pop up description layer

Morocco Travel Guide

INTRODUCTION:

Morocco is a North African country bordered by Algeria and Mauritania. The Straight of Gibraltar separates Morocco from Europe which is around 15kn wide at its narrowest point. The country boasts a highly varied landscape whose scenic beauty suffices for increasing demands for Morocco flights.

The country has seen many invasions, the first invaders to Morocco being the Arabs followed by Romans. French were the last conquerors of the country and the first inhabitants of the land were the Berbers. Since the 670 AD conquest of Arabs, the Berbers of Morocco had been influenced with Islam and its followings. However, the country is now left largely left with French touches due to its colonial era.  

Morocco, like many other Islamic countries, is fast developing into a highly modernized state. Moroccan cities like Casablanca have even been depicted in Hollywood movies where westernization is immense.   

MAJOR CITIES:

Rabat: is the capital city of Morocco. It has the best depiction of Islamic cultures in Morocco and very good transportation system.  

Casablanca: is the largest city in Morocco as well the country’s business hub. It is a world class cosmopolitan city, highly regarded by tourists.

Marrakech: is surrounded by Atlas Mountains and is an extremely scenic place. Due to its historical buildings, it is one of the most visited sites in Morocco.

Meknes: is a historical city, founded in the tenth century. It is popular for its hundreds of years old monuments. It is a modern tranquil city.

Fez: is the oldest medieval city in the world. Indeed, it is a worth visiting city during a visit to Morocco.

Tangier:  is situated in the northernmost part of Morocco. It is the first stop over in the country for those who are traveling to Morocco through ship from Europe.

Tetouan: is popular for its beautiful beaches.

GET IN:

Visa:

In order to fly to Morocco, visitors from almost every country need to have a valid visa, however the government of Morocco has laid down a list of some SAC and Schengen member countries whose people need not to have a visa prior to arrival.

For those who will need a visa, the nearest Moroccan embassy is the address to visit. The visa can be single entry or double entry each costing up to US$ 25 and US$ 38 respectively. They expire around 3 months. With 4 passport size photographs no older than 6 months, valid passport with at least one empty page and photocopy of relevant data pages, visa acquiring process can be 5-6 days long.

For countries with cholera epidemic, anti-cholera vaccination certificate is required for pets and it should not be older than 10 days. Also a rabies certificate is required for them which should be no older than 6 months.      

Flying:

Airlines from different European, American and Canadian cities fly to different Moroccan airports. New York, Montreal and London are frequently connected to Casablanca but seasonally to Agadir. Easyjet flies from London to Marrakech and Casablanca. Ryanair flies from Bergamo (Italy), Girona, Madrid and Reus (Spain), Bremen and Frankfurt (Germany) and London (UK) to many airports in Morocco. Jet 4 You offers cheap flights to Morocco France and Belgium.

Royal Air Maroc, Atlas Blue and Aigle Azur are other good choices while Thomson Blue connects Manchester to Casablanca and Binter Canarias connects Canary Islands to Marrakech.   

GET AROUND:

Flying:

Regional Air Lines, Atlas Blue and Morocco’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, service almost all the airports within Morocco. Regional Air Lines fly between Essaouira, Oujda, Marrakech, Agadir, Errachidia, Al Hoceima, Goulimime and Nador.

Royal Air Maroc has scheduled flights between; Oudja, Agadir, Fez, Casablanca, Marrakech, Errachidia, Ouarzazate and Essaouira.     

Train:

Trains in Morocco run between Marrakech and Tangier through Rabat and Casablanca. Also there is another line servicing Oujda and Meknes.

There are some frequently covered routes where dinning cars, restaurant cars and sleeping cars are also available. These are day and night services between Fes and Rabat, Fes and Casablanca and Marrakech and Casablanca.

Car:

Traffic laws in Morocco are strict and most of the roads and highways in the country are up to European standards. Consequently, this makes traveling in car the best option while visiting Morocco. To drive around, the minimum age limit is 21 years and an international deriving license would be required.

Once the requirements have been fulfilled, the many car hiring companies in the country can be surveyed. Opting for local companies is not a bad idea but multi-nationals ensure car insurance. Bigger the car more is the rent in Morocco. Thus it is advised not go for a 4X4 until there is a plan for off road driving.     

All the roads are placed with signposts but Moroccan driving can be a bit disturbing for most travelers. Also, camels, donkeys, pedestrians and bikers on the roads can cause confusion thus travelers, not habitual to this need to be careful.  

Bus:

SATAS, CTM and Supratours run buses between many cities and offer luxurious and safe journeys. Shared taxis are quicker and fortunately, much better than those found in many other African countries.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

Koutoubia Mosque:

This mosque is one of the most famous mosques of the city of Marrakech. Its minaret is highly appreciated by locals and tourists alike. Many say that the minaret of this mosque is as significant to MArrakech as Eiffel Tower is to Paris.  

Old Medina:

Located in the city of Rabat, Old Medina is a paradise for Food lovers. This is where visitors get to find some of the most delectable recipes on the menus of restaurants. These restaurants offer not only local but international cuisines as well. The area comprises various food stalls that sell scrumptious fish and salad sandwiches and the best part is that is it not very expensive to eat out here. 

