Book Cheap Flights to Marrakech

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About Marrakech

Seeped in old world charm and home to Amazigh tribes, Marrakech is the symbol of Morocco. Once a ruined city, Marrakech is now home to a population of approximately 1 million people and one of the four Imperial Cities of Morocco. Attractions include Jemaa el-Fna, Koutoubia Mosque, Saaidian Tombs and Almoravid Koubba.

Lose yourself in a world snake of charmers, ornate palaces trimmed with gold, and North African charm with cheap flights to Marrakech. Marrakech is home of the Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) and serves a multitude of airlines, including British Airways, Swissair and Iberia. RAK is a 15 minute drive from the Medina. Popular international flights to Marrakech depart from Johannesburg and Cape Town. Flight duration from Johannesburg is approximately 15 hours 10 minutes.

Why visit Marrakech

marrakech architecture

Architecture

Exquisite architectural artistry awaits, carved into the minaret of Koutoubia Mosque, etched into the cedar wood of Ben Youssef Madrasa and sculpted into the dome of Almoravid Koubba.

marrakech colour

Colour

From the spice sellers and intricate hand woven rugs, to the ochre ramparts and amber hues that coat the city at dawn, Marrakech is a kaleidoscope of colour.

marrakech culture

Culture

African voodoo ingredients, Gnaoua music, tea drinking, snake charming, ancient Islamic scriptures, sacred tombs, dishes of steaming tajine. Culture abounds, seeped into the ochre walls and cobbled alleyways.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Morocco
Currency Moroccan Dirhams
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 0.75 MAD
Language Arabic / Berber
Hub Airport Menara Airport
Airline Royal Air Maroc
Time Zone GMT + 0 (Marrakech is 2 hours behind South Africa)
Travel Adaptor Type C and E (voltage - 220V, frequency - 50Hz)

Best time to visit Marrakech

Although Marrakech experiences searing heat and fierce sandstorms, rainfall occasionally suffuses the landscape, drawing blooming patches and strokes of emerald from the earth. Giant bamboos, yuccas, papyrus and fragrant trees such as pomegranate, banana, fig and olive all thrive in this oasis. The spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) months are best for witnessing this bloom of rich plant life and curious colour in Marrakech. Temperatures are also less suffocating. Summer (June to August) in Marrakech is intense, with temperatures often soaring into the 40 degrees Celsius region. Summer means blazing skies and peak season, but also sees performers and entertainers sauntering into town for the breathtaking Popular Arts Festival. Be awed by Berber musicians and dancers, Gnaouas drummers, Andalucían-style songsters, fire swallowers, acrobats, folk singers, snake charmers, fortune tellers and Arabian horses.

Weather & Climate in Marrakech

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 6°C 8°C 11°C 13°C 15°C 19°C 21°C 21°C 19°C 16°C 11°C 8°C
High °C 19°C 21°C 25°C 27°C 29°C 35°C 38°C 38°C 33°C 29°C 23°C 20°C
Rainfall (mm) 32 38 38 39 24 5 1 3 6 24 41 13

Overview

Sunken into the blistering sands of Morocco lies a place that glimmers and glows, whispering tales of mystical lanterns owned by Moroccan genies, Sufi brotherhoods and magic carpets. This is Marrakech – a place where cobbled alleyways lead to secret courtyards, and the mystery and magic of ancient cultures breathes into your ear while you wander through saffron scented streets.

A journey to Marrakech is unlike anything you could ever imagine.

Built by Moroccan Berber empires, ruled by wealthy sultans and visited by many Sufi pilgrims, Marrakech is a sacred cultural and religious oasis.

Sprawling souqs tremble with the hustle and bustle of spice merchants, monkeys and their masters, and street performers plucking at the strings of delicately carved lutes. Hidden away from the chaos of the medina, gleaming religious sites and opulent palaces adorned with beautiful mosaics and intricate carvings laze quietly in sacred tranquility.

Get lost in turmeric and rouge hues, wander down unmarked streets and disappear into a world that brims with culture, flavour and the divine touch of a city soaked in history.

