Morocco Holidays - Hints and Tips

Travel Advice for Morocco

At Rediscover the World we believe in providing our clients with the best service and key to the enjoyment of any holiday in our opinion is the balanced and up-to-date information offered by the tour operator. We are confident that the items detailed below when taken in conjunction with a reputable and reliable guide book will enhance your holiday experience as well as ensuring you receive the very best service from Rediscover the World in the UK and in Morocco.

 

Guide Books

Whilst all flight-inclusive or tour clients will receive a complimentary guide book from Rediscover the World we also recommend two other 'chunkier' guide books to complement your reading.

 

1. Footprint Handbook - Morocco.

Our favourite 'chunky' guide book - covers everything.

(also available in Marrakech & High Atlas edition).

2. Time Out - "Marrakech, Essaouira and the High Atlas" - very detailed concentrating on Marrakech but has a good synopsis of other key destinations throughout Morocco. Good colour maps and lots of detail on places to stay and eat as well as art, style and entertainment.

 

Maps for Driving and Trekking

A very useful and highly recommended on-line store selling maps of all kinds including many trekking maps unavailable elsewhere in the UK is:

   

 

Arriving in Morocco

Arrival by international flight into any one of Morocco's 14 major airports or by sea into Tangier requires the same minimal formalities outlined below:

Passports

A full 10 year passport is required  with 6 months remaining validity. It may be wise to have a photocopy of the important page(s) to carry around with you as ID should be presented on request and therefore carried at all times.

Visas

Most nationals will not require a visa to visit Morocco, however, en route you will be presented with a landing card. On arrival in Morocco you will be required to hand over this completed card with your passport at immigration for a FREE one month entry stamp.

For nationals requiring a visa, this can be done at a reasonable speed direct with Moroccan Embassy in London; we will provide proof of return travel and holiday booking, by fax if necessary, direct to the embassy, to complete your application successfully.

Moroccan Embassy: 0207 581 5001 (10:00 - 13:00 weekdays ONLY).

 

Money

It is illegal to import or export Moroccan currency over 1000 dhs so we advise using the following methods:

1. ATMs are installed in most towns so this is a secure and cost-effective way to retrieve money from your bank account or credit card (usually up to maximum of 2000 dhs) - please check costs involved with your bank or card issuer; we have had plenty of reports of some credit card issuers using poor exchange rates on both purchases and cash advances, best stick to debit cards if possible or .....

2. UK Sterling cash (or US Dollars or Euros), if you are happy with the security of taking cash, are perfect as you can change into local currency when you wish at any hotel, airport or bureau de change. The exchange rate is fairly fixed and commission rates low or non-existent.

3. Credit cards are relatively widely accepted, even in some shops in the souks, particularly for carpets, however, it is advisable to have cash for petrol/diesel.

4. Travellers cheques are costly and time-consuming to acquire and, apart from the added security, are not particularly useful in Morocco.

NB: keep your exchange receipts to change money back into Sterling (if available) at the airport for your return journey, useful but also technically compulsory.

 

Time

Morocco is on GMT for most of the year. In 2014, for the first time, Morocco decided to standardize the movement of its clocks with the rest of Europe, however clocks move again during the period of Ramadan to lessen daylight hours. In 2017 these dates are:

March 26th - move 1 hour forward (GMT +1)

May 27th - move 1 hour back   (GMT)

July 1st - move 1 hour forward   (GMT + 1)  

Oct 29th - move 1 hour back (GMT)

 

Travel Insurance

Insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for travellers to Morocco.

 

Other Customs Matters

Arriving with your own vehicle you must have Green Card insurance. If you have a trailer or caravan a relevant customs certificate must be completed. No vehicle can remain beyond 6 months and must never be left behind in Morocco.

Alcohol imports are limited to 1 bottle each of wine AND spirits or 3 bottles of wine and tobacco limits are 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 400g of tobacco per adult. No limit on import of foreign currency.

Any large, valuable items may be stamped in your passport and must be with you on your departure.

