Q1: Is Morocco safe?
Morocco's economy is very dependent upon tourism and continues to be a favourite holiday destination for Europeans (3rd favourite for the French), and in Marrakech over 17,000 foreigners are registered (2007) homeowners. Reforms have been put in place to ensure visitors experience in Morocco is as carefree as possible. All guides must be registered and trained. Tourist Police work in every major city. Compared to Europe, crime is commonly petty thievery on trains and buses.
The political situation is stable and progress towards modernising democratic reforms has been a peaceful process. With strong diplomatic trade associations in Europe, especially France - and increasingly the USA and Japan, positive change and growth is in the future for Morocco. Extremist attacks are rare and severely punished. Moroccans practice a moderate and tolerant form of Islam and are sensitive to the plight of Palestine and Iraq. Fortunately Morocco has not experienced the political upheaval that others North African countries have had to endure in the quest for a stable democratic government.
The Ebola outbreak in sub Saharan Africa is a deep concern for the government of Morocco and they have taken extreme steps to stop the potential spread of the disease.
To view up to date health risks for Morocco please visit the IAMAT online guide to world travel.
Moroccans welcome visitors from all over the world with open arms with a culture that is known for it's hospitality. Hassling to buy tends to be a problem and Moroccans are experts in talking you out of your money using charm and perhaps a glass of mint tea. The best way to let them know you do not want anything is to avoid looking at the wares for sale and simply walk away even if the person is blocking your way. A bit of humour here can go a long way!
For more health and food related safety, please visit About Morocco.
From the city of Marrakech where anything goes, to the Sahara village where women dress in black with one eye showing from behind a veil, Morocco is a country of many contrasts. Foreign women travel quite safely but attract attention everywhere, most often to buy something or be offered a "service" (especially in the big cities, take that offer as you may!). As Muslims, men should not touch a woman he doesn't know. If a foreign women wants respect she should not tolerate his long handshake or his lingering hand on her arm or anywhere else. Dress as you do at home but conservatively to gain respect. Foreigners are treated with the duality of wonderful hospitality or as a chance for financial gain. The invitation to visit and have tea or dine with a family is a memorable experience. But measure invitations with obligation. Traditions are strong and old ways are practiced. A good attitude and a sense of sharing and humour go a long way to breaking down preconceptions of foreigners and is always appreciated by Moroccans. For more about cultural difference, read 12 Good Things about Morocco.
Travelling in a developing country such as Morocco can be a delightfully rewarding and challenging experience. African cultures have much to teach those of us who come from the modern world offering opportunities to combine enjoyment and understanding with learning new and ancient ways of living and survival.
Romantic meanderings aside, Moroccans work very hard to make visitors feel welcome and provide what you need but patience and understanding is needed as well. It is a developing country and modern amenities are still being built or are non existent in many places outside the city. Sometimes visitor's expectations are not understood by a culture that has little or no direct experience of them so instead, you might receive an interpretation of your request with interesting consequences. Life moves a lot slower than what Westerners are used to, and this must be taken into consideration when something is taking too much time. Life is slow by nature and things do get done eventually. It's best to approach Morocco with an appreciation of cultural differences, sounds, smells, language, expression, light, relaxing, enjoying and accepting. Remember laughter speaks the same language everywhere.
Browse sample tours. We have camel treks priced with 3, 4, and 5 days, and Marrakech day trips priced online. Private tours are priced individually depending upon how many people are travelling, for however many days. Reservations, cancellations, refund policies and more can be found on our Terms and Conditions.
Q5: How does a custom private tour work?
All our tours are private and can start any day of the year for any number of days. EMAIL what you would like to do in Morocco, how many days you want to tour, as well as how many explorers will be in your group. We'll send a sample tour with trip ideas that match your requests and when you have decided on a tour, we will confirm the price in Morocco dirhams (MAD) and convert to United States dollars. Read why prices are in dirhams and dollars.
Do you need a VISA to enter Morocco?
Besides the many informative TripAdvisor reviews we have, you're welcome to read earlier testimonials. All of them are genuine and can be verified.
Read more at Who Is MOROCCO EXPLORED?
Prices vary from tour to tour since all are custom made. Our prices might be a bit higher than some other companies who offer similar tours because we respect our staff by training, paying them well and providing retirement pensions. On cheaper tours you might find your driver sleeping in his vehicle to save money. Our drivers are provided with a hotel and shower and meals every day while on tour with you. We also pay all our bills and taxes on time, and consequently you'll be treated with respect and have great service from our associate providers and their employees as well!
Our tours are priced in Morocco dirhams because all our tour expenses are paid in Morocco dirhams. The central Morocco Bank Al Maghrib "Buy" rate is used to convert Morocco Dirhams (MAD) to dollars. When you agree to pay for your tour the price is "fixed" at the conversion rate on that day.
