What You Need To Know
Salé is a city in north-western Morocco, on the right bank of the Bou Regreg river, opposite the national capital Rabat, for which it serves as a commuter town. Founded in about 1030 by Arabic-speaking Berbers, the Banu Ifran,it later became a haven for pirates as an independent republic before being incorporated into Alaouite Morocco.
The city’s name is sometimes transliterated as Salli or Sallee. The National Route 6 connects it to Fez and Meknes in the east and the N1 to Kénitra in the north-east.
Salé is the twin city to the Moroccan capital of Rabat, lying just across the river Bou Regreg. The Bou Regreg River forms the border between Salé and Rabat, and after passing between the two cities, empties itself into the Atlantic Ocean. Many visitors to Morocco are overwhelmed by the historical sites in Rabat (such as the medina, the ancient ruins of Chellah, and the mausoleum of Mohammed V), and they forget that a short boat ride away from the capital will lead them to the less glamorous, but equally fascinating city of Salé.
Population: 982,163 (2014)
Most hotels will exchange at the same rate as banks and without charging commission. Exchanging money in the street is illegal, so travellers should look for an official Bureaux de Change which is identifiable by a golden sign.
Using a credit card (VISA etc) to obtain money from ATM’s is also possible but one must remember that interest is charged from the moment money is dispensed. The normal practice of an interest-free period which applies to purchases, typically over 50 days, made on the card does NOT apply to cash withdrawals. Banks will allow cheques to be cashed but must be supported by a guarantee card.
ATMs generally dispense only 100 and 200 dirham notes so getting change for small everyday purchases like water, taxis etc can be a challenge. At weekends you may have difficulty acquiring cash as machines are sometimes not restocked until the following Monday. Sometimes your card may work in some machines and not others, or may support smaller withdrawals rather than larger ones, and may work at some times and not others. You should ensure you have a backup means of funding your visit. ATMs usually dispense 3000dh or so, but other limits may apply dependent on your bank.
Weather in Sale is influenced by Interior Mediterranean climate. Mild with dry, hot summer. Warmest month has average temperature more than 72°F (22°C). At least four months with average temperatures over 50°F (10°C). Frost danger in winter. At least three times as much precipitation during wettest winter months as in the driest summer month. The hottest month is August, when max temperature is about 28℃ Usually first week is the hottest. But be aware of Rain and Fog. The coldest month is January. In this month temperature could be even 6℃ at night! In first week you should wear the most warmth clothing. And be prepared for Fog and Rain.
Moroccan Arabic : This is the official language of Morocco. Though it is somewhat different from most other types of Arabic, most Moroccans can understand conventional Arabic.
French, though not seen as an indigenous language in Morocco, at least half of the population is capable of speaking it. This is due to the strong French influence during the period of 1912 to 1956, which has also left a large amount of French architecture in parts of Morocco.
Health and Security
Maternal health care in particular has improved significantly over the past 10 years, with the maternal mortality ratio dropping from 227 deaths per 100,000 live births to 112, and infant mortality declining from 40 deaths per 1000 live births to 30.2, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This can in large part be attributed to efforts targeting better access to maternal and child health care services, as well as increased awareness on the necessity to seek medical assistance throughout pregnancy and after.
While walking in well-lit and busy areas can be fine, be careful walking at night. You never know what lurks around the corner in the medinas. Petty crime is rampant, especially against tourists.
- Morocco is a conservative Muslim country, and it’s not appropriate to wear skimpy clothing. Keep your arms, shoulders, and legs covered (especially if you are a woman) to avoid any unwanted attention and conform to local norms.
- If someone asks you into their shop for tea, they are going to use that as a pretext to get you to buy something and, thanks to the engrained psychological idea of reciprocity, you’ll probably give in. Don’t let anyone ask you to write a letter or read a postcard that their “cousin” sent to them in English/French/whatever your native language is. It’s a ruse to get you into their store and wear you down. Same with letting someone put henna on your hand. Once these vendors have you, they will be relentless about you trying on clothes, buying something, or giving them money. Say “no thank-you” and walk away.
- When visiting Salé, take the time to visit some of the town’s ancient religious monuments; beautiful Morocco mosques in the city center proudly display the ancient craftsmanship of Moroccan tile making, known in Arabic as zellige. Step into an intricately designed 14th century madrasa and ponder the majestic architecture that comprises the school building. Walk down to the shores of the Bou Regreg and watch as brightly colored boats unload their daily catch – feel free to buy some fresh fish for yourself, as the fish in Salé is known for being particularly delicious especially if prepared in a traditional Moroccan tajine.