 

Health

No inoculations are compulsory for Morocco, however it is always advisable to be up-to-date with Tetanus and Polio and possibly Typhoid and Cholera; many agencies also recommend the Hepatitis A vaccination for travellers, which can last up to 10yrs with a booster jab.

NO Malaria treatment is necessary, although mosquito repellants for your hotel room and body are sensible precautions against general bite-related infections.

Bottled water (still and gaseous) is easily and cheaply available so we recommend sticking to this for all drinking and also for cleaning teeth - it was said that, of the two main brands, Sidi Ali is lighter on the stomach than Sidi Harazem which has a higher mineral content, although there is now a wider range of waters to choose from. In some areas it may also be prudent to avoid ice cubes, lettuce and rice that isn't freshly boiled. Street food such as that in the Djemma el Fna in Marrakech can be considered reasonably safe to eat once you are sure it has been cooked through and consider the usual rules of hygiene.

 

Rediscover the World Vouchers

For all reservations at hotels, riads and apartments we will supply a pre-paid voucher, guaranteed by our local agency, Complete Tours. All reservations are made in your name and for Rediscover the World. Occasionally, some of the smaller hotels may have the reservation located under Complete Tours as they pay the invoices on our behalf. This also applies to car hire and excursions; transfers though do not require a voucher as these are stated on your itinerary and the various hotel vouchers. These vouchers are sent with your final paperwork.

Transfers

If we have arranged private transfers these will be operated by a trusted taxi driver or one of our agency drivers in an agency vehicle, e.g. minibus (depending on availability, terrain and number of people). Arrival transfer drivers/representatives will have one of our 'Rediscover the World' boards held up for your attention at ports and airports (sometimes they may have to locate themselves outside the arrivals area due to ongoing security arrangements). Times and further details for onward and departure transfers will be reconfirmed to you by our local representatives.

 

Car Hire

We have developed a good relationship with a local car supplier and you should always receive a well-maintained vehicle.

 

Self-Drive Itineraries

In addition to your printed itinerary we will also supply, where necessary, the contact details and directions, usually via Googlemaps,  for each hotel or excursion you have reserved to avoid unnecessary frustration trying to locate them, particularly at the end of a long day's drive. Please contact us if you feel extra information is required.

Drivers

Private English-Speaking Driver Service

If you would prefer not to drive or wish to enjoy the scenery as you pass through this fantastic country then we can offer you a private driver. The driver will be English-speaking and will be able to assist with any local sightseeing, e.g. arranging a local, official guide for historic monuments, etc. (entrance fees to National Monuments and local guide charges apply in some places).

You would need to bear in mind the size of your party (including luggage) plus the driver when choosing a suitable rental vehicle and, of course, you would be responsible for payment of fuel as usual.

Private Driver Service

If you require just a driver (or are fluent in Arabic) then we are able to provide a driver (non-English speaking) at a slightly cheaper rate.

 

Representatives

In Marrakech and Agadir we have a full representative service provided by our local agency; these 'reps' are a mixture of UK and Moroccan nationals and all are experienced in the travel industry. In other locations we will alert you to a local contact or they will visit or call you at your hotel to ensure that you have settled in. All our local representatives are able to provide recommendations, general advice and offer excursions - the full programme for Marrakech and Agadir is actually on our web site, linked from the relevant hotel section of each destination. NB: we also provide a 24 hour emergency telephone number for your convenience and assistance outside normal office hours. All contact details are contained on your vouchers and printed itineraries.

 

Dinner reservations and Golf

We are quite happy to make dinner reservations on your behalf, particularly for clients in Marrakech (e.g. Dar Yacout). We do not make a charge for this and our local representative will be happy to arrange taxi(s) for you. This is also applicable to golf tee-off times at all major courses; we will advise the approximate costs at the time of reservation but all fees must be settled directly at the club.

Naturally, this service is only available to those who have booked their holiday with Rediscover the World.

