Casablanca Morocco Sandstorm

First Sandstorm experience in Casablanca Morocco felt like being in an end of the world movie. Currently having a global pandemic and the skies suddenly turned heavy dark orange.

Casablanca Morocco sky turned orange due to sandstorm. October 2020.

Sands from Sahara desert has reached as far as Casablanca and even further north of Morocco.

October 20, 2020 . Around 3:00 PM in the afternoon at Casablanca I noticed the sky has turned dark with a very orange hue. Thinking that it is only rain clouds coming. However, the temperature was unusually warm even with strong winds. Normally in Casablanca when the sky is gray with strong wind the temperature drops, but not this time. The previous day was colder but today was notably warmer. Towards 4:00 PM the sky looked heavier and more orange, winds started to be stronger and noticed sand-like dusts blowing by the street. The mouth starts to feel dry, throat chalky and eyes itchy. So, this is what a sandstorm feels like. Closed all the windows and doors and looked down at the floor seeing covered in dust.

Dusts from Casablanca Morocco sandstorm
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October 21, 2020. The next day all surface in the apartment feels dusty, my skin feels dusty, my throat feels dusty. My infant’s nose is full of black dirt. My nose is filled with the dame black dirt. I feel the same in my throat – dry and dusty.

The winds in the Sahara desert is blowing strong and the sandstorm has reached as far as Casablanca located at the west coast of the Morocco. Most of Morocco has experienced the sandstorm including Marrakech, Essaouira, Rabat, Ouarzazarte and other cities are all covered in sand from the Sahara desert.

This sandstorm is happening while being locked down in the city with a curfew during a world pandemic. WTF 2020

PHILIPPINES TRAVEL REQUIREMENT COVID-19 2020

Currently Philippine borders are still closed due to Covid-19 health safety. Philippines is not open for tourism. Foreigners with Filipino family ties, residency and special conditions can travel to the Philippines.

Who can travel to Philippines

Filipino nationals

  • Philippine Passport
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Pre-booked quarantine hotel accredited by Tourism and Health Agencies
  • RT-PCR Test (Swab Test) upon arrival in the Philippines (at traveler’s expense)

Non-Filipino/Foreign spouse3 and minor children3 or children with special needs3 of a Filipino national

  • Passport with Philippine entry visa or long-term visa1
  • For spouses: authentic marriage certificate and any other document as proof of nationality of Filipino spouse
  • For minor children (17 years old and below) and children with special needs (regardless of age): birth certificate and any other document as proof of nationality of Filipino parent
  • If unable to present a marriage certificate or proof filiation to the Filipino national, a letter from the PH Department of Foreign Affairs exempting passenger from the travel restrictions
  • May or may not travel with Filipino spouse/parent. If not traveling with Filipino spouse/parent, the Filipino spouse/parent should be alive and must be in the Philippines during the intended date of travel.
  • Must meet the four (4) conditions of the IATF-EID2

Non-Filipino/Foreign parent3 of a minor Filipino child (17 years old and below) or a child with special needs (regardless of age)

  • Passport with Philippine entry visa or long-term visa1
  • Proof of filiation to the minor Filipino child or child with special needs, or a letter from the PH Department of Foreign Affairs exempting passenger from the travel restrictions
  • Proof of citizenship of the minor Filipino child or child with special needs
  • May or may not travel with minor Filipino child or child with special needs. If not traveling with the minor Filipino child or child with special needs, the minor Filipino child or child with special needs should be alive and must be in the Philippines during the intended date of travel.
  • Must meet the four (4) conditions of the IATF-EID2
  • Accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents
  • Please check with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs or contact the Philippine Bureau of Immigration below.

