Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. It is a country of many landscapes, as varied as the colors woven into each carpet. It has been overwhelming hapless travelers for centuries. It’s a country diverse with food, religion, language, and culture. Experience the energy of the imperial cities as you explore the winding streets of Morocco’s ancient medinas and souks, watch the sun rise above the highest sand dunes, ride camels into the Sahara Desert, explore Roman ruins and UNESCO World Heritage sites, journey through cedar forests, drive along the “Road of 1000 Kasbahs” to the Todra Valley, and soar over the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in a hot air balloon.
Morocco Travel Information
The best time to visit Morocco is in the Spring or Fall when the average temperature is around 70°F in Casablanca and Marrakesh. In the Sahara Desert, temperatures average around 80°F in the day me and in the 50’s/60’s at night. In the Atlas Mountains, temperatures can be much cooler and rainfall is unpredictable, so come prepared. Most Moroccan buildings are not equipped with heating, so without proper layers, you will be cold at night. Bedding is provided in the desert camp, but if you get cold easily, you may also wish to bring a lightweight sleeping bag.
Eating is a big part of traveling, so we choose to not include all meals as part of the trip price to give you a choice of eating options. This allows for maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each others company, of course there is no obligation to do this. Our guides will be able to suggest favorite restaurants. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any dietary restric ons orfood allergies.
Moroccan cuisine displays influences from Africa, Arabia, and the Mediterranean. It’s a reflection of the country’s colorful past, blended with the culinary traditions of both its Arab and Berber inhabitants. Moroccan cooking is strongly characterized by the subtle blending of spices, and Moroccans expertly use them to enhance, rather than mask, the flavor and fragrance of their dishes. Spices such as cayenne, saffron, chilies, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin, paprika, and black pepper are all commonplace. Fresh herbs are also present in Moroccan dishes, particularly garlic, coriander, parsley, and mint, as are fragrant additions such as rosewater, olives, and olive oil.
Morocco’s culinary delights begin in the morning. Even the most basic cafes will usually have an offering of fresh pastries or breads to accompany your coffee, tea, or a freshly squeezed orange juice. Snak restaurants can be found all over Morocco, ranging from hole-in-the-wall pavement specials to larger, sit-down establishments. Dishes on offer will range from sandwiches, pizza, and frites (french fries) to chawarma (roasted meatin pita bread) and more substantial dishes such as brochettes. The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout Morocco lends to a delicious variety of salads. Morocco’s Atlantic coastline is a much sought-after-fishing ground, and for good reason. The cold, nutrient-rich waters have always provided the country’s markets and restaurants with a wide range of fresh seafood year-round. Moroccan’s also love their meat and the concept of vegetarianism causes some looks of confusion among locals, who presume that seafood will still be eaten, hence a vegetarian salad usually comes with tuna, so be sure to specify when ordering. Lamb is favored and enjoyed with couscous, in tagines, skewered over charcoal, braised, boiled, or slow roasted, until delectably tender. Beef and chicken are also common.
A tagine is a casserole or stew traditionally cooked over a smoldering charcoal fire in a two-piece, cone shaped, earthenware vessel, which is also called a tagine and from where the dish gets its name. Tagines come in many delectable combinations such as beef with prunes, chicken with preserved lemon, and lamb with dates, butcan also consist of kefta a topped with egg, seafood, or purely vegetables.
Night and day, Moroccans are rehydrated by two popular drinks— freshly squeezed orange juice and mint tea, the national drink. Morocco is by no means a dry country, but drinking in public is still frowned upon and is extremely ignorant if practiced near a mosque. Besides a few select establishments— mainly in Marrakesh— Moroccan bars, called brasseries, are all-male, smoky drinking dens that are only for the desperately thirstyand are unwelcoming of females. Most upscale restaurants, however, should be able to o er beer, wine and spirits.
Morocco is located on the westernmost tip of north Africa, bordering Algeria to the east, Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara to the south, the Atlantic ocean to the west an the Mediterranean to the north. The Atlas mountains run through the middle of the country, while the Rif mountains run along the north coast. The Sahara bleeds into southern Morocco and is populated with traditional villages and cool oases.
