Travelling in Morocco is not the third world country many people may think it is. It is a country rich in culture, vibrant nightlife and friendly people. However, you may not notice this during Ramadan, the most important even in the Muslim calendar, which took place this year from 16 May to 14 June.
Ramadan is. a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, good deeds and dedicated time for family and friends. It is a time for people to reconnect with their communities and reach out to those in need.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims won’t eat or drink between dawn and sunset. This is called fasting and it is important because it allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith and become closer to Allah (God). Ramadan is a time for cleansing of the mind, body and soul..
I recently spent a week in Morocco during Ramadan, it is quieter during the day and easier to get around. But you also have to understand the locals may be a little distracted. They are not eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset and during the night they are eating and connecting with their family and praying.
So it is easy to understand why you may come across someone who is tired or are not concentrating as well as they normally would. This means that you should pay close attention to what you eat, drink and do during Ramadan.
Five minutes before sunset
This is the most dangerous time to be on the streets in Morocco during Ramadan. It is the time just before the fast is broken and everyone is rushing to get home to be with their family. This is the time when most accidents happen. there will be no police around at this time, as they are also breaking their fast. So, the best advice is to stay off the streets until after sunset. I
Watch the juice bar
You may think a glass of orange juice in the morning for breakfast is innocent. However, during Ramadan the hotel staff may forget to empty or clean the dispenser and simply just refill tit. This means that old juice pulp may sit on the bottom for a couple of days. This is the cause of many upset stomachs of travellers. If you are not sure if the container has been cleaned before refilling, it is best to avoid it altogether.
There is no place for your hot pants and tank tops in Morocco, especially during Ramadan. The people are not only fasting for food but their eyes as well. Ramadan is a time for cleansing of the mind, body & soul. Loose fitting pants, and tops will ensure you are not only more comfortable, but cooler as well. Especially if you are visiting the older cities of Fes and Marrakech. As a female traveller, you will also be less likely to be harassed by the locals if your clothing is conservative.
Saying no to street vendors
Those people on the street you see trying to sell you goods are only out to try to make a living. However, if you don’t want to buy it, simply don’t look at it. A firm no will allow you to walk on. Never say maybe later because they will remember that and you will find them at your hotel that afternoon. Those vendors know exactly where tourists are going to be and are quite often there first.
Get a receipt
When paying for meals and drinks, especially in hotel restaurants, always be sure to obtain a receipt. The communication between reception and the restaurants are not always good or responsive. You should always receive the yellow copy of the bill back to show proof of payment.
Money for Photos
Ask their permission first. If they say no then don’t take their photo. You may think that taking someone’s photo is innocent, but the Moroccans now realise they can make a living from having their photos taken by tourists. Especially in the main square in Marrakech where the snake charmers, story tellers and monkey people are. The storytellers will stop just before the end and ask for money before revealing the story’s conclusion. The snake charmers will come around with their basket requesting a couple of Dirham. If not, they will call you out and even chase you until you give them something. If you want a photo, be prepared to hand over a couple of Dirham.