Africa Morocco Tips of the Trade

Things To Know Before You Go – Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco is a city that I enjoyed visiting. It is definitely a city full of contrast, friendly people, and beautiful sights. I was excited to explore and learn about it in the little bit of time that I was there. So here are some things to know before you go!

Currency – If you want Moroccan Dirhams before you head there I would suggest getting them from your bank. I tried to get a little from the airport before we left, but they didn’t have any. In fact, the guy almost gave us UAE dirhams, so if they do say they have dirhams make sure they are for the right country. I was able to exchange money at the airport once there. Also, keep in mind that places don’t accept the American Express Credit Card. You can use AMEX for traveling to and from Marrakech but when in once you’ve landed in the airport, no other currency is accepted, unless it’s being exchanged of course. The approximate exchange rate is about 10 dirhams for every US dollar, but that can vary depending on what time of year you travel in and what the economic state of both countries looks like.

Moroccan Dirhams ©2018 HollyDayz

Language- The languages spoken are French, Arabic, and English. I had no issues talking to the majority of people in English. There were only a few people who only spoke French and I had to bust out my rusty rendition of it to communicate. I also tried to throw some Arabic phrases out there, but French and English seemed to be the top 2 languages.

Water- Pretty plain and simple on this one. Don’t drink it. Stick to bottled water unless you have one of those bottles that can turn any water into drinkable water.

Food – The food was really good. Just be careful eating salads and fruit as they do wash it with their water. I only had 2 strawberries and ended up with a stomach ache and diarrhea. Also be careful with eating local sauces. My friend was given hot sauce in a little plastic bag and she put it all over her food. We realized it was the hot sauce when she was the only one who was sick. She was throwing up and had diarrhea for about 2 days.

Moroccan Dinner ©2018 HollyDayz

Stay at a Riad- Riads are authentic Moroccan guesthouses. There are tons all over and they are so pretty! They have courtyards in the middle and many have pools or at the very least plunge pools. You won’t be able to spot one from outside all too often. They don’t look like much till you walk inside! They are also affordable!

Plunge Pool in Riad ©2018 HollyDayz

Bring Medicine- It is almost inevitable that someone may get sick. I anticipated this and brought all types and I am glad I did. If you don’t no worries, they do have pharmacies although much of the stuff is in French.

Cell Phone Service- This is one of those places where buying a sim would come in handy. U.S carries have no deals with Morocco and therefore using your global plan how you would elsewhere isn’t going to work. You could end up with a hefty phone bill when you get back. Yes, even those of you with T-Mobile. So if you aren’t for the sim keep the phone on airplane mode and use Wi-Fi like we did.

Haggling- Be prepared to haggle. When shopping don’t take the first price you get. Be prepared to come back with another price. Don’t be afraid to walk away. There are tons of people selling the same items. I didn’t have to take any taxis, but I heard the drivers will haggle with you as well.

Shopping at the Medina ©2018 HollyDayz

Pick Pockets- Be mindful of your stuff. Even the guy who worked at our hotel told us to be careful with our phones and cameras. Even with him walking around with us he told me to take my photos and then put the camera away and not to keep it out. People whiz by on motor bikes and can easily take it out of your hands and keep going. You should also keep your wallet or purse tucked away safe in a bag – take a look on Just Stealth to find the best anti-theft fanny pack that will prevent anyone taking your belongings while you’re in a crowd.

Friday Closures- Morocco is a Muslim country. Their holy day is on Friday. Many things were closed, but there were also a good amount of things still open. Just be mindful.

Clothing- Although they are used to tourists it is important to stay mindful of the culture. Cover up your shoulders and don’t wear anything provocative. If you want to wear shorts make sure they are by your knees. As long as you are conservative you are good. We all wore jeans and lose fitting shirts.

One of my outfits ©2018 HollyDayz

Weather- I have heard that it can get terribly hot in Marrakech. We went in the winter time. It was really nice out, but a jacket or sweater does come in handy as it is chilly. Especially at night when it becomes much colder. You will be happy for a sweater and jacket.

Getting Lost- It is inevitable that walking around, especially in the Medina, you will at some point get lost. Not a matter of IF, but more like WHEN. We had a guide from our hotel so thankfully we didn’t have this issue. I know if we didn’t have him we would have definitely gotten lost. In fact the hotel knows people get lost and provided us with a phone to call them when we did. Then they could either give directions back or send someone to come get us.

The People- They are extremely nice and very friendly. However if you get lost don’t ask anyone for directions unless you plan to pay them. Also be mindful when taking photos of snake charmers and such. That will cost you as well. The hustle is real, stay alert.

Mint Tea- They are known for their mint tea. I drank tons of it. I love tea and this was some delicious tea. I even bought some to bring back with me to make at home.

