Ultimate Morocco Guide: Discover the Culture of Africa

Travel with Smart Insiders to Morocco

Who’s ready to travel to Morocco? This amazing country has much to offer, including adventurous activities, amazing cuisine, and a ton of beautiful scenery. It’s a whole new world to explore and we want to share some advice before traveling to Africa with Smart Insiders’ Ultimate Morocco Guide

Smart Insiders knows how to have a blast in Morocco, and we would love for you to come with us on one of our future trips. If you want to learn more about traveling to Morocco with Smart Insiders, click on the options below! Hurry! These trips sell out fast.

Step 1: Begin your research

Whether you’re traveling to Morocco on a solo trip or with a group, it’s important to read our Ultimate Morocco Guide before departure to help you feel comfortable while visiting this country. Morocco is a different world from Spain, and there’s a lot to keep in mind, such as documentation, currency exchange, and respecting cultural differences. We’ve created this guide so you have all the most important information right here.

 

The Language

Modern Standard Arabic (Moroccan) is the official language of Morocco, with French being the second “unofficial” language. Both are spoken all over the country. Don’t speak either Arabic or French? No problem. Other languages are emerging in this country, especially in larger cities. If you are traveling to one of the more popular areas, you will most likely be able to find someone who can communicate with you in English. You also might hear plenty of English on the street as many merchants try to attract tourists’ attention by calling out in English. Spanish is also more common in the northern regions thanks to its proximity to Spain.

Important Arabic Sayings:

  • Salam Aleikum (salaam a eleikum):  Peace be with you / hello. 
  • Choukran (shokran): Thank you.
  • La Choukran (la shokran): No thank you.
The Religion
 

Morocco is an Muslim-majority country, which greatly affects the culture and daily life of the region. Practicing Muslims are expected to pray five times a day, starting at dawn. You’ll be able to hear the call to prayer (adhan) throughout the day from the speakers on the tower of the mosque. Friday is the holy day, so shops and markets will likely be closed around midday. The biggest rules Muslims follow are that they are expected not to expose their bodies, drink alcohol or eat pork (though these items may be available for tourists in some locations).

Step 2: What should I pack?

 

What documentation do I need?

Remember, you are going to another country on another continent, so DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSPORT. A copy of your passport or other forms of identification won’t be enough! Only your original, valid passport will grant you access to the shores of Morocco. Second, the Moroccan government requires people of certain nationalities to have a visa to enter Morocco. Click here to see if your home country is exempt from the visa requirement, or click here to learn more about the visa process.

What’s the dress code?

When preparing your suitcase, there are a few factors to consider, including your specific city destinations and the time of year. Cities in the mountains will typically be cooler than cities in the desert, though temperatures can drop overnight in both destinations. During the winter months, it’s especially important to pack layers because it can be chilly in the morning and evening, though temperatures are higher than Madrid during the day.

The most important element to take into account is the dress code for an Islamic country.

Dress Code for Women

As part of their religion and culture, Moroccan women tend to cover almost their entire bodies. Though this is not a strict requirement for tourists, it is still recommended that foreign women dress modestly, making sure to cover cleavage, shoulders, backside and upper thighs. Our recommendation is to wear long pants or skirts with modest short- or long-sleeved shirts. We don’t recommend tank tops. It’s not against the law to wear something other than these recommendations, but by dressing modestly you will avoid unwanted attention.

Dress Code for Men

Guys tend to have more liberty in clothing. Though Moroccan men don’t tend to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts, these are generally acceptable for tourists. Make sure to consider what time of the year you will be traveling to dress for your comfort.

 

Seasonal Recommendations

Warm Seasons:

  • Loose-fitting pants
  • Comfy, loose-fitting T-shirts
  • Sunglasses or a hat
  • Comfortable shoes or sandals
  • Rain jacket (if necessary)

Cool Seasons:

  • Jeans or warm pants
  • Scarves
  • Jacket
  • Light long-sleeve shirts
What about exchanging money?
The Moroccan currency is called the “dirham”. The dirham is divided into one hundred centimes (c). Centimes may also be referred to as francs or pesetas in different regions. Before traveling to Morocco, it is important to know how to exchange money and what your country’s currency is worth. If you arrive unprepared, it will be easy for merchants, taxi drivers, and others to take advantage and upcharge you. Although some restaurants or stores will accept euros, they may give you upcharge you if you pay with euros, so it’s better to exchange at least some currency. 
 
Pre-departure, you can check the exchange rate using this currency converter so that you know what to expect. Once you arrive, you can exchange money in airports, banks and exchange houses, which will be open from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm in all major cities. There are also ATMs available. 
 
If you’re traveling with Smart Insiders, we will account for time for exchanging money.

Step 3: What is the cuisine like?

 
Morocco has fantastic food options that are rich in flavor and spices. Before you go, we want to list some popular food items so you will recognize the menu better.
  1. Tagine is one of the most famous and most typical Moroccan dishes. “Tagine” refers to a round clay dish with a lid where the food is cooked and served, and this special cooking method gives the food a delicious, unique flavor. There are many types of tagine, including chicken, beef, fish or kefta (meatballs).
  2. Couscous is a small, round pasta. It’s usually served with vegetables, meat and sauce.
  3. Harira is a typical meal eaten during the holy month of Ramadan. This thick soup includes tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and lamb, and it can be eaten as an appetizer or main course.
  4. Fish chermoula is another typical dish. “Chermoula” refers to the spices and herbs that are used to marinade the fish, giving it a spicy kick!
  5. Mint tea is the best way to end a Moroccan meal. This tea is often served in fancy teapots and poured into small glasses. Be warned, this tea is much sweeter than the mint tea you might be expecting!
  
Is the water safe to drink?
Unfortunately, tap water is not safe for foreigners to drink. For that reason, we recommend buying bottled water to drink and brush your teeth with. (Make sure you stock up on bottled water so that you don’t get dehydrated in the heat!) Be careful about your food too: fresh fruits and vegetables are likely to be washed in tap water. For that reason, we would recommend skipping the salad on this trip!
 
Do you have dietary restrictions?
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, Moroccan restaurants will have plenty of alternatives or special dishes that you can enjoy. The same can be said for gluten or lactose intolerances – just make sure you communicate your needs to the waiter!
 
If you’re traveling with Smart Insiders, we will help you communicate your dietary restrictions at the restaurants where we share group meals.
Join us on a trip of a lifetime to discover the wonders of Morocco! Sign up for our awesome trips here.

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