33.8 million at the last count with almost 60% of the population living in cities and 40% in the countryside. Almost 55% of the population is under 25. The average life expectancy for men is 67, for women 71.
The territory of Morocco is approximately 710,850 sq Kms. The Moroccan coast extends over 3,500 Kms
48 per sq kms
Morocco is located within the latitude and longitude of 32° 00 N, 05º 00 W, on the westernmost tip of North Africa. It is surrounded by two water bodies that are the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Casablanca (the economical capital of Morocco)
Rabat (the Capital)
Moroccan Arabic is the official first language of the Kingdom, although many people speak dialects of the Berber language. French is the second language, commonly used alongside Arabic on signposts, menus and in shops. English, German, Spanish or Italian is understood in many hotels, restaurants and markets.
Islam is the official state religion in Morocco, but it exists in perfect co-existence with the other religions (freedom to practice other religions of revelation is guaranteed by the constitution).
Government & Economy
Morocco is a Muslim kingdom governed since 1999 by King Mohamed VI, son of the late King Hassan II. The political structure, a social democratic and constitutional monarchy since 1956 when Morocco gained independence from France, remains parliamentary, with King firmly established in power (and much pictured in public places). Morocco has a mixed economy based largely on agriculture, fishing, light industry, tourism, phosphate mining, and remittances from Moroccan citizens working abroad.
Entry into Morocco is visa free for many including EU member countries and the USA. For a full list click here
For Visa questions and queries please contact your respective embassies.
Social Conventions / Way of Life
A respect of local customs is a fundamental act of courtesy in a welcoming country.
To avoid embarrassing situations and misunderstandings, please comply with common practice.
Here are a few essential rules to follow:
Greetings involve a handshake and friendly inquiries after health, happiness and family, and no business is discussed until after these pleasantries.
Friends may peck on a cheek- air-kiss or two. Moroccan chattiness makes everyday interactions more pleasant, if longer; patience and extroversion are assets.
In the Souks, vendors call out to customers joke around and strike up conversations before bargaining begins.
Access to mosques and holy places is forbidden to non Muslims.
When offered tea, it's polite to take a sip as this is a sign of hospitality.
Casual wear is widely acceptable, avoiding provocative clothing.
If you want to photograph somebody, don't forget to ask for permission.
Smoking is widespread, though sometimes limited to smoking sections in restaurants.
No vaccinations are required but you should always check with your local health centre.
The Moroccan Dirham (DH) is divided into 100 centimes.
By law you are not allowed to import or export Moroccan Dirhams.
Foreign currency may be exchanged at the Bureau de Change at the airport on arrival, at a bank or at your hotel. But the best place to do so is at the hotel (hotels exchange money at the same rate as banks and do not charge a commission). Be sure to keep the exchange receipts for change back to foreign currency ONLY AT THE AIRPORT when leaving Morocco. A rule of thumb is not to exchange too much money at one time.
Hotels and reputable shops accept major credit cards, i.e. MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club. Even in the markets when buying such things as carpets, leather or any other major item, cards are accepted. Some banks and hotels have cash dispensers to cash money day or night.
Morocco is dominated by the Mediterranean climate made temperate by the influence of the Atlantic Ocean in the northern and southern parts of the country. In the centre, the climate is continental with significant temperature differences. The Atlas region is moist with frequent snow falls. In the South, a desert climate prevails.
The rainy season between November and April is something of a misnomer, bringing only occasional light rain.
Global climate has now become unpredictable but you can check by clicking here: www.moroccoweather.com
We recommend that you bring appropriate clothing for the above temperatures.
Walking shoes for touring are highly recommended.
Dress code is casual during the day and smart casual for the evenings.
Casual wear is widely acceptable, avoiding provocative clothing in public places.
Current is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz for newer buildings, 110 volts AC, 50 Hz for older ones. European-style, two-pin plugs are standard.
There is an excellent coverage all over Morocco so using your mobile to call home won't be a problem.
Morocco dialing code is +212.
Crafts are another staple of Morocco. Its Maroquinerie (leatherwear) has been a highly prized item among the cargo of traders since the 16th century.
An equally rich heritage lives on in the production of carpets, pottery, jewellery, brassware and woodwork.
Painted and sculpted panels for interior decoration are commonplace, and intricate tiled ornamentation still graces the interior of various Medersas (Koranic schools) and other religious buildings and wealthy homes. The Musharabieh, screens allowing Muslim women to observe the goings-on in the street unseen, survives also.
Morocco is on GMT the whole year.
For your individual bookings and direct payments, you can generally expect to pay a 10% tip for most services.
Tips and gratuities are left to your appreciation/consideration/discretion.
Morocco has a European-style working week from Monday to Friday. On Fridays many businesses have a longer lunch break to attend midday prayers.
Banks are open 08:15 - 15:45
* In the Medina: Shops are open various hours, depending on the season, and the personal preferences of the owner. Generally they are open from 09:30 to 19:30.
Some close for lunch, but many are open late into the evening. On Fridays some businesses have a longer lunch break to attend midday prayers or are even shut
in the morning or for the whole day.
* In the modern shopping areas: Shops are generally open from 09:30 to 12:30 and from 15:00 to 19:30, but many open late into the evening. On Fridays some businesses have a longer lunch break, but may stay open late into the evening. Many shops are shut on Sundays.
Business hours change during the summer season.
1 January: New Year' Day (Gregorian calendar)
11 January: Independence Manifesto
1 May: Labour Day
30 July: Throne Feast
14 August: Commemoration of Oued Eddahab Allegiance Day
20 August: Revolution of the King and the People
21 August: Youth Day (King Mohammed VI's Birthday)
6 November: Commemoration of the Green March
18 November: Independence Day
They are based on the Lunar calendar; their dates vary each year and are fixed after the sight of the moon.
1st of Muharram: New Year (Muslim calendar)
12th of Rabi Al Awal: Aid El Mawlid (the Prophet Mohamed's Birthday)
1st of Shawwal: Aid El Fitr (End of Ramadan)
10th of Dhu Al Hijja: Aid El Adha (Commemoration of Abraham's Sacrifice)
The Muslim year of twelve lunar months is twelve days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, so Ramadan occurs earlier in each Gregorian year.
Ramadan hardly affects tourists to Morocco, which is one of the very few Muslim countries where this has no effect on programmes. There are no alcohol restrictions for visitors. Moreover, the city is busier and livelier both daytime and in the evenings, compared to the rest of the year. The Djemaa El Fna Square would not be busy between around 15 minutes before sunset and 45 minutes later, but this when you need time in your room to freshen up before dinner.
In many ways, Ramadan is a good time to visit Morocco as it is less crowded and less busy and some hotels reduce their rates during Ramadan.
Ramadan has always been one of our busiest months - many clients travel during this period to heighten their experience of our culture.
Considered to be one of the most refined cuisines in the world, Moroccan cuisine varies from one region to another. Moroccan cuisine offers delicate preparations of sun-drenched fruit and vegetables; rare and aromatic spices; delicate fish and succulent meats. This is the very best of Oriental cuisine, famous throughout the world - a real delight to tantalize your taste buds. Food is usually well balanced, moderately and carefully spiced. Special dietary requirements are always catered for.
No restriction on alcoholic drinks by visitors. Locally produced wines, beers and mineral water are both excellent and good value, but imported drinks tend to be expensive. The most common refreshment is mint tea, an infusion of mint leaves and green tea. Tap water is drinkable but it is advisable for visitors to drink inexpensive mineral water (sparkling or still).