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What is argan oil?

The argan tree also known as Argania Spinosa grows in southern part of Morocco in areas known for its rough conditions (hot weather and poor soil conditions).

Argan trees only grow in Morocco, and trees are usually 8 to 10 meters high, and live up to 200 years. In some parts of Morocco, argan takes the place of the olive as a source of forage, oil, timber and fuel in Berber society.

Argan oil contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids, is rich in essential fatty acids and is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil. 

In Berber household, argan oil is used for dipping bread during breakfast, it is also added to couscous for flavoring, and to salads as a dressing. A dip for bread known as Amlou is made from argan oil, almonds or peanuts, sometimes sweetened by honey. Oil is also used as skin care and a hair care product by both men and women. ( see Argan oil health benefits)

 

Argan leaves and the pulp of the fruit is served for goats and camels, the wood is used for fire and the making of various household goods, and its fruit for the making of argan oil, which has both a high nutritional and local market value.

The argan tree is also at the base of a biosystem, especially in areas that border the desert. In these zones, argan trees act like a natural tool against the desert because of their ability to adapt to drought and their root system, which can reach a depth of 30 meters. This enables the tree to act like a "water elevator" for plants that grow underneath and alongside the tree.


Where to go Camel Trekking in Sahara desert of Morocco?

 

Morocco, Morrocco, Morroco? Which is correct?

In English, we spell the word: Morocco. But in Arabic, there are no vowels, so it's really anybody's guess. If you can pronounce it, that's more important than if you can spell it correctly.


Do I need any vaccinations before I go?

While this is always a personal choice, the answer about mandatory vaccines in Morocco is NO. For many people, they prefer to err on the side of safety (and the CDC recommendations), and get inoculated against such fun things as rabies and hepatitis (A & B both!), but we've had folks in-country before and no one has had trouble with health issues.


What's the local currency? Do they take credit cards?

The Moroccan Dirham (DEE-rahm). It's been worth between 11¢ and 13¢ since about 2010, so it's a good bet's about 12¢ per Dirham.

Relatively speaking, the rate of the Dirham is good, and it's steady, so there shouldn't be a lot of surprises. Granted you can pay western prices if you go looking for them, but for the most part, Morocco is a great travel bargain.

Remember that you will get money out of an ATM in dirham, and that you will often be charged a foreign transaction fee of about 3 percent by your bank, whether you get cash out or use a credit card. This dirty little secret can add up, so make sure you budget for it. Note that some credit cards have no foreign transaction fees. Also, if you want your debit/credit cards to work in Morocco, or any foreign country, call your bank before you leave! Many times, we have had guests calling back to their home country because their transactions were declined. It's a fraud concern for the banks, so they are all pretty careful. Most larger places will take credit cards; the souks (open-air markets) and smaller shops will probably still want cash, and especially if you want to bargain for something, cash is still king!


What language do they speak?

The Moroccans speak a fascinating mixture of Arabic, Berber, English and French - a patois for which we have perhaps only Creole in the US as a comparison. In a single sentence, you are likely to hear several languages, as in, "Mabruk! Welcome, haltu redu café e thé?"

While English will likely be understood by many in the larger cities, you may have language trouble in smaller or rural areas. In this case, Arabic and French are probably equal fallbacks for the intrepid traveler. Of course, if your Arabic was learned somewhere else (like Egypt) prepare for some polite snickers!


What customs could get me in trouble if I don't follow them?

There are probably two big things you should be concerned about here. One is the idea of using your left hand to do anything socially important, like eat or shake hands. Muslims, Moroccans among them, feel that it's unclean. Especially in public, be aware of this important cultural distinction.

The other thing is that women often dress modestly in Moroccan culture, and the Western tendency to want to run around in tank tops and short when it's hot (it's usually hot!) is outside their custom. While you can do it, I always like to err on the side of consideration of local tastes, even when it's inconvenient. So airy, flowy things that don't constrict but still cover the female form would be appropriate, as well as one-piece bathing suits. It also depends on where you are, with smaller places in the countryside being more conservative than big cities where they're more used to seeing a variety of people in variety of clothes. You can always buy clothing locally, which will also give you some fun souvenirs!


Do they drink/do drugs/party?

Moroccans, though most are devout Muslims, seem to do all of the above. Hashish is quite common in Morocco, and it's easy to get alcohol at many bars despite the Muslim stricture against it. In bigger cities, like Casablanca or Marrakech, you can find bars and nightclubs where they like to party until the wee hours.

There is also a sacred musical form of party called an Aissawa, which is basically a Sufi rave. Sufism, an ancient mystical branch of Islam focused on elevating the spirit, is still practiced throughout the world. The famous poet Rumi was a Sufi, and many Westerners have come to know Sufism through Rumi's writing. Spinning and dancing is one of the most common practices at the Aissawa, with the desired effect to create an altered state of the mind. It's a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone if you get the chance to participate.

 

Should I buy travel insurance?

These days, with things going haywire with world weather, it's probably a good idea. But remember you probably don't need a million dollar evacuation clause; you can probably see a local doctor in Morocco for whatever ails you locally, at a fraction of the cost of what it would be in the States. Almost all hotels these days have a doctor on call; just remember that the in-room visit may be a little pricy. But think of the travel story you will have! Medical insurance will often reimburse you, but note that if you are really concerned, get a policy that covers medical issues fully so that they will send a nurse. Note that the travel insurance you buy for a few dollars with your plane ticket may not cover you fully for your trip, especially if you're not on a tour. So read the fine print -- you have a short cancellation period once you purchase the insurance.


Do I need a visa to get in?

Almost all English-speaking countries (with the exception of South Africa) require no visa to enter the country, and visitors can stay up to 90 days, which is quite generous. Please note that your passport expiration date MUST be after the date of your intended return if you are a US Citizen, and if you are coming from England, it must be valid for 6 months after the intended date of departure. So check with the Moroccan embassy online in your own country just to be sure. Many countries are moving over to this second, stricter requirement, so it's best to always ensure your passport is up-to-date.

You'll need one blank page in your passport for the entry stamp which they will add at customs.


What kind of power converter do I need?

If you're coming from Europe, it's usually the same. If you're coming from England or the US, it's the kind they use in Europe, so yes, you will need a power converter. Note that it gets pretty complicated from here on out, as there are both 4mm and 5mm plugs, and some of the newer sockets use a grounding (third) pin. Many cafes will allow you to charge your device as well as having the correct converter to do so, all for less than USD $1, so if you are in a pinch, consider asking the locals.


Will my cell phone work there (and cost more than I earn in a month to use?)

Like many countries in the Middle East, it will be far cheaper for you to buy or bring a small cell phone with no bells and whistles and get a local number, than it will be for you to use your own cell phone, which will likely cost hundreds of dollars in extra roaming charges and fees before you are done. To give you an example, for around USD $20, you can get a phone, a local SIM card, and about an hour of talk time. Trust me, it's cheaper. Ask at your hotel, ask your tour guide, etc. It won't be the first time they've gotten the request. And, bonus! Your excursion to get a local cell phone is another great travel story in the making!


