For a less than 3 months stay, the citizens from the European Union as well as from Switzerland and Canada won’t need a visa. They will however be asked for a passport still valid at least 6 months after the date of arrival.
Time in Morocco is based on GMT time. Compared to Belgium ot France there is a difference of 1 hour in winter and 2 hours in summer.
No vaccines are required from the Europeans citizens. Yet it is recommended to be vaccinated against tetanus and poliomyelitis, very common diseases in Africa, especially if you consider travelling in the desert.
Besides it is advised to have an individual insurance covering civil responsibility, accidents, repatriation and death. Some credit cards offer these guarantees in case of serious accident happening abroad. Ask your bank for further information.
Before leaving, you should take the bare minimum, that is to say: cutaneous disinfectant, bandages, aspirin, intestinal antiseptic, sun cream, insect repellant (mosquitoes in particular, especially in summer) In Marrakesh you will easily find good pharmacies, but you may as well have your own medicine within easy reach.
Marrakesh-Menara airport is located at 6km in the South-West of the city. They do not have a transfer service. The Riad Dar Zampa offers to come and get you or drive you back to the airport (see Services section)
To reach Marrakesh :
… from Belgium : Royal Air Maroc, Brussels Airlines (from Zaventem) ; Ryanair (from Brussels-Charleroi) are the main companies that serve Marrakesh-Menara airport. Length of the trip : 3H25. There may be a stopover in Casablanca (Royal Air Maroc) that adds an extra 2 hours to the flight.
…from France : Royal Air Maroc connects Marrakesh from Orly (Orly Sud)on a daily basis, Lyon, Montpellier, Marseille, Nantes, Nice and Toulouse. Air France proposes direct flights from Paris only. Numerous flights from Paris and two flights a week from Nantes are provided by Transavia. Finally, the lowcost company Jet4you serves Marrakesh from Paris.
An other option :
Coming from France, Belgium or North of Europe to Morocco, we suggest you to stop in the cave house or in the camping to our partner Cuevas Andalucia in Baza (Andalucia)
Departures are next to Jemaâ el Fna square, in front of the Foucault hotel. Several lines serve the whole city. Lines bound for other big cities leave from the bus station Bab Doukkala, a stone’s throw from El Khemis Souk.
Horse-drawn carriages :
Ideal for a romantic stroll or to visit the city, 147 carriages are parked in the west of Jemaâ el Fna square and inside Bab Doukkala. Blending perfectly well into the traffic, this means of transport is appreciated by the Marrakshis as well as the tourists. Fares are on display.
If you rent a car :
You will find more than a hundred rental cars agencies: big international agencies as well as small local ones. Don’t hesitate to ask at the Riad Dar Zampa for further information.
But be careful while driving. In Morocco you will come across all sorts of vehicles, from hand-carts, or drawn by a mule, or bicycles, motorbikes, carriages, old vans, four-wheel drives to big lorries. Here using the horn is required at any time and starting up often happens before the traffic light has turned green. You should avoid driving outside the cities at night: many unlighted vehicles are on the roads, which are unlighted themselves. You may catch sight at the very last moment only of a bike coming the wrong way or a donkey and its load…
The national currency is the dirham (DH) that is worth about 0,09€ (2013). 1€ = 11 DH. It is divided in 100 centimes. There are 5, 10, 20, 50 centimes and 1 DH coins. And banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 DH.
Importing and exporting dirhams is strictly forbidden. However there is no limit to importing foreign currencies, or any other way of payment. Most payments can be done with a credit card or checks. There are also many cash-points working 24/7. Really convenient, yet be aware of the bank expenses at each withdrawal.
You should have change with you as giving tips is very common in Morocco, and it is very much frowned-upon not to leave anything to the waiter, taxi driver, maid, guide, etc…You will be the judge of how much to give according to the service and welcome. At the restaurant and café, the rule is to give 10% of the bill, for the car parks watchmen, between 2 and 5DH, if you don’t want to have a mess on your hands, as for the guide, there again it depends on the quality of the service (from 10 to 20 DH per person)…
In winter and autumn temperature differences between nights and days can be significant. You should therefore bring along light clothes (cotton) for the daytime. A jumper and a warm jacket will be very much appreciated for the evenings. These are also seasons when you might …… some rainy days. Anyway, bring along hats and sunglasses whatever the season…
Let us bring to your attention that you should dress properly in all the public places. Morocco is a Muslim country and shorts and skirts shouldn’t be too short, and low-cut t-shirts are to avoid. Besides Moroccan couples are not accustomed to kissing or being too effusive, out of respect for the population.
Classical or dialectical Arabic, Amazigh, French, Spanish…Languages cohabit in Morocco, each taking up its precise position in society. Classical Arabic is the institutional language, dialectical Arabic has been the main common language since the 9th century. Amazigh is the language spoken in the Berber countryside. Spanish has been used in the North since the 15th century with the settling of the Andalusians. As for French, it is the first foreign language, spoken in the big cities and many villages. Even in the least French-speaking areas, it is quite rare to encounter difficulties to be understood in a basic conversation. Taught in all the schools during the Protectorate, children still learn its fundamentals.
To go around Marrakesh :
You will come across small ocre taxis in town. They usually charge between 5 and 15dh the fare. Equipped with a meter, they will take you everywhere within the urban area. The big collective taxis (6 seats) will take you out of the city, in particular to visit the Ourika Valley or the Haut Atlas sights. The price is to be defined before leaving.
Riad Dar Zampa 85 derb Iminzate, Zaouia Abbassia 40000 Marrakech firstname.lastname@example.org +212 (0)5 24 38 65 44 +212 (0) 66 188 05 81
© photo Isabelle, Michel, Robert Six & Béatrice Bonnaire.