Ethiopian New Year : Enkutatash


Ethiopia celebrates new year differently from the rest of the world. New year at Ethiopia is between September 11-12.

Ethiopian New Year is called Enkutatsha in Amharic (Ethiopian language) which means gift of the jewel. Ethiopia is predominantly Christian Orthodox and the new year is considered a religious holiday.

During Ethiopian new year, yellow daisies (Meskel flower) are used as decoration. This is because the holiday signifies the end of the rainy season where yellow daisies bloom in the fields.

Bon fires are burned by the streets, restaurants and other public areas as a new year tradition.

Similar to most holidays around the world, Ethiopian new year is celebrated with special food shared with family and friends, music, singing, and good holiday fun.

Ethiopia Calendar

Ethiopia does not follow the common (Gregorian) calendar as the rest of the world. New year in Ethiopia is between September 11 -12. Ethiopia calendar follows the Julian calendar which is 7 years and 8 months behind the common calendar. If we are in 2019, Ethiopian calendar is still in 2012 by September 12.

How to Greet “Happy New Year” in Ethiopia

Melkem Enkutatah!

Morocco: Ouazzane

Ouazzane Morocco

Travel to Ouazzane, Morocco if you are going to Chefcheouen and you like dried figs, dates and have an authentic Moroccan robe souvenir. Stop by Ouazzane to have a quiet and peaceful time away from the tourist.

Ouazzane is a province north of Morocco. It is near the more popular city of Morocco – Chefcheouen. Ouazzane is a small agricultural and artisan area. The artisans in Ouazzane weave and sew traditional Moroccan clothes that are long dresses with long sleeves. Best souvenir to buy in Ouazzane are dried fruits such as dates and fig which are done in the area and are very cheap. Other places in Morocco buy the cheap dried fruits and traditional clothes in Ouazzane and resell it at a higher price.

The province of Ouazzane is very religious and no alcoholic drinks are allowed. It is a very laid back province. Small streets at the Medina of Ouazzane are colored green giving its own unique charm.

Ouazzane, Morocco-2

What to buy in Ouazzane

Dried Fruits

Figs and dates are very cheap to buy in Ouazzane. These delicacies which are expensive in other areas. Ouazzane is the best place to go if you like sweet dried figs and dates.

  • Dried prunes
  • Dates
  • Dried Figs

Traditional Moroccan Clothes

Ouazzane is an artisan place of handwoven fabrics which are handsewn and embroidered into robes and dresses. the dresses and robes are long with long sleeves which can be worn during summer and winter. If you are looking for a souvenir of authentic handwoven and handmade traditional Moroccan clothes, Ouazzane is a good area to visit.

How to go to Ouazzane

Train-Bus

  • Take the ONCF train and go down at Souk Al Abraa station. If you are booking online select the station to Chefchaouen.
  • There is a connecting (Supratour) bus from the train. You can pay the connecting bus directly from train booking.
  • Take the bus going to Chefcheouen and go down at Ouazzane.

Bus

Another option to go to Ouazzane is by bus. There is the main bus station in Ouazzane that goes to Casablanca and vice-versa. Buses also go to Tangier.

Check previous post on Morocco: Public Transportation

Where to stay in Ouazzane

Ouazzane is not a tourist area. There are not many hotel options. Near the plaza area, there are some hotels. The hotels are small and basic, only offering a bedroom and toilet to stay for the night. There provide service, no restaurant, and no amenities in the hotel

Travel Tips

Good Points

  • There are no annoying freelance tourist guides offering their service
  • Taxi drivers are honest and fair – not giving a foreign rate
  • Experience a quiet authentic Moroccan town with no touristy frills

Not-So-Good-Points

  • Not many choices for hotels. There are only basic low standard hotels that do not serve breakfast, no room service, no wi-fi, no amenities. Think of basic rooms with bed and toilet for rent per night.
  • Not much choice for restaurants. There are only local spots to eat Moroccan dishes such as tajine and kebab.

