Before booking my trip to Morocco, I heard lots of comments and concerns from my parents, friends and boyfriend. So, I researched and read over 20 blog posts and watched several vlogs on different people’s experiences to learn more about the people and culture. Overall, it was 50/50 on whether people enjoyed their time and if they recommended the trip. It took me almost a month before I finally made a decision, took the plunge, booked my flights and a tour. I knew that if I was with a group of people and a local guide, my family would feel more comfortable with my vacation choice.
When preparing for my travels, I knew I wanted to be covered up and dress appropriately. I felt this was a simple way to avoid negative attention and respect local culture and etiquette. I read a lot about the importance of covering up, but also saw several photos of people wearing revealing outfits according to Morocco standards. When I was in the more touristy areas, I encountered plenty of people who wore what they would in their home countries. Personally, I feel like this was a big reason why I had a positive experience.
I enjoyed Morocco was more than I could have ever imagined. The interior design was out of this world. Art is such a big part of the culture. Everywhere I looked, I wanted to take a photo. In Fez, for example, the traffic lights were a beautiful chrome design. I’ve never been anywhere else where they put that much artistic consideration into traffic lights. If it wasn’t for my phone not having any more space I probably could have taken double the amount of pictures.
In Fez, visit the medina and explore all the shops. It’s less overwhelming than the one in Marrakech. Make sure to stop at Bous Inania Medersa, which is quite hidden and can easily be missed if you don’t know where to look. The entrance fee is 10 DH, which is equivalent to $1 CDN and totally worth it! Fez is also home to the oldest (operating) university in the world, University of Karueein. (It was founded by a woman! Cool, right?)
In Marrakech, stay at the various beautiful resorts or riads. The accommodation is seriously incredible! Also, be sure to spend a night in the main square. Be prepared, while this is quite overwhelming, it’s also completely worth it!
In the Sahara Desert, we rode camels and stayed at this really cool hotel. If you want to go glamping in the desert, make sure to go during their warmer months. We met a group that went in November, and they were FREEZING – shocking, I know since it’s the desert and Morocco!
Ifrane – Morocco’s “Switzerland” – We briefly stopped here, but I would love to spend a few more days here. Ifrane is where the rich people have their vacation homes and it’s fun to admire the mansions and architecture. It’s also completely unique to the rest of the country and is also home to a world-class university (if anyone’s considering studying abroad…)
Overall, I wish I didn’t have such a fear before arriving in Morocco. I think my skepticism was probably apparent to my local guide during the first few days, and it was completely unfounded. Thankfully, I was able to see a lot of the country and appreciate its beauty.
In summary, these are my four main takeaways when travelling to Morocco:
- Make sure to visit more than Marrakech. I highly recommend Fez and the Sahara Desert.
- Remember cultural etiquette by dressing modestly; that means long skirts or pants and sweaters or cardigans.
- Have ample storage on your camera or phone – you’ll want to take photos at every turn!
- Save room in your luggage for purchases. I only brought a carry on, which now being home, I regret.
This guest post was written by Natalie Ortynsky. For more Morocco photos, follow her on Instagram.