GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MOROCCO
Considering the high volume of requests we receive every day to go to Morocco we have compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions so you’ll go on your trip as prepared as you can be.
We ask to read all the page through to get yourself ready to go!
We want our Unitrippers happy and informed!
In the North East of Africa, almost touching Spain through the Straight of Gibraltar, or Pillars of Hercules.
For this reason, it’s easier to get to Morocco by boat (1h 30m) than by plane
Passport: Yes!! You need a passport with a validity of 6 months from the start date.
Normally if you go on a group trip with more than 10 people organized by an agency, they tend to let you pass (especially Europeans!) because they don’t want to miss out on profitability gained through tourism. However this does depend on who you meet at the border. Don’t want to risk having to go back at the border? Bring your passport.
Visa: More and more countries have entry agreements with Morocco, but there are still some countries which need a VISA to enter the country.
In Spain there are many consulates throughout the country where you’ll have to go personally to sort administration such as this. Unitrips can help you present a letter with all the details the trip entails
Nowadays, following the Spanish foreign ministry, Morocco is considered the only place in northern Africa sufficiently safe to travel to.
Now, this doesn’t change that it’s always advisable to take little money and few belongings to avoid attracting attention from those with bad intentions, the same as what is advised in main European cities.
Morocco is safe because essentially, tourism is an important source of income for the country and so the king has decided to persecute any type of extreme religion in the country very seriously.
We advise it, at least a medical insurance that covers costs in case of any problems. Naturally, you can sort this with Unitrips when you reserve your trip with only one click.
No… At least not if you don’t want to spend a good part of the day sat on the toilet with an upset stomach. Oh! And another thing… Water never comes included in restaurant meals.
In Morocco they eat everything… except pork.
Typical foods which you can hope to find on tourist menus are:
- Chicken skewers
Tousist menus cost roughly between 7 and 12 euros… Depends how lucky you are!
And water usually won’t be included.
Yes, but you may be ripped off. Better that you change Euros to Dirhams. The exchange rate can be between 10.70 to 11.10 MAD to 1 EUR.
It’s not possible to change dirhams in Spain bfore the trip, you have to do so once you get to Morocco.
Furthermore, it’s prohibited to take dirhams outside of Morocco, but don’t worry, no one is going to stop you if you take a note home to add to your collection.
The majority of Moroccans speak French, but in recent years, more and more people speak English and Spanish, thanks to tourism.
The offical languages are Arabic and Amazigh, a berber language.
In Morocco, 98% of the population is Muslim, and normally on Friday you can see mosques full of people.
We beg you not to confuse muslims with terrorists. The fact that someone is Muslim does not mean they are an extremist, and much less a terrorist.
Yes it works… but European companies usually charge a lot for calls (minimum €1 a minute) and for data (€12 per megabyte).
Consequently, we advise to turn data off and use the WIFI in the hotels, which is never amazing but is usually enough for you to send messages.
Are you an insagrammer or dependent on Facebook? What you can do is buy a Moroccan SIM so you’ll have data throughout the trip.
For example, with Maron Telecom or Menara, for €5-10 you get 1 or 2 megabytes.
You can find a SIM in many shops in Marrakesh and also in gas stations
You can, but it won’t be cheap… but it wont be extortionate either.
Of course, avoid drinking in the street.
Absolutely not! Unless you want to meet a Moroccan prison cell.
Besides… it’s not that much cheaper to buy in Morocco than in Spain, given that they obviously apply tourist prices.
You don’t need to wear a djellaba or burqa.
We do advise against women showing too much skin, above all to avoid unfavourable comments.
In summary: we advise against low cut tops and mini skirts.
Don’t despair, even though the traffic in Morocco is terrible. The Moroccan style of driving is special, and many of the roads are not in good condition, so breathe deeply and hope that you get to your destination without too much stress! You’re in Morocco!!
A typical Moroccan house with many decorations, which usually has an indoor patio to deal with the African heat.
All trips should be booked a minimum of 48 hours before the trip. But remember, it’s always better to have the trip oprganized at least a week in advance to save hassle and stress 😉 If you want to reserve less than 48 hours in advance it’s best you call us directly!