Ouazzane Morocco

Game of Thrones film location at Morocco

Essos of Game of Thrones film location at Morocco

Essos of Game of Thrones film location at Morocco

Travelling Asian goes to Game of Thrones film location in Morocco.

Game of Thrones is a medieval fictional series of families from different continents battling for the throne to rule the Seven Kingdoms. One of the Seven Kingdoms is Essos, an area depicted in the series as desert-like, where Daenerys (Dragon Queen) built her army.

Game of Thrones season is ending May, 2019. Fans of the show can still relive their favorite moments at film locations of Game of Thrones. Fans of Game of Thrones have their favorite families or households. Those who are rooting for Daenerys or #TeamTargaryen would be happy to relive their favorite scenes at Essos.

There are several film location for Essos of Game of Thrones. Two of the film locations are in Morocco which are in Ait Ben Haddou and Essouira.

 

Photo from https://gameofthrones.fandom.com/

The Game of Thrones film location at Ait Ben Haddou is portrayed as Slaver’s Bay (Bay of Dragon) in the series. This location was used in the episode where Daenerys freed the Unsullied (slave) army.

What to See at Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco

Ait Ben Haddou became a popular tourist destination for fans of Game of Thrones. Other popular films shot at Ait Ben Haddou are Gladiator, Prince of Persia and The Mummy.

Another good reason to visit Ait Ben Haddou is that it is a UNESCO world heritage site representing the traditional earthen habitat of Morocco, built from the 17th century.

The Ksar (fortified village) of Ait Ben Haddou is made of mud and straw. Surrounded by towers and walls at the outer part to protect the homes inside. It used to be a caravan route of nomads travelling from Sahara desert, east Africa. The caravan used to stop at Ait Ben Haddou for rest and trade. At the moment, there are still few families living inside Ait Ben Haddou.

First impression upon seeing Ait Ben Haddou is that it looks like a giant sand castle. Moving closer and inside you would see the intricate designs of the towers and walls.

The structure is huge to fit in a village. The dwellings are small spaces, next to each other.

 

How to Go to Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakesh

Ait Ben Haddou is located at the province of Ouarzazate. There are a lot of buses going to Ouarzazate from Marrakesh. The most common bus is CTM with more available schedule. I prefer to use Supratour as it has more space and more comfortable. Cost of Supratour bus fare from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate is 80 Moroccan Dirhan (approximately 8 US Dollars). CTM bus fare is usually cheaper.

Approximate travel time from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate is 4 hours. Bus schedules are only during the morning until before noon. The route will traverse the Atlas mountains with an amazing view.

Where to Stay

There are a lot of hotel options at the town center of Ourazazate. I heard there are also some small hotels and riads around Ait Ben Haddou.

I recommend to stay at the town center of Ouarzazate as there are other things to visit such as the Kasbah, film museum and Atlas studio.

Travel Tips

  • Rent a Taxi. If you are staying for a few days at Ourzazate and want to visit interesting places around. You do not need to book a tour. Price of a tour will be double or more. There are several taxis parked near the CTM bus station. Price to rent a taxi for a day to Ait Ben Haddou and Atlas Studio is 300 Moroccan Dirham or approximately 30 US Dollars.
  • Tour guide is not necessary unless you are keen to know the history of Ait Ben Haddou. One and a half hour is enough to enjoy the place.
  • Home visit fee. There are still some families living in Ait Ben Haddou. Some will offer to show their home for a fee. If you accidentally go inside and start “exploring” their home, some home visit fee will be expected.

ETHIOPIA: Tourist Visa

Ethiopia tourist visa application is available online to all countries.
Ethiopia has eased its regulation for tourists entering the country. Online visa application and visa on arrival has been made easier. As Ethiopia is promoting the country’s tourism. It is now easier to go to Ethiopia as a tourist.
Since June 2018 Ethiopia has opened online visa application to all countries.

