Can I tell you a story about a time I went to Morocco?

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I can’t even begin to tell you how special this trip has been for me. Morocco is enchanting, as it is hectic and chaotic. You’ll get lost, ripped off, question what you’re eating, but it will also widen your eyes and mind to the culture, religion and embrace their hospitality with open arms.

My trip started in Fez, which I much prefer over Marrakesh only because I like the quietness that it offers over the hustle and bustle city life of Marrakesh. In Fez I was lucky enough to stay with my friend’s family, which made a big difference for my Moroccan experience! Staying with a local and being looked after by them is the most humbling experience. I was greeted by his brother and mother, who couldn’t speak English. We spoke through smiling, pointing and google translate (gotta love 21st century technology!). His mother gave me tea and immediately fed me a traditional Moroccan tagine meal (at 11pm!), how could I say no? Their warm hearts and hospitality won me over instantly.
They also made sure I was safe all the time, and helped me get in the right taxis without getting ripped off. The price difference between a local and a tourist is phenomenal!
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My first day in Fez I decided to go on a day trip to the blue city of Chefchaouen. I highly recommend you do a day trip or two if you’re staying in Fez for more than two days. The city of Fez is small, I spent half a day in the Medina (city centre) and that was me walking a slow pace and seeing everything. Other day trips to do near Fez is Volubilis and Moulay Idriss, I didn’t get the chance to do them, but I met another traveller on my Chefchaouen tour who did it and the photos looked amazing!

Ok, so there are a few facts you should know about Morocco:
  • It is a Muslim country, please be respectful and not be a tourist and go asking where to buy alcohol
  • Every few hours in the day, most places you will hear the pray song. At first I found it confronting because it was so loud. But it’s a sign of peace, time to pray and give thanks
  • Their national languages are Arabic and French. It really helps if you can speak french!
  • Their currency is Dirham but they compare it to euros a lot of the time
  • Even though it’s part of Africa, you don’t need a visa to get in
  • Look into the weather when you’re travelling. It can get hot in the day and very cold at night. There’s also snow in the desert in winter
  • You’re not required to tip for service but it would be nice if you do
  • When you’re in the Souk markets, be careful of your surroundings. They will try and get you to come into their shop and buy their products
  • There’s no such thing as free directions from a stranger. If they’re willing to walk you somewhere they will ask you for a tip. This includes little kids. Download google maps offline, it will have all the alleyways and you can easily navigate your way around
  • Know where you’re going at all times. People will try and tell you you’re going in the wrong direction, or the road is closed – they’re lying, they want to take you to their shop
  • I would not advise on self driving, as street signs are in Arabic and they don’t have lanes in the city centre. Plus there are a lot of police checking for international licenses, and they don’t speak English
  • Service can be slow in morocco, it might take 15mins before you get served/noticed in a restaurant
  • When bargaining at the markets, always offer 75% off the initial asking price and slowly get up to 50% off. If you’re paying more than this, you’re getting ripped off
  • Most street food should be okay to eat, but like anywhere exotic best to take recommendations from your Riads/hotels
  • Riads are houses with many rooms, a courtyard (sometime a small pool) and a rooftop area. Most Riads will come with complimentary breakfast and unlimited delicious Moroccan mint tea

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My day trip to Chefchaouen was spent by 4 hrs in the car (each way) and 4 hours exploring this little blue town.

So many photos of doors! It must be so strange for the locals to constantly see tourists taking photos outside their doorstep.
The history behind the colour blue is that it was believed to detract mosquitoes.
Chefchaouen is also the city known for its marijuana. You will most likely be approached to buy some or ask to go on a marijuana plantation tour. Probably best not to do this.

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The Ruined Garden in Fez is such a good spot for lunch! It’s quietly hidden away, and this beef tagine was the best I had on the trip!

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Spent the day exploring Fez on a Friday. Which is their pray day so most shops are closed. But the main tourist shops are still open, like the Tannery.

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The Tannery – where they dye the leather. Be warned of the strong Sulfur smell.

After spending the majority of the day in Fez, I jumped on a 7 hrs train ride down to Marrakesh.

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Morning life in Marrakesh.

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You will find everything in the Souk markets.

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The main square Jamaa El Fna.

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YSL – Memorial garden also known as Jardin Majorelle

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The next day I went on another 2 days trip into the desert.

Admittedly I quite enjoyed the 9 hours car ride as we got to see the diversity in landscape that Morocco has to offer. From snowy mountain ranges, to the desert, to beautiful lush Oasis, it was truly incredible!

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Sunset camel ride to our campsite in the Sahara Desert.

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Our campsite, which is fully equipped with toilets, beds, lights, and hot showers! Proper glamping!

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The amazing sunrise camel ride, so special!

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Morocco was such a wonderful trip and definitely somewhere I’m happy to return.

Plus this guy thinks I’m funny, at least someone thinks I’m funny!

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2 thoughts on “Can I tell you a story about a time I went to Morocco?

  1. Thank you for this….Loved the tips…so useful as I am on the verge of taking my first trip of 2018 to Morocco. Still debating whether I should do an organized tour….. I’m just concerned that getting around to different cities would be challenging…

    Like

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