Morocco: Accidents Happen

Quiet Casablanca street
Photo not actual street of accident

A useful tip in traveling is — Know and save emergency numbers. Always be prepared and save useful numbers in your contacts —  emergency response number, embassy number, insurance number.  Especially when you do not know anyone.

Traveling can be fun. Relocating to a new country can be interesting. Getting into an accident in a foreign country where nobody knows and understands you is scary. 

I was hit by a motorcycle while crossing the road alone at Casablanca. After the impact I was unconscious and nobody helped me. I was crying in pain alone. People only looked at me lying in the middle of the street. Not even the motorcycle driver who hit me moved to help. I caused traffic. Car drivers were honking not showing any concern. Nobody helped. I tried to stand but cannot. So crawled to the side. I was feeling dizzy, cannot stand, bruised, back and neck were in pain. I did not know if something is broken.

At that moment I know no one will help me but myself. When I was able to sit down at the side of the road someone gave me betadine for my bruise. The Careem (like Uber) driver was calling the police. I just wanted to go back home and see a doctor. The police was taking to long to arrive, I don’t want to wait at the road and file a police report. Nobody was helping and I want to know if I am fine with no severe damage. I felt like vomiting, half of my body was painful. I have a hematoma bulging as big as an egg on my leg.

It is in Moroccan education not to move someone during a street accident. They have their reason — that it could be a spine injury and better not to move. But at that moment I could not stay lying in the middle of the street with people only looking at me. In the past, I have witnessed some pedestrians hit by a vehicle — an old man and, a mother with her baby. I am also guilty of not helping. Thinking others will help anyway. Never imagined it could be me alone in the middle of a small street somewhere in Africa.

Morocco: Casablanca 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

Morocco: Travel Experience During COVID-19 Pandemic 2020

Royal Air Maroc: Flagship carrier of Morocco. (Photo credit to RAM FB page)

Experience of traveling to Morocco during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Traveling experience has changed. since the Covid-19 pandemic. There are more travel requirements and restrictions. Morocco has opened its borders with several travel conditions. Foreigners can enter Morocco with a PCR test, vaccination card, and hotel reservation (updated as of August 2021).

To know updated travel conditions for Morocco:

  • Consult the Moroccon embassy or consulate in your country
  • Know your airline requirements for traveling
  • Royal Air Maroc, Morocco’s flagship carrier posts travel requirements to and from the country

Requirements for Foreigners Travelling to Morocco with no Residency

  • Hotel reservation
  • 72 hours PCR test from the time of the release of results to the time of boarding the plane
  • Only countries that 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 the apartment was submitted to the Moroccan consulate, with copies of passports 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 have a more secure schedule than other flights and airlines that are the first to cancel if there is a sudden change. I am not sure if the 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 the country of origin before boarding plane, the PCR and serology tests 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 the 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 checkpoint (i guess because we arrived after curfew, not sure if it is for all)

Useful Links

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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