50 Tips for Alternate Travel in Morocco by samirazhouri


									    50 TIPS FOR

  Page 3          Welcome to Morocco                      Page 4           Passport
                  Useful information                                       Come with a foreign car

  Page 5          Automobile Highway Code                 Page 6           The Police
                  Means of transport                                       Accommodation
                  Rental car or minibus                                    Eating

  Page 7          The guides                              Page 8           Bakchich
                  Crafts                                                   The inescapable
                  Bargaining                                               Photos

  Page 9          Four seasons                            Page 10          Fair Trade Tourism
                  Spoken Languages                                         Ecology
                  Invitation                                               The organic in Morocco

  Page 11         School                                  Page 12          Hikes
                  Water                                                    What you need to know
                  Rural Tourism                                            Topics to avoid

 Page 13         Religions                                Page 14         100% Morocco
                 The time of prayer                                       Animals

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                                      Welcome to Morocco

Useful Information
British Embassy in Morocco: 28 Avenue S.A.R. Sidi Mohammed Soussi Rabat
Téléphone +212 (0)37 633333 Fax +212 (0)37 75 87 09
Embassy of the United States of America in Morocco: 2 Avenue de Mohamed El Fassi Rabat
Telephone: (212)(37)-76-22-65 Fax: (212)(37)-76-56-61 After-hours telephone: (212)(37)-76-96-39
Canadian Embassy in Morocco: 13, bis rue Jaâfa-as-Sadik, Agdal Rabat, Maroc
(011 212) 37 68 74 00 rabat@dfait-maeci.gc.ca

Call Morocco from England
00 + 212 + the number of your correspondent (Without the local 0)
Call England from Morocco
00 + 44 + the number of your correspondent (Without the local 0)

Useful Numbers:
Police (in town): 19
Gendarmerie Royale (non-urban): 177
Fire fighters: 15
Information : 160
International Information : 120
Telegrams and telephone: 140
Interurban : 100

Time difference: None between England and Morocco, 5 hours with New-York. 10 hours with Brisbane.
Weights and measures: Kilos and meters.
Electricity: 220 volts.
Banks: Open all day from Monday to Friday.
Conversion euro/dirham: Varies but on average for 1 € you get 11 dirham.
Insurance: It is very much advised to come with your travel insurance, repatriation, liability insurance ...
Subscribe insurance whatsoever is not part of Moroccan culture.
Send letters or packages: Site of the post http://www.bam.net.ma
An acknowledgment of receipt is the surest way to receive your letters and parcels.

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A passport is required to enter the territory and it must be valid at
least 6 months beyond date of expiration.
Identification cards will not be accepted.
If you have a 3 months visa, be careful the 90-day visitation limit on
visas is strictly enforced. Be sure to mind the expiration of your visa,
or you may well find yourself outside the law and, interrogated for
hours, and perhaps even escorted to the border, even if you
intended to extend your stay.
If you go to Ceuta (Sebta) to renew your tourist visa, it is better to
stay overnight before returning to Morocco.

                                          Come with a foreign car
                                          Foreign cars are accepted on Moroccan territory for a maximum of 6
                                          months. Beyond that date you can drive only a Moroccan car. To keep
                                          your car longer, you must clear it through customs (the price is based
                                          on the vehicle's original purchase price, regardless of actual age.) If
                                          you choose to buy a Moroccan car it will be in your name only if you
                                          have a Resident Card. Though many may tell you that you can go to
                                          Ceuta (Sebta - the Spanish enclave) to extend your permission, this is
                                          no longer true. If you entered the territory with your car, you must
                                          leave in it as well.
                                          Tip: A foreign car and driver pair are licensed to operate in Morocco
                                          for a period of 6 months. You will not be permitted to drive any other
                                          foreign vehicle than the one for which you obtained the license.

