COUNTRY – PEOPLE – LANGUAGE – CLIMATE – CURRENCY
The Kingdom of Morocco is filled with cultural and natural treasures that will not disappoint even the most adventurous traveler. Morocco’s fascinating medieval cities like Marrakech and Fés lie in between the great Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlas Mountains make up the backbone of Morocco, this is where traditional Berber culture still thrives today.
Berbers are the indigious people of Morocco. They have been around for at least 4000 years. Calling themselves Amazigh, meaning the proud raiders, they fought against the Romans, Arab, and French invaders. Eventhough the Romans and others have tried to colonize the Berber people, the Berbers have managed to preserve their own language and culture.
The west has characterized Berbers as nomads using camels to cross the Sahara desert. Today most Berbers are farmers of the mountains and valleys in Morocco. They were traders in the earlier days. Berber’s long recorded influence affected commerce by establishing trading routes between the West African and the Sub-Saharan region. They transported goods from beyond the Sahara desert to the Northern Moroccan cities.
The official language is Arabic. As a majority of Moroccans have some Berber ancestors more than 10 million Moroccans also speak one of three Berber languages.
Both French and Spanish are widely spoken, while English is spoken in cities and towns popular with tourists.
A friendly country like Morocco must have friendly weather conditions too. With an average of 320 sunny days Morocco is an ideal destination for travelers all year long, however temperatures and weather patterns vary depending on the season and region.
- May to October: Enjoy the beaches or visit the berber tribes in the High Atlas
- November to April: Go on an adventure to the desert
- March to June and September to November: Explore the imperial cities like Marrakech and Fés.
- December to January: Spend New Year’s Eve in the Desert or visit the Marrakech International Film Festival.
- Mid-January to mid-February: Go skiing in the Atlas mountains. The Oukaimden Ski Resort is less than 50 miles away from Marrakech. There are several ski lifts and if they don’t work you can always take a donkey up the slopes.
The dirham is a closed currency meaning it can only be traded within Morocco.
Most foreign currencies may be exchanged at a Bureau de Change in the airport, major banks and hotels. Some counters require your passport for the transaction. ATMs (cash machines) are widely available in major cities and are often the easiest and cheapest method to purchase dirhams.
Traveler’s checks are not recommended for use in Morocco.
Morocco is in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Mauritania.
Morocco covers 446,550 sq km of land, slightly larger than California, and slightly smaller than Spain.
Just over 32 million people live in Morocco.
Islam is the dominant religion.
- 98,7 % Muslims – the Sunni variant in particular.
- 1,1% Christians, mostly of French descent
- 0,2 % Jews
The national currency in Morocco is the dirham.
- 1 euro is about 10 dirhams
- 1 US-dollar is about 8 dirhams