MOROCCO

MOROCCO

MOROCCO

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Name: Majorelle Garden
Location: Marrakech, Morocco
The Majorelle Garden is a two and half acre botanical garden and artist's landscape garden in Marrakech, Morocco. It was created by the French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle over almost forty years, starting in 1923, and features a Cubist villa designed by the French architect, Paul Sinoir in the 1930s. The property was the residence of the artist and his wife from 1923 until their divorce in the 1950s. In the 1980s, the property was purchased by the fashion designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who worked to restore it. Today, the garden and villa complex is open to the public. The villa houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, the Berber Museum and has recently opened the Musee Yves Saint Laurent.

During his lifetime, Majorelle earned a reputation as a celebrated Orientalist painter. Though Majorelle's watercolors are largely forgotten today, the gardens remain as his creative masterpiece. The special shade of bold cobalt blue, inspired by the coloured tiles he had seen around Marrakech and in Berber burn-houses, was used extensively in the garden and its buildings and is named after him, bleu Majorelle—Majorelle Blue.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majorelle_Garden
Name: Hassan II Mosque
Location: Casablanca, Morocco
The Hassan II Mosque is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in Africa, and the 5th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest minaret at 210 metres (689 ft).Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean; worshippers can pray over the sea but there is no glass floor looking into the sea. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque's outside ground.

The prayer hall is on the ground floor. The central hall is centrally heated, and provides spectacular underwater views of the Atlantic Ocean. The decorations in the hall are elaborate and exquisite made possible by involving 6000 master artisans of Morocco working on it. It is so large that it can easily accommodate the house of the Notre Dame of Paris or St Peter's of Rome.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_II_Mosque
Name: Erg Chebbi
Location: Morocco
Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco's several ergs – large seas of dunes formed by wind-blown sand. There are several other ergs such as Erg Chigaga near M'hamid. Technically all these ergs are within an area of semi-arid Pre-Saharan Steppes and not part of the Sahara desert which lies some distance to the south.

In places, the dunes of Erg Chebbi rise up to 150 meters from the surrounding hamada (rocky desert) and altogether it spans an area of 28 km from north to south and up to 5–7 km from east to west lining the Algerian border. The nearest sizable town is Erfoud, about 60 km further north. One other city is Rissani, around 40 km from Merzouga. Rissani was the site of a kingdom known as Sijilmassa, which became prosperous from the 8th to the 14th century due to its control of the caravan routes.

Merzouga, the local tourist center, is located on the western lee of the dunes, together with some 70 or more hotels and auberges running north-south along the dunes. Many companies offer camel trips into the dunes, taking tourists on overnight trips to permanent campsites several km into the erg, and out of sight of the hotels.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erg_Chebbi
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN MOROCCO / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO MOROCCO.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Arabic / Berber
Currency: Morocco Dirham (MAD)
Time zone: WET (UTC) / WEST (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +212
Local / up-to-date weather in Rabat (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Morocco travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Morocco, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO MOROCCO.

The local currency is the Moroccan dirham, sometimes symbolised as “Dh”, “Dhs, “DH”, “درهم, or the plural form of “دراهم” or “Dhm” (ISO code: MAD). Wikivoyage articles will use dirham to denote the currency.

It’s divided into 100 santime or centimes (c). There are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, 1, 2, 5 and 10 dirham coins, although coins smaller than 20c are rarely seen these days. Banknotes are available in denominations of 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirham.

While the dirham is the only currency officially accepted in Morocco, some hotels may accept your euros and US dollars unofficially.

Try to have as many small notes as possible, even accommodations tend to never have any change ready. But also in general, keep larger bills hidden separately, just in case.

Prices in Morocco are quite stable, i.e. the references you find in this guide, even if a couple of years old, are very reliable.