Visa & Customs

South African passport holders do require a visa when travelling to Morocco. You will need to meet certain requirements in order to qualify. Before leaving on your trip, ensure your passport has two blank pages for stamps and has a validity of at least six months. You should also ensure you leave ample time for processing to accommodate any delays or hiccups.

When travelling to Marrakech it is highly recommended that you familiarise yourself with the local customs and traditions as there are certain religious and cultural considerations. You will be expected to adopt these upon arrival, and respect them throughout your trip.

Visas can be arranged via the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Pretoria. 799 Francis Baard Street, Pretoria, 0083. Phone: +27 (0)12 343 0230.

Health & Safety

Apart from petty crime and harassment by touts, Marrakech is considered a relatively safe city. It is unlikely that you will find yourself in any sort of danger, but as it is in any city, you should apply common sense and remain on guard. These few precautions can ensure you leave unscathed:

• Pickpockets in Marrakech are slick and efficient – be aware of your belongings (especially in busy market places).
• Although Marrakech is largely unaffected by terrorism, it does form part of West Africa, so caution is advised. It is best to avoid establishments associated with the US and ‘Western’ cultural or economic interests.
• Vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, MMR, typhoid, rabies and tetanus are recommended.
• Obtain travel insurance.
• Seek advice before travelling to desert areas. Four-wheel drive vehicles are required when venturing into the mountainous or desert areas.
• Invest in sunscreen with a good SPF rating (especially if you are travelling during the summer months) and diarrhea medication.
• Women should remain vigilant when travelling alone, and avoid walking around alone at night.
• When buying street food, ensure it is freshly prepared. Food that has been sitting in the sun for hours can wreak havoc on digestive systems that are sensitive or unaccustomed to these new conditions.
• Tap water in Marrakech should be filtered or boiled first. Buying bottled water is recommended.
• Avoid swimming in fresh bodies of water in Morocco as they are usually perfect breeding grounds for snails infected with schistosomiasis parasite. Snails sold by vendors should also be avoided.
• Scams and touting is common in Marrakech. Be firm with touts, faux guides and hustlers, to avoid spending money on tours you do not want and things you do not need.

Cost of Living

Item Cape Town
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant

Where to stay?

Accommodation in Marrakech is an amalgam of traditional riads and kasbahs, and contemporary boutique hotels and luxurious maison d’Hotes.

When it comes to accommodation in Marrakech there are two clearly defined options. In the heart of the medina, amidst the chaos and noise, or away from the hubbub, in a more reserved part of town. Of course this also defines your experience in Marrakech.

For a truly authentic experience, riads and kasbahs are historical homes, once belonging to merchants or noblemen, which are now magnificently restored buildings with devastatingly beautiful interiors. The grandiose interiors reflect the trademark decadence of Morocco, contrasting wonderfully with their entrances - shabby nondescript doors gazing out modestly onto the mayhem of the medina.

For a sleeker experience with a touch of French pizazz, the Gueliz district offers a more refined atmosphere with its boutique hotels, array of evening activities and contemporary dining options. Extravagance abounds, with hotels offering Western facilities and lavish interiors.

Getting Around

Getting from the airport to the medina, tourist areas or hotels can be done by taxi or bus. There are several bus lines which drop off at various locations around the city. Buses arrive approximately every 30 minutes from 06.15 to 21.45. Taxis are also abundant but require some negotiation on fare.

Buses and taxis can also be used for travelling within and around the city.

Calèches are horse-drawn carriages that provide an excellent way of seeing the city. They can be found congregating at the Square de Foucauld near the Djemma el Fna. State-fixed rates apply, but agreeing on a price beforehand is recommended.

City Sightseeing Bus is also available from the Square de Foucauld and travels around the outskirts of the city. Tickets are valid for 24 hours, but buses stop running quite early, so the morning tours are recommended. For something less formal, bicycle hire is a thrilling and easy way to explore the city.

Main attractions in Marrakech

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle

Djemaa el Fna

Djemaa el Fna

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