About Morocco

Morocco is from multiple points of view a nation apart. It settles on the northwestern tip of Africa, isolated from the rest of Africa by the towering Atlas Mountains and by the Sahara desert itself. Its atmosphere, geography, and history are all more firmly identified with the Mediterranean than the rest of the continent, and therefore guests are frequently struck by the odd vibe of having not exactly come to Africa while in Morocco. The Northern lush highlands, fine beaches and old cities reinforce this impression. Yet, the country’s Mediterranean character fades away when moving south and east, into the beautiful Atlas Mountains ranges, and the Sahara desert with its oases stretching out to the horizon.

  • Time: GMT.
  • Area: 710,850 sq km (274,461 sq miles).
  • Population: 34 million.
  • Population Density: 44 per sq km.
  • Capital: Rabat. Population:
  • Electricity: 220 V

Language:

The official language of Morocco is Arabic, Berber and some Moroccan Arabic dialects are the common everyday language. French is the business and administrative language in Morocco. English and Spanish are widely spoken through educated people.
Currency:
The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham, or « MAD ». US $, Euros €, and UK £ can easily be exchanged throughout currency exchange offices at the airport, your hotel or at any bank.
1 US $ = 9,00 MAD approx.
Visa and Master Card are widely accepted, whilst American express and Diners club have more limited use. Please check with your credit card company for details of merchant accessibility.

Credit cards:

Visa and Master Card are widely accepted, whilst American express and Diners club have more limited use. Please check with your credit card company for details of merchant accessibility.

Tipping:

Tipping is never required but always appreciated. In hotels and restaurants, 10% may be added to the bill, but a small tip for the waiters is appropriate. For hotel bellmen and porters, MAD 20,00 or US$ 3 is customary. In taxis, pay the nearest round figure to the price on the meter. Visitors would normally consider tipping their guide, driver on tours, hotel staff, and waiters in restaurants.

Shopping:

Morocco has always been shoppers’ paradise offering excellent ladies Caftans, silver jewelry, carpets, leather bags, ceramics, lanterns spices, essential oils and antiques.
Shopping in Morocco is a unique experience. No visit to Morocco would be complete without visiting a Souk, which is a central market in every Medina.

Food & wine:

Displaying influences from Africa, Arabia, and the Mediterranean, the Moroccan cuisine of today is a reflection of the country’s colorful past, blended with the culinary traditions of both its Arab and Berber inhabitants. Over time, these influences have been refined into a distinctly Moroccan flavor thanks largely to centuries of imperial dynasties, where expectations and demands weighed heavily on the chefs of the royal courts, and thus inspired both experimentation and extravagance.
Moroccan cooking is strongly characterized by the subtle blending of spices, and Moroccans expertly use them to enhance, rather than mask, the flavor and fragrance of their dishes.
Fresh herbs are also present in Moroccan dishes, particularly garlic, coriander, parsley, and mint, as are fragrant additions such as orange or rose water, olives, and olive oil Above all else, perhaps the defining characteristic of Moroccan cuisine is the blending of savory with sweet, most commonly witnessed by the addition of fruit to meat tagines.
Morocco is by no means a dry country, wine, beer and liquor is served in hotels restaurants and bars. It has its own brands of beer and major brands are imported ( Heineken, Budweiser, Corona…. ).
When it comes to wine, Morocco produces some surprisingly elegant wine, while French is widely available.

Health:

All major hotels have contracted doctors onsite when needed, and international standard clinics are available in major cities, and located near major hotels in case of emergencies.

Main cities:

Marrakech:

One of Morocco’s most important cultural centers; Marrakech; has ochre-colored ramparts which stand out against a permanently blue sky and snowy Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. Plunge into an extraordinary world where there is plenty to see, including palaces, museums and gardens. Place Djemaa el-Fna is a huge square in the medina where jugglers and storytellers jostle for position with snake charmers and magicians. As its sunny almost all year round Marrakech has plenty to offer delegates in terms of activity options including jeep safaris, cultural visits, trips to the Atlas Mountains, camel rides and sand dune quad biking.

Casablanca:

Immortalized through the eponymous Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman movie and forever associated with honorary citizen Sir Winston Churchill, Casablanca is a sprawling, vibrant metropolis of close to 6.5 million inhabitants, 3.5 million of them living in the city itself. Though not the seat of government, it is Morocco’s undisputed commercial capital, an enigmatic meeting place of western modernity and Arabic tradition. Casablanca (‘Dar el-Beïda’ in Moroccan Arabic, which translates as ‘White House’ in English) or Casa as it is known colloquially, was a tiny Berber settlement that became a homeport for privateers, before turning into a trading post with Europe. Then, in the era of the French protectorate at the dawn of the 20th century, it mushroomed into what is today one of Africa’s four largest cities.

Fes:

Fès (also spelled Fez and in Arabic, Fas) is the third largest city in Morocco, after Casablanca and Rabat. It lies in a valley bordered by the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, and on the old crossroads of caravan routes connecting the Saharan empires like Timbuktu with the Atlantic and the Mediterranean shipping lanes.
Its medina is an unmppable maze of more than 9,000 alleys where mules are the only form of transport and life is a fascinating blend of medieval and modern. A far reaching conservation campaign has been attempting to preserve and interpret the remarkable historic legacy, with new uses being sought for fabulous old palaces, many of which are being restored by both Moroccan and foreign families.

