The official language is Classical Arabic but Morocco has a distinctive Arabic dialect called Derija that is widely spoken throughout the country, while most of the words find their root in Standard Arabic, some words are borrowed from Spanish, French and Berber.
French, Spanish and English are spoken in many cities and popular towns with tourists. You can usually find someone who understands enough of your own language to get the information you need. Moroccans are very friendly and hospitable, so try saying "salamu 'aleykum" (peace be upon you) and "insh'allah" (God willing).
In the cities of Marrakech, Fes, Agadir, Casablanca etc., Moroccan men and women often dress as they would on the streets of European countires.
We do not recommend that you drink tap water. Excellent bottled mineral water is available everywhere.
People and culture
Moroccans are known for their warmth, humour, openness and sociability. Your experience will be shaped by the great tradition of hospitality during your encounters with ordinary Moroccans, in cosmopolitan cities and remote villages alike.
If you are invited to eat with a family, you will typically sit on the floor and eat from a communal plate, placed in the middle of a small table. Eat with your right hand. Utensils are not used although, as a visitor, you are likely to be offered a fork or spoon. . If you are invited to a home you should try to take a small gift such as fruit, nuts or sweet pastries.
Although Morocco is considered more relaxed than many other Muslim countries, you still need to be respectful of the culture and traditions of the local people.
Moroccan cuisine is delicious and offers you traditional dishes such as harira (tasty and nourishing bean soup traditionally served for breakfast), tagine (succulent meat cooked with spices and vegetables in a conical shaped pot), meschui (whole roasted sheep/goat), tangia, a Marrakech specialty, couscous, fresh salads and fruits, hot steaming bread and other delicacies. Café au lait, or café "nousnous' with pastries is a popular pastime in the street side cafes and mint tea awaits you wherever you go.
Shopping in Morocco can be an challenge rather than a casual pass-time.
A visit to the souk (a market consisting of hundreds of tiny shops), will possibly involve sharing a glass of mint tea with the merchants while you examine variety and quality of the craftsmanship, and haggle for a bargain. All this takes time. Enjoy, it can be a lot of fun. Moroccans are very skilled salesman if you do not want to buy something from every shop that you enter you must learn to say no. If you do not want to buy anything and are approached by a salesman just smile and say “non merci” and walk on.
Guides & Drivers
Regulations govern guides, drivers and vehicles licensed to work with tourists in Morocco. Each driver and vehicle has to be registered and carry the associated permits.
Police checkpoints regularly stop and check for the correct paperwork. Guides are licensed according to district and activity: ie: mountain guides, Marrakech city guides, etc.
You will be approached by a selfproclaimed guides commonly known as ‘false guides. Most false guides are just trying to make a small tip and mean you no harm but they can be relentless and persistent in their offer to guide you. False guides are practiced and skilful and you will need to be firm in your insistence that you do not want a guide. If the harassment continues, do make an obvious attempt to seek out a policeman. You can ask at a nearby shop where you can find the police strict controls have been brought in where being hassled is illegal and the tourist police are constantly on patrol to ensure this is adhered to.
We do highly recommend that you consider hiring a licensed guide for tours in Fes and Marrakech. Not only will you not get continually lost, the authorised guides have considerable knowledge of the history and architecture and will ensure you get to experience the many different areas of the medina. The guide will get a commission on anything that you buy. You can make it clear to the guide at the start of the tour what, if any, shopping you are interested in.
Ramadan is the 9th and most important month in the Islamic Calendar. During this time Muslims abstain from eating, drinking or smoking until after sundown on each day. As a traveller, of course you don't need to follow the tradition, but some Muslims appreciate that you don't take meals or smoke in public places. Many restaurants and cafes won't open until after sundown and public transport may be less frequent, shops close earlier before sunset and the pace of life is generally slower.
Although we are talking about an Islamic country, alcohol is available but respect has to be shown by not overdoing it or making a big show. In the big cities, there are plenty of bars and all modern hotels sell alcohol. Outside of the cities, apart from tourist hotels, alcohol is almost impossible to locate so stock up at the office before you set off.
