Moroccan culture is steeped in tradition. It permeates every facet of life, from the kitchen and dinner table to the street corner and school; even language holds to traditional mores. There are certain Moroccan phrases or sayings that come almost automatically to Moroccans. If you enter a room, a taxi or a shop, you must greet everyone with a rousing hello. Those around you will answer in turn. To do otherwise would simply be … wrong. (more…)
Many visitors fly into Morocco perhaps not even aware that travel to and from Morocco’s neighboring countries is possible! Anyone can easily extend their visits to include Spain, the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, the UK exclave of Gibraltar, or even the Canary Islands. Though travel to Mauritania and the disputed Moroccan territory Western Sahara takes more planning, and considerable caution, adventurous travelers can even add these stops to their Morocco itinerary. (more…)
“Expect the unexpected”—perhaps the unofficial first rule of travel. You want to be open to horizon-broadening, life-altering, they-won’t-believe-it-when-I tell-them-back-home experiences. But you don’t want these experiences to come at the expense of your health and safety. A little foresight and caution will go a long way to making your trip to Morocco a safe and happy one.
Having your belongings stolen is one way to turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. Most problematic for tourists is petty thievery, such as pickpockets and purse thieves. Minimize your risk by minimizing your visibility. Leave expensive-looking camera bags and purses, watches, and jewelry at home. Don’t carry all your money with you—leave the majority in a secure place in your hotel. Some have safes; otherwise, lock it in your suitcase. (more…)
The Rif Mountains may not have the high peaks of the Toubkal region or the dramatic gorges of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, but Morocco’s northernmost mountain range offers some laid back trekking and views of the azure Mediterranean. (more…)
Surprisingly, getting to and from Morocco in this day and age isn’t too complicated. Entry into Morocco requires a valid passport for all visitors. Citizens of certain countries may need to obtain a visa (you can see Morocco visa information on our blog). The Consulate General of the Kingdom of Morocco in New York also has a list of countries that are exempt from visa qualifications. (more…)
South of the Anti Atlas Mountains is the disputed area of Western Sahara. Occupied by the Spanish until 1974, this mostly barren chunk of land has been claimed by both the Moroccan government and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. Although the conflict technically ended with a UN-sponsored cease fire in 1991, the legal fate of Western Sahara has yet to be decided. Administratively it’s a de-facto part of Morocco.
Choose Transport Carefully
The road to Laayoune is paved and relatively good. You can travel by local bus, grand taxi (Mercedes) or private transport. CTM buses are air-conditioned and tend to leave on schedule. South of Laayoune, transport options are slimmer. You should be able to share rides with other tourists to Dakhla during kitesurfing season, or you can fly to Dakhla via Royal Air Maroc.
Going forth from Dakhla to the Mauritanian border public transport options are limited. It’s best to arrange a grand taxi or take your own vehicle. Armed robberies are not unheard of, and you don’t want to have an unreliable vehicle break down in the middle of the desert. Female travelers should avoid traveling alone with a male driver. Make sure you have your Mauritanian visa ahead of time as border authorities can be fickle and you may be forced to backtrack to Rabat. (more…)