After several trips to Morocco on a road trip, more particularly in southern Morocco, I can afford to give you some useful advice and practical advice. Preparing for a stay in Morocco is the assurance of combining exoticism and low budget. And then, leaving only a few hours by plane from France is still a good argument. To prepare your trip to Morocco, this Morocco guide gives all the tips for a successful stay, some warnings, the budget to plan, the possible circuits and THE best itinerary in Morocco.
The best tips for traveling in southern Morocco: Morocco guide
To organize your trip to Morocco easily, it is wise to know a few essential things before departure. I’m giving you a summary of frequently asked questions about this Maghreb country and I’m providing simple answers and valuable advice.
When is the best time to go to Morocco?
The seasons alternate at the same rate as in France, there is only an hour difference in summer, and withdraw 1 hour more during Ramadan. Depending on the route you take, the climate will change a lot and it is therefore difficult to tell you when to go to Morocco. One thing is certain, the risk of rain is rare. In fact, it is possible to go to Morocco all year round. Be aware that December and January are a little colder and you won’t be able to enjoy the pool or the beach. in contrast, July / August is a very hot period where temperatures can easily reach 50 degrees in southern Morocco.
Finally, each season has advantages. In spring Morocco has the most beautiful vegetation, argan trees are in bloom around May, the best season in Morocco to see varied landscapes. Then, in summer, nature becomes yellow and the desert takes on all its strength. Winter is cool and therefore suitable for hiking. Finally, in autumn, everything is burned by the sun but it is less hot.
For my part, I went to Morocco on summer vacation during Ramadan with 45 degrees on average, then in September out of season. I was never disappointed.
Book your Flight to Morocco
Planning your trip to Morocco at best is also booking your plane ticket to Morocco in advance. If you go in high season, the ticket price will be more expensive. To find the best price, I recommend using a flight comparator. Remember to check the validity of your passport (the visa is not necessary for French nationals).
Depending on your choice of route, you will choose Agadir, Marrakech or Ouarzazate as the arrival airport.
What budget to plan to travel to Morocco?
Here is how to prepare your trip to Morocco with an average budget:
The flight between France and Morocco costs between 100 and 300 € depending on the airline. I repeat, but take your tickets in advance.
– What budget for a night in Morocco?
How much does a standard double room in Morocco cost? I would say it depends on where you are. In the cities you will find inexpensive Bed and Breakfasts or guesthouses. As for the desert, it has become fashionable and prices have skyrocketed in recent years. Indeed, from one night at 20 euros for a luxury hotel, we went to exorbitant prices for some. Count minimum 50 € in the desert and 20 € in the cities.
Please note, Marrakech Riads are often magnificent, but here too the costs are excessive. By looking well and taking it very early, you are likely to find the gem. Enjoy the rooftops and the swimming pool in the heart of the bustling city center.
– What food budget for a road trip in Morocco?
Eating in Morocco is the cheapest, you can go to a restaurant every day, it won’t change your food budget. Even better, we enjoy! A meal can be worth 20 to 150 dirhams or 2 to 14 euros. Even in a chic restaurant, you will not exceed 40 euros. Nothing to do with France therefore. And then in road trip, it happens to stop a little in the middle of nothing, why not plan to buy some cheap snacks at the grocery store for this kind of occasion, it will compensate.
– Traveler budget (2 people)
Know that the currency of Morocco is the Dirham and keep in mind that around 1 € = 10 dirhams.
From intoxicating souks to camel caravans in the desert, I advise you to plan an average budget of € 900 for 1 week in Morocco for two. This implies that you pay attention to the overall expenses but that you can treat yourself to a few extras such as a trip to the Moroccan desert or a night in a magnificent riad in Marrakech.
Budget Morocco for two people, count approximately:
• 50 € per night for accommodation
• 30 € / day for food
• 25 € / day for the car
You have 165 euros left to treat yourself with a visit to the gardens of Marrakech, a camel ride or a very good meal in a hotel with swimming pool.
I invite you to go further down in this article, I dedicated a full paragraph to car rental to prepare for your trip to Morocco without a hitch.
– Other spending advice in Morocco
Another piece of advice, have cash in hand before going too far to the south of Morocco because it will be difficult to withdraw, distributors are becoming rarer. Better to avoid using your card for small amounts so as not to be taxed every time you move a bank account. Or, opt for a free card abroad, another good reason to plan your trip to Morocco in advance.
If you leave outside the tourist crowds (outside of school holidays or during Ramadan), benefit from good discounts on the posted prices. Remember to negotiate prices out of season!
Moreover, to better estimate the value of your expenses, the average monthly salary in Morocco is 200 euros, in France it is 2640 euros.
What should you know before leaving for Morocco?: Travel Morocco
Here is some practical information to know before your departure to Morocco:
• There is an hour difference with France depending on the season.
• The flight time between France and Morocco is around 3 hours.
