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2023 Morocco Awareness Blog 3 Hero

All About Morocco

Anna Drake
by Anna Drake

December 04, 2023

5 minute read

The mountainous North African country of Morocco is nothing short of miraculous – a travel experience that engages all your senses. Whether you’ve already booked a spot on one of our Moroccan tours or are just starting to dream about a visit there, you’ll appreciate knowing some of the basics about this amazing destination.

Where is Morocco, exactly?

Morocco is in northwest Africa, where it borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It sits directly south of Spain – only about eight miles away (12.8km) across the Strait of Gibraltar.
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How big is Morocco?

Morocco is roughly the same size as California.

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Yes, Morocco is generally considered safe for travellers, especially in larger cities. Of course, no matter where you travel, you should follow common-sense safety precautions, such as keeping your purse/wallet close to you, not carrying large sums of cash, and avoiding quiet areas after dark.

What’s the language of Morocco?

The official languages are Arabic and Berber (an indigenous North African tongue), with most people speaking a dialect known as Moroccan Arabic. French is also an important language and is a required course in all schools.

How should I dress in Morocco?

Respect the local culture by dressing in loose clothing that covers both the shoulders and the knees. Loose clothes will also help keep you cooler in the hot sun.
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What’s the weather like in Morocco?

The climate of Morocco varies greatly. Most of the country has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and winters that range from mild to chilly. Further south, the climate changes to hot desert, with scorching summer heat and extremely dry air.

What are some of the cities in Morocco?

Casablanca is the country’s largest city and chief port, famously featured in the classic 1942 film of the same name.

The Imperial Cities of Morocco are its four historical capitals:

  • Rabat, the current capital, founded in the 12th century, is located on the Atlantic coast. Its name comes from the Arabic word ribat, meaning a base or fortification.
  • Marrakech lies near the foot of the Atlas mountains and has the largest traditional souk (outdoor market) in the country.
  • Meknes, in north-central Morocco, is known for its ancient imperial palace complex, the Kasbah of Moulay Ismail, which took over 50 years to build.
  • Fez is the country’s second-largest city. Its old quarter, the walled Medina of Fez, has been designated a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Is Morocco a Muslim country?

Yes. Islam is the official state religion, and 99% of the population is Sunni Muslim.

What kind of food would I find in Morocco?

Morocco is a foodie’s dream, incorporating Berber, Arab, Mediterranean, and Andalusian influences, with some French and sub-Saharan flavours as well. Here are just some of the dishes Morocco is famous for:

  • Couscous is small, steamed balls of semolina, often served with a stew on top.
  • Tajine is a slow-cooked stew that usually features meat, vegetables, and spices. The word also refers to the distinctive earthenware pot it’s cooked in.
  • Seffa is a sweetened couscous dish featuring almonds and cinnamon.
  • Pastilla, a meat or seafood pie made with a flaky crust, can be served either sweet or spicy.
  • Méchoui, a very popular North African dish, is a spit-roasted sheep or lamb.
  • Harira is a soup made with meat, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, onions, and rice.

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What’s the culture of Morocco like?

Just like its cuisine, Morocco’s culture is primarily a blend of Arab, Berber, and Andalusian influences, with contributions from Mediterranean and Hebraic cultures as well. The country has been settled by many peoples over the centuries, each having an influence on its art, architecture, literature, music, and food.
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Want to learn more?

Get into a Moroccan state of mind with our Spotify playlist or get lost in one of these books, all set in this gorgeous country:

The Caliph’s House by Tahir Shah
An entertaining, frequently hilarious account of an Englishman’s first year in his new Casablanca home.

The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit by Elias Canetti
Canetti, a Nobel Prize Winning author, records his impressions of Marrakech in a collection of moving, superbly detailed essays.

Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud
This engaging autobiographical novel takes readers on a journey through the author’s childhood in 1960s Morocco. (Or see the 1998 movie starring Kate Winslet.)

A Death in the Medina by James von Leyden
A struggling young detective searches for clues in the murder of a young girl in the shadowy streets and dark alleys of Marrakech.

The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco by Richard Hamilton
An in-depth look at the age-old storytelling tradition of Jemaa el Fnaa and dozens of classic tales, many in print here for the first time.

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