Drugs are totally ilegal in Morocco with prison sentences for many years.
Most services are performed with the aim of getting a few dirham, but aggressive hustling shouldn't be rewarded. Generally a tip of 10 to 20 dirham is suitable for porters, direction givers and photo posers. Restaurants, bars, clubs and coffee shop staff expect tips from tourists and Moroccans. Assuming satisfactory service, this is usually 25 Moroccan dirham for small checks, and around 10% for larger checks. Most hospitality staff rely heavily on tips for their income. A tip of 10 to 20% is usual practice for drivers and guides.
Moroccan Dirham (MAD o dh).
100 Dirhams are around 9.25 euros.
South of Morocco can hardly be paid by credit card. It is advisable to bring dirhams in cash. Euros can be exchanged for dirhams at banks or exchange sites and airports. They can also be easily withdrawn at ATMs. Many Moroccans accept euros but then the change is 10 dirhams 1 euro. Most people expect tips, it is advisable to carry small coins for these occasions.
We recommend buying a sim card of Orange is the only that has a bit of 3G singal in the desert.
You will see people begging on the streets and you should consider giving your loose change. Persistent begging is not encouraged, and once you have refused, if the requests continue, it is OK to ignore them and move on.
IMPORTANT TRAVELERS IN AIRPLANE: ALWAYS GO TO THE CHECK-IN DESK TO STAMP YOUR BOARDING PASS PRINTED AT HOME.
THE BOARDING PASS MUST BE STAMPED BY THE AIRLINE BEFORE GOING TO THE SAFETY CONTROL.
To avoid any problem when arriving in Morocco, check that your passport has an expiry date after the date of travel, at least 3 months. A paper must be filled at the entrance and exit of the Country. It is important that the PROFESSION box matches in the arrival and departure. No visa required to enter Morocco for Spanish citizens.
Electricity is like Spain, France or Italy.
220 v, sockets
Never drink non-bottled water, even for washing teeth.
Avoid ice, even if you tell it comes from filtered water.
Be very careful with the juices as they sometimes add water. Always ask if they have added water.
Always eat peeled fruit.
Do not eat lettuce or salad that you suspect may have been washed with running water.
Do not eat anything raw
Always carry a clinix, or a roll of toilet paper, so it can pass.
Wash your hands often and always before touching your mouth. For this you can use Hand Sanitizer Gel frequently.
Avoid big meals and raw meat, all well done.
Travelling to Morocco comes with a lot of pros and cons, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. Although Moroccan cuisine is one of the finest in the world – with popular dishes like tajine or couscous – this country also has some foods and drinks that one should, preferably, avoid.
-Cookies from carts
-Street food vendors
-Fruit and vegetables
The golden rule to prevent gastrointestinal infections is: Boil it, Cook it, Peel it, or Forget it! Even if you are very careful it’s not guaranteed to escape from diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and belly cramps, since is one of the most common health problems that you have to deal with on a vacation in Morocco.
“About 40% of all travelers are affected by the unpleasant disturbances of the digestive tract between the third and the ninth day of travel.” (Travel Guide Marrakech, 2019)
As it states, it’s basically impossible to identify exactly when and where you have got the infection since the consequences can appears from the third to the ninth day, and sometimes can appear once arrival at home.
As the Laboratoire de Microbiologie in France in their Review Staphylococcus aureus and food poisoning mentions: “The pathogenesis of bacteria causing food-borne poisoning depends on their capacity to produce toxins after ingestion” it’s almost impossible to isolate where the focus came from.
From Kam Kam Dunes we recommend to have a consistent hand hygiene with hand sanitizer routine since infections can spread easily through direct interpersonal contacts and people shake hands, exchange money etc... It can also come from a toothbrush -which has been in contact with tap water- and from drinking a bit of water while having a shower.
Kindly note that the traveler's intoxication is different from a restaurant food intoxication where all the clients get the gastrointestinal illness at the same time.
If you are feeling bad after 2-3 days we recommend to visit a doctor that usually will prescribe antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin or perform further analysis.