Rabat:

Rabat is the capital city of Morocco, home to the grand palace of the king of Morocco. It is one of the country’s most modern cities, with wide streets and well-maintained gardens. It has a quieter and more serious atmosphere than some of Morocco’s other cities. However, Rabat is also a city steeped in history. It traces its origins to the seventh century, and the Kasbah and Medina sections will transport you back to the city’s medieval heyday. A world class golf course, fine restaurants and beaches are nearby, making it easy to mix history with pleasure.

visa requirement:

Citizens of countries not listed below will need an entry visa to Morocco.
Algeria – Andorra – Argentina – Australia – Austria – Bahrain – Belgium – Brazil – Bulgaria – Canada – Chile – Congo Popular Republic – Croatia – Cyprus – Czech Republic – Denmark – Estonia – Finland – France – Germany – Great Britain – Greece – Guinea (Conakry) – Hong Kong – Hungary – Iceland – Indonesia – Ireland – Italy – Ivory Coast – Japan – Kuwait – Latvia – Libya – Liechtenstein – Lithuania – Luxemburg – Mali – Malta – Mexico – Monaco – Netherlands – New Zealand – Niger – Norway – Oman – Peru – Philippines – Poland – Puerto Rico – Qatar – Russian Federation – Saudi Arabia – Senegal – Singapore (They can stay one month without visa) – Slovakia – Slovenia – South Korea – Spain – Sweden – Switzerland – Tunisia – Turkey – United ArabEmirates – United States of America – Venezuela.

Location, Geography and climate:

Bordered by Mauritania in the South, Algeria in the east, the Atlantic Ocean in west, and the Mediterranean sea up north, Morocco is located at the extreme northwestern corner of Africa.
Four separated Mountain ranges, lush river valleys, sandy beaches and the expanded Sahara desert are the what makes Morocco is a geographically diversified country.
The Atlas Mountains which run parallel to each other from southeast to northeast are consisted of the Middle, Anti, and High Atlas Mountains which dominate the country. Toubkal Mount, which is the highest peak in Morocco and North Africa (13,665 ft./4,165 m.), is great Atlas Mountain trek opportunity for hiking amateurs.
Both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coastline offer plenty of beautiful sandy beaches as well as beautiful fortified Medinas. The southern mountains ranges lead to the expanse of the Sahara desert. The southern lush green valleys that resemble linear oases are get water from the rivers that flow down from the High and Middle Atlas Mountains.
Dry climate dominate Morocco even though small amounts of rain fall occasionally between November and March. The temperature dramatically varies by season and location: the coastlines temperatures is mild all year, while the high altitudes of the Atlas Mountains are freezing in the winter and cool the rest of the year. However, Southern and southeastern dry regions can reach extremely high temperatures in the summer.
Many visitors find early autumn and early summer months to be the best period to visit Morocco.

Morocco Fauna:

Foxes, jackals, genets, hyenas, panthers, gazelles and the famous Barbary apes are some of Morocco’s native mammal creatures. However, sheep and goats are the common animals to be seen from your car window while on your Morocco tour. In the Atlas Mountains, Mouflon and wild mountains sheep are pretty common.
Some wild animals in morocco can only be spotted at dawn, dusk, or at nighttime behind your vehicle’s headlights. In humid zones, frogs and toads strike up a nightly chorus almost every night.
In the wintertime between October and March, some Morocco’s birds including the Striped Hoopoe arrive in migrant flocks for the mild winter. For that reason, birds are the most noteworthy and impressive part of the wildlife of Morocco. More than 450 species live in Morocco including the rare and endangered Bald Ibis.

Morocco Flaura:

Forests of evergreen oak and cork are located in the humid sides across Morocco. However, pines and junipers grow in drier slopes of the Atlas Mountains, and poplars almonds and walnuts can be easily found in the valleys.
In semi-deserted sides of Morocco scrubland is very common along with jujube and tamarisks. In the Sahara desert, cultivated date palm trees dominate the oases and the valleys.
In the South -western region of the Atlantic ( between Agadir and Essaouira ) an ancient survivor from the era when this part of Morocco had a tropical climate is the famous Argan tree, which is unique to this region of the world. UNESCO, recognizing the rarity of the Argan tree has declared this region a protected biosphere.

History of Morocco:

The Kingdom of Morocco’s history started since the 2nd millennium BC with the indigenous Berbers. After defeating Carthage in 146 BC, the Romans extended their presence in Morocco. The ancient archaeological site of Volubilis is a great witness of Rome dominance still existing to date.
In the 7th century, the Arabs invaded North Africa, and Islam proved to be a permanent addition to the local culture. A series of dynasties ruled Morocco for the coming centuries, including the Almoravids, the Almohads, and the Almohads who seemed to be able long maintain the support of the local Berber leaders.
In the 15th century, Spain and Portugal began to infiltrate into Morocco after having chased the Moors from Spain. It was until the middle of the 19th century that European powers managed to completely intrude into Morocco due its strategic importance. Finally, in 1912, France was officially acknowledged as a protector of the greater part of the Country, and Spain received some isolated parts of the north and south. Morocco gained its independence in 1956, but its cultural influence is widely noticed.
Today, Morocco is a constitutional monarchy ruled by King Mohamed VI who is leading Morocco toward a greater degree of long-term stability in a rough region, as well as a great level of economic prosperity.

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