Morocco Dirhams are a closed currency which means it isn't bought or sold internationally, therefore not used for international banking. All payments are converted to dollars from Morocco dirhams (MAD) so we can accept payments from any country in the world.
We require a deposit to start the reservation process. If you need to pay by credit card click on the Pay Now links throughout this website but please confirm your itinerary with us first. Morocco Explored online payment portal only accepts US dollar payments. We can also accept E-transfer payments in Canadian dollars. Your credit card will automatically convert dollars to your currency.
You can buy dirhams in some foreign exchanges outside Morocco but you should sell your dirhams back to the bank before you leave Morocco, (will be a lower rate than you bought them) because you cannot sell dirhams outside Morocco. There is no black money market in Morocco.
Morocco is still very much a cash based economy. Euros and (US and CAD - not Australian) dollars are always accepted in Morocco and you will save time bringing cash, doing away with long slow bank lineups or non-active cash machines to acquire dirhams. You can also use your debit card at bank machines. There will be a charge for overseas transactions from your bank and we advise travelers to take out large sums at a time. But first PLEASE CHECK that your bank doesn't charge huge transaction fees for overseas withdrawals; if not, bring your bank debit card to acquire cash just about anywhere. Also you must have only a 4 digit PIN #.
American Express and Thomas Cook travelers cheques are welcome in Morocco. Cash in Euros, US and Canadian dollars, and GBP Sterling are accepted at every money exchange. Change tellers are also located in some hotels. Australian $ are not accepted at this time.
Visa is usually accepted in the bigger shops and restaurants, but double check that the total on your bill is in the proper currency! Other credit cards are often not accepted.
You can relax and wear whatever is familiar and comfortable on the street at home. Morocco is very tolerant and welcoming to visitors, you're not expected to act or look like a Moroccan. Longer shorts and shirts are fine for men. For women it's a good idea to bring a scarf to cover bare shoulders and arms in rural villages. Shorts are not acceptable for women unless below knee length.
Rural people will be visibly embarrassed if you choose to dress with skin showing, and react with a muffled laugh or cover their eyes. In their view, you're walking around in your underwear. City dwellers often dress as we do.
We normally use 3 or 4 star level medina riads, auberge (small country inns), and old kasbahs.
Hotel stays include breakfast and many include dinner. You will stay in traditional mud kasbahs, many with wood burning fireplaces, air conditioning, salons, swimming pools, and roof terraces for meals and relaxing. They are charming and comfortable but tend to be cold in the winter in the higher elevations mountain locations or desert. In Marrakech, Essaouira and Fes we use smaller hotels renovated from beautiful old Merchant houses - riads in the old medina. In Casablanca we use a modern hotel downtown.
We use 4x4 vehicles like Toyota Land Cruisers, Mitsubishi, Nissan or similar for our private tours. Our 4x4's have lots of room and they seat 4 and 5 average sized people quite comfortably. All are within 5 years old and are routinely required to licensing and service checks through the Transport Touristic authority in Morocco.
We use Renault or Mercedes minibuses seating 14 or 17 passengers for group tours.
Vehicles and drivers are assigned to tours on the basis of who is available when and where.
We can arrange for private transport to any location in Morocco. Our cars and drivers originate from Marrakech and if you're staying in any location for an overnight, the car and driver must also stay as well. It will take one whole day for the car and driver to reach places like Tangier or Fes or Casablanca, so this cost must be included in a tour starting or finishing in locations outside of Marrakech.
One of Morocco Explored Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles.
Click the link Food on our webpage About Morocco.
Yes! All our employees are Moroccan – muleteers, camel handlers, drivers, guides, hoteliers, and we have forged multiple relationships that translate into employment for many families. Many riads in Marrakech are run by Europeans - we prefer to use Moroccan owned.
We recommend a human guide for a few hours to allow yourself to become comfortable with the culture and get to know a real Moroccan. After a day or so you'll be an old hand at getting around. Read about tipping below.
Otherwise many people love to find their own way since Morocco is fun to explore, and Morocco Explored encourages this. We recommend bringing a good guide book like Rough Guide, National Geographic, Cadogan, or Time Out for accuracy, good advice, great maps and cultural details. Lonely Planet is ever popular but reports from our clients unfortunately claim it tends to be misleading.
TOp 10 to DO LISt for Marrakech
An electic list!
When you book a tour with Morocco Explored your driver will act as your guide when you are on tour, and he will help you hire an English speaking site guide when and where you wish on tour. Drivers are not allowed to act as an official guide unless licensed to do so. Drivers will help and inform on your journey but often cannot engage your services outside the car at certain destinations. However he can help you find and hire a local informed guide if needed. City guides for Marrakech and Fes, and some other locations are listed as included on your custom tour outline.
