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Morocco - Info & Facts

Suggested length of stay

Morocco is a fascinating country of ancient culture, landscapes and colour from the High Atlas Mountains to the rolling dunes of the Sahara and for a comprehensive overview taking in the key highlights, you will need around 3 weeks. Inevitably, all itineraries will involve a number of long overland journeys and it is important to allow plenty of time in between to soak up the atmosphere and surroundings.   

Casablanca – 1-2 nights, Rabat – 2 nights, Fes – 3 nights, Sahara – 2 nights, Atlas/gorges – 2-3 nights, Marrakech – 3 nights, Essouira – 3 nights

Modes of transport

Road
Morocco’s road network is on the whole pretty good with paved highways connecting all the key regional centres. Within major cities, traffic is becoming increasingly heavy yet travel out into the countryside and the roads empty revealing long open stretches of highway dotted with rugged, spectacular scenery. Many of the more remote routes within the desert and Atlas are unsealed yet well-maintained and lead to breathtaking passes following old caravan trails.  

Air
Morocco has a small, reliable network dominated by Royal Air Maroc which runs regular flights to the key cities as well as several European capitals. However, distances are not great and most itineraries will involve circular overland trips starting from Casablanca and count only the odd flight such as from Marrakech at the end.

Rail
Train travel is relatively cheap and reliable in Morocco and there are two main lines that operate between Tangiers and Marrakech (via Rabat and Casablanca) on the western sea-board and between Marrakech and Oujda towards the north-eastern border with Algeria. Much of the original track was laid by the French up until the 1930’s and at its peak was the largest network in Africa with around 1700km of line. Sadly, the original locomotives have long been replaced by modern Belgian-made trains yet these do provide a comfortable alternative to travelling by bus between the main hubs.  

Bicycle
There is exhilarating mountain biking in Morocco’s Rif and Atlas Mountains which takes you on remote tracks through isolated Berber villages and lonely passes. For experienced riders, you can enjoy multi-day itineraries which has you dropping into the Sahara Desert itself through rugged canyons and palm groves.

Trekking
Morocco’s Atlas Mountains deliver wonderful hiking around the slopes and foothills of Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest mountain at 4167m above sea-level. From light day walks to longer treks, there are a host of options around the gateway villages of Imlil and Aremd into the high Atlas, an area rich in berber history and lore. To the west, on the fringes of the Atlas, the Tichka plateau is lower, greener and more varied and offers lighter walks amongst picturesque forests, meadows and gorges.  

Climate
Morocco can be broadly divided between mountains, plain, coast and desert. On the Atlantic seaboard, temperatures rise from around 13° in winter to 26° in the summer months of July/August, always cooled by a fresh sea breeze. Heading inland towards the cities of Fes, Meknes and Marrakech, things heat up and become ever more uncomfortable towards the height of summer (around 35° daily). In the mountains, the climate is determined by altitude. In the High Atlas, temperatures can fall to well below zero in winter with snow blocking several of the key passes yet visit in summer and you can enjoy warm, pleasant days and conditions that lend themselves to walking. Towards the Sahara, the conditions are more extreme still with temperatures in the 40’s during summer yet with cool, clear nights. In contrast, the desert is surprisingly cold during the winter. In short, the best time to travel is during spring or autumn when warm pleasant temperatures open up the desert, gorges and imperial treasures.       

 

Drinking water

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Morocco. Bottled water is very cheap and widely available in all areas of the country. 
 

Visas

Visas are currently not required for travel to Morocco for Australian citizens.

Money

The local currency is the “Dirham” though euros are widely accepted (sometimes preferred!) at up-market hotels, tourist shops and restaurants. ATM’s are common in the larger towns though do not expect them to always be in service – it is always advisable to have a ready back-up supply of euros just in case. Credit cards are accepted in the more established shops and restaurants though discounts will be offered for payments made in cash. However, once you head into the local villages and markets, it is important to have small denominations of local currency. Traveller’s Cheques are still accepted though often prove more of a burden.  
 

Inoculations & health precautions

Please consult with your doctor at least 6 week before travel to Morocco. There are no mandatory vaccinations required.

The standard of medical facilities and care in Morocco is generally good. There are foreign private medical clinics and hospitals throughout the country with facilities and services comparable to Australian standards. Medical care at most public hospitals, however, is mixed and medical evacuation to a major centre may be required for minor operations. Most hotels work with a private doctor who will visit you at your room, however, both doctors and hospitals will expect cash payment prior to providing medical services, including for emergency care.

It is vital to have good medical insurance before you travel.
 

Visas

This Canadian diplomatic mission in Morocco provides consular assistance to Australians.

Embassy of Canada in Morocco
66, Mehdi Ben Barka Avenue
Rabat-Souissi, Morocco 

P.O. Box 2040 Rabat-Ryad
Morocco, 10 000

Telephone: (+212) (0)537 54 49 49
Fax: (+212) (0)537 54 48 53
Email: rabat@international.gc.ca

Electricity

Morocco’s electrical current is 220 volts at 50 cycles. Plugs are 2 round pins often earthed with a central round prong.
 

Getting there

Morocco is best accessed via Dubai or Abu Dhabi on a daily Emirates or Etihad service.

Non-stop flight time Sydney – Dubai approximately 14 hours

Dubai to Casablanca approximately 9 hours

Time difference GMT - 8 hours