What food will they have there, and can I eat fresh fruits & veggies and drink the water?
Unlike the US and UK, which are moving rapidly to packaged foods, even for staples such as fruits and veggies, Morocco will have almost exclusively local produce. As a result, the selection will be smaller than perhaps you are used to, but most of it will have been grown, harvested, and brought to your table the way it would have been in the old days - fast and without any real processing. If you're worried about nasties in fresh stuff, do what the locals would do: squeeze a good quantity of lemon or lime juice on it. I guarantee there will be fewer chemicals on your salad than at McDonalds at home, and the food will taste fresh and delicious. Be smart -- if you're eating from a street vendor, you're taking your chances (that said, I've had amazing meals from a cart pulled by a donkey) and they have no regulations or even refrigeration sometimes. If you have a funny tummy at home, pack charcoal tablets and plan on eating yoghurt in Morocco to get some probiotics. Enjoy the local cuisine - that's one of the main reasons you went! As in most foreign countries, you should probably stick to bottled water just to be safe - we are often not used to the critters in someone else's water supply.

 

ONCF booking and train reservations 

 

Start here for general information about Morocco Trains and Morocco Train Stations

You can book train and purchase tickets in advance at Most Morrocan trains stations, we are not aware of any online service that you may use to book your tickets in advance outside of Morocco.

2nd class tickets are usually available even at high season, since no reservation is available. You can just purchase your tickets and hop on the train, you may not get a seat, but you still make your journey.

1st class tickets can be purchased one month in advance. Phone booking is available in Morocco via

Ketary call service: (Operational seven days a week, the call center is accessible from any point in Morocco by a single number )

0890 20 30 40 (*). 

Ketary can be used for Timetables,  fares, status of traffic, reservations and claims.

An alternative solution is contacting your hotel concierge, a local Moroccan travel agency, Moroccan friend, or guest house owner, and ask them to make train arrangments for you, or book train tickets for you. 

 

Ibn Battuta Travels in Morocco

 Ibn Battuta arrives in Fez

[I] arrived at the royal city of Fez on Friday, at the end of the month of Sha'ban of the year 750 [November 13, 1349].

I presented myself before our most noble master the most generous imam, the Commander of the Faithful, al-Mutawakkil Abu' Inan--may God enlarge his greatness and humble his enemies. His dignity made me forget the dignity of the sultan of Iraq, his beauty the beauty of the king of India, his fine qualities the noble character of the king of Yemen, his courage the courage of the king of the Turks, his clemency the clemency of the king of the Greeks, his devotion the devotion of the king of Turkistan, and his knowledge the knowledge of the king of Jawa [Java]. I laid down the staff of travel in his glorious land, having assured myself after unbiassed [sic] consideration that it is the best of countries, for in it fruits are plentiful, and running water and nourishing food are never exhausted. Few indeed are the lands which unite all these advantages, and well spoken are the poet's words:

"Of all the lands the West by this token's the best:

Here the full moon is spied and the sun speeds to rest."

Ibn Battuta lauds the diet of the Maghreb over that of other lands

The dirhams [silver coins] of the West are small, but their utility is great. When you compare its prices with the prices of Egypt and Syria, you will see the truth of my contention, and realize the superiority of the Maghrib. For I assure you that mutton in Egypt is sold at eighteen ounces for a dirham nuqra, which equals in value six dirhams of the Maghrib, whereas in the Maghrib meat is sold, when prices are high, at eighteen ounces for two dirhams that is a third of a nuqra. As for melted butter, it is usually not to be found in Egypt at all.

The kinds of things that the Egyptians eat along with their bread would not even be looked at in the Maghrib. They consist for the most part of lentils and chickpeas, which they cook in enormous cauldrons, and on which they put oil of sesame; "basilla," a kind of peas which they cook and eat with olive oil; gherkins, which they cook and mix with curdled milk; purslane [a salad herb], which they prepare in the same way; the buds of almond trees, which they cook and serve in curdled milk; and colocasia, which they cook. All these things are easily come by in the Maghrib, but God has enabled its inhabitants to dispense with them, by reason of the abundance of fleshmeats, melted butter, fresh butter, honey, and other products. As for green vegetables, they are the rarest of things in Egypt, and most of their fruit has to be brought from Syria. Grapes, when they are cheap, are sold amongst them at a dirham nuqra for three of their pounds, their pound being twelve ounces.

As for Syria, fruits are indeed plentiful there, but in the Maghrib they are cheaper. Grapes are sold there at the rate of one of their pounds for a dirham nuqra (their pound is three Maghribi pounds), and when their price is low, two pounds for a dirham nuqra. Pomegranates and quinces are sold at eight fals [copper pieces] apiece, which equals a dirham of our money. As for vegetables the quantity sold for a dirham nuqra is less than that sold for a small dirham in our country. Meat is sold there at the rate of one Syrian pound for two and a half dirhams nuqra. If you consider all this, it will be clear to you that the lands of the Maghrib are the cheapest in cost of living, the most abundant in good things, and blest with the greatest share of material comforts and advantages.

Ibn Battuta praises his natural lord, the sultan of Morocco

Moreover, God has augmented the honour and excellence of the Maghrib by the imamate of our master, the Commander of the Faithful, who has spread the shelter of security throughout its territories and made the sun of equity to rise within its borders, who has caused the clouds of beneficence to shed their rain upon its dwellers in country and town, who has purified it from evildoers, and established it in the ways alike of worldly prosperity and of religious observance. Ibn Battuta returns to his native Tangiers After I had been privileged to observe this noble majesty and to share in the all-embracing bounty of his beneficence, I set out to visit the tomb of my mother. I arrived at my home town of Tangier and visited her, and went on to the town of Sabta [Ceuta], where I stayed for some months. While I was there I suffered from an illness for three months, but afterwards God restored me to health.

I then proposed to take part in the jihad and the defence of the frontier, so I crossed the sea from Ceuta in a barque belonging to the people of Asila [Arzila], and reached the land of Andalusia (may God Almighty guard her!) where the reward of the dweller is abundant and a recompense is laid up for the settler and visitor. Ibn Battuta briefly describes the city of Marrakesh 

It is one of the most beautiful of cities, spaciously built and extending over a wide area, with abundant supplies. It contains magnificent mosques, such as its principal mosque, known as the Mosque of the Kutubiyin [the Booksellers]. There is a marvellously tall minaret there; I climbed it and obtained a view of the whole town from it. The town is now largely in ruins, so that I could compare it only to Baghdad, though the bazaars in Baghdad are finer. At Marrakush [Marrakesh] too there is a splendid college, distinguished by its fine site and solid construction; it was built by our master the Commander of the Faithful, Abu'l-Hasan [the late sultan of Morocco].

After returning to Fez, in 1352 Ibn Battuta crosses the Sahara and makes a tour of the kingdom of Mali, including the city of Timbuktoo.   Source: Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354, tr. and ed. H. A. R. Gibb (London: Broadway House, 1929) 


Ibn Battuta Travels in Africa   Ibn Battuta travels overland from Algiers to Tunis

On reaching al-Jaza'ir [Algiers] we halted outside the town for a few days, until the former party rejoined us, when we went on together through the Mitija [the fertile plain behind Algiers] to the mountain of Oaks [Jurjura] and so reached Bijaya [Bougiel.