Mint Tea ©2018 HollyDayz

I am sure there are tons of other things to know, but these are some great basics to start with. From my experiences and what I had been told these seem to be the major tips to guide you in the right direction when visiting Marrakech.

Have you been to Marrakech, Morocco?

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  • Jimmy

    All I know, is I’m gonna make sure to bring enough money in the right currency, a first aide kit, my hoodie, and hire a giude if I ever make it to Marrakech. Cool photos. Thumbs up on the post.

    • Holly Dayz

      Sounds like you are all set for a good time then.

  • Joanna

    Very cool post. Definitely good tips to know before going

  • Aimee Horgan

    Some great tips here, I definitely want to visit Morocco soon. It comes up so much on my social media lately that I think it’s a sign I’ll have to visit soon. Loving the photos too.

  • knycx

    A very detailed guide and thanks a lot of the info! I have been contemplating a trip to Morocco and thanks for the advise which I am now aware of my safety, communication, and how to pack. Good to know French and English are both spoken in the country and I think it would be easy for me to get around! Merci beaucoup!

  • Christopher Adamson

    Really cool . That’s some nice currency you have there as well

  • Thirty30Courtney

    I had such a love-hate relationship with Marrakech. I wish I had a guide initially when I arrived. My riad hosts were amazing but I was mentally exhausted and ready to go after my visit to Marrakech. If I ever went again, I would stay in Gueliz.

  • Lara Dunning

    My best friend and I went to Morocco when I was 25. We meet lots of interesting people and I totally fell in love with the food and mint tea. In fact, that is where I started liking tea. We were in Marrakesh for a couple of days, but we stayed at a hotel. I think if I went back I’d stay in a Riad. These are all great tips and many of them applied then as they do now. We didn’t find that many people spoke English then (over 20 years ago), or maybe they just didn’t want to say? So, it is good to know that more people speak English as my other language skills are seriously lacking. It was on that trip that I learned to always carry Imodium – AD. Now I don’t leave home without it!

  • Chloe Lin

    I’ve never been to Morocco before but thanks for the detailed blog post. I would love to try the mint tea and just walk around the town. I love to interact with the locals too! It’s amazing to have a friendly culture.

  • Meg Jerrard

    I can’t wait to visit Morocco, so thankyou for this very practical overview of things to know. Especially about the water; but also about the fruits and salads (also drinks with ice), as this tends to trip up travelers a lot when in a city / place where you can’t drink the water. Brushing your teeth with bottled water too – people don’t think about these little things, but you ingest the water the same way.

  • Linda de Beer

    Moroccan Riads always look so inviting. I would love to stay in one one day. Great tips about bringing your own medicine to Marrakech and being careful about eating salads and fresh fruit.

  • Indrani

    Hoping to be in Morocco someday soon. Thanks for the caution on drinking water. The info on stay facilities too is helpful. Cameras being flicked by people driving motorcycle is really scary. Saving this post.

  • Claire

    I’ve never been to Africa but am dying to go, Morocco looks so beautiful! These are all super useful tips, I have one of those lifestraw water bottles with a built in filter which I take everywhere with me, so I’d be good with the water. That riad looks gorgeous! I love how so much is hidden behind the doorway 🙂

  • carrieemann

    So smart to visit in winter — I went to Morocco in August and the heat (and dust storms) were pretty unbearable. I still dream about that mint tea though, it was so good and I loved that every shopkeeper would offer tea while we haggled over whatever we were considering buying.

  • Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

    How great your hotel gave you a phone to call should you get lost! This is something I would’ve never thought to look for/ask for in a hotel. Thanks for the reminder about staying in Riads, too. They always look so pretty and have authentic architecture. Fantastic to know they’re also affordable, too.

  • Vanessa Chiasson

    Your riad looked gorgeous! I love hidden courtyards behind unassuming doors.
    It’s so hard to adjust to a water-wary mindset if you don’t normally have to worry about that kind of thing. When we traveled in similar circumstances, I always made sure I had at least one more bottle than I reasonably expected to drink – it came in super handy for washing up, cleaning hands, etc.

  • Paige Wunder

    These are great tips! I’m heading to Marrakech in just about a month and these tips are great! It’s good to know that the currency can be difficult to find, even in the airport. I’ll have to get some while we’re in Spain. Great tip about the hot sauce, since I don’t have a great tolerance for that.

  • A Few Days in Marrakech, Morocco - HollyDayz Travel

    […] Spending a few days in Marrakech, Morocco I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I had my ideas and of course I had done plenty of research, but you never really know until you have experienced it yourself. It was my first time stepping foot on Africa and my first time visiting Morocco. Although we had some mishaps it was a very enjoyable trip. There is plenty to do in a few days and of course some things to know before you go! […]

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