One of the most used accessories is the horn.
Potholes are common – even if the roads appear in good condition, it is
better to run at reasonable speed.
Stay alert and be watchful all around you - dangerous and unexpected
hazards abound. Stray animals, police, or a passerby dressed in black in
the middle of the night - anything can suddenly appear, and often will.
Moroccans are very impatient at the wheel; they will seek any available
space and rush to be first, be extra courteous, and let them pass!
Take all necessary maps with you, as they are difficult to obtain locally.
Seatbelts are mandatory for passengers in the front of the vehicle, but
not for those in back.
There is no restriction on the number of people per car.
The price for parking ranges from 5 to 15 DH per 24 hours and 1 to 5 DH
for a few minutes or hours.

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                                       Automobile Highway Code
                                       On a roundabout, you do not necessarily have priority if there is a
                                       traffic light; it has priority over you (not unusual).
                                       Beware of hidden roundabouts, they can often be very small and not
                                       necessarily where you expect them to be. You will need to go round
                                       them from the right even if they don’t seem in a line.
                                       The overruns may be done with 3 cars in parallel!

Means of transport
The plane: There are 8 airports in Morocco, all with both
domestic and international service.
The train: For more information, check the comprehensive ONCF
site: http://www.oncf.ma
Buses: They are plentiful and inexpensive. For schedules it is best
to go directly to the bus station.
Taxis: You can rent them for the day; prices vary from one city to
another. Ask the tourist office or taxi drivers directly.
Large taxis: These are the Mercedes taxis carrying 6 people from
town to town. They are very cheap but you might feel a bit
cramped (useful for short distances).
Small taxis: Their colours vary according to the city; ask for the
meter to be activated when you enter the taxi.
Car or minibus rental: See indication below.

                                Rental Car or minibus
                                Scores of travellers rent cars or minibus, which is why some rules are
                                First the prices, they can vary greatly depending on the season, 400 to 800 DH
                                per day. Be sure to check all terms with the rental office: age of the car,
                                mileage, revisions made, unlimited mileage, insurance, deposit, state of the
                                car before and after, what will happen if you fall down? And liability for
                                Typically, the deposit varies from 5 to 20 000 DH deducted from your credit
                                card or sometimes in exchange for your passport (not recommended).
                                In case of accident: If you are responsible for an accident, depending on the
                                damage and after valuation, the sum will be deducted from your deposit and
                                the rest will be returned (the repairs cost much cheaper than in Europe). If the
                                car is completely destroyed you lose your deposit.
                                It is advisable to call several times to make sure your car is available on the
                                dates requested especially during the summer.
                                If you rent a car or minibus and driver, ask for practical details.

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The Police
The police are very nice to foreigners. They will help you if you're lost or
in trouble. They sometimes stop you just to ask where you are from or
to welcome you to Morocco.
Binoculars are becoming more widespread and police are not lacking
imagination to hide behind bushes or trees. If you are flashed, they will
stop you a few hundred meters away; no matter how fast you drive
(even 120 km/h).
The fine is 400 DH regardless of the offense, payable right away.
Look at the signs in town because the speed is limited to 40 km/h in
places, or 60 km/h to 120 km/h on motorways.
Be very friendly, admit your fault and resist making jokes, which are
neither understood nor usually tolerated.

                                          Hotels: You’ll find them at all prices from 1 to 5 stars.
                                          Dar: Traditional Moroccan house. Dar means "home".
                                          Riad: Traditional Moroccan house with interior patio and
                                          fountain. Riad means "garden". They are found especially in the
                                          medina of Fez, Meknes and Marrakesh.
                                          Cottage: They are located in urban and rural areas.
                                          Campsite: There are not very many in Morocco.
                                          Homes: A great way to enjoy your vacation with a family and
                                          discover the Moroccan traditions and customs.

From hash house to luxury restaurant, everything is possible in
You’ll find half board or full board in Dars and Riads or private
Although Moroccans are fond of meat, vegetarians will find a wide
choice of vegetables, but be sure to emphasize that you do not want
meat or meat juices ... To be a vegetarian makes them smile!

