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About Morocco

--Country information--

-Climate: Morocco’s climate varies from region to region and time of year. The hottest time to visit the Moroccan Sahara is midsummer when, in contrast, it is wonderful on the coast or in the Atlas mountains; but there are no set rules. Spring tends to come late (April or May) and this is the season of the roses in Rose Valley. Winter days in the South can be perfect, although the nights are cold.

-Culture & People :  Morocco’s cultural heritage reflects the influence of a long succession of invaders and settlers including the Carthaginians, Romans, French, Spanish and Arabs. The Berbers make up over half of the nation’s population and Moroccan society is a fascinating melting pot of Berber, Arab, Jew, Muslim, African and European. The late Hassan II, king of Morocco, compared the country to a tree with its roots spreading deep into the heart of Africa, its trunk solidly set in the Arab-Islamic world and its branches reaching beyond Spain, Portugal and France to the heart of Europe. Morocco is changing as a result of outside influences but its diverse culture remains deeply anchored in age-old traditions that stress community life and family - values that are cherished and readily shared.

-Currency: By law the Moroccan Dirham cannot be exported or imported. On arrival currency can be exchanged in the airport but, to save queuing, carry small denomination Euro notes for the taxi to the hotel. The Euro has replaced the US Dollar as the currency of the Sahara and can be used on a daily basis for goods and services. Cash and Travellers Cheques can be exchanged at any bank and there is a network of ATMs – retain your transaction receipts as they are required when converting money back into Sterling, Euros etc. on departure.

-Dress code: Dress respectfully if you do not wish to attract undue attention. This means covering your body between your knees and elbows e.g. trousers, long shorts or skirt to the knee (at least) and short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts. In summer, loose clothing is comfortable in the heat and when travelling; in spring & autumn, a warm fleece is needed for chilly evenings; and in winter, warm clothing is essential. In large cities such as Marrakech or Agadir, Moroccans dress as fashionably as they would on any other High Street although in contrast you will also see women traditionally dressed in derra (hood like scarf that covers all hair and is tied under chin) and jellaba (long-sleeved, ankle-length, flowing dress). In rural areas women usually wear traditional clothes and you are encouraged to dress more conservatively when touring.

-Language:The official language of Morocco is Moroccan Arabic, in addition to which several Berber dialects are spoken. French and Spanish are commonly spoken and English is taught in an increasing number of schools.

-Women travel:Women often ask if it’s safe to travel alone. Based on experience I would say yes, but any woman travelling alone is likely to be faced with some unwanted attention. My best advice is to dress respectfully, appear confident and assured, and be polite but formal in response to uninvited comments. Although there is no need to overdo the dress code, and it’s unnecessary to wear a scarf or veil, short skirts and tight clothes are likely to attract more attention than you may feel comfortable with.

--Discover the desert on your own--