Morocco’s climate is very diverse, meaning that it varies with the season and region. Generally, the country’s climate is tropical. The best time to visit Morocco is in the Spring or Fall when the average temperature is around 70°F in Casablanca and Marrakesh. In the Sahara Desert, temperatures average around 80°F in the day me and in the 50’s/60’s at night. In the Atlas Mountains, temperatures can be much cooler and rainfall is unpredictable, so come prepared.
Arabic is the official language of Morocco, spoken in the distinctive Moroccan dialect. Approximately 40% of the population (mainly in rural areas) speak Berber in one of its three different dialects (Tarafit, Tashelhiyt and Tamazight). French is Morocco’s unofficial second language and is taught universally, serving as the country’s primary language in economics and commerce, as well as being widely used in education and government. Many Moroccans in the north of the country speak Spanish and English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Islam is the official state religion with almost the entire popula on being Sunni Muslim. 1% are Christian and about 0.2% are Jewish.
1. Bay of Tangier
Tangier is a city located in the northern part of Morocco which faces the Mediterranean Sea. The blue skies during the day bring about the wonders of nature and the red skies during sunset are a confirmation of the innate beauty of Morocco.
2. Todra Gorge
Adventure seekers will appreciate traveling to the remote parts of eastern Morocco to get to the trench of gigantic rock walls that, change color and run through the High Atlas Mountains. The Gorge can be easily hiked by foot and has many places to stop for photographs along its well-maintained dirt road. Part of the spectacular scenery also includes seeing how the local Berbers live as nomads.
3. Friouato Caves
One of the most extensive cave systems in North Africa, the Friouato Caves reach a depth of over 270 meters. However, the caves’ true limits are still debated. Much mystery surrounds the exploratory history of the caves as well. It is unclear when the inhabitants of Taza first discovered the cave system.
4. Tide pools of Essaouira
Outside Essaouira’s old, fortified port lies the dark and rocky tide pools that frame the ancient walled city. While not brimming with sea-life, the pools are easily accessible and provide an impressive view of the old city’s medieval fortifications and of the Iles Purpuraires and Mogador Island, as well.
5. Erg Chebbi
One of only two ergs – a type large windy “sand sea” – in Morocco, the locals says the dune was created when a wealthy couple turned away a tired traveler and were thus punished by having thousands of tons of sand dropped over their house. Luckily, God made the right choice! The expanses of sand at Erg Chebbi shift daily in the wind to create spectacular dunes rising 150 meters in height over the rocky desert at their base.
Celebrating is an important aspect of Moroccan culture. Morocco is an exciting and entertaining country that lays claim to cultural, historical and religious holidays and festivals.
- Dakar Rally is the most famous International car race that crosses the Sahara Desert
- Rose festival includes Berber music, singing, dancing and the election of a Ms. Rose overtake this heavenly pink town.
- Fes festival is a 10-day sacred music festival celebrating spiritual traditions from around the world.
- Gnaoua music festival is a famous 4-day extravaganza featuring art exhibitions and Gnaoua style, world and jazz music.
- Ramadan is an ancient Islamic holiday whereby Muslims fast during daylight hours for thirty days.
- Timitar festival is the leading celebration of Amazigh culture and world music in the Souss Massa Drâa.
- Fantasia is an annual equestrian performance and celebration of traditional folklore in Meknes.
- Imilchil Marriage festival is a legendary festival that is an homage to love and celebration of Berber Tradition.
- Sufi Cultural festival is an 8-day celebration of Sufi spirituality, performance, poetry and workshops in Fes.
- International Film Festival in Marrakesh is the largest event devoted to film that attracts leading Hollywood film directors.
Ride a Camel in the Sahara Desert
Take a camel ride to a desert camp deep in the sand dunes for an experience that is sure to be one of your favorite memories from your trip to Morocco. Learn how to mount and dismount a camel how to tie your turban to keep the desert sun off your face and add a little flare to your photos. Not much can top watching the sunset and sunrise over the sand dunes.