The commander of Bijaya at this time was the chamberlain Ibn Sayyid an-Nas. Now one of the Tunisian merchants of our party had died leaving three thousand dinars of gold, which he had entrusted to a certain man of Algiers to deliver to his heirs at Tunis. Ibn Sayyid an-Nas came to hear of this and forcibly seized the money. This was the first instance I witnessed of the tyranny of the agents of the Tunisian government.

At Bijaya I fell ill of a fever, and one of my friends advised me to stay there till I recovered. But I refused, saying, "If God decrees my death, it shall be on the road with my face set toward Mecca." "If that is your resolve," he replied, "sell your ass and your heavy baggage, and I shall lend you what you require. In this way you will travel light, for we must make haste on our journey, for fear of meeting roving Arabs on the way." I followed his advice and he did as he had promised--may God reward him!

On reaching Qusantinah [Constantine] we camped outside the town, but a heavy rain forced us to leave our tents during the night and take refuge in some houses there. Next day the governor of the city came to meet us. Seeing my clothes all soiled by the rain he gave orders that they should be washed at his house, and in place of my old worn headcloth sent me a headcloth of fine Syrian cloth, in one of the ends of which he had tied two gold dinars. This was the first alms I received on my journey.

From Qusantinah we reached Bona [Bone] where, after staying in the town for several days, we left the merchants of our party on account of the dangers of the road, while we pursued our journey with the utmost speed. I was again attacked by fever, so I tied myself in the saddle with a turban-cloth in case I should fall by reason of my weakness. So great was my fear that I could not dismount until we arrived at Tunis. Ibn Battuta and his party arrive at Tunis 

The population of the city came out to meet the members of our party, and on all sides greetings and question were exchanged, but not a soul greeted me as no one there was known to me. I was so affected by my loneliness that I could not restrain my tears and wept bitterly, until one of the pilgrims realized the cause of my distress and coming up to me greeted me kindly and continued to entertain me with friendly talk until I entered the city.

The Sultan of Tunis at that time was Abu Yahya, the son of Abu' Zakariya IL, and there were a number of notable scholars in the town. During my stay the festival of the Breaking of the Fast fell due, and I joined the company at the Praying-ground. The inhabitants assembled in large numbers to celebrate the festival, making a brave show and wearing their richest apparel. The Sultan Abu Yahya arrived on horseback, accompanied by all his relatives, courtiers, and officers of state walking on foot in a stately procession. After the recital of the prayer and the conclusion of the Allocution the people returned to their homes.

Ibn Battuta leaves Tunis with the annual pilgrim caravan

Some time later the pilgrim caravan for the Hijaz was formed, and they nominated me as their qadi [judge]. We left Tunis early in November [1325], following the coast road through Susa Sfax, and Qabis, where we stayed for ten days on account of incessant rains. Thence we set out for Tripoli, accompanied for several stages by a hundred or more horsemen as well as a detachment of archers, out of respect for whom the Arabs [brigands] kept their distance.

I had made a contract of marriage at Sfax with the daughter of one of the syndics at Tunis, and at Tripoli she was conducted to me, but after leaving Tripoli I became involved in a dispute with her father, which necessitated my separation from her. I then married the daughter of a student from Fez, and when she was conducted to me I detained the caravan for a day by entertaining them all at a wedding party. Arrival at Alexandria

At length on April 5th (1326) we reached Alexandria. It is a beautiful city, well-built and fortified with four gates and a magnificent port. Among all the ports in the world I have seen none to equal it except Kawlam [Quilon] and Calicut in India, the port of the infidels [Genoese] at Sudaq [Sudak, in the Crimea] in the land of the Turks, and the port of Zaytun [Canton?] in China, all of which will be described later.

The famous lighthouse, one of the "wonders of the ancient world"

I went to see the lighthouse on this occasion and found one of its faces in ruins. It is a very high square building, and its door is above the level of the earth. Opposite the door, and of the same height, is a building from which there is a plank bridge to the door; if this is removed there is no means of entrance. Inside the door is a place for the lighthouse-keeper, and within the lighthouse there are many chambers. The breadth of the passage inside is nine spans and that of the wall ten spans; each of the four sides of the lighthouse is 140 spans in breadth. It is situated on a high mound and lies three miles from the city on a long tongue of land which juts out into the sea from close by the city wall, so that the lighthouse cannot be reached by land except from the city. On my return to the West in the year 750 [1349] I visited the lighthouse again, and found that it had fallen into so ruinous a condition that it was not possible to enter it or climb up to the door.

Al-Malik an-Nasir had started to build a similar lighthouse alongside it but was prevented by death from completing the work. Another of the marvellous things in this city is the awe-inspiring marble column [an obelisk] on its outskirts which they call the Pillar of Columns. It is a single block, skilfully carved, erected on a plinth of square stones like enormous platforms, and no one knows how it was erected there nor for certain who erected it.

Two holy men of the city

One of the learned men of Alexandria was the qadi, a master of eloquence, who used to wear a turban of extraordinary size. Never either in the eastern or the western lands have I seen a more voluminous headgear.

Another of them was the pious ascetic Burhan ad-Din, whom I met during my stay and whose hospitality I enjoyed for three days. One day as I entered his room he said to me "I see that you are fond of travelling through foreign lands." I replied "Yes, I am " (though I had as yet no thought of going to such distant lands as India or China). Then he said "You must certainly visit my brother Farid ad-Din in India, and my brother Rukn ad-Din in Sind, and my brother Burhan ad-Din in China, and when you find them give them greeting from me." I was amazed at his prediction and the idea of going to these countries having been cast into my mind, my journeys never ceased until I had met these three that he named and conveyed his greeting to them.

A visit to a holy man in the country

During my stay at Alexandria I had heard of the pious Shaykh al-Murshidi, who bestowed gifts miraculously created at his desire. He lived in solitary retreat in a cell in the country where he was visited by princes and ministers. Parties of men in all ranks of life used to come to him every day and he would supply them all with food. Each one of them would desire to eat some flesh or fruit or sweetmeat at his cell, and to each he would give what he had suggested, though it was frequently out of season. His fame was carried from mouth to mouth far and wide, and the Sultan too had visited him several times in his retreat. I set out from Alexandria to seek this shaykh and passing through Damanhur came to Fawwa [Fua], a beautiful township, close by which, separated from it by a canal, lies the shaykh's cell. I reached this cell about mid-afternoon, and on saluting the shaykh I found that he had with him one of the sultan's aides-de-camp, who had encamped with his troops just outside. The shaykh rose and embraced me, and calling for food invited me to eat. When the hour of the afternoon prayer arrived he set me in front as prayer-leader, and did the same on every occasion when we were together at the times of prayer during my stay. When I wished to sleep he said to me "Go up to the roof of the cell and sleep there " (this was during the summer heats). I said to the officer "In the name of God," but he replied [quoting from the Koran] "There is none of us but has an appointed place." So I mounted to the roof and found there a straw mattress and a leather mat, a water vessel for ritual ablutions, a jar of water and a drinkingcup, and I lay down there to sleep.