Countries Eligible for Online Ethiopia Visa Application:
ALL Countries

Countries Eligible for Ethiopia Tourist Visa On Arrival: 

African Union Countries

  • All African Union Countries
  • Djibouti Exempted – Allowed to enter without visa
  • Kenya Exempted – Allowed to enter without visa

Asia & Pacific

  • Australia
  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • North Korea
  • South Korea
  • Thailand

Europe

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Middle East

  • Israel
  • Kuwait

Canada & North America

  • Canada
  • United States

South America

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Mexico

Other Countries 

  • Online Visa Application

Requirements for Ethiopia Tourist Visa

  • Recent passport-size photo of the applicant.
  • Passport of the visa applicant which is valid for at least 6 months from the intended date of entry to Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Tourist Visa Application Fee

  • Single Entry  – 30 days  – $ 52 (USD)
    Single Entry  – 90 days – $ 72 (USD)

You can check details and process Ethiopia visa application at Ethiopia immigration website.


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Morocco: Public Transportation

Tips on Morocco public transportation.

If it is your first time to arrive in Morocco as a backpacker, tourist, or expat. You are most likely to take a public transportation. Unless you have an organized tour or someone to pick you up at the airport.

This is a helpful list of tips and advice on public transportation in Morocco.

Answers to common questions for first time travelers such as:

  • How to take taxi in Morocco
  • Is there tramway in Morocco
  • How to take the train in Morocco
  • Is it safe for solo female traveller in Morocco

Top tips on taking public transportation in Morocco

  • Plan your travel in advance
  • Haggle. Take note that Morocco is a country of constant haggling, even with public taxi service you need to negotiate the price. Buses and trains have fixed fare price.
  • Female travelling solo be careful sitting next to men.

What language does the public speak in Morocco?

Moroccan local language commonly used is called Darija, it is like the Moroccan Arabic with similarities to the Arabic language.

Foreign Languages mostly spoken in Morocco are Arab and French.  At the northern part of Morocco such as Tangier, Spanish is spoken. At the most popular tourist areas such as Marrakech some English is spoken.

 

Taxi

Taxis are shared in Morocco. Do not be surprised if the driver stops and let another passenger inside. Since the taxi ride is shared routes taken could be longer making your travel time longer as well. If you are in a rush and want to have the taxi to yourself immediately tell the driver and you will be asked to pay a higher price similar to hiring a private car.

Is there taxi at Morocco Airport

It is easy to  get a taxi at airports in Morocco. There are several taxi lined up outside the airports.

Grand Taxi

The first public transportation you will experience in Morocco is the grand taxi or airport taxi or white taxi – it is all the same called in different names.

It is called grand taxi because it is bigger than the city taxis. White taxi because of the obvious that it is colored white. Airport taxi because it is mostly the only type of taxi that can go across cities and can travel to and from the airport.

The airport taxis in Morocco can be easily seen when you step out of the airport. There will be men (drivers) who will approach you offering their taxi.  Before agreeing to take a taxi ask first for the price because airport taxis in Morocco do not use meter. Remember to negotiate the price because taxi drivers are known to give high price to foreigners.

Outside Morocco airports there will be some porters or luggage carriers who will try to get and carry your luggage for you. If you do not necessary need help politely tell them no. They can be very persistent and you should be firm to decline if you do not need help to carry luggage.  Be careful as the unwanted service can have a high price for what it is. The porters will demand a price for the “help”.

For an idea of airport taxi price. Coming from Mohammed V (Casablanca) international airport to city center of Casablanca is around 30 kilometers, will cost 250-300 Moroccan Dirham (MAD) or approximately 23-30 US Dollars (USD).

Tips for taking taxi at Morocco Airport:

  • Haggle or negotiate price before entering airport taxi
  • Politely and firmly say no to porters or luggage carriers if you do not need them

How to take taxi around Morocco

Petite Taxi

City taxi or petite taxi is used to travel around within the city or town limits. The color depends on which city you are in. Petite taxi translates to small taxi, are used for short distance travel only.