Non-Filipino/Foreign seafarers with 9(c) visa

  • Passport /Seaman’s Book
  • Must meet the four (4) conditions of the IATF-EID2
  • Non-Filipino/Foreign nationals with an eligible long-term visa3

Eligible Visas:

  • Section 13 series visa (Sec. 13; Sec. 13(a); Sec. 13(b); Sec. 13(c); Sec. 13(d); Sec. 13(e); Sec. 13(g)) Immigrant visa
  • RA 7919 visa Renewal of their Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) I-Card under Republic Act 7919
  • EO 324 visa Foreign nationals who have acquired permanent residency under Executive Order No. 324
  • Native Born visa
  • Temporary Resident Visa relative to Section 13 of CA 613, as amended (based on Memorandum Order (MO) No. ADD-01-038/ ADD 02-015)
  • MCL-07-021 Permanent Resident Visa based on Section 13(a) of CA 613 under MO No. MCL-07-021 Permanent Resident Visa for Chinese nationals married to a Filipino citizen
  • 9E Accredited Official of Foreign Government
  • TRV Temporary Residence Visa
  • Must meet the four (4) conditions of the IATF-EID

Covid-19 Test Required for Travel to Philippines

PCR test is done upon arrival at Philippines. Check with your airline for any requirement before boarding airplane.

Travel Requirements for Philippines

For Non-Filipino (Overseas Worker) arriving at Manila Airport

BEFORE YOU FLY AND DURING CHECK-IN

  • Please note that this is a two-step registration process. Your registration is completed once you receive an e-mail containing a QR Code.
  • Ensure to have a confirmed booking at a hotel accredited by Tourism and Health Agencies while waiting for your COVID-19 test results and for at least 2 days. You must stay at your booked hotel until the test result is sent and BOQ medical certificate is issued. Please book a hotel in a city within Metro Manila only.

Please click here for the FULL list of DOH-Inspected in Manila.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE

  • Upon arrival, listen to the briefing conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard.
  • Undergo a temperature check upon deplaning and proceed to the designated waiting area. Fill out the Affidavit of Undertaking.
  • Proceed to the verification and barcoding booth. Present your passport and the QR code sent to you after accomplishing the e-CIF.
  • Pay for your RT-PCR Test. The test costs Php 4,500 and you may pay in cash (PHP or USD), card, GCash, PayPal™, WeChat Pay, or Alipay. ATMs are available inside the terminal. You will be given three (3) barcode stickers.
  • Proceed to the Swab Test booth and hand out the three barcode stickers.
  • Undergo the COVID-19 RT-PCR Test and receive a sticker indicating that you have completed the test. Place the sticker on the back of your passport.
  • Help Desks are available at the waiting area for passengers who do not have smart devices/phones. Charging stations are also available.
  • Clear with immigration. Present the QR code sent to your e-mail after accomplishing the Electronic Health Locator Form and Arrival Card.
  • Proceed to the hotel verification desk. Please refer to the hotel code indicated in the e-mail that was sent to you after registration to the PAL e-CIF. If your hotel code starts with H-001 and up, please proceed to the desk near carousel number seven (7). If your hotel code starts with D-001 and up or B-001 and up, please proceed to the desk near carousel number six (6).
  • For pre-arranged hotel transfers, a red sticker will be provided
  • For Shuttles/Vans, a blue sticker will be provided
  • For Metered Taxis, a yellow sticker will be provided
  • For Coupon Taxis, a green sticker will be provided
  • Claim your baggage at the designated carousel and clear with Customs Check.
  • Submit the Affidavit of Undertaking before exiting the terminal. Proceed to your booked hotel through your preferred mode of transportation.

AT THE QUARANTINE HOTEL

  • Check in at your hotel and wait for the release of your test results, which are released in 24-48 hours. For those who tested negative, it will be sent to the e-mail address you have provided when you registered. If you filled out a Philippine mobile number during registration, you will also receive a text message (SMS) indicating that your test result is ready and has been sent to the e-mail address you have provided when you registered. The timings on release of test results are not definite and may be shortened or extended.
  • In case you have onward connecting flights and are required to extend your stay, please call +632 8855-8888 as soon as possible for the rebooking of your connecting flights (subject to terms and conditions).
  • Your accommodation and food during your stay including fees due to required extensions will be at your own expense. Delivery of food and other essentials to your room are subject to the rules and regulations of the hotel.

GOING HOME

  • If you test positive, the BOQ shall transfer you to a designated hospital for further medical management. If you test negative, you may obtain your BOQ medical certificate via the DOH-BOQ certificate page for clearance at your quarantine hotel. For a hard copy of your certificate, printing services will be available at your hotel.
  • Once you are cleared, you may contact your relatives to pick you up and bring you home. Further transportation shall be at your own expense. If you have an onward flight, please ensure to pre-register and secure all travel and health documents required by your destination’s Local Government Unit (LGU). Click here for more information.
  • Once at home, please complete your 14-day quarantine/self-isolation.

