Morocco is a unique destination located between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a beautiful country that has vibrant cities, unique cuisine, desert landscapes and a hot atmosphere. This North-African country is a mixture of cultural and historical wealth. If you are planning a new trip to this amazing country but know little about it then discover with us some Morocco highlights you must experience when you visit Morocco. And if you fall in love with Morocco there is the possibility to extend your stay by Teaching English in Morocco. Read on and discover Morocco.
Why visit Morocco
A rich history and culture
Morocco is a country steeped in history as well as a country at the crossroads of all cultures. In prehistoric times, the North-African country was inhabited by the Berbers then conquered in the 7th century by the Muslim dynasties. At the same time, oriental, Andalusian, and Berber, the kingdom is the fruit of many cultural crossings reflected in its historical and architectural heritage.
An amazing culinary landscape
Morocco has one of the richest gastronomies in the world and its culinary art is a real pleasure to discover. The Moroccan cuisine is certainly an essential part of the country. Through the many delicious Moroccan dishes, you will have the impression of traveling through its flavors, sometimes sweet and sometimes spicy by saffron, ginger, or paprika. These spices with strong smells, displayed on the colorful stands in the markets, will make you want to stay forever in the country.
A close yet different civilization
It’s impossible to imagine a more exotic destination so close to the Western world. Morocco will delight you with its mountains, imperial cities, and sandy deserts that stretch for miles. Lose yourself in its noisy traditional markets; a few hours later, you will find a desert where noise has no place.
How to talk about Morocco without mentioning its climate. Moroccans enjoy many more sunny days than most Western citizens. The country enjoys a Mediterranean climate with an average twenty degrees temperature. If you venture there during the winter, you will even have the chance to see the thermometer approaching thirty degrees.
Unique places to stay
Morocco has several unique places to stay; sleep in its elegant arabesque palaces and riads. These places will welcome you with magical settings. The North-African country offers many spaces where relaxation and tranquility reign supreme. Between a traditional house in the heart of the city or a nature reserve in the desert, the choice is extensive.
Best time to visit Morocco
You can visit Morocco anytime but the seasons can play a major part in your decision. This is because you have coastal towns, the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert which have different weather throughout the year. The summer months are June-August and the desert will be unbearably hot however, the coastal regions, still hot, will have cooling ocean to enjoy. During the winter months of November/December-January/February there will be snow on the Atlas Mountains. So you could say the best times to visit Morocco is during the spring, March to May and autumn, September to November. These times will see the pleasant warm weather.
Must See places in Morocco
Casablanca, the economic city of Morocco, has a lively and modern atmosphere. It means the white house in Spanish and it was named after the white colour reigning supreme in the city’s residences. Casablanca reflects the modern and dynamic vision of the kingdom. It is an African metropolis with a major economic dimension. The city is renowned for being a significant financial hub in the continent. But I know it from the movie, Casablanca.
The most famous monument in the city of Casablanca is the Hassan II Mosque which is the largest mosque in Africa. It is one of the mosques accessible to tourists who wish to visit it. Guided tours are carried out regularly at fixed times, with explanations in several languages.
Also visit the beautiful and surprising district of Habous. This district stands out with its hundreds of arches and its ocher and white tones. If you want to buy souvenirs and handicrafts, head to the Habous district, you will find several antique shops and decoration shops.
Casablanca has several accommodation options, from the most low-cost to the most luxurious. It’s recommend you find somewhere to sleep in the city centre especially near the pretty Mohamed V Square. If looking for a bed in a hostel check out Youth Hostel Casablanca. For a budget hotel try the Hotel Moroccan House and for some luxury try the Grand Mogador City Centre.
Marrakech or the Ocher City is so well known that many tourists think it is the capital of the kingdom. It is an essential tourist place, in the city, there are so many places not to be missed.
Start your visit at the famous Majorelle Botanical Garden created by artist Jacques Majorelle. The latter transformed a villa into a true botanical work of art, brought up to date by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint-Laurent. The Majorelle garden covers one hectare and is home to nearly 3000 species of plants.