BY TRAIN:

Trains are generally the best option because of their speed, frequency and comfort. However, the network is limited, linking only Marrakech and Tangier via Casablanca and Rabat. A branch line to Oujda starts at Sidi Kachem linking Meknes and Fez to the main line. A high speed rail line connecting Tangier to Casablanca via Rabat is under construction with first section to Kénitra opened in November 2018, reducing travel times between Tangier and Casablanca to just over two hours.

The rail network is operated by ONCF. Tickets can be purchased both online and at stations and they are very cheap compared to Europe. For example, a single from Tangier to Marrakech costs about 200 dirham second class, or 300 dirham first class. Casablanca to Marrakech – 90 dirham for second class. The only drawback with Moroccan trains are that they are very frequently delayed, so don’t count on the timetables if you are in a hurry.

People are incredibly sociable and friendly on the trains in Morocco and you will find yourself perpetually talking to strangers about your journey. Each new person will advise you on some new place you should go or invite you to their home for couscous. Stations in smaller cities are often poorly marked, and your fellow passengers will be more than happy to let you know where you are and when you should get off. It’s expected to greet (Salam) new passengers entering your compartment, and if you bring fruit, cake, etc., it’s common to offer the other passengers something as well. If you spend a little extra for 1st class you increase your chances of meeting someone proficient in many languages.

There are three daily departures from Tangier, bound for either Oujda or Marrakech, although all of them can be used to reach either destination as there are corresponding trains in Sidi Kachem using the opposite branch of the train coming from Tangier. The night trains between Tangier and Marrakech offer couchettes for an extra 100 dirham. This is the only option if you would like to lie down sleeping as there are obstacles between the seats in regular compartments.

First class train cars are supposed to have working air conditioning, however, not all train cars with air conditioning have it in working mode, so it’s advisable to bring with you plenty of water (there are no vending machines on ONCF trains, unlike SNCF or TrenItalia trains, and the conductor with a vending cart is not often easy to find). For example, the travel time between Tangier and Fez is about 5 hours and with no AC and no water, the ride can become unbearable in the summer desert heat.

When you arrive at a station, to reaching the platform you’ll need to validate your ticket (checkpoint at the entrance).

BY BUS:

Luxury buses are the next best bet, with almost universal coverage, if somewhat odd departure times in some places. CTM, Supratours and some smaller companies provide good comfort with reasonable prices. Supratours buses offer specific tickets to link with the rail system and are bookable on the train company website as Supratours is run by it. All bus companies charge for baggage separately, however CTM is the only one that does this officially and provides baggage receipts. On Supratours, whoever takes your bag will demand up to 20 dirham (pay no more than 5 dirham). Do not pay for luggage that you can take aboard with you and that fits in the overhead locker of between your feet. Touts will try to charge you for that, strongly refuse.

Nearly every city has a central bus station (Gare Routière) where you can buy tickets to travel from region to region (and in some cities certain companies run their own stations – mostly that applies to the operators CTM (Gare Voyage) and partly Supratours). You can either choose the buses for tourists with air-conditioning and a TV. Or you can also take the local buses which cost only 25-50% of the tourist buses and are much more fun. They are not very comfortable, but you can get in contact with the local people and learn a lot about the country. The buses often take longer routes than the big ones, so you can see villages you would never get to as a “normal” tourist. For heat-sensitive people this is not advisable though, as locals may tell you that 35 degrees is “cool” and no reason for opening a window. The route from Rissani, Erfoud, and Er Rachidia to Meknes and Fez, while long, runs through the Middle and High Atlas and is particularly scenic.

At the large bus stations (Gare Routière), always buy your ticket at the ticket window inside of the bus station. Otherwise you will mostly overpay. Several touts will approach you as you enter the bus station, and try to sell you a ticket. While a local will get a proper ticket with them (because they know the prices), tourists will most certainly be overcharged. Also, the ticket windows often (must) have prices and time tables displayed. You might get the ticket with the same guy that approached you in the beginning, but it will consequently be much cheaper.