Every trip has its own page and in the section on the right you’ll find the corresponding reservation form. To reserve, you must fill out the form, and in the last stage of the booking, pay the deposit of either €40 or €50 per person, depending on the trip. You can choose if you would prefer to pay with credit or debit card online or make a bank transfer to our account, which will arrive to your email once you finish the reservation. In this case, we require you to send us a confirmation of payment. Subsequently, one of our agents will send you an email with confirmation of the reservation and having received the deposit. In this same email you’ll receive the approximate time of pick up at your hotel, and furthermore the contact of our department in Marrakesh.
Please take into account that if you choose the option of extra nights in Marrakesh, you can’t make later changes or cancellations.
Yes, this means that your trip is confirmed. One day before the trip you’ll receive a message from our department in Marrakesh, like a reminder. This message will also include the corresponding reference of your tour guide and they’ll inform you about your hotel pick up.
1 DAY TRIPS
The 1 day long trips from Marrakesh have daily departures, from one person, transport there and back. the trip will start with the pick up from your hotel or at the point established at reservation.
Normally, stops at tourist points of interest will be included, as well as free time to enjoy the destination. Everyone will be picked up from their hotel.
Deapartures and arrivals timetable
The tours we offer have the following departure and arrival timetable… although as always, it is subject to unexpected events.
Ouzoud Falls from 8:00 – 8:30 to 19:00 aprox.
Essaouira daytrip from 8:00 – 8:30 to 19:00 aprox.
Ourika Valley from 9:00 – 9:30 to 19:00 aprox.
Ouarzazate and Ait Ben Haddou Daytrip from 7:00 – 7:30 to 19:00 aprox.
2 TO 5 DAY TRIPS TO THE DESERT
To get to the desert from Marrakesh, 1 day is not enough, so we offer:
- A 2 day tour of the Zagora desert, this desert can be found slightly closer to Marrakesh and is less touristy.
- 3-4 day tours of the Merzouga desert, to visit the Erg Chebbi dunes, the tallest in Morocco!
You need to take into account that to get to this beautiful landscpae you need to travel 500-600 km, and cross the High Atlas mountains at 4000m. The trip will probably be intense, but what you’ll see from the window and the pictures you can take when we stop will make it all worth it!
We have longer tours and can organize any custom made tour over more days.
All the trips start when you are collected from your corresponding hotel in Marrakesh, where the guide will pick you up between 7.00 and 7.30. Therefore, it’s necessary to put the complete name and address of your accommodation in the booking form.
The tour ends in the jmaa el Fna square, A central location, from where tou can walk to any place in the souk. If your hotel is outside of the medina you can make a special request and you’ll be taken there for a supplement of €2 per person.
Groups are usually between 2 and 14 people, and in high season can reach 20 people. (Morocco Northtern Stars can reach 50 people per group) It becomes impossible for us to know the exact number of people who will take part in the trip in advance for an exact date. This will be your group of adventurers with whom you’ll live with throughout the days during the trip. As a result, you’ll need to take into account that the itinerary may suffer small modifications (e.g. more time in some points of interest) so that the trip can be adapted in the best way following the prefernces of the group.
The 4 day tour includes pick up from the airport or train station on the arrival day and transfer from the hotel to the airport on the departure day from Marrakesh.
On other tours you can choose the option of transfers to and from the airport or the train station for €9 per person/per trip. The the case of solo travelers, you’ll have to pay €18, as this is the minimum to be able to organize the transfer. From 3 people in the same group, you’ll be charged €24 in total/per trip.
If your Riad is in the medina (central pedestrian area in Marrakesh), the Unitrips driver will leave you as close to your riad as possible in a car. But don’t worry, there is always a local in the key entrances to the medina to show you where your riad is and bring your luggage there by cart. They are accustomed to receiving a tip for this service, generally 20 dirhams (€2). This is not part of the Unitrips service, but is normal for the locals to offer this service in exchange for a tip. Honestly, we think it’s worth it, as you can get there easily, without the struggle of carring bags, and be sure you’ll get to your destination in one piece.
Mini van (15-20 people)
You can see the selected accommodation for each tour here.
