Morocco Basic Facts: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 Fez 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.
Location: Morocco is in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara; see map
Area: Morocco covers 446,550 sq km of land, slightly larger than California, and slightly smaller than Spain.
Capital City: Rabat
Population: Just over 32 million people live in Morocco.
Language: Arabic (official), Berber dialects, and French which is often the language of business, government, and diplomacy.
Religion: Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%
Climate: Hot summers (June - September) and cool to cold winters (especially in the Atlas Mountains). Avoid the desert during the summer months and watch out for sand storms February to April. More about Morocco's climate and average temperatures...
When to Go: May to October for the beaches; November to April for the desert; April to October for the mountains, March to June and September to November to explore the imperial cities like Marrakech and Fes. More about "Best Time to Go to Morocco".
Currency: Moroccan Dirham, Click here for currency converter.
Morocco's Main Attractions:
- Marrakech: The imperial city of Marrakech has a fascinating medina filled with tiny shops, artisans and cafe's. Stay in a converted Riad (boutique hotel) and enjoy the delights of the main square, the Djemma el Fnaa, every evening. More about Marrakech...
- Fes: The oldest of Morocco's imperial cities, Fes is a living, breathing, chaotic and fascinating medieval city that is still brimming with energy and life. Labyrinth streets give way to gorgeous mosques and pungent tanneries. More about Fes...
- Essaouira: A laid back coastal town with a lovely medina, excellent seafood and decent beaches has made Essaouira one of Morocco's up and coming attractions. More about Essaouira...
- Chefchaouen: A personal favorite, this little mountain town, painted in brilliant hues of blue, is relaxing and simply gorgeous. More about Chefchaouen...
- Western Sahara: Camel trekking is the order of the day in Morocco's golden, red sand dunes that seemingly stretch on for ever.
Travel to MoroccoMorocco's International Airport: Mohammed V International Airport (Airport code: CMN) is Morocco's main airport for long-haul flights. Marrakech also has a busy international airport, Al Menara Airport (Airport code: RAK), with service to many European destinations.
Getting to Morocco: Most people either fly into Morocco or arrive by ferry from Spain and France; details on getting to Morocco.
Morocco's Embassies/Visas: Most nationalities including those from the US, Canada and the UK do not need a visa to enter Morocco as a tourist. Click here for a list of Moroccan Embassies to double check.
Morocco's Tourist Information Office (ONMT): Angle Rue Oued El Makhazine et rue Zalaga, BP 1910100 Agdal, Rabat, Morocco E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web Site: http://www.visitmorocco.com/
Morocco's Economy and PoliticsEconomy: Moroccan economic policies brought macroeconomic stability to the country in the early 1990s but have not spurred growth sufficient to reduce unemployment - nearing 20% in urban areas - despite the Moroccan Government's ongoing efforts to diversify the economy. Morocco's GDP growth rose to 5.9% in 2008, with the economy recovering from a drought in 2007 that severely reduced agricultural output and necessitated wheat imports at rising world prices. Moroccan authorities understand that reducing poverty and providing jobs are key to domestic security and development. In 2005, Morocco launched the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), a $2 billion social development plan to address poverty and unemployment and to improve the living conditions of the country's urban slums. Moroccan authorities are implementing reform efforts to open the economy to international investors. Despite structural adjustment programs supported by the IMF, the World Bank, and the Paris Club, the dirham is only fully convertible for current account transactions. In 2000, Morocco entered an Association Agreement with the EU and, in 2006, entered a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. Long-term challenges include improving education and job prospects for Morocco's youth, and closing the income gap between the rich and the poor, which the government hopes to achieve by increasing tourist arrivals and boosting competitiveness in textiles.
History/Politics: In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, successive Moorish dynasties began to rule in Morocco. In the 16th century, the Sa'adi monarchy, particularly under Ahmad AL-Mansur (1578-1603), repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. In 1860, Spain occupied northern Morocco and ushered in a half century of trade rivalry among European powers that saw Morocco's sovereignty steadily erode; in 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. A protracted independence struggle with France ended successfully in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier and most Spanish possessions were turned over to the new country that same year. Morocco virtually annexed Western Sahara during the late 1970s, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature, which first met in 1997. The country has made improvements in human rights under King Mohammed VI and its press is moderately free. Despite the continuing reforms, ultimate authority remains in the hands of the monarch.
More About Morocco and SourcesMorocco Travel Tips
Morocco Map and More Basic Facts
Morocco's Climate and Weather
Guide to Fes (Fez)
Guide to Marrakech
Guide to Essaouira
CIA Factbook on Morocco