Morocco Travel Tips - with Wired Destinations
October-December and March-May are really Morocco's best seasons, when temperatures average in the low 70s F/24 C. January and February can be cool and rainy - bad beach weather - and only the best hotels have central heating (because it's usually so hot). The summer shouldn't be ruled out: Although the average summer temperature in Marrakesh can be around 100 F/38 C, the coastal cities (Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier) remain comfortable (low 80s F/27-29 C), if somewhat humid.
The Moroccan currency is the Dirham (DH) divided into 100 centimes. There are 50, 100 and 200 DH notes, 1, 5 and 10 DH coins and 5, 10, 20 and 50 centime coins. You can only obtain Dirhams in Morocco. Do not change money in the streets, it is illegal. The best place to change is at a bank or approved change office (indicated by a golden sign). No commission is charged and you will be given a slip which will be required at the end of your stay to change any remaining Dirhams back into the original currency. You can withdraw money in banks with a credit card and a cheque book, or directly from a cash dispenser in some large towns. Credit cards are generally accepted in major hotels, shops and restaurants, and sometimes even in the souks!
Greenwich Mean TimeA^ (GMT) is Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) + 0:0 hours
It is not possible to make collect calls from Morocco to the US. Calling cards can also be difficult to use and can be costly. The cheapest way to call from Morocco to the US is to use the numerous tele-boutiques. Another good idea is to leave the addresses and phone numbers of your hotels with family and friends so they can call you. Of course, you can also call the US from your hotel but this is more expensive than the tele-boutique. Internet service is common and it is easy to send and check your email from Morocco.
The voltage used is 220 volts (the U.S. uses 120 volts). You can purchase a converter at most hardware stores for appliances that do not switch to 220V.
The official language of Morocco is Arabic, with French and Spanish also spoken. Less than 25 per cent of the population use Berber as their first language. In tourist areas the touts can reel off a number of phrases in English, German, and even Swedish.
Dress is casual, even in the major cities. We recommend that expensive jewelry be left at home. Comfortable shoes are recommended. The sun is beautiful in Morocco and sunglasses are a must. Some religious sites do not allow shorts or sleeveless shirts. Try not to overpack and bring too many clothes. You are certain to buy many souvenirs in Morocco and will regret if you arrive with overpacked suitcases. Easy to care for wash and wear clothes are the best. Hotels have laundry service where your clothing can be washed and pressed for a modest fee.
If time is your enemy and you've got a bit of cash to splash about, consider the occasional internal flight to make the most of this land. Morocco's Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF) operates one of the most modern rail systems in Africa, linking most of the main centres. The trains are generally comfortable, fast and a better option than the buses - if only because sleeping cars are available for many overnight trips. Lines go as far south as Marrakesh. But if you miss the train, the buses are by no means a last-ditch option. The bus network is dense and efficient in most areas. Running alongside the bus services are shared taxis. These are the workhorses of the Moroccan road A^- normally elderly Mercedes vehicles which you'll see belting along the highways or gathered in great flocks near bus stations. Shared taxis are a big feature of Morocco's public transport system and link towns to their nearest neighbours in a kind of 'leapfrogging' system, going from one town to another, en route to a final destination. The fixed-rate fares are generally a little higher than bus fares. Renting a car isn't cheap in Morocco, but deals can be struck with the smaller agencies. Petrol (gas) is available pretty much everywhere. Take note that Moroccan roads are festooned with police and customs roadblocks. The bigger cities have public bus services. Petits taxis are a common sight in most cities and major towns. They're licensed to carry up to three passengers and can be a useful way to avoid heat exhaustion and/or hustlers.
Morocco is a healthy country, however a certain number of minimal precautions should be taken, particularly in the south. Avoid water from wadis and itinerant water sellers. Refresh yourself with the excellent bottled spring water: Sidi Harazem, Imouzzer and Sidi Ali are still waters, while Oulmes is sparking. If you are prone to intestinal problems, take an appropriate medicine with you. Make enquiries before swimming in a wadi or a lake. Take precautions against insect bites and sunburn. If necessary, tourist offices and major hotels can put you in touch with doctors who speak English, French or other languages.