Morocco is characterized by a Mediterranean climate that varies considerably according to the season and location. The extreme temperature ranges are moderated on the west and north coast by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
The interior of Morocco is characterized by much more extreme variations; including, freezing temperatures and snow in the winter, and unbearable heat in the summer. The mountain ranges form another weather moderator, leaving the west much cooler than the east in the summer months. The south and south-eastern desert regions can become especially hot during this time.
The rain season is from November to March; however, rainfall is relatively sparse.
Early summer is often the most comfortable time to visit as temperatures are pleasantly warm, and there is little threat of rain. The Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines are most pleasant from June to September, though.
Most of our clients are coming to Morocco on vacation – looking for a trip of a lifetime! However, there are those who are coming to Morocco on business. Since Morocco is very close to Spain, many European companies have decided to invest in Morocco. Are you looking to travel to Morocco on business?
Casablanca is the economic capital of Morocco, with most of the major companies doing business there. There are a number of great business hotels located in the center of Casablanca, offering business centers, wifi access, and services. Make sure you do your research before grabbing any hotel – stick to the hotels that are reliable and have good reputations.
While traveling to Casablanca or Morocco, you may need a vehicle and driver.
The flavourful cooking of Morocco enjoys a tradition of cuisine rich in spices. Women in the royal cities of Morocco have made cooking an art and a centre of social and community life. Moroccans will be quick to point out that the food found in homes is much better than that available in restaurants. Hosting here also far outshines many parts of the world. A meal would often start with a vast array of delicious dipping salads, from eggplant to green pepper to tomato and onion based salads. This is accompanied by a mouth-watering tagine, a stew type dish characterized by meat, chicken or fish covered by any number of vegetables, sitting in a flavourful spicy sauce. This is eaten by dipping bread, and the visitor will find this an absolutely delightful culinary experience.
Then, just as you are feeling thoroughly stuffed, Moroccans like to display their hospitality and surprise you with another full meal, just as irresistible as the first. The meal ends with a selection of fresh fruit, to pass it down. With constant encouragements to keep eating, that are considered polite in this culture, the guest is guaranteed to leave without needing a meal for another week. In addition to tagine, some other traditional meals include couscous and basteeya. Couscous is steamed semolina grains, traditionally covered with seven vegetables (often onions, pumpkin, zucchini, turnips, chili peppers, carrots and tomatoes) and, once again, a yummy sauce. This is traditionally served on Fridays and usually eaten either with spoons or hands. Basteeya is a triple layer sweet and savoury pastry, with shredded chicken, eggs, lemony onion sauce, and sweetened almonds enclosed in tissue-thin pastry, and sprinkled with a layer of sugar and cinnamon. This type of main meal is often served at lunch (around 2 or 2:30pm ). A nice meal for dinner (anywhere from 8pm to midnight ) is the traditional soup harira. This tomato-based soup is filled with chickpeas and lentils, but it is the incredible blend of herbs and spices that make it so addictive. Harira is also the traditional soup to break the fast each day during the Muslim month of Ramadan. This is often accompanied by other Moroccan treats such as malawi, harsha, bissara, and dates to name a few. Moroccan mint tea is another sweet treat to enjoy as you sample all the great tastes offered in front of you.
Private / Circuit Tour:
Join one of our circuit tours of Morocco, with all transportation included.
Rent a car or van:
Rent a car for personal freedom to go traveling the country, or rent a van and driver for your group.
Morocco has a fantastic train system, with connections between many of the major cities. Check www.oncf.ma for schedules and fares. Tickets can be purchased at the train station.
Some cities are not connected by train. Morocco has three national bus companies that operate between most major towns and cities. CTM, and Supratours are comfortable and reliable; however, SATAS does not have as good a reputation. Tickets can be bought at the bus station.
City buses are cheap, but often over-packed.
There are two different types of taxis: petit taxis and grand taxis. Petit taxis are the best way to get around the city. They are colour coded in each city, and can usually be flagged down from the side of the street. The maximum occupancy for petit taxis is 3. Grand taxis can take you longer distances, including other cities. They are more expensive than taking the train, and they will often try to fill to their capacity of 6 passengers that are going in the same direction.
Royal Air Maroc offers domestic flights.
Check www.royalairmaroc.com for schedules and fares.
Marriage is an evolving institution in Morocco. With less and less arranged marriages, but remaining family involvement and social taboos in regards to dating, Morocco is a culture trying to live on both sides of a massive generation gap. While most young people now have the right to choose their own partners, many have little opportunity to meet or get to know members of the opposite sex. This leaves courtship in an awkward state of telephone dating or asking people to marry them after having seen them on the street. While this whole process is in a state of confusion, one thing is still clear, family is first and foremost important. Families must agree and bless the marriage, and the wedding marks the joining of the two families. However, there has been some change in this, too, as the nuclear family is much more recognized as an identity, and many people choose not to live in their parents house after marriage. The extended family remains a clearly tight-nit and fundamental value in Morocco, though.
