Perhaps slightly overwhelming at first, Morocco feels exotic, colourful and vibrant. From the noises of people haggling in the souks to the smell of spices and Moroccan cooking, Morocco is an assault on the senses. Personally I love the mint tea and the cuisine, particularly the tagines (a kind of stew cooked in a clay pot). The landscape is rather diverse; you can venture high into the Atlas Mountains, ride camels through the dunes of the desert or sunbathe on the beach; whichever takes your fancy. Surfers also flock to Morocco for its surf breaks and there are several surf camps along the coast. Whatever you do, don’t leave Morocco without visiting the chaotic Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakesh and haggling over some souvenirs in the souk.
Morocco Blog Posts
Currency– Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
Language– The official languages are Arabic and Berber, although the second language is French. English is spoken in tourist areas and amongst younger locals.
Beer– Casablanca, Stork, Speciale Flag
Morocco Travel Tips
In the Moroccan cities there are two kinds of taxis– grand taxis and petit taxis. The grand taxis- usually old Mercedes Sedans- are shared taxis and will cover long distances. My friends and I took a grand taxi from Marrakech into the Atlas Mountains. The small taxis are better for shorter trips around town.
There is an extensive bus network in Morocco and there are three major bus companies that operate between the towns and cities- these are Supratours, CTM and SATAS. The long-distance buses are comfortable and air-conditioned, and you can buy your tickets at the bus depot. Since the trains don’t go to places like Agadir and Essouira, you’ll probably end up taking a bus at some point.
Morocco has the best train network in Africa; they are cheap, comfortable and efficient. Trains operate between Tangier, Meknes, Fes, Ouida, Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech and you can see a schedule on the ONCF website.
In Morocco you have Riads– elegant, traditional guest houses with rooms built around a central courtyard. They are most often found inside the Medinas (Old Town) and provide a tranquil, private sanctuary away from the chaos. Definitely book to stay in a Riad if you want to experience authentic accommodation. In Marrakech I stayed in the Riad Sindibad, which has a jacuzzi on the rooftop and views over the city.
There are several hostels in Morocco, I would advise you to check out Hostelworld for a full list. The most popular are:
- Marrakech– Hostel Riad Marrakech Rouge, Equity Point Marrakech
- Essouira- Green Milk Hostel, Hostel Cloud Nine, Surf and Lounge Hostel
- Fez– Funky Fez
- Tangier- The Melting Pot Hostel
- Chefchouen– Aline Hostel
Since Morocco is a Muslim country, I covered up so as not to disrespect anyone. I packed a pair of leggings, a scarf, long-sleeved top, maxi dress and cardigan. If you’re a female travelling to Morocco, I advise you to do the same and cover up your arms and legs. It can be really hot in the summer months, so thin fabrics are best!
Things To Do
- Eat in the Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech– This iconic square in Marrakech is busy in the day and even busier by night. During the day the square is filled with water sellers, snake charmers and henna tattoo artists, but after sunset they make way for the food stalls, storytellers and musicians. It’s quite the performance and there’s nowhere quite like it. Quench your thirst with a fresh juice from the orange stands and have dinner at one of the food stalls.
- Hit the coast in Essaouira- The beach town of Essaouira might have been a great spot for beach bums if it wasn’t for all that wind. The blustery wind makes it difficult to sunbathe on the sand, but it does attract windsurfers and kite-surfers. Essaouira is a paradise for watersports, but if you’re looking to top up your tan, you might want to head to Agadir.
- Cool off in the Atlas Mountains- The Atlas Mountains are ideal for hiking, with most hikes starting in the town of Imlil. It’s possible to trek year round, although April-May offers the best weather conditions. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Kasbah du Toubkal; a hotel which is perched on the top of a hill. You can have a mule take you up there, or do the walk yourself. The panoramic views from the top are incredible, so take the time to catch your breath and enjoy a cup of mint tea on the terrace.
- Wander the blue streets of Chefchaouen- Situated in the Rif mountains, this relaxed village is unique because it’s all painted a lovely shade of sky blue! With the rugged mountains as a backdrop, Chefchaouen is incredibly photogenic.
- Visit the tanneries in Fez- At the tanneries you can see leather being turned into different colours, as long as you don’t mind the strong odour too much. Some shops will actually give you a mint bouquet to soften the odour when you enter. You can’t go in on your own, but you can pay a guide to take you around for a few Dirhams.
- Surfing in Taghazout- Taghazout is popular for surfing and the waves at their best and most consistent in the winter months. There are a few different surf shops and accommodations- check out Surf Berbere surf camp if you need somewhere to stay.
- Spend the night in the Sahara Desert- There’s nothing quite like gazing up at a starry sky in the middle of the desert. You can ride camels over the dunes or drive a 4×4 and sleep in Bedouin tents under the stars.
- Visit a traditional hammam- If you’ve never been to one before, it’s definitely worth visiting a hammam (a public steam bath) for a bathe and a scrub. There are luxury versions in hotels and upscale riads, but the best baths are the ones you find in the street. They can be difficult to find since the signs are in Arabic, but you can ask any local or the staff at your hotel.