Mistral Travel sarl
Information for Tourists Visiting Morocco
Morocco is a beautiful country with welcoming people. Arabic custom is to
treat the visitor as an honoured guest and children as a gift from God
(Allah). Morocco is a land of contrasts, from the Ancient Cities; Rabat,
Meknes, Fes, Marrakech a few of many to the incredible solitude of the
Sahara Desert and the spectacular Atlas and Rif Mountains. Morocco also
has thousands of kilometres of unspoilt coastline, from the Mediterranean
Sea in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. As a holiday
destination Morocco is almost unique in that the country is only a few
hours from mainland Europe yet thousands of years mainly unchanged.
The pace of life is different in Morocco from that in most Western countries.
It is much slower and less frenetic. The Arabs have an expression often
heard when arranging meetings or anticipating events –“Inshalla”-(God
Willing). If it happens, it happens, if not, well next time -“Inshalla”.
The following is some information for you to get the most out of your visit.
It is intended only as a guide.
Health and Safety :
Health : Important: You should ensure that you have comprehensive
Travel Insurance that covers you for any activity that you may engage in
whilst in Morocco. Morocco does not have reciprocal health arrangements
with the European Union and many other countries. All major towns and
cities have hospitals and medical staff on call. Merzouga and Zagora
(Sahara Desert) have Infirmaries with Doctor’s and Nurse’s also own
Water: The tour party should drink only bottled water and/or soft drinks
which are readily available and not tap water.
Groups: Groups should buy bottled water in bulk (it works out cheaper).
The Tour Manager can arrange this.
Immunisation: No immunisations are required by the Moroccan
Government for tourists visiting the country. It may however be a wise
precaution to consult a doctor before leaving your country of origin. for
Stomach ailments: As in most African countries stomach ailments can
cause problems for some people owing to the different kinds of food and
water encountered. Á propriety brand of medicine e.g. Imodium can
alleviate stomach upsets such as diarrhoea but should only be taken with
medical advice from your local chemist or doctor.
Dogs: It is important that no one should approach or touch the many
dogs that are loose here in Morocco. These animals are wild and Rabies is
endemic in Morocco.
Drugs, Banned Substances: It is a serious offence in Morocco punishable
by long prison sentences to use, carry or sell drugs such as Hashish and/or
Kif. These substances are readily available despite the penalties so
everyone should be warned that if offered these substances to decline
them and leave at once.
Sex: The age of consent in Morocco is sixteen for both sexes. Prostitution
is against the law as is Homosexuality.
Alcohol: Morocco is a Muslim country where the consumption of alcohol
is officially frowned upon. However, alcohol is freely available in
selected shops, in hotels and some restaurants and there is no restriction
on tourists who wish to buy or consume alcoholic drinks. You should
however not openly carry and/or consume alcohol in the streets or public
Tea: Tea is very common in Morocco and is consumed in large quantities.
The tea however is very different from English tea. It can be very sweet,
drunk without milk and brewed with mint leaves in the pot.
Bibles: There is no religious discrimination in Morocco however the
authorities take a dim view of Christian evangelical activity that actively
tries to convert Moroccan Moslems into Christians. The importation of
Bibles in Arabic is not allowed for this reason. You can of course bring
your own personal Bible if you so wish.
Food: The main dishes in Morocco are Tajine and Couscous. Tajine
refers to the earthenware pot with pointed lid and also the particular
choice of meal it contains e.g. Chicken Tajine or Meat Tagine and so on.
There are many variations of Tajine in Morocco. but what they all have in
common is that all the ingredients are cooked together in the pot (Tajine).
Many regions of Morocco have their own speciality food e.g. in the desert
region of Merzouga, Kalia (mixture of meats and herbs) and Mishwi
(oven or spit roasted lamb). “ Bstila” is a chicken and almond pie that is a
great favourite with Moroccans and tourists alike.
