Morocco is an ideal holiday destination all-round the year with something in store for everyone. The climate in Morocco is as diverse as its landscape, hot and humid in the coastal areas, very hot and dry in the deserts and cooler climates on the mountains. During peak winters, the mountains are even capped by snow. But the climate changes with the season and the best time to visit Morocco for a tour is spring and fall, from April to May and from September to October respectively as the temperatures are moderate all across the country. Adventure activities like kayaking and whitewater rafting in the Ahansal Valley, Trekking the Rif Mountains and the High Atlas Mountains, Mountain biking and Surfing in Taghazout are some of the things you can participate in during this season.
During summers, from July to August, some parts of Morocco especially south of the High Atlas Mountains gets extremely dry and hot. It is advisable to visit the coastal areas and the mountains during this season. You can visit cities like Essaouira, Agadir, Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. Along with visiting the historic sites, you can indulge in activities like surfing, fishing and other water sports or just opt to soak up the sun and the sea breeze by lazing around in the beautiful beaches. Golfing tours are also becoming one of the hot favourites in Morocco. Royal Dar es Salaam Golf Club in Rabat is the best know. If you love adventure, trekking the High Atlas Mountain or climbing the Todra Gorge should definitely be a part of your itinerary. Visiting the Sahara desert during the summers is not advisable but there are a few tours that operate in the evenings, when the temperature is slightly lower. You can trek the sand dunes by foot or on a camel and enjoy the serene sunset in the desert.
Sunset in a camp in the Sahara, Morocco. Photo by Gilbert
During winters, some regions north of High Atlas Mountains become extremely cold especially in January and February. The mountain itself is snowcapped making it a great tourist destination for skiing and ice trekking. Some of the popular places are Oukaïmeden, Toubkal massif, Jebel Azourki and Azilal–Bou Goumez–Ighil Mgoun.
One of the most popular winter activity is the Sahara desert trek. You can either plan a day trip or stay there overnight. There are a few treks that are for multiple days to the Erg Chigaga and the Erg Chebbi. Erg Chigaga is relatively less visited as compared to Erg Chebbi as the dunes in Erg Chebbi are about 150m high whereas in Erg Chigaga its 60m high. But both of them offer a spectacular experience. You can trek the dunes on camels, by foot or in a 4X4. The trek ranges from 3-5 days while camping in the tents pitched in the middle of the desert. During winters the days are warm but the nights become very cold as the sand does not hold any heat.
As both summers and winters are not peak tourist season, you are likely to get some great money saving deals for your hotels as well as tours. Also as the places won't be too crowded you can enjoy the places in its true essence.
The Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech, Morocco. Photo by Juan
Irrespective of the season, one activity that is doable all round the year is Shopping. Morocco is a paradise for local crafts and artifacts. The souks are a major part of the Moroccan culture. Every city and village would have souks though the sizes vary. The most popular and the largest ones are in Fez and Marrakech. Leather, Carpets/rugs and Silver are very famous here. Other items like glassware, ceramics, perfumes, marquetry and Moroccan spices are some of the other hot favourites. Bargaining is also a huge part of your shopping experience. So be prepared to walk through the narrow lanes to find and take home some hidden treasures of Morocco on a Marrakech tour .
While planning your trip to Morocco one should also be mindful of the public holidays observed in Morocco. As its an Islamic country, Ramadan is the most important month here. Generally falls in the month of June. During this month all Muslims fast till sunset. Most of the shops and restaurants are closed or opened only for a few hours during the month. Also it might be difficult for you to find guides and muleteers to escort you on treks. As a tourist, you are not expected to fast but you should avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public to respect their customs. Ramadan ends with the feast of Aïd el Fitr. Some of the other important holidays are Aïd el Kebir and Mouloud (the Prophet’s birthday). All the restaurants, shops and historic sites and monuments along with public transport are closed on these days.