Published on March 8, 2014
MOROCCO For The Young & Curious [Reception Booklet]
Index: General Knowledge about Morocco Morocco’s Culture Practical knowledge about life in Morocco
General Knowledge about Morocco
Morocco’s Culture Morocco’s cultural heritage reflects the influence of a long succession of invaders and settlers including the Carthaginians, Romans, French, Spanish and Arabs. The Berbers make up over half of the population and Moroccan society is a fascinating melting pot of Berber, Arab, Jew, Muslim, African and European. The late Hassan II, king of Morocco, compared the country to a tree with its roots spreading deep into the heart of Africa, its trunk solidly set in the Arab-Islamic world and its branches reaching beyond Spain, Portugal and France to the heart of Europe. Morocco is changing as a result of outside influences but its diverse culture remains anchored in age-old traditions that stress community life and family values that are cherished and readily shared. Hospitality is an essential element to Morocco’s culture. The people of Morocco are extremely friendly and hospitable; they are kind, warm, and well known around the world for their hospitality.
Climate Morocco’s climate varies from region to region and time of year. The hottest time to visit the Moroccan Sahara is midsummer when, in contrast, it is much cooler on the coast or in the Atlas mountains; but there are no set rules. Spring tends to come late (April or May) and this is the season to visit Rose Valley (Kelaa Mgouna) and the Rose Festival. Winter days in the South can be perfect, although the nights are cold. Summer tends to come (From June, July to August) Autumn tends to come (From September to October) Winter tends to come (From November, December, January, to February) Published annual sunshine levels are more than 8hrs a day in Fes, Marrakech and Ouarzazate with average temperatures above 21c. But if you feel too hot or too cold you can travel from the snow of the Atlas to the heat of the Sahara sands in one day - not that we advise you to move with such haste when there is so much to explore and discover along the route.
Religion Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2% Islam is the official religion in Morocco and peacefully co-exists alongside other religions. Each day of the year is marked by five calls to prayer and the muezzins announce prayer times from the top of the mosques' minarets. Mosques in general are closed to non-Muslims however the Hassan II Mosque in open to nonMuslims every day except Friday, and is well worth a visit.
Traditional Food in Morocco We LOVE food! To get you started, here's a list of common Moroccan food items you'll certainly come across during your travels: Amlou: sweet spread made from Almond paste, honey, and Argan oil Baghrir: spongelike pancake with little openair pockets on the top, similar to a large crumpet Brochette: skewered meat grilled over a charcoal fire Couscous: hand-rolled semolina grain steamed until plump and fluffy Harira: soup usually made from vegetable or chicken stock with added chickpea and tomato Kefta: minced lamb or beef generously spiced and either rolled into the shape of a sausage brochette or shaped into meatballs and cooked in a tagine Mechoui: whole roasted lamb or beef Msemmen: thin, oily, flat bread Pastilla: flaky, phyllo pastry pie with a savory filling of chicken, pigeon, or sometimes seafood, topped with cinnamon or sugar icing Tagine: meat, seafood, and/or vegetable casserole or stew, slowly cooked in a twopiece earthenware cooking vessel with coneshaped lid Tanjia: earthenware urn stuffed with seasoned meat and slowly cooked in the embers of the local hammam
Morocco’s Festivals & Events Moroccans celebrate a multitude of festivals – Ramadan, Eid Fitr, Eid Kbir etc Festivals in Morocco are very joyfully celebrated, with special food to accompany each. Marathon des Sables (The Sand Marathon) The Rose Festival Eid ul Adha ( Islamic Festival ) Ramadan ( Islamic Festival ) Essaouira Gnawa & World Music Festival Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, Morocco
Erfoud Date Festival Marrakesh Popular Arts Festival Marrakesh International Film Festival Check out this link for more information: http://goafrica.about.com/od/morocco/tp/Morocco-Festivals-And-Events.htm
Quick Facts Full Country Name: Morocco Location: North Africa, Climate: Mediterranean, Population: 32,209,101 Capital City: Rabat Dialing code: 212 Language: Dialectal Arabic, French, Berber, English, Spanish Classical Arabic is the official language of education, the Civil Service and the media. Everyday language in Morocco is typically a Dialectal Arabic as well as Tamazight (Berber) that is spoken in the Rif, Atlas and Souss - dialects vary with the region. Morocco was once a French Protectorate and most Moroccans speak French; many speak Spanish and English in addition to German and Italian. Government: Constitutional Monarchy Currency : Moroccan Dirham Ethnic Make-up: Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%
Morocco Popular Destinations Marrakech, Fes, Rabat, Agadir, Tangier, Merzouga, ouazazate, walili, Tetouan etc… http://www.asiarooms.com/en/travel-guide/morocco/morocco-popular-destinations/index.html Legzira Oualili Chaouen Chaouen Ifrane Tangier
AL Hoceima Agadir Rabat Sahara Ouarzazate Marrakesh Fez
Nightlife in MOROCCO !