Couscous: Semolina based, this food is steamed and mixed with either
meats, fish or just vegetables. In the family it is presented on a large dish
or plate in the centre of the table for everyone to tuck into. The Moroccan
way to eat couscous is to use your hand to roll it into a ball (try it).
Note: You should avoid eating from roadside restaurants where uncooked
meat is un-refrigerated and health safety standards are poor. Also. In
Marrakech do not eat from the stalls in Djemaa el-Fna square for the same
Hotels/Riads/Auberge are inspected for fire safety by the local authority
and have to be approved and registered. Mistral Travel s.a.r.l. has
conducted a risk assessment of all the accommodation and is satisfied that
fire safety precautions are taken seriously by the management.
In most cases there is just one entrance to the accommodation with a
“Guardian” (night porter) on duty throughout the night.
You should satisfy yourself when arriving at your accommodation that
you are familiar with the exits and procedures in the unlikely event of
having to evacuate the building.
Normal safety precautions should be observed when walking about the
cities and towns.
Be extra careful when crossing the road/streets. Moroccans drive on the
right but can come from all directions, especially the small motor-bikes
Don’t go out alone. Sight-See in groups if at all possible.
In the Auberge and Bivouac a torch would be most useful to have.
When you go out tell someone when and where you are going and expect
to be back.
Take the telephone numbers given you and if lost telephone the Tour
Leader or Hotel. Do not ask a stranger to help you.
Under no circumstances go with people who ask you back to their home
or anywhere else. It is normal for Moroccans to ask foreigners to take tea
but politely decline.
Do not carry on general view expensive equipment such as camera’s etc.
or show large amounts of money when purchasing gifts etc.
Sahara Desert: Under no circumstances should you wander off on your
own when in the desert. Distances can be very misleading. What appears
to be just a short distance can in fact be a long way away. There are no
reference points to help you in the desert, one sand dune is very much
like all the rest so stay close to your companions and camp site and only
venture out with your guide. In southern Morocco the sun can be very
strong. Keep your head covered, stay in the shade and don’t forget to
drink plenty of water. In mid summer to consume 5 litres of water a day
is not uncommon.
Sahara Desert Bivouac: Things to bring:-
• Sleeping Bag (optional). Blankets are provided.
• Torch (spare batteries)
• Sun Glasses
• Anti-Bacterial Wet-Wipes (use after washing, hands/face etc.)
• Light day clothes (ladies, trousers)
• Soft Floppy Hat
• Warm Pullover (night time)
• Toilet Rolls
• Insect repellant
Mistral Travel s.a.r.l. operates only with modern vehicles. All our
vehicles are serviced every 5000 kms by the manufacturing agent. In
addition, they are inspected every six months for their roadworthiness by
Moroccan Ministry of Transport inspectors. The vehicles are equipped
with seat belts and with a First Aid Kit and Fire Extinguisher. Our drivers
are employed for their experience and skills in transporting tourists
around Morocco as well as their knowledge of Morocco, its customs and
heritage. Every year they have to undergo an eyesight test.
Do not take pictures of the Police, Gendarmerie and/or the Armed Forces.
Do not take pictures of people at prayer (you will often see Moroccans
praying in the street) this to include the inside of the Mosques e.g. from
Do not take pictures of ladies and/or girls without their permission.
Note: Be warned that some Moroccans will ask for money to be
Currently (June. 2010) the exchange rate for European Union Euros is:-
1euro =11.2 Dirhams
The Moroccan Dirham is divided into 100 centimes. Notes are
20,50,100,200. Dirham coins are in 1, 5, 10 and 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes.
You can use credit cards to withdraw money from cash dispensers in
most large towns. Only change money in banks or Bureau de Change
offices. Dirhams are only obtainable in Morocco.
