GET READY

GET INSPIRED

AND ENJOY MOROCCO

Few countries hold as much fascination for travelers as Morocco. The exotic sensations it provides have always fascinated voyagers, long before the modern tourism arrived. The long stretch of Atlantic coast down Morocco’s west features cool breezes and long sandy beaches, separated from the mountainous region by wide swathes of fertile plains. To the north is the Mediterranean coast, just a stone’s throw from Europe. The magic around this country strikes the perfect balance between the exotic, the unknown, and the spirit of adventure. From the breathtaking Atlas Mountains to the ancient medinas, the sweeping fortresses that rise out of the sands and the vibrant and colorful spice markets that live in every city. Here you will find the best Hiking, Cycling, and Cultural tours.

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ABOUT MOROCCO

Morocco is a quite simply country but full of dramatic and beautiful landscapes. The valleys are deep…the places are special… and the magic that surround us is unique!

Sapphire oceans caress white sandy beaches. The purple peaks of the Atlas Mountains glitter with snow.  Behind every city wall is an adventure in art and architecture. The cuisine take us on an incredible journey of flavores.

The great imperial cities of Rabat, Fez, Meknes and Marrakesh have medieval rhythms about them with their dynastic monuments, medinas, and squares filled with snake charmers and storytellers.

The long stretch of Atlantic coast down Morocco’s western side features cool breezes and long sandy beaches. It is separated from the mountainous region by wide swathes of fertile plains. To the north, is the Mediterranean coast, just a stone’s throw from Europe.

Morocco is located on the westernmost tip of north Africa, bordering Algeria to the east, Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara to the southwest and southeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean to the north. Running through the middle of the country is the Atlas mountain range.

The Middle Atlas range sweeps up from the south, rising to over 3,000 m (9,850 ft), covered with woodlands of pine, oak and cedar, open pastureland and small lakes. The Rif Mountains run along the north coast. Often snow-covered in winter, Morocco’s mountains are home to the country’s significant indigenous Berber population.

The official language is Arabic. Berber is not officially recognized even though it is the language of the country’s first inhabitants, who form a majority. French is widely spoken throughout the country, except in the northern regions where Spanish is more predominant. English is also understood, particularly in the north and major tourist destinations like Marrakech.

All visitors to Morocco require a valid passport with at least 6 months’ validity. You should ensure that your passport is stamped when you enter the country. Some tourists have experienced difficulties leaving the country because their passport bears no entry stamp. Not all countries need a Visa (ask in advance). European citizens don’t need a visa to visit Morocco for the purpose of tourism for up to 3 months.

Most destinations, including Morocco, require that you have adequate un-used pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure. We recommend that you have at least two free pages in the Visas section of your passport before any international travel. U.S. citizens can get extra passport pages added to their passports as fast as within 24 hours.

Morocco is one of the few countries in Africa where it is not necessary to get vaccinations in order to travel. Nevertheless, if you have not received Typhoid or Hepatitis A shot in the past, it is advisable to get them. Please also inquire with your doctor to make sure you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccines. Morocco is a country where your health is not in danger when you travel. Except for a few rare cases near Mauritania, Morocco is a malaria-free country. Malaria is present in the northern, coastal areas of the country but is not a major problem.

While no shots are required to enter Morocco, it is recommended that you come prepared with a personal medical kit, as you do not want to spend time looking for a pharmacy and risk them not having what you need. Morocco does have French pharmaceutical shops widely available throughout the country in all major cities and many villages therefore if basic things such as cold medicine, Imodium, allergy creams or over the counter medicine are needed you can visit one of them. Moroccan Customs don’t have a list of prohibited products, but they do advise anyone traveling with prescription medication to make sure they have a copy of the doctor’s prescription with them and that the quantity of medication carried is within the limits of the prescription.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 150 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. Henna tattoos are common in Morocco. Some henna tattoos contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which can cause a painful allergic reaction including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.

Drinking water directly from a tap in Morocco is not considered safe. Many hotels have filtered water for guests that are considered safe to drink. They have detailed information on the filtration method and this water is usually free. But, only by safe precaution, do not drink tap water at all in Morocco, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of minerals than other places in the world. For local people, this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for travelers, drinking tap water will usually result in illness. Generally, this is not serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it is enough to spoil a day or two of your holidays. It is also advisable to drink bottled water (always checking if the cap is sealed – some people might try to sell you tap water in recycled bottles). Be wary of ice or sodas that may be made with tap water.

Avoid any food that is not prepared when you order it (i.e. buffets, etc.). Usually, fried and boiled foods are safe. Some travelers have also had problems with unrefrigerated condiments (such as mayonnaise) used in fast food outlets. It is also advised not to buy from itinerant water sellers. Unless your guide lets you know it’s okay, never drink from the mountain streams or swim in them. If you do experience diarrhea, it is suggested that you only consume simple foods such as fresh-baked bread, couscous and large amounts of bottled water.

The national currency of Morocco is the Dirham, although you will find that many places in larger towns advertise prices in Euros, and larger restaurants and shops will readily accept Euros over Dirham. Dirham is commonly abbreviated as “dh”. It is rare to see a coin smaller than 20c (centime – worth 1/100 of a dirham), however, you will come across 50c as well as 1dh, 5dh, and 10 dh coins. Paper notes come in denominations of 10dh, 20dh, 50dh, 100dh, and 200dh respectively.