• The passport is required to go to Morocco but there is no Visa for French people.
• The language spoken is Arabic and Berber, but French is also widely used.
What insurance for a trip to Morocco?: Travel Morocco
In recent years, I have realized that it was very risky to go on vacation without insurance. For this trip to Morocco, do not hesitate, it is better to prevent than to cure, especially in this kind of country where medical structures are not very widespread. Take travel insurance for Morocco!
Also, Allianz Travel offers a very complete holiday insurance with cover for medical expenses in Morocco, medical repatriation, compensation in the event of delay and / or missed transport, luggage cover in the event of theft, loss or damage and cover cancellation…
What vaccines for Morocco? Health risk advice in Morocco
Should you be vaccinated to travel to Morocco?
A priori, there are no compulsory vaccines in Morocco but you must respect essential hygiene measures to avoid getting sick. Similar to an epidemic, you should wash your hands regularly, do not bring your fingers to your mouth. As a precaution, the hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines are recommended. If you plan to travel often, it may be time to do so. I went to Madagascar this year and have had these lifelong vaccines if the recall is done on the right date. I wish I had been vaccinated earlier, it would have relieved me of unnecessary stress.
Disease and health advice in Morocco
Bring a good first aid kit to cure the inevitable tourista. And don’t drink from the tap, just bottled water, always make sure the bottle is open in front of you. Watch out for a few cases of scam on the bottle falsely sealed with glue. Glue residue is visible when you unscrew the cap. For tooth washing it’s the same, stay in mineral water. Alas, it’s really not environmentally friendly in terms of consumption of plastic bottles but there are no other solutions. You can always buy a big barrel of water and fill a 1.5L bottle if needed. This is what we did on our road trip in Australia.
Driving in the South of Morocco
Rest assured, outside big cities like Marrakech, driving in Morocco is not as complicated as it is said. You will tend to be the masters of the road since there are few people who travel long distances from the south. Beware, however, of the huge overloaded trucks that you cross or follow carefully. This is the case in particular towards the High Atlas crossing the mountains of Marrakech in the South towards the Ourika Valley. But there are a few things you need to know which I explain below.
– Risks on the roads in Morocco
You must therefore remain vigilant, traffic is dangerous only for these reasons:
• many do not respect the highway code
• animals roaming free on the roads
• certain unpredictable behavior on the part of public transport drivers (large taxis, coaches, trucks)
• the population who walks on the road at night without city lighting
• the risk of impact on the windshield because many small stones on the roads
• when you cross a vehicle in the wrong direction on a bad road, it may suddenly meet you on the right (the first time it is surprising)
In places, roads in Morocco are in poor condition but the tracks do not present great difficulties because they are quite flat, made of small gravel. It must be said that the dry climate is not conducive to gullied terrain and puddles of muddy water. Here it’s pebbles pebbles pebbles. But do not try to cross a wadi even with a 4 × 4 (a dry river most often made of crevasse). The most risky will certainly be in the desert where I advise you not to get bogged down with 45 degrees in the shade … Besides, be careful about what the rental company authorizes when taking a rental.
– Gasoline prices in Morocco
Petrol in Morocco is cheaper than in France (1 € per liter), perfect for living a long road trip without breaking the bank.
– Car rental in Morocco
In Morocco, there are large car rental companies like RentACar or Avis. You can also take a car from a local rental company, it is cheaper and the services are more adaptable to each situation. Also, it will get you out of a glitch on the road more effectively in general. Concerning insurance, ask your landlord for more information. I advise you to take out all-risk insurance.
The rental car is to be collected as soon as you leave the airport. Car parks dedicated to these passenger cars are a 2-minute walk from the Airport Hall. It’s very simple, a person from the rental agency comes with you to inventory any traces or possible problems visible on the bodywork. Do not hesitate to take some photos or a short film with your phone (the photo is dated on the phone in case of a glitch) from the outside and inside before you start your road trip. If it is a local agency, check that it has a counter at the airport or arrange an appointment with them for your arrival by plane.
– Should you rent a 4 × 4 for a road trip in Morocco? car budget in Morocco
Some roads are transformed into a track, but most of the time, it is quite passable by ordinary car. Certainly the 4 × 4 will allow you to venture further into the deserts or progress on isolated paths without stress. But the 4 × 4 has a cost, count 45 euros per day against 25 euros for a city car. So depending on your budget, you will rent a 4 × 4 or a classic car.
To learn more about equipping a 4 × 4 to prepare a road trip to Morocco, read my article traveling in 4 × 4. Tips and advice essential for getting organized on a road trip of more than 1 week.
How to call with your mobile phone in Morocco?: Travel Morocco
To call with your mobile phone in Morocco, you can use your plan if it has a world option or buy a not always advantageous traveler pack which is offered to you by SMS when you switch on your phone when leaving the plane.
