When I come back home from one of my road trips, I always like to write an article with the aim of giving as much tips as I can to my readers. After all, with ontheroad itineraries you are completely immersed in a country, the feelings are plenty as well as many are the suggestions that come to mind when I’m on the road.
Morocco is certainly not a difficult country to visit but I realized that it is not even that simple. So, the question is…is safe to travel to Morocco? Let’s see some aspects together.
Meanwhile I would like to remind you the article in which I told you about the trip: A two weeks itinerary in Morocco
Tips for travelling safely in Morocco
By clicking on each item in the table of contents just above, you can get to the section you are most interested in.
What to do before departing
f you want to travel safely in any country, I recommend you to always have a travel insurance policy that allows you to enjoy your trip worry-free. While you are planning a travel itinerary I think this is an aspect not to be underestimated because during the trip unexpected events can happen and having support is crucial. I always subscribe a travel insurance and usually opt for the full insurance with the addition of the deductible exclusion. I also had the opportunity to test its reliability during my trip to Mexico due to a minor food poisoning. It worked flawlessly so I can not help but recommend it.
A trip to Morocco is a cheap one. Flying is relatively cheap compared to intercontinental routes, and the expenses once you arrive in Morocco are minimal. I booked all the hotels from Italy already knowing the various prices per night and I was amazed at how good the quality/price ratio was.
Also, there is no difference between areas of Morocco. The costs of Marrakech are similar if not equal to those found in other Moroccan areas. Probably the cheapest area I found was Errachidia because I had stopped to drink a coffee and the prices were ridiculous, about 20 dirhams for 2 mint teas and 2 bottles of water including service. A coffee doesn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, however it gave me the idea of being a less inflated area.
Taxi fares are subject to pre-departure negotiations but apart from the areas where they cartel (like at the airports or just outside attractions such as the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech) we are talking about a few dozen dirhams. A ride from the center of Marrakech to the airport costs, for example, 100 dirhams and it’s a 15 minute trip.
Speaking of food in Chefchaouen we spent 120 dirhams for dinner for two people: 2 tajines, 1 starter course, 1 bottle water and 2 mint teas. Of course I’m talking about mid-level restaurants. I was only in an expensive restaurant, the Nomad in Marrakech, however by expensive I mean 30 euros for a 2 people dinner.
The entrances to the various palaces/kasbahs vary between 10 and 20 dirhams, gasoline is about 10.5 dirhams per liter, in short, Morocco is a cheap destination.
Where can I exchange euros for dirham?
During my trip, the exchange rate was 10.8/10.9 dirham for 1 euro. I didn’t find much difference between exchanging euros at the airport or downtown. The advice, however, is not to exchange too many euros in relation to how much you plan to spend, exchanging dirhams for euros is not recommended.
Is safe withdraw money from ATMs in Morocco?
I had no problems with ATM withdrawals. Only one bank did not accept my credit card or ATM card, but I suppose it was a bank or a problem related to that ATM.
Is safe to use a Credit card in Morocco
Morocco and credit cards don’t really get along. In restaurants there is no point in paying with card but in hotels I expected it to be possible, after all they include it as a service that almost everyone offers. Yet, only the hotel in Tangier accepted payments by credit card, all the other times I had to pay with cash. Since there are commissions, many facilities prefer the classic payment. Through this anecdote I would suggest you to always keep local money at hand, even euros are fine, cash in other words. But, if the question is…is safe to pay by credit card? I answer yes.
Is safe travelling by car in Morocco
Morocco is not a bad country for a road trip… if you don’t drive into the cities! In this case it becomes a “mission impossible” and you have to remain focused and relaxed. Carts, carriages, donkeys, mopeds, cars on the right and left, car honks everywhere, non-existent priorities, in short the highway code is an opinion.
Analyzing my itinerary of the trip to Morocco, from the city of Marrakech to the hectic yet beautiful Fez I didn’t have any kind of problem in this regard. Very little traffic, the main road is well clear while the secondary roads aren’t the best, in fact they do not even exist because they are often composed of gravel and soil, mud when it rains.
There are only two tricks I can think of, one concerns car rental and the other the ubiquitous police on Moroccan roads.
Car rental: I got in trouble when returning my car. Wherever you will return the car make sure to ask if there is someone from the company you have chosen around you. When I returned the car, no one had the identification uniform, let alone someone came to ask me what company I was returning the car for. This is what happened to me at the Tangier airport.
Police, speed limits and checkpoints
The Moroccan police: on your road trip pay attention to the constant presence of the police forces along the roads. Many people return home with a speeding ticket, I came home with a fine for not complying with a stop sign.
The obvious question arises. On a straight road for miles and miles, where can you find a stop sign? Answer: Nowhere, unless it’s the police themselves who put up the sign.
