Photo by Abdul Hafiz Ali
Morocco, a country that I am in love with. While writing this article, I am still with this country that made me amazed, appreciated the fact that this is my first time to engaged with local Moroccans, met some of my friends that I have known for years and acquaintances that leads me to understand how perfectly it is to live here.
I know some of you will not agree with me but Morocco is far way from other Arab nations and African regions I have visited. Mythbusting, I will tell you these misconceptions about Morocco, If you’re planning to visit Morocco soon, there are chances that you will search for this country on Google. You may end up reading “warning” you not to visit Morocco or safety concerns, and horrible experience and stories from travelers. I need to tell you this, as a traveler, and to be honest with you, there is no perfect country in general. I am here to set these misconceptions straight, these myths I had before traveling to Morocco or even I became yet a travel blogger. I am giving you the hard facts:
2. Moroccans are Muslim Arabs
The majority of its population identifies as Berber or Arab and yes, the official language languages are Arabic and Amazigh ( Berber). Not only that, French is widely spoken and understood. There are times that I was asking for a direction in Arabic (Saudi) but I can’t understand the response of a guy which is Moroccan Arabic. They can understand me but it was awful for me to understand the type of Arabic they were using.
This is due to the fact that Morocco has a multicultural history. Morocco has been called ” home” by many people, from Indigenous Amazigh (Berbers), and hosted a lot of cultures from the East (Arabs), from North (Romans and Spanish Andalusian) and Sub-Saharan (Africans).
2. Morroco is a Deserted Country
I am guilty of this when I heard about this country I literally remember the Sahara desert. I was wrong! During my first two days, I’d to booked a 1-day tour from the magnificent Marrakesh to Ouarzazate. I don’t have any idea what was it look like to be a long road trip to Ouarzazate. What I know was I am going to a deserted area. When traveling by a comfortable car with my friends from Bucharest and London, I was amazed by beautiful houses and terrains. I started to see the Atlas mountains, which are dotted with Berber villages.
To add on, Ifrane is one of the best places I visited. This literally the second cleanest city in the world and the first city I visited that amazes me until now.
3. The Cost of Living is Expensive
Believe me, another myth I’ve been thinking of before my journey. I worked and lived in Saudi Arabia and Asia so I am considering the cost of living of countries that I am visiting. I am a minimalist, so simplicity in form and adding my cost on time is important. When I arrived in Casablanca, I booked a hotel which cost me 90 Euros a night and stayed for a day with full of amenities. I stayed in Marrakesh with reasonable expenses to food and transportation. Although, I was adjusting to foods especially I live in a homestay for a week now. So if you’re staying here for a short term, I would suggest booking your hotel in advance through Booking.com to get reasonable rate before heading to Morocco.
4. Never to Barter in Morocco, it’s a Developing Country
Okay, so you shall pay the asking price? Let’s be honest, we tend to pay what the vendor ask because of generosity that we have sometimes. Unless you are not really good to barter same with me ( LOL). Come on, Moroccans do expect their customers to barter. Based on my experience, I visited most of the souqs or markets in Morocco and here’s what I can say. In any part of the world, vendors are business savvy, so they would know the value of their goods in the United States of America and Europe. So they would ask you for it. Off course, your yours truly has to experience the way how to be a good in barter.
In general, Morocco is a country with rich history. To understand the culture is the most important thing you should do.