When planning a perfect holiday trip, we usually consider plenty of factors. We think about the ideal destination, the climate, access to the beach and the sea, local attractions, as well as the average costs. But one of the most important things that determine our holiday experience is the culture of the country we’re planning to visit. You should always start your travel research by reading information about the specific culture and savoire-vivre in the place. Why? It’s not surprising that in some regions in the world, the rules and manners are different from what we’re used to. It is then important to get to know them in advance and follow them carefully.
7 things you need to know before visiting Morocco
For example, in the African resorts, such as Morocco, which is a popular holiday destination for many Europeans, some habits are utterly different to ours. What are the things you need to know before travelling to Morocco?
- Follow the dress code
Appropriate clothing is essential in Morocco, as it influences the way that locals will treat you. If you want to avoid rude comments and glances, you should follow the traditional Muslim rules. A woman should wear clothes that cover her knees – either a long dress, a skirt or long trousers – shorts are not appropriate. What’s more, ladies should stick to flat shoes, preferably sandals, as wearing high-heels is often frowned upon. As for the perfect outfit for men, it should consist of long trousers and a shirt. Shorts are not popular, although some men do wear them. Another thing that’s worth remembering is the fact that people don’t wear brand clothes in Morocco. They value modesty, so a Prada bag or Hermes scarf would make a rather bizarre impression.
- Walk with a guide
When you go sightseeing in Morocco, it’s a good idea to hire a tour guide. One reason for that is, of course, the fact that nobody likes to get lost in the city they don’t know. A local person will also help to get around and generally acclimatize in the new reality. The guides are usually well-educated people who know a lot of off-the-beaten-track places and offer discounts for local trips. What’s more, they are excellent protection from getting cheated on, which is, unfortunately, quite common. In Marrakech, for example, pick-pocketing and trickery are everyday practices.
- Learn to haggle
Haggling is a crucial element when shopping in Morocco. Sometimes the shop owners elevate the prices, especially when they see tourists. The good news is that they’re usually very friendly and open to price negotiations. So if you get a little practice, you can get souvenirs or other items relatively cheaper. Remember that haggling typically works on street markets or small cafes, not in boutiques and expensive shops.
- Plan some trips
It would be a waste of time to stay just in one place on holiday. Morocco has numerous beautiful places to see outside the main cities or holiday resorts. You can plan a short trip, for example to Sahara (often combined with spending a night on a real desert!) or climb mount Toubkal. Amateurs of a flying adventure can choose a hot air balloon flight from Marrakech to the desert.
- Be careful with alcohol
Alcohol and partying is often an important part of every holiday. Exploring night clubs, pubs, and discos are crucial for many, especially young travellers. Unfortunately, Morocco may not be the best destination for that. Why? As the locals are quite conservative, there are not many parties and nightlife places. Apart from that, Moroccans don’t drink in public, so if you want to try, do it discreetly. Bars are frequented mostly by men, so the sight of two girls ordering drinks may be considered strange. The most liberal town is probably Marrakech, but other places in the country prefer the cafe culture to parties.
- Pay attention to photos
It’s natural for tourists to take lots of photos, post them on social media and send it to families and friends. Unfortunately, taking pictures in Morocco is not that easy. The locals don’t like being on the images, so you should treat them with respect and ask for permission every time you want to snap a shot. They can refuse, as they regard it as violating their privacy. Anyway, if you’re lucky, you will come back home with some beautiful pictures.
- Avoid strangers
Moroccans are not really friendly towards strangers, as they are a quite reserved nation. They value intimacy and family life, so you should be careful when talking to strangers on the street – it may be seen as rude. Another thing is that sexual harassment towards women is a huge problem in this country. You can experience catcalling, whistling, and even stalking in public places, so it’s reasonable to keep a safe distance, especially towards groups of men. Single tourists should rather avoid late-night walks on the city streets and limit their sightseeing to the earlier hours.
Morocco is not an extremely tourist-friendly region, but it’s definitely worth exploring. If you get familiar with certain rules, sightseeing becomes a pleasure. The general rule to respect everywhere you go is to recognize the local lifestyle and habits. All in all, as they say – when in Rome, do as the Romans do – and everything will be just perfect for an exciting holiday trip!
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