If you are driving in Morocco - The highway patrol have recently gotten radar speed detectors, and they are very keen on using them. An officer will merely walk out into the road in front of you in order to stop you.
My experience consisted of being pulled over before we were 20 minutes out of Tangier. The officer was very polite, but informed us that our infraction would cost us 400 deerhams. We were issued a ticket after payment, and as we drove away, I looked at it and noticed that the price of the ticket was printed in old letters at the top - 100 Deerham! The police tried to take us for and extra 150 deerham each!
PHOTO OF ACTUAL TICKET COMING SOON.
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At Least Do This: First of all, be very polite and courteous. It helps to give the impression that you do not have much money, even if you do..... I spent a good deal of time rummaging in my purse. When the officer asked our professions, we told him that we were students. He finally relented and reduced out fee to 200 deerhams....However, this was still a 100 percent markup on the actual ticket price!!!!
Make sure that the officer knows that you are a tourist (Yes, in many cases this is obvious, but reinforcement does not hurt. Morocco is trying very hard to grow its tourism industry at present.)
Alternative: Well, one can take the bus or train, but really there is no other alternative if you go by car. We were pulled over a total of 6 times during our drive from Tangiers to Essouira and back, and only two of those times involved even a minor speeding issue; the other stops were just to get information about us. Remember - just be very polite and respectful. Fear and anger do nothing but encourange any phony or excessive ticketing that the patrol may be inclined to inflict upon you.
PHOTO OF ACTUAL TICKET COMING SOON.
if you are interested in reading some blog posting on my moroccan experience, they can be found at:
The hassle one can have from street sellers following you arround can be most unpleasent. They just can not take "No" or "La" for an answer.
When we were with our tour group whe level of harassment was just AWFUL & really ruined the tour. I have to admit we were really not looking forward to spending another day in Tangier .
The next day when we ventured in to Tangier alone, it was wonderful, not one person approached us and we were left totally alone. I think these sellers must just hunt down the tour groups.
We got lost, I asked a lady for help and within seconds 5 or 6 people came to help. Which was lovely, a much better experience than the day before.
Photo is of Nice Tangier People, Not the Horrid ones! (~_~)
You should be aware that many goods sold in Tangiers have parts made from tortoise shell, ivory, coral, snakeskin, etc. which are all probably illegal to take through your home countries customs (and fines can be huge).
If you are in doubt, don't buy it and don't listen to shopkeepers who tell you it's okay. The garbage cans at your home airport are probably full of banned crafts that panicking tourists have dumped at the last moment after seeing the warning signs at customs.
Worldwide, regretfully, there is a huge traffic in illegal wildlife parts: skins, tusks, bones, skulls, eggs, claws, and on and on and on. The list is as long as one's imagination because the parts are used for everything from clothing to cult rituals.
Nature-lovers, kids, scientists, veterinarians - anyone who cares about animals - can point to smugglers, who generally get their commodities from poachers, for helping to exterminate too many forms of wildlife. In 1970, for example, there were about 65,000 black rhinos in the world; as of the year 2000, only about 2,200 were left. The World Wildlife Federation estimates that 103 species of reptiles and 58 species of amphibians are currently under threat of extinction, including such exotics as those mentioned, along with the tuatara lizard, Chinese alligator, false gavial crocodile, and dwarf crocodile. Even zoos can't find some of these species, yet smugglers can.
Harassment of tourists by unemployed Moroccans posing as "guides" is a common problem. Prudent travelers hire only official tour guides through hotels, travel agencies or through their cruise line.
Before you arrive in Tangier make arrangements for what you are going to do about guides. Have someone from your hotel or an official tour company meet you as you arrive and properly identify himself. Or go on a cruise sponsored tour. All of this is to protect you from being virtually (sometimes physically) assaulted by the entrepreneurial independents that offer to be your tour guide and/or sell you drugs.
These guys shown on the pier were trying to close tour deals with passengers even as our cruise ship was in the process of docking. Once the folks, who weren’t on a cruise booked tour, went ashore one or more of these forceful men immediately accosted them.
Notice, when you get close, that these animals all have a good hide covered in hair. Good animal hide with good hair is a good place to find fleas no matter where you are in the world.
Of course, the problem here is that the fleas could be harboring diseases that you would not want to catch. And, of course, they make a beeline for the hairy-er parts of your body. Then scamper playfully about causing you discomfort and itching sensations.
Climbing on board one of these animals, or rubbing against it with your clothing could be a great invitation for an enterprising flea or fleas to upscale their habitat - namely you!
If you don't want to miss a photographic opportunity atop a camel or near a donkey then attempt to use an insect repellant on your clothing to hopefully ward off these pesky critters.
No worries about Mobil phones, there is plenty or areal around, the international code is +212 and to phone outside Morocco put the 00 plus the country code. Prices are more expensive than in Europe
Morocco has a high crime rate in urban areas. Criminals have targeted tourists for robberies, assaults, muggings, thefts, purse snatching, pick-pocketing, and scams of all types. Most of the petty crime occurs in the medina/market areas, parks and beaches.