Climb the Via Ferrata
A Via Ferrata, which is Italian for “iron path,” is a protected climbing route that exists in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. The High Atlas, North Africa’s greatest mountain range, contains some of the most intriguing and beautiful regions of Morocco. A historical and physical barrier between the northern plains and the pre-Sahara, its Berber-populated valleys feel – and indeed are – very remote from the country’s mainstream or urban life.
Hiking in the Rif Mountains
The Rif Mountains may not have the high peaks of the Toubkal region or the dramatic gorges of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, but Morocco’s northernmost mountain range offers some laid back trekking and views of the azure Mediterranean. The best time to visit the Rif is during the spring from late March through June. The summer months can get unpleasantly hot during the day if you plan on doing any hiking or trekking, and the winter months from November to March can be quite cold.
Explore Ancient Medinas
A medina is the old part of a town or city, found in many countries of North Africa. It is typically walled and contains narrow streets, fountains, palaces, and mosques. Many medinas are car-free as there is not enough space in the alleyways for cars to pass. The word “medina” means city or town in modern-day Arabic.
Some of the more notable Moroccan medinas include Marrakesh, Fez, Mekenes, Essaouria, Tétouan, Rabat, Casablanca, Chefchaouen, Tangier, Taza
Take a Cooking Class
If you love to cook, a cooking class in Ait Ben Haddou is highly recommended. Learn all about the quintessential Moroccan dish — tagine. Learn about the tagine itself (a clay pot) and different ingredients and spices. Enjoy the fruits of your labor for dinner.
Climb Mount Toubkal
At 4,167m, Mount Toubkal is the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains. It is a non-technical summit requiring only a reasonable degree of fitness and determination. Toubkal (often called Jbel Toubkal) is easily reached from Marrakech and lays at the heart of a network of trekking trails that offer striking high altitude mountain scenery, lush valleys and relatively untouched Berber communities. Toubkal is climbable year round, although crampons and ice axes are required during the winter.
Visit a Traditional Hammam
A hammam or bathhouse is where Moroccans go to take part in their traditional bathing and cleansing rituals. You will find public hammams in almost every town in Morocco, and in every neighborhood in the cities. Your hotel reception desk will know where to find a local hammam. Taxi drivers, waiters and people in the street will also be happy to give you directions. The larger hammams have separate bathing rooms (and entrances) for men and women, some exclusively serve either gender. A third category have days of the week for men, and other days for women, or certain hours for men and others for women. You will not find “mixed” public hammams anywhere in Morocco. Hammams usually sell travel-size bottles of shampoo and soap. When available, buy “sabon beldi,” a unique black olive oil soap. You will find this easily in the souks. Also ask if they sell “ghasoul” or “rhassoul“, a lava clay that is used to scrub the skin.
Practice Your Photography Skills in the Blue City of Chefchaouen
All the blue houses and narrow streets here may trick visitors into thinking they’ve arrived on a Greek island, when in fact, this is the idyllic setting of Chefchaouen, a town set on Rif Mountain in Northwest Morocco. The different shades of blue found all over the mountain settlement were painted in the 15th century, and it was believed that the color could ward off evil spirits. Enjoy the delicious aromas of fresh bread being baked in the streets of the medina here, a settlement which is home to the charming Uta el-Hammam square, the Great Mosque, and a small, charming waterfall where locals do their laundry, play games and chatter animatedly.
Visit the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca
This is the largest mosque in Morocco, the second largest in Africa and the 13th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 689 feet (60 stories high) and has a laser at the top that points towards Mecca. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside ground.
Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards the local people we encounter, their culture, local economies and the environment. It’s important to remember that what may be acceptable behavior, dress, and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while traveling.
Top Responsible Travel Tips
- Be considerate of the customs, traditions, religion, and culture.
- Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
- Learn some local language and don’t be afraid to use it – simple greetings will help break the ice.
- Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
- Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
- Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
- Refrain from touching or interfering with ancient monuments, relics or historic sites.
Morocco Travel FAQ's
All countries require a valid passport (valid for a minimum of 6 months after the date of departure), but few require a visa. Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements. It’s your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Please visit our travel resources page https://adventurepeople.net/travel-resources/ for links to helpful websites.