Petite taxi colors

  • Red – Casablanca, Fez, Oujda, Nador, Azilal
  • Yellow – Midelt , salé
  • Light yellow – Tétouan
  • Beige/ cream – Marrakesh
  • Blue – Chefchaouen, Errachidia, Saïdia
  • Light Blue – Tanger (with yellow stripe), Meknes
  • Orange – Agadir, Berkane,
  • White – Ouarzazate, Taroudannt, El Jadida
  • Green – Azrou, Aklim, Ifrane
  • Light Green – Mohammedia

Difference of big taxi and small taxi in Morocco

If you want to go outside the city limit you should take the grand taxi (the same white taxi you get from the airport). Grand taxis can be usually found near tramway, bus and train stations, and busy areas such as tourist areas, medinas, and large shopping malls.

Taking taxi for solo female traveler

My first time riding a taxi in Morocco alone was a mixed of emotions. It was the most challenging, surprising, annoying, and scary  experience. Yet it is supposed to be a convenient mode of public transportation around the city for foreigners.

Challenging. Taxi drivers choose who they take in for the ride. You will most likely be denied of a ride if you are standing at the wrong side of the street opposite of the direction you want to go. During rush hour waiting time for a taxi could be around 30 minutes.

Surprising. Moroccan taxis are usually small old cars. Do not be surprised if the driver stops to get other passenger to share the ride with you. Moroccan taxis are basically shared taxis and you have no choice to cramp inside the small car with no air conditioning with several strangers. This is not  comfortable and not convenient if you are in a rush and the driver decides to drop you off last.

Annoying. Despite that taxis should use meters, drivers will still ask for more. This happens especially at crowded places where the taxis wait in line by the street such as bus and train stations, shopping malls, tourist areas and medinas. If you take a taxi parked by the street be sure to tell the driver to use the meter or negotiate the price before entering the car. Always ask for the meter price and negotiate before entering a parked taxi.

Taxis that you stop by the street will usually use the meter price. Check the price and pay the exact amount, if you ask the price some drivers will tend to demand a higher amount.

Scary. Taxis in Morocco are shared and during rush hour it will be often full. There are not much Asians in Morocco, and as an Asian female I get unwanted attention. There were times that I have been harassed sitting next to the driver such as squeezing my thigh (despite of wearing loose jeans) and inappropriately touching my face.

Tips for taking taxi in Morocco:

  • Women traveling solo in Morocco – avoid sitting next to the driver and avoid taking a taxi full of men.
  • Taxis stopped by the street mostly follow the meter for price
  • Negotiate prices when taking taxis parked by the street near crowded places

Tramway

How to take tramway / city train in Morocco

Currently the only tramway or city train in Morocco is found in Casablanca.

Casablanca tramway or Casa tramway has only 2 lines that pass through the large business districts. The Casablanca tramway rails do not branch out to the suburbs. It is not walking distance to go around Casablanca using the tramway.

Casablanca Tramway Rail Line 

  • Yellow line (T2) runs through Ain Diab – Bernoussi
  • Orange line (T1) runs through Lissasfa – Sidi Moumen

See Casablanca tramway station map here

How to buy tickets for Casablanca Tramway

A card pass is used as a ticket to ride the Casablanca tramway. It can be bought at machines at each station.

Multiple pass cards can be recharged at tramway stations, and ATMs.

Casablanca Tramway Schedule

Operations

  • Time open: 5:30 AM
  • Time close: 11:30 PM

See Casablanca tramway schedule Casa Tramway website. *Note that there is usually delay

Tips for taking Tramway in Casablanca:

  • Consider time allowance for delay
  • If your area of destination is far from tramway station. Consider taking a taxi instead.
  • Avoid rush hour

Train

How to take Train in Morocco (ONCF) 

Morocco train is operated by ONCF. Travelling by train is faster compared to travelling by bus. It is convenient to travel with the train at Morocco if you book it first class (or premiere). Although do not expect too much from first class, there is no special seats or service. The only difference with first class cabin is that it has guaranteed seats. The train can be overcrowded with no guaranteed seats when you book regular tickets. There is a high possibility that you will be standing for a long time at the hallway with all the luggages and other passengers especially if you ride from a busy station.

