Morocco is not a difficult country to travel solo, but there are some tips and tricks that can make your experience more enjoyable and prevent you from wasting time and money.
Speak the Language
Linguistic richness characterizes this North African nation. The majority of Moroccans speak Moroccan Arabic (Darija) or one of three Berber dialects as a native language. French is widely used, and you can still get by with Spanish or Portuguese in some coastal regions. Traveling alone is an excellent opportunity to meet and converse with locals. Even if you can only manage basic greetings, an attempt at speaking Darija or Berber will often gain you immediate respect and can lead to better deals on lodging, tourism packages and souvenirs.
Lonely Planet has phrasebooks for both French and Moroccan Arabic. Another travel-geared French phrasebook on the market is by writer Rick Steves.
With five distinct mountain ranges, trekking in Morocco is a year-round activity. From the rugged Rif mountains in the north to the dramatic Anti Atlas that spill out to the southern Souss plains, dozens of routes for hiking and trekking are accessible during whatever season you plan to visit Morocco. Being prepared and planning ahead will help keep you healthy and safe during outdoor pursuits.
Consider the Weather
The Atlas Mountains are best accessed from late spring to early fall, although the higher peaks remain above the snow line until mid to late June. If you want to summit Jebel Toubkal or hike at higher elevations before the snow melts, you’ll need proper equipment for winter trekking. Jebel Sarhro, a volcanic range in Morocco’s southeast is best accessed from December to mid April before water sources disappear and the mercury starts to rise. The Anti Atlas, Rif and Middle Atlas can be hiked during all four seasons, although conditions in the Middle Atlas vary widely during the winter months; you could experience days warm enough to wear t-shirts in December or need to bundle up for a blizzard in March. (more…)
Before your trip to Morocco, be sure to have your health insurance and vaccinations in order. Not all standard health insurance policies cover overseas travel, and if you plan to engage in sporting activities like kite surfing, trekking or cycling, you may need more specific insurance. All travelers should choose a plan that includes emergency medical evacuation.
MD Travel Health recommends visiting your physician four to eight weeks before departure to make sure your vaccinations are up to date. For travel to Morocco, recommended vaccines include hepatitis A and B, MMR, typhoid, rabies (particularly if you will be outdoors) and tetanus. Risk of malaria is very low in most part of Morocco, and malaria prevention medication is not recommended.
When packing your bags, put together a basic medical kit that includes your prescriptions, a full course of antibiotics to fight traveler’s diarrhea (such as Cipro or Levaquin), anti-diarrheal pills, pain killers, dehydration salts, sunburn relief and first aid supplies. (more…)