Morocco is one of the tourist giants in Africa. Each year, the country is visited by millions of tourists who come for the hot climate, beautiful beaches, fiery red landscapes and oriental culture. The most visited cities in Morocco are Casablanca, Marrakech and Agadir. With no matter how strange sounds this fact, the cities in Morocco are extremely different from each other and every has its own and unique identity.
Geographical location, territory and borders. Morocco occupies an area of 446,550 sq.km. and is located in the northwestern parts of the continent of Africa.
To the north it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the passage of Gibraltar, which separates Morocco from the Iberian Peninsula. There is no other place, where Africa and Europe are located so close to each other as it is in Gibraltar.
These places are very strictly guarded, as they are used for illegal immigration by Moroccans and people from other African countries. On the west of Morocco there is a wide outlet to the Atlantic.
Morocco extends from 27 to 35° north latitude and between 1 and 13° west longitude. Geographical situation of the country is favourable for tourism development because not only has a good climate, but also is very close to Europe.
In transport terms the country has also very strategic location, because here the Gibraltar is the only passage link between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
The geographical location of Morocco can most accurately be compared with that of California. The common between them is not only the approximately equal climate, but also the relief that in the both cases is mainly mountainous.
Moreover, in California and Morocco in the ocean around the coast passing cold ocean currents that have specific effects to the flora and fauna.
Relief. Morocco is predominantly mountainous country. Much of the territory is occupied by the Atlas Mountains, which are the most significant mountain range in North Africa.
The mountain chain stretches on the territory of three countries – Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The highest point of Morocco is located south of Marrakesh – this is the peak of Djebel Tubkal, which rises to 4165 meters.
The southernmost and coastal parts of the country are occupied mainly by lowlands and hills. Morocco’s coastline is really slightly indented. There are almost no large or small bays and peninsulas.
Climate. Morocco has a warm and sunny climate, which, however, is quite different in depending on in which part of country you are. The northern half of Morocco, including the capital Rabat, Casablanca and, of course, Tangier fall into the subtropical climate zone.
This summer is very long and hot and winters are mild and humid. To the south is beginning to feel the impact of the tropics. Casablanca falls in the area, where the tropical and subtropical climate zone meet.
The tropics stretches to the south of this region. The days are hot in the summer and warm in the short winter.
Atlas Mountains in Morocco playing the role of air barrier and prevents the moist air masses coming from the Atlantic Ocean to enter into the interior of Africa.
– Tangier falls within the subtropical climate zone and has a classic Mediterranean climate. From May to October the weather is warm with summer temperatures exceeding 23°C.
March, April and November are warm and pleasant with daytime temperatures between 18 and 20°C. December, January and February are cool with daytime temperatures up to about 16°C.
The hottest month is August – about 28°C and the coldest – December, January and February (16°C). The rainfall maximum is during the autumn.
The rainiest months are November and December. After these months the rainfall gradually decreased.
– Rabat also fall within the subtropical climate zone. There are long and warm summers and short, mild and wet winters.
From March to November the daytime temperatures are high and do not usually fall below 20°C. The hottest month is August with temperatures around 28°C.
Cooler waters of the Atlantic do not allow to the summer temperatures to become too high, although the strong sun rays that can make your skin burned pretty quickly. The mild winter lasts only three months – in December, January and February.
The coldest month is January, when the temperatures are around 16°C. Despite the warm days, nights in Rabat are always cool with temperatures in January to 6°C and about 17 – 18°C in July and August.
The weather from November to April is traditionally quite rainy and then fall over 100 mm per month.
Most rainy is the weather in December (about 250 – 300 mm). Summers are very dry and in some months is possible to do not fall even a drop of rain.
– Casablanca – the city fall where the subtropical climate zone meets the tropical. From November until April the weather is pleasant with temperatures between 17 and 20°C.
From May to October is summer, but the cold Canary current, which passes along the coast in that part of Africa makes the summers become not hot but very pleasant.
In July and August the temperatures reach 26 – 28°C which is less than many Spanish and Portuguese cities that are located much norther. The precipitation usually fall mainly in the period from November to April. They are most abundant in November – 70 mm.
– Marrakech has tropical climate and is surrounded by scrub lands. The daily temperatures throughout the year are higher than 18°C. The coldest months are December (19°C) and January (18°C).
In the rest of the year the weather is hot with summer temperatures. The warmest month is August, when the temperatures reached around 38°C. Note, however – that out of the summer season (from June to September) night temperatures can become very low!
During the winter nights can drop to near 0°C. The reason for the very hot days and cold nights is the desert nature of the climate and the proximity of the Sahara desert.
Due to the remoteness of the Atlantic, the temperature amplitudes between day and night are quite large. Rainfall is scarce throughout the year – during the winter semester are slightly more abundant and in March can reach 33 mm.
– Agadir. This town falls in the tropical climate zone and has a climate, similar to the Spanish Canary Islands. Daily temperatures in Agadir range from 21°C in January to around 26 – 28°C during August and September.
The rainfall is scarce and in January, when is its maximum, does not fall more than 45-50 mm. The nights are cool, which is typical for Morocco as a whole and vary from 10°C in January to 17°C in July, August and September.
Nature. The nature of Morocco is beautiful and is one of the major preconditions for tourism development. Millions of visitors from around the world are enchanted by the unique landscape of the fiery red Morocco.
The country has beautiful beaches. The Atlantic beaches are usually long and wide, the sand is light, orange or red, sometimes with brown shades.
On the Mediterranean, the beaches are much smaller and the sand colour vary from light to dark yellow. In many places the shore is covered with grit. We could say that Morocco is not a country rich in forests.