A dream of travels to come

That night, while I was sleeping on the roof of the cell, I dreamed that I was on the wing of a great bird which was flying with me towards Mecca, then to Yemen, then eastwards and thereafter going towards the south, then flying far eastwards and finally landing in a dark and green country, where it left me. I was astonished at this dream and said to myself "If the shaykh can interpret my dream for me, he is all that they say he is." Next morning, after all the other visitors had gone, he called me and when I had related my dream interpreted it to me saying: "You will make the pilgrimage [to Mecca] and visit [the Tomb of] the Prophet, and you will travel through Yemen, Iraq, the country of the Turks, and India. You will stay there for a long time and meet there my brother Dilshad the Indian, who will rescue you from a danger into which you will fall." Then he gave me a travelling-provision of small cakes and money, and I bade him farewell and departed. Never since parting from him have I met on my journeys aught but good fortune, and his blessings have stood me in good stead.

Ibn Battuta leaves for Cairo via Damietta

We rode from here to Damietta through a number of towns, in each of which we visited the principal men of religion. Damietta lies on the bank of the Nile, and the people in the houses next to the river draw water from it in buckets. Many of the houses have steps leading down to the river. Their sheep and goats are allowed to pasture at liberty day and night; for this reason the saying goes of Damietta "Its walls are sweetmeats and its dogs are sheep." Anyone who enters the city may not afterwards leave it except by the governor's seal. Persons of repute have a seal stamped on a piece of paper so that they may show it to the gatekeepers; other persons have the seal stamped on their forearms. In this city there are many seabirds with extremely greasy flesh, and the milk of its buffaloes is unequalled for sweetness and pleasant taste. The fish called buri is exported thence to Syria, Anatolia, and Cairo. The present town is of recent construction; the old city was that destroyed by the Franks in the time of al Malik as as-Salih.

From Damietta I travelled to Fariskur, which is a town on the bank of the Nile, and halted outside it. Here I was overtaken by a horseman who had been sent after me by the governor of Damietta. He handed me a number of coins saying to me "The Governor asked for you, and on being informed about you, he sent you this gift"--may God reward him! Thence I travelled to Ashmun, a large and ancient town on a canal derived from the Nile. It possesses a wooden bridge at which all vessels anchor, and in the afternoon the baulks are lifted and the vessels pass up and down. From here I went to Samannud, whence I journeyed upstream to Cairo, between a continuous succession of towns and villages. The traveller on the Nile need take no provision with him because whenever he desires to descend on the bank he may do so, for ablutions, prayers, provisioning, or any other purpose. There is an uninterrupted chain of bazaars from Alexandria to Cairo, and from Cairo to Assuan [Aswan] in Upper Egypt. Arrival in Cairo

I arrived at length at Cairo, mother of cities and seat of Pharaoh the tyrant, mistress of broad regions and fruitful lands, boundless in multitude of buildings, peerless in beauty and splendour, the meeting-place of comer and goer, the halting-place of feeble and mighty, whose throngs surge as the waves of the sea, and can scarce be contained in her for all her size and capacity. It is said that in Cairo there are twelve thousand water-carriers who transport water on camels, and thirty thousand hirers of mules and donkeys, and that on the Nile there are thirty-six thousand boats belonging to the Sultan and his subjects which sail upstream to Upper Egypt and downstream to Alexandria and Damietta, laden with goods and profitable merchandise of all kinds.

A pleasure garden

On the bank of the Nile opposite Old Cairo is the place known as The Garden, which is a pleasure park and promenade, containing many beautiful gardens, for the people of Cairo are given to pleasure and amusements. I witnessed a fete once in Cairo for the sultan's recovery from a fractured hand; all the merchants decorated their bazaars and had rich stuffs, ornaments and silken fabrics hanging in their shops for several days.

Religious institutions

The mosque of 'Amr is highly venerated and widely celebrated. The Friday service is held in it and the road runs through it from east to west. The madrasas [college mosques] of Cairo cannot be counted for multitude. As for the Maristan [hospital], which lies "between the two castles" near the mausoleum of Sultan Qala'un, no description is adequate to its beauties. It contains an innumerable quantity of appliances and medicaments, and its daily revenue is put as high as a thousand dinars.

There are a large number of religious establishments ["convents "] which they call khanqahs, and the nobles vie with one another in building them. Each of these is set apart for a separate school of darwishes, mostly Persians, who are men of good education and adepts in the mystical doctrines. Each has a superior and a doorkeeper and their affairs are admirably organized. They have many special customs one of which has to do with their food. The steward of the house comes in the morning to the darwishes, each of whom indicates what food he desires, and when they assemble for meals, each person is given his bread and soup in a separate dish, none sharing with another. They eat twice a day. They are each given winter clothes and summer clothes, and a monthly allowance of from twenty to thirty dirhams. Every Thursday night they receive sugar cakes, soap to wash their clothes, the price of a bath, and oil for their lamps. These men are celibate; the married men have separate convents.

At Cairo too is the great cemetery of al-Qarafa, which is a place of peculiar sanctity and contains the graves of innumerable scholars and pious believers. In the Qarafa the people build beautiful pavilions surrounded by walls, so that they look like houses. They also build chambers and hire Koran-readers who recite night and day in agreeable voices. Some of them build religious houses and madrasas beside the mausoleums and on Thursday nights they go out to spend the night there with their children and women-folk, and make a circuit of the famous tombs. They go out to spend the night there also on the "Night of midSha'ban," and the market-people take out all kinds of eatables. Among the many celebrated sanctuaries [in the city] is the holy shrine where there reposes the head of alHusayn. Beside it is a vast monastery of striking construction, on the doors of which there are silver rings and plates of the same metal.

The great river Nile

The Egyptian Nile surpasses all rivers of the earth in sweetness of taste, length of course, and utility. No other river in the world can show such a continuous series of towns and villages along its banks, or a basin so intensely cultivated. Its course is from South to North, contrary to all the other great rivers. One extraordinary thing about it is that it begins to rise in the extreme hot weather at the time when rivers generally diminish and dry up, and begins to subside just when rivers begin to increase and overflow. The river Indus resembles it in this feature. The Nile is one of the five great rivers of the world, which are the Nile, Euphrates, Tigris, Syr Darya and Amu Darya; five other rivers resemble these, the Indus, which is called Panj Ab [i.e. Five Rivers], the river of India which is called Gang [Ganges]--it is to it that the Hindus go on pilgrimage, and when they burn their dead they throw the ashes into it, and they say that it comes from Paradise--the river Jun [Jumna or perhaps Brahmaputra] in India, the river Itil [Volga] in the Qipchaq steppes, on the banks of which is the city of Sara, and the river Saru [Hoang-Ho] in the land of Cathay. All these will be mentioned in their proper places, if God will. Some distance below Cairo the Nile divides into three streams, none of which can be crossed except by boat, winter or summer. The inhabitants of every township have canals led off the Nile; these are filled when the river is in flood and carry the water over the fields.

