Our thoughts after touring Morocco in 2019
Strengths: Our main focus of our 2019 tour was the Iberian Peninsula, Spain and Portugal. Rather than planning a grand tour of Morocco it was more of a ‘we may pop across to Morocco if we can’. By the time we had completed our drive through the Algarve, it became obvious we could fit in a 10 day visit to Morocco.. So we did some rushed planning trying to get insurance sorted. Re-reading some blogs of fellow travellers and a quick review of the Lonely Planet was about it.
There are regular vehicle ferries from Algeciras in Spain to Morocco (Ceuta and Tangier Med). Tickets can be purchased on the day of travel, we used Carlos at Voyages Normandie (motorhome specialist seller), our open return tickets were €200. The crossing from Algeciras to Ceuta is shorter, taking about 90 minutes. It also provides a much shorter drive to Chefchaouen.
Our first stop was the Blue City of Chefchaouen, apart from being a wonderful place to explore it provided a relatively hassle free introduction to the culture, smells, food and tempo of Morocco. We were then confident to continue south to Volubilis, Meknés before taking the long drive to Marrakesh. Marrakesh was the highlight of our stay in Morocco.
Cash is king in Morocco and you will need cash for most transactions. ATMs to access cash are relatively easy to find, our foreign currency card worked everywhere. We found the local supermarkets adequate for our basic needs. There are Carrefour Supermarkets in the larger towns if your craving some double brie.
Weaknesses: Travelling to Morocco has some considerations, your health being the first, fortunately we had updated our vaccinations to include travel to north Africa before we left Australia. Vehicle insurance is another. The normal EU insurance cover and rules don’t apply, so cover needs to be negotiated with your insurer. Many companies in England don’t cover Morocco, our didn’t. For what it may be worth, you can purchase local cover at the frontier. Our vehicle breakdown cover did not extend to Morocco. Your GPS’ European map set doesn’t cover Morocco, we bumbled along with Google Maps. The Moroccan dirham can only be exchanged within Morocco. It is likely you will need a new local phone/ data sim.
Alcohol is not readily available in Morocco, although some restaurants do offer beer and wine it will not be on the menu. So stock up in Spain before you leave.
Crossing the frontier at Ceuta into Morocco is slow and somewhat stressful, crossing back from Morocco to Ceuta is even worse. Getting anxious or cranky isn’t going to get you there any quicker, so try and remain calm, smile and wave away any offers of special help.
Apart from the Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca was a bit ordinary. Most of the coastal towns north from Safi have little to offer other than an interesting walk. The beaches we found tended to be a bit dirty and the Atlantic water was cold.
Opportunities: Morocco is another very trendy travel destination at present. We bumped into Australian and New Zealanders everywhere. Campsites catering for motorhomes can be found along the coast and most major towns, Marrakesh has an aire next to Koutoubia Mosque in the centro. We thought the facilities were very basic as a general rule and expensive for what they provided. However they all provided electricity and some level of security, which was all we wanted.
To find the real Morocco drive the eastern route and catch some glimpses of the Atlas Mountains.
We never found the need to use our scooter in Morocco. €5 will take you a long way in a taxis. The phone/data sims are cheap and mostly 4G in the towns.
Threats: The prospect of being caught up in some terrorist attack on foreign tourists may be on your mind. Morocco has a lower threat rating than many other countries in North Africa when we travelled, but you should check yourself.