Local intercity buses can be entered along the highway or main road, where you will pay the conductor. Always ask for the price before entering, and if too high, refuse. At least the conductors will understand, that you will not board if too high and give you a good price. Supratours and CTM buses will not stop anywhere for you to enter except for the main bus stations—the driver is not allowed to sell tickets.

Luxury buses operated by CTM are also inexpensive and offer an easier travelling experience than local buses. See CTM’s timetable and tariffs.)

Supratours, a major rival of CTM, complements the train network to Essaouira and all major Atlantic-coast towns south to Marrakech.

Btw. local intercity buses are a completely valid choice for the hardier traveller, and often even have more leg room than the luxury buses although this may be just because the seat in front of you is disintegrating. They can be extraordinarily slow as they will stop for anyone, anywhere, and only luxury buses are air conditioned (and locals hate open windows). Although, one exception seems to be the Agadir-Essaouira route, where even local buses are very fast. Probably due to the amount of buses on this route and the desire to pick up as many passengers as possible along the way (not gone happen if overtaken by another company).

BY TAXI:

Travel by taxi is common in Morocco. There are two sorts:

  • Petit taxi used only within the area of the town
  • Grand taxi can be used for trips between towns, and for larger groups

Petit Taxi:

Prices for petit taxi are reasonable, and it’s the law that taxis in town should have a meter—although they are not always on. Insist that the driver starts the meter. If not, ask for the fare before getting in (but it will be more expensive).

There often is a minimum fare for trips during the day and another during the night, both listed on a sticker along with other prices in the taxi. And because in some small cities, the metered fare is always lower than the minimum fare, trips are not metered there, and the price is fixed at the minimum fare. In such cities without metered taxis, those stickers are sometimes missing as well. Ask an uninvolved local whether there is such a minimum fare and how high it is (7 dirham is reasonable during the day, 10 at night).

Petit taxis are not allowed to leave the city borders and is thus not an option for travelling between cities.

Grand Taxi:

The grand taxi is a shared, generally long-distance taxi, with a fixed rate for specific route; the driver stopping and picking up passengers like a bus. Grand taxis are usually found near main bus stops. Negotiate on price if you want a journey to yourself and this will be based on distance travelled and whether you are returning—but price per taxi should not depend on the number of passengers in your group. When sharing grand taxi with others, drivers may cheat tourist-looking passengers charging higher—look how much locals around you pay; don’t worry to ask other passengers about the normal price, before boarding or even when you’re in.

Fares are semi-fixed and shared equally between passengers. However, there are six passenger seats per car not four (this is for the ubiquitous Mercedes, there are 8 or 9 seats in the bigger Peugeots in the southeast). Two people are expected to share the front seat, with four across the back. If you want to leave immediately or you want extra space you can pay for any additional empty seats. Grand taxis generally cost less than a luxury bus but more than the local bus. Late at night, expect to be charged a little more than at daytime, and also to pay for all the seats in the car as other customers probably won’t show up that late.

Grand taxis formerly were 10-year-old Mercedes, regular saloon cars that in Europe are used for up to 4 passengers plus driver. However, nowadays they are replaced more and more by Peugeot vans. For a grand taxi, it is normal to share a car between up to 6 passengers. The front seat is normally given to two women. Some travellers often pay for 2 seats that remain unoccupied to travel with more space inside, and hence comfort.

Beware, some taxi drivers will refuse to drive off until the taxi is full, potentially causing you delays. Alternatively, for a relatively reasonable sum (depending on the driver), you can hire a grand taxi in Marrakech for the entire day, allowing you to explore the sights of the surrounding region. Most grand taxis operate only on a single route and that for trips outside of their licensed route they need to get permission from police first.

Taxi owners vie with each other to add extras such as sunshades. A clean vehicle and smart driver is usually a good sign of a well maintained vehicle.

Grand taxis can also be hired privately for approximately the price of two petit taxis for shorter trips. This is useful if your party is of four or more. If you plan to take a grand taxi for a custom tour it is best to book one day ahead to give the driver time to get this permission.

