Q: Is it safe?
A: Yes, very. It still has a small town feel to it and everybody knows everybody. Dishonest people will quickly become social outcasts, so nobody dares try follow a life of crime. You are also likely to see several different policemen every day, more than in Europe, but the local Moroccan police spend most of their time dealing with traffic law infringements. Their presence is reassuring nevertheless.
Q: How long does it take to get from the nearest airport?
A: Oujda Angad is the nearest international airport and it takes about an hour to get to the resort depending on the time of day and traffic conditions.
Q: Where is the nearest train station?
A: Oujda is the nearest train station. You can catch trains to the rest of Morocco from here. The trains are good and cheap, but slow and infrequent, so being late is costly. You can't book online either, so you have to allow time to get there early to buy a ticket.
Q: Can we catch a taxi from the airport?
A: 'Yes' and 'No'. Moroccan taxis are a breed of their own. It is physically possible to get in to taxi in the airport and make your way to Med-Saidia. However, it is not advisable for many reasons. Firstly, almost all drivers only speak the local dialect of Arabic. Secondly, the taxis pick up people along the way (who pay a separate fare) and it gets very crowded very quickly, so it is not comfortable. Thirdly, the cost is entirely down to your ability to negotiate a price before you get in to the vehicle - not easy to do if you don't speak Arabic (and most of the drivers are illiterate). Fourthly, the taxis drive like possessed men and it can get quite scary if you are of a nervous disposition. Fifthly, most taxis are powered by contraband Algerian petrol - the smell can't be described. Lastly, most taxis are 1970's Mercedes Benz's and breakdowns are a daily occurence for these vehicles. (Vaughan says: "Would I let my dear old mother near one of these contraptions? Definitely not!") Pre-arranging your airport transfers is recommended.
Q: Are there shops and restaurants on site?
A: Yes, plenty. There are a dozen restaurants in the marina and medina area. (Restaurant reviews by Al-Ghil can be found here.) There is a supermarket too. The newly-built medina has a variety of shops retailing a wide selection of goods.
Q: Are the beaches any good?
A: Yes. The beaches are sandy and in total are about 6 kilometres long. The beaches are very shallow and this extends out in to the water for more than 100 metres in places, so it is very child-friendly. Most of the year the beaches are empty (except July and August) and the water pleasant. The water is 'swimmable' from May. In our humble opinion the best time of year to enjoy the beaches is September - the water is at its warmest and the tourists have gone.
Q: Is it safe to hire a car and drive around the region?
A: Sadly, "No". You can hire a car, but driving standards in Morocco are very low and it is generally dangerous on the roads of Morocco. If you have been to Istanbul and Beijing and have been aghast at how people drive there, then you'll be appalled in Morocco. Unless you have driven extensively in other Third World countries and are highly alert, then we would advise against driving in Morocco, especially if it is your first time in the country. You also need a reasonable grasp of French in order to deal with the periodic police checkpoints. There is a car hire company on-site, so perhaps once you've seen for yourself the shenanigans on the roads, you can decide whether or not to hire a car.
Q: How do people get around the resort?
A: There are various transport options available. If the purpose of your visit is a holiday, then most people walk about. Bicycles can be hired too. There is a 2-route bus network that covers the resort and the old town in the Summer months. Currently, petit- and grand-taxis are not allowed on the resort. There are small Suzuki people-carriers that pass through the resort en-route to the old town. The current accomodation available is in walking-distance of all the amenities and beach. If time is of the essence, then pre-arranging a vehicle and driver is recommended.
Q: Do you have a public holidays calendar to help us plan our visit?
A: Yes, you can see the calendar for the next few years here.
Q: Where did you get all the photos you use on this website?
A: Almost all of the photos used on the pages and banners of this website were taken in and around Saidia by the staff of SaidiaHolidayRentals with a range of the cheapest cameras in Morocco. What can we say? It's a photogenic country. If you would like to use some of them, please send us an email.
Q: What is the best way to pay for things in shops and restaurants?
A: Cash is king in Morocco. Although it is technically possible to use credit cards in some shops and restaurants, this is not the norm. In this region electronic commerce is not widespread. Even in the shops that seem to accept credit cards, we would advise against doing so for number of reasons. Firstly, the process is laborious, what with passports required and, if female, other forms of paper sometimes asked for. Furthermore, credit card cloning is not unheard of in Morocco. Alarmingly often the point of sale machines don't work. Also, if you can't remember your PIN number and get it wrong 3 times, you can't use your card until you get home to reset it. You can't rely on just using your credit card to pay for things - you will need cash. So we advise people to make their life simpler and safer by drawing cash in Morocco from a cash machine at a bank (these are surprisingly numerous). There are cash machines in the arrivals halls of the local airports. Some banks will only allow 3 cash withdrawals in Morocco with a European card before freezing the card. So when drawing cash, we suggest it be the largest possible amount offered at the machine, usually a maximum of 2500 Dirhams.
We look forward to assisting you.
The SaidiaHolidayRentals crew.