Morocco travel info

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin round plugs are in use.

Language

Arabic is the official language, but eight other languages are also spoken, including Berber, French and Spanish. English is generally understood in the tourist areas, but French is more widely spoken.

Money

The unit of currency is the Moroccan dirham (MAD), which is divided into 100 santimat. ATMs are available in the larger cities and towns, but can be unreliable; currency can be exchanged at banks or official bureaux de change, 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, in addition to being the only way to re-exchange money when departing. Major credit cards are accepted in larger shops, hotels and restaurants.

Tipping

A tip of 10 to 15 percent is expected in the more expensive bars and restaurants, though some establishments do include a service charge. Most services are performed with the aim of getting a few dirham, but aggressive hustling shouldn't be rewarded. Nevertheless, visitors should note that tips are the only income for some porters and guides.

Health

No vaccinations are required to enter Morocco, although travellers should consider vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. It is wise to only drink bottled water and to avoid eating uncooked meat. Swimming in fresh water carries the risk of catching bilharzia. Rabies is present, so travellers should contact a doctor if bitten. Medical facilities are decent in all major cities but can be extremely limited in rural areas, meaning health insurance is recommended. All required medications should be taken along in their original packaging, and accompanied with a prescription from a doctor.

Safety

Violent crime is not a major problem in Morocco and most visits are trouble-free, but there have been some incidents of theft at knife point in major cities and on beaches. Sensible precautions such as avoiding badly lit streets at night should be adhered to. Guides offering their services should display an official badge from the local tourist authorities. Touts and merchants can get quite pushy and confrontational so visitors should be firm but polite when refusing goods or services. Female travellers may attract unwanted attention from Moroccan men, and should take advice before deciding to travel to the country on their own.

Local customs

Morocco is a Muslim country and it is best to keep the wearing of swimsuits, shorts and other revealing clothing to the beach or hotel poolside. Women travelling alone will generally be hassled less if dressed conservatively. The country has many smokers, and it is customary to offer cigarettes in social situations. 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. Foreigners have been expelled in the past for alleged proselytising. 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. Homosexuality is a criminal offence, and sexual relations outside marriage are also punishable by law.

Doing business

Business in Morocco has been influenced by France and therefore tends to be conducted formally, with an emphasis on politeness. Dress is formal, and women in particular should dress conservatively. Most business is conducted in French, although some English is spoken. It is best to ascertain beforehand what language the meeting will be in, and arrange an interpreter as needed. Visitors are expected to be punctual, though meetings may not start on time. Moroccans are friendly and enjoy socialising; trust and friendship are an important part of business dealings so foreigners should be prepared to engage in small talk. A handshake is common when arriving and departing. Women may encounter some sexism in business, although this is starting to change. Most businesses are closed on Fridays, and some are also closed on Thursdays.

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 150 ml of perfume and 250 ml of eau de toilette.

Communications

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). Hotels can add a hefty surcharge to their telephone bills so it is best to check before making long international calls. Public WiFi is readily available in most major cities; visitors should purchase a local SIM on arrival.

Passport & Visa

Generally, travel to Morocco does not require a prior visa application; however, travellers should enquire about the specifics from their nearest Moroccan embassy. Also, all foreign passengers to Morocco must hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country. It is highly recommended that travellers' passport have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

US citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Morocco. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

British citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Morocco. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days for holders of British passports endorsed British Citizen, British National (Overseas), or British Subject (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom).

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Morocco. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Morocco. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Morocco. A visa is required.

Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Morocco. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Morocco. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Useful contacts

Moroccan National Tourist Office, Rabat: www.visitmorocco.com.

190 (police and medical emergencies)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Moroccan Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 462 7979.

Moroccan Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7724 0624.

Moroccan Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 7391.

Moroccan Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6290 0755.

Moroccan Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 343 0230.

Moroccan Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 660 9449.

Embassies / consulates in Morocco

United States Embassy, Rabat: +212 0537 637 200.

British Embassy, Rabat: +212 537 63 3333.

Canadian Embassy, Rabat (also responsible for Australia): +212 537 54 49 49.

South African Embassy, Rabat: +212 537 70 0874.

Irish Consulate, Casablanca: +212 522 27 27 21.

New Zealand Embassy, Cairo, Egypt: +202-2461-6000.

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