Practical knowledge about life in Morocco Tips while Travelling to Morocco Safety Travelling in Morocco Morocco is essentially a safe country to visit and violent crime is rare, although petty theft is recorded as fairly common. When travelling on public transport, or in crowded places, you are advised to keep an eye on your luggage and personal possessions. Avoid walking alone at night in unlit areas or along the beach. Morocco is a friendly country and guests are treated with respect. Nevertheless, it is better to get too friendly with strangers. Always stay in crowds and avoid isolated spots, unless accompanied by trusted people. Women Travelers Women often ask if it’s safe to travel alone. Actually any woman travelling alone is likely to be faced with some unwanted attention. My best advice with regards clothing is to dress
respectfully and, even if you don't feel it, appear confident and selfassured; be polite but formal in response to uninvited comments. Although there is no need to overdo the dress code, and it’s unnecessary to wear a scarf or veil, short skirts and tight clothes are likely to attract more attention than you may feel comfortable with. Transportation Traveling around Morocco Trains, buses and grand-taxis are an easy way of getting around Morocco, as is renting a car and driving at your own speed. However, if you have limited time, hiring a vehicle and Moroccan driver is the ideal way to explore and learn about the culture and, if you hire is a 4x4, you can avoid the busy tourist routes and travel off-road across the pistes to experience the hospitality and traditional lifestyle of the Berber people. Trains in Morocco Trains run between Tangier, Meknes, Fez, Oujda, Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech and are both safe and comfortable. The Moroccan national train service ONCF lists the schedules and fares: http://www.oncf.ma/Index_en.aspx Buses in Morocco Buses owned by the national bus companies e.g. Supratours, CTM and SATAS run between major towns and cities. Long-distance buses are comfortable and tickets are purchased at the bus depot.
Taxis in Morocco Taxis are either: Petit or Grande The Petit Taxis are the ones you use to travel within the city. These are various colors depending on the city. Blue in Rabat, Red in Fez, Beige in Marrakesh and so on. In a petit taxi only four people are allowed (including the driver, infants and small children). Petit taxis can also be split between people. So if you see a petit taxi with one or two people in it and it is going in your direction, you can flag it down and ask for a lift. Petit Taxis and the Meter: By law, petit taxis are required to use their meter. If they don’t use the meter, If the meter doesn't work, then you negotiate your price in advance. At night the meter runs at a time and a half. On taxis with a newer electronic meter, your final rate at night will be shown. The Grande Taxis are typically white/tan and they run between cities, to the airports, within cities on fixed routes and are available for private hire. Grande taxis cram in 7 people total including the driver, so that can make for a tight squeeze. Grande Taxis and Payment: If you take a Grande taxi on a fixed city route, or a fixed in between city route, you typically pay for a seat a certain fixed price. Grand taxis (usually Mercedes saloons) are shared taxis but you can negotiate a price if you want the journey to yourself P.S: If you are in a highly touristic area, expect most taxis to not use the meter. Now, depending on who you are and your holiday plans, you can just roll with the punches or you can continue to look for taxis. If you can get away from a highly touristic area, your driver will probably use the meter.
