Driving Directions Morocco

MOROCCO, in northwest Africa, is strategically placed at the western entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco lays claim to the territory of Western Sahara while Spain administers the ports of Melilla and Ceuta.

It is a country of diverse topography, climate, and human history whose ancient cities of Tanger, Fes, Marrakech, and Casablanca have long held a fascination for Europeans.

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The country is split from southwest to northeast by the high, rugged Atlas Mountains, which dominate the landscape at over 4,000 meters or 13,000 feet. They give way to green, fertile coastal plains along the Atlantic coast, while to the southeast, the land falls away from the mountains to join the arid Sahara Desert. The Er Rif Mountains command the Mediterranean coast.

The coastal regions of Morocco have a Mediterranean type of climate with hot summers and mild winters. Inland, a more continental type of climate prevails with greater temperatures and cold conditions in winter in the mountains. Hot, dry conditions characterize the desert regions, and rainfall occurs mainly in winter and is most plentiful near the coasts.

Once linked with Spain, Morocco’s wildlife mixes both African and European species, including Dorcas gazelles, Barbary apes and panther (African), and rabbits and squirrels (European). The Barbary lion, which was the Romans’ subspecies in their bloodthirsty entertainment, is extinct in the wild. However, an ambitious project employing genetic screening and selective breeding aims to reinstate this magnificent lion by breeding from captive animals that show strong Barbary characteristics.

The economy is very mixed. Although agriculture accounts for less than 20 percent of the land use, Morocco is mainly a farming country. Wheat, barley, and maize are the main food crops, and it is one of the world’s chief exporters of citrus fruit. Morocco’s main wealth comes from phosphates, reserves of which are the largest in the world. Coal, lead, iron, and manganese ores are also produced.

Morocco is self-sufficient in textiles; it has car assembly plants, soap and cement factories, and a large sea fishing industry. Tourism is a major source of revenue, as are remittances sent home by Moroccans who work abroad.

Google maps™ Morocco

Morocco has four distinct geographic regions. In the north, there is a fertile coastal plain along the Mediterranean. The Atlas Mountains, extending across the country from southwest to northeast and into Algeria, comprise another region. A third area is a wide arc of coastal plains lining the country’s western seaboard, bounded by the Er Rif and Atlas mountain ranges. Finally, south of the Atlas Mountains is semiarid grasslands that merge with the Sahara Desert along the country’s southeastern borders. Morocco provides habitats for dozens of bird species, from large raptors to woodpeckers, waterfowl, and songbirds.

The Mediterranean Sea is north of Morocco. It is an almost completely landlocked water body between southern Europe, North Africa, and southwest Asia. Morocco’s western coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. Sea Inlets and Straits The Strait of Gibraltar connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean and separates Morocco from Spain.

Did you know about Morocco?

Kasbah, or Casbah, is a term often heard in association with Morocco. Rather than being a specific place or region, it is a term that usually refers to the oldest section of a city. Often, this is the marketplace of the city. Sometimes the term refers to an ancient castle or palace.

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