If you travel to Morocco in summer months (June to August) the heat is particularly fierce in the Sahara Desert whilst mid-level altitudes and cities along the Atlantic coast – like urban Casablanca and laid back Essaouira are pleasantly hot. The north coast and Rif Mountains enjoy a temperate Mediterranean climate with long, hot, sunny days. Here it is wise to wear loose breathable clothing that will not only keep you cool but also protect you from the sun’s rays.
If you travel to Morocco in the winter months (November to February) daytime temperatures in the south are still mild, although remember to pack a warm jacket as the evenings can get surprisingly cold. The north of Morocco experiences wet and cloudy winters and the High Atlas Mountains can be exceptionally cold, sometimes retaining their snow-capped peaks until as late as July.
The country is at its most beautiful in spring (mid-March to May) when the landscape is green and lush, making for spectacular mountain hiking. Morocco is also lovely in Autumn (September to October) when temperatures are very pleasant.
Food in Morocco is a veritable explosion of taste and colour. One of the most popular dishes, and one that can be found throughout the entire country, is tagine. This fragrant stew consists of chunks of meat – usually beef, lamb or chicken, vegetables, dried fruits (typically apricots) and nuts, and is cooked in a large earthenware pot with a conical lid.
Many meals are accompanied by couscous or rice, which are considered staples in a Moroccan diet. As a meat-centric cuisine, some other national favorites include brochettes, skewers of meat, keftas, herby meatballs, and merquez, spicy beef or lamb sausages that are often served with spicy harissa paste. Bread is also served with every meal and is used for dipping in and mopping up sauces.
For dessert, many Moroccans will indulge in a piece of super sweet, syrupy baklava, which consists of flaky pastry stuffed with chopped nuts. In the afternoons, it is also not uncommon to see friends gather around a pot of mint tea which has been sweetened with a generous amount of sugar.
Tap water is considered unsafe to drink in Morocco and therefore visitors should stick to bottled mineral water, which is readily available. Alternatively, tap water can be consumed once it has been boiled or treated with purification tablets.
Moroccan markets are known for their dazzling colours and fabulously diverse array of items, making the experience of exploring these bustling bazaars a dream come true for avid shoppers. Carpets and rugs are probably the single most popular purchase for travellers as they can be found in every colour imaginable and are usually woven with beautiful patterns.
Brightly coloured traditional Moroccan clothing such as djellabas, tunics and kaftans, as well as bed linen, can be found in abundance and are made using either cotton or silk thread. Leather bags and belts are also a favorites with visitors. While slightly trickier to transport, ceramics, lamps and lanterns make beautiful souvenirs that will transport you straight back to Morocco every time you look at them.
Argan oil is another popular product in Morocco and is great for your hair and skin as well as for cooking. Culinary and cosmetic argan oil is different though, so be sure of which one you are purchasing. Spices and dried goods can also be bought in most markets and are easy to transport home.
Morocco is on the lower end of the scale when it comes to costs and is a reasonably affordable travel destination. A decent meal from a street food vendor or cheap restaurant normally won’t cost more than about USD $5-7 but alcohol will set you back a bit more as beer in a bar can come to about USD $4. Public transport is cheap and readily available but renting a car will cost at least USD $300 per week.
Currency in Morocco
The currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham. It is a restricted currency which means that it cannot be taken out of the country and is not available abroad. It is possible to buy and sell Dirham outside of Morocco but there is an import and export limit of 1000DH. It is recommended that you withdraw Dirham from an ATM when you arrive at the airport rather than exchanging money before you arrive.
Pound Sterling, US Dollars and Euros can be exchanged in Morocco at various bureau de changes in major cities and towns, and most banks have ATMs. Please note that at this time it is still not possible to exchange Australian dollars whilst in Morocco. Credit cards are virtually useless outside main cities and towns. It’s advisable to request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can sometimes be hard to get change from large notes and smaller notes are handy for smaller purchases and gratuities.
If you intent to travel to Morocco, you should know that traveller’s cheques are not recommended as they’re often difficult to exchange and incur high fees.
Time zone is Morocco
Morocco is on Greenwich Meantime (GMT). Daylight Saving is currently being observed. However, it changes frequently and is not observed during the holy month of Ramadan
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