Generally speaking, sexual harassment is not the problem here that it is in other North African countries and is less of a problem than in southern Europe. Modest dress and respectful behaviour will usually protect you but there is no doubt that; in general, harassment of tourists is more persistent than it is in northern Europe.
Particularly in Marrakech, it can become quite tiresome and if you don’t feel comfortable, be polite but firm and try to avoid eye contact. Women might experience being “cat called” and if you feel uncomfortable with the level of attention and harassment we recommend avoiding it completely by asking us to allocate you a guide to accompany you.
Tourists might find themselves being generally harassed in Marrakech especially when trying to shop as it is almost impossible to just look without being approached by the shop-keeper however, this is not usually the case once outside of Marrakech.
In 2020 Ramadan runs from 23rd April to 23rd May 2020.
I often hear of tourists who wish to avoid Morocco during Ramadan as they are concerned that it will impact their ability to source alcohol or party late. I would suggest that they are coming to the wrong place for the wrong reasons. Clients are also concerned that everything will be shut, but this simply is not the case. Our tours run all year round including during the Ramadan month. There will an impact on your trip, albeit a limited one. During the day expect to see fewer tourists – not a bad thing! In fact, the evenings might be extra lively as Moroccans like to walk outside after breaking their fast each evening.
Shops will not be open for the same hours as usual, and in the heat of the afternoon, having had nothing to eat or drink all day you can expect locals to be a little more laid back as they conserve energy. Generally, on a So Morocco Tour, none of this will have a huge effect as the drivers will be aware of where to go to find places which are open and most cafe’s and restaurants will operate as usual.
When your driver takes you somewhere to eat or drink he will discreetly disappear and meet you back at the vehicle when you’re ready to continue the journey. We reduce the working hours for your driver himself in order to make sure that he has finished driving for the day at the time that he is able to break his fast.
Some of the activities we offer that require local guides may be impacted (cycling for example).
We ask only that you are respectful towards anyone fasting by not offering them food or smoking in front of them except in a designated restaurant area and you may need to be patient and understanding if service becomes sluggish towards the end of a very hot day. But other than this small sign of respect, it really is business as usual.
I believe that if you wish to visit an Islamic country as a tourist you have no reason to avoid it at the time of year when the religion makes itself most visible. Ramadan is an intrinsic part of Moroccan life and non-Muslims are privileged to be able to share this period in such a tolerant environment.
There are two Eid Holidays, Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha which is known as the big Eid and falls between the 30th July and 1st August 2020. During Eid some attractions, shops and restaurants will close and cities may be very quiet just as they would be here on Christmas Day.
Ensure your passport has blank visa pages. These will be stamped on arrival and departure from Morocco.
Ensure you have a return ticket.
Visa requirements are country dependent (please check this information with your embassy or by using www.visahq.co.uk) but, for EU subjects, you only need to complete the landing card to obtain a Tourist Visa which will entitle you to stay in Morocco for up to three months. Landing cards are no longer required.
Please ensure that your passport is not damaged in any way. We recently had a client who was refused entry to Morocco because his passport had two pages torn out.
Please discuss immunisation with your doctor in advance of your trip. However mandatory vaccines in Morocco are not required.
It is advised to ensure that your standard vaccines are up to date in particular for polio, typhoid and hepatitis A.
Your So Morocco driver will always be happy to take you to a pharmacy but we suggest carrying travel sickness and diarrhoea medication with you. Pharmacies supply common medication and toiletries (including some western brands). Moroccan pharmacists can also prescribe and immediately supply antibiotics. The tap water is safe but very different to the water you will be used to and again, to avoid stomach upsets, we strongly recommend that you do not drink it.
YES – it is a condition of your booking that you have adequate travel insurance. See our Terms & Conditions for further details.
Morocco operates on 220v 50Hz, the same as the rest of Europe, but different from North America. The sockets are usually the same as those in Europe but different from Britain or the US. So if you are coming from the UK or USA you will need a converter / adaptor. There are two different types of electrical sockets commonly found in Morocco. Older sockets are two pin, similar to, the CEE 7/16 europlug. The newer type will have a grounded version of the two-pin socket in which an earth pin sticks out from the socket, CEE 7/5. Unless your adapter has a hole to accept the earth pin you WILL NOT be able to physically insert the adapter into the socket.
There is very good network phone coverage in Morocco. Contact your phone company before-hand to ensure your phone is set up to use abroad and remember to turn off roaming or you risk paying a fortune in data charges.
There are internet cafes in most parts of Morocco and most cafes and hotels also have Wifi. Morocco has a 4G network supporting data roaming but it’s not the speed that you are used to and you may find that downloading images or streaming videos doesn’t work. In addition, don’t expect to be able to upload your camera photos while in Morocco.
