Travel Tips: Marrakech

1. Visa

Depending on your nationality, you might or might not need a visa. But find out if your country has a free-movement agreement with Morocco (and other countries as well) . It’s a handy information to have especially if you’re a travel-addict like myself.

2. Do not Pack your Whole Wardrobe

Unless you’re planning to do a clothing giveaway or you’re very particular and boujee, I honestly wouldn’t recommend bringing along 3 suitcases of clothes. Only bring what you need; because you are most likely going to buy clothes there; and majority of the time, you’re going to be outdoors walking around or probably taking part in activities where no one is really going to care about your Balenciaga high-top sneakers or Versace Fur Coat. Bring simple light clothes that you know you will need and won’t roast in. Also bring a hat, a pair of sunglasses, runners, sandals and sunscreen.

3.Book a Taxi Prior to Arrival

Oh I cannot stress this enough. Save yourself the hassle and book a taxi either through your hotel or a reliable taxi company PRIOR to your arrival. It is safer, you won’t suffer, it’ll give you more peace of mind, you’ll know what you’re getting and how much you’re paying. Do not, I repeat do not under any circumstances (unless you’re stranded) get a taxi from the taxi rank at the airport. They will take advantage of your being a tourist and mercilessly scam you. You will end up paying twice if not thrice the amount that you’re ideally supposed pay . It is not even funny. I would also advise not hailing a taxi near touristic sites like museums and shopping centers, they will rip you off.

4.Book Activities in Advance

Plan the activities you think you will be interested in, read reviews before making any bookings, they will save your life! And lastly, book at least two days in advance; that might enable you to cancel for free in case you change your mind. Check out Viator for this. You’re welcome.

Upon landing, there is a slip that you’ll need to fill out. Make sure you bring your own pen else you’ll end up paying 20 Dirhams (€2.00) for a few scribbles with the cleaning staff’s pen. That’s what happened to me.

6. Get a Sim Card

If you are a “can’t-live-without-internet”, get a sim card at the airport after you land because WiFi might not be accessible to you the minute you step outside your hotel. .

7. Get Cash

Oh I cannot stress this enough. There are cash machines at the airport, do not leave the airport without loading your wallet with cash. Because one, the currency value is no where near the pound sterling, euro or dollar; it is quite bulky and it almost just vanishes as soon as you start shopping. Two, not a lot of places accept credit cards, and even if they do, there is an extra charge; which is not too absurd but should be avoided if possible. Banks are crazy. If you decide to opt for currency exchange, make sure you do it at a bank or through an authentic currency exchange agent. If you are in Africa or any third world country, you are likely to see Uncles walking around with boards decorated with different currencies; these are self-proclaimed currency exchange agents, they will offer you a “reasonable” exchange rate only to give you counterfeit cash. Do not be cheap, you’ll be playing yourself, avoid them like a plague.

8.Stay at a Riad.

Try something different; spice up your experience by staying at a Riad. A Riad is a Moroccan style traditional house with a central courtyard and usually a fountain. You will be taken aback by the impeccable architecture and relaxing ambiance. This will surely give you a little glimpse of how the rich in that region lived in the olden days. I stayed at Riad Palais de Princesses which was located in a neighborhood literally a 5 min walk from Jamaa el Fina. I absolutely exceeded my expectation, I felt like a Princess throughout my stay and if I were to ever buy a house in Africa, it would have to be Riad-inspired! My birthday also fell during the trip so I treated myself to a Hamam and Manicure. It was very relaxing.

9. Be Respectful

Do not go around walking in Shorts and Bra. You will attract unnecessary attention and have your life cursed. Do not forget, Islam is the dominant religion in Morocco and majority of the population are adherents of islamic culture. If you’re planning on visiting any mosques, be sure to have a mosque-friendly attire else you will not be allowed in. Respect the culture, abide by the rules and do not do anything crazy.

10. You Might Be Harassed

If you’re a female and alone, you will unfortunately definitely get a few hollers from older and younger men. I personally did not experience that because I was with a male friend who everyone thought was my partner; however, I did witness some women getting catcalled, whistled at and whatnot. My tips are: Do not look their way or make eye-contact, do not respond. Walk straight with your head held high.

11. Think Twice Before Accepting Assistance

When my friend and I arrived in Jamaa El Fina, this good samaritan noticed that we were struggling to locate my Riad, so he walked up to us and insisted on helping us. He did not even offer, he insisted. The Riad was about a five minute walking distance from Jamaa El Fina. When we got to the Riad, my friend and I thanked him, told him how appreciative we were of his assistance and began proceeding to the check-in desk; but Uncle was not having it! He began to create a scene, demanding that we paid him. I handed him 20 Dirhams hoping he’d take it and move on but that made it even worse. He became really aggressive, the Riad Manager came to our rescue and dismissed him. You lot, that was a big eye-opener for me. Nothing is free in Marrakech.

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1 Comment

  1. Innocentia
    9th February 2020 / 1:32 pm

    A well written travel advice. Thank you for this. Very funny too with the warnings as well. I will definitely not forget them! I think before travelling it’s also good to read up about the place you’re visiting to know the places to stay clear off. And if you’re lucky enough to visit a place you know someone who is from there, they can give you even greater tips.x

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