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Morocco
 

Morocco: a land of rich experiences. Explore its medieval cities with their narrow allies and bustling bazaars.  Set forth into the Sahara on a camel, following the route of the Bedouin. Experience the grandeur of the Atlas Mountains and the warmth of the friendly Berber people.

In order to explore Morocco’s natural and historical wonders while experiencing its lifestyle, we recommend the following:

  • The Medieval cities of Meknes, Fes and Marrakech
  • Mount a camel and explore the sands of the Sahara
  • Trek to the High Atlas mountains and live with the Berbers
  • Experience the unique flavors of Morocco and stay in local homes
Introduction:

The Kingdom of Morocco is in the northwestern corner of Africa. It is separated from Europe by the 9-kilometer strait of Gibraltar. To its north is the Mediterranean and to its west lies the Atlantic Ocean. It shares is borders with Algeria to the east and with Mauritania to the south. The country has diverse landscape and a wonderfully rich culture. Casablanca is the largest city, while Rabat is the capital seat of the kingdom.

Geography: Top
By far Morocco has one the most divers and varied landscape in all of Africa. Its mountains are the tallest in the northern part of the continent. Morocco has four mountain ranges, each with its own unique character. To the north of the country along the Mediterranean coast are the Rif Mountains also known as Er Rif. The Taza depression separates these Rif Mountains from the main Atlas chain of mountains, which are divided into distinct chains: Middle and High Atlas.  The High Atlas runs nearly across the entire country. Jable-e-Toubkal at 4165 meters is the highest mountain of the High Atlas and of North Africa. South of the Atlas Mountains lies the Anti-Atlas Mountain range, which borders the Sahara. The Sahara desert covers nearly its entire southern end. The major rivers are Moulouya and Sebou.
Climate: Top

Morocco has a subtropical climate and is tempered by the oceans. This keeps its coastal cities very pleasant through out the year. It can get hot in the desert and arid areas close to the Sahara but only during the summer months. Even in the Atlas valleys the temperatures remain moderate. Fes on the edge of the Middle Atlas Mountains enjoys a nice warm climate - around 30 C in August and around 10 C in January. At higher altitudes in the Atlas Mountains the snows may not melt and winters can be extremely cold. Major precipitation is heaviest in the Rif regions along the Atlantic; it is minimal in the eastern and desert regions. Although Morocco is a country that can be visited throughout the year,  planning in advance will be helpful depending on the activity.

People and Culture: Top

Sitting on the edge of the continent, Morocco boasts a rich culture, history and a diverse heritage. Ancient cultures have left colourful imprints that blend nicely into its present day culture. Its antiquity included the remnants of Phoenician, Hellenic, Carthaginian and Roman civilizations. Arabic influence followed the Christian influence and stayed. Arabs brought their language and arts, which soon become popular. Other influences from Spain and France also found their way to Morocco, making an interesting cultural mix.

Amongst its many peoples, Arabs and Berbers are the two dominantly distinct peoples. Arabs came from Arabia while the Berbers where the native inhabitants of Morocco’s mountainous regions. The Romans, who identified them as non-Latin speaking people, probably called them Barbari, which later became Berber. The Berbers are further divided into three groups by the Berberi language dialect. The ones who speak the Riffian are Berbers from the Rif. The major group ( from the middle Atlas) speak the Amazigh dialect. The third group is from the high Atlas where the people commonly speak the Chleuh dialect.

Among other ethnic groups are Moors, Jews and some Europeans. Interestingly, “Moor” was a vague term used by the Europeans to identify all of the Arab population of the region. The name could justly refer only to the people living in the south of the country, yet they are widely spread throughout Mauritania, Algeria and Mali. A tiny minority of moors are referred to as the ‘Blue People’ because of the colour of their attire.
Tourist Visas: Top

Canadian nationals can obtain entry visa on arrival. For more information contact the Moroccan Embassy/Consulate or ask your travel agent.

EMBASSY: " Ambassade du Royaume du Maroc au Canada"
38, Range Road, Tél. : (613) 236-7391, Ottawa, Ont. K1N 8J4     Fax: (613) 236-6164 
E-MAIL: info@ambamaroc.ca
Website: http://www.ambamaroc.ca
CONSULATE GENERAL: Consulat Général du Royaume du Maroc
1010, Sherbrooke Ouest, Suite 1510 Montréal, (Qué.) Canada H3A 2R7
TEL: (514) 288-8750 / 288-6951 / 288-2552, Fax: (514) 288-4859
E-MAIL: consumam@videotron.ca
Website: http://www.consulatdumaroc.ca/frames.htm
Valid Passport: Top

Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the arrival date to your destination.
Make sure you have at least one page free for the visa. Always keep extra photos (just in case).

Money: Top

Currency & Exchange: one Moroccan Dirham (Dh) = 100 centimes.
US$, Pound Sterling and Euros are acceptable at most shops, restaurants and hotels. Yet it’s advisable to change at the exchange bureaus or banks only.
Credit and Debit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted with the exception of smaller stores and vendors. Bigger stores and hotels also accept AMEX and Diner’s Card. ATM machines: are found easily all over the major cities and banks. Money can be withdrawn on credit or debit cards. Keep the receipts for your records.
Travelers Cheques: are accepted at banks and moneychangers. There will be a processing fee. Shops and emporiums may also accept traveler’s cheques, but rates might not beat the bank rates.
Restrictions: Visitors are not allowed to take Moroccan dirhams out of the country. You need to either spend or reconvert all currency to dollars, Euros or other foreign currency before you leave. Because of this restriction, it would be smart not to change to much money into dirhams..

Banking Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:15-11:30 and 14:15-17:15

 
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