Zagora 2 day tour
– Night in haimas
Merzouga 3 day tour
– Night in Dades valley – Vieux Chateau or Kasbah la Valle
– Night in Haimas
4 day tour (2 nights in the desert)
– Night in Dades Valley – Vieux Chateau or Kasbah la Valle
– Night in haimas
– Night in Merzouga – Nasser Palace or Auberge Erg Chebbi
4 day tour (1 night in the desert, 1 night in Ouarzazate)
– Night in Dades Valley – Vieux Chateau or Kasbah la Valle
– Night in haimas
– Night in Ouarzazate – Riad Ouarzazate or Les Jardins Ouarzazate
* Hotels may be different to the ones listed in high season.
We work with hotels that have double, triple or quadruple rooms. Depending on your group, those that reserve or travel together will be assigned one room or another by the Moroccan department.
In the desert there are no rooms, only shared haimas.
In Morocco there is wifi nearly everywhere, although it’s speed may be reduced. You’ll have no problem sending a whatsapp to your family to tell them all is well!
We work with riads in the middle-upper level in the medina in Marrakesh, with those which offer private rooms with a private bathroom. Please take into account that once you choose nights in Marrakesh through the form, the reservation is fixed and you can’t later change it.
On the 2 and 3 day trips we offer the option of ‘MAKE IT A PACKAGE’, which allows you to go stress free for €50 (price per person with at least two people) which gets you:
- Pick up from the airport when you get to Marrakesh
- Night in a Riad in the Marrakesh medina (1 night before the tour)
- Night in a riad in the medina (when the tour ends)
- Transfer to the airport the day after the end of the tour
If you need more nights in Marrakesh, you can request them for €25 per person, per night.
If you are traveling alone, the nights in Marrakesh have a price of €35.
The exact riad will depend on its availability.
Yes, in general there are no problems with the ocupation of the rooms, given that you’ll have a private room, but in rare cases it may occur that you’ll have to share a room/a haima with another traveler in the group. This is impossible to determine in advance.
The hotels which we work with are simple but agreeable, clean and have all the necessary commodities. We can offer you a better accommodation, but given the areas where we travel they are scarse, the price would shoot up. Consequently, if you would like a higher category trip, send us a private message and we will prepare a proposal following your preferences.
Morocco is a country in favor of sustainable tourism and so is concerned for the environment. This means they don’t have the custom other countries do in using air conditioning extensively.
NIGHT(S) IN THE DESERT
It may seem strange, but it’s one of our top questions! To clarify:
Sleeping in the desert means sleeping in the desert!
You can choose to sleep in a sleeping bag in front of the bonfire or in one of the tents which are set up in the desert on an improvised bed.
The haimas are tents put up in the desert, so it’s difficult to offer the same comforts as in a hotel. To sleep in them or directly in front of the bonfire between the dunes, you need a bit of adverture spirit! If you lack this… it may be that Morocco isn’t for you!
Once the car has arrived to the town of Merzouga or Zagora, you’ll hop on a dromedary which will take you slowly to the haimas camp.
The desert is a place of extremes: extreme beauty and extreme temperatures. The temperatures in the desert change alot. Normally the average temperature in the day is 30°C, while during the night is can get down to 5°C. This is due to a lack of humidity. Moisture, in the form of mist or clouds act as insulation and maintain the head that the atmosphere radiates. As such, we recommend that you take warm clothes to enjoy this magical night.
The camels are accustomed to carrying weight, but it would probably be more comfortable for everyone if you levae your big luggage bag in the vehicle which will stay in the hotel’s supervised parking, as you can only take a small bag or rucksack with a coat to the desert. Depending on the time of year you’ll need a sweatshirt or relatively thick jacket, as in the winter temperatures can fall alot during the night in the desert (reaching down to -5°C).
In the 2 day trip to Zagora, as in the 3 day trip to Merzouga, 1 night is included in the haimas in the desert.
The 4 day tour includes 2 nights in the desert area. What normally happens is 1 night is spend in the haimas camping and the other night in a hotel in Merzouga. At sunset, you’ll go by camel to Merzouga to the haimas, and at sunrise return by camel to Merzouga.
If you would prefer to sleep both nights in the haimas, you can mention this in the ‘special requests’ section on the reservation form, and if there is availability we will try to satisfy your request in the best way possible!
To not get bored between the dunes (or die from the heat), you can return with the rest of the group to the hotel in Merzouga. There, you can enjoy the pool and you also have the option of choosing optional activities like sandboarding, or trips through the dunes by buggy or 4×4, with various durations and to various tastes.
At the sunset you’ll return again to the haimas camp with another group.
