Winter ascent of Toubkal

Destinations Ultimate Guide to Morocco

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Our Complete Morocco Travel Guide

Morocco is often referred to as the gateway to Africa. This exotic north African country straddles the northwest corner of the continent of Africa and acts as a bridge between here and Europe. The influence of both the Spanish and the French is mixed with Arabian culture and African roots to make Morocco an endlessly fascinating country to explore. Filled with exciting architecture, wonderful old markets, known as medinas or souks, passionate people and beautiful natural landscapes, this is a country that pretty much has it all. Go trekking in the High Atlas or relax on Atlantic beaches, travel on a shoestring or live it up in luxury, do a lot or a little, there really is something for everyone here. We’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Morocco below but for more information, get in touch with the knowledgeable travel experts at Kandoo Adventures HQ.
Winter ascent of Toubkal

Where is Morocco?

Morocco is in the continent of Africa. It sits on the northwest top corner of Africa and is bordered by Algeria to the east, Mauritania to the southeast and the disputed Western Sahara territory to the south.

The western shores of Morocco meet the Atlantic Ocean and the northern coastline is across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain and then further east, the Mediterranean Sea.

The capital city of Morocco is Rabat, which is one the western coast, north of Casablanca and south of the port city of Tangier.

What is the population of Morocco?

As of March 2024, the population of Morocco is approximately 38.1 million people.

What language do they speak in Morocco?

The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber. As Morocco was a former French colony, some French is spoke still, especially in trade and commerce hubs, and many people also speak English. In the north of Morocco Spanish is also spoken due to the proximity of the important business centres of Tangiers and Tetouan to Spain.

What currency does Morocco have?

The currency of Morocco is the Moroccan dirham. The dirham is made up of 100 santimat. This currency is a closed currency which means it cannot be bought or sold outside of Morocco so those travelling to the country will have to buy their currency on the ferry, plane, at the airport on landing, at their accommodation or a bank.

At the time of writing this (March 2024) £1 GBP was approximately 12 dirhams (MAD) and $1 USD is 10 MAD.

What time is it in Morocco?

Morocco only has one time zone, and it is UTC + 0 (Universal Time Coordinated). This means that it is generally 1 hour ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), or UK time, except during British Summer Time (BST) when the time is the same, as we Brits change our clocks twice a year. More confusingly, during Ramadan the clocks in Morocco go back 1 hour during May and June so Morocco becomes one hour behind the UK.

In terms of time difference with the US, Morocco is usually 4 hours ahead of New York and 7 hours ahead of Los Angeles. The time difference between the US and Morocco will depend on which part of America you are in.

Camel train at sunset

How long is the flight to Morocco?

Morocco has international airports in Marrakech, Fes, Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier and Agadir. You can fly to other airports here but will usually need to change somewhere along the way. Royal Air Maroc is the national airline of Morocco and has its hub at Casablanca Anfa Airport. It is worth noting that this is the only ‘dry’ airline carrier that we know of which means no alcohol is served on the flight at all.

The flight duration for flights from London to Morocco differ depending on where you fly to.

London – Tangier – 3hrs 5mins

London – Marrakech – 3hrs 40mins

Transatlantic flights also depend on stopovers. You can find direct flights from New York to Marrakech but flying to other airports may include a stopover.

New York – Tangier – from 10hrs 10 mins – depending on stopover time

New York – Marrakech – 7hrs 5 mins

There are no direct flights from Los Angeles to Morocco but plenty of good options with stopovers in Europe or on the east coast of the US.

What is Morocco weather like?

Moroccan weather is typically mild, by UK standards anyway. Average temperatures in January and December vary from 13 – 19 degrees Celsius up to 29 – 38 degrees Celsius in July and August. The further south you travel the closer to the equator you get and the warmer temperatures. Equally the temperature down at sea level will be much warmer than when trekking in the Atlas Mountains.

In terms of rainfall, the summertime months from May – September see much less rainfall than spring and autumn. January to April is generally the wettest time to visit but these tend to be short downpours rather than prolonged wet spells. The proximity of Morocco to the Sahara makes for a generally dry, arid climate here but the wet season gives life to plenty of lush landscapes, especially in the north of the country.

What to wear in Morocco

Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country so dressing respectfully is recommended. While women are not expected to wear a burka or cover their hair, wearing more modest clothing will help you avoid any unwanted attention. Long loose trousers and long-sleeved tops will provide protection from the sun but allow for ventilation in warm temperatures and it is usually a good idea to keep legs, shoulders and stomachs covered. Similarly, men should avoid walking around topless.

In more touristy areas such as Marrakech wearing shorts, skirts and having bare arms is much more common, especially in the new parts of the city, for both men and women.

There is no strict dress code for visitors here, but we would always recommend respecting the culture of the country you are visiting and dressing appropriately to the values and customs of the local people, whether you agree with them or not.

