Morocco is a land of contrasts and diversity. Lapped by the water of the Mediterranean to the north and by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean to the west, it is also crisscrossed by the Rif and the Atlas Mountains. It has towns filled with medieval warrens lanes and alleys, and bustling metropolis cities, deserts with nomadic tribes and luxury coastal resorts. Lying at the very north of the continent of Africa, its proximity to Europe, just a few miles over the Straits of Gibraltar to Spain, has left lasting marks on the country’s history. Discover ever-popular Marrakesh, and its famous market square and bazaars. Also explore historic Fes, the modern-day capital city of Rabat, as well as laid-back Meknes. These four Imperial Cities have all at one time been the capital city of Morocco and played a pivotal role in the country’s history.
Many of our Morocco tours also combine Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. Please ensure you also check the requirements for entry these countries, as they differ to those for Morocco.
Your passport should be valid for at least three months date of entry into Morocco, though the USA advises citizens to have 6 months validity remaining, as well as a blank page for entry stamps. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport
US, Canadian, Australian and most European citizens may enter Morocco for up to 90 days for tourist purposes without a visa. All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
• Consular Information
There are a number of major international embassies located in Rabat, including those for the US, Canada, Australia and UK. There’s also a number of consulates in Casablanca and Tangiers. However, embassies for other countries, including New Zealand are located in other Africana and European cities, offering coverage to Morocco. Please check with your relevant government for the relevant contact details.
N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions can vary on a regular basis. Please ensure you check in good time prior to travel the current requirements applicable to you.
HEALTH, INSURANCE AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
• Travel Insurance
It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance prior to travelling, to include but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. It is vital that ALL members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken in regard to the specific type of holiday you are taking.
The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Journey Company at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take these with you on tour.
• General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs.
Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour.
We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints.
If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort.
• Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
The Morocco Tour is an Activity Level 2 tour and will require moderate physical activity and include various forms of transport. Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable to you or contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour.
If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.
• Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us prior to travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you.
- Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
- Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.
There are currently no vaccination requirements for international travellers, but please consult your doctor before travelling for the latest immunisation information as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.
• Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or smaller cruise ships. Also,
- Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
- Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
- Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
- Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
- Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
• Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time prior to travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.
• What to Pack and Wear
We would recommend comfortable clothes and shoes for the tours to Morocco. Feel free to include a smart-casual outfit for dinner if you wish, however there is no pressure to follow a dress code. The weather should largely be warm and sunny throughout the journey, however it is always good to be prepared for every eventuality, so make sure you pack a light jacket in case of rain and the fact that it may be cooler in the evening. As Morocco is a Muslim country, travellers’ dress should be modest with upper arms and legs covered, especially if entering religious premises such as mosques. It is advisable for ladies to bring a shawl for use as a headscarf, and shoes that can be easily removed when entering religious buildings.
Insect repellent and sun cream are also essential items. Don't forget your camera, with charger/spare batteries and memory cards.
• Luggage Allowances
International airlines are often strict about the size and weight of checked in baggage and carry-on luggage. Prior to your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination.
Morocco Extension to Spanish Member Event Tour – This tour includes a flight from Spain to Morocco. Please check with The Big Journey Company regarding specific luggage allowances for this flight.
Luggage handling is not included in our Morocco tour. It may be available at the hotel for a local charge.
Laundry services are available in some hotels on the tour.
The main languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber, though French is spoken widely across the country. English is spoken in the hospitality industry, especially by younger generations.
The time zone in Morocco is GMT+1, 1 hour ahead of London GMT.
Though generally warm all year round, Morocco's climate is quite diverse, changing with the season and region. Most of the country has a Mediterranean climate, barring the arid desert in the centre. Winter, from November to January sees the coldest, wettest weather of the year. Summer lasts from June to August and is often very hot. Spring and autumn usually offer the best weather for travellers.
In Morocco, the standard voltage is 220V and the frequency is 50Hz. You will need a European plug adapter, and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you.