Train schedule is known for constant delays, although not always. Give an allowance of one (1) hour for possible delay.  Do not expect it to be always on time.

The advantage of taking the train is escaping the traffic and regular stops from taking a bus. There is sufficient leg room, toilet (not very clean but working), snacks and drinks for sale.

The first line of fast train was opened late 2018 and goes through only Casablanca and Rabat at the moment. Further expansion of the fast train is still under construction.

Morocco Train lines and Schedule

Regular train rails goes through:

  • Casablanca – Tanger
  • Casablanca –  Khouribga-Oued Zem
  • Benguérir-Safi
  • Casablanca – Nador
  • Fes – Casablanca
  • Tanger – Port Tanger
  • Casablanca – Oujda

Other train station stops in between the lines and respective schedules can be seen at ONCF website.

How to buy train tickets at Morocco

It is advised that you go in advance at the train station to buy the ticket. At the moment the ONCF train website only accepts online payment with Moroccan banks. There are ticket machines at the train station and also only accepts Moroccan bank cards. Some ticket machines accepts Moroccan Dirhams (MAD).

Connecting rides with Morocco train

ONCF train has connecting bus trips with Supratour. This is a good option as when you book the connecting trips, the bus will wait by the train station for you. It is convenient to avoid travel from train station to bus station and no time to waste waiting for the difference of train and bus schedules.

Tips for taking train at Morocco: 

  • Consider allowance time for delay. Approximately 30-40 minutes
  • Arrive early to buy tickets
  • Take first class

Bus

Buses in Morocco

Buses depart more on time compared to the train. Still, travelling by bus is longer compared to travelling by train due to longer roads, regular stops and traffic inside towns. Regular buses are cramped with small space.

Buses do not regularly travel to small non-touristy towns. There could be bus routes that are not available daily. Better to check bus schedule in advance.

Most bus company in Morocco will indicate that they have air conditioning but almost all are not working. There is only a small vent open at the middle of the bus. Windows do not open which can be very suffocating and uncomfortable in long travel. During summer think of the smell of donkey, dirty gym socks and armpit sweat without deodorant inside a crowded bus without ventilation. It is not fun.

There are several bus companies in Morocco. The top 2 best bus companies according to my personal preference are Suparatour and CTM.

1. Supratour

Supratour  bus works with ONCF train making it convenient for long distance travel where the train does not pass. You can buy the ticket connecting ONCF train – Supratour bus from ONCF train stations.  If you do not need a connecting train-bus ride buying tickets directly at Supratour bus station is possible. Supratour bus is a bit more expensive than other bus companies so there are less people taking it and therefore less crowded. It is the only bus that I have taken that has working air conditioning which is very convenient during long travel in Morocco. There were times that the bus driver did not turn on the air conditioning because there were only few passengers. Be persistent in nagging the driver to turn it on and talk with the other passengers to help nag the driver for air conditioning. Group effort helps. The drivers can be stubborn trying to save fuel price used for air conditioning for their pocket money.

2. CTM

The next best option to Supratour bus is CTM. They have first class (premiere) buses on some routes but have few available schedules. CTM bus travel more routes than Supratour bus. The downside is that there is no air conditioning and windows do not open. See description of bus smell above.

Tips for taking bus in Morocco:

  • Arrive early. Buses are usually on time for scheduled departure
  • Check for bus schedule
  • Buy bus tickets in advance
  • Take Supratour for comfort with proper air conditioning
  • Take CTM first class
    • Otherwise enjoy the summer smell 🙂

Ride Hailing Application

Ride hailing applications are new and operate discreetly in Morocco as it is considered as a threat competition by taxi drivers. Similar to some countries Uber was not well accepted by taxi drivers who protested against it. There was Uber in Morocco a few years ago which lasted only for a short period. Taxi drivers were throwing rocks and harassing the the Uber drivers.