We suggest that you buy a Moroccan SIM with a call and data allowance in order to avoid horrendous data roaming charges. These can be purchased at the airport but if you have any difficulties please just ask your driver to sort this out for you.
If you are using a Moroccan computer you will find that the keyboards are often set up in the French style which is not the QWERTY layout.
The climate in Morocco is varied and there is pleasant weather available somewhere throughout the year. The Atlantic coast has a year-round mid 20’s sunny climate and the mountains provide relief from the extreme heat in the summer months which you will find in the southern desert towns.
If you are doing one of our desert tours, the desert is probably best visited in spring and autumn but will still provide very pleasant sunshine in the middle of winter although it will get cold at night.
In July and August with plenty of water, air-conditioned cars and an afternoon snooze, the temperatures are usually manageable and the heat is usually dry with humidity only occurring in some coastal areas. However, we would not advise coming to the desert during July and August unless you are used to very high temperatures as 40+ is not unusual.
Read more about climate in Morocco on our About Morocco Page.
Out of respect, we suggest long shorts and t-shirts rather than short shorts and sleeveless tops (for both men and women) and wearing swimwear only at the beach or by your hotel swimming pool.
Women may like to carry a scarf with them to wrap around them in the more rural areas to avoid causing any offence, especially during Ramadan.
In the winter months, you will need some warm clothes for cooler nights especially in the mountains and desert where it can get very cold with sub zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.
Morocco has a tipping culture which can be uncomfortable for nationalities who are not used to this. We don’t believe you should ever be made to feel that you are obliged to tip but for good service, as a rule, we suggest that you tip as follows (in Dirhams);
Chamber Maid = 20 per day
Luggage Handler = 10 per big bag
Restaurants = 10% (3 dirhams for a coffee or quick drink)
Taxi = round up the bill
Medina luggage hand cart porter – 20 to 50 depending on the distance
City Guides – 50 to 100 for a half or full day
Your So Morocco Driver – If you are pleased with the service of your driver the suggested tip is approximately 10% of the total tour price, however, he will be more than happy with a tip of any size. The best way to handle this is to put it in an envelope and hand it to him as you say goodbye or inform him that you have left it on the seat of the car.
If tipping makes you uncomfortable try to understand that Morocco is a developing country with minimal state provision even for those in desperate need. Big families may be managing with one bread-winner working. There is a strong culture of sharing with others in the community, and you will see local people constantly giving coins to those less fortunate than themselves. In this context we feel very good about giving generous tips to working people who have provided a good service.
We suggest that you make sure you have some small change in local currency always available as giving foreign coins or small notes is not a good solution as the recipient will not be able to spend it or change it.
Marrakech medina is approximately 15 minutes drive from the airport. You need to be aware that the medina is pedestrianised and therefore the taxi cannot take you to the door of your riad. If they are a good driver they will know where your riad is and will take you as close as possible but even then you will be faced with the mayhem of Marrakech, all your luggage and no idea how to get to your riad.
Handheld sat navs can work well and there are luggage porters available but this can be a very stressful way to arrive and is the time that most tourist scams take place.
We strongly advise you to book your transfer through us or through the riad that you have booked direct. This way the riad and the driver will liaise and your luggage will be handled and you will be accompanied from door to door.
The city medinas do not have pubs or wine bars, however, there are plenty of hotels and restaurants with public bars. Alcohol is not available in the cafes around Jma el Fna in Marrakech. In the new town of Guilez there are several European style bars as well as a vibrant nightclub scene.
A number of the fashionable cafes here serve alcohol indoors. Local Café bars on the backstreets in Guiliz are basic and inexpensive but these are pretty much male only and are not recommended for female visitors.
Whilst on tour with us you will find that some of the hotels serve alcohol and some don’t and this can change for a variety of reasons. It is difficult and expensive for them to source it and the purchasing rules alter depending on how close they are to Ramadan and this means that the prices they pass on to you can also be very high.
Therefore, should you wish, alcohol can be purchased when you are on tour, in one of the city supermarkets and carried in your vehicle. Your driver will be more than happy to accommodate this and will take you to a supermarket if required and local Moroccan wine is very good. You are welcome to load alcohol (already purchased) onto your camel before trekking to your desert camp although the luxury camps we use usually sell it.
It is advisable to be sensitive about smoking in public particularly during the holy month of Ramadan when the locals do not smoke during daylight hours. Bars and restaurants generally have smoking and non smoking areas. In some riads smoking will be tolerated on the rooftops (please check).
There can be no smoking at any time in any of our vehicles.
We are so often asked about taxis in Morocco that we refer you to this blog post written by our friends at Marrakech Riads.
Please check our “About Morocco” page for more information on some subjects or just give us a call and we will be happy to advise. If we don’t already know, we will find out for you and add the information to our website for everyone’s benefit.