Travel to Morocco

Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco borders the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, and is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. Morocco offers a taste of exotica for travelers who wish to explore a moderate Muslim country.

Morocco is the only North African country that offers tradition and 21st century modernity. Morocco boasts a combination of natural wonders, windy old medinas and an immense history.

Morocco’s ancient kasbahs, Roman ruins, breathtaking waterfalls, camel treks, overnight stays in the Sahara by an oasis and mountainous regions where one can hike or ski make it a diversified place to visit.

Marrakesh, a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic center and home to mosques, palaces and gardens. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with mazelike alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. A symbol of the city, and visible for miles, is the Moorish minaret of 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque.

Rabat, Morocco’s capital, rests along the shores of the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for landmarks that speak to its Islamic and French-colonial heritage, including the Kasbah of the Udayas. This Berber-era royal fort is surrounded by formal French-designed gardens and overlooks the ocean. The city’s iconic Hassan Tower, a 12th-century minaret, soars above the ruins of a mosque.

Fes is a northeastern Moroccan city often referred to as the country’s cultural capital. It’s primarily known for its Fes El Bali walled medina, with medieval Marinid architecture, vibrant souks and old-world atmosphere. The medina is home to religious schools such as the 14th-century Bou Inania and Al Attarine, both decorated with elaborate cedar carvings and ornate tile work.

Tangier, a Moroccan port on the Strait of Gibraltar, has been a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since Phoenician times. Its whitewashed hillside medina is home to the Dar el Makhzen, a palace of the sultans that’s now a museum of Moroccan artifacts. The American Legation Museum, also in the medina, documents early diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Morocco in an 1821 Moorish-style former consulate.

Casablanca is a port city and commercial hub in western Morocco, fronting the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s French colonial legacy is seen in its downtown Mauresque architecture, a blend of Moorish style and European art deco. Standing partly over the water, the enormous Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, has a 210m minaret topped with lasers directed toward Mecca.

Chefchaouen, or Chaouen, is a city in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. It’s known for the striking, blue-washed buildings of its old town. Leather and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled lanes. In the shady main square of Place Outa el Hammam is the red-walled Kasbah, a 15th-century fortress and dungeon, and Chefchouen Ethnographic Museum. The octagonal minaret of the Great Mosque rises nearby.

Ouarzazate is a city south of Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, known as a gateway to the Sahara Desert. Its huge Taourirt Kasbah, home to a 19th-century palace, has views over the rugged local landscape, which features in several movies. Northwest is the fortified red-earth city of Aït Ben Haddou. Northeast is the rocky Todra Gorge. A road winds southeast through the Draa Valley’s lush palm groves to the desert.

Overview

People

The population of Morocco is over 34 million. 99% of residents are Arab-Berber, with the remaining 1% comprising other groups. 99% of Moroccans are Muslim.

Language

The official language of Morocco is Arabic. Second to Arabic is Berber, spoken by over 50% of Morocco’s Population. French is widely spoken. English is spoken by many people in the tourism industry.

History

Early Morocco

The written history of Morocco began about 1,000 BC when the Phoenicians from what is now Lebanon sailed there. The Phoenicians founded trading posts in Morocco.

In 42 AD the Romans annexed the kingdom and Morocco remained under Roman rule until the 5th century AD when the Arabs began raiding Morocco, and by 705 they were in control and introduced Islam.

In the 11th century Berbers from Mauritania advanced north and conquered Morocco.

The next Moroccan dynasty was of Arab origin. The Saadians captured Marrakech in 1525 and Fes in 1548. The Saadian dynasty reached a peak during the years 1578-1603 in the time of Ahmed el-Mansour, known as the Golden One. However after his death the dynasty declined.
Mouley Rachid 1664-1672 founded a new dynasty, the Alaouites. Under Moulay Ismail 1672-1727 Morocco was a strong, centralized state. Morocco remained an independent country.

Modern Morocco

In 1912 Morocco was forced to become a French protectorate. Naturally the Moroccans resented their loss of independence and the whole country was not subdued until 1934. However in 1942, during World War II the allies landed in Morocco and Roosevelt was sympathetic to the Moroccans. In 1944 a Manifesto of Independence was published and in 1947 the Sultan declared he was in favor of independence.
In 1953 the French deposed the Sultan but he returned in 1956. Morocco became independent in 1956.
Hassan II became king of Morocco in 1961 and he reigned until 1991. During the 1960s and 1970s Morocco suffered from political instability. A constitution was drawn up in 1962 followed by another in 1970. However the king survived 2 coup attempts in 1971 and in 1972. Then in 1981 there were riots in Casablanca.

In 1996 Morocco was given a new constitution and in 1999 Mohammed VI became king. Today Morocco is a fast developing country. The main industries are tourism and textiles.

In July 2011 voters in Morocco approved a new constitution for the country.

Travel Guide

Currency

The Moroccan currency is the dirham, divided into 100 centimes. USD cash is accepted, but you will not get the best exchange rate.

Best Time to Travel

April - May, and October - November are the prime months to travel to Morocco.  Summer months are uncomfortably hot, and winter months are chilly, especially at higher altitudes; in fact, there is a ski resort in the Middle Atlas mountains. Traveling during Ramadan can be problematic as many shops and restaurants are closed.

