Visas

For New Zealanders, Australians, Canadians, EU passport holders and US citizens, no visa is necessary for a stay of up to three months. For South Africans, a (free) visa is necessary from the Moroccan Embassy in Pretoria. 

Please also ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of departure from Morocco.

Note: Please check with your local embassy whether you need to obtain a visa prior to entry into Morocco or whether you can obtain a visa upon entry. Please note that visa requirements are subject to change.

Obtaining your visa is solely the responsibility of the traveller and not of S A S Travel Ltd.

Departure tax

There is no departure tax when leaving Morocco.

Best time to visit Morocco

You can visit Morocco all year round but the climate varies throughout the year. Summers are long, hot and dry and winters short and cool though because of the country’s variety of altitudes, Morocco has climates to match.

June to August:

It is fiercely hot in the Sahara Desert while cities along the Atlantic coast - like Casablanca and Essaouira are pleasantly hot. The north coast and Rif Mountains enjoy a temperate Mediterranean climate with long, hot, sunny days.

November to February:

Daytime temperatures in the south are still mild but the evenings can get cold. In the north winters can be cloudy and wet and in the High Atlas Mountains very cold with snow-capped peaks often until July.

Mid-March to May:

The country is at its most beautiful in spring when the landscape is green and lush, making for spectacular mountain hiking.

September to October:

Morocco is also lovely in Autumn when temperatures are very pleasant.

Health Requirements

Health insurance should be taken out before you leave your home country.

No vaccinations are required to enter Morocco but it is recommended that you check with your doctor in good time before departure.

Medical facilities are good in all major towns.

Currency

The unit of currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD), which is divided into 100 centimes. It's a restricted currency, so can only be bought inside the country. ATMs are now widely available in the larger towns and are the best and easiest way to get funds. Money can be exchanged at many places in the city and ATMs outside the airport beat the airport queues.

Do not bring travellers cheques or Australian dollars.

Euro and USD notes can be exchanged at banks or official bureaux de changes, which are also widespread in major towns. Dirhams cannot be obtained or exchanged outside Morocco and receipts must be retained as proof of legal currency exchange, as well as in order to re-exchange money when departing.

Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops, hotels and restaurants, but not AMEX. Cash is required for all other places.

Time Zone

November-March:

GMT

April-October:

GMT + 1 hour

 

Reverts back to GMT during the holy month of Ramadan

Morocco is five hours ahead of US Eastern Time

Electricity

The electrical current in Morocco is 220 Volts. European two-pin round plugs are standard. Adaptors are not easily found in Morocco, so bring your own

Water

It is advisable to drink bottled water and be selective in the case of street food. Bottled drinking water is available everywhere and is inexpensive, although some restaurants charge an exorbitant mark-up. From any street-side shop, a 1.5-liter bottle of water should cost no more than 10dh.

Often street food is safer than some tourist restaurants.

Language

Modern Standard Arabic is the official language and all TV and newspapers are in Arabic. However, Moroccan Arabic is the spoken language. Tachelhit, Tamazight and Tarifit are all derivations of Berber (all of our guides and drivers are of Berber origin, but all the guides have fluent English and French). English is growing in importance and generally understood in the tourist areas, but French is the more common.

Moroccan Food

Moroccan cuisine is typically a mix of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber cuisine and is characterized by rich spices and often includes Couscous which is traditionally topped with rich stews and roasted meats. Lamb is a principal meat, although beef, chicken, goat and seafood are also eaten. Tagines are a fruity meat and vegetable stew cooked for some time. Savoury foods are enhanced with fruits, dried and fresh and preserved lemons are used in many poultry dishes. Desserts range from fresh seasonal fruit to sticky, sweet, honey enhanced cakes.

Alcohol

Morocco has well established wine industry as well as good beer production. Many Moroccans drink, but very few in places other than restaurants or bars. The legal drinking age for Moroccans is 18, however many places will serve most people.

