I travelled to Morocco with a friend from college, Rachel, for two weeks. We arranged it through a company and it was made up of around 14 people of all ages, from the UK and Australia. We had a fantastic local tour guide who made the experience what it was. On the whole we had some incredible times and got to see many places very much off the tourist track; mud brick villages, dramatic gauges, nomads and much more. We also spent time in Morocco’s ancient cities wandering around the streets filled with market stalls, snake charmers and food vendors. Finally we spent our last few days on the coastal resort of Essouria, a relaxed place with a more continental atmosphere.
It was big culture shock and it took a while to get used to the prayer calls that sound on speakers even at 4am!
A few tips for other visitors to Morocco that may prove helpful:
- Do not assume that locals (even in hotels and large cities) will speak English. Most do not. Carry an Arabic or French phrasebook.
- Always carry some small change on you as tipping is a way of life there. If you need to use a public toilet you will always need to give some coins.
- Carry toilet roll with you as most toilets do not provide any.
- Be prepared for a stomach bug. Most of our group got ill at some point and for some this illness lasted weeks.
- Taxis try to overcharge tourists. Ask them to put the meter on.
There is a lot of advice on the internet advising that female tourists may experience animosity from local men and should wear long sleeved clothing. We personally did not experience any problems of this sort and found people friendly and many female tourists wore T shirts and vest tops and shorts. However we were in a large group and the reactions of the locals may well have been different if we were walking about alone.
My friend Rachel was pregnant at the time we travelled. This proved difficult at times since in the more rural areas we were often hours away from a Doctor of any sort. Rachel suffered quite a bit with her stomach bug and we had to call a GP out. The GP was not helpful and prescribed things not appropriate to her condition. When we went to a private clinic in Marrakech the Drs here were helpful and highly qualified. The cost was also not much more than the GP. Pregnant women need to be very careful in Morocco.