Meknes Royal Golf Course:

This golf course is quite famous amongst golf lovers in the city of Meknes. The gardens at this venue are beautiful and carefully preserved.

Merenid Tombs:

This venue is located next to Merenid Hotel in Fez. By climbing these tombs, one can experience spectacular views of the city. Note that the olive trees which are lined on the hills look great from the top of the tombs.

The Beach at Agadir:

This beach is a vast expanse of sand accompanied by ocean breeze and patrolled by police to keep away hustlers. Lazing out on sun beds or chilling out in the many cafes that line the beach, both make a trip simply exotic. Along with a number of water sports, jet-skiing, camel riding and quad biking can also be enjoyed. Beach budgies are also available. Nothing could be better than this for beach lovers. However, it needs to be bore in mind that children need to be taken good care of as the ocean waves are too strong for little ones to balance in.

Essaouira:

It is a paradise for sea food lovers, beach lovers and shoppaholics. A camel ride on the beach would be an unforgettable experience.

Medinas:

A common characteristic throughout Morocco, Medinas are found in almost every city. A Medina is the older part of a city around which the newer, metropolitan areas have grown. These Medinas provide the best of traditional lifestyle and old architecture. Traditional bazaars, known as Souqs are often found in Medinas, where shopping remains an exotic experience.  

Desert Adventure:

For a typical African trip, a visit into the desert areas is must. The high dunes and views of the desert provide heavenly options for photographers and sightseers. On the other hand, staying in the desert over night, indulging in the lifestyle of people living there, taking a camel ride or even a 4X4 drive would leave the tourists ever delighted.

Hassan II Mosque:

It is the one of the largest mosques in the world and certainly, the largest in Morocco. The ones in Saudi Arabia (Mecca and Medina) are the largest in the world but not open to non-Muslims. Hassan II Mosque is located in Casablanca and open to everyone thus it is a worth a visit to learn the best about Islamic architecture.     

Nature:

Atlas Mountains have provided Morocco with endless landscapes and scenic beauty. Thus, the valleys, water falls and mountains of the region are worth a visit for a picnic. If possible, a stay in the beautiful areas should be arranged. Ouzoud Falls, Dades Valley, Ouarzazate and some palm tree shed roads are worth voting sites of Atlas Mountains.

LANGUAGES:

The official language of Morocco is Arabic which is widely spoken and understood. For those who do not know Arabic, French could work as lingua franca which is known to most Moroccans. However, it is better to learn some Arabic phrases like ‘Shokran’ (Thankyou) and the greeting phrase ‘Es Salaam Aleikum’ (peace upon you).

People in rural areas do not know French and usually speak Berber language. Rif and Atlas Mountains see the most of Berber speakers. Spanish is also spoken in some areas of the country.

WEATHER:

1st Quarter:

Temperatures rise from a range of 7oC-17oC in January up to 9oC-19oC in March through 8oC-18oC in February. Humidity decreases from 79% to 77% in February and maintains as such until March. 6 hours of sunlight are available in January, 7 hours in February and 8 hours in March while precipitation decreases from 7cm in the first month of the quarter to 5 cm in the second and third. It may not be a suitable time to visit the country but cheap flights to Morocco can be found in this quarter due to low traveling, to enjoy a trip in the second quarter.

2nd Quarter:

Low rainfall, constant humidity rate, reasonable temperature ranges and maximum amount of sunlight combine in the months of April, May and June to make it the best time for tourists. The month of April sees no more than 3cm of rain, 11oC-20oC temperatures and a good 9 hours of daily sunshine. Humidity is 77% in this month. Comes the month of May and daylight time increase to 10 hours, while, humidity falls to 65% by the end of the month. Temperature falls no lower then 15oC and goes no higher than 23oC and downpours of no more than 2cm are experienced in this month. June enjoys a sharp decline in rate of humidity falling to 76% and rainfalls becoming scarce at 1cm or lower. 10 hours of daily sunshine is available and temperature ranges from 16oC to 25oC.

3rd Quarter:

July experiences an increasing trend in temperature and humidity levels with no or scarce rainfall and 10 hours of daily sunshine. In the middle of the month, humidity is nearly 76% which increases by the end. July temperature ranges from 18oC to 26oC. The month of August experiences scanty rainfall and a reduction in daily sunlight timings from 10 hours to 9 hours. Temperatures are highest in this month with the lowest being 19oC and going as high as 27oC. Humidity is also highest in August at 81% compared all other months. September finds 8 hours of daily sunshine and a temperature range of 15oC to 25oC. 3cm of rainfall and 79% humidity make up for the wetness of the month.

4th Quarter:

The last quarter experiences an increase in rainfall from 5cm in October to 7cm in November and 6cm in December. Sunshine hours also decrease from 8 in October to 6 until mid-November to maintain up till December. Humidity remains constant at 77% in the first two months of the quarter and increases to 79% in December. Temperature ranges show a decreasing trend with 15oC-25oC in October, 10oC-20oC in November and 8oC-8oC in December.