Upriver

From Cairo I travelled into Upper Egypt, with the intention of crossing to the Hijaz. On the first night I stayed at the monastery of Dayr at-Tin, which was built to house certain illustrious relics--a fragment of the Prophet's wooden basin and the pencil with which he used to apply kohl, the awl he used for sewing his sandals, and the Koran belonging to the Caliph Ali written in his own hand. These were bought, it is said, for a hundred thousand dirhams by the builder of the monastery, who also established funds to supply food to all comers and to maintain the guardians of the sacred relics.

Thence my way lay through a number of towns and villages to Munyat Ibn Khasib [Minia], a large town which is built on the bank of the Nile, and most emphatically excels all the other towns of Upper Egypt. I went on through Manfalut, Asyut, Ikhmim, where there is a berba with sculptures and inscriptions which no one can now read-another of these berbas there was pulled down and its stones used to build a madrasa--Qina, Qus, where the governor of Upper Egypt resides, Luxor, a pretty little town containing the tomb of the pious ascetic Abu'l-Hajjaj, Esna, and thence a day and a night's journey through desert country to Edfu.

Source: Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354, tr. and ed. H. A. R. Gibb (London: Broadway House, 1929)

 

What should I expect when giving gifts to Moroccans during my stay in Morocco?

Moroccans like receiving gifts as any other culture. When invited to a Moroccan party ( wedding, birthday, or a house party) , a gift is not required but it is desirable, and it would be appreciated by the Moroccan host. You will usually get a welcome from the host, and he/she would thank you for bringing the gift, and don't expect them to open the gift right away. The gift would be opened after the party is over, and in the future it would rarely be mentioned or discussed, so  there is no need to bring it up next time you meet the host. 

 

Do you think Essaouira have a functioning Synagogue?

Essaouira was known as a major Jewish center in Morocco. The city has a decent number of Moroccan Jews who work and live there, Mellah is the Jewish quarter located in the middle of the Medina of the city. There is a Synagogue at 2 rue Derb Ziry Ben Attiyah, and  also Essaouira community at 2 rue de Mellah

 

What are the best night clubs in Agadir morocco?

 

Night Clubs (12-4AM)

Some of the best night clubs of dancing and drinking at the city of Agadir Morocco are : Papa Gayo (located at Tikidda Beach Resort) is currently the largest night club in Agadir, Sofitel Night ClubDreamsFlamingo, Factory ( small intimate place) and Beach Club ( hokah and Moroccan music) all offer great nightlife entertainment while vacationing in Agadir. There is an entrance fee depending on season 100-200DH with a complimentary drink.

The new addition: Actors Night Club (considered one of the most hip)

For party animals, English Pub, Factory and Actors are three different alternatives, and they are all located within 2-3 blocks from each other, so they are a good option for bar/club hoping. You can start your night at the English Pub and finish at Actors night club.   

Hotel Bars with live shows/DJ (7PM-01AM)

Most 4 stars hotels offer live traditional Moroccan dance and music shows by bar/pool area. It is a great time to connect with follow travels from other part of the world, also a great option, if you are vacationning with kids. 

Some hotels that offer good Agadir night entertainment or have night clubs are

* Argana Hotel (El Paradiso : night club / Oriental Bar)

* Amadil Beach Hotel

* Beach Club ( night club)

* Beach Front Restaurants: offer live traditional Moroccan music and authentic Moroccan food

* El Bahia Hotel

* Odyssee Hotel Bar ( Piano Bar)

Pubs (5PM-01AM)

* Central English Pub (DJ/Karaoke) 

* Jockey Bar (DJ)

Agadir Piano Bars  (5PM-01AM)

*  Golden Gate

 

I will be visiting Marrakesh for 10 days with my 12 years old son, and I am planning to visit Ourilka Valley, do you know, how to get from Marrakech to Ourika Valley?

 

Ourika Valley is known for its stunning views, lovely road to mountain Toubkal sights, many waterfalls, and spectacular scenery, it is a great day trip from Marrakesh, and a good way to explore Moroccan natural beauty, and a great options for hickers. Ourika Valley is good place for both families travelling with kids and adults. The Valley is located one 1 hour and half drive from the Marrakech city center.

There are several several options to get from Marrakech to the Ourika Valley, drving by using a rented car,Shared Moroccan big taxis rides from Marrakech to the Ourika Valley or via bus. Tour companies offer day trip packages that include a private driver, guide, transportation, usually a bus to take you to the main sights of the Valley.The trip can take from 1  hour to 1 hour and half each way.

Can I catch train to Tiznit?

 

The last hub in Moroccan railroad system is Marrakesh train station, however ONCF offers connecting buses to major southern Moroccan cities via Supratours buses including Tiznit. Check our Moroccan train guide for more Moroccan trains information details.

 

 What kind of music is usually played in Moroccan weddings? 

 During Moroccan weddings music that is played depends on region of Morocco, married couple music taste, and family of married couple traditions.

  • Chaabi music is played in wedding in (Casablanca, El Jadida, Rabat and Marrakesh) regions of Morocco
  • Berber ( Ahouach)  music is played in Agadir region of Morocco
  • Andalusian music is played in wedding in Fez region of Morocco
  • Pop Arabic music is played in some wedding by well known Moroccan singers
  • Gnawa music is played in Essaouira and Marrakesh regions of Morocco 
  • Aissaoua is played in region of Ouezzane
  • New local Moroccan bands that specialize in new Moroccan music style can make wedding fan and get guests to dance and enjoy their time. 

 

Real authentic Moroccan experiences

Having recently returned from a seven-day stay at Taroudant, I thought I'd keep this authentic Moroccan spot to myself.

For various reasons I decided against the Gazelle d'Or: its tariffs (what it costs per day, a villager could not earn in three months); its isolation and its reputation for being a pretentious, colonial Anglo outpost. For most of the townspeople, a stay at the Gazelle d'Or marks the visitor an exploitative and exploitable indulgent tourist. For about a third of the price, I made my retreat Palais Salam.

Sheltered within the town's ancient fortress walls (and only a five-minute walk to the center), the hotel's lush Andalusian gardens, softly gurgling fountains, landscaped pools and richly ornate Moorish interiors (it was once a pasha's palace) afforded the tranquillity required between sojourns to the outlying countryside. Glorious Moroccan dishes (for the less intrepid, there is also a European dining room), a sympathetic and efficient staff and an interesting assortment of guests added to the comforts.

What was most memorable was stopping at timeless Berber villages, sharing repasts with cafe regulars and being a guest inside homes, going for a real wash down and encountering women without veils and caftans at the village hammam (steam bath). New York, N.Y.


What are some famous artists from Morocco?

Chaïbia Talal (1929 – April 2, 2004) was an autodidact Moroccan celebrity artist.

