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What are the main languages used in Morocco?
Arabic and French are considered to be the national languages of Morocco and both are generally used in documentation and street signs. The Moroccan dialect of Arabic, Darijah, is the language most Moroccans speak in their homes and on the street. More and more people are beginning to study English especially in the tourism sector. There are also three distinct Berber dialects – Tamazight, Tasusit, and Tarifit – used mostly among the Berbers themselves.
Do many people speak my language…English/French/Spanish/etc?
Moroccans are, in general, linguistic engineers! You will find that the majority of Moroccans you meet are proficient in at least two Western/European languages. If you speak slowly and listen carefully, you will be understood in Morocco.
What is the weather going to be like?
Morocco boasts four distinct seasons. Spring: March-May; Summer: June-September; Fall: October-November; and Winter: December-February. Spring and Fall are definitely the most lovely, temperate seasons, climate-wise, to explore Morocco. Summers are usually quite hot (90ºF – 105ºF in the north, hotter in the southeast/nearer to the desert) and the Winters can be quite cold (35ºF-55ºF, colder in the more mountainous regions). Most of Morocco’s rainfall occurs during the Winter, especially near the coast and in the northern region of the country. Important: travelers should note that the country of Morocco operates on a different schedule during the Islamic month of Ramadan, when Muslims are required to fast during the daylight hours. Month of Ramadan 2009: late August-late September. Month of Ramadan 2010: mid August-mid September. Month of Ramadan 2011: early August-early September. And so on…
What are the best sites to see in Morocco?
Some of the best sites to see while in Morocco include but are not limited to: The imperial cities of Marrakech, Fes and Meknes are where you find wonderful bazaars, palaces and bustling town squares. Some of the best seaside towns include Essaouira, Agadir, Tangier and Asilah. Morocco is also famous for the natural beauty of its Atlas Mountain – people travel across the world to climb the highest of the High Atlas peaks, Mt. Toubkal. The Sahara Desert, with its golden dunes and winding camel trains, is, of course, the renowned favorite of visitors from every walk of life!
What should I pack?
Comfortable, sightseeing clothes; one or two nicer, ‘going out’ outfits; walking/trekking shoes, swimsuit, camera… Winter specific: long underwear, warm socks, hat, gloves, scarf, warm coat. Summer specific: light/breathable clothes, bug repellent, sun screen, sandals, a sun hat, sunglasses…
What should I wear?
Moroccans tend to dress up a bit more than the majority of Americans, in a style which has often been described as “Arabopean.” As a foreigner, however, your attire will depend slightly upon your travel plans. If you are planning on remaining near the coastal, more Western-style cities, be sure to pack some classy, “going out” clothes for dining out or an evening promenade, as well as your more comfortable, sight-seeing clothes and shoes. If you are planning on a more exploratory country tour, you will want to make sure that you have plenty of comfortable clothes and shoes for walking, driving and, of course, riding camels. If you are going to be trekking or hiking, all of the normal equipment would apply. Women might be more comfortable in any location with longer-sleeves shirts and full-length skirts and pants, but it is not necessary for women to cover their hair. Men in Morocco do not usually wear shorts, unless playing sports. Bring swimsuits, as many hotels have lovely pools!
Can I do laundry during my travels?
Some hotels in Morocco provide laundering services, while others will simply give you directions to the local laundromat where you generally will pay a few dollars/euros for a load of laundry…a bit more for dry-cleaning. We recommend people doing laundry in the cities where they have multiple nights.
What about appliances (hair dryers, electric razors, etc.) and electronics?
Moroccan electrical sockets/outlets follow the design of one of the two European standard electrical socket types (two, round prongs): the “Type C Europlug,” “Type E” and “Type F Schuko.” These types of sockets/outlets are also used in Germany, France, and Russia. If your appliance’s plug doesn’t match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Electrical sockets/outlets in Morocco supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you’re plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. IMPORTANT: Travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts, far lower than in most of the rest of the world. This being the case, North American appliances are generally built for 110-120 volts. That doesn’t mean that your specific appliance isn’t already compatible with the higher voltage or that you won’t be able to use your appliance in Morocco…you will just need to make sure that your appliance will be able to facilitate 220-240 volts and that you have the appropriate adapter plug.
Will I have access to internet?
