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Topics include Dining Scene, Morocco: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Morocco is generally a safe country to visit and violent crime against visitors is rare. In fact most cities in America and European capital cities have far more crime than here in Morocco.
Within the city of Agadir you will notice uniformed police throughout the tourist areas and around the Royal Palaces. More reassuring are the numbers of plain clothes police who work to keep you safe. The police checkpoints between towns are becoming rarer, but occasionally there will be a road checkpoint. Tourists are usually waved through unless travelling with Moroccans when they may ask for ID. There is no need to carry your passport, either a photocopy or your drivers licence is enough. Morocco has experienced terrorism, as has London, New York and Madrid. If you see unattended bags in cafes or tourist areas tell a member of staff, as you would do in the UK or USA.
As with anywhere in the world it is about taking simple steps to make sure you are not a victim of crime. Don't wear expensive jewellery. Be discreet with smart phones and ipads and certainly don't leave anything of value on display in your hire car. Don't take valuables to the beach. If your accommodation has a safe box, use it. Avoid unlit streets and the beach after dark. Take care when in crowds, especially in the souk (market) and when on the bus, pickpockets operate everywhere in the world.
Be mindful if you go to nightclubs or bars and certainly don't accept drinks from strangers. Always keep an eye on your drink, so no-one can spike it. Never purchase alcohol for Moroccans, if they get into any trouble the person giving them the alcohol can be liable for their actions.
Ignore offers from men that approach you saying "chocolat chocolat" these are drug dealers. Whilst the smoking of hashish is commonplace amongst many young Moroccan men it is illegal.
There are mixed views on the safety of tap water, if you are a first time traveller to the country you may want to avoid it. Although fortunately brushing teeth and rinsing a toothbrush should do no harm. Ice is usually from a machine or factory made and is generally ok. Salads will have been washed in tap water. The main concern is from undercooked meat, poorly stored diary products and personal hygiene.
The best advice is use Tripadvisor to find restaurants that have been reviewed. You don't need to worry about taking malaria pills and yellow fever is not a concern. You might want to update your hepatitis and tetanus.
Morocco is a muslim country and showing respect for the culture, will earn you the respect of locals. This is especially so for ladies, if you don't want to draw unwanted attention from men and looks of disgust from women then think about what you are wearing. Beachwear is for the beach and pool. When out of the hotel mini-skirts and tight low cut tops and vests should be avoided.
Begging does take place and in some cases children will have been forced to beg by their parents which angers many Moroccans. The country is poor compared to the USA and Europe, but a million miles ahead of sub-sahara Africa. There remains a stigma regarding disability and with high employment many disabled people are left with no other option but to beg. On Friday you will see more beggars on the street, particularly around mosques locals will give what they can afford, you may want to place coins in their bowls. The best way you can help the poor is by giving spare cash to the Moroccan Red Cross and other charities working to help the most disadvantaged within the country.
Morrocans speak Arabic and Berber and many speak French, English is not so widely spoken outside the tourist resort. So, in order to make it easier all round, brush up on French. Even a few friendly greetings like "salut, ca va" and "non merci" will be helpful to you. Better still learn a few words of Moroccan Arabic or even better Berber!
Most importantly relax and try to go with the flow. Morocco has a slower pace of life, no one is in a hurray and everything is ruled by the term "Inshallah" which translates to "God Willing." If you say it to a Moroccan you will earn respect and it will give them a smile. If you don't want to get ripped off by a taxi driver, tell him your destination and then "In-Shar-La" When you are shopping and haggling use it!
You are in a beautiful country, and so go out and explore it and love what this diverse and unique peice of Africa can offer you!