Note: It is illegal to take Dirhams out of the country. Keep all evidence
of transactions to change back any dirhams you have left at the end of
Annual Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Casablanca: December 64º
Rabat: December 64º
Fez: December 61º
Marrakech: December 70º
Light casual clothes are suitable for most people visiting Morocco. In the
evening it gets chilly so a warm pullover is recommended. A waterproof
is also useful. Ladies should not wear provocative dress e.g. short skirts,
halter tops etc. in the streets as this may attract unwanted attention from
young men and censure from older people.
Friday Prayers and Opening Times:
Friday afternoons in Morocco are for attending the Mosque and prayers.
This means that all official offices e.g. the post office, banks etc. close
and most shops. The shops reopen late afternoon. The faithful are called
to prayer by loud speakers on the top of the Mosque Mineret. You will
hear this call to prayer being broadcast in the cities and towns during the
day and at about 04.30hrs in the morning.
In Morocco the day starts early, 06.00hrs until mid-day when there is a
siesta until around 16.00hrs when it is business as usual until late at
Ramadan Holy month is round about the second or third week of
September. During this period Moroccans are not permitted certain
things like, eating and drinking during the hours of daylight (children
are excused). The opening hours of shops, banks and post offices also
change. Visitors should be sensitive to the month of Ramadan in
Morocco and not openly eat or drink in the streets.
The first languages in Morocco are Arabic and Berber. The second
language is French. Most Moroccans speak French but very few speak
English. Morocco is a Muslim country with Islam as the official religion.
Access to Mosques and holy places is forbidden to non-Muslims,
although you can visit the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca; the
Mohammed V Mausoleum in Rabat; and the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum
in Meknes. When greeting Moroccans, for foreigners, it is enough just to
shake hands. You will often see Moroccan men kiss each other either
once or twice on each cheek when greeting each other. This is normal.
Also quite often you will see men and boys holding hands in the street.
In Morocco this is a sign of friendship.
Begging: Morocco is a poor country compared to the West. There is very
little social help for people who cannot support themselves, especially in
the countryside. You will often see people, old and young asking for
dirhams in the towns and cities. Many will appear to you to be desperate
but you should not give them money.
Shopping: (“caveat emptor”)
Moroccan shopkeepers are amongst the best sales people you will find.
Especially in the souks (markets) they will try many methods to get you
to buy their goods. The art of bargaining is tuned to a fine art in
Morocco. Some useful hints when shopping in the souks. If you are just
window shopping, keep moving and don’t show any interest in any
particular item. You can come back later.
Do not be tempted to go into a particular shop unless you are seriously
wanting to buy. Many shopkeepers will ask you to come inside “just to
look”. If you do decide to go into shops, don’t be afraid to leave without
buying however friendly the owner is, they are used to people not
Be sure of how much you are prepared to spend and do not be persuaded
to spend more.
Price: As an obvious tourist you will be charged more than if you are
Moroccan. Ask the price and insist on the shopkeeper telling you how
much. Do not say how much you are prepared to pay.
In the souks you can negotiate the price always.
Just buy the item you want and not be persuaded to buy anything you
did not originally want.
Try and give the exact money. Check your change.
Tour Manager :-
Mobile Number: (00 212) 0661397280 (Maroc)
Mistral Travel (Essaouira) :-
Office Number/Fax: (00 212) (0) 184.108.40.206
Mobile Number: (00 212) 0670414809
Police: Tel: 19
Ambulance/Fire Service: Tel: 15
Information: Tel: 16
British Embassy (Rabat): Tel: (00 212) (37)-63-33-33
The Embassy is open to the public from 0800 am to 1615 p.m., from Monday
to Thursday, and from 0800 am to 1300 p.m. on Friday. Visa enquiries are
dealt with from 0800 am to 1200.The Embassy operates on reduced hours
during Ramadan (Muslim fasting month): From 0800 am to 1400 p.m., from
Monday to Thursday, and from 0800 am to 1300 p.m. on Friday.
British Consulate (Marrakech): Tel :(00 212) 024-43-50-95
Updated: June 2010