Morocco: A pocket guide
Morocco is located in the most northerly part of Africa and, at its highest point, is less than 10 miles from Spain; it is therefore blessed with an almost perfect year-round climate. Daytime temperatures in high summer very rarely reach above 40 degrees Celsius, but the dry heat means it is not unpleasant. In the winter, daytime temperatures rarely fall below 20 degrees. Nights throughout the year are usually cool, meaning that you don’t need the air-conditioning on full blast to achieve a good night’s sleep.
Morocco also benefits from its fair share of beautiful beaches and port towns, with the Mediterranean sea on its north coast and 1,000 miles of Atlantic beaches on the west. In the north and to the east of the city of Tangier lies the Rif mountain range, home to the Berbers for 1,000 years. Just below the Rif mountain range lies the ancient capital of Morocco, Fez. The Fez medina is a UNESCO World Heritage site and famous for its artisanal leather tanning.
Heading further south you arrive in the city of Meknes, now famous for winemaking. Further south along the Atlantic coast lies Rabat, the capital of Morocco, a combination of a modern capital and a historic city. Heading further south and on the Atlantic coast is the world-famous city of Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco and one of the most important economic centers in Africa. On the coast you will find numerous lovely smaller cities and towns, such as Essaouira, Oualidia, and El Jadida, many with fantastic beaches and certainly worth a visit.
Continuing again south and inland you arrive in Marrakech, now the largest tourist destination in Morocco and home to many well known five-star hotels and beautiful villas and riads in the medina. The High Atlas Mountains lie just 20 miles south of the city, offering fabulous walks or camel rides and even skiing in the winter months. Marrakech has recently become a major golfing destination, with over 15 golf courses.
Over the Atlas Mountains lies the desert. A trip into the desert is usually via Ouzazatte and on to Zagora or Merzouga. Agadir lies on the coast, south of the Atlas Mountains. Sadly, in 1960 an earthquake destroyed the older parts of the city, but it has since been rebuilt and is now the biggest seaside resort in Morocco.
Since the increase in low-budget flights in the 1990s, there has been a huge increase in the number of tourists coming to Morocco. People of all ages and nationalities come—some to relax and have a hammam and spa, others to walk in the mountains, others to play golf or to admire the ancient medinas.
There are lovely villas to rent from the north to the south of Morocco, but particularly in Marrakech, where there are a great deal of truly stunning villas, usually with large landscaped gardens, swimming pools, and staff to cater to your every need. From one’s villa, it is an easy drive in to Marrakech to enjoy lunch at La Mamounia or to trawl the souks for local items like babouche slippers, kafta kebabs, djellabas, and carpets.