Tafraout: Travel and Health
On this page you'll find some general information about travel to Morocco that will hopefully answer a few common questions. Information contained on this page comes from various sources including the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the World Health Organisation, but please note - Whilst we do our best to ensure it is up to date and accurate, we are not experts and information on this page may be inaccurate or out of date. If you are unsure, please visit the FCO website for latest information.
Following recent events in Tunisia, the Foreign Office have advised that there is a heightened global threat from groups motivated by the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Tourists should remain particularly vigilant, although there is no specific threat to Morocco and the FCO have not altered their advice that Morocco remains a safe country to visit. Moroccan authorities have increased their national security measures, and additional security personnel may be visible in certain areas.
Morocco, and particularly the south of the country, is generally a safe place for travellers and there are no restrictions on travel (though see paragraph on Western Sahara, below). Violent crime is rare, though not unheard of in the larger cities or resorts, including Marrakech and Agadir. Petty crime is on the increase in the country, and visitors should remain vigilant, even in more remote towns such as Tafraoute.
Uprisings that have taken place in other Arabic states have not been widely reproduced in Morocco, and in general the political situation is fairly stable. That said, terrorist attacks have been carried out in the country, and as recently as 2011, 17 people were killed by an explosion in Marrakech. More rural areas, including Todra and Tafraoute, appear to present a very low risk to tourists.
The main threat to tourists in the climbing area between Marrakech, Agadir, Todra and Tafraout is the country's poor road safety record, and all visitors are urged to exercise caution on the roads, which are undoubtedly not up to the standards of those in western Europe. The government has attempted to address this in recent years, though the most noticable result has been draconian fines for any traffic offence, and increased numbers of speed-traps and check-points, even on minor roads.
The main threat to tourists in the climbing area between Marrakech, Agadir, Todra and Tafraoute is the country's poor road safety record, and all visitors are urged to exercise caution on the roads, which are undoubtedly not up to the standards of those in western Europe. The government has attempted to address this in recent years, though the most noticable result has been draconian fines for any traffic offence, and increased numbers of speed-traps and check-points, even on minor roads.
If you do have an encounter with local traffic police, then it is important to bear in mind that they might not all be as trustworthy as you might expect back home. They are, however, likely to hold significant authority to stop, search, detain and fine people on the spot. Cash fines for offences are more expensive and more spontaneous than they are in the UK, and are entirely legal. You should, however, always ensure that you will be provided with an official receipt before you hand over money.
VISA AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
British and EU nationals do not require entry visas to Morocco for the purpose of tourism, for visits of up to three months.
You must hold a valid passport to enter Morocco. Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Morocco.
Moroccan Customs do not have a list of prohibited products, but they do advise anyone travelling with prescription medication to ensure that they have a copy of the doctor’s prescription with them and that the quantity of medication carried is within the limits of the prescription.
HEALTH & VACCINATIONS
Morocco is not a particularly high-risk destination, but the following diseases are prevalent.
Hep A - water-borne disease found in areas of poor sanitation. Visitors staying for long periods, or staying with local families / friends / wild camping in rural areas are considered high risk and are advised vaccination. This is not an issue when staying in a hotel in Tafraoute for a few weeks.
Hep B - prevalent in Morocco, but only transmitted through body-fluids. Healthcare professionals and military personnel are vaccinated but there is no need for tourist visitors.
Rabies - prevalent... avoid the dogs and you don't need a vaccine.
Tetanus - Make sure your boosters are up to date
TB - This is still about in Morocco. Those who have not been vaccinated are advised not to visit Morocco for extended periods without a vaccine, but a 2-3 week climbing trip is not considered as an extended period.
Typhoid - Another water-borne disease that many UK nationals will not be vaccinated against. A vaccine is advised only if you are staying for long periods in very remote areas or wild-camping. Climbers staying in Tafraoute should not need a vaccine.
Schistosomiasis - There is no vaccine for this, and you can catch it by swimming in pools and rivers in which it is present. Climbers are advised not to cool down with a dip in natural pools...
The area of Western Sahara is disputed territory, and Europeans are strongly advised not to travel in this region, which is likely to pose significant dangers. If you must go looking for crags down that way, then contact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office first.
ASSISTANCE FOR UK NATIONALS
British Honorary Consulate - AGADIR
The English Pub, Boulevard 20 Août, Agadir
Tel: 00 212 528 84 12 19
Fax: 00 212 528 84 12 57
British Honorary Consulate - MARRAKECH
47 Avenue Mohamed V (next to the Marrakech Grand Prix store), Gueliz, Marrakech
Tel: 00 212 524 42 08 46
Fax: 00 212 524 43 52 76
If you are a British National and have a genuine emergency outside normal office hours, you can call the Embassy switchboard on +212 (0) 537 63 33 33 where you can obtain details of the Global Response Centre who may be able to assist you. Please note that only emergency calls can be handled out of office hours. Visa enquiries can only be dealt with during office hours.