Morocco is definitely online! You can expect to find a plethora of internet cafes in every city. You may need to ask for a French or English keyboard upon entrance. The fee is generally 10 dirhams an hour and the connection is generally quite good. For those staying in riads and upper level hotels, you will find wifi is available.
Should I bring my mobile phone?
Morocco has an excellent modern mobile phone infrastructure which also supports 3G and data roaming. We recommend that you check charges with your mobile provider before using your phone extensively to avoid unpleasant surprises. Some people with international phones will choose to buy a cheap local SIM card and use it while they are in Morocco. If you would like to rent a phone, please ask us about this service.
Can I find batteries in Morocco?
You will be able to find some of the leading brands of batteries in most small stores (called ‘hanuts’) in Morocco. Some of the more specialty batteries may not be available.
Will I be able to exercise during my stay in Morocco?
Depending on the hotel, you will find some of the upper level hotels with exercise rooms and equipment. Most cities and larger towns are equipped with running tracks and gyms which are generally willing to provide temporary memberships for tourists/visitors. We recommend that joggers have a jogging companion, pay attention to traffic, and avoid jogging in dark or isolated areas.
What medicines should I bring? What if I get sick?
While it is generally advisable to pack a small medical kit when traveling in a foreign country (sample packets of Ibuprofen, Benadryl, Pepto-Bismol, Imodium, triple-antibiotic ointment, band-aids, hand-sanitizer, baby wipes, etc), “green cross” pharmacies are plentiful in Morocco. Moroccan pharmacists can prescribe and immediately supply some medications (i.e. antibiotics), which would have to be prescribed by doctors in the US. Medical clinics and hospitals with emergency care are also readily available in most cities. The emergency phone number in Morocco (equivalent to 911 in the US) is 190.
What is the best way to get money?
You will be able to find Banks and ATMs in every major Moroccan city. Most ATMs will accept Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro, Electron, and InterBank systems. Some banks accept American Express, Visa and Thomas Cook travelers cheques. While hotels, restaurants, and some businesses in Morocco’s main tourist cities will accept major credit cards (5% charge), most smaller cities or towns do not. We recommend that you keep a ready supply of cash, including small change for taxi fare and miscellaneous tipping on hand during your stay in Morocco.
What is Moroccan food like?
Moroccan cuisine can be described as an extraordinary combination of savory and sweet, smooth and textured, hot and cold. Most everyone will find something they enjoy at a Moroccan table. Traditional Moroccan cuisine uses fragrant spices like cinnamon, ginger, saffron, cumin, and caraway rather than hot spices. In Morocco, meals are an experience…a process. Expect to linger around the table for a bit longer than you are used to and take your time! Moroccans will generally serve a variety of salads (both cooked and raw), arranged on small plates before the main courses, which generally consist of a tagine (a well-spiced stew made with meat, vegetables, and garnished with stewed dried fruit and almonds) and/or cous-cous (finely ground and steamed semolina granules, topped with meat – usually beef – and an assortment of at least seven vegetables) and/or bastilla (an elaborate and very exotic meat pie). Dessert generally consists of fresh fruit and “etay,” sweet green tea with mint.
Should I avoid street food?
Street restaurants/food stalls often do not have running water or refrigeration are not often able to wash plates. Food hygiene can, consequently, fall well below Western standards. That being said, street food can be delicious and many visitors eat it regularly during their travels in Morocco without any problems. We recommend travelers to eat meat and vegetables that have been well-cooked and to avoid uncooked/unpeeled salads and unpeeled fruit.
Can I drink the water?
We do not recommend that visitors/travelers in Morocco drink tap water. Even in the larger, modern cities or hotels, the water contains higher levels of minerals than the water in North America and can also contain various microbes or amoeba. For Moroccans, these kinds of microbes or concentration of minerals are not a problem as their bodies are used to coping with them. For travelers, however, drinking the tap water often results in illness (upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, etc). Although such illnesses are not usually serious in nature, they can spoil a day or two of your holiday/vacation. Bottled water is widely available and reasonably priced in Morocco! Popular brands of water include Oulmes (sparkling) and Sidi Ali, Sidi Harazem and Ain Saiss Danone (still). We recommend Sidi Ali as the best tasting bottled water in Morocco.
What about public restrooms?
