Morocco – Travel Tips

morocco

Although cheap UK-based airlines are now flying to Morocco, look into flights to Malaga in Spain, as it’s easy to get a bus to the port town of Algeciras and a ferry across to Morocco (one could also visit Gibraltar!). The ferry was about 30 euros when I went in 2004. When you arrive in Tangiers, negotiate for a taxi to the ‘palace-like’ train station and probably don’t waste too much time in the town – it’s a tourist trap, and there’s little to see. Trains are a great, cheap way to get around the country – by arranging an overnight train, you also save on accommodation.

Marrakech
…is marvellous. ‘The red city’ is full of fantastic sights and sounds – everything is centred around a big square which comes to life at night with food vendors, entertainers, musicians, storytellers and dancers. Calls to prayer, music, snake charmers and drumming can be heard everywhere. Small streets lead off from the central medina to endless rows of shops selling a splendid selection of jingles, jangles, tourist crap and some real treasures. Consider the Hotel Ali – very cheap, trustworthy, overlooks the central square and they do great tours.

Casablanca
Perhaps only spend a morning in Casablanca as the only thing worth seeing is the Hassan II mosque. It’s the third biggest in the world – the other two being in Saudi Arabia. Go for an English tour.

Essaouria
…is the best beach resort, Agadir is further down the coast but is a big package tourist destination and full of European holidaymakers!

Sahara
Do a camel tour into the desert, and, at least for one night, go camping so you can see the sunrise/sunset and experience the peace of the desert. You can watch the satellites orbit over head and see every star in the sky! You can book through your hostel or go straight to a desert town and negotiate from there (e.g. Merzouga).

Todra Gorge, Atlas Mountains
The tremendous Todra gorge is a sight impossible to capture with a camera. Best done as part of a tour through your hostel – also, make an effort to see the Berber people – Morocco’s indigenous people.

Chefchaouen
A very unique and chilled out place. Just south of Tangiers, it’s best done on your way back up the country. It’s an old hippy hangout, looks totally different to the rest of Morocco and most locals also speak Spanish!

Fes
A mystical, bustling ancient city which is bursting at the seams with its ever growing population. The World’s oldest imperial city and as the Lonely Planet guide puts it, the cultural and ‘symbolic heart of Morocco’. Spend a few days soaking up the atmosphere and visit the tanneries to see a leather dying process that hasn’t changed in thousands of years. Be sure to cover your noses though, as the procedure involves pigeon and cow dung, which combined produce a rancid stench.