Best currency for Morocco?

edited June 2009 in - North Africa
hi can anyone tell me what is best money to take to morocco to exchange at a good rate us dollar uk pounds.
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  • edited 2:25AM
    Well Louise, this depends on which country you are travellering from. I always advise people to bring the currency of the country from which they are travelling although a Bureau de Change will accept most global currencies (although not Australian dollars for some reason).

    Changing at a B de C will get you the official rate of exchange whichever currency you use, they are always found in airports and ports.

    As Morocco is a long way from home I take cash enough for about 10 days but use my ATM card when there. I keep the money safe and would only use this should a problem arise such as my ATM card being lost or stolen.

    Morocco has no shortage of ATM's in all the major cities so getting cash is never a problem although I advise you to notify your bank if you intend to use your card in an ATM.

    When out shopping or at a restaurant, always pay with local currency, not dollars or euros. They will take an age converting the rate and inevitably short change you.

    Some other points of note -
    Travellers Cheques are becoming less popular so don't bother taking these as it is difficult to find somewhere to change them, they also attract a high commission when changing.
    When taking paper money to Morocco, this MUST be in near perfect condition with no writing, ink marks, heavy creases, tears etc.
    Do not bring Scottish or Irish notes - impossible to cash.
  • edited 2:25AM
    Hi, What is the limit on how much cash currency in US Dollars can I take to Morroco?
  • edited 2:25AM
    If you bring in more than the equivalent of 100,000Dh (Moroccan Dirhams) in any currency you must declare this but the wording is vague as something must have been lost in translation.
    The official documentation states:
    "Obligation for all travellers to declare, to the customs, foreign banknotes if their exchange value is greater than or equal to 100,000Dh. Obligation for the residents to sell foreign banknotes imported, whatever is their amount, to the authorized financial establishments within 30 days from the date of their importation........." it goes on a bit.

    This means you must declare within 30 days of your intentions for the money but I haven't a clue what happens if you leave before 30 days!!!!!

    You can check the exchange rate on http://www.xe.com/ucc/

    Currently 100,000Dh is equivalent to apporox. US$12,460.00 but of course this will vary weekly as Morocco sets its exchange rates (every Friday).

    As far as Morrocan currency is concerned, you are now allowed to take out of Morocco or bring into Morocco, no more than 1000Dh.
    Of course you are not searched but if found in posession of more you will have some explaining to do.

    Taking foreign currency into the country of several hundred Pounds, US Dollars or Euros is acceptable.
  • edited 2:25AM
    hi im going to marrakech for a week can anyone advice me how much cash will a need?? tnx:)
  • edited 2:25AM
    How long is a piece of string? Surley this depends on how long you are staying and other factors such as do you eat cheap Moroccan or european food.
    Take the currency of your country in cash sufficient to get through an emergency, say €200, but keep safe and do not use. Rely on ATM's (there are hundreds in Marrakech) but DO notify your bank that you are going to use card in Morocco.
    Only pay for goods and services in Moroccan currency.
  • edited 2:25AM
    hi john, thanks for an advice when travelling i always like to try local things food,accom..... not just becouse its cheap but most of all its different from what i have back home:)
    anyway do you know if its easy to exchange sterling in marrakech? or what is d best currency to take? tnx:)
  • edited 2:25AM
    Hi,
    Looks like I don't get notifications by e-mail to these posts.
    You are best advised to take Sterling, or the currency of your country (but NOT $Australian); most major world currencies are accepted.
    At Menara airport in Marrakech is an ATM and also Bureau de Change where you can exchange your currency. Euros and Sterling are accepted but be aware that notes must be in near-perfect condition with no tears, ink marks or heavy creases; Scottish banknotes are not accepted. You will get the correct exchange rate here although some places like hotels like to give less, charging commission and all that.
    Banks too will give the correct rate but I mostly use ATM's although there will no longer be the "free" service on zero cards such as Nationwide so you will be back to paying the two-rate system where the bank in Morocco makes a charge as does your bank which is a currency exchange charge of about 1.75%, overall the rate charged is about 4.5%.

    In Marrakech there are many sights to see and flavours to savour. In the main square know as Jemaa el Fna you will be amazed at the transformation from mayhem in the daytime to mayhem during the evening but with a difference.
    The square has many restaurants surrounding the central area which cater mainly for tourists so the food is not exceptional. Some have terraces on the rooftop where you can see the spectacle of the events unfolding. As dusk approaches, strange things happen beofre your eyes - scores of people walk to and fro with carts and scaffolding to erect dozens of open-air food stalls selling mainly fish, fried or grilled and also meat dishes. The whole area is illumanated with blinding lights and they don't charge much but you must always ask in advance what you are expected to pay. If you are quoted around 50Dh for fish, salad, bread, fiery chili sauce, grilled aubergine and a drink then this is reasonable; just sit and wait for the food to arrive and enjoy yourself.
    Elsewhere in Gueliz, also known as the New Town, there are many Moroccan restaurants where you can eat a filling meal cheaply. A typical rate may be 45Dh for three courses and the set menu may be quite varied. Wherever you eat it is customary to be served bread and olives as a starter but you are not charged for this. Some restaurants are owned by non-Moroccans, as such you will probably pay more.

