Aromatic tajines, palm-spotted, red-earthed landscapes and limitless generosity define the home of the Maghreb. Any visit, whether one week or one month, will give you a glimpse of the friendliness, vibrancy and flavour of this Berber-Arab-Spanish-Portuguese-French melting pot.
Morocco Tours & Travel
All our Morocco trips
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Visit southern Spain and Morocco and explore the sights of Seville, become acquainted with Granada's eclectic air,...View trip details
Articles on Morocco
Kids and kasbahs: a Morocco family adventure
Posted on Tue, 18 Mar 2014 by Jane Marshall
The camel’s lashes drew closer and closer as he slid into sleep; my seven-year-old daughter Julie rubbed his curly-haired head as he drifted into dreams upon the sand. My son [...]Read more
More than a mouthful in Morocco
Posted on Mon, 11 Nov 2013 by Sue Elliot
On Dyan McKie’s trip to Morocco she couldn’t wait to get her teeth into all the sensational dishes. Learning the art of couscous, finding the perfect tajine recipe and tasting [...]Read more
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Morocco, you may find yourself travelling by:
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Morocco you may find yourself staying in a:
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- Rabat (population 1.2 million)
- 32 million
- Moroccan Arabic, French, Berber dialects, some Spanish
- Time zone:
- (GMT) Casablanca
- Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)
- Dialing code:
Best time to visit Morocco
The climate in Morocco varies wildly according to the season and area of travel. In the lowlands, the cooler months from October to April are popular among visitors. This time of year is pleasantly warm to hot (around 30°C) during the day and cool to cold (around 15°C) at night. Winter in the higher regions often brings snow and can therefore get seriously cold, particularly at night. Tourists flock to the coastline from June to September for fun in the sun, with warm mostly rain-free days. Further inland it can get hot and rain is rare, which makes the best times to travel March to June and September to December.
As a Muslim country, Morocco observes Ramadan. If you are planning to travel during Ramadan, it is important to consider that many restaurants and shops will either be closed or operating on reduced hours during this time.
Culture and customs
Most of Moroccan society can be considered traditional, with respect for elders, connection to family and giving alms to the poor hallmarks of everyday life for many Moroccans. Hospitality is another important element of society, with warmly welcoming people into your home a time-honored tradition and social responsibility that dates back centuries.
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Believe the hype - Moroccan food is legendary.
Things to try in Morocco
These slow-cooked stews are synonymous with Moroccan cooking. Chicken, olive and citrus is a well-known favourite, but there are endless variations using different meats, vegetables and seasonings.
2. Cous Cous
Forget instant cous cous and try the real deal in Morocco. Often served with vegetables and meat, regional varieties sometimes also include everything from sweet raisins to spicy harissa or smoky almonds.
3. Fresh Fruit
Morocco has an amazing array of fruit available in the markets, shops and juice bars. Choose from bananas, mangoes, oranges, avocados or peaches - eat fresh or get them whipped up in a juice.
4. Mint Tea
While travelling through Morocco you'll probably drink more sweet mint tea than ever before. Offered as a gesture of hospitality when visiting someone's home or shop, it's considered impolite to refuse, so accept graciously.
Geography and environment
History and government
The land now known as Morocco has been inhabited for centuries, with Moroccan civilisation being known for its richness in history and culture. Centuries of foreign trade, invasion and dynastic rule have given Morocco the many different cultural influences that are evident in today's society. From the Phoenicians who entered Morocco via the Mediterranean in the 6th century BC, to the Roman influence of 40 AD and the formation of Islamic Morocco in the years after, Morocco has evolved with the rise and fall of dynasties, formation and dissolution of empires and birth of new governments, movements and ways of living. Reaching its height under the Berber Dynasties of the 11th and 12th centuries (the Almoravids, Almohads, Marinids and Wattasids), Morocco subsequently fell to Arab tribes in 1559. The current royal family are descendants of the Alaouite Dynasty who have largely ruled since the 1600s, despite enduring a few crises in the 18th and 19th centuries, mainly in relation to European influence in the area and surrounding countries.
With the signing of the Treaty of Fez, Morocco was declared a protectorate of France in 1912 with Spain being allocated control of parts of Morocco, mainly in the north and south. European control was generally opposed by Moroccans citizens, with the people of Rif attempting to establish a separatist republic in 1921. Decades of opposition continued, with rioting and protests leading to increased political tension. In 1955, the road to Moroccan independence was paved by Mohammed V who negotiated reforms and restoration of independence. By 1956, France had relinquished its protectorate of Morocco and in 1957, Mohammed V became king. In 1961, Hassan II assumed the title of King of Morocco and continued to rule until his death in 1999. His son, Mohammed VI, took over the mantle of king in 1999, and continues to rule today.
Top 10 Must-See Places of Morocco
Things just happen in Marrakech. One moment you're sitting down to a camel burger, the next you're chatting to a snake charmer. The labyrinthine markets are the perfect place to lose yourself but find a Moroccan memento or three.
The endless dunes of the Sahara will call to your inner explorer. Jump on a camel and start riding out over the sandy waves. At sunset the desert glows rich and red and at night the stars turn the sky crystal.
The name 'Essaouira' means image, appropriate since its charm is undeniable. Within the stone ramparts you'll find art galleries, wood workshops and whitewashed houses with bright blue shutters. Portuguese, British and Jewish influences all mingle in this artist's town.