         Special features
         The Couscous is traditionally served on Friday noon, the olive oil in
         the morning with or without honey and mint tea disappears in the
         winter for wormwood tea.
         It is said that a mint tea can not be refused.

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                                       They must be official.
                                       The tourist police are merciless with false guides. If they are to be
                                       caught, they will be imprisoned. For small boy guides, it will be a
                                       good spanking.
                                       The guides are usually dressed in white or black djellabas and wear
                                       a badge on their chest.
                                       Prices range from 200 to 500 DH per day depending on whether
                                       they are national guides and the places you wish to visit.
                                       It is advisable to fix the program, sites to visit, catering places for
                                       lunch, possible purchases, and price ... before the visit.

Crafts are everywhere in Morocco, but particularly developed
in the cities of Fez, Marrakech and Essaouira. Each region has
its specialties: Leather, wood, copper, ceramic, bronze, carpets,
embroidery, basketry, jewellery, pottery, zellige...
Check before you buy and make special attention to quality,
price, and terms of shipments abroad...

                                      An art! Find out about the price generally charged or compare them
                                      in many stores, they can be multiplied by five.
                                      Under negotiation, keep smiling, be patient, and accept the mint tea
                                      around which you’ll discuss the price. The most important thing is
                                      not to pay the best price but to be happy with your purchase. Once
                                      the transaction is completed, you’ll generally finish with a cordial and
                                      friendly conversation.
                                      In any case, do not feel compelled to buy even if the merchant has
                                      taken out half of his store.
                                      Bargaining takes place in the souks, taxis, service, etc. but usually not
                                      in restaurants or hotels. That should not prevent you from discussing
                                      a price for extended stay or during low season.

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Practice that King Mohamed VI is trying to banish but it exists
at all levels of the population; it still has good times ahead. It
can be very risky for foreigners; it is strongly advised not to
use it. However, we recommend you to have small change on
hand to give a few dirhams against a service rendered, and
only in this case.

                                        The inescapable
                                        The Hammam: Its religious significance is paramount. This is where all
                                        Moroccans can make their ablutions in accordance with the Koran. It
                                        also has a social significance. Men usually bathe in the morning and
                                        women in the afternoon but check beforehand.
                                        The Henna: Plant of the Paradise for its green colour and its benefits,
                                        it has many symbolic meanings: carrier of messages or protector of
                                        the evils of magic, the evil eye and spirits.
                                        The souks: You’ll find everything you need there…
                                        - Garment: jewellery, pottery, brassware, leather...
                                        - General Food, spices, cosmetics, herbal medicines...
                                        - Animals, wool, dyes...
                                        In short, the souks are a commercial venue as much as a meeting

 Morocco is very photogenic but some rules have to be
 followed. Always ask the persons concerned if they agree to
 be photographed and commit yourself to sending them a
 copy later
  In some tourist spots you may be asked to pay a little
 something in return of a picture.

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                                                Four seasons
                                                Morocco is a country that can be visited in all seasons.
                                                From swimming to skiing, camel tour to a donkey trek,
                                                heat of the summer to the freshness of winter, between
                                                sky and earth, dunes and dams, hills and mountains, from
                                                the most known to the most unknown regions, each area
                                                has its findings and pleasures.

Spoken Languages
Classical Arabic is the language of the Koran and used
between Arabs around the world.
The Arabic dialect is spoken throughout Morocco. It
can not be written.
The Amazigh or Berber language varies by region.
French was declared the official language of colonial
institutions in 1912 while Morocco was under
protectorate. Today, it remains widespread, especially
in the sectors of administration and education, foreign
policy, radio or television, and in schools where all
students learn it.
Spanish is spoken in both Spanish enclaves of Ceuta
and Melilla in the north.
English is now increasingly taught and spoken.

