Morocco – useful tips

Pro tips

In short, I will try to present the most important things about the trip to Morocco:

1. What to see?
2. Where to sleep?
3. How to live?
4. How much does it cost?


1. What to see?

Below are listed places worth visiting in order from the best ones according to us.

Ouzoud waterfalls (32°00’54.9″N 6°43’09.6″W)

You can’t miss them. Waterfalls are beautiful, but the thing is not about them. It’s about monkeys. Whole herds. They allow to be fed, get on people and jump on trees. It’s a good idea to come early, around 9:00, to avoid the crowds. In addition, a little down the river, there are many camping sites among the green. They seemed very attractive, we recommend to check them out.

 

Ouzoud
Ouzoud

Fes

  • Medina (34°03’53.8″N 4°58’27.1″W)

Medina is a must. Surprisingly, it is not in the city center. Narrow streets and plenty of stalls, shops and craft workshops. The charm was thrown on medina – you can’t leave it until you have spent enough money. Even GPS does not help. The prices of goods are affordable and the choice is enormous so it’s the best idea to equip here with souvenirs.

  • Tanneries (inside the medina)

Traditional places where leather is prepared for further processing. Unforgettable fragrances. You have to be careful, because while the lookout terraces are free, “guides” that would take you to hem will want a small fee or a purchase of a leather product. You just have to be assertive, they won’t take the money from you by force.

Tradycyjne wyrabianie skór
Traditional making of leather

Chefchaouen (35°10’07.6″N 5°15’42.4″W)

A small, blue town with a beautiful medina, where you can walk endlessly. Everybody, from the infants to the elderly, is a hash dealer. Souk is held on Mondays, below the medina. It’s worth to go to the surrounding mountains for a one-day trip or further, to Azilane, where there is a camping and waterfalls in the area.

Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen

Marrakech

If you choose this city as the beginning of your trip, it will be calmer and „more honest” onwards.

  • Cyber Parc Moulay Abdessalam (31°37’38.6″N 8°00’00.6″W)

Probably the prettiest park in Marrakech, moreover there is a free Wi-Fi

  • Palais de la Bahia (31°37’15.3″N 7°59’02.7″W)

Beautiful interiors

  • Palais El Badi (31°37’08.6″N 7°59’07.6″W)

A view of the storks (probably Polish!) against the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains, in addition to some old walls and a photo exhibition

  • Jemaa EL Fnaa (31°37’33.1″N 7°59’20.4″W)

The main square of the old part of Marrakech. Monkeys on chains, cobras, birds, dancers, acrobats, weird food

  • Souk/Medina (31°37’39.7″N 7°59’15.0″W)

Lots of stalls, narrow streets, a lot of craft workshops. The goods that are produced there will then appear on the market stalls.

  • Jardin Majorelle (31°38’29.2″N 8°00’08.0″W)

We didn’t enter because the ticket costs 70 MAD, but then Ahmed (our host on Couchsurfing) said we wouldn’t have regretted spending the money

Gniazdo z widokiem
A nest with a view
Węże
Snakes

NOT WORTH:

  • Jardins de l’Agdal (31°36’47.3″N 7°58’45.9″W)
  • Jardins de la Ménara (31°36’50.8″N 8°01’01.7″W)
  • Place de la Jeunesse i Oliveraie (31°36’49.9″N 8°00’19.8″W)

Essaouira (31°30’47.0″N 9°46’12.5″W)

The city itself doesn’t have much to offer: standard medina, not the cleanest beach and souk every Sunday. Although maybe cherry tomatoes at souk for 2 MAD/kg are quite a thing.

What attracted us to this city are the legendary goats on the trees! The problem was that they were only in one place on the Marrakech – Essaouira road (left on the way from Marrakesh) and in addition they are special goats for tourists. These original goats can be found on the Essaouira – Agadir road for some 30 km away from Essaouira. We saw ours after 70 km.

