FAQs Morocco

Get ready for a sensory journey as we delve into the heart of Morocco. The vibrant colours, enchanting sights, and aromatic scents will captivate your senses from the moment you step into the bustling Medina streets. It’s a sensory overload, and we’ll navigate these lively streets together, ensuring a shared experience that embraces the beauty and intensity of Morocco.

As you explore, remember that polite nods go a long way in this culture, where respect is highly valued. The people you’ll encounter are not just locals; they’re individuals crafting a livelihood, each with a story to share. Embrace the warmth of Moroccan hospitality, and you’ll find that the journey becomes not just about the destination but about the remarkable connections forged along the way.

Morocco, a predominantly Muslim country, introduces a unique cultural tapestry. While alcohol is limited, we’ll ensure a touch of wine accompanies us to our desert retreat in Ait Isfoul. Feel free to savour this addition, and if you wish to indulge further, some restaurants offer wine, though it’s not a common feature. We’ll even ponder the big question together: white or red, considering the weather and the mood of the moment.

In this land, cats hold a special place, echoing the Prophet’s admiration for these feline companions. As you wander through the streets, you’ll encounter these majestic creatures lounging in Riads, perched on scooter seats, and weaving through the vibrant souks. Cherished by the community, these working animals, along with donkeys, horses, camels, and goats, contribute to the unique rhythm of Morocco, ensuring not only a rodent-free Medina but also a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity.

Marlene´s daily art projects and instructions was 5 star. I loved the way she would highlight someone’s good work. It was amazing to see everyone seemed to find an art expression they enjoyed. And everyone improved their craft in one way or another. 2023 guest

Morocco Travel Tips

Food:  What can I expect regarding food options during the journey?

  • The experience will offer a variety of Moroccan dishes. 
  • While options will be primarily vegetarian, there will be opportunities to taste local and traditional foods of your choosing
  • Many hosts will want to showcase Moroccan cuisine and at the heart of that is the traditional tagine.  Expect menus to include a tagine regularly. 

Weather:  How should I prepare for the weather in Morocco?

  • Morocco can be hot, especially in certain seasons. 
  • We have selected a season where temperature historically ranges between 21 to 30 degrees. We have experienced temperatures in the high 30s
  • Pack lightweight, breathable clothing, and don’t forget essentials like sunscreen and a hat.
  • See the suggested packing list for more details

Hydration and Water Availability: How is water availability, and should I be concerned about staying hydrated?

  • It’s important to stay hydrated in the Moroccan climate. 
  • Tap water is not safe to drink.
  • Bottled water will be provided throughout each day.
  • Consider bringing a small packable reusable water bottle.

Local Customs: Are there any local customs or cultural norms I should be aware of?

  • Yes, Morocco has its own cultural practices. 
  • Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. 
  • It’s customary to greet people with “Salam Alaikum” and be respectful of local traditions.

Travel Considerations: What are some considerations for travelling to Morocco, especially for North Americans?

  • Travelling from city to desert involves long driving times. Be prepared for longer travel times between destinations.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas.
  • Air conditioning standards in travel vehicles may differ from North American vehicles
  • We will provide tips and recommendations to keep you cool
  • Wi-Fi will be available at most accommodations and restaurants. 

Sustainable Travel Practices: Is there anything unique to Morocco that I should be aware of?

  • Like most European Countries both water and electricity are precious commodities.
  • We need to respect local practices to conserve.
  • Quick showers and water conservation are appreciated.
  • Consider turning off lights and A/C off when exiting rooms.
  • Toilet paper is not flushed, please place it into wastepaper baskets.

Accommodations and Amenities: What can I expect from accommodations, and are there amenities I should be aware of?

  • Accommodations will vary. We will be staying in a range of riads, hotels, kasbah, and even tents!
  • Some rooms may have different amenities, such as variations in room layout, decor, views, and air conditioning effectiveness.
  •  At Ait Isfoul, wi-fi is available in the common tea area but not in the individual rooms.
  • One-of-a-kind tented experience accommodations:
    • The tented experience deep in the Sahara tries to accommodate Western travelers by providing private bathroom facilities in each tent. 
    • However, the bedroom and bathroom are separated by a curtain
    • To conserve electricity, power is turned off nightly which also impacts water pumps to in-room toilets

Spending Money & Shopping: How much money should I bring with me? What should I expect to spend?

  • Local Currency: How should I handle currency in Morocco?
    • Use local currency, MAD (dirhams).
    • 100 dirhams is approximately $12 CAD, with the largest bill being 200 dirhams.
    • Exchange currency in Canada before departure; ATMs may not always have money and may primarily accept credit cards.
    • Recommended currency exchange in Vancouver: VCBE on Granville.
  • Shopping: What is the recommended approach to shopping during the early days of the retreat?
    • Avoid shopping during the first few days; quieter areas will be explored initially.
    • On the last day in Marrakech, free time is allocated for exploration and shopping.
    • When shopping at the shops or souks, be prepared to engage in the local practice of bartering.
    • Save space in your luggage for any purchases made during the trip.

 Health Considerations: Are there any health considerations I should be aware of?

  • Health insurance is mandatory.
  • Basic travel vaccines: Please check the site and see what you might need to update: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/morocco#health 
  • When exploring on your own, be cautious about consuming unfamiliar foods to avoid stomach issues. We recommend Dukoral and to talk to your doctor and/or a travel pharmacist.
  • Along with bringing necessary medication/s, consider:
    • Motion sickness for driving days (like Gravol)
    • Stomach helpers as new foods are introduced (like Imodium)
    • Electrolytes for heat and dehydration (like Emergen-C’s)

Language: What language is commonly spoken, and will I face language barriers?

  • Arabic and French are widely spoken.
  • While English is also understood in tourist areas, learning a few basic Arabic phrases can enhance the local experience.
  • Check out this video to learn some quick Arabic words and phrases *LINK TO VIDEO*

Typical Days: What does a typical day look like when we’re travelling around? What should I anticipate?

  • A typical day in Marrakech
    • Breakfast will be set up in a common space of the riad and is typically a la carte
    • There will be a set time to meet for our guided tour
    • Expect to walk for 2-3 hours with breaks, and lunch in-between
    • Evenings will conclude with dinner  
  • A typical day on an excursion
    • Days begin early – depending on the day or type of excursion
    • Baggage may need to be packed, prepared, and ready to be gathered from your room
    • Breakfast will be set up in a common space of the riad and is typically a la carte
    • There will be a set departure time for our excursion
    • Travel times may vary from 4-6 hours in vehicles with stops, washrooms breaks, and lunch services along the way
    • Evenings will conclude with dinner
  • A typical day at the Kasbah
    • 7:30 am Coffee is served in a common space 
    • 8:00 am Yoga will be offered for approximately 45-55 mins *optional
    • 9:00 am Breakfast is served daily until 10:00 am 
    • 10:00 am Art sessions and practice will begin in the art studio
    • 1:00 pm Lunch is served daily until 2:00 pm
    • Open studio until 5pm (free time)
    • 6:00 pm mediation *optional
    • 6:20 pm Photography session and golden hour picture opportunity
    • 7:00 pm Roof-top happy hour at sunset
    • 8:00 pm Dinner
    • Note: Most meals include a range of traditional Moroccan with North American influence to choose from
    • All daily events are elective

Reach out if you have any other questions. marlene@marlenelowden.com

It was an amazing experience- Morocco, the participants and the art exercises. Could not have asked for a better group to experience it with. Leadership of Marlene, Patrick and Nicole set the perfect tone. 2023 guest