Please note inoculations may be required for Morocco. It is your responsibility to consult with your physician or a travel clinic for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure to find out what vaccinations might be required or recommended for Iceland.
We recommend that you carry a First-Aid kit and hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons, our guides are prohibited from administering any type of drug.
Please visit https://adventurepeople.net/travel-resources/ for links to helpful websites.
Media reporting and anecdotal observations indicate that the frequency and intensity of crime in Casablanca is similar to other large cities in North Africa, so we recommend that you check your government’s advice for the latest travel information before departure. You should also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you are kept up to date with important safety and security announcements.
Adventure activities and water-based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in activities when accompanied by guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any of our planned activities, and we take all prudent measures in relation to your safety, but please use your own good judgement. Participating in adventurous activities is always at your own risk. Please note that any optional activities you undertake that are not part of the itinerary, are at your own risk. We offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them.
Travel insurance is mandatory to participate on any of our trips. You will not be permitted to join a trip until evidence of travel insurance has been presented. The minimum requirement must provide coverage of $200,000USD for medical expenses including repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some credit card companies offer travel insurance, but proof of coverage will be required. Contact your provider for details.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a fee. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry, so we also suggest you bring a biodegradable laundry soap.
Morocco is Western European Time (GMT) and eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). When it’s 9am in Los Angeles, it’s 5pm in Morocco.
The country calling code is +212. To call Morocco from the US, dial 011 212 + area code and phone #. To dial the US from Morocco, dial 001 + area code and phone #.
In Morocco, the local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD), but the most commonly accepted is the Euro.You will be able to exchange Euros, as well as GBP and USD at money exchange offices in major cities. As currency exchange rates do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date dailyexchange rates, www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances.
Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATM’s are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Europe. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card, a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money, a combination of cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. We do not recommend bringing travelers cheques as they are very difficult to change in Europe. Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denomination on lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
Morocco uses type C and E outlets and the voltage is 220 volts/ 50Hz. In the US, we use types A and B, 120 volts/ 60Hz. For using your electronics in Morocco, you will need a voltage converter in addition to a plug adapter. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. Note: Many electronics already have a built-in voltage converter, so please check the manufacturer’s label for specifications. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. For more information, visit our blog post for Essential Travel Gear.
Our trips bring together people of all ages. It is important that you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake any of our trips. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. You must inform us at the time of booking if anyone in your party has a disability, medical or behavioral condition which could affect their participation in the trip or other people on the trip.
Travelers with pre-existing medical conditions are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen adventure. While your group leader and guides work hard to make sure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided.
Morocco has a strong tipping culture. It is customary and even expected to tip small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff , reception, cleaning personnell, bell boys, taxis and van drivers. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry.
Depending on your preference and/or that of the group, you may choose to tip individually, or, your trip leader will offer to collect the tip money and tip as a group with your participation as the tour progresses. A recommendation for tipping small service providers is about $3 USD per day, depending on the quality of the service.
Feel free to ask your guide or trip leader for the breakdown/distribution of the tips. Note that if you have been very disappointed by a particular service, please inform your guide or trip leader right away, and the tip will beadjusted accordingly.
Also, at the end of your trip if you felt your guide did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. The precise amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline the equivalent of $5-10 USD/day per person can be used.
Internet cafes are widely available around Morocco. Even in smaller towns, locals have realized the business potential of providing somewhere for people to communicate with the wider world for a reasonable fee. While many Moroccans own smartphones and other mobile devices, there is a significant number of people who rely on internet cafes to get online.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Morocco’s cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote or mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone while in Morocco. You may also want to invest in a Morocco SIM Card (OneSimCard), which is a low-cost cell phone service that allows you to pay for the calls, texts and data you use and keep the same international cell phone number no matter which country you are in.
Drinking water directly from a tap in Morocco isn’t a good idea. However, the Moroccan authorities are concerned about the pollution caused by plastic from bottled water, and many hotels have filtered water for guests which is considered safe to drink.