In general, the vegetation is scarce, but there are some exception. In some places into the mountains especially at higher altitude of Morocco can be seen forests with coniferous species that grow mainly irrigated by the greater humidity.
In the lower parts of the country, the forests are much less. There grow citrus trees, olives, date palm, cactus and some coniferous species such as cypress.
Beyond the Atlas Mountains, where the humid air masses coming from the Atlantic Ocean can not reach, begin the kingdom of the sands.
Here is the periphery of the Sahara desert and here the desert looks great with its endless sand dunes and burning heat.
Economy. Morocco has a developing economy. The strategic situation of the country on the Gibraltar Passage, the outlet on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, the beautiful scenery and wonderful beaches, warm climate, amazing cities and rich local culture are some of the leading economic factors.
Morocco rely mainly on tourism and services sector as a whole, and of course, to its dynamic agriculture.
The country is very interesting for investment from France, Russia, Spain and Arab countries. For Morocco, the division of the world before 1989 has never been important to its economy.
The country has always maintained active economic relations with both socialist and with the Western capitalist economies. Today, Morocco has very close economic ties with the European Union, but it is difficult to say how it will develop the relationship between them in the future.
Morocco seeks EU membership, but the EU offers a privileged co-operation. Indeed, Morocco is African country, but on the other hand Malta is also part of Africa. Cyprus itself is an Asian country, but both Mediterranean islands are full EU members.
Morocco shares a common history with European countries and with countries such as Spain shares even partly common culture.
In recent years the economic growth of the country is stable, and the global economic crisis skipped the local economy.
The official currency is the Moroccan dirhams, and the standard of living is similar to that of Eastern Europe. The income per capita is about $ 6,400 a year.
Population and settlements. Morocco’s population is about 33.5 million inhabitants. Greater is the concentration in the northern and coastal areas and less in the interior and southern parts of the country.
The largest cities are Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes, Tangier, Agadir and others. The ethnic composition of the Moroccan population is diverse – Arabs, Berbers, Jews, dark-skinned and so on.
In recent years, many Western Europeans and Russians are interested to buy properties in attractive coastal towns and resorts.
– Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco. The population is over 3.5 million inhabitants. This is the most cosmopolitan city in the country. There are people of different races and religions.
One of the most interesting parts of Casablanca is Medina. This is the old town with its narrow and colourful streets, which meander to the port.
In central Casablanca areas every year become more and more valuable and the high construction starts its way. In 1998, was completed the 28 storey twin towers which, although not very high, are quite beautiful and add a lot of colour to the city.
Unlike most Moroccan cities, where the reddish hues of the buildings predominate, in Casablanca the buildings are painted mainly in white tones. This is the reason for the name of the city, which literally translated from Spanish means “white house”.
– City of Rabat has 1.7 million inhabitants. This is the capital of Morocco and the second largest city in the country.
It is located not far from Casablanca and perform mainly administrative functions, although in terms of economic development the city give way to Casablanca and the much smaller Tangier.
Like any self-respecting capital, Rabat has many beautiful squares, maintained parks and gardens, fountains and good infrastructure. The city is a real cultural heritage under the open sky.
One of the biggest attractions is the necropolis of Chellah. Chellah is located on the outskirts of the city of Rabat, near the river of Buregreg.
– Fes is a very beautiful city with oriental spirit. Located in the northern parts of Morocco, at the foot of the Atlas mountains. It has a population of about 950,000 inhabitants and is the third largest city in the country after Casablanca and Rabat.
Although Fes does not enjoy the glory that enjoy Marrakech, the city has many things which to present to its visitors. The vegetation in Fes and its environs is very scarce and represented mainly by dry-loving subtropical species.
– Tangier is one of the most dynamic economic centers in the whole Morocco. Walking the streets, you can see people from different races, speaking different languages.
Some of them are here on vacation and others – on business. Tangier is one of the most prosperous cities in Morocco, although its population is around 700,000 people.
This does not prevent it to develops its economy much more rapidly, even from the capital Rabat. One of the biggest advantages is its proximity to the Gibraltar Strait and to Europe.
– Agadir is a city with a population of about 680,000 people and is located in the southern parts of Morocco. The warm tropical climate is one of its biggest advantages.
It has beautiful and vast beaches and golf courses for the enthusiasts of this sport. The coastal part of Agadir plays the role of a resort area dotted with hotels and restaurants.
The coastal zone is a place, where life begins to boil after the scorching African sun disappeared behind the horizon.
– Marrakech is certainly the most beautiful city in Morocco and is one of the most charming places of Africa. With population of nearly 600,000 people, the city is an oasis amidst firely reddish landscapes dotted with date palm trees and tropical evergreen vegetation.
Marrakech is the biggest tourist center of the country and is a paradise for the lovers of the culture.
Everything is coloured in rose or red nuances, the pink buildings are surrounded by dry loving tropical vegetation.
Colourful markets, squares, narrow streets and the millions of tourists, who come here throughout the year form the image of Marrakech today.
When to visit the Morocco? The best time for tourism in Morocco is in spring and autumn if you are directed to the northern parts of the country. Summer may be too hot and the winter – cold and wet.
Only the ocean shore has easy bearable summer temperatures because of the influence of the cold Canary stream.
If you plan to travel to Marrakesh and the southern parts of Morocco (e.g Agadir) you should know that the weather is warm throughout the year.
In Marrakech, even in January you could lounge in the sun near some swimming pool and enjoy the lovely weather.
If you travel to Morocco during the summer will be better to protect very well your skin from the strong sunlight.