Is Morocco Safe As A Holiday Destination?

Is Morocco Safe, this is a question I get asked a lot, people assume that all Arab countries are full of Islamist’s wanting to blow you up. The truth is that simply is not true. I have worked or lived in all countries across North Africa and I have to say Morocco is the best for quality of life, and safety.

The security and tourist safety in Morocco is second to none, you will see police and the special tourist police all over. They will not normally bother you unless you ask them for help, but its nice to know they are nearby. The problem I’ve seen in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt is there is a distinct lack of security people, and when you see them they look unprofessional. And worst of all its easy to bribe them.

When looking at the reasons of why is Morocco safe, Its because the police and security services are professional and proactive and highly visible.

is Morocco safe

is it safe to travel to morocco 2017

And here is another answer to your question of is Morocco safe, it is safe because generally Moroccans are a peaceful people, they are generally kind and helpful. They know you are a foreigner and will go out of their way to help if you need it.

The police and security services in Morocco are really quick to crack down on anyone with links to suspect organisations. Generally Moroccans do not follow the same stand of Islam that exhorts violent jihad, that’s one of the reasons I can say yes Morocco is safe.

Is Morocco safe for Foreigners? The quick answer is yes. The government of Morocco and the King of Morocco have made sure that all security departments make sure tourists are treated well and that their safety is paramount.

However Morocco is like any other country and has a problem with crime, as does the UK and Europe. So you should take care of your safety in Morocco. Here are a few safety tips, more common sense really.

Don’t hang a expensive camera round your neck while outside
Take care at cash point machines as you would at home
Don’t carry large amounts of cash around
Be careful with your expensive mobile phone.
If there is a safe in your hotel room use it, most hotels are safe but better to be safe
Don’t get involved in heavy drugs
If you see something suspicious report it to the police or your hotel.

If you are a single girl that will have its own problems, young Moroccan boys will do or say anything to hook you. 99% of the time I’ve seen they only want a passport. So be careful and treat any propositions with care. The same applies to single men, although its not as bad for them.

So is Morocco safe? Yes its just as safe as being at home as long as you are careful and follow the few basic guidelines mentioned above.

Marrakech Morocco What To Expect What To See.

 Marrakech Morocco

Jemaa el Fnaa

Marrakech Morocco is the most popular tourist destination in Morocco and probably in all of North Africa, and for very good reason. It’s a city that caters for everyone. With great weather all year round, yes even in the middle of a dreary UK winter you can get away to a beautiful sunny day’s in Marrakech.

The views across most of the city are stunning, with a back drop of the snow tipped Atlas mountains in the distance. These mountains are visible from nearly all parts of the city, but the best views are in the early morning before the heat haze distorts the view.

Marrakech Morocco Jemaa el Fnaa

Jemaa el Fnaa moroccan spices

marrakech tours

Jemaa el Fnaa Marrakech is one place you will visit, it’s the centre of Marrakech and a hub of tourist activity. There are loads of good restaurants and coffee shops all round the square with greats views. You can watch the world go by. Jemaa el Fnaa is really a big square and of course the mosque, the Marrakech souk is nearby. In the square itself you will find all sorts from snake charmers to sorcerers selling spells. It’s a interesting place to stroll around in the evening, and it gets very busy.

The square has a very busy food trade and stalls selling local Moroccan dishes, probably the most popular being Harrira which is a Moroccan soup, and very tasty. You will also find a lot of stalls selling freshly squeezed fruit juices. My favourite are the spice stalls and how they manage to keep all the spices in that cone shaped mound. Jemaa el Fnaa is one of my favourite places in the evening.

We usually travel back to the hotel by horse and carriage or coochy as the locals call them. As with most things in Morocco the price is open to negotiation. I’m lucky my wife is Moroccan so she takes care of that. The last time we took one the driver asked for 100 Dirhams, my wife finally paid half that

Marrakech Souk

morocco culture facts

where to go in morocco

The souk is Marrakech is big and it will take quite some time to walk around, you wont find many bargains there, and its mostly aimed at the tourist market. Moroccans very rarely shop there. You will find lots of leather goods like Bags, shoes and jackets. The stall holders can be pushy, but just go with the flow and have a laugh and a joke with them. Bear in mind that you will need to brush up your bargaining skills, don’t be embarrassed and don’t be pressured into buying, these sellers are experts and you are not.

Take your time and look around before you buy anything, check out a few prices first, always walk away if you don’t get a good price, you can always go back and pick up where you left off.

Car hire in Marrakech Morocco

It more than worth while hiring a car for a couple of days and having a look around the local area. A trip to the Atlas mountains is well worth while. Driving in Morocco is quite easy, but do be careful of the speed traps Radar, the police have these mobile speed traps all over and you will get a on the spot fine.