Souk
Souk
Rodzinne pogaduchy przy arganowym śniadanku
Family chit-chat besides argan breakfast

Ouarzazate (30°55’29.8″N 6°54’52.0″W)

The town itself is no different than the others, it doesn’t have even medina, but it is a good base to see Aït Ben Haddou, a fortified village placed on the UNESCO list, where Gladiator and Game of Thrones were filmed.

Ait Ben Haddou
Ait Ben Haddou

Paradise Valley

It’s between Essaouira and Agadir. Supposedly beautiful, however we found out about it… in the last day of our stay in Morocco.

Moulay Yaâcoub (34°05’18.3″N 5°10’45.2″W)

You have to come to one of the restaurants to enjoy a delicious breakfast consisting of only natural products. The quality of the food was confirmed by the presence of a crowd of Moroccans who were sitting here. In addition, there is an expensive SPA in the town.

Rabat

Capital, which surprises with its modernity when compared to the rest of the country.

  • Medina (34°01’35.3″N 6°50’10.3″W)

Medina is like a medina, when you are in a city it is always worth seeing

  • Kasbah des Oudayas (34°01’53.3″N 6°50’08.0″W)

Fortress with beautiful views of the estuary, ocean and the city. Inside there are climatic, narrow streets and a garden

  • Mausolée Mohammed V (34°01’22.5″N 6°49’17.3″W)

The majestic mausoleum of King Mohammed V, which impresses with the number of ornaments. Guards are dressed in representative uniforms, photos are always a must

  • A ride in a city bus  (34°01’21.7″N 6°50’28.0″W)

We recommend it, amazing experiences of all kinds. After such a journey, Polish public transport and the definition of “squeezed like sardines” take on a new meaning.

Rabat
Rabat

Azilal (31°57’36.4″N 6°34’14.9″W)

We got there unintentionally, but it worked out well. It’s close to the waterfalls in Ouzoud, has cheap accommodation and the best souk we had opportunity to visit (it takes place on Thursdays). A huge choice, and the purchased meat can be immediately given to be grilled (for free).

Souk
Souk

N9 through the Atlas mountains (31°29’16.9″N 7°26’05.3″W)

Beautiful views on the mountain road

Droga przez Atlas
Road through the Atlas

Taroudant (30°28’31.5″N+8°52’37.1″W)

Small town, we got there accidentally wanting to avoid accommodation in Agadir. A nice medina, a local souk, no tourists and a beautiful view of the Atlas mountains.

Agadir (30°25’19.7″N 9°35’37.2″W)

We were just passing through and didn’t go in the center. The city has made a good impression on us as a modern and neat.

Bin El-Ouidane (32°05’58.1″N 6°25’27.0″W)

It has been recommended to us, it looks phenomenal from above, but up close offers nothing interesting, you can limit yourself to a slow pass and a stop for a photo.

Bin El Ouidane
Bin El Ouidane

Beni Mellal (32°20’04.4″N 6°21’25.9″W)

Apart from the park on the outskirts (Parc Aïn Asserdoun) there is nothing interesting.

Beni Mellal
Beni Mellal

2. Where to sleep?

We recommend sleeping on Couchsurfing. If you are lucky, you can also get an invitation from strangers to their home. In this case, there is nothing to be afraid of, just go ahead! This is a unique opportunity to see how usual Moroccan people live, what hospitality we should learn from them and to tell about your beautiful country and its customs.

In addition, we recommend sleeping in riads, which are small hotels that look like little palaces inside. Of course, the closer to the medina the better. Below is a list of places where we slept and we can recommend:

Ouarzazate

Hotel Hicham, 30°55’16.9″N 6°54’58.0″W, 80 MAD for double room with toilet and shower on the corridor

Azilal

Hotel Dades, (around here 31°57’30.8″N 6°34’23.7″W), 100 MAD for double room with toilet and shower on the corridor

Chefchaouen

Hotel Andaluz, (https://www.facebook.com/hotel.andaluz.chaouen/?fref=ts), 120 MAD for double room with toilet and shower on the corridor

Ouazzanne

Hotel Poste, 34°47’48.5″N 5°34’53.0″W, 100 MAD for double room with toilet and shower on the corridor


3. How to live?

I won’t tell you how to live, but I will give you a few tips that will make life in Morocco easier.