In the haimas there are usually mobile showers, but given that they are situated in the middle of the desert, they’ll work according to weather’s circumstances, so we can’t 100% guaruntee you can shower there. But don’t worry, because in the morning when you return by camel to Merzouga, you can shower in the hotel, even if you’re on the 3 day trip and only have 1 overnight in the haimas. All depends on the dimensions of the group. Whatever happens, don’t worry. If you’re staying on until Marrakesh you’ll have the opportunity to shower on arrival to the hotel.
Normally you’ll arrive to the camp at sunset. Once there, you can enjoy the lunar landscape which only the sand dunes can offer you… So you can go up and down the dunes, take photos and enjoy the show the sunset performs in the desert. When it gets completely dark, our berber friends will take the lead on building a bonfire, playing local music and serving a typical dinner (which is included).
You’ll leave at sunrise from the camp, after enjoying another spectacle which nature offers us: the sunrise amongst the dunes (depending on the time of year), or in the hotel at the foot of the desert. A unique experinece in trips to the desert. Breakfast is served in the hotel in Merzouga, where you can also shower before returning to Marrakesh.
Well no! If there was water it wouldn’t be a desert… so we advise you to always travel with a bottle of water around Morocco, especially in the desert to avoid getting hydrated. Furthermore almost all the restaurants don’t include water.
There are many options, we offer any type of activity in Merzouga. You can enjoty the hotel pool and rest while drinking a berber tea, or sign up for any extra activity like quadbiking, a 4×4 trip or sandboarding. All these activities usually work out cheaper if you sign up there and then with your travel companions, and for a group it works out cheaper than if you signed up separately before the departure.
The weather forecasts are quite dull as they always say the same thing: heat during the day, cold at night. The ‘real feel’ can be up to 40 degrees.
Winter can get down to little more, and summer stays not much higher. The exception would be rain, or a snadstorm.
All accommodation that we offer during our tours include dinners and breakfasts. The tours are half board. If you reserve an extra night with us, you’ll have breakfast included.
Lunches are usually typical Moroccan lunches, like couscous, tagine and chicken skewers.
If you would like a vegetarian menu or if you have alergies, it’s best that you indicate this in your reservation form, so that the guide is informed ahead of time.
Lunches that are not included will cost between 5 and 10 euros, the guide will always suggest a restaurant, but you’re free to choose or bring food from the van. Careful! it’ll be very hot, so it’s not recommended what could go bad. We’ll have lunch in the following cities:
Day 1 – Ait Ben Haddou
Day 2 – Tinjad (slightly before Erfoud)
Day 3 – Merzouga
Day 4- Free, or where the trip ends on this day
Same as 99% of the trips to the desert that you can find on the internet, drinks are not included, given that it’s something very particular to Moroccan culture. But don’t be worried, a bottle of water doesn’t normally cost more than 50 cents!
In general, the guides to these tours from Marrakesh aren’t tour guides as such that you know from Europe. They don’t give extensive explanations about history etc., but the tours are focussed more on enjoying nature and the area, and living the experience of sleeping in the desert. You’d find it difficult to find a tour with a price as ours which has a ‘European’ guide.
In whichever case, the guides/drivers are used to multilingual atmospheres and know how to maintain basic conversations in Spanish/English. Besides, you can call our department in Marrakesh whenever you need to. We’ll pass on their contact phone number after we receive your reservation.
If you want a professional guided visit in the ancient cities of Air Ben Haddou or Ouarzazate, it is possible to sign up for them:
Ait Ben Haddou – €15 for a Spanish tour on our page, but if you sign up in the place for an English or Sopanish tour, it’ll probably work out cheaper, given that these €15 are independant of numbers. For example in the parking for Ait ben Haddou, you can negotiate the prices of trips with your travel group and get a price of only €5-10. There are always guides offering this type of excursion.
Ouarzazate – €15 on our page, but if you sign up in the place, it’ll probably work out cheaper, given that there €15 are independent of numbers. If you negotiate in the car parking of Ouarzazate as a group you’ll be able to get a cheaper price.
Near to Ouarzazate are the film studios where films like Cleopatra, Gladiator and Jewel of the Nile were filmed. Although the entry isn’t included in the trip price, the vehicle can stop (if the group wants to) and for €5 you can buy the entry and visit.