First thoughts I had thinking about Morocco: camels, desert and some cool colorful tiles. I didn’t know anything about their language, transport system or climate (this is a problem I have more often while traveling: I like to keep things as a surprise to myself but often I find myself stuck in a country wishing I knew those things before). So here you will find some of those recommendations about Morocco I should have known before.
Moroccan people speak Arabic (did you know there are many different forms of this language? I didn’t). and French as second language. They do speak some Spanish -mostly in the north- and English in touristy areas. Salesmen speak every language, uuhm, at least the sentence ‘’hello there lady, how are doing, where you’re from?”.
2. Local transport
There are 2 reliable bus companies in Morocco which are Supratours and CTM. Mostly used by tourists. I tried the first and their service and comfort was good (I traveled the route: Marrakech – Taghazout).
Prices: around 100 dirham (= 10 euro) for 2,5 hours traveling.
Optional: pay 5 dirham (=0,50 euro cent) to store your oversized luggage.
Good to know: buy your ticket at the counter of the bus company you want to travel with. Often people outside of the office are trying to sell you a ticket of another bus company…
ONCF has the better intercity trains and ‘’ordinary’’ trains. The difference is the air conditioner and the level of luxury offered. The ordinary one is 0,30 cents cheaper.
Price: around 100 dirham (= 10 euro) for 3 hours
Optional: pay 5 dirham (= 0,50 euro cent) to store your oversized luggage.
Be aware: it might be a good idea to buy your bus- or train ticket one day in beforehand. Especially in high season.
CHEAP comparing with all the other options where I paid 150 dirham (= 15 euro) for a trip of 30 minutes I could go by bus for 10 dirham (= 1 euro – Agadir – Taghazout). Incredible. Only problem for me was my huge backpack, a tight travel schedule and not wanting to have to many local-guy-moroccan-people around when traveling solo.
You have them in each city: a parking place full with ‘’grande taxi’s’’. Cheaper than private taxi, also a bit less comfortable and slower. A great option if you are traveling on a budget and want to travel in between cities.
Good to know: you share a taxi with more people (or you ‘’buy’’ a free place) for this reason (collecting people till the taxi is full) the travel might takes you longer than going by bus, car or train.
Most expensive but still way cheaper than in Europe. You will pay around 20 dirham (=2 euro) for a drive from 10 minutes inside a city up to 150 dirham (= 15 euro) for a drive of 30 minutes from one to another city (or from city to airport). There is a difference in, mostly the colour of the taxi’s driving inside cities and taxis allowed to drive outside the city.
3. Rent a car(!)
Best way to check out this stunning country! Renting in beforehand is possible with Sunnycars or Cardelmar (I tried both) for 35,- up to 50,- euros a day, including all insurances. Renting local can be cheaper. Most roads are good. Dangerous are other cars overtaking other cars frontally in your way – and some donkeys or sheeps on the road…
Insite cities: 40 KM/H
Around cities: 60 KM/H
Main Roads/highways: 110 KM/H
Mostly and almost everywhere possible for a small fee (1 euro for 1 night is normal)
Don’t stop for people who are repairing their cars on the side of the road: I heard stories of people being robbed in this way. When you stop, they might steal stuff out of your trunk. Same with hitchhikers. I am so sorry to tell this! I would actually love to take people with me, don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you actually had a good experience doing this in Morocco.
4. Prices, money and haggling
Their currency is the ‘’Moroccan Dirham’’ when paying something in Morocco we found out we could haggle the price down till 1/3th of original price. Most salesman expect you to do so, or can even find it rude if you don’t.
Prices for a juice: 15/20 dirham.
Price for dinner around tanger: we found for 35, around Marrakech around 80 dirham.
Price for breakfast: 30 up to 50 dirham
Rental of a surfboard: 50 dirham for a day
One night in a hostel: 100- 150 dirham
Stay in a riad: 300-400 dirham for two person bedroom
Stay in 5 star hotels: starting from 1500 dirham
5. Best time to travel
High, hot season: June, July, August, September
Low but BEST season: March, April, May, Oktober, November
Fresh season (cold in mountains, maybe even snow) December, January, February
6. What to bring
This is really depending on your destination and travel time. Remind yourself that it can become really chilly in the mountains and dessert even during spring time, and really hot in summer! Also remember to respect their culture and bring something like a scarf to cover your arms and wear long- over knee pants. I would advice to bring some different layers of clothing for all of those cases.
People bringing you to the place you booked. Most of them tell you it’s act of kindness and in they end they will become very aggressive if you don’t pay them. Try to look confident and just walk in some direction. Best would be to ask a police if you are lost or make a appointment somewhere with the manager of your hotel to pick you up (especially in cities with a medina like Fez and Marrakech). Don’t believe people telling you the place you are staying at doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a trick and they use it a lot. Just walk in the way you think is right and don’t pay attention to them.
8. Where to stay
I stayed mostly Riad’s and those weren’t the most expensive ones, but I loved them. Specially in big cities like Fez en Marrakech this was for me a place to calm down and relax. Unbelievable it’s possible to make quiet and calm places like these in incredible crowded and chaotic cities!
9. Experience the culture by food and wandering around
For me the easiest way to experience a country is food! Try out the Tajines, drink some tea (super sweet → I never saw such a giant sugar cubes disappearing in a small tea cup!), taste their amazing (flat)bread, olives, fresh juices… I love the food! Uuh country! Besides the food just wander around and immerse yourself in all the colours, fragrances and beautiful architecture.
10. It’s a great country to quit drinking alcohol:
Jeap, really! it’s so hard to buy. It’s absolutely there (we found it) and people do drink and sell alcohol. But behind closed doors and under the counter in a shop instead of on the shelves. You will not see alcohol walking in a regular shop or going to a ordinary restaurant. By law it’s forbidden to drink or sell alcohol, also people seem to struggle with their religion: A ‘’good’’ muslim doesn’t drink (?). By rule selling alcohol works kind of the same like the dutch weed regulation: police prohibits it but allows…
11. Nice those 10 recommendations. But where do I need to go?
Read the blog ”Roadtripping in Marocco” and find it out!