When will you get tired of Morocco?
That is the question I get from friends and family each time I tell them I’m heading there.
To be honest I have no answer to that question.
Six visits, (8 cities, 2 deserts, and 2 waterfalls) later and I’m still not convinced I’ve had enough.
There is still so much for me to see and do in a country that looks like a tiny dot on the map of Africa.
Visiting Morocco without knowing what to expect other than the Instagram pictures you have saved on your phones could leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Morocco is a traveller’s haven because there is so much to see and do for those willing to put in the time and sacrifice; this includes being on the road for long hours unless you can afford to move around by private jet.
This guide is based on my experiences during my six trips to Morocco, (in no particular order) . This could help you plan your next trip, save you from disappointments and help you maximize your stay.
As an African, visiting a fellow African country, you would expect to meet your chocolate brother and sisters but no o! in Morocco they are vanilla Africans (interesting ey).
I like to call Morocco the Europe of Africa, clearly because it was colonised by French and Spanish people (yes they splitted the country into two). It’s a very diverse country with its original inhabitants, the Berber people, the Arab people and other SubArab African countries.
For this reason you would see different colours of people and hear different languages. The official language is Arabic,Berber and their lingua Franca is French or Spanish (dependent on the area you’re visiting).
Marrakesh isn’t Morocco…it is in Morocco along side other cities which gives Morocco its slogan ‘Morocco is Mor’. Marrakesh sits in the middle of Morocco and it is the most accessible city by air, road, and rail to other cities, Atlas mountain, major waterfalls and the Sahara desert. This is why you’re likely to call it Morocco or mistake your Marrakesh experience for Morocco as a country.
Is Morocco really unsafe ? Myth or Truth.
In my opinion, Morocco is as unsafe as the world. I have never been attacked, racially abused or felt threatened during all my visits (solo, family, and group). I have rather found them very hospitable and they would go out of their way to help.
To say I haven’t had a bad experience would be me lying. My experience however can’t be generalised as Morocco being unsafe the same way we all shouldn’t.
Morocco is a muslim country where most of their women are all covered up. It would be recommended to dress modestly to public places as an act of respect. It would also save you the side talks or stares which could make you uncomfortable.
Moving around in Morocco as a tourist is best done by hiring your own private driver (which is affordable too).
If you however wish to live like a local, there are buses and trains connecting the whole of Morocco. I have personally taken a Supratour bus from Marrakesh to Agadir (3hours) and its super cheap too.
To however move around within the city, your best options would be a taxi or you can hire your driver for the day. The taxis are frequent and there are either petit (3px) or grand (4px and over) so don’t be surprised when a taxi tells you they are not allowed to carry beyond 3 px and you can see there is adequate sit for a 3rd person.
Check with your hotel, for the cost of a regular taxi from the hotel to where you are visiting so you could compare prices so you don’t get cheated.
Sightseeing and Shopping
Most hotels would recomend tour guides for guests. I’ll advice you to hand your itinerary to them than rather than let them decide for you. Reason being you’ll end up being their meal ticket by the time they finish taking you to expensive shops as supposed to the cheap stalls in the market.
Haggling isn’t news in Morocco,
they love it just as Balogun market owners love us😂. As the rule goes start your negotiation from the lowest possible to give room for win.
Morocco is the only producer of Aragn oil in the world. The cities with the best Argan oil is in the South (Essaouira and Agadir). A 250ml bottle averages at 350MAD ($35). If you get a proposal for less for the same mls then don’t get excited.
Original Argan oil, doesn’t stay on your skin but rather gets absorbed by your skin (this is your litmus test).
Hotels vs Riads
You’ll come across Riads during your accommodation search in Morocco. They are traditional houses or palace with interior garden or courtyard. They are equivalent of your air b n b or bed and breakfasts. The well maintained ones are usually beautifully decorated to Moroccan taste, and Zellije art on the walls and floors.
- Your first shock as Nigerian would be the location of these Riads. Majority of them are in the medina (the heart city) which would require transferring your luggage by foot through the souks to your Riad. They usually come small too and cosy which is nice for an intimate group
but as we know we do things big in Nigeria.
- The advantages of Riads is proximity to the centre of the city , it’s also a rip off version of Bali butler services where you should ideally dine like a royalty.
- Riads are usually quite expensive as its in the heart of the old city. It’s also very hard to differentiate the good one and the bad ones. One can’t even trust reviews these days. During our Oct tour to Morocco, we checked into a Riad in Marrakesh and we checked out right after check in. They clearly invested more in their PR than they did in their Riad.
Food is very cheap in Morocco (every city varies). The cheapest restaurant meal I’ve had across all cities I’ve visited was 50MAD/ $5.
Street food is usually cheaper. My cheapest street food was in Rabat for 25MAD/ $2.5 ( freshly squeezed juice, panini and chips).
McDonald’s meal is quite cheap too, 35MAD /$3.5 would get you a Mc Arabia chicken meal.
Morocco is a major fruit producing country hence big on freshly squeezed fruit juices, so don’t leave without trying one, all time favourite is orange juice mix with Pomegranate.
An usual fruit you try is Cactus fruit (yea Catus has a fruit).
Their traditional food is Tagine which is named after the earthenware pot which it is cooked. It is a sauce made of either fish, chicken or goat meat best served with pasta, rice, chips, cous cous or Potates. It’s 0 on spice level for an average Nigeria (so take your bottled pepper with you).
Don’t leave Morocco without drinking their hospitality tea, mint tea. The sugar in Morocco is sweeter than normal so be careful when adding your sugar.
You could either experience the traditional night life or the city night life of the Morocco.
Traditional night life would involve visiting the squares or medinas of the city you’re visiting. For example this would be Jema el Fna is Marrakesh with snake charmers, performers, and acoustic music . The majority of the crowd usually present are the locals in need of some entertainment. Unless you speak Arabic or Berber, you wont understand their stories so I won’t get my hopes high for places like that, it’s just amusing seeing so much people come out to play at night.
The modern area of most cities have great club entertainment. My all time favourite city for clubbing is Marrakesh. It’s got a lot of clubs and there is a great mix of crowd (a tourist city it is). Techno music , R n B, Hip Hop and occasional Afrobeats (especially if you demand, our group took over the club in Agadir when the DJ didn’t stop playing Afrobeats when he realised we were Nigerians).
Roaming charges are ridiculously expensive. Your cheapest option is to get a local sim (which is given for free at the airport) to stay connected.
3 things you must experience in Morocco
A city or more, a desert and a waterfall or more😁.
- Frequently used words
The safest and most popular way of greeting people in Arabic is
As-salāmu ʿalaykum/ Peace be unto you
Wa-Alaikum-Salaam/ And unto you too
English / Arabic/ French
Lets get going /Yalla/allons-y
Thank you/ Shukran/Merci
Good bye/ bessalama / Aurevior
How much is this/es chehal hada/Combien?
How are you / Kaifa haloka/Comment ca va?
I am fine/ Ana bikhair/ cava bien.
Morocco is truly Mor, but this can only be felt if you give the country adequate time to explore it . Explore with an open mind, endure the long drive across the cities and feel rewarded by the panoramic views and clear blue skies.
Has this story changed your mind about Morocco? You can make your bucket list dreams come true by joining our next group trip March 21st- 28th 2018 (Fez, Chefchaouen(blue city), Marrakesh and Zagora desert).
If this isn’t for you then contact us for your customised package.
For travel companies in need of a trusted planner or trip coordinator to this location, then contact us so we can make your dream come to reality.
Would you make Morocco your next destination? Comment, share and inspire someone today.