Commonly reported crimes include falsifying credit-card vouchers, and shipping inferior rugs as a substitute for the rugs purchased by the traveler. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate have also received reports of thefts occurring in the vicinity of ATM machines. Aggressive panhandling is common.
Unescorted women in any area of Morocco may experience verbal abuse. The best course of action is to ignore such abuse because, it has been found in the past, women who have responded have sometimes come under physical attack.
There is a lot of renovation work taking place in the old Medina of Tangier. The picture shows some of the workers and the mess of their construction in a narrow alleyway. We were on a tour and walking to the American Legation when I took this picture.
People having trouble walking and tourists with severe respiratory problems should be forewarned that this might be a difficult trek for you. Especially in the narrower streets and alleys, there is a lot of uneven footing, sometimes construction rubble to avoid as well as dust and other irritants in the air.
It is my understanding that driving east from Tangier along the Mediterranean coast, the signs of drug power become obvious: heavily guarded villas with strangely stylized pagodas, frequent roadblocks with police looking for the next payoff and an endless supply of young men going about their workdays in the drug business. In northern Morocco and Tangier lurks a key challenge to the Moroccan state: a potent mix of discontent, drugs, organized political opposition and religion. Morocco's drug barons have steadily made themselves into a serious crime problem and security threat, and also major players in the Moroccan political system.
Morocco is the world's largest hashish exporter.
As the drug trade booms, drug lords have more money to bribe security officials and corrupt politicians. Corruption does not exist as an exception to an otherwise regulated and transparent system. Instead, it goes to the very heart of the political system, and has been institutionalized by those in power. The drug barons simply availed themselves of an efficient and accepted means of doing business.
In the picture you see one of the many drug users in Tangier sleeping on the sidewalk. And this guy is doing it right in front of a local policeman!
This particular person, earlier in the day, had physically attacked one of the tourists on my tour bus while he was talking a photograph from near the Grand Socco. Our tour guides said that they would call the police and have the man arrested AFTER our tour ended. Somehow, I doubt that ever happened.
We were on a group tour of Tangier, and halfway through walking down in the medina, one old lady decided she did not want to continue, and she turned round to go back to the bus. Lesson number one - always tell the guide if you are leaving the group.
The bus was no longer at the drop-off point - it had driven around the medina and was meeting us at the bottom. Lesson number two - always make sure you know where the bus will be.
Fortunately, the old lady had her wits about her, and had taken a taxi from the medina back to the hotel, and she was there waiting for us when we returned with the bus, much to her friend's relief. Lesson number three - always make sure you have the name and address of the hotel written on a pice of paper with you - preferably also in Arabic. Also make sure you have enough money on you for a taxi!
People will approach you on the street offering you drugs or prostitutes, and WON'T leave you alone. They speak several languages and they'll try them all. We figured out the way to get rid of them: speak gibberish! After a couple of sentences, they figure you speak some bizarre language they've not learned and will leave you to look for easier prey.
Please be aware of false guides in Tangier.
I have been warned by VT-members before
shipping in to Tangier, and what happened?
Still an old man snatched me, carried my
luggage, helped me store it - I had 6 hours
left until the train left to Rabat - and I was
already following him to the Medina of
Tangier. Suddenly he said he was finished,
I should visit the new part of the city myself,
and he demanded about 30 Euros. My
first time in an African country, I was scared
and hesitantly gave him the money. I did
not want to be impolite or make him mad
or shout words at me. Yet I regret it nowadays. On my way back, I acted wiser though!
As far as I know Tangier - even among
Moroccans - has a bad reputation. Many
dubious people, false guides, drug-dealers,
etc. The city itself does not offer a very picturesque view, despite the warm
On my way back, I saw many people at
the port offering me tickets back to Spain.
I knew immediately that those were forgers.
Be aware of that, too! Go straight to the
Be careful when travelling on your own or in a couple in the Medina. I was led up a blind alley by a guide who then pulled out a knife and demanded cash. Although I was petrified I stood my ground and said no. He then scarpered when someone else came up the alleyway.
Just get mentally prepared to step in Tangier and many cab drivers trying to get you as a customer. They will fight for you and many people that will try to take you as a guide. They will bother you and follow you for hours if is possible. They are usually close to hotels, ports, and other tourist places. They will tell you that is dangerous to walk without a guide and things like that. The best way is to tell them directly that you are not interested and you will call the cops. Trust me I almost fought a guy because I was arguing with him for 30 minutes because the guide was still following us. Is very frustrating, so get preapared if visiting Morocco.
As soon as you step in Tangier you will face the hassle of many vendors trying to sell you different goods and small boys asking for money. They will walk around you trying to get your attention. If you answer or show the least interest, you can be sure that they will insist in bargaining a deal with you for hours. So, your best course of action is just don't even look at them and keep on walking.