Morocco Travel Guide
Morocco is located on the northwest corner of Africa and contrary to many believes it is not desert. In fact there is a sizable coastal area, then a savannah like strip, A mountainous region, and finally the Sahara Desert, which Morocco is just on the edge of. Due to this habitable rim, which runs all the way across the north coast of Africa, the Roman Empire extended all the way to here from the 1st century BC through the 5th Century AD. Before the Romans arrived the Phoenicians and later the Carthaginians ruled the area. During this time the native Berber population retreated up into the mountains, which has been more or less their domain ever since.
In 788 Idris ibn Abdallah migrated from the Middle East, bringing Islam and Arabic with him as he set up a new kingdom. By the 13th century this empire controlled Morocco, half of north Africa, Spain, and Portugal, but were slowing pushed out of Iberia from then until 1492 by the Reconquista.
As a turn of events from 1830-1956 both France and Spain controlled Morocco during the colonization of Africa. Independence was reestablished and the Alaouite Dynasty (1659-present) continued to rule the country.
On a side note, Western Sahara is a sparsely populated area of land south of Morocco. It is roughly 40% the size and both Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic both claim the territory, but in reality Morocco has governed over 2/3 of the territory since 1963 as if it was part of the country properly.
During the summer of 2017 Melek and I traveled throughout Morocco for two weeks, including an overnight stop in Laayoune, Western Sahara. We started in Casablanca then visit El Jadida, Marrakesh, Essaouira, Ait Benhaddou, Fez, Meknes, Volubilis, Rabat, Tetouan, and Chefchaouen.
Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations
Morocco is a fascinating country, offering a good insight into traveling in African and Muslim countries. Many things Westerns are used to are present, but also you will find new ways of doing and looking at things.
One thing that does get tiresome is the constant feeling the locals are just trying to get money out of you. To combat this, make sure you make cabs use the meter or find out a fair price and make them agree to it. If you load Google Maps on
your phone and use the GPS it will help you not to have to ask for directions from locals who will insist on money. While shopping, simply say no thank you and continue walking.
As far as Western Sahara goes, there is no reason to visit. There are no real tourism facilities and, more to the point, precious little to see of do anyways.
Soon you can get even more helpful hints by watching the travel videos I am making for Morocco. Also, you can read what all I did there in my blog posts located below the video.