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Before travelling to any country it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the local ways. Being prepared with some practical information will help you feel more comfortable during your stay in Marrakech. The people of Marrakech (especially the women) do adhere to religious guidelines on personal appearance and therefore it is appreciated when visitors to the city follow those same guidelines. Women who display bare arms, legs, neck or cleavage give offence and draw curious looks. A thin shawl covers your arms and chest, and will protect you from the sun and unwanted attention. Please also be aware that locals, especially women, don't appreciate being photographed as curiosities. Always ask before taking a picture. In tourist hot-spots you may be asked for money in return for a photo. Poverty is rife in Marrakech, and your small change might well feed a family. Moroccans speak their own version of Arabic and various dialects of Berber. In Marrakech, French is widely understood and many restaurant and hotel workers understand basic English.
Read more on this destination in The AA Citypack Guide to Marrakech.
Passports & Visas: All visitors, whatever their nationality, must have a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of entry. Most nationalities, including British, German and American do not need a visa, but regulations can change so always check well before you travel. Ensure your passport is stamped upon arrival. If the stamp is missing, it can cause problems with Passport Control on your departure.
Customs: Duty and tax free allowances - arrivals to the UK from non EU countries: Alcohol: 1 litre of spirits over 22% volume, OR 2 litres of fortified wine (such as port or sherry), sparkling wine or other alcoholic drinks less than 22% volume, PLUS 4 litres of still table wine and 16 litres of beer. Tobacco: 200 cigarettes, OR 100 cigarillos, OR 50 cigars, OR 250g of tobacco. You can bring in other goods up to the value of £390 (perfume or other goods including souvenirs). The following items maybe imported into Morocco without incurring any customs duty: 200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars OR 400g of tobacco. 1 litre of spirits and 1 litre of wine. 5g of perfume.
Embassies & Consulates: The UK embassy telephone number is: 024 420 846.
Money matters: Local currency can't be exchanged at home, so bring your debit/credit card or travellers' cheques. The latter can involve queuing at banks and poor exchange rates. ATM's are plentiful and dotted around the Jemaa El Fna, and at most city banks. The currency for Morocco is dirhams (MAD or dh). Banknotes come in denominations of 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirhams. Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 dirhams and 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes. On departure, you can't spend dirhams beyond passport control or even on the national Moroccan airline.
Medical: If a doctor or dentist is required, ask your hotel to recommend a reliable private dentist or medicine generaliste (GP). It is best to bring your prescriptions for medicines with you. Pharmacies sell a wide range of drugs without controls. Be wary of their advice for all but minor ailments.
Visitors with disabilities: Morocco lags behind many countries when it comes to providing disabled access and Marrakech can prove very challenging for anyone with mobility limitations - including those with a pushchair or pram. Even the large open main square of Jemaa El Fna has uneven surfaces that can make travel with wheels a problem. That said, people are very willing to help and the newer hotels - of which there are many - are much better equipped. If you do have a disability, make full enquiries with your agent to hotel before you make any booking.
Lost property & Theft: To claim on your insurance you must report stolen or lost property to the police as soon as possible. Ask your riad or hotel for directions to the nearest police station. Make sure you also contact the embassy/consulate if you lose your passport, as well as the police.
- 15 - Fire & ambulance
- 19 - Police
- 024 384 601 - Tourist police