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Friday, 3 June 2016 12:00 AM

Arriving At Marrakech Airport

Holidays can be a little stressful – travelling to the airport on time, security checks and the flight time can, for many holiday makers, be very different from what they have experienced before and can be a little nerve-wracking.

Naturally Morocco seeks to make every holiday for its customers as enjoyable and stress free as possible, so a little information and advice to ease yourself from your airplane to your riad or other accommodation may help.

We mention Marrakech International Airport here, but other ports of entry in Morocco are not so different and the fundamentals still apply.

Airplane to Marrakech Arrivals hall

Morocco is typically hot (obviously depending on time of arrival and time of year) and walking across the tarmac and into a hot customs hall may be a shock to the system.

Unfortunately there is an arrivals form to be completed and handed in with your passport to the customs official which causes queues in the hall that can be quite significant. The hall can be hot and queues do move slowly but check to the far end of the hall for shorter queues.

The arrival form is found on shelves in the hall or you may have obtained one already during your flight (but not always so be prepared to grab one when you enter the arrivals hall). The form itself is relatively straight forwards and short (you need an address in Morocco, but you don’t need to be precise – just a riad name and city will normally do), just remember a pen in your cabin luggage and have your passport handy with numbers/expiry dates.

The baggage collection point may be equally busy and hot but with only a couple of planes typically arriving at a time you shouldn’t have to wait too long before you can exit the airport.

Marrakech Arrivals Hall

Naturally Morocco customers will be collected by your driver with a named sheet. There may be lots of drivers waiting including those willing to dupe new arrivals, so if approached by a driver stating they are expecting you make sure that you check that they know all your details (i.e. which riad are you being taken to? If they do not know this, they are not your driver).

Once you have met up with your driver and before leaving the hall, ask your driver to have a few moments to change some money. As UK foreign exchange rates for Moroccan Dirhams are so poor in the UK you probably have no Moroccan currency with you, and certainly no small change. There are plenty of forex desks in the hall all offering a reasonable rate for sterling (and all are likely to be offering the same rate), to get some local currency. How much is up to you and what you intend to do on holiday and your desire to find better rates at banks in town, but ensure that at least a couple of larger notes are broken down into as small a denomination as you can persuade the cashier to do – tipping for good service (I’m not talking about the forex desk) is advised and having some change or small notes in your pocket early on just means that you have that ability early on.

For customers going it alone you have your first proper hassle – haggling with a driver (or many drivers as they surround you) and ensuring that they know the location of your accommodation. There are hundreds if not thousands of riads and other accommodations in and around Marrakech Medina and, even with a street name for your destination, do not expect your driver to know where it is  - obviously they will say that they do, but that’s another matter.

Naturally Morocco is here to help ...

... its customers with any query, no matter how small or simple.