Haggling

We bargain for: goods on stalls, taxis, if they do not want to turn on the taximeter, hotels

We don’t bargain: where the price is known from the beginning, in restaurants, in hotels, if a price list is hung (here we can try to negotiate, but not to bargain), on buses, etc.

Where you can’t bargain, you can try to negotiate, but you must have something to convince the other side – you want to stay for 4 nights in a group of six, order 6 dishes in a restaurant or fill the whole bus, etc.

Transport

Hitchhiking works great, only sometimes drivers don’t know the gesture of “thumb up” and then they don’t know what’s going on. Then you have to quickly show on your fingers how many people want to go and indicate the direction in which you are going.

Petit taxi, or normal taxis within cities. They are always in the color of the city and only in Marrakesh there was a problem with turning on the taximeter. Generally, they are medium-cheap.

Grand taxi, or taxis going between cities. The driver takes 6 people to the old Mercedes sedan (2 in the front seat and 4 in the back), so it’s a bit tight. You can get into an empty one and wait for people to get settled in or get into another one. Sometimes there is a change of cars along the way, we need to make sure that the drivers are pass the information that you have already paid. Cost: medium-expensive.

Intercity buses, of which there are two types. Ordinary, which are slow, dirty and leave from a bit scary stations. There is a surprise waiting for you before you get in – 10 MAD for luggage put into the hatch, of course no one will inform you about it before. Cost: medium. The second type is Supratours buses, faster and looking neater, also departing from nicer stations. We didn’t take them because they are medium-expensive.

City buses – crowded, unpunctual and slow. You should treat them rather like a one-time adventure, not a transportation. It’s a waste of time, it’s better to choose a taxi petit.

Restaurants

You can always ask for extra bread with your meal, they shouldn’t charge you for it. Not in every bar there is a toilet, but there will always be a wash basin. Tap water is drinkable.

People

At first glance, it seems that everyone wants to cheat you to get your money. Then, it turns out that the country is full of honest and helpful people, but unfortunately tourists have mostly contact with the greedy minority. How not to be deceived? Be assertive, be polite, pay only after the service and have a lot of small nominals (the need to give the change is very tempting to make a “mistake”).

Languages

We, knowing English, Spanish and a little bit of French, somehow managed to communicate. The most useful of course will be Arabic, then French and in the north Spanish. English came in handy in the most touristic places and during hitchhiking, when the drivers, who took us, were people working for some larger companies.

Airport

Passport control took a lot of time in both directions. In Rabat we got an SMS from Ryanair to be 3 hours before departure. Of course, it was too much time, but 2 hours is the absolute minimum. And note that they weighed the cabin baggage! We had to do some tricks to let our 17 kg per person pass the 10 kg limit.


4. The costs

We saved a lot on transportation and accommodation, which left us around 270 € for 2 persons for 2 weeks, and in the last days we were spending a little more to get rid of all the exchanged currency.

Reasonable prices:

Lunch at the restaurant: 30-45 MAD

Petit taxi: 4-7 MAD/km, depending on the city

Usual bus: 0,5 MAD/km

Nightstay in riad: 100 MAD for double room without bathroom

Bananas: 7 MAD/kg

Oranges: 6 MAD/kg

Quality dates: 20 MAD/kg

Mandarines: 6 MAD/kg

1,5l water: 6 MAD

Tajine: depends on its kind and where you buy it, better to buy away from touristic places, we have our from Ouazzane for 50 MAD (capacity for 2-3 people)

Djellaba: again it depends on the material, how many decorations it has, whether manually sewn (more expensive) or machine (cheaper). For the djelaba of good material, with delicate ornaments, machine-sewn we paid in Ouazzane (the largest selection of all places we visited) 160 MAD after negotiations.