Otherwise, if you want to have internet everywhere, the best thing is to buy a Moroccan SIM card on site. This prepaid card is very easy to use on an unlocked phone and you do not lose your phone data or access to your favorite applications. It’s only your phone number that changes. You can buy communication credit if necessary in Maroc Telecom, Orange or Inwi phone shops. Do not lose your French SIM card especially!
Another possibility is to deactivate data roaming in your phone settings and activate wifi. You will then only have access to the internet in hotels and restaurants offering WIFI. In addition, to phone in France via the internet, you will use WhatsApp or Skype, that’s good to know.
How to prepare your trip to Morocco? know how to speak a few arabic words
To seem more respectful of the country than one visits, it is always good to know a few words in the most used language, here Moroccan. The most useful is to learn the Moroccan polite formulas, the basis for communication.
Hello: SalamGoodbye: BslamaPlease: AfakThank you: ChoukraneNo: LlaYes: AyehYallah! : Let’s go! enough is enough: Safi
When someone says Salaam Alaikoum, we answer Wa Alaikoum Saalam, it’s an expression to welcome.
How are Moroccans?
Moroccans are kind, smiling and generous people. They will be happy to welcome you to their home for the mint tea ceremony while chatting quietly. However, tourism has wreaked havoc on the behavior of some. It is not uncommon in big cities like Fez or Marrakech to feel a notable aggressiveness. Unpleasant remarks by shopkeepers when you don’t buy anything, gestures from passers-by to spoil the photo you wanted to take, a growing exasperation that somewhat breaks the pleasure of the holidays.
My advice on this subject is to move towards areas less damaged by mass tourism, to visit Morocco off the beaten track. The road trip lends itself perfectly to that, do not hesitate to quickly pass on the exchanges in urban centers. You will have plenty of time to meet adorable Moroccans in more remote villages.
Traveling to Morocco during Ramadan
Twice I have traveled to Morocco during Ramadan. There are advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into account. During this fasting period, the population no longer lives at the same pace. Prayers and meals no longer respect the usual hours. During the day, the streets are deserted, many take long naps to stay without eating.
– Disadvantages of going to Morocco during Ramadan
• The streets are deserted, the animation of the cities is less.
• You will find many closed restaurants.
• Try not to eat or drink in public.
– Advantages of traveling to Morocco during Ramadan
• Fewer tourists, holidaymakers are fleeing Ramadan, which is less favorable for all kinds of tourist activities. This leaves you free to explore the country in a more authentic way.
• The souks are quieter, we feel less pressure from some traders while walking in the medinas.
What is the best route in Morocco?: Travel Morocco
Without a doubt, if I had to choose the most beautiful road trip in Morocco, it would be the circuit that brings together the city of Marrakech, the oasis of Ouarzazate and the Merzouga desert. But the stone desert of Tafraout left me speechless and the isolated roads of southern Morocco look like Nevada. An almost impossible choice. Besides, I will soon give you all the most beautiful routes to do in Morocco in the south of the country.
What desert to choose between M’hamid and Merzouga? the most beautiful desert between erg Chegaga and erg Chebbi
M’hamid is a good compromise if you do not want to drive too much, you will have a first approach to the desert of sand and stone. Indeed, erg Chegaga (M’hamid) is more extensive than erg Chebbi (Merzouga) but it alternates with flat desert areas and rocky massifs. To access the dunes, this requires a 4 × 4 or you will need to hire the services of a guide equipped with an adequate vehicle.
Consequently, if you want to experience the real desert, that of the tales of a thousand and one night, with dunes as far as the eye can see, caravans of dromedaries and golden sand, I advise you to choose the Merzouga desert. Certainly the road is long to get there but the hotels border the desert. You almost sleep with your feet in the sand in Merzouga.
Should we haggle in Morocco?
The biggest cliché of Morocco is the fact of haggling with the merchant. Admittedly, it is basically a custom to take the time to decide on a purchase, we take mint green tea, we look at the article in all its facets, we reflect and we debate the price until find an agreement. Unfortunately, bargaining has suffered from tourism and some Moroccan sellers can no longer stand the little game of negotiation with tourists. If you don’t want to buy something, it’s best to say it from the start. Otherwise, don’t waste time haggling in overly touristy areas. Better to go to more isolated souks, you will have better prices without really having to try to lower the price very low.
Moroccan specialties not to be missed
As in all countries, there are unique dishes that you absolutely must taste. Here are some of the Moroccan specialties and typical crafts that make up the richness of this beautiful country.
• Argan oil (oil extracted from the endemic tree of Morocco, the argan tree)
• Sweet mint tea (at all hours and for all occasions)
• Dates (sweet fruit), Gazelle horns (honey and almond pastry), Chicken tagine with candied fruit (often with lemon), Moroccan Couscous, oranges from Morocco
• Moroccan crafts: pottery and ceramics, Berber rugs and Kilim, baskets in recycled tire, leather beanbags and basketwork items …