The painting of Chaïbia was considered as being very naive. Her favorite paintings subjects are of women, she held expositions in most major Moroccan and international cities (Casablanca, Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Rabat, and Barcelona) and several others. Chaibia was an ambassador of Moroccan arts

Chaibia received Gold medal of the French Academic Society for Education and Encouragement. in May 2003.Because of her arts she moved from a modest backround to riches, and she became a Moroccan celebrity due to her artistic abilities and she inspired young Moroccan woman to seek art and explore their creativities.

Chaibia is primarily a colorist who has been described as capturing the vibrancy of Moroccan life,  She specialized in figurative paintings and drawings

In 1984, One of her paintings was selected as the poster for the Contemporary Women's International Art 

 

Elbaz Andre, born in 1934 at the Atlantic city of El Jadida, Morocco, is a famous Moroccan painter and filmmaker.

Elbaz first exhibition, which was very successful, and it took place in Casablanca in 1961 earned him an appointment as Professor at the Beaux-Arts school in Casablanca. He also exhibited his paintings at the Tel-Aviv Museum, Paris, Toulose, New York and Toronto. Elbaz received two awards, Prix Mémoire de la Shoah - Fondation du Judaïsme Français in 1998, and La Nuit n'est jamais complète Lauréat du court métrage - Vème Biennale de Paris in 1968. He also did short-films, animations and regular films as well. 


Is tap water safe in Morocco?

Tap water is safe in Morocco, it is used by 31,665,616 Moroccan daily. However, tourists visiting Morocco may choose bottled water that is available in every city and town, it might be wise to go with bottled water giving its cheap price. small bottled water are priced 3-6DH, big bottled water are priced 7-14DH depending on where you buy the water, Sidi Ali Water is a very known brand for its crisp water, it is usually cheaper in super markets like Marjane, and Sidi Ali brand is locals favorite.

 

What to do around Moulay Bousselham Morocco?

Moulay Bousselham is a small town in Kenitra Province region of  Morocco, the town is known for its grilled fish and baked fish tajines situated in Atlantic Ocean with great beaches surrounding the town. The town tends to attract Moroccan beach goers in the summer months, and almost deserted in the winter season.   Merdja Zerga Biological Reserve also known as the Moulay Bousselham Lagoon is a Moroccan national park located near the coastal town of  Moulay Bousselha known for its birds, mammals, and several species.  

What items I need to pack to Marrakesh and Essaouira during my short visit to Morocco?

 

Items you will need during your trip to Marrakesh Morocco, so make you sure you pack them before your departure

  • Camera and charger
  • Coming from US, you will need a plug converter (American to European plug), converters are cheaper in USA
  • Sun screen with high SPF, again cheaper in USA
  • Tshirts / shorts/Sandles/Flip-flops/warm clothing for nighttime
  • Walking confy shoes
  • Books
  • Money
  • Swim suit
  • Hat
  • Toiletries
  • Medications (Allergies)
  • Multivitamins
  • Over counter: Anti-Diarrhea
  • Headscraf if you are heading to Sahara desert or remote more conservative local villagers
  • Sun glasses
  • If you are planning on receiving calls/messages during your trip in Morocco, call your wireless service provider to activate International roaming.
  • Credit Cards, call your Bank and letting them you will be using the credit card in Morocco, otherwise it might get locked/flagged after first use, and you end up with no money.
  • Enough cash
  • Phone numbers for emergency contacts

Which airlines flies to Casablanca Morocco?

List of Airlines flying to Casablanca Morocco Mohammed V Airport Airlines: EDELWEISS AIR AG,AIGLE AZUR,AIR ALGERIE,AIR ARABIA MAROC,AIR FRANCE,AIR MALTA,AIR SENEGAL INT,ALITALIA, ANDALUS LINEAS AEREAS,ATLAS BLEU,AUSTRIAN AIRLINES,BROTANNIA.AB,CLICKAIR,CONDOR FLUGDIENST,EASY JET, EGYPTAIR,,EMIRATES,EUROPEAN AIR TRANSPORT,GESTAIR EXECUTIVE,IBERIA,ITTIHAD AIRWAYS,Jet4You,JETAIRFLY(EX TUI AIRLINES BELGIUM),,KUWAIT AIRWAYS,LIBYAN ARAB AIRLINES,LUFTHANSA,,LUXAIR,MAURITANIA AIRWAYS,MY WAY,NET JETS TRANSPORTES AERERS SA,PAKISTAN INTER. AIRLINES,PRIVILEGE,QATAR AIRWAYS COMPANY,ROYAL AIR MAROC,RYAN AIR, SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES,,SWIFTAIR S.A,THOMAS COOK AIRLINES U.K,THOMSONFLY,TRANSAVIA.COM,TRANSPORTES AEROS PORTUG.,TRISTAIR AIR,TUNIS AIR,TURKISH AIRLINES VIZ


What is the travel time between Tangier and Agadir?

With the new highway between Agadir and Marrakesh travel time is reduced between Tangier and Agadir to 7 hours instead of 14 hours.

 

Which Moroccan city hosts a yearly triathlon?

The first Moroccan triathlon was hosted at the beach town of Agadir November  12, 2011.

What is the distance of Agadir Marathon?

Agadir Triathlon is a small triathlon (1.5KM Swim/30KM Bike /10KM Run)

Can I enter the race online?

Yes, use Agadir Triathlon site for registration. 

Is it possible to rent a bike at Agadir Morocco?

There are several transport companies that offer bike rentals at Agadir, Marrakesh and rest of Morocco.

How much does it cost to carry a bike by plane towards Morocco ? 

Check out with major airlines that fly to Morocco for an accurate rate 50Euros/100Euros

Easyjet, Jet4you, Royal air Maroc, Air France,Iberia all carry passengers bikes.

Which cities have yearly Marathons in Morocco?

Several marathons are hosted throught the year in different Moroccan cities( Casablanca, Marrakesh, Zagora and Sahara Desert) for long distance runners interested in some challenging road and conditions. 

 

 

How often does shuttle train run from Casa voyageur to Mohammed V airport in Casablanca, What is the current train schedule?

The train from Mohammed V Airport  to Casa Voyageur train station runs every hour from Casablanca The train runs staring at 6AM to around 10:30pm. The trip is usually 30-35 minute; the train station at Mohammed V airport is situated at level 1 in the arrivals area of Terminal 1. Tickets can be purchased at entrance to under ground train station. 

More Information can be found about  Moroccan Trains and Mohammed V Airport

 

How far are the Caves of Hercules from Tangier?

The Caves of Hercules are located 9 miles/ 14Km outside the city of Tangier. They are considered a must see place when visiting Tangier Morocco. It is said that this is where the mythological Greek hero used to rest before one of his twelve famous labours.The Caves of Hercules open up onto the Atlantic, and some part of the caves are open to visitors.


Are bank Atms available in Marrakesh and Essaouira in Morocco?

Banks are available in all touristic cities and towns in Morocco, and most bank have an atm machine that you can use especially during banks off hours. You can also find atms in outside currency exchange centers and shopping centers.

 

I am taking a ferry from Algeciras, Spain to Tangier, what is the best way to get from Tangier to Asilah?

Once you arrive to Tangier from Spain, you have a few travel options to get to Moroccan city of Asilah.

