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Morocco holds an immediate and enduring fascination. Though just an hour's ride on the ferry from Spain, it seems at once very far from Europe, with a culture – Islamic and deeply traditional – that is almost wholly unfamiliar.
Throughout the country, despite the years of French and Spanish colonial rule and the presence of modern and cosmopolitan cities like Rabat and Casablanca, a more distant past constantly makes its presence felt. Fes, perhaps the most beautiful of all Arab cities, maintains a life still rooted in medieval times, when a Moroccan empire stretched from Senegal to northern Spain, while in the mountains of the Atlas and the Rif, it's still possible to draw up tribal maps of the Berber population.
As a backdrop to all this, the country's physical make-up is also extraordinary: from a Mediterranean coast, through four mountain ranges, to the empty sand and scrub of the Sahara.
Nowadays each of the big religious feasts is usually marked by two days off. These are announced or ratified by the king, each time, on TV and radio the preceding day, as they are only decided by the religious authorities at that time. On these public holidays, and on the secular fêtes nationales below, all banks, post offices and most shops are closed; transport is reduced, too, but never stops completely.
1. Majorelle Gardens, Marrakesh
A lovely, mature botanical garden, maintained by Yves Saint Laurent.
The most complete medieval city in the Arab world, Fes's labyrinthine streets hide away monuments and medersas (Islamic colleges), such as the Bou Inania Medersa.
3. Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakesh
The symbol of Marrakesh, the Koutoubia's twelfth-century minaret is visible for miles around the city.
The old "International Port", sometimes home of Bowles and Burroughs, has a seedy charm of its own.
5. Djemaa el Fna, Marrakesh
Musicians, acrobats and storytellers converge each night on the city's great square. Djemaa El-Fna is the highlight of any visit to Marrakech and one of the top tourist attractions in Morocco. By day this square at the heart of the medina is largely filled with snake charmers and people with monkeys, as well as some of the more common stalls. As the day progresses the entertainments on offer change: the snake charmers depart, and in the afternoon and evening the square becomes more crowded, with story-tellers, magicians, and peddlers of traditional medicines. As dark descends Djemaa El-Fna fills with dozens of food-stalls, and the crowds are at their height.
6. The Erg Chebbi
Erg Chebbi dunes are located in the Sahara Desert. The awe-inspiring dunes are as high as 150 meters tall, and one certainly feels small in their shadows. Its special feature is its beautiful unique orange colored sand. Excursions to the dunes normally start from the village of Merzouga which is located on the edge of the erg. Camel trekking is the most popular option although it isn’t the most comfortable way of traveling.
7. Todra Gorge
Todra Gorge is situated on the remote east side of the High Atlas Mountains. Both the Todra and neighboring Dades Rivers have carved out cliff-sided canyons through the mountains. The final 600 meters of the Todra Gorge are the most spectacular as the canyon narrows to a flat stony track as little as 10 meters (33 ft) wide in places with sheer and smooth rock walls up to 160 meters (525 ft) high on each side.
8. Volubilis In antiquity
Volubilis was an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of Roman conquests in present day Morocco. It was the administrative center of the province Mauretania Tingitana. The fertile lands of the province produced many commodities such as grain and olive oil, which were exported to Rome, contributing to the province’s wealth and prosperity. The Romans evacuated most of Morocco at the end of the 3rd century AD but people continued to live in Volubilis for many centuries.
9. Chefchaouen (or Chaouen)
is a gorgeous mountain city in northeastern Morocco. The picturesque medina, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rif Mountains, is filled with white-washed housees with distinctive, powder-blue accents. It is a popular shopping destination offering many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets. The goat cheese native to the area is also popular with tourists. The region around Chefchaouen is one of the main producers of cannabis in Morocco. Hashish is subsequently sold all over town, but is mostly the domain of native Chaouenis.
10. Ait Benhaddou
is one of Ouarzazate’s fortified cities along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech. Inside the high mud walls are 6 kasbahs and a small number of homes. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river although a few families still live within the city walls. Aït Benhaddou has appeared in several movies, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiato.
Morocco's basic unit of currency is the dirham (dh). The dirham is not quoted on international money markets, a rate being set instead by the Moroccan government. The present rates are approximately 16dh to £1, 8dh to US$1, 11dh to €1. The dirham is divided into 100 centimes, and you may find prices written or expressed in centimes rather than dirhams. Coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes, and 1, 5 and 10 dirhams are in circulation, along with notes of 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirhams.
