
  • 20. August – National Holiday
  • 21. August – Birthday of the King
  • 6. November – Green March Day
  • 18. November – Independence Day

Nature conservation:

We are actively committed to nature conservation in Morocco and our guides are all sensitized to this issue. Everyone can contribute with their behaviour to the preservation of Morocco’s extraordinary nature for future generations. Here we have put together some basic rules of conduct for you:

  • Packaging waste and food scraps should be avoided and always disposed of in the waste container provided for this purpose.
  • No rubbish may be disposed of “wildly”, even if there are no rubbish bins in the vicinity. Always take an extra garbage bag with you when you’re out and about, so you can dispose of your garbage properly later.
  • Reusable containers for drinks and food are always better than disposable packaging. It is better to fill your own drinking bottle than to buy a plastic bottle every day.
  • Our guides know their way around the countryside very well, please use this knowledge. Not only for the protection of the environment, but also for self-protection. Do not pick plants or touch wild animals without a brief consultation with the tour guide.
  • Water is a precious commodity in Morocco, so please use it sparingly.
  • Please do not leave the road by car and always try to park in the shade and not near flammable grass.
  • Cigarette butts and chewing gum do not belong in nature and can cause great damage if left unattended.
  • Always pay attention to the tips of the tour guide. We can’t list everything here, so it is important to keep your eyes and ears open, because sometimes we are dealing with quite banal everyday situations in which we are not even aware of the damage we can do with our behavior.

Species protection & customs regulations:

Everyone would like to bring a nice souvenir from the new country, but beware, there are many things that must not be done and/or can cause real damage. The bad awakening usually comes quite unexpectedly, you are asked by customs to open your backpack and are not aware of any guilt and the next moment you have a charge on your neck, must pay punishment and the souvenir is confiscated. Unfortunately this happens again and again, but you can protect yourself from it!

Beware of a fancy souvenir

Many extraordinary souvenirs that have found their way to the buyer with the argument of rarity are usually not a good choice for a souvenir. If one considers that one should buy something rare, then this always has a bitter aftertaste, because things which are rare usually will not exist for a long time on this earth, if many people want to own it. Many animal and plant species that are used for such souvenirs are already threatened with extinction, so it is better to keep your hands off them. Many of these “very special” souvenirs are subject to strict export and import regulations and often have not only harmful consequences for flora and fauna but also legal consequences for the buyer.

For animals, harsh punishments are imminent

The best thing to do is to inform yourself about the import and export regulations at the appropriate offices. For Germany, you can find out about this on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

The following is a list of animals that may not be exported from Morocco:

  • Agamas
  • Chameleons
  • Elephants
  • Corals
  • Tortoises
  • Parrots
  • Cats of prey
  • Snakes
  • Lizards

The following plants may not be exported:

  • Aloe
  • Cacti

Haustiere mitnehmen:

Solltest du vorhaben dein Haustier mit auf deine Reise nach Marokko mitzunehmen, dann solltest du folgende Regeln beachten:

  • Es muss bei Einreise ein auf English und Französisch übersetztes, amtliches Gesundheitszeugnis vorhanden sein, welches nicht älter als zehn Tage sein darf.
  • Ein Nachweis über eine Tollwutimpfung, die nicht älter als acht Monate und nicht jünger als 30 Tage ist, muss vorhanden sein.
  • Bei der Wiedereinreise nach Europa muss bewiesen werden können, dass das Tier nicht aus dem Ausland stammt. Ein Chip oder eine Tätowierung ist deshalb empfehlenswert.
  • Bei der Wiedereinreise nach Europa muss ein gültiger Impfausweis vorgelegt werden.
  • Wer mit seinem Haustier länger als drei Monate außerhalb der EU gewesen ist, muss bei Wiedereinreise mit einer Blutuntersuchung des Haustiers nachweisen, dass es zu keiner Tollwut-Infektion gekommen ist. Dies muss in einem in der EU anerkannten Labor erfolgen.
  • Bei Vögeln werden keine besonderen Dokumente verlangt.

This post is also available in: German