You can take a Bus, check our Moroccan buses section ( the cheapest option), or jump in a train, the fastest option, it would take about one hour, check our Moroccan trains sections. Or take a shared ride in a Moroccon taxi or rent a car. 

 

Can you please recommend some nice spots to check in Marrakesh at night? 

Marrakesh Nightlife offers lots of choices from Jemaa El Fena outdoor cafes and restaurants to night clubs, cabarets, casinos,  live music shows.

Marrakesh nights clubs

Theatro: next to Marrakesh Casino at the Hotel Es Saadi

Pacha Marrakech, Complexe Pacha, boulevard Mohammed VI

515: Boulevard Mohammed VI.

SO: Sofitel Hotel

Balafon Club

Actors

Le Paradise: Hotel Kempinski

 

Bars

Comptoir Darna, rue Echouhada

Kosy bar

Cafe Arabe

 

Can foreign nationals get married in Morocco? where does the Moroccan marriage ceremony take place?

Yes, foreign national can get married in Morocco. The marriage takes place at any Adoul's (Moroccan religious notary) office in Morocco. The marriage contract which is a simple agreement signed in the presence of witnesses and Adoul (Moroccan notary) can also take place at the Broom's house instead of Adoul's office.

All marriages in Morocco are administered under Islamic law, Adouls will make sure both husband and wife consent to the marriage, the amount of money given by husband to the wife would be included in the contract.

 

How to get to Mirleft from Marrakesh?

Mirleft can be accessed by road from Marrakech via two different roads, by the mountains or via Essaouira coastal road. Once you arrive to Agadir, head to the city of Tiznit. After getting to Tiznit, take direction of Mirleft via Aglou beach by the coastal road until you get to the village. If you arriving from Agadir Al Massira airport take direction of Tiznit, after getting to Tiznit, take direction of Mirleft via Aglou beach by the coastal road until you get to the village.

Can I get some information about Toubkal National Park?

 

Toubkal National Park is a Moroccan national park, it is a great place for hiking and enjoying natural beauty of the High Atlas Mountains, Jbel Toubkal is the highest peak in Morocco and North Africa at 4,167metres, and it is a great Moroccan hiking spot, the hiking starts at village of Imlil, local guides, mules and help can be found in area as well. Toubkal National Park can be reached using Ourika route driving from Marrakesh.

 

What are some of Moroccan exports?

  • Morocco exports the following products:
  • Fish products
  • Auto parts
  • Sneakers
  • Jeans
  • Hand made pottery
  • Traditional Berber and Moroccan carpets
  • Phosphorus
  • Textiles, garments
  • Argan Oil and Olive Oil
  • Cement
  • Moroccan decor
  • Mosaic tiles
  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Wine and Beer
  • Olives
     

I am landing at Mohammed V airport Casablanca at 7pm, how can I get to train station to catch my train to Casa voyageur station?

The train station at Mohamed V Airport Casablanca is located at Terminal 1, lower level section of the terminal, make sure you exchange some money to Moroccan DH before heading to the train station, the trip is every hour, and it usually takes half hour to Casa voyageur train station, check our Morocco train guide for more details.


Can you please tell me if there is a bus from Inzegane to Ouarzazate that run's daily? What time is the bus if there is one please? 

CTM company offers daily trips from Inzegane to Ouarzazate, departure at 10AM and arrival 16:50PM, the rate is 130DH.

Since Ouarzazate is major bus hub,  several other Moroccan bus companies  and big taxis are available on first come first serve basis.

 

Where can I exchange currency mainly Dollar ($) to Dirham (DH) in Morocco?

The Dollar, Euro, Pound can be converted and exchanged to Moroccan currency Dirham in all touristic cities and towns in Morocco. Hotels, resorts, restaurants, banks, currency exchange centers, airports, train stations all have offices or small centers that display the daily exchange rate where you can exchange your currency to Moroccan Dirham. Please note that you can also pay by Euro, Pound or Dollar in most restaurants and hotels.

Check this article about Moroccan currency dirham to get familiar with Moroccan money.

 

I am planning to take a taxi from Agadir Airport to beach club hotel in Agadir, how much should I expect to pay?

There is flat fee for taxis travelling from Agadir Airport to any location in Agadir including hotels of 150DH (Moroccan Dirham) + 20DH( Extra luggage), Taxis are available outside Airport across the street from exit area. Check this article for more information about taxis in Morocco

 

What to Pack for a Desert Trekking and Sahara Excursion ?

 The desert is usually cold at night and hot during the day, a combination of summer and winter wear will be required including a sweater, and very comfortable walking shoes. Some few items to bring during your desert visit are:Bottled Water, Sunscreen ( High SPF), lipsticks, sunglasses, Hat, A camera, a local Tuareg, and toiletry items .

 

I am visiting Agadir Morocco in October with my two kids, what kind of activities are available in Agadir for couple with kids?

Agadir Activities for kids

Agadir Beach is always a good option for families with kids, luckily it won't be crowded during your October visit.

  • Souk El Hed in Agadir is a good spot for your kids and you to learn about Moroccan culture.
  • Most hotels have afternoon activities for kids and adults as well.
  • Museums can be a good learning experience as well.
  • Agadir mini train is a good option which you can ride with your kids to get a view of downtown Agadir 
  • Valley of Birds is a great garden/mini park where kids can see different African, European and Moroccan birds. The park offers a childern playground where your kids can play with other kids. It is open year long from 10:30AM to 07:00PM, and it is located by Agadir Beach in downtown Agadir with walking distance from major hotels. Valley of Birds is 2 block from McDonalds/Pizza Hut if you need a quick meal for your kids.

 

How big is Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca Morocco?

Mosque Hassan II is located at the seaside of Casablanca shore, the foundations need 26 000m3 and 59 000m3 of concrete riprap to fight against the effects of swell. For the construction of the building containing the prayer hall, minaret and the madrassa, 8 220t cranes per square meter and 12 mobile cranes have been installed.The prayer hall of 200 m long and 100 m wide, is composed of three naves, occupying an area of 20 000m2.

 

Can men wear shorts for golf in Morocco?

Men can wear shorts in 90% of Morocco including golf course, beaches, resorts, sporting events. Shorts can be worn in most part of Moroccan cities and towns except Mosques, wedding and traditional ceremonies, some remote villages where people tend to be very conservative. Also, if you are a guest in a Moroccan family house, shorts may not be an appropriete wear.


What is the cost of coffee, sandwich, bottle of water, apple, banana, beer, glass of wine in Moroccan Dirham MAD?

The average cost of things in Morocccan Dirham, find below average prices.

coffee: 10-15 MAD (Moroccan Dirham)

sandwich: 30-50MAD

bottle of water: 10-15MAD

apple: 2-3 DH

banana: 2DH

beer : 30DH-100DH

glass of wine:50DH-200DH


What is the travel time between Marrakesh and Agadir?

Because of the opening of the new highway between Marrakesh and Agadir, travel is reduced to 2 hours.


How Big is the Jewish Community in Morocco?

Morocco prouds itself for its Jewish community, Jewish were present in Morocco  and North Africa long before the Romans.

