FAST FACTS for TOURISTS (Morocco)
PASSPORTS & VISAS
Passports are obligatory for all tourists, but for nationals of most countries no visa is necessary. Prospective visitors should, however, inquire at their local Moroccan Consulate as to whether a visa is needed.As regards advantages and facilities for tourists under customs and exchange legislation, tourists can consult the "Customs
Guide for Tourists" at Moroccan Consulates or branch offices of the Moroccan National Tourist Board.
Anti-cholera vaccinations are required of travellers from infected areas.
All animals should have been vaccinated against rabies not less than one month and not more than six months previous to entering the country. They should also have official certificates of good health issued not more than six weeks perviously.
BANKS & FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS
Open: Monday to Thursday: 08.30 to 11.30 am and 14.30 to 16.30 Friday : 08.00 to 11.00 am and 15.00 to 17.00
In summer, certain banks close at 13.00 and do not re-open in theafternoon.
Exchange bureaux are open in harbours and airports at arrival anddeparture points for ships and airplanes.
At Casablanca-Mohammed V airport, the exchange bureau is open continuously.
All hand-luggage is liable to be examined at frontier railway stations. Registred luggage may be opened on crossing the frontiers.
Tourists can import the following articles free of duty in addition to clothes and personal effects: a camera, cine-camera, a pair of binoculars, a musical instrument, a portable gramophone with twenty records, a portable radio, a portable typewriter, small objects of camping equipment.
Personal sporting equipment, 200 cigarettes or 400 grammes (14 oz approx.) of pipe-tobacco.
Tourists wishing to bring guns and ammunition with them should request a temporary permit to do so from Monsieur le Directeur de la Surete Nationale in Rabat prior to arriving.
Tourists entering Morocco at either Casablanca or Oujda may obtain such authorization as is required from the police authorities on the spot.
This concerns particularly quantities of tea and coffee. When such quantities are reasonably expected to be used by tourists carrying them, then such articles are not subject to import duty.
Camping equipment of some size, e.g. caravans, car trailers, etc., must be the subject of a temporary entry declaration, a customs dues consignment or a special temporary import permit (triptyque or "carnet de passage"). They must be included in a detailed list in duplicate specifying the number, weight and value of each.
SOME PRELIMINARY ADVISE
WHAT LANGUAGE TO SPEAK IN MOROCCO ?
You'll find that French is used in most places, whether you'are in an office, a restaurant or at th beach. But in the north of Morocco and the deep South, Spanish is very widespread. Yet if you are not proficient in either language, you have no need to fear the worst; you will find that staff in hotels are multilingual and speak most languages from English to Dutch, from German to any of the Scandinavian languages. So you have no need to worry that no one will understand you.
WHAT TO WEAR ?
Morocco has been described as the "the coolest of the hot countries" and the apparent paradox is most apt to the climate of Morocco. Whatever the season, it is as well to have a pullover or cardigan with one; and early Spring or Autumn, an anorak can be a welcome article of clothing, particularly in the mountains after sunset when the temperature can drop quite noticeably.
The same is true of the areas near the Sahara where there is an appreciable difference between day and night temperatures. You may also find that, if you're staying near the sea the evenings can be quite cool and a little damp.
During the daytime, however, it gets rather warm, and you would do well to wear lightweight clothes, as well as a good pair of sunglasses and something to cover your head.
Most hotels, even those with international reputations, permit visitors to wear the usual casual clothes.
SOME PRACTICAL DETAILS
The National currency is the Dirham.
Morocco lies within the Greenwich time zone, the official time being GMT.
Voltage varies (119 to 125V and 220V) according to the region and urban district.
Morocco has a road network of 59,198 km: (1991)
Main roads: 10,890 km with 8,927 km surfaced
Secondary roads: 8,825 km with 6,254 km surfaced
Tertiary roads: 39,483 km with 12,559 km surfaced
Total 1,779 km
Casablanca - Oujda
C asablanca - Marrakesh
Casablanca - Tangier
Casablanca - Oued Zem
Casablanca - El Jadida
Marrakesh - Laayoune
AIR TRANSPORT NETWORK
Airlines run by Compagnie Royal Air Maroc and the major foreign airlines.
Casablanca (Anfa & Mohammed V), Rabat-Sale, Tangier, Oujda, Fes, Al Hoceima, Marrakesh, Agadir, Oaurzazate, Laayoune.
Nador, Tangier, Kenitra, Mohammedia, Casablanca, El Jadida, Safi , Essaouira, Agadir, Tan-Tan, Laayoune, Ad-Dakhla.
Zouj Beghal, Figuig, Beni-Ounif, Bab Sebta, Beni-Ansar.
The company CTM as well as various private bus firms, link most cities and towns in the country.
There are travel agencies everywhere in the country.
CARS FOR HIRE
There are large taxis (inter-town) and taxis with special rates for tourists serving towns and airports. Tourists can also hire self-drive cars at the specialized agencies operating in the main towns and at airports.
The capacity of hotels and complementary accomodation is as follows: (1991)
71,821 beds in classified hotels,
36,720 places in camping and caravaning parks.
Hotels are classified from 1 to 5 stars. Prices are fixed by the Ministry of Tourism.
CAMPING & CARAVANING PARKS
In Morocco there are more than 50 camping and caravaning parks, near beaches or in wooded areas.(e.g . Tangier and Mehdia).
Young tourists (from 13 to 30 years of age) can obtain accomodation in the Moroccan youth hostels. Application should be made to: Avenue Okba Ben Nafi, Meknes.
PLACES OF INTEREST TO TOURISTS
Tangier, Tetouan, Rabat, Meknes, Oujda, Marrakesh, Casablanca, Agadir, Laayoune, Dakhla, Ouarzazate, Tiznit, Taroudant, Tafraoute, Chefchaoune, Beni-Mellal, Erfoud, Errachidia, Taza, Oujda, Figuig, Ej Jadida, Safi.
IMPORTANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
Volubilis, Chellah, Oudaya, Lixus, Tamuda, Archeology Museum in Rabat (collection of antique bronzes).
Round the town of Fez, mouth of the Bou-Regreg, Palm grove of Marrakesh, Dades Valley, Todgha Valley, Dunes of Merzouga, Tafraout, Zagzel, etc...
There are many museums of history, archeology, folk and art, etc.
The main museums are open from 9.00 to 12.00 & 15.00 to 17.30 : Oudaya, Fes, dar Si Said in Marrakesh.
Your guide should have an official badge of office and an idendity card delivered by the Ministry of Tourism, and you are adviced not to employ the services of anyone who is not qualified. For further information on guides and prices, please contact the local Tourist Office or the Syndicat d'Initiative et du Tourisme.
When making your purchases in the bazaar, you ought not to forget to bargain over the prices. Bargaining here is not a question of trying to pick up something for next to nothing, nor is it a game in which the buyer and the seller try to swindle each other; rest assured that the salesman's lowest price is known in advance. The discussion over a purchase, the customer's apparent refusal and the salesman's sob-story about the customer's driving him into bankruptcy are all part of the ritual exchanges without which a "real" purchase is unthinkable. If the customer shows spirit (which is often the case), the seller will offer him a glass of mint-tea in token of friendship and esteem towards someone who has shown "that he is not a vulture, but not a pigeon either". If in doubt about prices which are not displayed, contact the "Delegation de l'Artisanat" in the town.