If you are feeling a little adventurous try driving to Safi its near where I live and they have a great pottery market, you will also find a good little souk and shops. Of course the best thing is you will not be paying tourist prices. It’s also well worth driving along the coast to a small village called El Bedouzza thirty mins drive from Safi, they have a great beach there for swimming. I live just outside of this village.

Whether you are young or just young at heart there is lots to do in Marrakech Morocco, there are night clubs or quite bars in hotels or great restaurants the choice is up to you.

 

Flights to Morocco Are Cheap and Plentiful

Flights to Morocco

Grab The Best Flights from UK To Morocco

Flights to Morocco a quick search on the internet will bring up loads of flights to Morocco. You will see prices ranging from thousands of pounds to as low as 40 pounds. So how do we find the cheapest Flights to Morocco.

 

Here are the five best tips to grab your cheap Flights to Morocco. Keep in mind this is a ever changing landscape with flights and times being changed on a daily basis. Sometimes even hourly, so the rule of thumb here is to keep checking at least daily till you find the day you want.

 

Probably the most important point to remember when looking for Flights to Morocco is the date and time of travel. I have seen the price change by hundreds of pounds from one day to the next. If at all possible be flexible on dates. This would mean planning ahead. Most flights when booked have a option to show the next few days or even the next month. You will see huge differences in prices day to day. Of course try to avoid school holidays as the prices are just crazy.

 

best flight deals to morocco

fly to morocco

Choice of airports, there are very big price differences flying from different airports, in my experience the cheapest Flights to Morocco are from Gatwick, Luton and Standstead. Prices from regional airports are normally far higher than the big three above. It may well be cheaper travelling to one of the above. Even when you take into account the cost of travelling to London, the savings can be huge. Its quite easy to find off airport parking for a very reasonable price. Myself I prefer to travel by Bus, I can get from Newcastle to Gatwick for less that £20. If you are a member of HM forces or even and Ex member there are good savings to be made on travel. Leave me a message in the comments below and I will let you know how.

Choice of airport in Morocco, there are several airports in Morocco that have flights from Uk. Although you will probably be limited here to where you want to stay. Although I must say its easy enough to travel around Morocco, if you hire a car on arrival then there is really no need to stick to one airport.

Flights to Morocco Airlines that fly to Morocco.

There are all the big players in the cheap flight market, Easy Jet, Ryanair, British Airways and Royal Air Morocco. My personal choice is Easyjet or sometimes British Airways when the price is right. I prefer Easyjet because I find it easy and the staff are good. Im not keen at all on Ryanair, but they do sometimes have very cheap flights. However they Fly to Luton and Standstead that’s not very good for me.

Flights to Morocco

make sure you are aware of what ad dons are added to the final price. You will be charged for hold baggage, to choose your seat, speedy boarding and lots of other stuff. Also all food and drink on board the plane. So make sure that one you have found that cheap flight to morocco, you don’t go and add-on loads of extras and push up the price.

You can find some good deals by using a site like skyscanner and there are many more ways to compare cheap flights to Morocco.

Morocco is a great place to holiday and some of the very best deals will be in the period October to May and at this time you will find great weather in Marrakech, but more about that in another post. Just keep in mind when looking for Flights to Morocco be flexible to get the best cheap flight deals.

El Bedouzza This Is Where I Live

Moroccan beaches

Miles Of Empty beach near El Bedouzza

I currently live in morocco, and have done since 2014, it’s a great life quite and peaceful. I don’t live in a tourist hot spot, but I do live in a beautiful part of the country. How I ended up here is a story in it’s self. Back in 2006 my wife died, to say it was a shock is a understatement. She had been fine, in fact we had just returned from holiday and were really pleased to be back home for a couple of days, before I had to fly back to work in Libya.

I just wanted to add this video I found it highlights the area I now live in and the city of Safi which is close by. Its called Morocco : 10 days in 10 Minutes. Before I get onto the rest of the post.

The day after we arrived home I came downstairs to find my wife sitting in a armchair with her hand raised. Just like the Indians did in the movies when they said ‘How’. I thought she was messing around when I asked her what she was doing, she didn’t even know she was doing it. Once I realised it wasn’t a joke, I got her into the car and down to the local doctor.

The doctor to his credit knew something was wrong and sent us to the hospital immediately. Don’t forget this was a normal day as far as we were concerned. She was given a CAT scan and we waited around for the results for  a couple of hours. She seemed so normal, I would never have guessed that something deadly was growing inside her. After more than 30 years of marriage it never even crossed my mind that she could die.