BY PLANE:

Domestic flying is not a popular means of transportation, however, Royal Air Maroc, the national flag carrier, has an excellent but expensive network to most cities. Other airlines include Air Arabia Maroc and Jet4you.com.

BY TRAMWAY:

The Casablanca tramway is 30 km long, with 49 stops, and Y-shaped. Tickets cost 6 dirham; buy your ticket before boarding. You have a choice between a rechargeable ticket valid for 10 journeys only, or a rechargeable card, valid for 4 years.

This is, after the Rabat-Salé tramway, the second tram system in Morocco, but also the largest system in number of stations and the length of the route.

BY CAR:

In many ways the traffic culture is different from what you would experience in western countries. The main road network is in good condition but due to the lack of dedicated cycling lanes and pedestrian paths in all but the largest cities, they are shared by many cyclists, pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles.

Roads have a good surface, although some are very narrow, in most cases only one narrow lane in each direction. Many roads in the south marked as sealed actually have only a central strip, one lane wide, sealed with wide shoulders to be used every time you meet oncoming traffic and this is a sensible economic solution in these areas of sparse traffic and long straight roads – except when you can not see oncoming traffic because of windblown dust!

EAT:

Moroccan cuisine is often reputed to be some of the best in the world, with countless dishes and variations proudly bearing the country’s colonial and Arabic influences; see French cuisine and Middle Eastern cuisine. Unfortunately as a tourist through Morocco, especially if you’re on a budget, you’ll be limited to the handful of dishes that seem to have a monopoly on cafe and restaurant menus throughout the country. Most restaurants serve dishes foreign to Morocco considering that Moroccans can eat their domestic dishes at home. Apart from major cities, Moroccans do not generally eat out in restaurants so choice is generally limited to international fare such as French, Italian and Chinese cuisine.

Traditional cuisine:

  • Bissara, a thick glop made from split peas and a generous wallop of olive oil can be found bubbling away near markets and in medinas in the mornings. Rarely available in touristy places.
  • Couscous made from semolina grains and steamed in a colander-like dish known as a couscoussière is a staple food for most Moroccans. It can be served as an accompaniment to a stew or tagine, or mixed with meat and vegetables and presented as a main course. Manual preparation (i.e. not “instant couscous”) takes hours. Any restaurant that has couscous on the regular menu should be avoided, it will not be the real thing. But lots of restaurants serve couscous once a week (usually Fridays) for lunch and advertise this widely – they tend to make real couscous and often for much better prices.
  • Fish on southern beaches is usually very fresh (caught the same day) and cheap. A mixed fish plate comes for about 25 dirham at stalls in the markets of fishing villages, a huge plate of grilled sardines is 15-20 dirham. If bought fresh at the fish market, a kilogram of fish is 5-20 dirham (the latter for a small kind of tuna). Most restaurants in fishing towns have a BBQ in front and will grill any fish you bring them for 30 dirham (includes fries, a salad and bread). Fish is gutted on demand at the markets, just tell them how you want to prepare it (for a BBQ you get a nice butterfly cut, for tagine it is just gutted). A small tip of 1-2 dirham is appropriate for the gutting.
  • Ghoulal: Land snails in a delicious, rich broth can be found at least as far south as Marrakesh at street food stalls. Servings start as low as 3 dirham, in Marrakesh’s main square at 10 for the first serving, 5 for every subsequent serving.
  • Harira is a simple soup made from lentils, chick peas, lamb stock, tomatoes and vegetables, that is nourishing but light on the stomach and can be eaten as part of any meal. Most Moroccans have it at least once a week, many every day. It is even part of the traditional first meal after sunset during Ramadan in Morocco: dates, followed by harira. A serving starts at 3 dirham; on menus it is often referred to as just moroccan soup or in French, soupe marocaine. It is probably the most “Moroccan” dish of all and one cannot really claim to have been to Morocco without having tried it at least once.
  • Khlea (also: kaliya) might be more on the adventurous side, taste-wise: meat preserved in fat (mostly lamb, but camel too is produced on industrial scale), usually prepared in a tagine with egg and tomato. The result is very fatty, the meat has a very intense taste and is usually quite chewy. The upside: Starting at 15 dirham, this will get you going for half a day at least. Might be hard to get in touristy restaurants.
  • Pastilla is a popular delicacy in Morocco: Pulled meat in a flaky dough, topped with sugar and cinnamon. Originally made with pigeon fledglings, nowadays the most common variety is made with chicken, though lamb, beef or fish are sometimes used as well. It is sometimes available as a starter on demand, but the real thing is the size of a proper pie and takes hours to prepare. A proper, pre-ordered pigeon fledgling pastilla is at least 200 dirham, 300 to 400 dirham in most touristy places. A large pastilla serves 2 to 4 people.
  • Sfenj: These deep fried donuts from unsweetened yeast dough, dusted with sugar, are a popular and very filling snack that can be found throughout the country for 1 dirham per piece. They want to be eaten very fresh. Look out for stalls with a huge bowl of hot oil.
  • A Tagine (or tajine): One literally cannot be in the country without seeing a “tagine the dish” on the menu or a “tagine, the cooking ware” in the wild at least once. The very short version is: A “tagine de …” on a menu is a “steamed … in a clay pot”. Literally everything can go into a tagine, but restaurants offer only very few dishes using the same spice formulas, which might become boring soon – albeit, with some luck pigeon or khlea can be found:
    • tagine de kefta: meatballs, usually with an egg and anything from “a few” to “lots of” vegetables; can be rather spicy
    • tagine de legumes: vegetables only (but don’t count on vegetarian broth)
    • tagine de poulet: chicken, usually with preserved lemons (“en citron”)
    • tagine aux pruneaux: lamb or, rarely, beef, with prunes and almonds
    • tagine de bœuf/agneau/dromadaire/chèvre: beef/lamb/camel/goat with vegetables
    • tagine de(s) poisson/crevettes/poulpe: fish/shrimp/octopus (in coastal regions)
  • Many cafes (see Drink) and restaurants also offer good value petit déjeuner breakfast deals, which basically include a tea or coffee, orange juice (jus d’orange) and a croissant or bread with marmalade from 10 dirham.
  • At many cheap eating places stews like loubia (white beans), adassa (lentils) and ker ain (sheep foot with chickpeas) are on offer.

Snacks and fast food:

Snackers and budget watchers are well catered for in Morocco. Rotisserie chicken shops abound, where you can get a quarter chicken served with fries and salad for around 20 dirham. Sandwiches (from 10 dirham) served from rotisserie chicken shops or hole-in-the-wall establishments are also popular. These fresh crusty baguettes are stuffed with any number of fillings including tuna, chicken, brochettes and a variety of salads. This is all usually topped off with the obligatory wad of French fries stuffed into the sandwich and lashings of mayonnaise squeezed on top.

You may also see hawkers and vendors selling a variety of nuts, steamed broad beans and barbecued corn cobs.

DRINK:

Water:

Bottled water is widely available. Popular brands of water include Oulmes (sparkling) and Sidi Ali, Sidi Harazem and Ain Saiss Danone (still). The latter has a slightly mineral and metallic taste. Nothing with a high mineralization produced.

As a rule, do not drink tap water at all in Morocco, even in hotels, unless your stomach is “trained”: Overall the quality is excellent until it reaches the house and if there is a problem the government issues warnings in time, but how water is stored in the house and the condition of the plumbing is questionable. Since a 1l bottle of water is only 5 to 7 dirham, most travelers will prefer to stick to it instead of taking the risk of 2 days of diarrhea.