Health Requirements

Morocco requires no vaccinations in order to enter. Nevertheless, if you have not received Typhoid or Hepatitis A shot in the past, it is advisable - but not mandatory - to get them.

Visa Requirements

A three month visa will be issued on arrival to travelers who hold a US passport with at least 6 months validity, and a return air ticket.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping is customary and appreciated in Morocco. Africa Answers final documents will include tipping guidelines.

Credit Cards

Major hotels will accept credit cards. Mastercard and Visa are accepted more widely than American Express. Cash is required for shopping in souks and markets, and dining in small cafes and restaurants.

Electrical Appliances

Morocco has 220 volt electricity, meaning unless your US appliance is dual voltage, you will need a converter. You will also need a type C or E plug adapter.

For more information please go to https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plug-voltage-by-country/

Water

Tap water in Morocco is only potable if it is filtered. Hotels will indicate if water is filtered. While away from the hotel, bottled water is recommended.

Map

A: Alexandria
B: Amboseli National Park
C: Arusha
D: Aswan
E: Bazaruto Island
F: Benguerra Island
G: Botswana
H: Bwindi Impenetrable NP
I: Cairo
J: Cape Town
K: Cape Winelands
L: Central Kalahari Region
M: Chobe National Park
N: Denis Island
O: Desroches Island
P: Drakensburg
Q: Dubai
R: Dubai Beaches
S: Dubai City Center
T: Dubai Desert
U: Dubai Marina
V: Durban
W: Eastern Cape
X: Eastern Cape Safaris
Y: Egypt
Z: Ethiopia
AA: Etosha National Park
AB: Franschhoek
AC: Garden Route
AD: Greater Kruger National Park
AE: Greater Winelands
AF: Hermanus
AG: Hwange National Park
AH: Johannesburg
AI: Jordan
AJ: Kafue National Park
AK: Kampala
AL: Kariba
AM: Kenya
AN: Kigali
AO: Knysna
AP: Kruger National Park
AQ: Kwazulu Natal
AR: La Digue
AS: Lake Manyara NP
AT: Lake Nakuru
AU: Lewa Wildlife Conservation
AV: Linyanti/Savuti Region
AW: Livingstone
AX: Lower Zambezi National Park
AY: Luxor
AZ: Madagascar
BA: Madikwe Game Reserve
BB: Mahé
BC: Maldives
BD: Mana Pools National Park
BE: Masai Mara
BF: Mauritius
BG: Mombasa
BH: Morocco
BI: Mozambique
BJ: Nairobi
BK: Namibia
BL: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
BM: North Island
BN: Okavango and Moremi GR
BO: Oman
BP: Oudtshoorn
BQ: Plettenberg Bay
BR: Port Elizabeth
BS: Praslin
BT: Queen Elizabeth National Park
BU: Quirimbas Archipelago
BV: Rwanda
BW: Sabi Sands
BX: Samburu National Park
BY: Selous Game Reserve
BZ: Serengeti National Park
CA: Seychelles
CB: Sharm El Sheik
CC: Sheik Zayed Road
CD: Silhouette Island
CE: Skeleton Coast National Park
CF: Sossusvlei
CG: South Africa
CH: South Luangwa
CI: Stellenbosch
CJ: Sun City
CK: Sun City and Surrounds
CL: Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
CM: Tanzania
CN: Tarangire National Park
CO: Timbavati Region
CP: Uganda
CQ: Umhlanga
CR: Victoria Falls
CS: Vilanculos
CT: Volcanoes National Park
CU: Windhoek
CV: Zambia

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This Destination

Morocco

Related Destinations

Alexandria
Amboseli National Park
Arusha
Aswan
Bazaruto Island
Benguerra Island
Botswana
Bwindi Impenetrable NP
Cairo
Cape Town
Cape Winelands
Central Kalahari Region
Chobe National Park
Denis Island
Desroches Island
Drakensburg
Dubai
Dubai Beaches
Dubai City Center
Dubai Desert
Dubai Marina
Durban
Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape Safaris
Egypt
Ethiopia
Etosha National Park
Franschhoek
Garden Route
Greater Kruger National Park
Greater Winelands
Hermanus
Hwange National Park
Johannesburg
Jordan
Kafue National Park
Kampala
Kariba
Kenya
Kigali
Knysna
Kruger National Park
Kwazulu Natal
La Digue
Lake Manyara NP
Lake Nakuru
Lewa Wildlife Conservation
Linyanti/Savuti Region
Livingstone
Lower Zambezi National Park
Luxor
Madagascar
Madikwe Game Reserve
Mahé
Maldives
Mana Pools National Park
Masai Mara
Mauritius
Mombasa
Morocco
Mozambique
Nairobi
Namibia
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
North Island
Okavango and Moremi GR
Oman
Oudtshoorn
Plettenberg Bay
Port Elizabeth
Praslin
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Quirimbas Archipelago
Rwanda
Sabi Sands
Samburu National Park
Selous Game Reserve
Serengeti National Park
Seychelles
Sharm El Sheik
Sheik Zayed Road
Silhouette Island
Skeleton Coast National Park
Sossusvlei
South Africa
South Luangwa
Stellenbosch
Sun City
Sun City and Surrounds
Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
Tanzania
Tarangire National Park
Timbavati Region
Uganda
Umhlanga
Victoria Falls
Vilanculos
Volcanoes National Park
Windhoek
Zambia

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