Introduction to Morocco and Genral Informations about Morocco :
Morocco is a Constitutional Monarchy with King Mohammed VI in power since 1999. With the monarchy come heightened security and various branches of royal, military, tourism and local police. In general, Morocco is a very safe country to travel.
For women, it is wise to dress modestly. Avoid wearing clothes that are too short, low-cut, tight or revealing. The literacy rate is under 50% for women, and overall unemployment is high. The educational system at present is still old-fashioned, out- dated, and conservative.
Morocco is a very male-dominated society. You will notice, especially in rural areas, men leading businesses and sitting at cafes while the women are working inside the home or on the field. Most of Morocco still lives in the countryside. Morocco is a liberal Muslim nation but is still conservative in certain regards. You will see many mosques and tall rectangular minarets in every village, town and city. The call to prayer can be heard 5 times a day, reminding practicing Muslims to pray. When passing by a mosque, be respectful. You can peer in, but do not go in. If prayer is in session, refrain from taking pictures.
Most Moroccan women do not wear the full black gown and veil. They either wear a long, colorful gown with a hood, called a djellaba, and a scarf covering their head, or western clothing. You will also see men wearing djellabas, but in more subdued colors. Family is very important to Moroccans and in most cases the main priority. Many families are big and include the extended family. The main married couple may have their own bedroom; otherwise, the whole family will sleep on the couches that line the living room.
Greetings are very important. Always say hello when entering and goodbye when leaving. It is considered rude if you don’t. Many Moroccans, especially in the countryside, do not like to be photographed, so ask permission before doing so.
Islam is the religion widely practiced in Morocco. It is a monotheistic religion based on the revelation and teachings of the prophet Mohammed. This formal religion dates back to the 7th century. Muslims believe that God revealed the holy book, the Qur’an, to Mohammed thereby completing the previous monotheistic faiths of Judaism and Christianity.
Ramadan is the Muslim holy month when all practicing Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset. This observance is meant to purify the body and soul and remind Muslims of the plight of the poor. The fast is broken after the sunset prayer. At this time Muslims will break the fast by praying then having “ftor”, breakfast, with their family. The Islamic Calendar is a lunar-based one adopted by many Muslim nations. It is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian, solar-based calendar. In Morocco, the majority of things follow the Gregorian calendar.
Morocco’s landscape is as diverse as its cultural heritage and language. Much like California in the United States, Morocco has various mountains, desert regions, beaches, and forests. The north of the country (around Chefchaouen) is home to the Rif Mountains while the northern coast boasts a Mediterranean climate. The middle section of Morocco is home to the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains while the High Atlas Mountains are located south of Marrakesh and is home to the tallest peak in North Africa, Jbel (Mount) Toubkal (4068 meters). This region that acts as a borderland separating Morocco’s top from the Sahara Desert regions to the south. The topography helps make Morocco one of the most alluring countries in North Africa, something you’ll experience firsthand as you explore with our team.
Money & Shopping
You will be able to exchange money in most banks in the major cities and towns such as Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Erfoud, Ifrane, Meknes, Fez, and Tangier. Credit cards are not widely accepted, except at big hotels, major department stores & supermarkets, and some highly touristy shops. However, you will be able to extract funds with a Visa or MasterCard debit card from ATM machines located everywhere.Let your bank know you’ll be traveling and know your pin number. You will not be able to use traveler’s checks.
If you do go in to look and are interested in buying something, you MUST bargain. The starting price you are quoted will be doubled, tripled, or more. Be firm, but friendly; state your price and haggle. If you do not agree on a price, say thank you and walk out. You can shop around and compare prices, then go back if you want.
However, if you do bargain for an item and agree on a price, then decide not to buy it, you will offend many vendors. The best way to pay is in cash and in local currency in the shops. Very few places have credit card machines and many of the shop owners do not know how to use them so you may be billed multiple times for something you purchased using a credit card. There are ATMs (cash machines) around the entire country.