Morocco offers travellers a captivating insight into a colourful world fused in Berber, Arabic, European and Mediterranean culture. It has always been a destination known for its traditional philosophies and ways of life. The ancient ramparts that once protected the imperial cities, desert tents of the Nomadic Berbers, secret niches of the Medinas, architecture of the grande mosques and the private Riads, whose central courtyards families would criss-cross through and crowd around, still remain standing today. Morocco’s famous medinas are surrounded by ramparts and are often the guardians of Morocco’s traditions and unique character. During the day, the busy souks and markets are at the heart of trading activity, where everyone is trying to make a sale and mint tea is always on offer. Westwards is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Moroccan coast; the seaside resort of Agadir and its port bustling with the deliveries of freshly caught fish. Fall in love with the local charm of Essaouira and the European influence of Rabat and Tangier. The combination of sea and sand, open shoreline, busy souks and the towering Atlas Mountains that cut majestically across the land make each visit as bewitching and enchanting as the last. There’s no place quite like Morocco!
- Romans & Berbers: The Romans travelled to Morocco around 150 BC, which then became part of their empire, however they continued to live peacefully with the local Berber people.
- King of the Berbers: A descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, named Moulay Idriss, became King of the Berbers in 788 AD. He was eventually murdered, however his son Moulay Idriss II took control and founded the city of Fes.
- Moroccan Independence: From the early 1900's Morocco was controlled under a union between France and Spain. This continued until 1956 when Morocco gained independence.
- John the Baptist: It is widely believed that the shrine of Sidi Yahya, located in the city of Oujda in Morocco, is the tomb of John the Baptist.
- Ancient University: The University of al-Qarawiyyin, located in Fes, was founded in 859 AD and many believe that it is the oldest university in the world.
- Royal Tradition: The current Royal family of Morocco is part of the Alaouite dynasty and has been ruling the Kingdom of Morocco continuously since the 17th century.
- The African Union: Situated in North Africa, Morocco is currently the only country in the continent of Africa that is not a member of the African Union.
- Youthful Nation: Morocco has a population of 32 million, 50% of which are under the age of 20 and 70% of which are under the age of 30.
- President & Prime Minister: US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill both attended the Casablanca Conference in secret in January 1943 to discuss the Allies strategy for WWII.
The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, largest in Morocco, can accommodate 25,000 worshippers inside and 80,000 on the surrounding grounds. Its minaret is the tallest in the world.
The Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech, took French painter Jacques Majorelle forty years to create; uniquely charming in the heart of the Red City.
- The University of Al-Karaouine was the world’s first university founded in 859 in Fes; it continues to be one of the leading spiritual and educational centres for Muslims worldwide.
- Enjoy dinner at Yacout, a renovated ancient palace serving up some of the finest Moroccan food in Marrakech.
- In Essaouira try one of the many food stalls that line the harbour. Choose from the selection of fresh fish on offer, agree on a price and enjoy a lunch cooked for you on the spot.
- Take a trip to Djemaa el Fna square at sunset and see it transform into hundreds of mini restaurants where you can taste freshly prepared specialties, grilled meat skewers, Harira (soup), salads and even roasted lamb head.
- Rick’s Café, the fictional eatery from the 1942 film ‘Casablanca’ has been transformed from fictional to factual. Enjoy a menu of steaks, hamburgers, lamb chops and Cajun cuisine.
- Thami’s in Fes is the favourite road side restaurant near the Medina serving fried fish, spicy meatball tagines and hot bowls of stewed beans.
- Sit back and take in the sights and sounds of Marrakech and its beautiful gardens as you’re guided through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage.
- Oualidia is a fishing village next to sheltered, sandy lagoon. Here it is all about beach and chill out, no market stalls or bustling medina, just a sleepy village to while away the days.
- Experience the magical desert oases with their palm fringed lagoons, a beautiful place to take a load off and escape the desert sun.
- Although the interior of the Theatre Royal in Marrakech to this day remains unfinished, don’t miss the opportunity to watch a performance in the outdoor Carthage style amphitheatre, with very impressive acoustics.
- For a night out hit ‘So’ in Agadir with its champagne bar, vodka bar, live music and dance floor it has to be one of the best nights out in town.
- You will find regular musical performances held in the Mokri Palace in Fes. Les Musicales du Palais el-Mokri is definitely a must see for those wanting to experience Morocco’s past culture.
- Canal Forme in Marrakech is more than just a gym and spa. For something different try the African dance classes or the underwater spin class!
- Hot air ballooning in La Palmeraie north of Marrakech is a wonderful way to admire the palm groves and small villages that surround the Atlas Mountains. Don’t miss out on taking a 4x4 mini circuit to a small hamlet where you can enjoy mint tea and locally made cakes after.
- Rafting the High Atlas river is something that adventure seekers must do when visiting the Mountains.
- The sand dunes of Essaouira or the plan groves, rock deserts and dry rivers surrounding the Atlas Mountains are the perfect places for some real adventure quad biking.
London Heathrow & London Gatwick to Marrakech operates 2 times a week on Wednesdays and Sundays. London Heathrow to Agadir operates once a week on Saturdays. Seat pitch approx. 31” and luggage allowance is 23kg per person. Business Benefits: include separate check-in area, luggage allowance 30kg, and access to lounges. Seat pitch approx. 62” and up to 180 degree recline, personal TV screen, à la carte meals accompanied by wine. Business class upgrade fr. £240 each way.
ROYAL AIR MAROC
London Heathrow to Casablanca operates daily throughout the year. Connects to all regional airports through Casablanca. Seat pitch approx. 31” and luggage allowance is 23kg per person. Business Benefits: include separate check-in area, luggage allowance 40kg, and access to lounges. Seat pitch approx. 62” à la Carte meals accompanied by wine. Business class upgrade fr. £220 each way.
London Gatwick to Marrakech operates daily. Manchester to Marrakech operates 2 times a week on Wednesdays & Saturdays, from August through to March. London Gatwick to Agadir operates 2 times a week on Tuesdays & Saturdays, from August through to March. Seat pitch approx. 29” and luggage allowance is 20kg per person; fr. £20 per bag. Speedy boarding is also available fr. £15 one way.
Gatwick & Manchester to Agadir operates twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. Seat pitch is approx. 28” & luggage allowance is 20kg per person.
Low Cost Airlines
Ryan Air fly London Stansted to Fes and Marrakech 2 times a week on Sundays and Thursdays. London Luton to Marrakech 3 times a week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Seat pitch approx. 30” and luggage allowance is 15kg per person from £15 and 20kg per person from £25. Jet2 will commence flights from Leeds Bradford and Newcastle to Marrakech in April 2013.
Language: Arabic. French and English are also widely spoken.
Currency: Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
Time Difference: GMT 0
Visa Requirements: British citizens do not require a visa to enter Morocco.
Passport: A valid 10 year passport is required with a minimum 6 months remaining on your passport from the date of arrival back in the UK.
Voltage: 220v – 240v. Usually a 2 pin plug
Religion: Islam is the main religion in Morocco, however a fraction of the population are Christian and Jewish.
Airport Tax: Included in air fare.
Flying Time: Approximately 3½ hours
Health/Vaccinations: No mandatory vaccinations. Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Polio are recommended for all travellers. Rabies Vaccination is also recommended if spending a lot of time outdoors.
Water: Bottled water is strongly recommended.
Tourist Board: Moroccan National Tourist Office, 205 Regent Street London W1B 4 HB. Tel: 020 7437 0073/74