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Pinned to the north-west corner of Africa, between the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, Morocco is a weave of cultures with European, Middle-Eastern and Sub-Saharan threads. Ancient cities with centuries-old medinas play host to buzzing, chaotic markets and souqs, and this gateway of Africa offers some of the warmest, most generous hospitality you will experience anywhere in the world.
Morocco is a country of magic and mystery – tailor-made for any traveller searching for unique, secluded experiences. Whether it’s in the spectacular snow-capped peaks of the soaring Atlas Mountains, along the rugged Atlantic coastline or in the dramatic, arid hillsides dotted with ancient fortresses, Morocco beguiles and enchants from day one.
You could one day be muscling your way through Marakkech and the throngs of locals, dizzy from the heady mix of smells, sights and noises, and the next be setting out into the endlessly vast Sahara Desert with its perpetually shifting dunes, star-studded skies, as trains of camels and nomads eternally wander through this ocean of sand to cool, blue oases and gently glowing, dusty mountain ranges.
The Atlas Mountains act as a climate barrier in Morocco, protecting the cooler, coastal climate in the north from the searing heat of the Sahara to the south. And what a weather barrier they are.
Soaring, imposing peaks that puncture the thin air with icy summits, then plunge down into deep valleys and rugged gorges, make this range a hiker’s nirvana. Throw in isolated mountain communities serving up hospitality as warm as their richly spiced tagines, and you’ve got yourself a truly arresting experience just waiting in the next valley.
You don’t so much arrive at Marrakech as lurch headlong into a seething mass of activity. Elegant mosques and looming minarets pierce above the dark, shaded alleyways, each one alive with heaving crowds.
Get lost in the Medina, sit in a cafe observing the perpetual motion of the streets with a coffee, then throw yourself back into the thronging labyrinth. Stand surrounded by glittering lamps, vibrantly coloured carpets and sizzling street food stands, and enjoy this overwhelming of the senses by getting well and truly stuck in.
The Sahara Desert
Huge, hostile, but beautiful, the Sahara Desert is a truly enchanting, unfathomably beautiful ocean of hot golden sand and blindingly blue skies. Immaculately sculpted dunes rise elegantly from the desert floor, as caravans of camels and desert wanderers trek slowly across the endless expanse.
It’s a place that captures the imagination with a sense of isolation and wonder. At night the skies become impossibly stunning, the ink-black dome laden with clouds of stars forming a delicate overhead canvas, as your crackling campfire keeps the shadows of the desert night at bay.
When is the best time to go?
Morocco is generally split into three distinct climates, the hot, dry Saharan south, the High Atlas, and the cooler north and western coast.
In the north of the country, you’ll be getting wet, chilly, Atlantic weather. The High Atlas are pretty much impassable due to snowfall, and in the south of the country, warmer temperatures still attract tourists.
The weather begins to warm, and you’ll see some sandstorms in the south of the country. The mountains begin to thaw and open up to trekkers, whilst in the north, the beaches and cities become warmer and more popular, especially as Easter rolls around.
In June, northern Morocco and the High Atlas Mountains are great places to be, as reliably warm temperatures hang around, and it’s starting to really hot up in the south of the country. As the summer goes on, temperatures can actually become a little unbearable, especially in the desert and the mountains. The beaches on the southern coast are your best bet at this time of year.
An ideal time for the northern coast as the domestic tourists empty from the beaches and temperatures become ideal. The desert becomes cooler and actually quite pleasant, with cool breezes and warm weather.
Top 10 Must See Morocco Sites
- The Sahara Desert
- The Atlas Mountains
- Fez Medina
- Djemaa El Fna Street Theatre
- Ouzoud Waterfalls
- Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou
- Sidi Ifni Beach