Moving to Morocco
Expats moving to Morocco will be greeted by a colourful land characterised by scenic beauty, bustling marketplaces and delicious food. Most expats move to Rabat, Casablanca or the red city of Marrakesh. Though the expat population in Morocco is still relatively small, it's growing steadily.
While expats may have their reservations about relocating to an Islamic country, they’ll find that Morocco is far more liberal than most expat destinations in the Middle East. Morocco lies at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East and elements of these different cultures are visible in everyday life.
Moroccans tend to be open-minded and are interested in learning about new people and other ways of living. Furthermore, privacy in the home is something which is treasured, so there is very little concern about what expats do behind closed doors.
Arabic and Berber are the official languages in Morocco. However, expats will find that French is more commonly used in business, and brushing up on their language skills will certainly help them make headway in communicating with the locals and reading road signage.
Expats looking to work in Morocco may struggle to find a job. Tourism, traditionally a large industry in Morocco, has stagnated due to security concerns in the region. Otherwise, opportunities exist in the technology and business sectors, especially for multilingual expats. Many expats may also find employment in teaching English.
Constantly being followed by hustlers offering directions or trying to sell various goods can be a problem in Morocco, especially for Western expats and women. However, this is more of an annoyance than it is dangerous. Expats generally find Morocco to be a safe place.
The cost of living in Morocco is relatively low, especially in comparison to Western Europe and North America. Property prices are incredibly reasonable, which is why most expats living in Morocco choose to buy a home rather than rent. As domestic help in Morocco is readily available and affordable, expats will find that they have more time for leisure activities.
Expats have plenty of options when it comes to outdoor pursuits – hiking and biking in the Atlas Mountains and swimming in the Mediterranean are just a few of the exciting activities Morocco has to offer. Food is also central to Moroccan culture and the country is a food lover’s dream.
Ultimately, expats moving to Morocco should do so with a sense of adventure. For those that can overcome the language barriers and elements of culture shock, expat life in Morocco is a rewarding and enriching experience.
Population: About 35 million
Capital city: Rabat
Other major cities: Casablanca, Fes
Neighbouring countries: Algeria, Spain
Geography: Morocco's coast is adjacent to a stretch of fertile plains which run along both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The northern and interior areas are mountainous, while the southeast is arid.
Political system: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Major religions: Sunni Islam
Main languages: Arabic, Berber dialects, French
Money: Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
Tipping: Although there isn't standard tipping etiquette, it's usual to tip 10 percent of the bill for services rendered.
Time: GMT (GMT+1 from the last Sunday in March till the last Sunday in October)
Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz. Round, two-pin plugs are used.
Internet domain: .ma
International dialling code: +212
Emergency contacts: 190 (police) or 150 (ambulance and fire department)
Transport and driving: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Although the Moroccan government has focused on improving its roadways, some roads in Morocco are still in need of repair. Otherwise, there are train, bus and taxi networks to ensure that expats can get around in the country.