First time in Morocco? What could possibly go wrong?
You really don’t want to spend your first time in Morocco peeling under the scorching heat, nursing agonising stomach cramps, sneezing like an elephant due to your severe cat allergy, with nothing suitable to wear because you packed as though you were heading for an Ibiza summer party.
Nor do you want to miss out on the sights due to running out of time and then realise you have no way of getting your fabulous ‘hard haggled’ new moroccan dishes home without breaking them.
It’s always worth thinking ahead, doing a bit of planning and getting some ‘been there done that’ advice beforehand; these 10 tips might just help a little.
Be prepared for ‘Morocco Belly’
Similar principle to the Delhi kind. Whilst in Morocco every other person I spoke to had suffered with it. Be sure to pack a generous supply of salts/tablets etc for bad stomachs. In fact take something each morning to try and prevent it rather than waiting for it to happen.
Check the weather
Before you book anything, make sure you check the average temperatures for the month you’re choosing. I hear Moroccan summers are above the 40 degree mark!! March – May and Sept/October are thought to be the most comfortable times to visit.
Consider a group tour package
If you’re on limited time and want to cover as much as possible, an organised tour package will help you make light work of it. I didn’t do this, but met other travellers that did for a ridiculously cheap price – they said the accommodation wasn’t always the nicest, but they covered a much wider stretch in a short trip, than those of us paying more for a longer period – they ticked off Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech and more (which are many hours apart, even by train).
Haggling is exhausting
If you’ve been to haggle obsessed destinations before then Morocco probably won’t phase you – but be warned, they can be savage in Marrakech.
Yes it’s traditionally a Muslim country, so be thoughtful about dress
Don’t walk through the souks like you would on a Barbados beach – no matter how hot it is, but you don’t have to wear a tent either – just use some discretion and avoid making your flesh the centre of attention.
From what I’ve read, less than half the population are practising muslims – so it sounds like the demographic may be starting to change.
Don’t forget to visit Essaouira
The sea breezy contrast against Marrakech makes Essaouira worth the visit, and the souks are easier to deal with, plus there didn’t seem to be any snake charmers either. In fact, don’t just stay in Marrakech – you only need a small dose.
If it’s your first time in Morocco, it’s nice to get a coastal scene to balance against the fast paced, noisy buzz of the city.
Take bubble wrap and tape
You can ignore this tip if you have absolutely no intention of buying any of the beautifully hand crafted ceramics/pottery that you’ll see absolutely everywhere you go.
The nights get chilly
This is true of most places, but the chill can be pretty icy and breezy – maybe it’s due to being in desert territory. Take a few warm things so you don’t get caught out.
I bet you can’t eat a whole serving of tagine!!
The servings are piled high – as if the Moroccans are challenging us to an eating contest. I’d be amazed to see anyone clear their tagine pot.
Be careful if you buying a pot to bring home and cook with – as the chemicals used to glaze them can be hazardous.
Hopefully you’re ready for your first time in Morocco, happy travels!