Tea:

Any traveller will be offered mint tea at least once a day. Even the most financially modest Moroccan is equipped with a tea pot and a few glasses. Although sometimes the offer is more of a lure into a shop than a hospitable gesture, it is polite to accept. Before drinking, look the host in the eye and say “ba saha ou raha” or just saha’. It means enjoy and relax and any local will be impressed with your language skills. Be aware, that this is not pure mint tea: It is green tea (gunpowder) to which mint is added after an initial steeping. As such, it can be pretty strong, especially if one is not used to caffeine. In deserts, it tends to be really strong.

Varieties are tea with chiba (wormwood), available in the winter in the north and with safron, in the region of Ouarzazate.

Alcohol:

Although a predominantly Muslim country, Morocco is not dry.

Alcohol is available in some restaurants, bars, supermarkets (Carrefour and Attacadao), clubs, hotels and discos; some (not strictly legal) liquor stores can be found as well with some research. Lots of Moroccans enjoy a drink although it is disapproved of in public places. The local brew of choice carries the highly original name of Casablanca Beer. It is a full flavored lager and enjoyable with the local cuisine or as a refreshment. The other two major Moroccan beers are Flag Special and Stork. Also you can find local judeo-berber vodka, mild anise flavored and brewed from figs (beware, though, none is produced legally and quality control is non-existent – if the taste reminds you of furniture polish, stay away). Morocco also produces various wines – some of remarkable quality. A bottle in supermarkets start at 35 dirham and go up to 1,000 dirham; a good quality wine can already be had for 50 dirham. In most riads or hotels that serve food but no alcohol, explicitly asking for a bottle of wine will magically make it appear 20 minutes later, though with a markup of at least 100%.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal even if you drank just one beer.

Places:

Cafes and bars are mostly visited by men only, a solo woman may feel more comfortable having a drink or snack at a pastry shop or restaurant. This doesn’t apply to couples though.

There are the usual more modern hotels or equivalent found anywhere in the big cities and larger towns around Morocco. On the lower end of the budget scale, HI-affiliated youth hostels can be found in the major cities (dorm beds from around 50 dirham) while the cheapest budget hotels (singles from around 65 dirham) are usually located in the medina. Newer, cleaner and slightly more expensive budget (singles from around 75 dirham) and mid-range hotels that are sprinkled throughout the ville nouvelles.

Hotels can sometimes be very basic and often lack hot water and showers, while others will charge you 5-10 dirham for a hot water shower. With the exception of large high end hotels, expect the hot water supply in hotels to not be as stable as in more established countries. In Marrakech, MHamid, near Ourzazate and possibly other places, the hot water temperature varies dramatically while you take a shower. Instead, consider public hammams as there are quite a lot of them in the medina and in rural areas. Hotels in Morocco are a matter of choice and fit every budget. Classified hotels are 1-star (simple) to 5-star (luxury), and are classified as an auberge, riad, rural gîtes d’étape or hotel. Stays usually include breakfast, and many include dinner.

Auberges are found in the country or in rural small towns, and are built in the traditional mud (kasbah) style, many with wood burning fireplaces and salons or roof terraces for taking meals. Auberge are very comfortable, small and usually family run and owned.

Riads are traditional Moroccan-style housing with a rectangular, multi-storey building and an enclosed interior courtyard/garden. They have thick walls which can serve to moderate the outside temperature fluctuations, making them cooler during the day. Riads are popular in Marrakech, Essaouira and Fes, or anywhere there is a medina (old city). They are usually small (about 6 rooms or less), clean and charming, often with to a lovely walled garden where breakfast is served on an inner patio or up on a roof terrace. Riads are usually too small to have a swimming pool, but may have what is called a tiny plunge pool to cool off in during summer months. Some riads are in former merchant houses or palaces and may have large opulent rooms and gardens. (Note, riads are constructed adjacent to one another, and often have smaller windows, letting in less sunshine, both of which can exacerbate bed bug infestations and make extermination difficult. Best to check mattress crevices/seams for bugs/carcasses or feces (which present as black dots). Mosquito repellents such as DEET can repel bed bugs to an extent, but do not kill them upon contact, like Permethrin.) By the way, a dar is similar, but often has a closed roof.