    I could go on for hours here, perhaps we could have a section where we can post photo's and articles on subjects such as Money, Restaurants, What to wear, Weather and a host of other topics which could be brought up at any time rather than ask questions on these matters over and over.

    Respect
  • edited 2:25AM
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  • edited 2:25AM
    Hi
    Interestin comments and very usefull.
    we are going to Marrakech Monday, What the deal with alchol our hotel has no bar, do supermarkets sell beers and wine?
    Is it freely available?
    Were not drunks but we would like a drink whilst we are there.
  • edited 2:25AM
    Marjane is a large european style supermarket on the route to Essaouira and is roughly 3 Km from the centre so get a petit taxi and make sure the driver turns on the meter (should start at about 2Dh). Alcohol is sold to non Muslims even in Ramadan and in a city like Marrakech you won't have any difficulty.

    ACIMA is a large supermarket in Gueliz, just follow Bvd Mohammed V, after last trafic lights take the first turn left and it will be on your right some 50 metres away. The other option is to take a taxi if you get lost. You don't have much choice in local supermarkets though.

    If you fancy beer with your lunch, Cafe Arabe and Maison Arabe. Hotel Jardin de la Koutoubia, Narwama (Thai restaurant) and the Kozy Bar are places in the medina where you can get alcohol with meals even during Ramadan. The Grand Hotel Tazi is a very basic hotel but has a bar where you can pop in for a beer anytime without having to eat. Of course you can go into any tourist hotel bar for a drink, you don't have to be a guest.

    If you are going to a supermarket to buy alcohol remember to take your passport as they will not sell you alcohol. Taking the bottles into a hotel/riad won't be a problem if you simply tuck it into a bag.

    Tips - where you buy beer/alcohol dictates what price you pay; cafes/restaurants may be cheaper than hotels but nightclubs will rob you blind (£10 for G+T is not uncommon); local supermarkets are cheapest but not much choice. Flag beer is Moroccan, made in regular and premium which is smoother and very cheap in local places. Keep alcohol out of sight so as not to offend locals or taxi driver during Ramadan.
  • edited 2:25AM
    Hi
    Thanks for the quick response John K,
    A lot of comments on other sites have mentioned that English is not widely spoken, with French being the main second language.
    How true is this?
  • edited September 2009
    Not all people have had the benefit of an education in Morocco so it goes that people in outlying areas (mountain regions for example) will only speak Arabic in some dialect or other.

    As Morocco was "occupied" to save itself many years ago, French became the second most popular language and many people do speak this although for the sake of tourism, English will replace this in years to come and is the chosen language for future tourism.

    My experience is that whilst Moroccans in hotels, restaurants, shops etc do speak English, they do not have the capacity to make it to a conversational level. they will understand and reply but only the minimum to get through.

    As visitors from all over the world come here, languages such as German, Spanish & Italian are spoken by waiters and others here but generally, most tourists will use English unless they are French of course.

    There are, however, some very well educated people who will amaze you with their fluency speaking far better English than some in UK! Fact not fiction and English is taught in colleges here although of course this is only generally available to those who can afford it.

    I speak more Arabic than French but even I would not attempt to engage in anything other than English.

    If you are in a city where tourists are more likely to visit (Tangier, Fes, Marrakech, Agadir, Essaouira......) then you will have no difficulty getting by and even when haggling, the trader will usually use a calculator to communicate the price.

    You may find even in the cities that some taxi drivers do not speak French or English but as long as you know where you are going you should get by.

    "Hypermarche Marjane Min Fadlack" said to the taxi driver will get you to the Marjane supermarket.
  • edited September 2009
    See the wordtravels.com guide to currency in Morrocco.
  • edited 2:25AM
    My lonely planet on Morocco states that Canadian currency is not recognized by the banks but other people I have talked to have said that this is not true. Which is correct?
  • edited 2:25AM
    Canadian and Australian dollar currency is not accepted nor is the Scottish Pound.
  • edited 2:25AM
    I am from Singapore. I would like to visit Morocco. Few day in Morocco, i would like to visit Tunisia. Can i enter Tunisia with Visa on Arival ? What the best flight from Morocco (Casablanca) to Tunis ?
  • edited 2:25AM
    How good is main road surfaces?
    Let say if I go from Marrakech to Erfoud by bicycle what would be bike of choise - mountain bike or racer?
  • edited 2:25AM
    Sorry for grammar - I had tooo much beeeer tonight!
  • edited 2:25AM
    Roads to Erfoud are good, suitable for vehicles and also bike.
    If you intend to go off track, say on the sand, then you will most certainly need a mountain bike.
  • edited 2:25AM
    Thank you!
    Should I book all hotels at stop points (Ouarzazate, Zagora, Tazzarine, Erfoud, Tinghir) in advance? Is any bus or other transport going out of Erfoud? Is it possible to make domestic flight from Errashidia to Marrakech or Fez? Thanks again! Best regards!
  • edited 2:25AM
    Wherever you go you will find accommodation to suit all pockets, there is usually somewhere basic for 100Dh (maybe even less) or thereabouts if you just want to stay the night. Finding these is not difficult but you may be offered the services of a fixer who will negotiate on your behalf; you will probably end up paying far more this way for a room than if you were to ask around yourself.
    Errachidia has no airport but is roughly equidistant between Marrakech and Fes.
    If I am allowed to do so, perhaps you should register with Trip Advisor which is a very popular travel forum site for Morocco.
  • edited 2:25AM
    hi. going to marrakesh tomorrow! just read all this stuff about the currency. i have just exchanged £300 into moroccan money, yet some of this imples that taking currency in isnt allowed?
  • edited November 2009
    You should always wait until you get into Morocco to get your currency as you would then have got the official (and correct) rate of exchange.

