Morocco quick facts
A veritable melting pot of Arabic, African and European cultures, Morocco has long draw adventurers, travellers and tourists to the north-western most tip of the African continent. So close to Europe (the Straits of Gibraltar, which separate them are 9 miles/14 kilometres at their narrowest point)and yet so different and exotic, it is easy to see why.
Few are immune to Morocco’s charms: writers such as Samuel Pepys and George Orwell (three centuries apart) recorded their visits. Heads of State and Government (such as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt) visited their counterparts or came to relax; fashion icons and rock and roll legends came in the swinging sixties to party… Today, Morocco welcomes backpackers, families, mountaineers, package tourists and the international jet set with the same smiling welcome and warm hospitality. Read our information on getting to Morocco to start planning your trip!
Full name: The Kingdom of Morocco.
Population: Around 30 million - mainly indigenous Berber (Amazigh) and Arab.
State religion: Sunni Islam, with Christian and Jewish minorities.
Governance: Constitutional monarchy.
Head of State: King Mohammed VI (who succeeded his father, Hassan II in 1999).
Bordering countries: Algeria and Mauretania.
Area: 710,00 sq km.
Geography: two coastlines (along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean); a hot and arid interior including the Sahara Desert; mountain ranges of the Rif (to the north, running parallel to the Mediterranean coast) and the Middle, High and Anti-Atlas (running more-or-less from north to south down the Eastern flank) feed large gorges (such as those of the Dades and Todra rivers in the south) as well as oases and palmeraie.
Highest peak: Jbel Toubkal in Morocco’s High Atlas range (4,167m).
Principal cities: Rabat (the capital), Casablanca (the largest city), Tangiers, Marrakech, Agadir, Meknes, Ouarzazate and Fes.
Currency: Moroccan dirham (MAD).
Time zone: GMT (as the UK, with seasonal adjustments).
Electricity: Electric current is 127/220 volts AC, 50Hz - plugs are the same as those across mainland Europe (two round pins).
Official language: Arabic, although recent constitutional changes give a standardised version of the Berber dialects greater status. French is still used for tuition, business and government purposes, although English is becoming increasingly important.
UN Human Development Index ranking: 129 (out of 187).