We travelled with our one year old daughter to Morocco and had a very positive experience. Here are some notes from our experiences plus a few tips and a list of things we took with us.
The first thing you notice when you are in Morocco is how friendly the Moroccans are with young children and babies. When we walked into a restaurant or cafe, it was only a matter of seconds before the women noticed our young daughter and came rushing over, asking to pick her up, cuddle her or give her a kiss. Equally, when we were on the street was, people would smile gladly, wave or blow kisses. In general, it was very common for people to want to kiss her forehead and say, ‘God bless her’.
The Moroccan men were just as friendly. What was remarkable was that even teenagers would be keen to interact with her – which was something I hadn’t seen before in England. I can only imagine that many people live in multi-generational houses, often together with members from their large extended families. It is therefore often the case that children and babies are far more ubiquitous in the everyday life of an average Moroccan / North African compared to the Western counterpart.
Our daughter liked the attention and was keen to interact with people but at times it can feel like you are with a celebrity.
People were also very accommodating. When we went to a wine bar in Casablanca, we asked if we could bring our daughter. No problem was the response and the barman turned on the television, found a children’s programme and turned up the volume – even though most clientele were enjoying a glass of wine.
As a generalisation, I would also say that we had less hassle compared to previous trips to Morocco particularly from those trying to sell something or scam us into something (see my scams article here). Perhaps this was because we had a baby with us.
Getting around Morocco with a baby
Pavements are often ramshackle and uneven with pot-holes so you cannot simply stroll and look around. The pavements are often abruptly interrupted by a building site which means potentially walking on a busy road or trying to mitigate routes that lead onto a busy road. The most unsafe I felt was crossing roads and I often had wait for locals to cross with me.
Generally, we were able to use our pushchair without too much trouble and if there were any problems with stairs, the locals were more than happy to help out.
We used taxis quite a lot and most drivers were happy for us to put our pushchair in the back, even for the smaller ‘petite taxis’. In cities, the traffic is so bad that most cars end up driving fairly slowly. We avoided the buses simply becuase they were too crowded, dirty and unsuitable for prams.
Hygiene and food
We didn’t drink the tap water but there is plenty of bottled water from shops everywhere. Generally Morocco is fairly clean but caution must be given for street food outlets, particularly those serving meat.
In nicer restaurants and at the hotel, we allowed our daughter to eat from our plate. Vegetable Cous-cous is a delicious and safe option in any place.
Changing nappies tended to be more difficult in public places – often there was no provision for baby changing facilities and usually the toilets were hardly a pleasant place to take a baby. Changing a nappy is thus often a two man job and having an extra bag to dispose of the nappy was useful.
In the larger cities, there are a good number of supermarkets and most them sell nappies, yoghurts, biscuits and cleaning products. We did however, take many things with us not knowing what we would encounter. We ran out of nappies on the last day (a Sunday) but were able to buy individual nappies from a kiosk, costing 2 Dirhams per piece (20 cents).
What we took with us:
milk powder and rice powder
cream against mosquitoes (weren’t any!)
sachets for diarrhoea / fever
small rubbish bags for nappies
plate, spoons and drinking cup
sponge / brush to wash bottles and plates
light sleeping bag
No vaccine required but hepatitis A is recommended according to the FCO.
What you can get there:
fruits, biscuits, yoghurts
Recommended but not used:
Deryan sleeping tents.
Overall, the travel kettle was probably the most invaluable piece of kit. In the end, we stayed healthy and had a pleasant time.
You’ll be able to pick up a pair of these beautiful Moroccan babouches for your baby when you are there – or perhaps they will make a nice present for someone else. Mind you, we bought these on a previous trip only to find out that they didn’t fit our daughter two years later when we tried them on!
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