Restrooms are generally to be found in train stations, restaurants, cafes, and some petrol/gas stations. In most tourism areas, western toilets can be found especially for those of our clients traveling with a private driver. Moroccan toilets, often referred to as “squatty potties,” are generally not equipped with toilet paper, so bringing your own roll (available at the local shops or ‘hanuts’) or purchasing small packets of Kleenex is a good idea. When using a ‘public’/restaurant/cafe restroom, it is always appropriate to tip the attendant a dirham or two per person using the facility.
Will I need an umbrella?
Morocco’s rainy season is in the winter time (November through March). Rainfall is rather rare throughout the rest of the year. Umbrellas are available for purchase in most major towns and cities, especially in the winter. If you have a small travel umbrella that you can throw in your luggage, it would be a good idea during the winter months.
Do you offer airport transfers?
For those wishing to save a little money, we do offer airport transfer to / from the hotel. A driver will meet you at the airport with your name sign and take you to the appropriate destination. This driver will not be available for any other services during the day except the transfer. Pricing on airport transfers range from $40 – $50.
Is the driver a tour guide?
There is a difference between tour guides and drivers in Morocco. Tour guides are licensed to give historical tours of Morocco…they can accomany clients into the major cities. Your driver will guide you thoughout Morocco but we will provide you with a professional tour guide in the major cities. Your driver will be your “eyes” into the culture of Morocco. If you would like, we can provide you with a professional tour guide for the entire tour, but this will have additional costs.
Will our driver speak English?
Because the majority of our clients speak English, we have found some very good English speaking drivers who will accompany you on your tour. If you need a Spanish, French or other language, we can find someone that will be able to escort you.
What type of vehicles do you use?
Most of our clients use the Hyundai H1 Minivan. This vehicle comfortably holds 6 people including lugagge and is eqipped with seat belts and air-conditioning. For those wishing for a slight upgrade, we offer the Mercedes Vito. This van is more luxurious; offering individual seats for each passenger. For those wishing to save some money, we can offer the Mercedes Taxi holding 3 – 4 people. These taxis are 15 years old and usually have semi-functioning air-conditioning.
What is included with my private driver?
The cost of the private driver is all inclusive, except for his tip. Our tours cover the fuel, lodging, food, tolls, and expenses of the driver during his time with you. We do ask that you leave a tip for his services. Even on the free days, your driver will be available to serve you. We will send you the driver’s name and contact information a few days before the tour in case you must contact him for any reason.
What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellation Policy If you must cancel your reservation after making a deposit or payment the following cancellation fees apply. Structure Cancel 0 – 14 days before Tour: No refund is available Cancel 15 – 30 days before Tour: 50% of total Invoice is refundable Cancel 31 – 45 days before Tour: 75% of total Invoice is refundable Cancel 45+ days before Tour: $300 deposit is forfeited Reduction in Group size: If some member or members of a private tour party cancel, the increased per person cost to run the tour for the reduced number of members will be calculated by your Experience It Tours, LLC sales agent. The increase in cost per person will need to be covered by the remaining travelers or the canceling member(s). Security & Emergency Cancellations: Experience It Tours, LLC reserves the right to cancel any tour at any time if we feel that the safety of the travelers may be compromised. Very rarely, we may be forced by threatened war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, natural or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire and all similar events outside our control, to change or cancel your tour. This is extremely unlikely but if this situation does occur, we will offer a total refund less non-refundable payments made to the local suppliers. To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend that you obtain CANCELLATION Insurance.
Do you use paypal?
We have used paypal frequently in the past. Because of their security restrictions, we deal only with clients who have an established paypal account. We can send a request to you from paypal, via email, and you can release the funds to our account.
Which type of credit card do you accept?
We accept VSA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER, DINERS CLUB and AMERICAN EXPRESS. You can either call your information into the US office or you can fill out our secure online form which is encrypted and delivered to us
How do you accept payment?
We accept payment either by credit card, US Check, Paypal or bank transfer. We have found that Bank Drafts may cost the customers less to send than a bank transfer. If a customer in another country wants to send US$ to our account they can have their bank make out a draft to Experience It! Tours and mail it here. They may also be able get postal money orders made out for US$.
How do I secure my booking?
In order to begin the reservation process, we require a non-refundable deposit of $300 per person. Once we have received this deposit, we begin the reservations for the hotels and transportation. Once the reservations are complete, you will receive a copy of the hotel information and covered expense to verify. 45 days prior to arrival, full payment is due. After full payment is received, we send you a packet with travel information, vouchers, etc…