MOBILES & INTERNET COMMUNICATION
Morocco has a good communications infrastructure. A number of cellphone/mobile phone providers offer national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. In populated urban areas, there should be good mobile signal but as we head into rural areas, signal may fluctuate. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas and most hotels and restaurants provide free WIFI. Please check data roaming charges for Morocco with your service provider before leaving home as these can quickly become very expensive.
The currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). The dirham is a restricted currency, it is not available abroad and cannot be taken out of the country. You will need to exchange your money on arrival in Morocco.
Credit cards are widely accepted at establishments, especially in the cities, but it is advisable to carry money in cash with you as well. ATMs are widely available in cities, but not so in smaller villages. Most transactions in the souks are conducted in cash. Large dirham notes may be hard to break, so it is advisable to get smaller denominations where possible.
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards however many places do not accept cards such as Diners Club or American Express. If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst away, please make sure that you contact your bank before you leave to inform them that you will be travelling in order not to cause any problems using your cards or whilst on the trip. Travellers cheques are not common any longer and will prove difficult to exchange.
Morocco is relatively expensive in comparison to European countries and for most wester travellers. However, as always, prices can rise in tourist hotspots and with the haggling culture, you may be able to negotiate some prices.
• Bank Opening
Banks in Morocco are usually open 8.30am – 11.30am and then from 2.15 - 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, opening only in the morning on a Friday.
After feedback from previous guests, we offer a group tipping package for this tour. Look out for more information in your pre-tour emails.
Moroccan cuisine is a mix of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and African dishes. You will find lots of fresh fish at the coast. One of the favourite dishes are the lovely tagine stews, lamb or chicken cooked for hours with vegetables and spices in a special clay pot, served with the ever-present staple of couscous. Dishes often play on a mix of sweet and savoury, with dates and sultanas incorporated into meat dishes. And as with many Arab countries, you will find a raft of deserts made from pastry bathed in honey and pistachios.
Some meals are included as part of your tour – please check your individual departure for the relevant meal inclusions.
The tap water in the big Moroccan cities is ok to drink, though many choose to opt for bottled water. In remote areas, it is advisable to stick to bottled water. Bottled water can be bought at supermarkets, kiosks and many shops.
Morocco offers lots for visitors to buy. You will find lots of jewellery and trinkets in the bazaars and souks, where you can haggle with the locals on the pricing. You will find good carvings, leatherwork and handicrafts. Also of note are the colourful and fragrant spices and pigments, as well as the hand-worked pottery.
• Opening Hours
Although it is a Muslim country, Morocco tends to follow the Monday-Friday working week, but many shops take extended lunch breaks on Fridays and may not open Friday afternoons. In the cities and towns, most retail shops are open from 10am – 12.30pm and then after lunch from 3.30-9pm Monday–Thursday. On Fridays, shops tend to open just in the morning. Some shops in bigger cities may be open on Saturdays and Sundays. though may vary locally. Most shops are closed on Sundays, with the exception of certain grocery shops and souvenir shops.
• VAT/Tax Refund:
Numerous shops in Morocco offer a VAT refund when leaving the country. Please ask the salesperson whether tax-free shopping applies to the shop in question.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Crime levels in Morocco are generally low. However, there’s a risk of petty theft, particularly in the souks and markets, as well as in airports, in popular tourist attractions and on public transport. Please take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards. Haggling is part of the culture, but tourists can often end up paying over the odds at markets and in taxis – make sure you check on the going rates first.
Morocco has sadly been the target of a number of terrorist attacks in recent years. When in large crowds or major tourist destinations, you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.
Smoking is banned in most indoor public places, but there are usually designated outdoor areas where people can smoke.
Morocco is predominantly a Muslim country, the constitution granting the freedom to worship and congregation, while recognizing Islam as the state religion.
Morocco offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries and a spare memory card!
ARRIVAL IN MOROCCO
Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 3pm, so should you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.
TOUR HOTEL INFORMATION
Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.
OTHER COUNTRIES ON TOUR ITINERARY
For those continuing their stay in Portugal to Spain and Gibraltar (UK), please check the relevant Travel Tip pages for information on these countries.
FLYING & TRAVEL HINTS
• Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
• It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
• Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
• Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
• Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.
If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained in the website.
Updated December 2019