Market in Marrakesh, Morocco

Toilets in Morocco

What are the toilets like in Morocco is a common question as African toilets can be very different to what us westerners are used to. In many hotels, shopping centres and city transport hubs such as airports and train stations you will find standard sit-down toilets.

Public toilets don’t really exist so if you find yourself caught short, you will have to find a toilet in a café or auberge (guesthouse). You will usually be expected to buy something to use these facilities, similar to in the UK. These toilets will most likely be squat toilets where there is a hole in the floor with a stand surrounding it where you position your feet before squatting.

This might seem daunting at first, but you will be surprised how quickly you get used to it when it’s your only option! Moroccan toilets are fairly typical for Africa, and they should not be a reason not to visit. Think of it as embracing the local customs and learning a new skill …

Is Morocco safe?

Yes! Morocco is a beautiful, exciting and welcoming country to visit. As with most countries across the world, there are areas that can be more dangerous than others and Morocco is no different. Avoid unsavoury places after dark and alone and you shouldn’t have any problems. Ask for guidance from your accommodation hosts for where to go, what to see, things to do and if there are any places to avoid.

It is important that you remember that most of the country is Muslim so familiarising yourself with the customs and practices of this faith will help you navigate daily life here. Some areas are more devout than others, but a little respect goes a long way. Learning a few phrases of Arabic will endear you to most Moroccans and so long as you behave considerately then you won’t have any problems.

An example of this is the drinking of alcoholic drinks. Morocco doesn’t tend to serve alcohol in its restaurants, except for the more western places or international hotels. Drinking on the streets is a firm no no and being inebriated in public will definitely be frowned upon.

Morocco entry requirements

Visas for Morocco are not required for UK or US citizens for trips of up to 90 days. If you wish to stay longer than this, then you will need permission to do so. Always check the most up to date travel advice for your destination before travelling in case of any changes.

You must have 6 months validity left on your passport when travelling to Morocco.

Morocco vaccinations

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend vaccinations required for Morocco which are similar to many other countries, including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Polio and Tetanus. These are not mandatory but are a good idea to consider before travel to ensure you are adequately vaccinated.

Religion in Morocco

99% of Moroccans are Muslim and the remaining 1% are Christians, Jews and Baháʼí Faith, which is a religion started in Morocco during colonial rule.

One of the most memorable experiences you’ll have in Morocco is listening to the muezzin call to worship, which happens 5 times a day. If you’re not familiar with the sound, you may be confused at first, but shops may close for prayers and you will see people flocking to the mosque for prayer.

Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco

Things to do in Morocco

Where to start!? Morocco is a big country and there is so much to see and do. We’ve written a separate blog on our top 10 things to do in Morocco but here are some of our favourite things to do in Morocco.

Visit Marrakech

Whilst Marrakech is not the capital of Morocco, it is the most famous city. This central hub is a wonderful introduction to Moroccan culture and a great place to base yourself for exploring the mountains, the coast, the souks and the more cosmopolitan side of Morocco. Wander through the medina, experience a hamman, explore the main square and practice your haggling! Sample the culinary delights at local cafes and stalls and have your first taste of Moroccan peppermint tea. If you only have a few days to spare, spend them here. You won’t be disappointed.

Trek in the Atlas Mountains

We know a little bit about this, as you might expect. We think everyone who visits Morocco should take a hike in the High Atlas Mountains and we have trips to suit all abilities. Climb Mount Toubkal in summer or winter, depending on how much of a challenge you’re after, and find a quieter, more tranquil side to this busy country. Trekking in Morocco takes you to some incredible places and the changeable scenery is just breathtaking.

Go to the beach

With so much coastline in Morocco you have a choice of where to see the sea. We particularly like Casablanca, Agadir and Essaouira. For long sandy beaches, watersports and luxury hotels Agadir is a good bet. Essaouira is quieter but has plenty going on still and Casablanca is elegant full of culture. Pick one or visit all three but don’t miss a trip to the seaside when you’re in Morocco.

Try an adventure activity

Do you know how many different adventure activities you can try here?! From paragliding and sandboarding, surfing and kitesurfing, quad biking and trekking to white water rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking and even skiing, there is plenty here for the adventurous travellers amongst us.

Explore the medina in Fes

The medina of Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical and cultural value. It is also one of the largest pedestrianised city centre areas in the world. Spend at least a day or two exploring here, sampling the culinary delights, smelling the spice stalls, haggling for souvenirs and stocking up at the apothecaries.

Spend a night in the desert

Ride a camel into the Sahara Desert. I mean, that’s pretty spectacular right, and not something you are likely to do regularly, unless you’re a Berber. Camping in the Sahara is incredible. With nothing but dunes for miles and stars that meet the horizon at night, sleeping in this sandy wilderness is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

There is so much more to Morocco than we can put down in writing here. Check out our other blogs on top 10 things to do in Morocco and mountains in Morocco for more travel inspiration for this intriguing destination or talk to the helpful team at Kandoo Adventures.