Morocco is a land of contrasts. Vibrant, seductive and exciting, a place where shadows merge with sunlight, where oases spring from the desert, where sky and sea meet at the horizon.Contrasting colours dissolve into a flickering kaleidoscope of blue, copper, red, green, achre, silver and gold.A land bursting with the colours of life and of celebration.A country where festivals happen all year round. Morocco, a place where magical colours blend in an irresistible pageant of light and shade.
Morocco is a land of sensations, of scents and flavours. The subtle delights of February when the almond trees blossom.The sweet and sharp spices of brightly coloured dishes. Fragrances of amber, jasmine and spices, hints of honey and orange flower, perfume of roses and eucalyptus and the promise of incense, In this heady atmosphere of Morocco, you can share an exotic feast and sip mint tea with a pepole renowned for their hospitality.
Morocco is a country where man and nature work as one. Where clay is transformed by the architect or moulded at the potter’s wheel. Bright metals are transfomed into jewellery, ornaments. Wool is woven into stunning patterns and traditional designs. Wood is carved with skill and inlaid with delicate marquetry. Morocco has a profusion of treasures, waiting to be discovered behind the walls of its towns and cities.
*A valid passport or identity card is necessary if the trip is conceived by a travel agency.
*To rent a car, one must be at least 18 years old and possess a valid driving license.
*No vaccination is compulsory.
*Sun protection is necessary, bring along glasses and hat.
*Avoid drinking tap water
The moroccan currency is Moroccan dirham.This currency can neither be exported nor imported, so you have to change money only in Morocco. You can just as well change cash at the airport or in your hotel since the exchange rate is the same. Traveller cheques, as well as international credit cards are available.
ATMs can be found throughout the country, except in small villages. Banks open from Monday to Friday, generally from 08.15 till 11.15 a.m and from 14.15 till 16.00 p.m. During Ramadan and in summer, they are open from 08.30 a.m till 14.00 p.m.
Tips are not included in the price. Load up your pockets with small change. Tipping is an integral part of Moroccan life, and a few dirham for a service willingly rendered can make life a lot easier. Tipping between 5% and 10% of a restaurant bill is appropriate. It is also well-viewed to tip taxis, guides and small boys who help you find your way out of the complex maze of streets in the old parts of town.
Morocco is at GMT’s hour; when it’s 12.00 in France, it’s 10.00 a.m in Morocco in summer and 11.00 a.m in winter.Generally, medinas’ stores close on Friday. Nevertheless, in touristic cities, they close only from 11.00 a.m to 16.00 p.m.
The setting, the light and the scenery allow you to realize wonderful photos. Everything can be photographied freely, except in military areas and in some museums. Before taking photos of people, ask them first and let them a small remuneration. In places like Djemaa El Fna, it would be better to negociate the photo first.
Films and camrecorder’s cassets can be found easily in photo laboratories.
To call a foreign country, dial the international code 00 followed by the code of the called country (33 for France for example) and then your correspondent number (without 0) To call in Morocco dial directly the 6-digit phone number if in the same phone area. Dial first the area code followed by the phone number if you are calling out of your communication area (0522 for Casablanca, 0524 for Marrakesh). To call from abroad, dial 00 then the country code of Morocco 212 followed by the area code and the number.
Hotels are generally equipped with 220V installations.
At the top, in the northwest part of the African continent, Morocco extends on 2 coastlines which borders the Atlantic coast in the west part and the Mediterranean in the north part of the country.In its 710 850 km² live 26 millions of inhabitants. Morocco is like that : on the one hand, just at a score of km from Europe and on the other hand, its frontiers disappear in the desert’s dunes.In the center, Rif and Atlas mountain ranges offer a varied relief (the Mid, the High and the Anti-Atlas) and hide the landscape with some summits like Toubkal’s one(the highest peak in North Africa : 4165 m). From this variety of places borns the impressive contrast between moroccan landscapes, classified among the most beautiful in the world. But this mountains used to be obstacles to communication between North and South. Nowadays, great differences still exist from one region to another; so, you have the impression to visit several countries in one.
Morocco can boast an ideal climate :summers are hot and dry in the hinterland, colder and wet on the coasts.In winter the thermometer may rise and decrease considerably between night and day. The average sunshine all over the year is about more than 8 hours per day in Agadir, Fez, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate.
*Prehistory : the first inhabitants were the Berbers
*Antiquity : around 800/600 p.J.C., Morocco enters the history. Then, Roman conquest in 42ptJ.C.
*Muslim conquest in the VII century : Arabs invade North Africa
* Succession of High Berber Dinasties
The Idrissids from 788 to 1055
The Almoravids from 1055 to 1144
The Almohads from 1130 to 1269
The Merinids from 1269 to 1465
The Saadians from 1525 to 1659
The Alaouites : present dynasty
* French protectorate from 1912 to 1956
* Country’s independence
*Islam is the religion followed by most of Moroccan people.
*The King is at the state’s head and is also the religious and spiritual leader
*the holy month of Ramadan lasts a month, from the dawn to the dusk.According to the moon changings, Ramadan is every year brought backward around 10 days from one year to another. During Ramadan, work schedule alters and most of the shops and restaurants are closed till dusk.
Morocco's Jewish minority (265,000 in 1948) has decreased significantly and numbers about 5,500.
Most of the 100,000 foreign residents are French or Spanish.
Celebrations, festivities and folkloric events
*February : Almond trees Festivity in Tafraoute
*May : Roses festivity in Kelaa Mgouna
International festival of Holy music in Fez
*June : Cherries festivity at Sefrou, near Fez
Figs festivity in Bouhouda, near Taounate
Gnaoua Music Festival in Essaouira
*July : Honey festivity at Imouzzer, at 60 km of Agadir
*September : Engagement festivity in Imilchil
*October : Dates festivity in Erfoud
* Classical arabic, brought from the East by Muslim conquerors
* «Moroccan» dialectal arabic - Darija
* Berber dialects
* French, studied at school as a second language since primary scholl, is spoken by most of Moroccans.
* English and Spanish are also widely spoken in big cities.
*Wool and carpets
*Minearls and fossils
*Woodwork(thuya and oliver)
*Tajine : national dish named after the earthware vessel with the cone shaped lid in which meat, fish or vegetables are slowly cooked in olive oil and a spice mix.
*Couscous : the traditional moroccan dish with semolina
*Pastilla : puff pastry, generally with pigeon, but also now with chicken and seafood.
*Mechoui - roasted lamb
*Kefta : minced meatballs
*Harira : soup with broad bean and mutton meat. During Ramadan, it’s accompanied with dates and honey pastries.
*Various salads, presentated and served in small dishes around the table
*Moroccan pastries and cookies
*Mint tea is the traditional drink
*Still/sparkling mineral water
*Imported drinks can also be found in supermarkets and most of hotels