Location: Al Maghrib , its name in Arabic , means the west where the sun sets … A country located in the north-west of the African continent ; only 12 miles from Europe . All of Mauritania, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco represent what we currently call Al Maghreb Al Arabi, a unification strategy in achieving a common market in North West of Africa… Since King Mohammed VI was enthroned in 1999, the country has instituted sweeping political and economic changes. Although poverty is still widespread and unemployment remains high, initiatives to attract foreign investment and tourism are bringing new opportunities to urban areas. The human rights record is markedly improved from the previous regime, and today ranks among the cleanest across Africa and the Middle East. Women have benefitted from education initiatives and expanded rights, and new protections for Berber (Amazigh) culture include the introduction of Tamazight (written Berber) in schools. Morocco’s parliament has only nominal power, but the country’s first municipal elections in 2002 were hailed as a step towards democratization. Islamist and other political factions are closely monitored, as is the news media. Geography : Morocco is located on the westernmost tip of north Africa, bordering Algeria to the east, Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara to the southwest and southeast, the Atlantic ocean to the west and the Mediterranean to the north. Running through the middle of the country is the Atlas mountain range. The Middle Atlas range sweeps up from the south, rising to over 3,000m (9,850ft), covered with woodlands of pine, oak and cedar, open pastureland and small lakes. The Rif Mountains run along the north coast. Often snow-covered in winter, Morocco’s mountains are home to the country’s significant indigenous Berber population. The long stretch of Atlantic coast down Morocco’s western side features cool breezes and long sandy beaches. It is separated from the mountainous region by wide swathes of fertile plains. To the north, is the Mediterranean coast, just a stone’s throw from Europe. In the south of the country, the Sahara is the largest desert in the world. Far from being featureless, it is dotted with fascinating traditional villages and cool oases. Weather & climate Best time to visit: The Moroccan climate varies according to season and region. The coast has a warm, Mediterranean climate tempered on the eastern coast by southwest trade winds. Inland areas have a hotter, drier, continental climate. In the south of the country, the weather is very hot and dry throughout most of the year, though temperatures can drop dramatically at night, especially in the months of December and January. Rain falls from November to March in coastal areas, and the country is mostly dry with high temperatures in summer and a cooler climate in the mountains. Marrakech and Agadir enjoy an average temperature of 21°C (70ºF) in the winter. Required clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens are worn during summer, with warm medium weight wear for the evenings, during the winter, and in the mountains. Waterproofing is advisable in the wet season, particularly on the coast and in the mountains. Languages : The official language is Arabic. Berber is not officially recognized even though it is the language of the country’s first inhabitants, who form a majority. French is widely spoken throughout the country, except in the northern regions where Spanish is more predominant. English is also understood, particularly in the north and major tourist destinations like Marrakech. Religion: Predominantly Muslim with Jewish, Christian and Hindu minorities. Morocco’s population and culture is a blend of religious and cultural traditions, encompassing Berber, Arab, African, Mediterranean and Jewish influences. Population: Morocco’s population is approximately 33 million as of the last reported data, A mixed society of Berbers, Arabs, Jews… These communities have lived together for a long time life…But Berbers are considered indigenous people whose origin still remains a mystery till the present time. Arab families first moved from the Middle East to settle in North West Africa and introduced both Islam and Arab culture…Jews remain another important component in the Moroccan social web, settling in many regions of the country both in the north and the south …Today, Berbers and Arabs form the main elements of Moroccan society … Both classical Arabic and various spoken Arabic dialects which have slight regional differences in terms of diction, phonology and morphology are widely spoken… A Moroccan native Arab can easily communicate with an Iraqi native Arab when they both adopt classical Arabic… Tourist Sites: -Sites of historical value: Fes, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat are the four imperial cities which were taken as major capitals by the various dynasties throughout the history of Morocco … These cities contain many historical sites including medinas, ramparts, palaces, mosques, fountains, tombs, granaries, ….And these sites are characterized by intricate Berber and Andalusian architecture…There are other towns including Taroudant , Ouarzazate, Chefchaoun and Tangier which contain remarkable historical sites . Roman ruins can be found in Volubilis near Fes, Chellah in RABAT and in some towns along Atlantic coast such as Larache. -Atlantic and Mediterranean Beaches: Essaouira remains one of the prettiest towns along the Atlantic Coast and provides beachside activities such as surfing, windsurfing and sailing… Oualidia is another beautiful little town on the coast, famous for its oyster beds and a friendly place to meet the local fishermen going about their daily business.-Sand dunes and oases: Travelling south Morocco is a real experience. One can explore the remote oases of the Draa and Ziz valleys, still surviving in spite of serious desertification problems …Nearby rise the spectacular sand dunes of Erg Chebbi and the Cheggaga dunes where nomads still set up their tents.
As a responsible company we share our traveling philosophy with our guests:
- Find out about the destination before you travel by reading about its culture, religion, geography, customs…
- Learn a few basic words and phrases of the language so you can communicate with local people.
- Find out what is appropriate behavior, and learn about and respect local customs and beliefs.
- Dress respectfully so you don’t offend or embarrass anyone.
- Buy locally made goods and use locally provided services so you put some money into the local economy.
- Pay a fair price for the goods and services you buy.
- Bargaining may be part of everyday life, but don’t overdo it.
- Ask for permission to take photos or video. Think of how you would feel if strangers kept taking photos of you.
- Avoid conspicuous displays of wealth- especially in poor communities where you are a guest.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep (about sending pictures…).
- Support local community or environmental projects instead of giving money to children or beggars.
- If you want to give something, give stationery to a school, or something equally practical.
- When you return home, think how you can support programmes to help the country.
- Protect the environment and don’t leave litter!