Morocco, officially The Kingdom of Morocco.
Morocco is a frisky North African country with richly diversified historical and cultural background. With its magical mixture of yesteryear’s cultures, breathtaking beaches, snowy and highly perched Mountains, golden sand dunes of the Sahara, world heritage classified sites, Morocco is, no doubts, a land that will strike you by its contrast. Here each day, each walk, each meal…will surely be a new discovery.
Morocco’s history remains very varied and rich. But it is very important to understand the key factors that resulted in the appearance of today’s Morocco. Native Berber populations have been living in the region we call Morocco since the dawn of modern times. Over a period of Roman dominion, the Arabs invaded the country in the seventh century, bringing with them the Islamic tradition that still remains, to date, very much alive in Morocco. After the Arabs came other rulers that shortly & partially took over the territory. The majority of these rulers fell in Morocco because they couldn’t sustain the support of Berber population as well as the Berber leadership.
In the late fourteenth century, Morocco had experienced a period of autonomy. However, Morocco’s strategic location along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean was a highly appealing matter to then European superpowers, namely Portugal, Spain and France. Thus, from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, we will witness an unprecedented struggle for power in the territory. After centuries of conflicts and struggle, France has been acknowledged as the protector of Morocco in 1911 whereas Spain won supremacy over a number of neighboring islands. In 1956 and after many failed attempts, France has finally accepted Moroccan request for independence and the Kingdom of Morocco was officially independent.
Morocco’s population is over 33.8 million and its area is 446,550 km².Morocco’s capital is Rabat. Other big cities include Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes, Tangier and Meknès. Over half of Morocco’s population lives in urban areas. Casablanca remains the largest city of the country, while Fez is considered to be the major spiritual and religious vicinity. Marrakech is a cultural and touristic center with its unique and authentic “Djemaa El Fna” square where snake charmers and acrobats and dancers came each evening to entertain the crowds.
Morocco is situated in the northern part of Africa, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and Algeria to the east and southeast. Only the small (11 Km wide) Strait of Gibraltar separates it from Spain at its northern bound. Its southern border is Mauritania.
Mainly all the interior part of Morocco are mountainous, and the outskirts a typical coastal plains. It’s here where the soils are rich and most precipitation falls making these parts of the kingdom the most favorable region for agriculture.
The commonly called “Atlas Mountains” are formed of three major mountainous ranges that are, the High Atlas, the Middle Atlas and the Anti-Atlas. With the Rif’s mountainous range, the Atlas ranges run parallel to each other across the country’s interior. In the far southern part of this Mountains start the Sahara Desert.
Morocco climate is semi-tropical. In the summer, it’s warm and sunny on the coasts and intensely hot and dry in the interior plains. There are four distinct seasons: Summer 21st June- 20th September) very hot by daytime but cool at night; Spring (21st March-20th June) and Autumn (21st September – 20th December) are the best seasons of the year with temperate days and bright sunshine. Winter (21st December – 20th March) is cool and brings frequent rainfalls, with snowfalls in mountainous regions of High and Middle Atlas. Over all the country is best known for its temperate climate with a hot sun.
Three distinctive climatic conditions preponderate all the three major regions: coastal regions have warm and dry summers, are wet for the rest of the year and mild in winter: the coast is drier south of Agadir, where it is free of Atlantic depressions in winter. The mountains get hot, experiences dry summers and very harsh winter: parts of the High Atlas remain under snow well into the summer. The rest of the country has continental climate, getting hotter and drier in summer in south, but moderated by the sea to the west. Inland, Sahara remains very dry, hot summers give way to warm sunny days and cold or even frosty nights in winter.
Arabic and Berber are Morocco’s official languages, but French remains extensively used and taught. French serves as the primary language of commerce and government. Almost all Moroccans, except for very old, very young or isolated people, speak French, a legacy of the past. It is taught in schools, even the remotest. Most ranking officers are French trained and oriented. As French has only been introduced in Northern Morocco in 1956, many people in the Old Spanish Zone around Tetouan prefer to speak in Spanish.
Moroccan Arabic (Darija) is composed of a unique mixture of Arabic, Berber, French and Spanish. Along with Arabic, about 10 million Moroccans, principally living in countryside areas speak Berber. English is speedily becoming the foreign language of choice among educated youth and is offered in all public schools from the fourth year on.
Most important hotels, shops and tourist restaurants are manned by English speaking front desk operators. Newly, the Moroccan elite have taken a special interest in English as it is the international language of business and commerce.
Culture & Customs
Morocco is an ethnically and culturally very rich country with a great number of influences from Spain, France, the Middle East, Berber and Judaism. Family, immediate and extended, is of utmost significance in Morocco. One’s actions are considered a reflection on one’s entire family. Therefore one’s public reputation is very important in Morocco. Respect and honesty are core values for the Moroccan people.
In Morocco, food and the way of its preparation are very important. People are proud of their cuisine which involves joining together and combining a big range of vegetables, fruits and meats or seafood with spices and condiments. “Couscous” is a fastener item that is made of semolina and served with chicken, lamb, or beef and assorted vegetables, and acts as the national dish. Another conventional dish is the “Tajine” a spicy stew with many variations. habitually Tajines have a meat or poultry base. Other Moroccan delicacies include roasted lamb (mechoui), flaky pigeon pie (pastilla), and a hearty soup (Harira) of chick peas, beans and vegetables and on rare occasion meat. Mint tea, with fresh sprigs of mint and large helpings of sugar is said to be the national drink or the Moroccan Whisky.