                                      Invitation in a Moroccan family
                                      - When invited, guests traditionally arrive with a gift, chocolate or
                                      candy for the children or cakes, milk, sugar ... depending on
                                      everyone’s wealth.
                                      - It is highly advisable to remove your shoes before entering unless
                                      you are told otherwise.
                                      - Avoid touching food with the left hand (even if you are left-handed)
                                      it is as it is customarily.
                                      When invited to a meal, it is common courtesy to finish eating all
                                      that you have been served. Mentioning "Shoukran Hamdoulah" at
                                      the end of the meal (Thanks be to the grace of God) is a gracious
                                      gesture towards your host.

                                  Fair trade Tourism
                                  What are the important points for a sustainable future?
                                  - Find places to live that allow close contact with the local population.
                                  - Doing typical activities of the country, respecting people and their
                                  - Respect the environment, particularly in terms of waste management,
                                  resources and products used...
                                  - Find structures with a strong involvement in one or several local
                                  projects that will transfer a share for local development (usually 3 to 6%)
                                  - Travelling with organizations that maintain transparency in wages,
                                  expenses, compensation of employees ... and its projects, reinvestments
                                  and present and future commitments.
                                  - The involvement of a maximum of local providers at all levels of its

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Mr. Zniber Moundir’s,
President of the association "For a Green Morocco”, which
organized the first festival on ecology and sustainable
development in Africa, from the 29th of May to the 1rst of June
2008 in Marrakech.
What are the emergencies in Morocco?
Our country is confronted today with a major ecological
emergency: pollution of air and water, deforestation,
desertification, alarming depletion of water, tragic waste
management, biodiversity in danger, impoverishment of soil ...
The speed and extent of the damage should encourage awareness
and comprehensive implementation of concrete actions.
Therefore, it is important to help our country by developing a
strong feeling of eco-citizenry, to encourage and best assist all
efforts and projects already undertaken and to come.

                                          The organic in Morocco
                                          For a very long time "Beldi" (Bio or Organic) food and
                                          products has long been preferred by Moroccans not only for
                                          its taste but also its quality. Even if there are few certified
                                          products, many are grown organically in accordance with
                                          Organic customs as they are recognized in the West.
                                          Professionals in this area are still few; however, there is the
                                          Professional Organic Field Association (APFB) in Casablanca
                                          and Maghrebio in Marrakech. Both have been in operation
                                          since 1998.

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Contrary to popular belief, school is not compulsory in the kingdom
but strongly recommended. It is always difficult to implement
compulsory education in small remote villages where the care of
livestock is necessary and vital. Major efforts have been made in
this direction since the arrival at the head of the kingdom of King
Mohamed VI.
If you want to support a school by purchasing books, notebooks,
pens, tables and chairs, it is advisable to apply to existing
associations who are familiar with the needs of each.

                                      In Morocco, today, part of the rural population still lacks access to basic
                                      drinking water and irrigation. Only 18% of the rural population has a
                                      connection to drinking water from public network (as against 83% in
                                      urban areas), 42% rely on water from wells and 11% at a standpipe
                                      fountain. However, the progress made by the PAGER program (Program
                                      Grouped Supply of drinking water to rural population) are fast and
                                      efficient, they led the rural supply rate of 14% in 1995 to 61% in 2004.
                                      Source: AZEKKA FRANCE - MOROCCO

Rural Tourism
It is an effective way to be in close contact with local people. This has
become all the more helpful in recent years, as it enables indigenous
populations to remain in their home villages, rather than
participating in the rural exodus.
All kinds of activities are offered including hiking, horse and donkey
riding, skiing...
Crafts, visits to souks, women's cooperatives, organic farms, bee
farms, traditional olive oil production...
Housing in rural houses, inns, private houses, cottages, homes...

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                                            The possibilities are immense and landscapes vary from one
                                            region to another and even from one pass to another.
                                            Permission is generally granted for you to pass through private
                                            land, and its owners might even invite you to drink a mint tea or
                                            taste the local olive oil.
                                            Although there are trails everywhere because the Moroccans use
                                            them with their animals, it is inadvisable to venture alone in
                                            remote places.

