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Situated at the top of North-West Africa, Morocco has long been associated as a crossroads between Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Morocco borders Algeria and Mauritania in the south, is only narrowly separated from Spain by the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the Atlantic Ocean lies to the north-west and west. Moroccos mountain regions provide the perfect location for trekking as you can follow all sorts of mountain passes which weave their way through Berber villages, among fields of flowers and other local attractions. Morocco is also home to some of the worlds most stunning gorges and desert environments, which you can trek through whilst taking in the breathtaking scenery. Climate During October and February daytime temperatures in lowland areas, range between 20-25C, with night-time temperatures dropping to around 3-10C. Those doing a desert trek will notice that there is a much bigger temperature difference between day and night. Altitude treks will be a lot colder, with temperatures regularly dropping below zero and there is a high possibility that you will encounter snow. Rain is also a possibility. During the summer months it will be extremely hot, so it is very important that you are prepared for the conditions. Daytime temperatures in lowland areas generally range between 23-40C, with night-time being around 7-20C. Those doing an altitude trek will find it cooler in the mountains. Rain is unlikely, although it has been known to rain at this time of year in the past. History Moroccos history began with the nomadic Berber tribes, who have resided in the country since the 2nd millennium B.C. To this day the Berber people still control the mountain and desert regions, or as it often called, the Berber kingdom of Mauritania. With the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, the Arabs built up a vast empire which encompassed the whole of the Maghreb (North Africa). It was not until the colonial era in the middle of the 19th century that European powers (Spain and France) entered Morocco. The influence of Spanish and French power brought great change to Morocco. New towns were built along side the traditional Moroccan medinas (existing towns), railways and roads were constructed, and a vastly improved education system was created. During WWII Sultan Mohammed V inspired the nationalist Istiglal Party to fight successfully for Moroccos independence, which was granted in 1956. Since gaining Independence, under King Mohammed V, his son King Hassan II and grandson and current king, King Mohammed VI, Morocco has enjoyed a relatively stable period and has experienced healthy economic growth. Culture and language The Moroccan culture is a unique blend of both European and Arabic influences that date from ancient times to the present day. The official language is Moroccan Arabic, but you will hear French spoken in the cities and many of the rural villages, except in the northern regions where Spanish is more predominant. You will also hear many Berber languages and English being spoken across the country. The Moroccan people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. Greetings always involve a handshake and friendly inquiries about health, happiness and family. Friends may also kiss each other on the cheek when greeting each other. It is advisable to respect social conventions concerning dress. Casual wear is widely acceptable. However, swimsuits, shorts and sleeveless tops should be confined to the beach or poolside for both men and women.
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