    I wager you got less than 11Dh to £1 or about 3000Dh in total instead of the 3780Dh you should have got.

    The seller should have told you that the MAD (Moroccan Dirham) is a closed curency and not available outside of Morocco. So the seller probably wanted to off load their stash to someone who is none the wiser and give a very poor rate.

    Keep it concealed and DO NOT declare it on arrival; I know of no cases where people have ever been asked on arrival how much they have although people are usually (but not always) asked on departure; even then I keep quiet as I go back again and need some ready cash even though there are numerous ATM's around town and also at the airport.
  • edited 2:25AM
    Hi Everyone

    I am arriving Marrakech 9th Feb 19.15hrs. I am staying at Kenzi Club Oasis, can anyone tell me how much I should pay for taxi and will I have to barter price.

    Thanks Tom B
  • edited 2:25AM
    The address for Kenzi Club Oasis is Commune rurale Ouahat, Sudi, Marrakech which is about 45 minutes from the airport, near the new football stadium being built. The fare should be between 150 and 200Dh in the daytime but in the evening (after 8pm) this may go up to 300Dh. You may need to haggle hard if the driver quotes something ridiculous but ideally no more than 200Dh, try offering this as a last resort and see wat happens.

    It is usually possible to arrange a transfer with the hotel prior to arriving in Marrakech although you should expect this to be far higher, who knows, quite possibly 1000-2000Dh.
  • edited 2:25AM
    hi...i'm travelling to casablanca in a couple of weeks....what credit cards are generally accepted here in hotels/restaurants? plus which are the main international bankls in casablanca?
  • edited 2:25AM
    Casablanca has a reported 499 ATM's, of these none are international.
    Banks to look out for are BANQUE MAROCAINE POUR LE COMMERCE (BMC), BANQUE CENTRALE POPULAIRE, SOCIETE INTERBANK, CREDIT DU MAROC.
    There may be others in which case you should ask at your bank for a list of institutions which will accept your particular card.
    As mentioned above, notify your bank if you intend to use your card in an ATM and be aware that you should not use credit cards to acquire cash from an ATM as interest will be chargeable immediately.
    I suggest you use local currency when paying for minor services, including restaurants.
  • edited 2:25AM
    Hi John, I am so impressed with your extensive knowledge of Morocco, you clearly have a great understanding and respect for the country and its people. Do you live there? I live in London but also have a home in Tangier and have been visiting the city every year for the past 27 years, so have seen a lot of changes . Having read through many of the questions asked, another point I would add concerning taking currency in and out of the country is that certain shop keepers within the Petit Soco ( small market) in Tangier, will often exchange sterling and euros and american dollars at a much better rate than the banks, this 'black market' exchange is common place and quite normal practise. In addition many shops that cannot bank english pound coins will wait until they have collected a hundred pounds or more then sell them to english travellers for a good rate for Dirhams, plus extra for your troubles. Last year I bought £200 of pound coins at an excellent rate of exchange plus 10% commission for me on top. Its a good way of getting rid of unwanted dirhams and making some money in the process. The shop keepers are happy to sell their foreign coins which the bank wont exchange, so everyones a winner !
    Good luck to all those who are travelling to Morocco. Its a fascinating country and its people have great warmth and hospitality.
  • edited 2:25AM
    Hi. Thanks for all the above, so informative. I am off to Marrakech in 10 days time so now I know to take sterling, change it at the airport BdC and haggle for the taxi and everything else in English! We are staying at Dar Tuscia, can anybody tell me how much is a reasonable fare for the taxi transfer and how far it is to the big square Fna I think its called? thanks.
  • edited 2:25AM
    Hello, all this currency info is so useful. Thankyou everyone. We go to Marrakech on Thursday 1st Apr. We arrive at airport 21.45. Will BdeC still be open to change our currency at that hour? Or should we just use ATM? Also next day will be Friday. Are all BdeC open on Fridays? Thanks again.
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