If you hold a full passport from the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or any EU country, you require no visa to enter Morocco as a tourist for up to ninety days. However, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your date of entry, and always double check your visa requirements before departure as the situation can change.
South African citizens are among those who need a visa; applications should be made to the nearest Moroccan embassy or consulate, with three passport photos.
When entering the country, formalities are fairly straightforward, though you will have to fill in a form stating personal details, purpose of visit and your profession. In the past, Moroccan authorities have shown an occasional reluctance to allow in those who categorize themselves as "journalist"; an alternative profession on the form might be wise.
Made to suit your needs, our specials tours and excursions are aimed to discover Morocco through its culture, its history and its traditions. Experience the breath taking scenery from the ocean to the Atlas Mountains and into the magnificent beauty of the Sahara. Visit the Imperial cities, and discover the richness of its architecture and culture.
Planning an exciting trip for yourself or with your friends and family? We can help! Just tell us what you want to discover and we will make all the necessary arrangements for you. Benefit from our knowledge and experience of the large panel of accommodation available, from Hotels, palaces, Riads, to bivouacs camping in the desert. We look after the transportation, accommodation, activities and exotic dinners.
Enjoy your diner in an ancient Arab palace or under a Berber tents, stay in a kasbah to savor local dishes or admire the fabulous Fantasia riders. What matters most, is to make your dream holiday a reality!
All our airport transfers are comfortable and convenient, taking you straight from the airport to your holiday destination.
We can provide airport taxis to a host of Morocco destinations, including Marrakech airport transfers, Agadir airport transfers, and Fez airport transfers. Professional drivers specialized in the door-to-door transport of passengers from airports, rail stations, hotels or private residences to any address.
Our company is different from the others for punctuality, reliability, accuracy and the highest level of quality service. Our service is designed to meet all your transport needs.
Change your work environment and travel to an exciting place combining diversity and facilities to fulfill your corporate requirements. With International airports, renowned world class hotels, Congresses Centers, meeting spaces, large choice of restaurants and clubs, sportive & recreational activities, Morocco is without a doubt a well established MICE destination. S
Should your project focus on rewarding outstanding contributions, energizing your team, giving an edge to new sales presentation or marketing plans, a launch product or simply a seminar in style, we will produce your events and make it a complete success.
Morocco is a country where the Mediterranean climate offers the possibility to visit at any time of year: In spring (from March to May) when the country is lush and green, in autumn (September to November) when the heat of summer are decreased, in winter (December to February) which is grateful to enjoy mild temperatures, and given the diversity of the country even in the summer can also be quite placid Seaboard Coast.
Apart from the weather, time of Ramadan (the month of fasting and purification Muslim) is another important consideration to take, as some restaurants and cafes are closed during the day and the opening hours of business are reduced.
Valley of the Roses Festival (May, annual event)
In Morocco’s Valley of the Roses (located within the Draa Valley), all of the town folk celebrate the fragrant new crop with music, dancing and a parade of floats (with the nominees for Ms. Roses sitting upon them) at the annual Rose Festival.
Fes Sacred Music Festival (June, annual event)
Acclaimed to be one of the world’s greatest music festivals, with musicians from every corner of the planet meeting in Morocco’s spiritual capital Fes to perform devotional music ranging from local Sufi chants to Spanish Gypsy songs. There are also free concerts and the famous Sufi nights at Dar Tazi.
The Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival (June, annual event).
Enchanting Essaouira plays host to this incredibly popular and vibrant festival, which celebrates the mysterious music of the Gnaouas and other worldwide rhythms. Gnaoua music originates from African magic and Islamic rituals. Gnaouas, best known for their tasselled hats, spin wildly in a trance induced by the mesmeric rhythms of the drums.
Marrakech Popular Arts Festival (July, annual event)
Outdoor venues throughout Marrakech play host to traditional folk performers from all over Morocco. El Badi Palace and its courtyards in particular are packed with enthusiastic artists and spectators. Berber musicians and dancers of the High Atlas, Andalus-inspired musicians of the north, belly dancers and Gnaouas, join forces for this vibrant celebration.
Zagora Marathon (31 December, annual event)
An unusual, yet healthy way to celebrate the New Year! Runners and walkers of all ages compete in a marathon (42.195km) or half marathon (21km) across the stunning Moroccan desert. Participants are awarded with a New Year’s party at the end of the race.
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