All certified guides must complete a two year Government training course and carry a badge that qualifies them as a professional guide. In some locations only local guides are allowed to work.
If you really enjoy your drivers and guides think about how much they might deserve in your own country. Please tip when deserved!
Guides know many languages as well as Berber and Arabic, including French, Spanish, and English and often some German, Japanese, Italian and Dutch as well. Our drivers know English, Spanish and French.
Local people are sometimes badly paid. For example a porter or a muleteer with a mule receives the Morocco Tourism Ministry recommended minimum. We strive to pay higher than this and we also provide a pension for our full time employees. Your tip is important to support their livelyhood. Please tip when deserved!
Tipping is customary in Morocco - even Moroccans are expected to do it... but it's also up to you… about 100 dirhams or more for a professional guide per each hour they work with your group of 4 or less. If you are a bigger group think about adding 50 dirhams each hour for each additional person to this amount.
If someone shows you back to your hotel they'll probably expect a tip and you can offer them 10-20 dirhams. Keeping spare coins in your pocket is a good idea to avoid digging through your wallet or purse.
Its never a good idea to tip children for anything for any reason. Pedophilia is on the rise in Morocco. Foreigners with good intentions have encouraged them to freely approach strangers. Please never give children anything even candies (bon bons) or pens (stilos) etc, no matter how needy they appear.
Tipping 10-15% otherwise is the standard but as always it is up to you. Tipping structures are very complicated, and with each confirmed booking we'll send an Information Guide that outlines tipping etiquette in more detail.
The social support system of Morocco is to give alms to the poor, especially during Ramadan. That said, you may want to assess how needy someone really is before giving a few dirhams to anyone begging on the street. There are a number of scams based upon organised begging. Please, never give anything to children, no matter how needy they may appear to be. Pedophilia is on the rise in Morocco, especially in Marrakech and giving encourages children to freely approach foreigners. We particularly recommend clients consider giving a more helpful gift to important development projects such as Education for All Morocco.
We suggest organising your holiday dates outside of Ramadan. Many businesses, museums, and markets are closed and the amazing energy and colour that normally pervades Morocco is subdued. However our tours are still available.
During daylight hours in the month of Ramadan, drivers and guides cannot eat or drink anything. However with the exception of walking treks, our guides and drivers work as usual and are glad to do so. You will be served meals as usual and the main things carry on as they always do for visitors.
Two very important times to take note of are breakfast before sunrise and just after sunset when the fast is broken. Please respect these times of day before asking your driver or guide for anything.
People are happy to have visitors because tourism helps support the local economy with cash, spreading wealth from local artisans (often women), shopkeepers, cafes, guides (often young men supporting their family) and beyond. Many rural economies are still based on the barter and cash only system.
We inform our guides to avoid any illegal occurrences as outlined in the Geneva Convention for acquiring cultural property or endangered species. As well we strongly discourage anyone from purchasing anything that compromises the wild population of plants or animals in Morocco.
Click on About Morocco link for Environment.
"Get Dirty with Me" is a call for action to clean plastic garbage from Morocco's deserts and rivers.
Is it Safe in the Sahara Desert?
What about scorpions and snakes?
Who can ride a Camel?
Where is Morocco Explored Desert Camel Trek Camp?
Why Erg Chebbi and not Erg Chigaga?
Will it be Hot?
What to Wear on Camel Trek?
Can I drive into the desert camp or stay in a hotel?
What kind of 4x4 Vehicles does Morocco Explored Use? How Does it Work?
What will I do on a Desert Tour?
In Morocco you will see kasbahs and ksours throughout the Atlas mountains and the desert. A kasbah is a mud and straw fortified structure that would have been typically inhabited by a wealthy extended family; ksours (also called kasbah's) are large fortified dwellings that sometimes house 100's of families, and their livestock.
The city is called Fes, the hat is a fez.
When you visit Ait Benhaddou where the top photo was taken, perhaps you can let us know.
For more information click on the menu across the top of this page.
Telephone to Marrakech Morocco:
GSM: +212 667 705 212 / 661 498 177
Telephone from inside Marrakech Morocco:
GSM: 0 667 705 212 / 0 661 498 177
Telephone British Columbia Canada voice mail:
+1 604 393 3715
©2003 - 2017 MOROCCO EXPLORED | www.moroccoexplored.com
Marrakech Morocco • British Columbia Canada
In 2008 Morocco welcomed 2.5 million tourists between January and May, up 11% over 2007. French tourists topped the list with 927,000, followed by
According to official figures, a total of 7.4 million tourists visited the country in 2007, with overnight stays exceeding 17 million.
Our Explorers have come from:
Sao Tome Principe,
US Virgin Islands,