Careem

Careem is similar to Uber, still new and operations is discreet. There is not much Careem drivers available but it is growing. Careem drivers would avoid picking-up and dropping off passengers at busy places where there are taxis parked. Passengers are requested to meet away from the visibility of taxi drivers. When riding Careem the passengers are asked to sit next to the driver to appear like a family car and avoid attention from the taxi drivers.

Caution for solo women traveling as it is required to sit next to the drivers. To avoid harassment it can be useful to carry a large bag and put it in between you and the driver.

I have not tried taking a Careem alone, as I have been avoiding riding next to drivers since being harassed by taxi drivers. I am not sure if they are more respectful of foreign women travelling solo than taxi drivers.

Other ride hailing applications in Morocco

  • Heetch
  • Yalla

Morocco: Top Shopping in Casablanca

Alpha 55

Alpha 55 mall is like a mini department store for home, personal, school and office supplies. I personally like the decorations and stationery area. There are imported items with average prices.

Best to shop for:

  • Home supplies such as kitchenware, dining ware, bath and garden supplies
  • Decorations such as candles, table top and wall decorations
  • Small furniture such as coffee tables, chairs, portable closet
  • Cheap accessories such as necklace, bracelet, earring
  • Personal hygiene products such as facial and body creams, soaps, shampoos, hair dye, even nail products
  • School and office supplies, such as papers, pens folders, books, stationary.

Pricing:  Low to Mid-range

Alpha 55 Mall address: *Near the French consulate

Morocco Mall

Morocco mall is the largest shopping mall in Casablanca with wide range to choose from. Shops range from cheap to luxury brands. The top floor is mainly for the the luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Fendi, and others.  At the ground floor there is a shop called Marjane which is a grocery-department store that offers lower priced items. Mid-priced brands include H&M, Zara, Pull&Bear, Marwa, LC Waikiki and others.

Main attraction at Morroco mall is the large cylindrical indoor aquarium at the center of the ground floor. Different sea animals can be seen such as shark, manta ray, eels, and various fishes.

Restaurants are lined outside the Morocco mall facing the sea. The outside area can be windy and chilly especially at night.

At one end of the top floor, opposite the luxury shops is a fast food area, with popular franchises such as  McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC. There are shops for ice cream, asian food, sandwich, tacos, pizza, and moroccan food.

In front of Morocco mall, at the right side, before the entrance you can find the only IMAX cinema in Casablanca. English movies (with original English audio) are shown every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Imax Casablanca Schedule

FNAC

FNAC is a good shop for branded electronics such as phones, laptops, speakers, headsets. Most of electronic accessories can be found here. Second floor of FNAC is for books (mostly French and Arabic), there is a small section for classic English books. Stationery, notebooks, and writing supplies are also at the second floor of FNAC.

Yan&One

Yan&One is like a Sephora of Morocco, though I have only seen one shop in Casablanca. It is at the center of the ground floor of Morocco mall. Yan&One offers large selection of cosmetics and bath products. It has Yan&One products and imported brands from France, US, Korea, and UK.

Marjane

There is a Marjane grocery.department store at Morocco mall. Marjane is a one stop shop for:

  • Grocery, fresh food, bread, pastries, alcohol
  • Home supplies, kitchenware and equipment
  • Electronics – tv, laptop, mouse, speakers, cellphone
  • Repair tools –  super glue, screw drivers
  • Stationery – papers, folders, pens, books, pins, stablers, rulers, glue
  • Clothe – underwear, pyjamas, shirts, shorts, shoes, slippers, socks,

In general Morocco mall is best to shop for:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Accessories
  • Jewelries
  • Home Supplies
  • Electronics
  • Grocery
  • Telecommunication
  • Cinema
  • Restaurants

View Morocco mall shops and restaurants here.

Pricing: low to high-range

Morocco mall address:

Anfaplace Mall

Anfaplace mall is smaller than Morocco mall, with mid-range priced shops.

The advantage of Anfa mall is that it has a better sea view with direct access to the beach. It is 5 minutes walking distance to the corniche which is a long walkway by the sea with several restaurants with sea view.

There is a fastfood area at the top floor of Anfaplacce mall with a sea view.