Source

https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/ph/home/covid-19/arrivingintheph

https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/~/media/files/coronavirus/manilahotel/2_mnl%20hotel%20list_18sep20.pdf?la=en

http://quarantine.doh.gov.ph/facilities-inspected-as-of-august-24-2020/

https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/ph/home/covid-19/travelingwithintheph

https://www.immigration.gov.ph/#press-release

https://www.immigration.gov.ph/

https://immigration.gov.ph/102-feb-2015-press-releases/753-bi-issues-new-guidelines-on-ra-7919-visa-restamping

THAILAND TRAVEL REQUIREMENT COVID-19 2020

Thailand is not open for tourism. Foreigners with residency, work permits, student permits and special permits are allowed to Thailand for travel. Several Covid-19 travel requirements are needed to enter Thailand.

Who can Travel to Thailand

  • Thai Nationals
  • Persons with exemption or being considered, permitted or invited
  • Persons on diplomatic or consular missions or under International organizations,
  • or representatives of foreign government , including their spouses , parents or children
  • Carriers of necessary goods
  • Crew members
  • Non-Thai nationals who are spouses, parents, or children of a Thai national
  • Alien who have a certificate of residence in the kingdom , including their spouses and children
  • Non-Thai nationals who have a work permit or have been granted permission
  • from government agencies to work in the Kingdom, including their spouses and children
  • Non-Thai nationals who are students of public, private,
  • International schools and the Border patrol police institutes
  • Non-Thai nationals who are students of public, private,
  • International schools and the Border patrol police institutes
  • Non-Thai nationals in need of medical treatment and their attendants not more than 3 person
  • Non-Thai nationals who are permitted to enter the Kingdom
  • under a special arrangement with a foreign country

Covid-19 Test Required for Thailand Travel

PCR (not more than 72 hours before travelling)

Other Requirements for Thailand Travel

  • Certificate of Entry (COE)
  • Fit to Fly Certificate
  • Precise and clear travel plan that can be traced
  • Exit Screening
  • Entry Screening
  • Download tracing application
  • Quarantine not less than 14 days and
    subject to COVID-19 test twice

Work Permit Requirement for Thailand Travel

  • Letter certifying that the person who will travel to Thailand has the
    employer certified by the Ministry of Labor
    Letter certifying that the employer is responsible for the health expenses or Covid-19
  • Letter certifying that the employer has the transportation at the
    exact time for the person to the quarantine accommodation
    Letter of approval on quarantine accommodation by Thai authorities

Sources

https://www.caat.or.th/en/archives/52929

https://www.caat.or.th/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Regulation-issued-under-Section-9-of-the-Emergency-Decree-on-Public-Administration-in-Emergency-Situations-B.E.2548-No.13-1.pdf

https://www.caat.or.th/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Measures-to-be-complied-with-when-travelling-into-Thailand_31July20-1.pdf

https://www.caat.or.th/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Guidelines-based-on-Regulations-issued-under-Section-9-of-the-Emergency-Decree-on-Public-Administration-in-Emergency-Situations-B.E.2548-2005-No.7-1.pdf

SEYCHELLES TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS 2020

Tourist travel to Seychelles is now possible. Seychelles is accepting travellers from specific country of origin. List of allowed countries from which travellers are allowed to enter Seychelles are constantly reviewed by the government.

As of 1st August 2020

WHO CAN TRAVEL TO SEYCHELLES

Seychelles International Airport is open for scheduled commercial passenger flights.

Types of flights allowed to Seychelles

  • Private jets with passengers destined to authorized resorts, yachts or residential facilities
  • Chartered passengers flights with passengers from permitted countries under conditions set by the Department of Health and Department of Tourism.
  • Scheduled International Commercial Passenger flights.
  • Cargo flights.
  • Medical evacuation flights.
  • Flights making technical stops.
  • Special flights under agreements between Seychelles Government and other authorities.

Visitors may be permitted from approved countries. The list of approved countries is posted on the Department of Tourism and Department of Health websites, and will be revised periodically. Visitors should note that the COVID-19 outbreak is dynamic and the listing of countries may change. They must therefore ensure that flight and hotel bookings permit flexibility regarding cancellation or postponement at short notice.

