The Kingdom of Morocco is a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Western Sahara desert. The capital city is Rabat, but the most famous and largest city is Casablanca. The official language is Arabic, with French as the unofficial second language, and the currency is the Moroccan dirham. Morocco celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence from France in 2006 and the country is now ruled by a constitutional monarchy.
Morocco is a popular country for tourists to visit. It is relatively safe, has a sunny climate and offers an intriguing introduction into another world. In Morocco, markets are souks, castles are citadels, guitars are replaced with zithers and men wear djellabahs and fez hats with a tassel on top. Although it is just a short distance from Spain, it is a world away in other senses. Whilst having all the 21st century technology of cell phone communications and computer technology, the main transport is still donkeys and camels.
Food in Morocco is quite delicious. Tender meats, mainly chicken, beef or lamb, are served in lightly spiced sauces with couscous. Mint or green tea is the most common drink and hubbabubba is smoked in huge floor-standing pipes.
Most Moroccans live to the west of the High Atlas Mountains which borders the Sahara Desert. Whilst it is a fascinating and cheap place to go for a holiday, few people immigrate to Morocco. 80% of the residents are Arab and 20% are local Berber with a fraction of a percent from other countries. The small ex-pat community lives mainly in Marrakech. They are mostly of French or Spanish descent and many work as teachers or technicians. Other jobs may be found for ex-Pats on the internet. Morocco is also popular with retirees as it is a warm climate with a low cost of living.
The Moroccan economy is growing and is based on agriculture, services, mining and tourism. Sales of fish and seafood are also an important part of GDP. Manufacturing is growing in the textile and clothing sectors.
Visas are waived for many nationals for stays of up to 90 days, but check for up-to-date information before traveling to Morocco. Transit passengers and day trippers from Spain generally do not need a visa. Housing and real estate ranges from the traditional to the modern, especially in the cities. Many Moroccans own their own homes, but as little as 20% of rural houses have running water, and only 2% have sewage facilities. Renting may be the best option, with family size luxury homes ranging from 1300-10,000 euros per month.
Healthcare is to an acceptable standard, as long as you speak Arabic or French fluently. Emergency treatment is generally given free, but further treatment, consultation and medication will be charged, so it is wise to get medical insurance cover for these expenses. Most policies authorize repatriation to ensure the best quality medical treatment.