Gîtes d’étape are simple country inns and hostel style places, where mountain trekkers can grab a hot shower, a good meal, and have a roof over their head for one night.

Because coastal towns and villages are the destinations of choice for Moroccans to escape the heat from July to early September and because most Moroccans prefer furnished apartments over hotels, those towns are swamped with apartments. In the summer months and at peak season for Europeans (Easter, Autumn Holidays and from Christmas until mid-February) people will wait at the roadside at the village entrance, waving with keys. In low season you’ll have to ask around (any random person on the street will do). Prices range from 75-200 dirham in low season but can be a multiple in high season. If you want to spend more than just a few days, shop around: Within villages the prices don’t vary much for comparable places, but quality of furniture, kitchen equipment, internet connection and TV do a lot.

Desert bivouacs are traditional nomad carpeted wool tents with a mattress, sheets and blankets. You can shower at the auberge where you will also have breakfast.

Many hotels, especially those in the medina have delightful roof terraces, both in cities and the countryside, where you can sleep if the weather’s too hot. This will normally cost you 20-25 dirham and you’re provided with mattresses and a warm blanket. Just ask the receptionist in the hotel/auberge/gite. If you want to ask in French, which works fairly well, you can say ca sera possible de dormir sur la terrace, s’il vous plait? Often you can bargain on the price and if it’s more than 30 dirham you should bargain.

For those looking to camp, almost every town and city has a campground, although these can often be some way out of the centre. Many of these grounds have water, electricity and cafes. In rural areas and villages, locals are usually more than happy to let you camp on their property; just make sure you ask first. Wild camping is illegal and the fines are steep; though a friendly request to the local police chief will usually get you the permission.

What:

Apart from classic tourist souvenirs like postcards and trinkets, here are some things from this region that are hard to find elsewhere, or even unique:

  • Birad – Classic Moroccan tea pots.
  • Carpets – Genuine handmade Berber carpets can be purchased direct from the artisans who weave them. If you go to small villages, such as Anzal, in the province of Ouarzazate, you can visit the weavers, watch them work, and they will happily serve you tea and show you their products.
  • Dates – 10 dirham for an orange box seems an adequate price after some bargaining. However, in Europe dates are quite cheap as well, especially when bought at Middle Eastern or Turkish shops. In the end, how much sugar is really good for you?
  • Djellabah – Classic Moroccan designer robe with a hood. Often come in intricate designs and some are suited for warm weather while other heavier styles are for the cold.
  • Leatherware – Morocco has a really huge production of leather goods. Markets are full of mediocre models (you will notice that they use the same cuts and zippers for all the different types of cloths) and designer shops are hard to find. Instead, maybe you want to opt for pure leather itself and do the good work yourself back home—purses, vests, whatever … stitching and sewing is becoming more and more popular in Europe again.
  • Rhassoul/ghassoul – Also called wash soil in Europe, where it costs about 10 times as much as in Morocco.
  • T-shirts – If you’re looking for T-shirts, consider designer items by Kawibi—they look much more inspiring than boring traditional set of themes. They are available in duty-free stores, Atlas Airport Hotel near Casablanca and other places.

What not:

  • Geodes – Pink and purple dyed quartz are widely sold along with fake galena geodes which are often described as “cobalt geodes”.
  • Trilobite fossils – Unless you are an expert, you will most likely be buying a fake.
  • Artesanal or cooperative – These are catch phrases put up for tourists and just mean an increased price, but not necessarily higher quality or higher sustainability. Such facts can barely be verified and whether an oil is good or not is a poker game. Either way, you are always better off buying where locals do, because there you can expect quality also locals would go for. Get advice from your ho(s)tel staff where to buy good quality and at what price, but never let them show you directly. And if they say it is their cousin or friend, it is better to avoid it. Then go around the market for even more asking and checking of the lower price barrier of the merchants. Only after that decide what to buy and at what price.
  • Argan oil – Forget about it. It is impossible to tell whether you got something proper. Just because a lady in the shop is kneading stuff in oil, doesn’t mean it is anyhow related to the oil they sell. Just because a pressing machine is inside the shop, and they claim using it to get the oil, does not mean they actually do. Just because your guide or the shop owner claim it is the best Argan oil around, doesn’t mean it is. Just because they claim it is locally produced, organic (bio), artesanal, from a collective or has fancy logos and graphics, does not mean it is actually genuine—there is no such thing as a proper Moroccon certification. And just because the price is high does not mean either, it is good quality. Margins for Argan Oil are high, it is hard to identify genuine oil, and tourists are begging to be ripped off … it only makes sense that this is a big scam you should avoid. Nevertheless, if you are really keen getting some oil, look up the price for Argan oil in Europe—it is about 16€/250 ml. Only this is what you should use as base for bargaining. But you are probably better off not paying more than half than that in Morocco. Probably buying in a regular supermarket would be the best idea. Note that of course 100 ml bottles are sold at a far higher price (for tourists in little shops), because they can be carried as part of the hand luggage …. so, what really is the point in the end paying more than at home, and not even being sure about the quality?
**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Morocco
TOP ATTRACTIONS
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Name: Majorelle Garden
Location: Marrakech, Morocco
The Majorelle Garden is a two and half acre botanical garden and artist's landscape garden in Marrakech, Morocco. It was created by the French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle over almost forty years, starting in 1923, and features a Cubist villa designed by the French architect, Paul Sinoir in the 1930s. The property was the residence of the artist and his wife from 1923 until their divorce in the 1950s. In the 1980s, the property was purchased by the fashion designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who worked to restore it. Today, the garden and villa complex is open to the public. The villa houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, the Berber Museum and has recently opened the Musee Yves Saint Laurent.

During his lifetime, Majorelle earned a reputation as a celebrated Orientalist painter. Though Majorelle's watercolors are largely forgotten today, the gardens remain as his creative masterpiece. The special shade of bold cobalt blue, inspired by the coloured tiles he had seen around Marrakech and in Berber burn-houses, was used extensively in the garden and its buildings and is named after him, bleu Majorelle—Majorelle Blue.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majorelle_Garden
Name: Hassan II Mosque
Location: Casablanca, Morocco
The Hassan II Mosque is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in Africa, and the 5th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest minaret at 210 metres (689 ft).Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean; worshippers can pray over the sea but there is no glass floor looking into the sea. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque's outside ground.

The prayer hall is on the ground floor. The central hall is centrally heated, and provides spectacular underwater views of the Atlantic Ocean. The decorations in the hall are elaborate and exquisite made possible by involving 6000 master artisans of Morocco working on it. It is so large that it can easily accommodate the house of the Notre Dame of Paris or St Peter's of Rome.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_II_Mosque
Name: Erg Chebbi
Location: Morocco
Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco's several ergs – large seas of dunes formed by wind-blown sand. There are several other ergs such as Erg Chigaga near M'hamid. Technically all these ergs are within an area of semi-arid Pre-Saharan Steppes and not part of the Sahara desert which lies some distance to the south.

In places, the dunes of Erg Chebbi rise up to 150 meters from the surrounding hamada (rocky desert) and altogether it spans an area of 28 km from north to south and up to 5–7 km from east to west lining the Algerian border. The nearest sizable town is Erfoud, about 60 km further north. One other city is Rissani, around 40 km from Merzouga. Rissani was the site of a kingdom known as Sijilmassa, which became prosperous from the 8th to the 14th century due to its control of the caravan routes.

Merzouga, the local tourist center, is located on the western lee of the dunes, together with some 70 or more hotels and auberges running north-south along the dunes. Many companies offer camel trips into the dunes, taking tourists on overnight trips to permanent campsites several km into the erg, and out of sight of the hotels.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erg_Chebbi
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN MOROCCO / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

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We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

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