Morocco Travel Guide with Away to Africa

Contributed by Away to Africa

One of Africa’s many jewels, Morocco, is a stunning country whose beauty can only be fully appreciated in person. Strategically located at the top of the continent, where it gently grazes the Mediterranean, the country integrates its unique geography, history, and diversity into a rich and diverse identity.

Geography and Climate

Morocco holds the unique distinction of having coasts on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately the size of California, it boasts a mountainous terrain with the Rif Mountains, which were once part of the Iberian peninsula before Africa separated from Europe due to continental drift.

Cultural Blend

Despite the physical separation, cultural connections remain robust. Morocco deftly combines native Arab and Imazighen cultures with European influences, assimilating sub-Saharan African lifestyles. This cultural fusion is the result of the country’s complex history. Segments of the population descended from Spain fled during the Christian campaign against Muslims, leading to widespread Spanish language use, although Arabic remains the dominant language. Sub-Saharan Africans were brought to the country as slaves, with their descendants mainly residing in the southern cities today.

Religion in Morocco

Islam is the official religion of Morocco, with the majority of Moroccans practicing Sunni Islam. While there is no indigenous Christian population, a once sizable Jewish community has largely migrated to Israel or other parts of Europe.

Cultural Influences and Attractions

These disparate cultural influences are visible throughout Morocco, especially in the large cities, where you’ll find everything from Arabic medinas and Islamic mosques to French art galleries in close proximity.

The lively, somewhat chaotic medinas of Morocco, probably the most significant cultural export to Western television and art, are bustling squares of commerce teeming with vendors, snake charmers, and monkey tamers. The range of products on offer spans from handmade artisan crafts to herbs and spices, with the air filled with the sounds of smithing, crafting, and bargaining.

The two most popular medinas are in Fez and Marrakech. Marrakech, more modern and rapidly changing, retains a historic charm while incorporating modern conveniences such as air conditioning in its stores and riads (traditional Moroccan-style houses). Fez, in contrast, is smaller, quainter, and places greater emphasis on tradition. You can hear the sound of metal banging throughout the streets as brass craftsmen practice their art.

Religious Sites and Architectural Marvels

The Hassan II Mosque, a breathtaking place of worship located on the oceanfront of iconic Casablanca, is a must-visit irrespective of faith. It is one of the few mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims through paid guided tours offered at specific times.

Beyond the mosque, Morocco brims with impressive architecture. Visitors can travel to Aït Benhaddou, a fortified village, or kasbah, made entirely of clay, along the former caravan trail between the Sahara desert and Marrakech. Its detailed craftsmanship and striking red clay have made it a popular filming location for TV shows like Game of Thrones and films such as Gladiator.

Colorful Cities

Aït Benhaddou is not the only village boasting a bold primary color. Chefchaouen, a city entirely bathed in blue, is a symbol of the Jewish refugees who escaped the Spanish Inquisition and brought with them the custom of painting their surroundings in the now-iconic color. Today, Chefchaouen is one of the world’s most iconic cities and a paradise for photographers.

How to Get to Morocco

Mohammed V International Airport, located just 30 km southeast of Casablanca, is the country’s main travel hub. It is the fourth busiest airport on the continent and was named after King Mohammed V of Morocco, who spearheaded the push for independence from Spain and France.

Lodging Options in Morocco

Rodamon Riad Marrakech

Situated in the heart of Marrakech, the Rodamon Riad places you near Marrakech’s bustling medina and souks. This traditional Riad, fitted with modern comforts such as swimming pools, a lounge, and a bar, promises a relaxing stay while offering a taste of traditional Moroccan life.

Riad Kasbah & Spa

Nestled near the base of the Saadian Tombs and a short walk from the legendary Jamaa El Fna square, the Riad Kasbah offers a tranquil retreat in bustling Marrakech. This luxury hotel provides a full range of services, including concierge, airport transfer, restaurant reservation, excursions, and car rentals.

Things to Do in Morocco

Experience the Desert Landscapes

Wadi Ziz, the most significant oasis of the Moroccan Sahara and one of the world’s largest oases is a must-visit. Nestled along the Ziz River and ten days’ journey south of Fez across the Atlas Mountains, it’s famous for its large and luscious dates.

Erg Chebbi, one of Morocco’s several ergs – vast seas of wind-blown sand dunes, offers a unique experience. Here, you can admire the sunset on camelback amidst the sand dunes that tower up to 100m high.

Hot Air Balloon Over the Todra Gorge

Embark on a hot air balloon ride over the world-famous Todra Gorge, with its up to 300m high rock walls. The Todra Gorges are a series of limestone river canyons in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Visit Essaouira 

Take a trip to Essaouira, a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Known for its quiet medina with traditional handicrafts, including the famous saffron spice, and its crescent beach popular for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing, Essaouira is one of Morocco’s most beautiful cities.

Where to Eat in Morocco

Dar Zellij

Dar Zellij leaves a lasting impression. A refurbished 17th-century riad adorned with era-specific paintings, it offers a choice of dining indoors by the artworks or in the courtyard under the stars. Specializing in traditional Moroccan food, customer favorites include their pastilla, harira soup, and chicken tagine. Occasionally, you might also get to enjoy a belly dancing show.

La Sqala

La Sqala, a repurposed Portuguese fort, is one of the country’s best seafood restaurants. Prioritizing fresh ingredients, La Sqala delivers elevated local cuisine. The spacious courtyard hosts live performances from local bands and dancers.

Rick’s Cafe

Inspired by the legendary 1942 film Casablanca, Rick’s Cafe wears its influence proudly. Serving an international menu sourced directly from local fishermen and farmers, Rick’s provides good food, live shows, and an incomparable atmosphere, draped in decor and memorabilia from the classic film.



Away to Africa is a destination management company that orchestrates several travel experiences to Zanzibar, Tanzania, each year. The company also leads trips to 14 other countries across Africa, including Ghana, Togo, Benin, Morocco, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland, Nigeria, Madagascar, Egypt, Senegal, and Seychelles. Their personalized group travel packages encompass accommodation, gourmet traditional food, and cultural tours. An Away to Africa representative accompanies the group throughout the journey, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience 24/7.

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