Anfaplace is best to shop for:

  • Virgin – It has more choices of electronics brands than FNAC (Morocco mall)
  • Clothes, shoes, bags, accessories
  • Carrefour – grocery

View Anfaplace mall shops and restaurants here.

Pricing: Mid-range

Anfaplace mall address:

Boulevard Al Massira / Maarif

Branded

Near twin center along boulevard Al Massira is a row of branded mid-high priced shops such as LC Waikiki, Addidas, Zara, Stradivarius, Pull&Bear, Aldo, and Parfois. There is Massimo Dutti which is more pricey. More shops can be found at the small streets adjacent to boulevard Al Massira.

Boulevard Al Massira Khadra – Branded shops location:

Non-Branded

If you take the Maarif exit from inside the Twin Center there is an area of more local shops with low-priced (non–branded) items. Walking around the area you can find shops for shoes, clothes, accessories and jewelry.

Maarif local shopping location:

Bookstore – Maarif

At the back of Mcdonalds, Maarif there is a bookstore with large selection. Mostly in French and Arabic and few English books.

 Maarif Bookstore location:

Morocco: Visa

Applying for tourist visa to Morocco.

Morocco is a popular tourist travel destination. It helps that Morocco is among the most open nations in Africa providing visa free entry for most countries.

Morocco offers tourist visa free for 90 days (unless otherwise stated) for nationals in the following countries:

  • All European Union citizens
  •  Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Gabon
  • Guinea, Hong Kong (30 days)
  • Iceland, Indonesia
  • Ivory Coast
  • Japan, Kuwait
  • Liechtenstein
  • Macau
  • Mali
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Niger
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Singapore (30 days)
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States
  • Venezuela

Citizens of other countries can get their visa at Morocco embassies in their countries or nearest country.

*Source: https://www.aeroportdecasablanca.com/visa_on_arrival_morocco.php

Ethiopia: Networking

Useful Expat Online Networking in Addis Ababa Ethiopia

Internations

  • Useful for networking with fellow expats seeking and sharing advice
  • Good to find accommodation for rent
  • Job section is mostly used for freelancers seeking job or for families seeking house help
  • Network can be specific for Addis Ababa

Expat.com

  • Useful for networking with fellow expats seeking and sharing advice
  • Good to find accommodation for rent
  • Job section is mostly used for freelancers seeking job or for families seeking house help
  • Network is for the whole country of Ethiopia and cannot be specified by city

Facebook Groups

Ethiopia: Visa Extension

How to extend tourist visa from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Original passport
  • Photocopy of latest visa
  • Photocopy of first entry visa
  • Photocopy of ID
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Visa extension form

PROCESS

  1. Go to immigration
  2. Visa extension office is in the right area upon entrance
  3. Get visa extension form from photocopier for ETB 20 fee
  4. Fill-out form
  5. Photocopy required documents
  6. Go to the queue for the document check and endorsement. Normally visa extension is only up to 30 days. Depending on the mood of the officer in charge you can appeal for up to 90 days. Note that visa extension is not extended from the latest visa. The count of days will begin from the date you file your visa extension. I also suggest going to the counter to the right when you enter the room. The more senior officers are usually there
  7. After your documents have been approved. Go inside to queue to take your photo.
  8. After the photo. Proceed to pay at the table at the center of the room.
  9. Then they will tell you to go to a room to give your passport and documents
  10. They will tell you to go back the next day to pick up your passport with visa. Remember to ask at what time you should go back.
  11. Passport pick-up is at the window outside across the photocopier

FEES

  1. The first visa is USD 100 for 30 days
  2. Second visa extension is USD 150 for another 30 days

I tried to ask up to – how many times it is allowed to extend the tourist visa, however, the immigration officer only said “No” and the next time I asked immigration officer only shook her head. 

PHONE NUMBER

+251 (0) 116-650-297

Be patient when calling. It usually takes long before they answer the phone.

ADDRESS

Tell taxi driver “Immigration Addis” and they will know where it is.