Fes is the cultural heart of Morocco and home to some of its most iconic sights. Feel every sense come alive in the medina. Shops, dye pits and mosques all vie for space and you're as likely to see a donkey as a car.
5. High Atlas Mountains
The mountains are best explored at the ground level by foot or bicycle. Travel through Berber villages, up along crop terraces, down through lush valleys and past orchards, goats and Moroccan rural life. The seriously fit can tackle Mount Toubkal for incredible views.
6. Todra Gorge
This is a rock climber's heaven, or the ideal place for beginners to get a taste. It's a tight squeeze in some places but a sparkling river, the odd palmeraie, Berber villages and high cliff walls make it worth breathing in for.
7. Moulay Idriss
The small Medina of ancient Moulay Idriss was once forbidden to non-Muslims. Now it is a pleasure to explore as the faithful gather to pay homage to the founding father of Islam in Morocco at the 8th-century mausoleum.
8. Ait Benhaddou
Perfectly preserved, this is one of Morocco's most picturesque kasbahs. Centuries ago it was a stop for caravans as they carried salt across the Sahara. Today, it is inhabited only by a handful of families and the odd film crew.
The very name conjures up images of war-time romance. But the real romance of Casablanca must be its French influences and the beautiful Hassan II mosque, the largest in Morocco.
Do some time travel and visit the ancient hilltop city of Volubilis, one of the Roman Empire's most remote bases. The ruins here are beautifully preserved and it's easy to believe you've stepped into the 2nd or 3rd century.
Morocco has one of the oldest retail cultures in the world. From bargaining in age-old souqs to swiping your credit card at a modern gallery, it's all possible in Morocco. But to experience brilliant bargains, exciting finds and a dose of history, you can't go past the souqs.
It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Morocco
1. Silver Jewellery
Jewellery-fiends will love Morocco's affinity with silver jewellery. Chunky rings, elaborate necklaces and patterned earrings can all be found for great prices, especially if you're willing to haggle.
2. Tea Sets
Save room in your backpack for an iconic silver tea pot and some delicate tea glasses. Morocco's silversmiths have this ancient art running through their veins, with centuries of craftsmanship being passed from generation to generation.
The quality (and price) of leather in Morocco is pretty phenomenal. Handcrafted hand bags, wallets, belts and purses can be found in almost every souq around the country.
Festivals and Events in Morocco
Ramadan and Eid
The ninth and holiest of months in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is observed by most in Morocco and is thought to be a time of spiritual rejuvenation. For this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset - refraining from eating and drinking during daylight hours. Eid marks the end of fasting with 3 days of feasting and celebration.
Gnaoua World Music Festival
Seaside Essaouira hosts this world-famous festival that celebrates the mysterious music of the Gnaouas, brought to Morocco centuries ago via the African slave trade. Jazz, rock, blues and pop music add a contemporary flavour, although the drums of the Gnaouas are the true soul of the festival.
Touted as a 'celebration of all things Moroccan', this annual festival includes local and international music performances, dance, art installations, theatre, workshops and street parades. This fusion of history and modernity, innovation and tradition is a shining example of what it means to be a citizen of cosmopolitan Casablanca.
FAQs on Morocco
Fresh juice = 10-15 MAD
Basic meal = 50 MAD
Expensive meal = 150 MAD
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 11 Manifesto of Independence
Jan 24 Milad un Nabi (Prophet's Birthday)
May 1 Labour Day
Jul 30 Feast of the Throne
Aug 8 Aïd al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Aug 14 Fête Oued Eddahab (Oued Eddahab Allegiance Day)
Aug 20 Révolution du Roi et du Peuple (Anniversary of the King and the People's Revolution)
Aug 21 King Mohammed's Birthday
Oct 15 Aïd al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Nov 4 Fatih Muharram (Islamic New Year)
Nov 6 Marche Verte (Anniversary of the Green March)
Nov 18 Fête de l'Indépendance (Independence Day)
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/morocco/public-holidays
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance (in general, visa processing can take approximately 20 working days)
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Those who do not require visas to visit Morocco as a tourist, are stamped in on arrival for 3 months. MAROKKO:
Australien: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Belgien: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Kanada: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Deutschland: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Irland: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Niederlande: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Neuseeland: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Südafrika: Ja - im Voraus
Schweiz: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Großbritannien: Nein – nicht erforderlich
USA: Nein – nicht erforderlich
Diejenigen, für die als Tourist in Marokko kein Visum erforderlich ist, erhalten bei Ankunft einen Stempel mit dreimonatiger Gültigkeit.
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Morocco Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Morocco
1. Be considerate of Morocco’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
11. Ramadan is the fasting month for all Muslims. During this month no food, drink or smoking is permitted during daylight hours. While non-Muslims aren't expected to fast, it's recommended to try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours.
The Intrepid Foundation
The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.
In Morocco, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:
Project Handicapped Horizon
Helping thousands of handicapped Moroccans since 1994, this organisation builds prosthetics and wheelchairs for physically handicapped people in addition to training local artisans in metalwork, pottery and weaving.
Image supplied by Project Handicapped Horizon.
To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org
|Travels with a Tangerine||Tim Makintosh-Smith|
|A House in Fez||Suzanna Clarke|
|The Caliph's House||Tahir Shah|
|Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits||Laila Lalami|
|Allah's Garden||Thomas Hollowell|