Ceramics and pottery manufacture is an old tradition in Morocco. Gorgeous pieces are crafted from the clay that makes up much of Morocco’s terrain. Clay is formed into shape by craftsman and left to dry in the sun before being fired in a kiln. The different colors of the pottery come from a variety of minerals that naturally are found in Morocco soils.
In terms of clothing, both men and women habitually wear a long, hooded robe called the “Djellaba”. In a number of rural conservative areas and even amid a few of the older generation living in the cities, women put on veils when going outside their homes. But the younger generations of city-dwelling Moroccans normally wear Western-style clothes, except on holidays and ceremonial occasions. Similarly, in urban centers, men wear suits and neckties and women generally wear Western garments to their workplaces.
During traditional celebrations, Moroccan women often wear caftans, beautifully designed and trimmed ceremonial dresses worn with delicate and lovely gold belts. Men living in the hot and dry southern region of Morocco may wear robes in blue hues and black head turbans to protect themselves from the hot desert sun.
Originated in Morocco, Andalusian conventional music can be heard in northern Africa. Berber folklore music is also very popular in Morocco. Moroccans are used, especially in the more remote regions of the Sahara, to make their own instruments. Flutes and drums are frequently utilized to compose Moroccan music. It is widespread for the itinerant Berber tribes in the Sahara to have their own traditional dances like “Ahwach” and “Ahidous” dances.
In Morocco, there are two types of holidays, religious and administrative. Moussems or festivals are often themed about local goods and crops like almonds, dates and roses. Also camels, horses and other typical animals in Morocco are celebrated in festivals as well. Religious celebrations include, inter alia, the end of Ramadan, Eid El Kebir (sheep sacrifice) and Al Mawlid Nabaoui (Birth of prophet). Moussems are a sort festivals that commemorate religious men (Marabou) that have passed away. Other Moroccan celebrations are the National Day and Independence Day…etc.
Islam is the state religion and integral part of daily life that profoundly influences manners and personal conduct.
1- Number of Tourist Arrivals to Morocco
Over 10 million on 2014.
2- Major Nationalities
French, Spanish, Germans, British, Italian, Belgium, Dutch, Americans, Canadian, Swiss.
Morocco is a year round-tourist destination. Beaches or mountains: it is important to know what temperatures and weather conditions to expect at different times of the year. The temperate Moroccan climate makes it possible to enjoy the richness and diversity of the country all year round. Come and enjoy it!
Visiting in spring
Morocco offers the guaranty of excellent quality sunshine for most of the year. The spring is particularly warm and pleasant. In spring temperatures are around 23-26 °C in Agadir and Marrakech. The trees are in bloom and the mountain peaks still have snow on them… making for fantastic photos.
Visiting in summer
The hot summer temperatures are kept in check on the coast by the sea breeze. On the far side of the upper Atlas mountains, the south of the country experiences high temperatures (38 °C on average). Take advantage of the cool and the exquisite climate of the mountains in summer. For example, as in the Ifrane Valley (at 1 650 m altitude) with its pastures, woodlands and waterfalls. In Morocco, a suitable climate is never far away, no matter the season!
Visit in winter
The Atlantic and Mediterranean climate provides mild temperatures all year round on the coasts. On the uplands, winter is cold and damp. That is why you can go skiing in the mid-range Atlas Mountains which are covered in snow, at the same time that others are swimming in Agadir!
Visit in fall/autumn
This is the season for rest: nights are longer and temperatures fall inland. The winter rains have not yet arrived and it is still pleasant to swim in the sea.
4- Time Zone : Greenwich time zone
Visa for Morocco / for non-restricted nationalities
The nationalities of US, Canada, UK and others do not require a visa to enter Morocco as a tourist.
If you are a citizen of one of the following countries, be informed that you don’t need a visa to enter Morocco:
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Liechtenstein, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Venezuela.
To enter Morocco, your passport must be valid for at least six months after you enter the country. Be sure you get a stamp in your passport upon arrival into the country which will allow you to stay for 90 days. No entry fees are charged.
The Tour Guides availability depends on the touristic seasons. During high seasons (from April to June & September to October). To secure a good Tour Guide, it is preferably to make bookings before and this is mainly applicable for German language, Italian, Russian and Spanish/Portuguese.
1- Train Network
From Rabat :
Rabat – Casablanca – El Jadida
Rabat – Casablanca – Khouribga – Oued Zem
Rabat – Casablanca – Safi
From CMN Airport :
Casablanca Airport – Casablanca – Rabat – Kenitra
From Tangier Med Port:
Port of Tanger Med – Tangier – Rabat – Casablanca
Casablanca – Fès – Taourirt – Nador
Casablanca – Rabat – Tangier – Port of Tanger Med
Casablanca – Berrechid – Settat
Marrakech – Casablanca – ElKsar – Asilah – Tangier
Marrakech – Casablanca – Rabat – Kenitra – Meknes – Fès – Oujda
Oujda – Nador – Fès – Meknes – Tangier
Oujda – Fès – Kenitra – Rabat – Casablanca – Marrakech
For more itineraries /information, please visit the following website: www.oncf.ma
3- Inter-Morocco Flights
The greater part of interior flights departs from Casablanca airport, which is the biggest international airport in Morocco. There are international airports in major cities like Marrakech, Agadir and Fès.
Here is a link if you wish to check about all this : www.royalairmaroc.com/ma-en
All private transfers are handled by Pure Morocco Staff and/or drivers
The Escort service is provided from 6 persons and above.
Time of Responses
How long does it take to answer booking queries?
Please take into consideration these answers delays for your requests, as follows:
1- Hotels availability The same day
2- Transfers availability The same day.
3- Defined programs 24 H
4- Tailor made request 48H to 72H