Frequently Asked Questions
Is Morocco Safe?
Q1: Visiting Morocco for the First Time?
Moroccans welcome visitors from all over the world with open arms and a culture known for it’s hospitality. The economy is hugely dependent upon tourism and reforms have been put in place to ensure the visitors experience is as carefree as possible. All guides must be registered and trained. Tourist Police work in every major city. Unlike many other popular tourist destinations in the world, crime in Morocco is mostly petty thievery and scams.
The political situation is stable but progress towards modernizing has been a slow process. With strong diplomatic trade associations in Europe, especially France – and increasingly the USA and Japan, growth is in the future for Morocco. Attacks against the government are rare and severely punished. Moroccans practice a moderate and tolerant form of Islam and are sensitive to the plight of Palestine and Iraq. Fortunately Morocco has not experienced the political upheaval that other African countries have endured in the quest for a stable government.
The Ebola outbreak in sub Saharan Africa was of deep concern for the government of Morocco and extreme steps were taken to stop the spread of the disease to her borders.
To view up to date health risks for Morocco please visit the IAMAT online guide to world travel.
Q2: What about women traveling Morocco?
Foreign women travel safely but attract attention, most often to buy something or be offered a “service” (especially in the cities, take that offer as you may!) but should not to go out alone at night. Muslim men should not touch a woman he doesn’t know. If a foreign women wants respect she should not tolerate his long handshake or his lingering hand on her arm or anywhere else. Dressing conservatively creates respect. Foreigners are treated with the duality of wonderful hospitality or as a chance for financial gain, or both at the same time. Traditions are strong and old ways are still practiced. A good attitude and a sense of sharing and humor go a long way to breaking down preconceptions of foreign women.
Q3: What can I expect while touring Morocco?
Morocco can be a delightfully rewarding and challenging experience. African culture has much to teach the modern world, offering a combination of enjoyment and understanding, with learning new and ancient ways of living. Moroccans work very hard to make visitors feel welcome, but patience and understanding is needed as well. Developing countries struggle to maintain modern amenities and they can be non existent in places outside the city. Sometimes visitor’s expectations are not understood by a culture that has little or no direct experience of them. Instead you might receive an interpretation with interesting consequences. Life moves a lot slower than what Westerners are used to, and this must be taken into consideration. Things do get done eventually. It’s best to approach Morocco with an appreciation of cultural differences, sounds, smells, language, expression, light, relaxing, enjoying and accepting. Laughter speaks the same language everywhere.
About Morocco Explored Tours
Q4: How does a custom private tour work?
All our tours are private and can start any day of the year for any number of days. EMAIL what you would like to do in Morocco, how many days you want to tour, as well as how many explorers will be in your group. We’ll send a sample tour with trip ideas that match your requests and when you have decided on a tour, we will confirm the price in US dollars.
Q5: Does Morocco Explored have references?
As of 2019 we have won 7 straight years of Awards of Excellence from our travelers 5 star reviews. All our Trip Advisor reviews are genuine. Every single person who has posted can be contacted through the link below their review and asked about their experience with Morocco Explored. We have many fans so be prepared for a long detailed conversation!
Q6: What does a tour with Morocco Explored cost?
Prices vary from tour to tour since all are custom made. Our prices might be a bit higher than some companies who offer similar tours because we respect our staff by training, paying them well and providing retirement pensions. On cheaper tours you might find your driver sleeping in his vehicle to save money. Our drivers are provided with a hotel and shower and meals every day while on tour with you. We also pay all our bills and taxes on time, and consequently you’ll be treated with respect and have great service from our associate providers and their employees as well!
Q7: How can I pay for a tour?
We require a deposit to start the reservation process. If you need to pay by credit card click on the top Book Online menu. Please confirm your itinerary with us first.
Q8: How can I change money in Morocco?
You can buy dirhams at foreign exchanges and banks outside Morocco but you should sell your dirhams back to the bank before you leave Morocco, (will be a lower rate than you bought them).
Cash in Euros, US and Canadian dollars, and GBP Sterling are accepted at every money exchange. Change tellers are also located in some hotels. Australian $ are not accepted at this time.
You can also use your debit card at bank machines but they often run out of funds early in the day. There will likely be a charge for overseas transactions from your bank and you must have a 4 digit PIN number.
Visa is universally accepted in the bigger shops and restaurants, but double check that the total on your bill is in the proper currency!