Continue your visit with a small tour through the souks (Markets) of the ocher city. These markets are places of commerce and meeting; the souks of the old medina of Marrakech are a true labyrinth divided into quarters. Handicrafts are highly showcased there, and you will find several high-quality local items. End your stay in Marrakech with a short visit to Jamaa El Fna, the kingdom’s most famous place where several artists gather to entertain tourists. The place of Jamaa El Fna is part of the world cultural heritage under the protection of UNESCO.
Marrakech is undoubtedly the city that houses the widest choice of accommodation in Morocco. For a comfortable and authentic experience, it’s recommend that you stay in a property in the old Medina of Marrakech. The old Medina brings together several beautiful districts of the city. You will also be in the heart of Marrakech and very close to markets and various monuments and cultural and historical sites. If seeking a bed in a hostel check out Read Jenna Rouge and if wanting a budget hotel try the La Jardines De La Medina. For a little luxury try the Savoy Le Grand Hotel Marrakech.
Valleys and Waterfalls
The valleys of the kingdom offer unforgettable landscapes for tourists wishing to discover Moroccan citizens’ daily life. Visit the Roses’ Valley, one of the most sublime places in Morocco. This magnificent valley is home to land alongside lush vegetation where you can smell the scent of blooming roses.
If you are a hiking enthusiast, do not miss the Dades waterfalls. These small waterfalls form an impressive landscape rise around a 200 km long river. You can head to the Dades waterfalls while visiting the famous High Atlas Mountains at the same time.
The best way to get to the valleys and waterfalls is with a car or a tourist guide. You can book a tour following.
If you are looking for an amazing and unique experience, immerse yourself in the Moroccan desert. Live an unprecedented experience at the gates of the Moroccan Sahara by visiting Merzouga. The desert city opens onto a huge expanse of dunes. Try the bivouac, which allows you to contemplate thousands of stars, you will not forget this experience.
To have an even more authentic vision of the Moroccan desert cities, visit Zagoura and Ouarzazate. Much less well known than Merzouga, these are two small towns that are often the starting point for trips to the desert. These two cities are also an opportunity to admire the lifestyle of Moroccan nomads.
You can visit Merzouga and stay in one of the luxurious hotels so you can explore the Moroccan desert. You can also book a tour to spend time in the area. See some tours following.
The semi-island of Dakhla is located between the rocks and sand of the Saharan desert and the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Dakhla is known worldwide as the capital of Kite surfing. There is indeed a great mix between constant wind and summer temperatures on land and water throughout the year. In Dakhla, you can practice several water sports such as wake boarding, surfing, and paddle boarding.
Dakhla is a unique place offering incredible and unusual landscapes combining ocean, lagoon, and desert. What makes Dakhla so charming is that it is still preserved from the madness of massive tourism. In Dakhla, you can take a 4×4 that will take you on trips, allowing you to discover the Moroccan desert’s hidden secrets. Additionally, in Dakhla, you can still come across nomads or traces of ancient nomadic civilizations.
Dakhla offers a large number of hotels and apartments for rent at attractive prices. If you’re more flexible with your budget, there are Kitesurfing camps (Dakhla Evasion, Dakhla Attitude, or Ocean Vagabond).
Extend your stay in Morocco: Get a Job Teaching English
If you are looking to reduce the costs of your trip to Morocco, consider looking for some work. Teaching English in Morocco is the main type of work that travellers to Morocco find. It is preferred you have a TEFL qualification to apply for a position with one of the private English language schools. Some previous experience will also come in handy but is not essential. The main towns to find a position are Marakesh, Casablanca, Fez and Rabat. Any reputable school you apply to should be able to get you a working visa so you can teach for them, if not a red flag should go up immediately. As well as a work visa, many of the schools will also include a wage and accommodation. Wages can be anywhere from $1,000 – $2,000 per month, depending on the hours you work. To find a job check out Dave’s ESL Cafe, British Council, American Language Centres in Morocco and AMIDEAST.
Finally, however long you wish to spend in Morocco you will discover a rich history, culinary delights, vibrant and colourful cities and beautiful landscapes. Morocco is waiting for you to discover her highlights.
Sharyn McCullum has travelled all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She loves travelling to different countries to immerse herself in the culture and in particular, enjoy the food. She currently calls Melbourne, Australia home.