Shopping

The souks of Fes, Marrakech and Meknes are full of pottery, carpets and killims, leather goods, spices and cloth and Essaouira specialises in Thuya wood products. There is lots o offer and bargaining is expected.

Communications

Internet Cafes are everywhere but the keyboards are often French or Arabic . Almost every riad and hotel now has free wifi. Connection speeds vary between average and good. Phones - The international access code for Morocco is +212. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g. Casablanca: 0522 / Oualidia: 0523 / Marrakech, Essaouira, and Ouarzazate: 0524 / Agadir, Tafraoute, and Taroudannt: 0528 / Erfoud, Fes, Meknes, and Midelt: 0535 / Rabat: 0537

Hotels can add a hefty surcharge to their telephone bills; it is best to check before making long international calls.

Ramadan

Ramadan is not a problem for the tourist. It is actually an interesting time to visit, as the medina square is very lively after sunset and it’s a chance to try the local iftar (evening meal that breaks the fast after the sunset prayer) such as Harira soup and pastries. In the cities there are several cafes open in the tourist areas. In the mountains and on treks through villages there will be nothing open during the day for eating and drinking, but the guides and cooks make sure that all is available for the trekkers as normal.

Opening times for some sights are changed, and the hour goes back to GMT during the month and reverts to BST after Ramadan.

Estimated dates for the coming years are:

2018          May 15th - June 14th

2019          May 5th – June 4th

 

Traditions and Customs

Morocco is a Muslim country and it is preferable to keep the wearing of swimsuits, shorts and other revealing clothing to the beach or hotel poolside. Religious customs should be respected particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture.

The giving and receiving of things, and the eating of food, should only be done with the right hand, as the left is considered unclean.

When photographing people, it’s important to be respectful – and always ask permission first, and it helps if you get to know your subject a bit better.

The import and use of civilian drones is illegal in Morocco. If found on arrival they will be confiscated until exit and you could be fined.

Arrival Transfer

If you are arriving at the airport, you will pass through immigration, baggage claim and customs. As you exit customs into the public arrivals hall, please be on the lookout for our representative, who will be holding an S A S Travel Ltd logo signboard. Our representative will introduce you to our driver, who will transfer you to your hotel.

lf for any reason you have trouble locating our representative or your flight to Morocco is delayed, please call or send a text message to emergency contact number as stated on your tour voucher.

If you are being met at your hotel, our representative will let you know he is there and meet you in the lobby and holding an S A S Travel Ltd logo signboard.

Duty free

Travellers to Morocco over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 400g tobacco; 1 litre spirits and 1 litre wine; and perfume up to 5g

Atlas Trekking & Camping

The levels of fitness depends on the trek, the mountain treks need more fitness than the desert treks and people need to be able to walk 3 to 4 hours each day for both. The guides can help out with perhaps a mule ride or camel ride if people are very tired.

Good walking shoes are recommended and comfortable layered clothing.

Trekking Insurance

Travel insurance is required for each traveller you may have to pay a premium to cover yourself if trekking in higher altitudes (over 4,000m usually). It is essential that you get the correct level of cover so please check the maximum altitude you'll be trekking to before arranging your insurance.

Camping

All bedding is provided at the Campsites used. You can bring your own Sleep sheet or sleeping bag if you wish. You will also need to pack Insect repellent and a torch/headlamp would be very useful.

Essential Packing Summary

• Passport, Tour Booking Confirmation and a copy of your travel insurance

• If visiting in winter, pack warm clothes and an umbrella.

• If summer bring lightweight clothing, sunscreen & a hat.

• 2 pin (European) electrical adaptors.

• Camping overnight - All bedding is provided at the Campsites used. You can bring your own Sleep sheet or sleeping bag if you wish. You will also need to pack Insect repellent and a torch/headlamp would be very useful.

• Proper walking shoes (joggers/ trainers) for all walking at all sites