List of Countries from which travelers are permitted in Seychelles:

List of countries from which travellers are permitted to enter Seychelles – changes to current list are effective from Thursday 1 October 2020

PERMITTED COUNTRIES – CATEGORY 1

AUSTRALIA LITHUANIA
AUSTRIA MALAYSIA
CAMBODIA MAURITIUS
CANADA MONACO
CHINA NEW ZEALAND
CYPRUS NORWAY
DENMARK PAKISTAN
EGYPT PORTUGAL
ESTONIA QATAR
FINLAND SINGAPORE
GERMANY SOUTH KOREA
ICELAND SRI LANKA
IRELAND SWEDEN
ITALY SWITZERLAND
LATVIA THAILAND
LIECHTENSTEIN VIETNAM

Changes to the list:

  • Australia, Liechtenstein, Republic of Korea added
  • Slovakia, Slovenia, United Arab Emirates removed

LIST OF PERMITTED COUNTRIES – CATEGORY 2

Austria Lithuania
Belgium Malaysia
Canada Malta
China Mauritius
Cuba Monaco
Cyprus Netherlands
Denmark New Zealand
Estonia Norway
Finland Slovakia
FRANCE Slovenia
France South Korea
Germany Sri Lanka
Greece Switzerland
Hungary Thailand
Iceland Tunisia
Ireland UAE
Italy UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Latvia UNITED KINGDOM

Seychellois Travellers and Persons holding Resident Permit

All Seychellois and persons holding resident permit who have spent at least 14 days in a permitted country immediately prior to travel may enter Seychelles and can stay in their own homes under passive surveillance for up to 14 days after arrival. (See also Guide for residents entering Seychelles published by the Department of Health).

Seychellois and persons holding resident permit currently in high risk countries may apply to enter Seychelles (application form is available on the Department of Health website and should be submitted to pha@health.gov.sc) and, if permitted to enter, will be required to undergo facility-based quarantine for a 14 day period and COVID-9 PCR tests at their cost.

 Entry by GOP Holders and dependents

Permission to enter by GOP Holders and dependents will first be cleared by Employment and Immigration. Conditions for their travel and entry will be similar to those of Seychellois as defined above.

Accommodation for the returning GOP Holder must be approved by the Public Health Authority.

COVID-19 TEST REQUIRED

Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test that is less than 72 hours prior to boarding the flight to Seychelles

Passengers must present proof of negative test results when checking-in for their flight to Seychelles. Airlines will not accept passengers for travel to Seychelles without the test result.

Aircraft/Airline are not to board any passengers or crew who are symptomatic of COVID-19.

Any passengers who arrives in Seychelles without proof of negative COVID 19 PCR test, will be turned back on the same aircraft.”

OTHER TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR SEYCHELLES

  • Please arrive at the airport at least 4 hours prior to departure
  • Primarily undergo a temperature check before proceeding to the check-in counters.
  • Passengers are advised to maintain physical distancing of 1.5metres between each other when waiting in the check-in line.
  • Passengers must adhere to the distancing demarcated floor signs when handing over the necessary documents to the guest service agent at the check-in counter

For Air Seychelles:

The airline will try its best to allocate family members and individuals travelling together from the same household seats next to each other.

As a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19, the airline has introduced a new seating plan. Passengers will need to maintain their allocated seats upon check-in at all times with no further request to change seats in-flight.

Departure lounge

In addition to maintaining physical distancing, passengers will be required to observe the following measures when proceeding to the departure lounge:

Hand hygiene – Wash hands with water and soap or use an alcohol based hand sanitizing solution.

Respiratory etiquette – Ensure face mask is being worn at all times. Cover the mouth and nose with a paper towel cover or a flexed elbow when sneezing or coughing, even when wearing the mask.

Surfaces – Limit direct contact (touch) with any surfaces in the airport as much as possible.

Boarding

Passengers will be advised to board the aircraft by rows, in a specific numerical order, as per their assigned seat.

Each passenger will undergo one temperature screening at the aircraft door prior to final boarding approval is given.

To avoid physical contact with the cabin crew members, passengers must only display their boarding passes to the cabin crew team for verification when boarding the aircraft.

In adopting good hygiene protocols, passengers will be directed to use sanitizers readily made available before allocating their seats.

Passengers will also need to handle and stow their own hand luggage in the overhead compartments.