What you need to know
- In case of deception from a Moroccan, take it with a smile and act as
if it was an oversight and not an intentional desire to harm you.
- Men often walk hand in hand, which is a sign of friendship, not
- Do not through anything in the street or in nature.
- Avoid giving money to beggars or children; better offer them food,
clothing or school furniture.
- Respect the places visited: stay on marked trails, don’t take pictures in
sacred places and do not feed animals...
- Do not hunt or fish in prohibited places.
- Do not trade in animals or art.
- Do not waste water or pollute intentionally.
- Comply with the habits of your guests.
Typically, it is strongly recommended:
For women: To wear non-transparent clothes covering the legs,
stomach and shoulders and a one piece swimsuit.
For men: Do not "fix" Muslim women, or invite a Moroccan woman to
spend a night in a hotel. This is outlawed, and a marriage certificate
may even be requested by the owner of the hotel.
For Couples: Avoid kissing in public or even holding hands.
To everyone: Walk with your bags in front of you, keep an eye on your
possessions, your pockets empty, and jewelry and valuables out of

                    Topics to avoid
                    Politics, Islam and the King Mohamed VI.

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                                            The main religion of Morocco is Islam, and the majority of the
                                            population is Sunni.
                                            Catholics and Jews are minorities. In the Koran, the 3
                                            monotheistic religions are recognized, but others are not.
                                            Entrance to mosques by non-Muslims is forbidden.

The time of prayer
Fajr (the dawn prayer) should be made between dawn and sunrise.
Zuhri (early afternoon prayer), between noon and mid-afternoon.
Asr (late afternoon prayer), between late afternoon and sunset.
Maghrib (evening prayer), between sunset and sundown.
Isha (night prayer), at any time of night.
Today the calls to prayer are taped, except the period of Ramadan where
imams generally perform the call.
The moussems
Fairs, festivals and moussems are of great importance in Morocco, they
unable celebrating the diversity of local resources, the arts and popular
traditions honoring a holy man. These events are expressed through
dances, fantasias and songs in traditional costumes.

                                              While alcohol is forbidden by the Koran, paradoxically
                                              supermarkets have an alcohol department with separated
                                              counters, entries and exits.
                                              For wine lovers
                                              The main wine regions are Meknes, south and north

                                     Drugs are totally banned in Morocco. The risks of
                                     imprisonment and further punishment are dire.

Using figures
Regularly you’ll hear them say, it costs between 20 and 15
dirham, we have an appointment between 4:00 and 3:30 pm.

      Promise of appointments
      Tomorrow at 4 o’clock, may mean 4 o’clock but can also
      mean, 5 o’clock, 10 o’clock or never.

            Buying shoes
            Note that in general the soles of your shoes will come off
            very quickly, and if you tell them, they’ll answer, so what! In
            this case, you’ll have no other choice than going to see your
            favourite cobbler. Nevertheless, oriental slippers are very
            beautiful and the leather of good quality.

                   La gazelle
                   Women will often be called this way, there is no reason to
                   be offended, it's generally a friendly way to approach you.

                       Pedestrian traffic
                       If you walk in the medina, you will notice very quickly that Moroccans walk on the
                       left side of the street. Wanting to stay on the right you'll quickly adapt to the change!

                                       It is quite possible to bring your pet to Morocco, provided that they
                                       have a passport, a tattoo or a microchip (compulsory from 2012) are
                                       vaccinated against rabies and have issued titration by an institution
                                       approved in your country (this way you avoid their quarantine once
                                       back) and a certificate of good health less than eight days old issued by
                                       your veterinarian.


The free distribution of this eBook to all via web, email, and other means are granted and encouraged, but its
 sale is strictly prohibited. This eBook must be distributed in its entirety, without alteration or modification.
The distribution of this eBook in any manner considered illegal, immoral, or as spam (unsolicited commercial
     email sent to one or several individuals you do not know), either electronically or in print, is strictly

           Version 1.0.1    To find out if there is a newer version of this English eBook, please visit

   http://www.fair-travellers.com                                                                         14

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