How to act & communicate in Morocco
An overview to avoid cultural misunderstandings and to stimulate comfortable atmospheres
- Ask permission before you take a Maroccan’s picture. In particular women and devout Muslims do not like being photographed.
- Relax. Moroccan understanding of time and punctuality is fundamentally different from Western concepts. “Europeans have clocks, we have time”, as they say in Morocco.
- Bring tissues when using bathrooms outside of Western hotels. Moroccan bathrooms may often be unequipped.
- Agree the taxi fare before entering the taxi. This should save you a lot of money and prevent lengthy discussions or excursions.
- Barter when buying from the souk. It is expected and will save you money.
- Use a little French, such as “Merci” or “Bonjour”, as it is widely understood and generally perceived as you making an effort.
- Drink bottled water to avoid diarrhea. Western stomachs are usually ill-suited for unfiltered or tap water.
- Do not show too much skin. As a conservative and Muslim people, Moroccans generally frown upon revealing outfits. This does not just apply to women, but also to men. Cover at least your shoulders and don’t wear shorts. Beach outfits are inappropriate anywhere but at the beach.
- Do not fall for false guides. False or “faux” guides approach tourists all over the country offering their “services”. They will stick with you, send you off your path and try to lure you into shops and stores to earn a commission. Book guides and other help over agencies or your hotel.
- Do not accept, purchase or consume drugs. Do not let it fool you that hashish and marihuana are widely consumed and available in Morocco. Penalties are still harsh and the Moroccan police do enforce the law.
- Do not panic. Whatever situation you may find yourself in, Moroccans are a helpful and friendly people.