Passengers who do not adhere to the preventive measures can be refused access to board the aircraft cabin, or may be asked to disembark the aircraft before the aircraft doors are closed.

Passengers may be subject to additional actions as determined by the airline and the local authorities at the departure airport.

Onboard

To ensure the comfort and wellbeing of the passengers and to limit the contact between crew members, Air Seychelles is offering a reduced food and beverage service on all flights.

Meals and drinks will be pre-packed and sealed when possible to mitigate close contact between passengers and crew members.

Passengers will be allowed to remove their mask for consumption of food and beverage throughout the flight.

Immigration and Health cards will be made readily available in the seat pocket.

Crew members will wear masks at all times once onboard the aircraft and protective equipment will be used when necessary.

Landing and disembarkation

Prior to landing, Cabin Crew members will pass through the cabin to collect any general waste.

Passengers must refrain from making any physical contact with the crew member and delicately dispose their waste into the container provided.

Upon landing, passengers will need to adhere to the disembarkation instructions as advised by the cabin crew and observe the health and safety measures set by the authorities at the country of destination.”

FORMS FOR SEYCHELLES TRAVEL

Note it is a mandatory requirement to complete the Health Self-Assessment Form within 24 hours before arriving at the airport when travelling with Air Seychelles.  This should be submitted to visitor@health.gov.sc.

WEARING OF MASK

It is a mandatory requirement for each passenger entering the airport terminal to wear their own mask.

Exemption for wearing a face mask can be made in specific instances, such as for medical reason of which passengers must produce the relevant document as proof. Exemption can also be made for children below 6 years old.

SOURCE

https://www.airseychelles.com/en-sc/travel-safely-international-network

http://www.mfa.gov.sc/static.php?content_id=36&news_id=2102

http://tourism.gov.sc/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/List-of-Permitted-Countries-as-at-24th-September-2020-Category-1-and-Category-2.pdf (As of October 1, 2020)

MOROCCO TRAVEL REQUIREMENT COVID-19 2020

Morocco is open for tourism travel since September 2020 with requirements for Covid-19 health safety. Covid-19 travel requirements for Morocco include Covid-19 PCR test of 48 hours before boarding plane. A hotel booking is required for tourist travel to Morocco.

WHO CAN TRAVEL TO MOROCCO

  • Moroccan citizens (tourists stranded abroad, students or residents abroad) and their families,
  • Citizens of other nationalities residing in Morocco and their families.
  • Professional visitors with an invitation from a Moroccan company.
  • Foreign nationals with a hotel reservation.
  • Foreign business travelers who are nationals of countries not subject to visa requirements will be able to visit Moroccan companies upon simple invitation from the latter.
    • Print the invitations on the letterhead of the inviting company. (including identifiers, particular ICE, RC number and address).
    • Signature and seal by an authorized person from the company.
    • Purpose of visit
    • Full names
    • Passport numbers
    • Date of entry into Moroccan territory
    • Residence in Morocco.

Foreign nationals who are nationals of countries not subject to visa requirements and who have a confirmed hotel reservation in Morocco

List of Countries that are Visa Exempt on Travelling to Morocco

  • Algeria
  • Kuwait
  • Germany
  • Latvia
  • Austria
  • Liechtenstein
  • Australia
  • Lithuania
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Luxembourg
  • Argentina
  • Mali (Besoin d’une AEVM)
  • Belgium
  • Malta
  • Bahrain
  • Mexico
  • Malaysia
  • Niger
  • Brazil
  • Norway
  • Bulgaria
  • Zealand news
  • Ivory Coast
  • Oman
  • Canada
  • Portugal
  • Chile
  • Netherlands
  • China
  • Philippines
  • Cyprus
  • Peru
  • Congo (Brazzaville) (Besoin d’une AEVM)
  • Poland
  • South Korea
  • Puerto Rico
  • Croatia
  • Qatar
  • Denmark
  • Macao (Administrative area)
  • Spain + Andorra
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Romania
  • United States of America
  • San Marino
  • United  Arab Emirates
  • Slovakia
  • Russian Federation
  • Senegal
  • Finland
  • Singapore
  • France + Monaco
  • Switzerland
  • Gabon
  • Slovenia
  • United Kingdom
  • Sweden
  • GreeceTunisia
  • Guinea (Conakry) (Besoin d’une AEVM)
  • Turkey
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Hong-Kong (a stay limited to 30 days)
  • Hungary (a stay limited to 30 days)

For more information on the conditions of access to Morocco, please consult the website of the

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AFRICAN COOPERATION AND MOROCCANS RESIDING ABROAD.

