Tea has a special place in Morocco

Tea has a special place in Morocco

Tea-drinking is a big deal in most corners of the globe, from the Far East, Russia, India, to the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and North and East Africa, to say the least. Each nation has its own tea customs and rituals, and not everyone drinks the same blend of tea. Morocco is a nation of tea-drinkers (apparently it was the English who introduced tea here in the 19th Century!) and the preparation and serving of tea is not to be taken lightly. You can’t just “put the kettle on”, you need to savour the process and take time over it.
(more…)

The Spirit of Community in Morocco

The Spirit of Community in Morocco

Morocco’s culture and spirit of community

“So, what can I expect when I visit Morocco, tell me something more about Morocco’s culture?” It’s so close to Europe, yet so much further beyond in terms of culture and history. The Arabic name given for Morocco by medieval historians and geographers is ‘al-Maghrib al-Aqsa’, translated as furthest Westerly Kingdom (of the Maghreb countries, in North West Africa). Morocco is just 13km from mainland Spain, and even shares a land border with Spanish territory.

I would urge you to read something of my insight into Morocco’s culture. What follows is what you glean when living in a small community in Morocco, not from the books or the media, or from a short visit. We’ve previously touched on some of the cultural aspects in other blog posts, such as the tea ceremony, and social etiquette with greetings. The guide-books will also help you steer clear of any basic faux-pas, or you can certainly ask your driver/guide during your trip.

Use the below as a benchmark to guide your expectations of the Kingdom (and, perhaps, of the warm welcome you can expect to receive). Please do ask us about travelling during Ramadan, Eid al-Adha, and other religious festivities, as they can be quite magical times to visit the country and should not be ruled out as no-go periods.

Note: I first wrote this post about 7 years ago. Since then, we’ve all gone through the covid pandemic and the devastating earthquake in September 2023. Without going in to detail, the overriding feeling I have taken is the sense of solidarity and support from within Morocco’s communities and the country as a whole – the nation has each other’s backs, to put it bluntly. If that doesn’t speak volumes about Morocco’s culture and spirit of community then what does?

Morocco's Culture

Morocco’s culture and spirit of community

  1. Gratitude and happiness are derived and enjoyed from what you have in life, not from that for which you yearn. In other words, you are content with your lot in life. Take pleasure from the simple things (such as the beauty of nature) and be thankful to God at all times.
  2. Treating a guest generously and selflessly. A Moroccan proverb says ‘The guest is always a guest, even if he stays for winter and summer’. Moroccans regard travellers and foreign residents as guests in their country and Moroccans take the safety of visitors as a point of honour.
  3. Charity begins at home and is then very much continued outside of the home. One of the pillars of Islam.
  4. The ability to share freely, e.g. a small meal will always go a long way and a stranger is never allowed to go hungry. Often those who have the least to share, are the most generous.
  5. An open-door policy and acceptance, the knowledge that you are welcome in a stranger’s home, at face value.
  6. The family unit is key and many generations still share the same home; this promotes selflessness. There may only be one bread-winner supporting a large family (and he will likely be your driver, guide, chef, support team). Respect for elders, especially your parents.
  7. Knowing your neighbours and treating them as an extension of the family. You may have to call upon them in times of need. This also leads on to the fact that everyone knows each other’s business (good or bad!).
  8. Above all, bear in mind that underpinning all of this is the Muslim faith and the piety of Moroccans. Please ask us about travelling during Ramadan and Eid.
  9. Please see note above on solidarity.

Please contact us for any further information.

Our Top 5 Things to Do in Morocco

Our Top 5 Things to Do in Morocco

You can’t possibly do and see everything that Morocco has to offer in one trip. If you can experience our top 5 things to do in Morocco that will be eye-opening enough (and, hopefully, inspire you to visit us again).
(more…)

Morocco earthquake 8 September 2023

Morocco earthquake 8 September 2023

Morocco earthquake

A powerful earthquake (mag. 6.8) struck Morocco shortly after 11pm on Friday 8 September.

Its epicentre was in the Atlas mountains, south-west of Marrakech, north-east of Taroudant. Its force was felt across most of the country, but its devastation has hit those communities hardest in the mountains, close to the epicentre. Entire villages have been razed and countless lives lost.

The aftermath is truly shocking, not least for those who have survived, and the road to rebuild lives and communities will be very long indeed (as evidenced in Turkey and Syria, amongst others).

The Moroccan security forces, charities, and members of the public have rallied in a massive wave of solidarity and support in reaching those in immediate need of rescue, medical care, food and shelter.

King Mohamed VI himself visited some of the injured in Marrakech, and gave blood alongside hundreds of others who have been standing in line to donate.

The images of the situation on the ground are heart-wrenching. Thank you to all of you who contacted us last weekend to check on our team and families. We are all fine, but deeply upset for those families who have been impacted. Our thoughts and prayers will not stray from them.

Many of you have asked how to help, and you might have seen various incentives/funds on social media alongside numerous charity organisations (we listed a few local & international on our Instagram, by no means an exhaustive list, and you are likely to have your own preference).

To travel or not?

Many of you have asked whether you should defer your trip and you may feel conflicted about knowing what to do. We can only give an honest account of the situation on the ground, and encourage you to use your own judgment.

For instance, international flights are operating as normal and the roads are open.

The majority of our road tours do not drive through the affected region, and our drivers and guides are ready to welcome you as life for them needs to continue.

You may like to refer to your foreign office/state department websites for the latest information.

We do hope to see you soon, and thank you for your support for Morocco.

Morocco Noun Project Icon

https://thenounproject.com/browse/icons/term/morocco/