 

Guides

Buying from shops whilst you are with a guide is useful when you don't know the cost of things or wish to consult on quality and materials. To set the record straight, ALL guides will take a commission from your purchases from the shop but if you use him or her wisely and haggle hard then the guide's commission, paid by the shop, is not an issue. Remember tour guides in the UK take commissions from distilleries and woollen mills in Scotland as well as many shops and tea rooms on traditional tourist routes so the practice is 'normal' and not Moroccan 'corruption' that some people or guide books may lead you to believe.

 

Shopping

We are asked this all the time - "How do I haggle successfully?" - the truth is that there is no formula as such but you should have in your mind what something is worth to you, how much you are prepared to spend and what your bottom line is. Use techniques such as finding small faults with the item(s), suggesting you saw something cheaper or better quality elsewhere and walking away feigning indifference; as a general rule be tough and confident but polite rather than timid or rude.

Great reading on this and all matters relating to living in Marrakech can be found in, 'The Voices of Marrakech' by Elias Canetti.

 

Climate

Morocco has a very varied climate ranging as it does from the Mediterranean in the north to the Sahara in the south, however, the general 'holiday' seasons run as follows:

High Season - March, April, May, September & October - perfect warm temperatures (25 to 35 degrees Celsius) in the south, very little chance of rain and warm evenings.

Low Season (winter) - Mid November to Mid February - mostly warm (15 to 25 degrees Celcius), can be very chilly in evenings and it may rain but rarely for long periods.

Low Season (summer) - June, July and August - can be very hot in Marrakech and south (up to 45 degrees Celsius), more pleasant in mountains and on coast. We would suggest afternoons by pool or a siesta and make use of long days for sightseeing early and late and enjoy  long warm evenings.

More detailed objective and statistical information can be found on the BBC Weather pages at:   

 

 

Electricity

220 volts in most hotels, some older ones may still have 110 volts - best to check. Continental type adapters will be required for UK visitors.

 

Responsible Travelling

We believe in creating a real and valuable experience for our customers to enhance their holiday whilst providing benefit to the local community. 100% of our guides and drivers in Morocco are local people as are all our trekking and desert guides. Our Head Guide, Houceine, regularly reviews our small team of guides to test their local knowledge and guiding abilities. We believe that a local licensed guide offers more insight on the High Atlas region and Berber people as well as enhancing the local economy. This is preferable and safer, in our opinion, than sending a guide from outside the area, whether that is the UK or even elsewhere in Morocco.

 Most of the riads we use are locally owned or are partnerships with a European owner and a Moroccan National as are all of the hotels/riads in the mountains and south of Morocco. We prefer to recommend smaller, locally owned hotels and riads rather than large, impersonal hotel chains. Even those riads and small hotels we use which are owned by foreign individuals will employ local staff, buy all food and materials and services locally.

 Our two main desert suppliers are operated by local people. Employment, in both cases, is local and profits are ploughed back into the local community. This allows Lahcen from the Fibule du Draa to devote time and resources to his association which provides sports facilities for the youth of the region. On most of our desert trips we include a visit to the pottery co-operative at Tamegroute where customers can purchase souvenirs from pottery made on site in a very traditional manner.

 We support the work of SPANA, which supports a mule treatment centre in Imlil. Mules are an integral part of our trekking programme and provide a livelihood to local people. 

Public Holidays 2017

January 1st (New Year's Day)

January 11th (Manifesto of Independence)

May 1st (International Labour Day)

May 26th– June 25th Ramadan

June 26th Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)

July 30th (Coronation Day),

August 14th (Allegiance Day);

August 20th (Anniversary of the King & the People’s revolution)

August 21st (King Mohammed’s birthday)

September 2nd Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)

September 22nd Fatih Muharram (Islamic New Year)

November 6th Green March Day

November 18th Independence Day

 

 

 

Moroccan National Tourist Office

205 Regent Street, London - W1R 7DE

(0207) 437 0073

 

British Embassy in Morocco

B.P. 45, 17, Av. de la Tour Hassan, Rabat

Tel: 053 772 9696

 

 

Embassy of Morocco

49, Queen's Gate Gardens - SW7 5NE

(0207) 581 5001

Independent Holidays for all budgets since 1998