Just an hour’s ride on the ferry from Spain though exuding an atmosphere that seems very far from Europe, Morocco is often the travellers’ first taste of Africa and Islamic culture. The colourful souks of Marrakech, the ancient medina of Fes, and the nomadic pastoralist Berbers all evoke a charm that has long beguiled travellers in search of the exotic. The fact that Morocco is well-suited to independent travel only attracts more visitors to the country. If you want to put together your own adventure, plenty of Morocco travel blog articles provide just that kind of information.
Despite Spain, and to a larger extent, France, Europeanizing Morocco, there’s still a throbbing presence of the country’s distant past in the foothills and peaks of the Atlas where the Berbers’ way of life changed little over the millennia. In the Sahara, you may even meet the indigo-veiled Tuareg whose women enjoy the kind of liberties that other Muslim women don’t.
In stark contrast to the empty sand and scrub of the Sahara, Casablanca, its largest city, is a sprawling metropolis complete with bars, restaurants, night clubs, art galleries and modernist landmarks that indicate Morocco is keeping up with the times. Rabat, its capital, is more of a laidback city by Moroccan standards. This is where you can see the country’s Carthaginian and Roman past merging with elements of Islam and the legacy of the French.
Morocco Travel Blog Tips and Advice
- Faux guides – Tangier, the entry point for travellers coming over by ferry from Spain, has long held a reputation as swarming with slick con artists, hustlers and fake guides. These unsavoury characters congregate around tourist spots like medinas and tend to be difficult to get rid of. A firm and polite ‘la’ (Arabic for no) should discourage them but some usually persistently hang around in the hopes of luring uninitiated visitors, often by telling them that a certain tourist spot is closed, to shops that give them commissions. Resist the urge to argue with them as this can prove a very difficult situation to get away from. These touts consider getting harassed – and harassing – part of their trade, so nothing can really embarrass them. Apart from these annoyances, Moroccans are generally very warm and welcoming people, as people tend to be when they have been at the crossroads of civilizations for thousands of years.
- Bargaining – Never name a price you are not willing to pay. Always insist on a fixed price before finalizing your transaction, whether getting on a cab or getting a henna tattoo. When somebody comes up to you to offer a product or service, say ‘no’ and be firm as you are likely to pay inflated prices.
- Clothing – Both men and women need to be sufficiently covered – no shorts, midriffs or low cut tops.
- Male Attitude Towards Women – Even when travelling in the company of other foreign women, you are likely to be catcalled or endure some form of harassment. You can either wear dark sunglasses to avoid eye contact, or seek the help of a local woman if someone won’t relent. Don’t venture into night clubs or bars, or other places where men congregate, as you might be construed as too approachable. A fake wedding ring may help, but be prepared to answer curious locals about your “family.”
- Alcohol – Drinking in public is illegal.
- Hammams – There are two types of hammams: tourist and “popular.” The former type is where you go if you want to be pampered and scrubbed by a trained staff, and willing to pay the generally more expensive price. The popular hammam is where the locals go, where scrubbing is a DIY affair. Male nudity in popular hammams is forbidden, while women can go clothing-optional.