Morocco’s latitude is similar to that of Southern California. Like California, Morocco’s varied landscape shapes a climate of considerable diversity, with extremes in the desert and mountain regions. While you may not want to experience Morocco’s southern desert in July or August, summer hiking in the Atlas Mountains is a popular activity. Summers in Marrakech are hot and dry, with temperatures reaching 38°C (100°F). Sun is the rule year-round, with occasional rain falling from October through March. Marrakech’s long temperate winters from November to April settle in with pleasant average temperatures of 22°C (71°F). Indeed, most days are warm enough to sunbathe, and the temperature at the Amanjena pool is usually a comfortable 27°C (81°F).
Arabic is the official language of Morocco, though the local version is far removed from its classical source. French is widely spoken throughout the country, as are a variety of Berber dialects. Spanish is common in the north and in the far south. English is also spoken, though for the most part it’s limited to major tourist centres.
The Moroccan currency is the dirham, which is divided into 100 centimes. US$1 is approximately 9 dirham, subject to daily fluctuation. Hotels, banks and the larger airports will change major currencies, though not always traveller’s cheques.
Visitors from most countries do not require visas, but a passport valid for at least six months is necessary. Visitors are usually granted a 90-day stamp on entry. However, it is advisable to check with the Moroccan embassy or consulate in your country for further visa information.
Morocco is one of Africa’s safest countries from a medical standpoint. Normally, vaccinations are not necessary, though you should consult your physician for specific advice. Drink only bottled water. A doctor is on call 24 hours a day at Amanjena.
Electricity is 220 volts and wall outlets take the standard, two-pin European plug. Marakech is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and there is no Daylight Saving Time in Morocco. Modesty in dress is expected of visitors to this Muslim country. In winter, daytime temperatures are generally warm. However, a jacket and sweater are recommended for cool winter and spring evenings. Whether weighing the merits of a carpet or a pair of babouches (Moroccan slippers), the art of bargaining is an everyday skill and part of life in Marrakech.