Morocco Facts and Travel tips
A valid passport is required to enter into Morocco. No visa is required for European tourists staying in the country for less than three months.
Comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended and should include full health cover and repatriation in case of serious medical emergency. Important: It is a legal requirement that you have the above cover in order to accompany Spanish Nature on tour.Currency
Currency in Morocco is the Dirham (DH), which is divided into 100 centimes. The exchange rate was 11.5 DH to the Euro, after bank commissions in April 2008. On previous trips, using cash points for obtaining local currency has normally been the most convenient. Using cash points normally has the additional benefit of providing better exchange rates. Banks are numerous in all main towns and even in the smaller ones. Credit cards generally are not normally taken as payment, this can catch many an unwary traveller by surprise. Where Credit Cards are taken, then Visa is normally the most acceptable.
Customs entry involves filling-in a form with information such as name, address, passport number and profession. The import and export of Moroccan currency is prohibited. However, any amount of foreign currency can be brought in. All general goods can be imported (including binoculars, telescope and camera), provided they conform to a regular tourist activity. In addition, each adult can import one bottle of spirits, one bottle of wine and 200 cigarettes. Customs officials may enter professional cameras, video recorders and other expensive electronic equipment on your passport and you will be charged 100% duty if you leave the country without them!
Morocco does not pose any particular risk of serious disease. However, and to ensure a pleasant holiday, we recommend all standard vaccinations are up to date. No specific inoculations are required, but it may be wise to ensure cholera, typhoid, polio and tetanus is covered.
The most common complaint that European visitors seem to suffer is gastro-enteritis. Normally this takes a mild form, but can nonetheless be a nuisance. It is normally brought about by a change in diet. We recommend you bring along with you some Imodium and Ercefuryl. If bitten by a dog, scorpion or snake, seek treatment by doctor as quickly as possible (all fortunately are very rare). Avoid walking barefoot in marshes and bathing in wadis, because of the risk of bilharziosis.
Every main town has good hospitals and clinics and there also numerous doctors and pharmacies. In villages and small towns, medical facilities are not as comprehensive and often only a dispensary exists. Be sure to check that your travel insurance covers medical costs, including repatriation in case of severe illness or accident.
Photography & Birdwatching
Tourists and birdwatchers are now well accepted throughout the country, but we do recommend not using cameras, binoculars and telescopes in ‘sensitive’ areas such as military zones. A must bring item is a special bag to contain/store your optical equipment. The bag should seal sufficiently to protect from dust and shelter from the sun.
Giving money or goods is a requirement of Islam and this is custom for Moroccans. Normally the giving of money or goods is for receiving service. The giving of money or items for nothing, especially to children is to be discouraged, as this only encourages begging! Tipping of waiters etc., normally involves one or two Dirhams. Please see below the tourist code.
As a guest, respect local traditions, protect local cultures, maintain local pride. When taking photographs, respect privacy, ask permission and use restraint. Respect religious and cultural places, preserve what you have come to see, never touch or remove religious objects. Giving to children encourages begging; a donation to a project, health centre, or school is a more constructive way to help. You will be accepted and welcomed if you follow local customs, use only your right hand for eating and greeting. It is polite to use both hands when giving and receiving gifts. Respect for local etiquette earns you respect, loose, lightweight clothes are preferable to revealing shorts, skimpy tops, tight fitting action wear. Holding hands or kissing in public are disliked by local people. Visitors who value local traditions encourage local pride and maintain local cultures, please help local people gain a realistic view of life in western countries. Be patient, friendly and sensitive. Remember you are a guest!
Moroccan Arabic is the official language. Knowledge of French can be useful. However, in the Atlas mountains and to the south, you will soon learn how the Berbers have a passing knowledge of Dutch, German and English! A few useful phrases are listed below and will no doubt cause laughter and appreciation: Eeyeh = yes. La = no. La bes = hello. Bslemah = goodbye. Shokran = thank you. Smeh lee = excuse me. Bsh hal = how much? Wakha = O.K.
Generally casual clothes and good shoes for walking will suffice. Don’t forget a hat, a swimsuit and sunglasses. Bring warm clothing for the evenings. An anorak for the mountains is recommended! Try only to bring clothing you will use. The tour involves many different overnight stays, so we recommend travelling as light as possible. Average daily temperatures south of the Atlas mountains are 25 degrees Celsius, with lows at night of 8+ degrees.
Maps & Books
One of the best maps for map-o-holics is certainly the Michelin No.959 scale 1:1,000,000. The Michelin series is updated every two years and we can thoroughly recommend it. Several field guides are available which cover Morocco.
In our experience we feel ‘Collins Bird Guide’ by Svenson, Mullarney, Zetterstom and Grant is probably the best in the field. Another, but more specialist book is ‘Birds of the Middle East and North Africa’ by Hollom, Porter, Christensen and Willis.
Terms & Conditions
Important – Please read the terms and conditions (available on our website). Your holiday with Spanish Nature is contracted and governed by these terms and conditions.
When arriving at Marrakech airport we will be waiting for you in the arrivals, we will be holding a board clearly marked ‘Spanish Nature’. We will remain in the arrivals until we find you, whatever delays there may be to your flight. So, in the event of any delays, please don’t panic!
Travelling together as friends