Morocco is surrounded by the Mediterranean in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Algeria in the east and Mauretania in the south. There are two mountain ranges in Morocco: the Rif Mountains and the Atlas. The Rif lies parallel to the Mediterranean coast, it’s highest peak being the Tidirhine (2,456 m). It is an inaccessible range with a lot of erosion. The Atlas consists of the Middle Atlas (the northwestern range) and the High Atlas which is connected to the southern range, the Anti-Atlas. In the High Atlas, which separates the Atlantic coast from the Sahara, lies the highest peak of North Africa (Djebel Toubkal, 4,165 m). The greater part of the population lives on the fertile plains along the coast. South and east of the Atlas Mountains are dry steppes and deserts.
One third of the population is made up of several Berber tribes, coming from the Rif and Atlas mountains; the other two third is mostly Arab.
Arabic is the official language but the Berber speaks their own languages (there are several). The spoken Arabic differs a lot from written classic Arabic. French is the former colonial language and still used a lot. Spanish is used in the northern coastal areas.
Around Tangier, there will be many people who can speak Spanish, due to the proximity of Spain and Spain’s past involvement in that corner of the country.
Morocco is an Islamic country (approximately 99% of the country are Muslims). Muslims (those that follow Islam) are expected to pray 5 times per day, with the first call to prayer at dawn (the call to prayer nowadays coming from speakers on the minaret of the mosque. Friday is the Muslim holy day and shops or market stalls are likely to close around mid-day. Muslims are not expected to drink alcohol (though you will find alcohol available), eat pork (becoming available for tourists), or expose their bodies.
During the month of Ramadan , Muslims do not eat, drink or smoke during the day. They are however tolerant of non-Muslims or tourists who feel a need to eat.
Moroccan cuisine: Like the country, it is rich in flavors, aromas and colors. Its scents and sweet-and-sour combinations are famous around the world
Moroccan cuisine is one of the best in the world. Come and see for yourself!
Dress Code for the Traveler
As noted above, Muslims effectively keep covered, particularly the women. How this effects the tourist depends on where you are in the country, whether you are in the tourist areas or not, whether you are staying in a tourist hotel or local hotel.
It is wise to be cautious in both dress and behavior to avoid offending others. However Morocco knows the value of tourists, who are welcomed, and allowances are made in the tourist areas and the tourist beaches. Moroccans themselves are likely to be much more western in attitudes in the cities and resorts on the west coast.
Morocco has a subtropical climate, tempered by oceanic influences that give the coastal regions moderate temperatures. Toward the interior, winters are colder and summers warmer, a more continental climate. At high altitudes temperatures of less than -17.8° C (0° F) are not uncommon, and mountain peaks are covered with snow during most of the year.
Rain falls mainly between November and April. Precipitation is heaviest in the northwest and lightest in the east and south. The last few years there almost has been no rain in the south and east of Morocco.
The warmest month in Marrakech is August, with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. We visited in September and at day it was between 32 and 40 degrees, at night between 24 and 29 degrees.
It has to be said that Moroccans are a very hospitable race – a trait common in desert like countries where travelling was traditionally difficult. A stranger would be fed and watered in the knowledge that the person offering the hospitality may have the same separate needs one day.
Spices and celebrating the senses : Spices, synonymous with Moroccan cuisine, give it its special flavor. From Fez to Marrakech, a pungent and colorful walk through the souks. See more…