Morocco is a relatively safe country from a medical perspective. While modern hospitals are rare outside of the major cities, your expedition guides will include at least one with a well-equipped First-Aid kit and an up-to-date qualification in Advanced First-Aid.
The following advice should be taken into account before you join your Unity Overland Expedition.
Your guides will carry enough bottled water for your drinking requirements, and you should avoid drinking water from a tap wherever possible. (This includes when you are brushing your teeth, something a lot of people forget about!)
You should also avoid taking ice in your cold drinks and be careful not to swallow water when showering, washing or even swimming in a pool.
However, we may well stop to eat at roadside cafes and other establishments where the standard of hygiene may be lower than that at home. We have eaten at them many times and they are almost always safe, as the temperatures involved in cooking tagines, for example, will kill almost every bug and source of contamination.
We rarely eat salads if they are offered, and have almost never fallen ill. But, if you feel differently, or see something that causes you concern, then please tell one of the guides who will make alternative arrangements for you.
If you do fall ill, please tell someone; while there is little we can do other than to keep you hydrated, we recognise that a bout of food poisoning is unpleasant and can sometimes make alternative arrangements for you to avoid long road journeys.
If you have a food allergy, please make sure we are aware of it: nuts, for example, are widely eaten and used throughout Morocco, so we need to know about a nut allergy!
Because washing your hands in public toilets and hotel rooms can expose you to contaminated water, we would advise the regular use of hand cleaning and sterilising gels throughout your expedition.
Please make sure that you have adequate travel insurance for the whole of your overland expedition, and make sure that it is comprehensive enough for you to be repatriated to the United Kingdom in the event of you falling ill or having an accident.
Visit your GP/Surgery well in advance of the trip. The most up-to-date advice can be found on the website Travel Health Pro. As of January 2019, the recommended vaccinations for Morocco, in addition to the standard UK vaccinations, are:
· Hepatitis A
Some travellers might also need:
· Hepatitis B
· Tuberculosis (TB)
There is no need to obtain and carry a certificate of vaccinations at this time.
The sun is capable of burning you in a very short time even in December, and the combination of a cool breeze and a high altitude at times can mask the usual warnings that your skin is starting to burn.
For this reason we recommend using a quality sun-cream with an SPF factor of at least 30. It is also wise to wear a hat during the day, preferably one that shades the back of your neck as well as your face.
Insect and tick bites aren’t usually too much of a concern - and malaria isn’t a problem in Morocco - but the evening lights will attract moths and other flying insects that are drawn to the light.
The use of a red head torch will minimise this, and the fly-screen on your tent should be kept closed at all times; you can leave your tent’s main flap door undone to generate a cooling breeze through the tent, but the mesh fly-screen should be kept zipped up to reduce the chance of insects getting in.
Bug repellent creams and sprays can be effective if you are sensitive to insect bites, as can a chlorphenamine-based anti-histamine tablets such as Piriton, which can help reduce any swelling and irritation that arises after an insect bite
While we will have a toilet tent available at every overnight stop when we are camping in the desert, this will not be available throughout the day, and so would advise all cars to carry a small, collapsible shovel along with compostable wet wipes and toilet paper.
Please dig a hole that is at least 12”/30cms deep, and cover all the waste and paper with sand when you’ve finished.
No, going to the loo in the desert is not as pleasant as using the toilet in your own home, but it’s all part of the wild camping and expedition experience.
(If you’ve ever used an African toilet, where you swill your waste down a hole in the floor with a bucket of water, you’ll appreciate that even squatting in the desert is preferable…)