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Here are some Morocco travel and holiday tips

Geography

Morocco is located in the North-West of Africa. It is demarcated in the North by the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea, in the South by Mauritania, in the East by Algeria and in the West by the Atlantic Ocean. The Moroccan coast spreads over 3500 km. Surface: 710. 850 km2. This is the place for your Marrakech excursions.

Climate

The predominating climate in Morocco is the Mediterranean one, temperate in the West and in the North because of the Atlantic Ocean. Inland, the climate is rather continental with significant temperature differences. The area of the Atlas is damp, snow cover is frequent there. The South has a desert climate.

The language

Apart from the classical Arabic, the language for education, administration and the media, the daily language in Morocco is the dialectal Arabic, as well as the Tamazight (Berber), spoken in the Rif, the Atlas and the Souss, and that varies depending on the areas. Most Moroccans speaks French, many speak Spanish and English.

Religion

Islam is the official religion in Morocco, but the coexistence with other religions is perfect (besides the practice of the other revealed religions is guaranteed by the constitution). The day is tapped out by five calls to prayer. They are announced by the muezzin from the top of the minaret. During the month of the Ramadan, Moroccans fast, stop drinking and smoking from sunset to sunrise. Obviously, their daily life is affected. Most administrations, public services, monuments and shops adjust their opening hours. However, non-Muslims find food in some restaurants, especially in hotels. The days drag, but how beautiful the night are!

Cuisine

Moroccan cooking subtlety combines vegetables and sun-kissed fruits, rare and perfumed spicies, delicate fish and tasty meatsÖ The best of Oriental cookings, famous all over the world, arouses your taste buds. Here are the main Moroccan courses that are to be tasted absolutely.

Kebabs: at the entry of a souk, on a square, on the side of a road, delicious kebabs are cooked right in front of your eyes: a treat, cheap and fast.

Couscous: itís the traditional family meal on Friday, but you can find it every day in restaurants. During your trip, you may taste one thousand of couscous, since they vary depending on the areas and the creativity of the cook. Try not to use your cutlery to eat, rather use your fingers, like Moroccans do.

Mechoui: spit-roasted lamb (or in oven). Meat melts in mouth!

Pastilla: a thin flaky pastry stuffed with pigeon and almonds, thatís the famous Moroccan sweet-sour. There are variants with fish, chicken or even milk for dessert.

Meals of the Ramadan: at sunset; people break their fast (f’tour) with the rich and tasty harira (soup made with meat, lentils, chickpeas), with the beghrir (small honeycomb pancakes served with melted butter and honey) the shebbakia (cakes fried in oil and coated with honey). This ìlightî snack enables to wait for the real dinner which takes place later in the evening.

Tajine: this word both means the container (ornated terracotta dish with a typical cone-shaped lid) and the contents (meat, poultry and fish stew with braised vegetables). Taste and you will understand why tajine is the national meal in Morocco.

Mint tea: it is thirst-quenching, it warms up, it picks you up, and you can drink it in the morning, after meals or at any time. Itís not the kind of pleasure to pass up.

Pastry: honey cakes, horn-shaped cakes, feqqas with almonds or raisins, ghoriba with almonds, sesame… Irresistible!

Good manners

Respect the local customs mean to show the elementary courtesy towards a welcoming country. To avoid any embarrassing situation or misunderstanding, comply with the habits and customs. Here are some essential rules: In Morocco, access to Mosques and Holy Places is forbidden to non-Muslims. Some exceptions: Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca, Mausoleum Mohamed V in Rabat, Mausoleum Moulay Ismaïl in Meknès, Mausoleum Moulay Ali Chérif in Rissani.

Avoid provocative clothes. Accept mint tea, which is a hospitable gesture.

If you are invited to share a family meal, you will symbolically wash your hands in the ewer. The meal will start when the host says the “bismillah”, praise to God. Eat with your right hand, taste everything, but do not feel you have to eat everything in your plate, it is impossible in general!

Try not to drink, eat or smoke in public during the day when it is the period of Ramadan.

If you want to take a picture of somebody, do not forget to ask permission.

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