Clothing Dress respectfully if you do not wish to attract undue attention. This typically means covering your body between your knees and elbows e.g. trousers, long shorts or skirt to the knee (at least) and short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts. In summer, loose clothing is comfortable in the heat and when travelling. In spring & autumn, a warm fleece is needed for chilly evenings, and in winter, warm clothing is essential. In large cities such as Marrakech, Fes or Agadir, Moroccans dress as fashionably as they would on High Street in Europe although, in contrast, you will also see women traditionally dressed in “ derra “ (hood like scarf that covers all hair and is tied under chin) and “ jellaba” (long-sleeved, ankle-length, flowing dress). In rural areas women usually wear traditional clothes and you are encouraged to dress more conservatively when touring. Photography Photographing landscapes or crowds-in-general poses no problem although I have been challenged when using a tri-pod. If you want to photograph people e.g. portraits, you are advised to ask permission first – sometimes you will be given the go-ahead, sometimes you will be asked for dirhams and sometimes the answer will be no. Costs In Restaurants Restaurants usually have fixed prices but there is a huge difference between the ones aimed at tourists and those catering to locals. In “ Zagora “ ( a city in Morocco ) , for example, a side-street restaurant served us a “ tagine “ big enough for two people for less than half the price of a one-person “ tagine “ being served around the corner on the main street. Ask first if there’s no menu with prices listed.
Tipping Tips are expected in Morocco and here is a rough tipping guide: waiter in café 2-5 dirhams each waiter in restaurant 5-10 dirhams each or 10% curator or guardian 5 dirhams Currency The Moroccan Dirham cannot be exported or imported. On arrival currency can be exchanged in the airport but, to save queuing, carry small denomination Euro notes for the taxi to the hotel. The Euro has replaced the US Dollar as the currency of the Sahara and can be used on a daily basis for goods and services. Cash and Travelers Cheques can be exchanged at any bank and there is a network of ATMs – retain your transaction receipts as they are required when converting money back into Sterling, Euros etc. Visas Visa requirements are country-dependent, contact your country’s Moroccan Embassy for up-to-date visa information. On arrival in Morocco your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your intended stay. Insurance You are advised to obtain travel insurance before setting out on your holiday. This insurance must cover the loss, expenses and damages arising from, including but not limited to, the cancellation of the holiday (whether in whole or in part), personal accident and injury, medical and repatriation costs, loss of baggage and personal money and belongings and flight cancellations and delays. Electrical Voltage The voltage is usually 220v although older buildings may have 110v or a mix of both – if you are unsure, ask. Sockets take 2-pronged European-style plugs and you may need to pack an adapter.
Moroccan Phrases Moroccan Arabic English Salaam Ealykum Hello Insha’Allah God Willing Labas? How are you? Labas, Hmdullah Good, thanks be to God Shuqran Thank you Mizyan Very good Ana Me Bzaf Too Much Walou Nothing Khübz Bread
AIESEC Morocco iGCDP Leaders Contacts Name Position MC/L C City Email Phone Number Skype Asmaa Inachchal MCVP iGCDP Rabat Asmaa.inachchal@ aiesec.ma 00212 6 04060718 Asma.idrissi.icx Selman Elfath LCVP iGCDP Rabat selman.elfath@aies ec.net 00212674074 275 elfath.selman Saad Echarraq Sara Berrada LCVP iGCDP LCVP iGCDP LCP MC Morocc o LC AMBA SSADE URS LC ANFA LC ATLAS LC HASS AN LC MENA RA SU SAISS Casablanca saad.echarraq@aie sec.net sara.berrada@aiese c.net imane.elkachchabi @aiesec.net 00212672083 167 __ saad.skizo 00212642616 714 imaneelk1 Marrakesh zhour.addoula@aie sec.net 00212613167 958 zhouradd Fez jihane.jbari@aiesec 00212618344 .net 904 Imane Elkachchabi Zhour Addoula LCVP iGCDP EL Jbari Jihane LCVP iGCDP Ifrane Rabat sara.berrada92 Jihane.eljbari
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