With family being so fundamental, and therefore marriage being such a central part of culture, the wedding is an elaborate affair. The actual marriage day, called the milk and dates ceremony, is a party often limited to family. The wedding is usually a few months later, and involves the whole community. Each region has unique traditions for the wedding. Usually preparations start in the week leading up to the wedding, with all the women in the family working feverishly in the kitchen preparing traditional Moroccan cookies and pastries for the guests that will come. All the community and friends are invited, and family come from all over the country. A day or two before the wedding, the bride will take a trip to the hammam (public bath house) with some female friends and family members, to get ready for her wedding. Some time after the hammam, more women will come and the bride will celebrate a henna party. During this party, she gets elaborate henna on her hands and feet to adorn herself for her wedding, while her friends talk and laugh and dance to very loud music.
The day of the wedding is a frenzied day; with all the women trying to get their hair all done up and make sure that everything is just right. Some weddings start in the afternoons; however, most only start at night. Guests start arriving anywhere from 8pm till 10pm , always at least a couple of hours after the stated invite time. Women arrive looking like princesses in beautiful kaftans, stunning hair, and traditional shoes. At some point, the guests are gathered around tables to provide them with dinner. They are usually served with two very delicious meals of chicken and meat; always served in a mouth-watering sauce, and accompanied with bread for dipping. After dinner, the tables are cleared away and people are rearranged around the dance floor and the thrones for the bride and groom. At some point, loud Arabic music will start, and some will begin dancing. Others will try screaming to talk to each other, while waiters begin bringing around Moroccan cookies and tea. No one is ever quite sure when a wedding will start as people just kind of drift in, and it starts when it starts.
At the same time, the bride is in some other house eating dinner with her closer family. Then people start getting her ready. There never seems to be any rush. At some point she will be taken outside and put on a special carrying device called a table, and carried high in the air by four men or women. She will be accompanied by her close family, loud trumpets, and huge flowers, as she is carried slowly to the place of the wedding party. Sometimes she does not arrive at the party until around midnight . When she arrives she is paraded around on her table, to the obvious delight of all the guests. Then she is sat on the throne. The groom will also arrive at a similar time, sometimes with the bride, sometimes with his own set of people. In the city, the bride usually enters the party in a Western white traditional dress. Throughout the party, the bride changes several times. In addition to the white wedding dress, her repertoire usually includes several beautiful kaftans with the beautiful colour-coded jewellery that compliments it, and the tradition wedding costume for her region. The wedding party usually lasts all night, while the bride and groom rotate between sitting on the throne, changing clothes, being paraded around on their tables, and a little dancing. The guests enjoy a night full of traditional Moroccan dancing, and the traditional treats that keep being passed around. By the morning, guests are usually quite ready for their beds, and the bride and groom are seen off with great noise and celebration, much to the delight of sleeping neighbours.
Morocco is one of the leading countries in the Arab world in regards to women’s rights and freedoms. While there are still very definite gender gaps in culture, Morocco has made many significant reforms. In 2003, King Muhammad VI passed an historical family law called Mudawana. In it, he makes men and women jointly responsible for their homes, without the legal obligation for a woman to obey her husband. It makes it illegal for men and women to be forced into a marriage that they don’t want, and it severely restricts polygamy. It raises the age at which women may marry, and it protects her from being easily divorced by repudiation (the ritual words of divorce by which a man in Islam can divorce his wife, simply by saying them). It also protects unmarried women by creating responsibility by fathers for children born pre-maritally.
There still remain very definite distinctions in gender role in daily life. Men still tend to be the breadwinners, while women primarily take care of the home. The street is the primary domain of men, where men hang out with their friends in coffee shops. The home is the primary domain of women, where women will invite their friends. While there is still need for further reform, Morocco has done well to celebrate the uniqueness of each gender while creating freedoms and protections to help prevent those differences from being abused.
Medical care is generally substandard; however, private medical care is available in most cities. While the health system has been making improvements to health standards in Morocco, there remain huge problems in the system. The challenge is to increase human and material resources and access to health care, despite socio-economic constraints. King Mohammad VI has been involved in initiatives to create health care access in rural areas of for the poor.
Drink bottled water and avoid ice
Eat only cooked or peeled fruits and vegetables and avoid salads
Be careful of food purchased from street vendors
Wear seatbelts and avoid night driving
Bring mosquito and insect bite protection
Don’t handle animals
Don’t swim in fresh water lakes or streams
Recommended Vaccinations :
Rabies (if you may be exposed to animals during your stay)
Age level: 6-12
Length: 6 years
Fundamental Secondary Education:
Age level: 12-15
Length: 3 years
General Secondary [letters, sciences, or maths]:
Age level: 15-18
Length: 3 years
Alternative: Technical Secondary:
Diploma: Baccalauréat Technique
Higher education is offered by public universities, technical schools, engineering schools and teacher-training schools. There are also institutions that specialize in professional training for science, technology, law, economics, administration, and social sciences. Morocco has about 230,000 students enrolled in its 14 public universities.
Admission requirements: Good knowledge of Arabic or French
Education in Morocco is free and it is compulsory to attend until completion of fundamental secondary education. However, there are still many children, especially girls in rural areas, which do not attend. Progress is being made, though, and the government invests 26% of its annual budget on education. It has also made many efforts to reduce regional differences in education standards, and tackle the problem of illiteracy.
LITERACY (age 15 and over can read and write):
male 64.1%, female 39.4%,
rural 24.6%, urban 63.1%