Let me explain how it works: checkpoints are strange. Where you stop only if the policemen stop you. No, in Morocco every police stakeout is a checkpoint. Near the checkpoint you will find signs to decrease speed next to the roadway. You must stop at the point where the policemen are and wait for them to give you permission to pass. Well, I have “skipped” this stop, or rather I crossed it at the incredible speed of 5 km per hour, so I got fined.
They told me that all police checkpoints work like a roadblock, actually it’s not exactly true because sometimes there are stops, other times you just have to slow down, and sometimes you can still find the spiked strips that force you to manoeuvre.
Speed limits range from 40/60/80 to 100. Speedways vary between 80 and 100. In towns they’re between 40 and 60. Be careful to observe them because the police make their stakeout at long distance and you might get fined.
SAT-NAV: I’ve relied on an offline sat-nav, all I needed was the GPS signal. Sometimes it is difficult to find the right street name. In some situations it could be useful to use the data connection with google maps.
Parking: in my ontheroad trip in Morocco I didn’t have major problems when it came to parking and finding a parking space. The only problem was in Fes where there are no indications and I found some unauthorized car parkers. I never saw any signs with a P for parking but it could also be that I missed them trying not to bump into some car in the traffic.
Food is safe? Recommended food and restaurants
The food element has been a slight disappointment, I expected much more flavorful dishes, but I’ve only been satisfied on a few occasions. I probably made some bad choices when it came to places to go.
The best known courses are Tajine which can be of various types of meat, Cous Cous, Moroccan salad, Brochette (flavoured skewers).
The best Tajine has been the one with plums at the Sindibad restaurant in Chefchaouen, delicious! Also at the Luxury camp in the desert they brought me a delicious meat dinner.
Moroccan street food is especially related to desserts and also dried fruit. You will find many stalls with all kinds of sweets but only by eating one you will have already eaten enough sugar for a whole week. Sugar is widely used in Moroccan tradition, the average is 36 kg of sugar per person per year. A huge amount.
I cannot help but mention the mint tea, a sign of hospitality but also a real ritual with their particular way of pouring it. Usually the tea is served with sugar and, since they put a lot of sugar in it, if you like it less sugary it is better to have it served without sugar or with sugar separately. Sometimes I couldn’t finish my cup because it was so sweet that, for me, it was undrinkable.
After a few days spent drinking tea it will become a custom even for the tourist, a day without tea cannot exist in Morocco.
Data network, WiFi and AC plugs
WiFi in hotels is bad. Sometimes it is slow and sometimes it gets stuck. In restaurants and clubs it works better but not all places have WiFi service. It would be best to buy a SIM card that will surely come in handy. The service is good.
Also the information related to the AC plugs are becoming fundamental, with all the electronic devices that we have to recharge every night. The AC plugs in Morocco are the same as the Italian ones with the difference that they do not have the central grounding pin. My tip is always to get a universal adapter.
Is safe a DIY or is better a Guided Tours?
f anyone of you have been reading my articles for a while now, you will know that I love to create an itinerary as much as possible all by myself. You also know that do-it-yourself does not have to prevaricate an experience or make it less enjoyable. In some countries you can plan it meticulously, in others you might want the help of specialized local agencies to get the best out of it. In the case of Morocco I could say that you can make a good mix, something you can plan on your own, something else you can’t.
If your idea is to experience Morocco without any filter and then immerse yourself completely in the country, knowing the problems that this entails, then plan your ontheroad or your itinerary by yourself.
If, on the other hand, your idea is to avoid any unforeseen events, any nuisance and travelling safe to Morocco, then I suggest you to rely on a local agency in Morocco that will create your tailor-made itinerary from one of their offers. In Morocco I met several people who were doing a tour similar to mine supported by the agency. Their perception of things and experiences was very different from mine. The guided tour avoids misunderstandings. They take you around with a private driver. The risks and unforeseen events are limited to a minimum.
The decision is up to you, it depends on how you want to enjoy Morocco.
What is assured is that I strongly advise you to rely on the agency for some excursions.
For one night in the desert I relied on a local agency that took me to a fantastic luxury camp. Planning a night in the desert on your own is not convenient.
Don’t wander around alone, even in the cities, it’s always better to get to know the city initially with a certified local guide at your side. The medina is a labyrinth and getting lost is quite easy.
Is safe to travel to Morocco? Conclusion
Travelling safely in Morocco is simple, you just need to adopt a few precautions and be prepared. Morocco is not dangerous, or rather it is dangerous like any great city, you just need to be prepared, these tips will certainly help you to get a better picture of the situation and I hope you will discover Morocco, a country with great charm, at its best.