Q9: What clothing is appropriate in Morocco?
You can wear familiar and comfortable clothes on the street as you do at home. You’re not expected to look like a Moroccan. Long shorts and shirts are fine for men. For women it’s a good idea to bring a scarf to cover shoulders and arms. Shorts are not acceptable for women unless knee length. If you choose to dress with skin showing, rural Moroccans may react with a muffled laugh or cover their eyes. In their view you’re walking around in your underwear. City dwellers often dress as we do.
Q10: What kind of accommodation do you use?
We use 3 or 4 star level riads, small traditional hotels, and old kasbahs. Hotels include breakfast and many include dinner. In Marrakech, Essaouira and Fes we use smaller hotels renovated from beautiful old Merchant houses – riads in the old medina. In Casablanca we use a modern hotel downtown.
Q11: What kind of vehicles do you use?
We use 4×4 vehicles like Toyota Land Cruisers, Mitsubishi, Nissan for our private tours. Our vehicles have lots of room and they seat 4 and 5 average sized people quite comfortably. All are within 5 years old and are routinely required to licensing and service checks through the Transport Touristic authority in Morocco.
We use Renault or Mercedes minibuses for group tours.
Vehicles and drivers are assigned to tours on the basis of who is available when and where.
Our cars and drivers originate from Marrakech and if you’re staying in any other location for an overnight, the car and driver must also stay as well. It will take one whole day for the car and driver to reach places like Tangier or Fes or Casablanca, so this cost must be included in a tour starting or finishing in locations outside of Marrakech.
Q12: What about the safety of food and water? Can I buy alcohol?
Moroccan cuisine is delicious and fresh. If you are an inexperienced traveler chances are you likely will suffer stomach upsets. Water in the cities is fine for washing and brushing teeth but we do not recommend that you drink tap and never well water. Alcohol can be purchased at supermarkets and hotels but is not commonly sold in restaurants and if it is, may be unavailable during Ramadan.
Vegetarian requests are understood and accommodated in most tourist visited areas. Vegan is not.
Q13: Can I tour during Ramadan?
We suggest organizing your travel dates outside of Ramadan. Many businesses, museums, and markets are closed and the amazing energy and color that normally pervades Morocco is subdued. However Morocco Explored tours are available year round.
Q14: When can I camel trek?
Visit Desert Tours to read about:
Is it Safe in the Sahara Desert?
What about scorpions and snakes?
Who can ride a camel?
Where is Morocco Explored desert camel trek camp?
Will it be hot?
What to wear on camel trek?
Can I drive into the desert camp or stay in a hotel?
About Drivers & Guides
Q15: Is it easy to get around without a guide?
We recommend a human guide for a few hours to allow yourself to become comfortable with the culture and get to know a real Moroccan. You will learn and experience much more with a guide who will have insights and perspectives that you cannot find in guide books. A guide will also open hidden doors that many passers by would not think to open, and make the best use of your time. Many of our travelers make lifelong friends with their guide.
Q16: Which days will we need to hire guides?
When you book a tour with Morocco Explored your driver will act as your guide and he will inform your journey on the road. We also recommend city guides for a tour of Marrakech and Fes, and some other locations are also listed on your tour outline.
Q17: How well are guides trained?
All guides must complete a Government training course and carry a certification badge that qualifies them as a professional. Drivers must also be licensed to drive commercial passenger vehicles.
Q18: Do your guides and drivers speak English?
Guides know many languages as well as Berber and Arabic, including French, Spanish, and English and often Chinese, German, Japanese, Italian and Dutch.
Q19: How much should I tip?
Tipping is customary – even Moroccans are expected to do it… but it’s also up to you. About 100 dirhams or more for a professional guide per each hour they work with your group of 4 or less. If you are a bigger group think about adding 50 dirhams each hour for each additional person to this amount.
If someone shows you back to your hotel they’ll probably expect a tip and you can offer them 10-20 dirhams. Keeping spare coins in your pocket is a good idea to avoid digging through your wallet or purse.
Its never a good idea to tip children or give them gifts of candy. Foreigners with good intentions have encouraged them to freely approach strangers. Pedophilia is on the rise in Morocco. Please never give children anything, candies (bon bons) or pens (stilos) etc, no matter how needy they appear.
Tipping 10-15% otherwise is the standard but as always it is up to you. Tipping structures are very complicated, and with each confirmed booking we’ll send an Information Guide that outlines tipping in more detail.