The doctor came to the waiting room and told us the bad news, the doctor was young and probably had not been in this situation before. He said “I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’m just going to tell you the truth and exactly what I’ve found” He then proceeded to to tell us that she had a brain tumour, and by the looks of the CAT scan it was probably inoperable and she would probably not survive it.

Quite honestly  I thank that young doctor for telling it to us straight, in the days to come a lot of the other doctors were full of shit. Any way six weeks later my wife had died, the tumour was so aggressive there was nothing at all that could be done.

I thought I was coping really well, I decided to go back to work to keep busy, so I returned to Libya. Looking back now I realise I wasn’t coping at all. I was going through the motions, for 6 months I was just keeping my head above water, pretending everything was fine.

Then my current wife came into my life, she knew what was happening straight away, and she really just took over she made sure my laundry was done, made sure i was eating, made sure I was sleeping and Slowly I snapped out of my depression, that I never even knew I was in.

So we married and I now have a Moroccan wife, that how I ended up here. Here being El Bedouzza a small village on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.

 

El Bedouzza Morocco

 Location Of El Bedouzza

 

Location Of El Bedouzza

As you can see from the map above, I live near the city of Safi, we are actually really well located as we can get to Casablanca or Rabat in a couple of hours, and its a easy drive to Marrakesh. I can be in Marrakesh in 2 hours. We can also head south to Agadir or Essaouira, which is a place I really like.

 

Oualidia Lagoon

Oualidia lagoon

The beautiful lagoon at Oualidia

If we really miss the touristy places then we have Oualidia right on our door step it’s a 15 min drive away to the hotels bars and restaurants. Oualidia is famous for its beautiful lagoons and fresh sea food, lt’s of fresh oysters and mussels if you like that sort of thing. I am going to write a post on Oualidia soon.

 

So that’s how things stand right now, I semi retired and live and travel around Morocco. Being part of a Moroccan family here I’m lucky in that I get to see the real Morocco.

 

The Ins And Outs of Moroccan Currency

Moroccan Currency

Moroccan Currency | it’s always a bit confusing when dealing with new currency and Moroccan money will be no different. First of all let’s take a look at the local regulations. You can bring any currency in any amount into Morocco, that’s good news if you feel like spending.

However the bad news here is you cannot take it out of Morocco again when you leave. Well actually you can if it’s less than 10,000 euros. Anything over that amount you will have to have declared it when arriving. So if you bring a large amount of cash with you, and you are planning to take some of it back make sure you declare it at the airport. In most airports you will find a customs officer who is responsible for this.

Once you declare your cash they will count it and issue you a receipt, make sure you keep this receipt safe. You will need to produce it if asked when you leave. The last time I checked this is only for amounts over 10,000 Euro.

Moroccan Currency where to get it

 

Morocco Money

100 Dirham notes

There are many cash machines in Morocco and almost all will accept your European bank card, I found my debit card is accepted all over, but I have never been able to use my Credit card to get cash. Most large shops and supermarkets will accept your credit card though. As you would at home always protect your card when withdrawing cash, make sure you cover your pin, and do not walk away from the machine wafting Moroccan Currency in your hand. Put it away somewhere safe.

Exchange rates are controlled by the government so you first stop should be a bank to check exchange rates if you have cash to exchange. Although the exchange rates are government controlled there are many merchants and hotels that will give you a better deal. So if you are changing cash into Moroccan money shop around first.

A lot of hotels will take foreign currency but the rates will be awful and you should avoid that if possible.

What is Moroccan Currency?

 

morocco currency exchange rate

where to get moroccan dirham

The Moroccan Currency is called the Dirham and each Dirham is broken down into centimes, there are 20 centimes to 1 Dirham. For your own sanity don’t even bother with centimes, just stick to Dirhams. I have been here for 12 years or so and to this day cannot have a sensible conversation with my wife about money. Moroccans with happily switch between Dirhams, centimes and here’s another one called Reaals. So if you only have two weeks holiday just stick to Dirhams and forget the rest, you would probably never understand it anyway.

So let’s look at Dirhams, first of all coins. You will find 1/1 Dirham 1 Dirham 2 Dirham 5 Dirham and 10 Dirhams. There are more coins of under ½ dirham but I would just ignore them if I was you.

The notes you will find are 20 DH (dirham) 50 DH 100 DH and 200 DH.

Shops and restaurants normally have stuff priced and you will have no problems working out prices, the souks and tourist places it’s a matter of bargaining and haggling, Moroccans are very good at this. I have seen my wife arguing over a couple of Dirhams for ½ an hour and walk away because the shopkeeper will not reduce the price. I will be writing a post on bartering, because if you go the local souks you need to be well prepared.