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Morocco Guide & Travel Advice

Getting there

There are regular flights between the UK and Morocco with services from all the major UK airports to Marrakech including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester and Bristol. There are also direct and indirect flights to other Moroccan cities. British Airways, Royal Air Maroc, EasyJet and Ryanair all offer non-stop services.

Flying times from UK

Direct flights from the UK take around 3 hours. Flights with stops en-route take an hour or two longer.

Time zone

Morocco follows GMT. During daylight saving adjustments between March and October, Morocco is +1 hour ahead of GMT.

Visa requirements

A visa is not needed for British Citizens but the passport needs to be valid for the duration of your stay. Visitors from the UK are permitted to stay in Morocco for up to three months.

Do's and don'ts

Do not wear very short shorts or show bare arms or shoulders.

After shaking hands with someone, touch your right hand to your heart as a sign of respect.

Use your right hand for shaking hands, eating out of a common dish and handling merchandise or money. It is considered rude to use your left hand.

Always ask permission before taking pictures of people. In rural areas women will almost never agree and men only occasionally.

We would also recommend taking a small French or Arabic phrase book which may come in useful.

Money

The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham and there are 100 centimes in a dirham. The best place to exchange currency is in Morocco and this can be done in hotels, banks and airports. ATMs are found throughout the country and also in some hotels although in rural towns they may be unreliable. All major credit cards are accepted in Morocco but taxis and stall holders in the souks, as a rule, are only able to accept cash.

Tipping

There is no set rule for tipping in Morocco, but 10% for good service is appreciated. In some restaurants a 10% charge may be added to your bill automatically. A guideline for tipping your drivers and guides will be advised prior to travel.

Food and drink

The cuisine in Morocco is famous the world over and is a highlight of travelling in the country. Moroccan lamb is a popular dish, slow roasted with spices in a traditional tagine and served with couscous. Bread and pastry also form a big part of the Moroccan diet, which is heavily influenced by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dining. Olives, dates, grapes and pulses are grown and exported and form an integral part to most meals. Fresh mint tea is the national drink and is served with sugar and in a tall glass. Although some places are alcohol free, you will be able to find beer and wine in most restaurants in the larger cities.

Holidays, festivals and celebrations

Ramadan is the most important holiday period and for the majority of Moroccans is a period of reflection and devotion. However, throughout the year there are plenty of other celebrations and festivals to enjoy. The prophet's birthday in May is a gala affair with large gatherings in major cities and there are plenty of other artistic and cultural events including the International Nomads Desert Festival in March, the famous Festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde and the Marrakech Popular Arts Festival held in July.

Shopping

Morocco is famed for its market, bazaars and souks and there are plenty of treasures to find. Marrakech and Fes have probably the best markets in the country and it is usually possible to find almost anything here! Traditional craft items such as lamps, pottery and jewellery are always popular, leather is best in Fes and rugs can be found throughout the country. For food, dates, nuts, spices and herbs are found in abundance. Remember to haggle as this is expected.

Suggested reading

Footprint, Rough Guides, Lonely Planet and Bradt have excellent guide books whilst Nelles Maps have up to date mapping of Morocco. ‘A Year in Marrakech’, by Peter Mayne, originally written in 1953, captures the very essence of the people and the place, ‘A House in Fez’, by Suzanna Clarke retells the restoration of a dilapidated house in the old medina of Fez, ‘Valleys of the Casbahs’ by Jeffrey Tayler is an account of the writer’s epic modern day camel journey from the Draa Valley to the Atlantic Ocean and the ‘Gardens of Marrakech’, by Angelica Gray focusses on the traditional gardens and green spaces of Marrakech. Novels set in Morocco include ‘The Sheltering Sky’, by Paul Bowles and ‘Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits’, by Laila Lalami.

Health

Your doctor is the best person to advise you on staying healthy whilst abroad but current recommended vaccinations are Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus and Diphtheria. Yellow Fever is compulsory, but only if you have visited an affected Yellow Fever area within 5 days prior to your arrival. In some instances anti-malarial tablets may also be needed. For current information on health advice you may wish to visit the Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad (MASTA) Web Site on www.masta.org. The NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website (www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk) is also a useful resource.

Travel advice

For current information on Morocco the best resource is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) which is a comprehensive resource and updated regularly. We would also recommend visiting the Safer Tourism Foundation website (https://safertourism.org.uk/) before you travel and will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Morocco Holiday Ideas

Morocco Holiday Review

“You may be interested in our impressions of a marvellous trip. The programme was well balanced and and gave a good overview of the interesting country. By alternating town and countryside we got a good idea of ancient and modern Morocco.

The local organisation had obviously done its job and accomplished it smoothly. A lot of praise goes to our driver, Mr Hassan, who was always cheerful and helpful, but above all an excellent driver.”

A & MG - Morocco - April 2015

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