Eating and tasting the rich cuisine is one of the best ways to experience a country. From street food to fine dining restaurants, Morocco has it all. The French influence is noticeable in Moroccan cuisine.
You will find French bread, croissants, and steak widely available in restaurants. More traditional dishes are a rich, spicy bean soup called ‘harira’, as well as meat kebabs, tajine (a slow- cooked meat stew often made with chicken, seafood, vegetables, olives, prunes, or almonds), and pastilla, a poultry pie made with filo pastry and cinnamon. And of course, there is couscous, a staple based on steamed semolina.
For dessert in restaurants, you may find crème caramel and almond-filled pastries. The national drink is green tea flavoured with fresh mint and sweetened with sugar. French-style coffee is widely available, as are bottled water and soft drinks. The drinking of alcohol takes a low profile in Morocco, but beer and wine are available in restaurants and at hotel bars. Moroccan wines include a light French-style claret, a strong cabernet, and a dry white. The local beers are Casablanca or Flag. Please note: vegetarians may wish to bring a protein supplement in place of meat and seafood.
Ramadan in Morocco
Ramadan is the Holy Month of the Islamic calendar and a time when Muslims fast from sun rise until sunset. Many local cafes and restaurants remain closed during the day however tourists are not expected to fast, and there are cafes and restaurants that stay open to cater for you.
During Ramadan you are encouraged to show your respect by not walking around in public eating, chewing gum, smoking or drinking. It is fine to do so in your hotel or in a cafe/restaurant recommended by your tour leader. Your tour leader will organise lunches and dinners for you which will make Ramadan easier for you. During the month you will find that tourist sites often close early to allow staff to return home in time to break their fast and shops often open late and close early.
Following Ramadan there is an Eid, a three-day celebration which is called Eid ul-Fitr. There is also another Eid, four-day celebration later in the year which is called Eid Ul-Adha. During these holidays it is more likely that shops (including the souks, but not restaurants) will be closed and other services may also be interrupted.
Cultural Reading List
- A House in Fez by Suzanna Clarke
- The Caliph’s House by Tahir Shah
- Allah’s Garden by Thomas Hollowell
- Lords of the Atlas by Gavin Maxwell
Cultural Activities Information
An important part of experiencing your profession, through the eyes of your professional counterpart, is experiencing the rich culture and traditions. We have structured the time during your exchange to include 60% of the time engaged in professional experiences and 40% of the time in cultural immersion activities.
Cultural Activities Attire
As a general guideline, clothing should be lightweight, loose fitting and easily washed. In Summer, cotton clothing is much more comfortable than other materials like nylon. Clothing and accessories that will protect you from the sun is also necessary. It’s a good idea to pack a white or light coloured, long sleeve cotton shirt. In Winter you will need warmer clothing, especially at night. Please also keep in mind that when visiting religious sites, appropriate attire is required. It is recommended for females to pack a scarf. (See Weather Information below)
There are several shopping avenues in Morocco where you can find various items that you can buy that can serve as your remembrance during your visit on the latter place. The most sought-after shopping destinations namely Morocco cities of Fez and Marrakech.
Normally the shops are open from Monday to Saturday from 0830-1300 & 1430-1930. The souks (traditional markets) are open 7 days a week. Post offices are open from Monday to Friday between 0830-1200 & 1430-1830 hrs.
There are few places in the world more vibrant than Marrakech for shopping. With its medina’s winding streets lined by booths piled with spices and merchants inviting customers to have tea in their back rooms, it is exhilarating–and overwhelming– even for seasoned hagglers. A guide can help you navigate the souk’s narrow arteries and find the best stalls, or explore the more modern parts of the city, whether you’re looking for latticed lanterns, a Berber kilim rug or the purest argan oil.
Fez is the center of Moroccan craftsmanship. Visit the ateliers of weavers and metalworkers and, of course, tanneries, in the souk to learn how the objects in the stores are made. We recommend hiring a local guide to help you navigate the various artisans’ areas and negotiate
Citizen Ambassador Program Policy Statement
While many delegates express an interest in shopping for local merchandise overseas, it is not a primary aim of the Citizen Ambassador Programs to place significant emphasis of time or effort on this activity. In keeping with the mission of the Citizen Ambassador Program, schedules are developed to keep professional exchange and/or cultural interaction the focus of your experience.
The Citizen Ambassador Program can accept no responsibility for the quality or value of any goods purchased during your travel itinerary. This includes items purchased during scheduled visits and during free time on the program.
The best camera to take is one that is easy to carry and use. Multiple lenses and attachments are heavy, and replacements or repairs may be unavailable. Take plenty of film and extra batteries in your carry-on bag. Consider investing in a digital memory card with a large storage capacity if you use a digital camera.
When photographing an individual, especially up close, you should ask permission. Do not take pictures of Immigration/Customs areas or of military installations. Also, do not take pictures of police activity no matter how interesting it might appear.
The same rule of thumb also applies to places of worship and royal palaces. Permission will almost always be granted.
When taking pictures of local people, be aware of cultural considerations. Approaching people with a warm smile and using polite gestures or simple phrases to ask permission to photograph them usually works well. It is always recommended to engage people in conversation before asking to photograph them, but if people do not wish to have their photo taken, please honor their requests. We urge you to avoid giving money in exchange for photo opportunities, which makes it harder for future travelers to have a meaningful personal interaction with local people. Please always heed your National Guide’s for what is appropriate.