Central Morocco consists of the High Atlas, Middle Atlas, Saharan, and North Atlantic Coast regions. These make up some of the largest and most remote regions of the country as well as some of the most popular destinations. Traveling through Central Morocco allows for an ideal combination of large, multicultural cities and small, traditional towns, enabling you to explore all that Morocco has to offer.
The climate in this area varies quite a bit, from cooler, wet, weather on the North Atlantic Coast to extremely hot, dry, days in the interior regions like the Saharan and Middle Atlas. Temperatures generally stay in the 70's Fahrenheit throughout spring and summer, with the exception of Saharan areas which can reach over 100 degrees. Overall, temperatures rarely fall below 50 degrees, even in winter.
With four regions to explore, there is a bounty of sights to see. In the High Atlas, you'll find villages of the indigenous North Africans to explore along with the famous city of Marrakech. Fez, the ancient capital of Morocco, is located in the Middle Atlas region and is famous for having the world's oldest university, Qarawiyyin University.
The North Atlantic Coast is home to the capital city of Morocco, Rabat, where you'll find a twelfth century tower and the gorgeous Kasbah of Oudaias. You can also find the modern city of Casablanca in this region, which is home to the King Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco. The Saharan region is famous for their dunes and ancient cities, most of which can only be reached on camel or ATV.
The capital city of Morocco is Rabat, an easy going coastal city located in the North Atlantic Coast region. Here, you'll find a Royal Mausoleum, Royal Gardens, and a wide variety of restaurants and nightlife. In the High Atlas region, you'll find the famous city of Marrakech famous for their huge souk markets. You can easily spend an entire day wandering the souks then enjoy the musicians and dancers in the evening in Dkemaa El-Fna square.
Located in the Middle Atlas region, Fez is the ancient capital of Morocco and one of the largest medieval cities in the world. Fez is home to Qarawiyyin University, the oldest university in the world and a huge medina with leather dying pits in the center. Erfoud is a famous city in the Saharan region known as the "Gate of Sahara Desert" due to it being a fantastic spot to stay while taking day trips into the desert. The city is also known for attracting many filmmakers due to their picturesque views; some of these films include Prince of Persia
, The Mummy
, and March or Die
One of the most popular activities in the Central Moroccan area is to take a camel or ATV ride through the Saharan region. The best option is to go through the tour guides located in the city of Erfoud who can help take you to the Erg Chebbi Dunes and across the Sahara without worrying about getting lost! A popular option in the Middle Atlas region is to go on an AFC Middle Atlas Trek which involves lodging in a traditional Berber home, hiking in the picturesque valleys, and enjoying cultural activities. Best part of all, the profits from these treks goes to help the Atlas communities and their development projects.
The most important event in all of Morocco is the month of Ramadan, where almost the entire country takes part in the holy celebrations. Ramadan dates change every year, although they generally start sometime in June and end in July. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a large festival called Eid-ul-Fitr where the towns are ornately decorated and large feasts are enjoyed.
Food and Dining
Market food is very popular across the area, although be careful with stalls located inside medinas as they often try to charge tourists more than the food is worth. Throughout the Central Moroccan area, you'll find predominately Moroccan food such as tagine and couscous. Larger cities like Rabat have more international fare, including pizza and even El Rancho restaurant which features Tex-Mex food, as well as more night life.
Getting into the Central area is very easy with all of the trains, planes, and buses to get you to where you need to be. Getting around each city varies depending on its size; larger cities have train and bus networks while smaller cities can be navigated on foot. Most cities have petit taxis
, which are simply taxis that take you within city limits and are slightly smaller vehicles. Grand taxis
are also available; they are usually larger vehicles, often shared by multiple people, that take you from town to town.
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