Getting ready for… MOROCCO

December 4, 2015

When you plan to go to Morocco you should consider local climate and cultural circumstances. Find here some hints and information on the typical preparation topics before planning a journey. E.g. flights, currency, accomodation and so on.

Preparation

Flights to Morocco departing from Vienna were actually quite expensive at 300 EUR per person (flying to Agadir and returning from Marrakesh). During the stay in Morocco the price turned out to be especially high indeed compared to e.g. Irish travelers who paid less than 80 EUR (worth mentioning: flying with Ryanair) or from Denmark for less than 200 EUR. So it could be worth spending even more time on flight selection or be flexible with regards to the departure airport.

Currency in Morocco is Dirham with an easy exchange rate of 10 Dirham for 1 EUR at the time when we were traveling. There is no need to change money in advance though as the airport offers dozen of cash machines and money change counters.

Transportation

From the Airport: We spent our first week in Morocco in a surf camp, which organized an airport pick-up and drop-off service. Otherwise there are several taxi drivers waiting in the arrival hall. It is advisable to check the appropriate fee before arrival. In Morocco there is always potential for bargaining and especially at the airport drivers will try to benefit of tourist’s lack of knowledge.

Within Morocco: Traveling from Agadir to Marrakesh is a 3 hours bus drive at a fair charge of 10 EUR per person. Buses are departing every 30 minutes, but if you have a preferred departure time make sure to get your bus tickets 3 – 4 days in advance in labeled ticket shops.

Within Marrakesh: The best way to move around in Marrakesh is either by walking or by taxi. When choosing the second option we made good experiences by fixing the price with the driver in advance and were mostly able to agree on 2 EUR (total, NOT per person) for any distance (except a 10 EUR drive to the airport). Alternatively you could insist on billing based on taximeter, which is rather recommended when traveling alone as taxi prices can depend on the number of passengers.

When you choose to simply walk around be aware that locals will, as soon as they realise you are a tourist, try to direct and walk you to either some sights or your hotel. Be careful: most of them ask or even persist on money for that “service”, worth 0.5 or 1 EUR max. Of course there are also some exceptional locals who do it for free out of courtesy but these are rare. Better watch out!

Culture

Muezzin prayers take place 5 times a day, with the earliest one between 5 – 6 am being the most irritating one. The muezzin can be pretty much heard at any place – even in the desert.

If you want to drink Alcohol in Morocco you should either bring some yourself or get one at the arrival airport (which is quite expensive). Alcohol in Moroccan supermarkets is rare and expensive as well and only in few bars or restaurants Alcohol is offered. In the case of Marrakesh you even need to explicitly go to “New Town”.

Make sure to always wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees due to respect for the local culture. Only at the beach you do not need to worry and can easily wear bikini and beach wear.

Climate

Marrocan climate in November is pretty much a mixture of all 4 seasons within a day, depending on where you are.

Atlantic coast: The weather at the Atlantic coast (e.g. in Agadir, Tamraght or Taghazout) is comparable to summer in Southern Europe. While the day at the beach can easily be spent in a bikini with almost 30°C (keep in mind to properly use sun blocker), need warmer clothing in the mornings and evenings with temperatures around 12°C. And bring a cardigan or cozy hoodie when watching the spectacular sunset at the beach.

Marrakesh: Temperatures remain rather chilly throughout the day. This is not too bad because on one hand you again need to wear long sleeved clothing anyways and on the other hand walking around and exploring the city warms you up as well. Wearing layers is probably the easiest way to be prepared for any time and temperature variations during the day and despite being laughed at packing winter clothing I did not regret bringing my woolen hat and gloves J

Accomodation

My special accommodation reco: Riad Tajpa Marrakesh: Fair price, more than friendly staff, and delicious breakfast and very clean and fancy rooms.

Typical accommodation are Riads, which used to be flats for wealthier families in Marrakesh in the past, providing privacy and protection from the weather with little windows and mud brick walls. You would not guess from the outside that these are tourist accommodations at all but as soon as you enter you will be welcomed by a beautiful interior garden, flowers and possibly a fancy fountain.


And why you should definitely put Morocco on your ToTravel list can be read here.

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