The community is believed to be around 7000, it is actually considered the happiest of any in the Arab World. When the Jews began to disperse throughout the Roman empire after the dissolution of the Jewish state in 70 CE, many settled in Mauretania including part of modern-day Morocco Soure: History of Jewish in Morocco

 

Can I use US Dollar during my visit to Morocco?

 

Yes, most shops, restaurants, hotels, cab drivers..etc will accept US Dollar $ instead of Moroccan Dirham MAD. Please that might not be wise, because you will not get a very favorable exchange rate, so it is better to go to banks or currency exchange centers that would provide you with a better $ to MAD exchange rate.

 

Where can I buy alcohol in morocco?

Alcohol is widely available in most major towns and cities especially the once frequented by the tourists. The majority of hotels, guest houses, and riads has bars, lounges or night clubs, and they all serve alcoholic beverages to their guests until 1 am or 4am in most cases. Moroccan cities are also known for their bars, liquor stores (usually close Sundays and during religious holidays), restaurants where you can buy alcohol for on premises consumption, or take out for later consumption. large supermarkets like (Marjane, Souk Essalam) offer sections where you can buy liquor, Moroccan wineand Moroccan beer, supermarkets are the cheapest place to buy alcohol.

 

 What is the best time of the year to go hiking or trekking in Morocco?

 

Morocco is accessible for hiking throughout the year, however certain times of the year as particularly enjoyable. April to October: Best time for the northern side of Morocco and the the Atlas, Toubkal, and M'goun trips October to April: Best time for south side of the Atlas Mountains. Using 4x4 cars or minibus, Morocco is great all year long.  See the interview with Hafida Hdoubane Tawada Trekking owner.

 

Can you please tell me more about the Roses Festival? How long does it last? What kind of activities to expect at the festival? 

 

Kelaat M'gouna festival is traditionally held the second weekend of May. Men and women dressed in their best traditional Berber outfits gather to celebrate and dance. The people of Kelaa M'Gouna sprinkle their rosewater and visitors start their rose petals which are dispersed on their clothes. The evenings are held in the many rose gardens where everyone comes together to dance, socialize, meet and greet, and help with the selection of Miss Roses. An unmarried girl will be elected the queen for a day. She scrolls on a decorated chariot and fragrant, enthusiastic spectators cheering and rose petals scattered on the ground where she goes. Folk dances such as Ahidous the sword dance and the dance of the bees is part of the festivities performed by local dancers. 

Ahidous folk dance symbolizes the woman and man bee beekeeper and drums and flutes punctuate the cadenceThis representation shows that the beekeeper can not live without bees, just like the bees can not live without flowers. The unity of nature is experienced in its essence.

The rose found in this valley is called rosa damascena, which resists cold and drought. It was introduced by pilgrims returning from Mecca in the tenth century that the seeds would have fallen along the way and since roses adorn and perfume their fragrance throughout the valley. It was grown for local consumption in the form of rose water, but also used for export and by the perfume industry.

By mid-May, at dawn, the women, dressed in a traditional local Berber dress which will be decorated with precious flowers, pick one by one these "Rosa Damascena" are harvested 3000 to 4000 tonnes per year, during a week that ends with the "moussem" festival of roses.

The collection is completed, the festivities begin and will last three days. The inhabitants of all the neighboring villages come together to Kelaa M'Gouna. Exhibitions of handicrafts (jewelry, carpets, roses based products such as perfume,shampoo and soap) and agricultural, musical events and competitions complement this feast of roses.

 

I would like to get some information about Bouznika beach?

 

Bouznika is located between the two big cities of Rabat and Casablanca, and it is known for its golf courses ( landmark Royal Golf Dar Essalam with its 45 hole), sandy beaches, and wonderful surfing waves among the best waves in Atlantic ocean. it can be accessed via Casablanca or Rabat.

 

Hi, is there is any good Moroccan bakery in Agadir to indulge in Moroccan sweets?

 

Yacout and Mini Pain are great Moroccan bakeries located very close to downtown Agadir, with Yacout being the closest to major hotel locations, but both bakeries can be reached by small taxi for around 5-10 Moroccan Dirhams. Both offer fresh on premise made traditional Moroccan cookies, breads and French pastries.

 

I am planing to take my car to Morocco, what is the best ferry crossing to Morocco?

 

Foreign cars can be taken easily to Morocco from all European countries, you can use ferry crossing from Algeciras or Gilbraltar, and international driving license are valid in Morocco, so you can drive your car in Morocco for up to six months without needing to register it with local authorities.

 

If there is a need to use toilet while visiting a Moroccan city, are public rest room available, if you not, What do you recommend to do?

 

Public toilets or rest rooms are very rare in Moroccan cities, if there is a need to use a toilet while exploring Moroccan cities and towns, your best options are using rest rooms located in hotels, restaurants, cafes or hotels. Please note that carrying extra tissues would be very helpful because paper toilets may not be available in some Moroccan cafes or restaurants.

Moroccan cafes and restaurants may have a cleaning lady that get paid on tips, so 2DH are usually the norm.

 

What is the price of the train ticket from Tangier to Casablanca in Morocco?

 

According to ONCF website, prices for train ticket, from Tangier to Casablanca/Marrakesh, are Adult (350DH)/Child(280DH) for first class "bunk bed", This is a lump sum regardless of departure/arrival

 

 What is the available methods to transfer money to Morocco?

 

  • There are a few options to transfer money from US to Morocco You can use Western Union or MoneyGram  to transfer your money and make sure to save the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) from Western Union or if use use MoneyGram save the reference number that the recpient will use to receive money in Morocco.
  • Bank transfers can be used as well from your bank account to a Moroccan bank account.

 

Can you recommend good places to run in Agadir?

 

  • Agadir is a great city for running, some of the best places to run are: Agadir Beach in sand ( great for early morning and late evening runs).
  • Agadir Board walk, recently was just expended ( great for early morning and late evening runs).
  • Drive to Taghazout beach, a great spot to enjoy some early morning runs.
  • Downtown Agadir sidewalks are generally empty and good for early morning running.

 

 I am interested in buying a Moroccan tagine, any recommendation for a good tajine brand?

 

 Moroccan tajine is good kitchen item to have to cook some authentic Moroccan cuisine, best authentic Moroccan tajines can be bought  in Moroccan markets, so you should wait until your Travel to Morocco to get a large selection of tajines to choose from at a cheaper price. if you are not visiting Morocco any time soon, Amazon offer some good alternatives, but expect to pay a little bit more.

Emile Henry Flame Top 3.7 Quart Tagine, Red tajines are priced for around $ 180

 

Medium Chef Casablanca Tagine 10" is priced at $ 45

 

How to get to the Atlas Mountains from the city of Marrakesh?

 

The distance between Marrakesh and Atlas Mountains is about 40 miles / 65 Km. It will total to about 60 minutes / 1 hour drive from Marrakesh depending on speed. You can either hire a private driver, rent a car, or go with a group ride usually a van or a mini bus to reach Atlas Mountains, and get to experience first hand Berber culture and get a closer look to Berber villages.

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