Morocco has always been on your mind, you dreamed of this country and you decided that it was time to book your holidays there. The rental of your luxury villa for Marrakech is done and your luggage is ready. The sun, the souks, and the tajines are waiting for you but you have forgotten something important: the rules to follow! Be aware that in Morocco, good manners are important and the rules are different. Discover below what you should know in general on how to “behave” in Morocco to be able to spend a really good time in any Moroccan city in total immersion with the population. Discover the Moroccan culture…
Things to do in Morocco in general:
On a daily basis
There are rules of living, do’s and don’ts to respect in Morocco. Without them, you could have some problems during your holiday in Marrakech or in another Moroccan city. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things to do on a daily basis according to Moroccan tradition, this will allow you to make a good impression on the inhabitants.
When you are offered a glass of Moroccan tea, you are obliged to accept it. It’s very rude to refuse. Even if you don’t like tea or you’re not thirsty, force yourself.
Bargaining is a real tradition in Morocco. Do not hesitate to negotiate prices and socialize with merchants. However, in this process, don’t be a rude or arrogant tourist, this must be done in mutual respect. That’s why you need to learn some tips on how to become a pro in the negotiating process in the souk of Marrakech and in Morocco in general.
Before taking a picture of a person, ask him/her for his/her agreement, this is more appropriate because integrity is very important in Morocco.
If you are a woman, be careful with your clothing. It is important to avoid clothing that shows too much cleavage and that does not cover you enough. Choose, for example, dresses that are not too tight to your body in public without going into the extreme of course.
Before entering a room, it is essential to remove your shoes if shoes are placed at the entrance. It is also a sign of politeness and courtesy.
During the various prayers, certain things must be respected. Indeed, it is necessary to be discreet during prayers, which involves speaking in a low voice so as not to disturb people. For the Ramadan period, discretion is required regarding drinking, eating or smoking. Avoid this in public during this period.
Of course, there is no obligation here, but it is always nice to hear tourists use words and phrases from the local language. Learn some Arabic courteous words such as “Salam Alekum” (which means: hi/hello) to greet and “Shukran” (which means: thanks).
In case of an invitation to a Moroccan family
When you are invited to stay with friends or family in Morocco, you have to be even more disciplined in your ways. The objective is to assimilate customs and habits to give a very good first impression.
As soon as you arrive, it is very welcome to arrive with a small gift, flowers or pastries. Then, in the same way, as in public places, take off your shoes if your guests do the same.
When you sit down to dinner, it is important to wait for the host to say “Bismillah”, which means “in the name of God” and announces the beginning of the meal. While you eat, use your right hand because the left hand is characterized as “impure” and do not hesitate to taste everything, even if you are sure you won’t like a certain dish. If you are asked indiscreet questions, don’t take a negative view of it, but rather a form of curiosity, and answer them without feeling offended in any way.
Things to definitely not do in a Moroccan city:
In Morocco, it is very sensitive to talk about religion or the authority of the country, especially if it is in a disrespectful and negative way. You must, therefore, carefully think about everything you are going to say before saying it. For example, it is very frowned upon to speak badly about the country’s monarchy. Even if a Moroccan asks you the question, you must carefully examine the words you will use. Concerning religion, it is an even more sensitive and difficult subject. For more information, here are 3 topics that you should definitely avoid talking in Morocco.
Important to know: places of worship are very seriously taken and it is not intended for tourism, it is very frowned upon to enter a Muslim place of worship for a tourist (only to visit).
A respectful and moderate attitude
On a daily basis, you have to be nice and be aware of your attitude so that you won’t have any problems. Otherwise, you’d be seen as the arrogant tourist and no one will like you, nor respect you. As said earlier, do not forget the fact to not wear clothes that are too ”provocative”. You should know what to wear in Morocco. It would be better for you to not wear revealing clothes in Morocco. Related to this, you don’t come to Morocco to tan unless you are in a private place (such as a luxury villa for rent, a hotel or some famous beaches (preferable not in Ramadan), etc).
Some daily habits are also to be reconsidered. As a Muslim-majority country, alcohol is frowned upon. So if you want to drink alcohol in Morocco, drink only in places where alcohol is served like hotels or bars but not in public.
Morocco is also sensitive to donations and sharing. It is therefore very frowned upon to give money to a person who willingly offers you tea, a meal or hospitality. To thank him, focus on your help rather than money. In the same way, it is not very well seen to give money to a child who begs, it is preferable to give him food, toys or candy for example…
Finally, something quite important: modesty. Moroccans are very modest in love. It is therefore important to avoid kissing in public in Morocco. Hold hands or hugs, however, is not problematic at all.
For more information, here are the Do’s and Don’ts when traveling to Morocco.
Additional advice and pitfalls to avoid
Business and scams
We explained to you that negotiating is a good thing in Morocco. However, it is necessary to be careful with the counterfeit product. Often, you have managed to lower the price but it turns out that the product purchased is counterfeit, and ultimately not worth much, so that’s why you must be careful!
Finally, there are “counterfeits” among Moroccan guides. They may not be certified and pretend to be real guides when they are not at all!
The tipping issue is very cultural and varies from one country to another. It should be noted that in Morocco, tipping is optional. It is based on your satisfaction with the various services you received during your stay. If you want to be nice and reward those who been kind to you and served you well, you can give them a tip that you think is reasonable. As a result, they will remember you and be even more friendly and helpful in the future. Remember however that this tip is optional.
A good tourist must be aware of the environment
Today, Morocco is increasingly aware of the planet’s environmental problems. This is why it is necessary to be totally respectful (of customs but also of the environment). Some habits must, therefore, be taken to be even better perceived while preserving the planet. It makes sense to pay attention to your waste production: so put papers, bags, and packaging in the right places. Similarly, be careful with daily waste, cigarettes, straws or other kinds of waste that should not be left in any place.
The objective is to pretend you didn’t come by, so do not leave anything behind that could harm the environment or the Moroccan population.