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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)

Currency

  • The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham, denoted as MAD or Dhs. The Moroccan Dirham is composed of 100 centimes; notes are available in denominations of (Dhs) 200, 100, 50, 25, and 20, all in new and old varieties and coins are available in denominations of (Dhs) 10, 5, 2 and 1, or 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes.
  • The Dirham is officially designated as a closed currency meaning it can only be traded within Morocco , however, Dirhams are being sold and bought in travel agencies and at major airports in several countries. The import and export of the currency is tolerated up to a limit of 1000DH. Currency purchased during a visit to Morocco should be converted back before departing the country, with the exception of the 1000Dh level. Travellers should be advised to keep the receipts of currency exchange, as these will be required for the conversion of Dirham back to foreign currency prior to departure and before you go through passport control. You can change as many Dirhams as you have left.
  • Most of the main foreign currencies may be exchanged at a Bureau de Change in the airport or port upon arrival, at a bank and in most hotels although smaller hotels in more remote areas may not be able to exchange large amounts at one time without prior notice.

    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.

  • ATMs can now be found in abundance in most towns and accept Visa, Maestro, Cirrus etc but these will usually incur charges. You should check with your bank as charges for using ATMs abroad may make exchanging cash a better option.
    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

    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.

    Language

    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

  • Health care services in Morocco have evolved in line with the country’s epidemiological transition, facilitated by heightened surveillance of health-related conditions and the maturing role carried out by the private sector.
    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.
  • Morocco has also made significant strides in reducing the prevalence of infectious diseases, and has eradicated polio, trachoma and malaria, thanks to a variety of programmes to raise awareness on how to treat and prevent communicable illnesses, in addition to expanded vaccination campaigns and the introduction of new medicines into the market. Though largely under control, diseases such as hepatitis are still prevalent and efforts are under way to curb the number of affected patients.
  • Since muggings and pickpockets are common, take the minimum you need when you leave your hotel or hostel. Don’t take your passport with you – leave it in the hotel!
    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.
  • Don’t

    • 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.

    Do

    • 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.