Some interesting facts and travel advice I found whilst visiting Marrakech.
The time zone in Marrakech is GMT, when we landed the pilot said the local time was the same as England we later discovered after asking a local that the time was GMT however it was not the same as England because they where on BST.
The Moroccans are very hospitable, many of the locals helped us with directions however you can get caught out with some locals expecting money in return for this and some offering to take you there themselves.
Likewise in other counties I’ve visited, the locals are continually hassling you. I understand this is their culture however I believe they’d do just as well if they didn’t hassle the tourist until they ran away.
Stay in a riad!! I was extremely pleased with our choice in riad over hotel. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house with a central courtyard, the word comes from the Arabian term for garden. There are tons of riads within Marrakech which offer fantastic prices! Our riad was located just a short walk from the Jemaa el Fna and other must see attractions. As you entered the riad their was a central courtyard with tables and chairs and comfortable lounging area; there are 7 rooms each very well maintained and decorated! There is also a roof top terrace with sun loungers and lounging areas which looks below to the courtyard! Many riads have swimming pools however the one we stayed at didn’t but we could use the facilities of a nearby riad which was handy.
Not a animal lover myself I don’t appreciate the small kittens and cats alining the streets! There are numerous cats in the streets and market areas and even in the cafes and restaurants!
Although there is plenty to see in Marrakech I’d highly recommend a day trip to the surrounding areas! A day trip to the nearby seaside town of Essaouria or the foot of Atlas Mountains to Ourika Valley.
As Moroccan dirhams can’t be exchanged outside Morocco visitors must wait to either exchange their cash or make a transaction at the cash point. On the first evening we made a transaction at the cash till, only to realise later we’d only withdrawn £20. Not being familiar with the currency we later realised we’d need some more.
Visiting in late July/August this is the low season for Morocco and also the month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. Although this didn’t affect us too much we could still find restaurants to eat and drink in throughout the daytime.
Visitors are advised against travelling to Morocco in July and August as it is extremely hot. Although it wasn’t as busy as the high season it was still very busy with French, Spanish and a English tourists. If you like the heat as I do I enjoyed the weather but you defiantly need access to a pool. Walking around sight seeing is extremely hot but having a pool makes a hell of a difference.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Marrakech finding it different from my expectations. I would definitely return to the country for shopping but I wouldn’t rush back! I found it very cultural, educating in religion, other cultures and a different way of life which I love learning about.