The Dirham is officially designated as a closed currency, which means that it can only be legally traded within Morocco. While it is technically against the law to take dirhams outside Morocco, the import and export of the currency are tolerated up to a limit of 1000dh. If dirhams are not available to you in your home country, all international airports ins Morocco have a currency exchange counter. Exchange rates are fixed by law and charging high commissions is forbidden. In larger cities, banks abound. Remember to bring your passport and always ask for a receipt following a transaction.

Credit cards are accepted in modern shopping centers, fancier restaurants, and large hotels. Contact your bank before you leave to find out about any exchange rate fees. During tours on mountains and desert, you just need a small amount of money to buy maybe some drinks or souvenirs.

Local laws reflect the fact that Morocco is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws, and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

Tipping is customary in Morocco. Guides, chauffeurs as well as hiking and trekking guides are typically tipped between 100dh and 200dh per day. At larger restaurants check the bill to see if a service charge has been added. If not, 10% of the bill is a nice tip to reward good service, although Moroccans generally tip slightly less.

Homosexuality is a criminal offense in Morocco. Sexual relations outside marriage are also punishable by law. It is not uncommon for hotels to ask couples to show evidence of marriage at the time of check-in, and if such evidence is not available, to insist on separate rooms.

Because Morocco is still a rather conservative Muslim country, woman should pack clothes that are not too revealing. Showing to much skin can attract unwanted attention and might be seen as disrespectful when visiting certain places. Larger cities might be more tolerant, but you should still dress conservatively as much as possible. For men, there’s not too much special to consider when figuring out what to wear in Morocco.

Women, especially when traveling alone, may attract attention. To minimize hassle, you should dress modestly and avoid wearing clothes that could be regarded as provocative (short skirts and low-necked strappy tops), except on the beach.

Ramadan is the month-long Islamic holiday celebrated each year. Its calendar follows a lunar pattern, so every year Ramadan moves 10 days forward on the Gregorian calendar.

Ramadan and Eid can have a considerable impact on traveling to Morocco. Ramadan lasts for around a month and during this period, practicing Muslims in Morocco fast between the hours of sunrise and sunset. Their fast includes food and water. In most circumstances, this will have little impact on visitors since restaurants, cafes and other establishments will mostly remain open. No one expects tourists to fast. This is a very special and spiritual time for Muslims so, if you visit Morocco during Ramadan you will see aspects of culture that you would not experience at any other time of the year, and you will be able to taste special foods that are prepared only during this time.

Other public holidays in Morocco:

  • Jan 11 – Anniversary of the Independece Manifesto of 1944
  • Jul 30 – Kings Mohammed VI’s coronation in 1999
  • Aug 20 – Islamic New Year & Marks King Mohammed V’s exile in 1953 (Revolution Day)
  • Nov 18 – Independence Day

The climate in Morocco is as varied as its diverse geography. Morocco has wide-ranging geological formations, including a vast coastline, interior lowlands extending into the foothills and highlands of the Rif Mountains and the Middle Atlas and High Atlas ranges which sore up to 4150 m (13,700 f). Generally, Morocco’s climate is moderate and subtropical, cooled by breezes off the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In the interior the temperatures are more extreme, winters can be fairly cold and the summers very hot. In fact, the further you go from the ocean the more extreme winter and summer temperatures become. The most pleasant time to visit Morocco is in the spring and autumn when the weather is warm and dry. Average summer temperatures in the coastal cities range from 18- 28°C (64-82 °F). In the interior, however, highs frequently exceed 35°C (95°F).

Weather along the coastal region is tempered by the Mediterranean in the North and the Atlantic Ocean along Morocco’s Western coast near Casablanca and Essaouira. Average daily temperatures range from about 12°C (54°F) in winter (Dec-Mar), to 25°C (77°F) and higher in summer (Jun-Sep). Going inland to the northern plateau region, Fez has a continental climate with more extreme temperatures. In summer it can get over 38°C (100°F), but generally hovers in the 29-35°C (85-95°F) range. Winters, by contrast, can be rather cold with daily temperatures around 18°C (65°F) and nights dropping to 5°C – 7°C (40°F -45°F).

Heading due south into the interior lowlands, Marrakesh has an average winter temperature of 18°C (65°F) and a summer temperature of 36°C (97°F). The hottest months of the year are July, August, and September, but there is little humidity, so temperatures are generally bearable.
In the Atlas Mountains temperatures can drop below zero Celsius (32°F) in winter and mountain peaks are snowcapped throughout most of the year. Summer Hiking in the Atlas Mountains is generally sunny and warm and cool at night.
Regardless of when you are traveling to Morocco, it’s best to bring many layers as your trip will involve travel through many different climate zones.

While hiking on the mountains the nights will be spent in a camp that will be set up every night by the staff. The camping includes tents, mattresses and a shower cabin and latrine. Everything for camping will be provided but the sleeping bags and pillows. Each tent sleeps two persons, but for a small extra, it is possible to get a single tent. Be sure to bring a good sleeping bag, because the nights can be cold.
In camping, all the water will be treated by the staff, so it will be safe for you to drink the water provided. The food is prepared daily and consists mostly of a variety of fruit, vegetables, potatoes, beans and lentils, cheese, ham, chicken and bread.

You should travel light and use soft luggage since it will be carried by mules and they handle malleable items better. Please keep the limit to 20 kg per person (44 lbs.). Mules carry not only your luggage but also all the material needed for the camping sites. People usually don’t ride the mules unless in great need, or in case of injury. On camping days there will be no access to electricity, so you should bring a good power bank (or two) to charge your phones and cameras.