Morocco is a sovereign country located in the North-African region. Geographically, Morocco is well known for its rugged mountains, large tracts of desert and is interestingly one of the only three countries in the world to be bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. The Kingdom of Morocco (as it is officially known) is steeped in rich history and mystery as there are many ancient ruins and historical cities with stunning views and architecture to visit. In fact, Morocco has been inhabited by humans since the prehistoric Paleolithic era. The Romans, Vandals, Visigoths and Byzantines were all once inhabitants of Morocco.
The people of Morocco are predominately of Berber (North African indigenous) and Arabic decent, and Berber and Arabic are their national languages (though French is also widely spoken there). As a country where approximately 98% of the population is Muslim, one can expect to find beautiful mosques located around the country. The Hassan II Mosque is one you should not miss. This modern mosque is located in Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco, and contains intricately carved marble pieces with astounding mosaics and details that pay tribute to Islamic culture. (Though most Mosques will not let non-Muslims in)
For nature lovers, or for those who love the outdoors, Morocco does offer a wide variety of locations with beautiful and stunning scenery. Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco’s two Saharan Ergs (large seas of dunes formed by wind-blown sand) where visitors can participate in a wide variety of activities ranging from Camel trekking, desert hiking, and night camping on the dunes. Local legend has it that the dunes were constructed by God as punishment for refusing to help a weary traveller from the Sahara Desert. The High Atlas mountain range runs from northeast to southwest and contains the highest peak (at 4167 metres) in North Africa, Toukbal, a popular destination for avid climbers. Muleteers and mountain guides are available to bring visitors across the landscape, which varies from season to season; from snow-covered peaks in the winter to gushing river valleys in the Spring.
The Marrakesh Medina district (‘Medina’ meaning city in Arabic) is another popular destination to visit. This historical city contains intertwining narrow passages that form a labyrinth of sorts, where you can find many local shops selling antiques and souvenirs such as robes, spices, colourful ceramics, and carpets. If you are more interested in experiencing the atmosphere and culture of Moroccan lifestyle, visit Djemma el-fna Square where snake-charmers, musicians and random acrobatic acts perform in this vast plaza.
Moroccan culture itself is an extraordinary experience. Their traditional cuisine is often regarded as one of the best in the world. One popular dish is Couscous which is made from semolina grains steamed in a colander-like dish known as a couscoussièr. It is considered the staple food for most Moroccans and has a light fluffy texture which soaks up the flavours of other ingredients such as meat and vegetables. Most restaurants in Morocco uphold the tradition of serving this dish on Fridays. Cumin is also a popular spice used in most Moroccan dishes, giving them an authentic Moroccan taste, so be prepared to get accustomed to this rich flavour when tasting Moroccan food.