MOROCCO COVID-19 TEST

  • Negative Covid-19 PCR test of 48 hours from date of result up to the time of departure.

( update as of October 1, 2020)

  • Covid-19 serological test is not required.

MOROCCO TRAVEL FORMS

Download, print and complete your health card before your travel.

MOROCCO WEARING OF MASK

Flying with Royal Air Maroc:

Wearing a mask is compulsory on all of its flights. Handbags and bags for children and for computers are allowed on board as cabin baggage.

Information on personal experience travelling to Morocco with Covid-19 requirements. See post at Travel to Morocco During Covid-19 Pandemic

SOURCES

https://www.royalairmaroc.com/ma-fr/information/actualites

https://www.consulat.ma/en/list-countries-whose-citizens-are-exempted-entry-visa-morocco

MOROCCO TRAVEL EXPERIENCE DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Experience of travelling to Morocco during Covid-19 Pandemic.

September 6, 2020 Morocco opened borders for tourism.

Requirements for Foreigners Travelling to Morocco with no Residency

  • Hotel reservation
  • 72 hours PCR test from the time of release of results to the time of boarding the plane
  • Only countries who are visa exempt can travel to Morocco

https://www.consulat.ma/en/list-countries-whose-citizens-are-exempted-entry-visa-morocco

We were given a permit to travel to Morocco by the Moroccan Consulate in France before the country announced that they are opening for tourism. Lease contract of apartment was submitted to the Moroccan consulate, with copies of passport of people traveling. We were given a stamped paper by the Moroccan consulate to travel on the special flights by Royal Air Maroc. Special flights of Royal Air Maroc has more secure schedule than other flights and airlines as they are the first to cancel if there is sudden change. I am not sure if  lease contract is still accepted after the opening of borders for tourism. 

Morocco COVID-19 Test results

As of writing this, PCR test of 72 hours result is required to travel to Morocco. The serology test is not required anymore.

Country of Origin

  • Check-in from country or origin before boarding plane, the PCR and serology test were checked.
  • Immigration PCR and serology test is checked again.

Arrival at Morocco (Casablanca)

  • Upon arriving at Casablanca airport after embarkment, before going to immigration there is a desk that checks the PCR and serology tests
  • Immigration checks the COVID-19 test results and proof of residency
  • After immigration the same documents are checked

Extra Covid-19 procedures during travel to Morocco

  • Wearing of facemask
  • Social distancing in the airport is not strictly followed, unfortunately.
  • After immigration counter at Morocco we had to line-up at the immigration office and someone would check again the proof of residency / booking with passport.
  • Then going down we filled out 2 forms for the police check point (i guess because we arrived after curfew, not sure if its for all)

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

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


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Morocco: China Town

There is no real China town in Morocco as the Asian community is small in the country. At Casablanca there is an area comparable to China town in the sense that there are low cost made in China items sold in shops and by the street at a small neighborhood. The vendors and shop owners are mostly Moroccans not like the real China town wherein most of the shop owners are Chinese immigrants.

Shops and street best buys:

  • kitchenware – casserole, pan, utensils, plates, glasses
  • bedding – duvet, bet cover, pillow
  • toilet equipment – shower curtain
  • organizers – portable cabinet, indoor clothes dryer
  • decorations – mirrors, painting
  • fabric

Chinese Grocery

At the same area there is a Chinese grocery that serves Asian condiments and food that are hard to find. It is also the only place I found that sells pork meat.

Some of the best finds at the Chinese grocery:

  • Pork
  • Maggi seasoning
  • Hot pot / Shabu Shabu balls
  • Sio mai / dimsum (beef)
  • Dried vegetable snacks
  • Noodles for stir fry and soup

Chinese Grocery map:

*Map may not be accurate. Landmark is Yammy restaurant along boulevard Rahal El Meskini 

Derb Omar 

Derb Omar is like the China town of Casablanca. This is best place to go to if  you are looking for cheap buys and do not want to go to the tourist-y medina and haggle.

Derb Omar map: 

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: