|Preface Last Updated: 9/7/2004
Morocco is a country with a fascinating history. Diplomats of
ancient Phoenicia and Rome were posted here. The people are open and
hospitable to outsiders. The culture is artistic and creative,
deeply religious, yet essentially moderate in temperament. The
climate is mild and the cuisine is terrific! Morocco truly is the
gateway to the Mediterranean and a unique mixture of Africa and the
Rabat is a very livable city, with good roads and housing, a
large international community, and many nearby opportunities for
recreation. There are sports, shopping, and travel to a wide range
of exotic destinations, such as the medieval city of Fes, the
wind-swept dunes of the Sahara, and the relaxed beach town of
Essaouira. In addition, Spain, France and Portugal are easily
accessible, as is the Rock of Gibraltar. It is hard to imagine
anyone failing to look back with great affection on a tour of duty
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:32 AM
Morocco has been called "a cold country with a hot sun." Situated
in the northwest corner of Africa, the Kingdom of Morocco covers
nearly 200,000 square miles. In size and variability of climate and
terrain, it is comparable to California. Because of its geographical
location, Morocco is known in Arabic as El Maghreb el Aqsa, the
extreme west and also the gateway to the Arab world.
The mild, semitropical northern and western coastal areas are
separated by mountain ranges from the desert areas to the east and
south. Most people live west of the mountain ranges, which protect
them from the hot winds of the Sahara Desert. In the southern
regions, the population is sparse and concentrated in scattered
oases along the Draa and Souss Rivers.
Between Morocco's western coast and the mountains lies a wide
plain, the Gharb, which produces most of the country's agricultural
products. The High Atlas, the Middle Atlas, and the Anti-Atlas
mountain ranges traverse the country from northeast to southwest.
Summits of the High Atlas Mountains reach 13,664 feet at Mt. Toubkal,
and 12,300 feet at Mt. Ayachi.
The High Atlas are snow-capped and collect moisture from the
Atlantic Ocean which climate patterns distribute over the western
part of Morocco. Because this region lies between the Atlantic and
the mountains, it enjoys a temperate climate. The Atlas range
cannot, however, shut out an occasional shergui, the hot easterly
wind from the desert. The eastern slopes of the High Atlas have a
semi-desert aspect and a rigorous pre-Saharan climate. In the north,
and separate from the Atlas ranges, the Rif Mountains loom up
sharply along the Mediterranean coast. Here, also, a mild climate
prevails, which permits agriculture typical of the Mediterranean
Morocco can be seen from the coast of Spain, some 20 kilometers
across the Straits of Gibraltar. Twice, it was the stage for
invasions of Europe - the Moorish assault on Spain in the eighth
century and the Allied assault on the continent in World War II.
Today, jet airliners fly over plodding camel trains and farmers
tilling with implements unchanged since the time of the Romans.
Moroccan cities typically are made up of a traditional medina that
is a maze of narrow streets and small shops harkening back
centuries, as well as modern shopping and residential districts with
tree-lined boulevards that reflect early twentieth century French
ideas of urban planning.
Population Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:35 AM
Morocco's nearly 31 million people (excluding about 2 million
Moroccans living and working abroad) are principally Arab and
Berber, but also include several thousand Moroccan Jews. Some 50,000
French nationals reside in Morocco, as well as a smaller number of
Spanish and nationals of other countries.
Arabic is the official language; however, Moroccan Arabic is
distinctive because it has incorporated much Berber and French, so
it differs widely from the vernaculars of other Arabic-speaking
countries and from classical Arabic. French predominates as a second
language, and almost all official communication as well as commerce
and conversation is conducted in French. Spanish is widely
understood and spoken in the area of Tangiers. In rural areas, any
one of the three Berber vernaculars that are not mutually
intelligible are used, although almost all Berbers speak Arabic as
well as their own dialect of the Berber language.
English is not widely spoken in Morocco, although increasing
attention is being given to teaching it, as Moroccans are aware of
its importance in carrying out commercial and technological
development. The FTA signed with the U.S. in 2004 seems already to
have boosted the desire among young Moroccans to learn English.
Moroccan mosques, with their distinctive square minarets, are
found throughout the cities and towns of the countryside, and the
call to prayer sounds five times each day. Islam is the official
state religion and Islam is an integral part of daily life and
profoundly influences manners and personal conduct. Moroccans are
proud of a history of tolerance with a formerly large Jewish
minority, now much diminished by emigration to Israel where Moroccan
Jews remain the largest group within the Sephardic Jewish community.
Popular historians cite the era following the expulsion of Jews and
Muslims from Andalusia, Spain in the fifteenth century as a Golden
Age for Morocco.
Morocco's people produce a range of traditional and modern
handicrafts that have become highly sought after throughout the
world: hand-woven woolen carpets, ornate metalwork and jewelry,
leather goods, pottery, wood carvings and exquisite ceramic
tile-work. The country's most noted handicraft centers are Fes,
Sale, Marrakech, Safi and Essaouira.
Morocco's largest export is phosphates from the world's largest
known deposit, with agriculture as the largest sector of the
economy. Moroccan agribusiness includes fish for export, especially
sardines, and also olives and cork. Tomatoes and other citrus
products are exported to Europe. Do not, however, expect to find
fresh limes to go with the excellent avocados that grow here!
Tourism is also a major factor in the Moroccan economy.
Moroccans are justifiably proud of their cuisine, with food and
its preparation occupying a very important element in Moroccan
culture. Most dishes are based upon combining various kinds of
vegetables with meat, poultry, or seafood. Traditional combinations
of spices and condiments are essential to the uniqueness of the
cuisine. In general, Moroccan food is not hot, but highly seasoned.
Couscous, a staple made of semolina and served with chicken, lamb,
or beef and numerous vegetables, is traditional at the mid-day meal
on Friday, the Muslim Sabbath. Another traditional Moroccan dish is
tajine, a meat, chicken or fish-based stew with as many variations
as there are cooks. Other Moroccan delicacies include roasted lamb (mechoui),
pigeon pastry (pastilla), and a hearty soup of chickpeas, meat and
vegetables (harira). Mint tea, made from green tea with fresh mint
and sugar, is, in essence, the national drink.
Throughout Morocco, both men and women wear the djellaba at home
and in public. This is a long, hooded robe with long sleeves that
may be worn with the hood up or down. Women may combine a djellaba
with a short face veil, although this is much less common than in
years past. Today, face veils are worn in many rural areas and among
the older generation living in cities, but most
conservatively-oriented Muslim women wear a simple hijab, or head
scarf, and do not cover their faces. It is important to be aware
that many, if not most, practicing Muslim women do not cover their
faces or their hair. Similarly, many practicing Muslim men do not
wear prayer caps or beards.
Urban Moroccans of both sexes tend to wear Western-style clothes,
except on holidays and similar important occasions. Men wear suits
with ties and women generally wear Western attire to their
work-places. Some women wear djellabas with or without head-scarves.
At most social functions, Moroccan women wear fashionable Western
dresses or pant outfits. At traditional holidays, weddings and more
formal occasions, women wear beautifully embroidered caftans with
wide gold or embroidered belts. Men from the hot and dry Saharan
region of Morocco are frequently seen, even in cities, in robes of
beautiful shades of blue, with black turbans that protect against
the desert sun.
Morocco's rich cultural history shows Moorish and Berber
influences in music, dance, cuisine, art, architecture, and
literature. French influence is seen in modern art and architecture
as well as standards of fashion and design. In present-day Morocco,
traditional and Western-oriented artistic and cultural systems
co-exist and intermingle more or less harmoniously.
Morocco lags behind other countries of the Maghreb, specifically
Algeria and Tunisia, in literacy. The literacy rate is estimated to
be about 57% for males and 31% for females. An estimated 68% of
primary school-age boys and 48% of primary school-age girls had
attended primary school for at least some period, while 44% of males
and 33% of females had attended secondary school. There is a great
discrepancy between literacy rates in urban and rural areas, with
illiteracy in many remote rural areas approaching 90%. It is not
clear why Moroccan state schools fare so poorly and improving
education is among the priorities of the government. Elementary and
secondary public education is free, but in rural areas schools are
often few and far between and burdensome expenses remain for books
and related items.
Moroccans who can afford to do so send children to private
schools, of which there are many. There are Moroccan schools modeled
on French, Spanish and American schools, Islamic schools, and also
schools officially connected with the French and Spanish diplomatic
missions. There are three American International Schools, located in
Rabat, Casablanca and Tangiers and at least two other private
schools offering an American curriculum in Casablanca and Marrakech.
There are numerous institutions of higher learning, including the
1,000-year-old Karaouyine University in Fes, where Muslim students
from around the world study Islamic law and theology. Al Akhawayn
University, founded in 1993, offers instruction in English according
to a curriculum patterned on U.S. models. Many faculty members there
are either Americans or U.S.-trained in their respective fields.
Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered. University
education at public institutions is free, and most students receive
stipends for expenses relating to books, room and board. There are
also some types of technical schools for those who do not attend
Public Institutions Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:37 AM
Morocco became independent in 1956 with the abrogation of French
and Spanish protectorate agreements. Tangier (see Special
Information), formerly administered as an international zone, was
restored to Morocco and Ifni, a small enclave in the south, was
handed back by Spain in 1969. Two small enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla,
both located on Morocco's northern coast, remain under Spanish
control. The Spanish departed from the Western Sahara, the disputed
territory directly south of Morocco, in 1975. The issue of
sovereignty over the Western Sahara remains unsolved and the
territory is contested by Morocco and the Polisario (an independence
movement based in Tindouf, Algeria.). The United Nations continues
to explore with the parties ways of arriving at a mutually agreed
political settlement and to promote confidence-building measures
between the parties in the interim.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy. The King is considered to
be both the spiritual and temporal leader of the country. King
Mohammed VI, who has ruled Morocco since July 1999, is the son of
King Hassan II who ruled Morocco for 38 years prior to his death,
and is the latest in the line of the Alaouite dynasty that has ruled
Morocco continuously since the 17th century. The Alaouite monarchs
trace their descent to the prophet Mohammed, and King Mohammed VI
thus bears the title "Commander of the Faithful".
In 1962, a popular referendum approved Morocco’s first
constitution. It provided for a two-chamber parliament, prefectural
and provincial assemblies, rural and municipal councils, and local
professional chambers. A second constitution, approved by popular
referendum in July 1970, provided for a unicameral parliament
composed of 240 representatives. Ninety of these representatives
would be elected directly; the rest would be elected by local and
professional assemblies. In early 1972, a popular referendum
approved a third constitution. It increased the number of
representatives in Parliament to be directly elected by two-thirds.
A fourth and somewhat more liberal constitution was adopted by
referendum in September 1992.
A referendum in 1996 reinstated the bicameral legislature,
composed of the directly elected 325-seat Chamber of Representatives
and the indirectly elected 220-seat Chamber of Counselors. The
current Parliament was elected in 2002 for terms varying from five
to nine years. The Parliament's powers, though limited, were
expanded under the 1992 and 1996 constitutional revisions and
include budgetary matters, approving bills, questioning ministers,
and establishing ad hoc commissions of inquiry to investigate the
government's actions. The lower chamber of Parliament may dissolve
the government through a vote of no confidence.
Although dominated by the monarchy, the Moroccan political system
since independence has been characterized by political pluralism.
The principal political parties include the Socialist Union of
Popular Forces (USFP), which now controls the largest number of
seats in the Parliament, but which served for 40 years as the
Government’s main opposition. The USFP represents urban
intellectuals and workers. The second largest party in Parliament,
the Istiqlal (Independence) party is a nationalist party that has
been active since independence. The centrist National Grouping of
Independents (RNI) holds the third largest number of seats in
Parliament. The Party for Justice and Development is the sole legal
Islamist party and holds the fourth largest number of seats in
Parliament. The traditional pro-regime parties include the
Constitutional Union (UC) party founded in 1983, and the Popular
Movement (MP), and the National Popular Movement (MNP), which
represents largely rural and Berber interests.
Although only 6 percent of Morocco's 10 million adult workers are
members of unions, organized labor remains a political force.
Morocco has 19 national unions and five major confederations
including the Union Marocaine du Travail (UMT), which claims 200,000
members, most in the modern economic sector and is recognized by the
AFL-CIO as Morocco's only "independent" union. The left-leaning,
Arab nationalist Confederation Democratique du Travail (CDT), which
claims 150,000 members, most of whom are civil servants and
teachers, was formerly affiliated with the USFP. In April 2003 a
splinter confederation emerged from the CDT, the Federation
Democratique du Travail (FDT), headed by a USFP member of
Parliament, Tayeb Mounchid. A fourth union, the Union Generale du
Travail Marocaine (UGTM) is affiliated with the Istiqlal. The fifth
major labor confederation, the Union Nationale du Travail au Maroc (UNTM),
is an arm of the PJD. Moroccan political institutions are based on
Islamic tradition, Moroccan history, French precedent, and modern
In November 2002, King Mohammed VI named a government headed by
former Interior Minister Driss Jettou, and composed of ministers
drawn from most major parties in the coalition. Parliamentary
elections in 2002 and municipal elections in 2003 were largely free,
fair and transparent. The Jettou government is pursuing a
socioeconomic program, including increased housing and education.
Morocco is divided into 16 administrative regions (further broken
into provinces and prefectures); the regions are administered by
Walis and governors appointed by the King.
According to the constitution, the King—chief of state and
commander-in-chief of the armed forces—shares legislative authority
with Parliament. But the King retains exclusive regulatory power and
may issue royal decrees (“dahirs”) having the force of law. He also
is the supreme judicial authority with final appellate functions.
All justice is administered in his name. The King appoints his
ministers, and a wide range of other officials, including provincial
governors and local administrators.
The Supreme Court in Rabat acts as the final appellate court and
is charged with defining law. It is empowered only to interpret the
law and cannot rule on its constitutionality. Under the Supreme
Court are three Courts of Appeal at Casablanca, Fes, and Marrakech,
respectively. Although based on a mixture of French and Moslem
judicial philosophy, Morocco’s legal system also includes elements
of Morocco's Berber, Spanish, and Jewish heritages.
Morocco’s foreign policy, although officially attached to Arab,
Islamic, and nonalignment groups, is generally friendly toward the
U.S. and the West. Morocco is an active participant in the U.N.,
Arab League, Islamic Conference and the Nonaligned Movement. Morocco
has been a player in varying degrees in the Middle East peace
process over the years. Arab leaders and others frequently call on
the King for consultations. Morocco withdrew from the Organization
of African Unity (OAU) in a dispute over Polisario membership in
Morocco's military is a small, and relatively well-trained, force
of approximately 200,000 personnel. The majority of its ground
forces (60%) remain deployed in the Western Sahara since 1976. It is
equipped with predominantly 1980s era equipment from France and the
U.S. In recent years, Morocco's support to the war on terrorism has
allowed for a substantive increase in U.S. Foreign Military
Financing and International Military Education and Training funds.
Excess Defense Articles continues to be a major source of U.S.
equipment. Morocco has a robust military exercise program with the
U.S., and allows for coordinated use of its air and sea spaces. In
2003 Morocco signed an Article 98 agreement with the U.S., and in
2004, the President designated Morocco as a major non-NATO Ally.
Morocco was also designated in 2004 as a State Partner with the Utah
National Guard. Morocco is host to the NASA Space Shuttle Abort
Landing site at Ben Guerir.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 9/8/2004 5:05 AM
Morocco’s rich cultural and artistic history combines both
Moorish and Berber influences, visible in Moroccan music, dance,
art, architecture, and literature. Since the early 20th century,
traditional art has been supplemented by Western (mostly French)
influences introduced and adopted in urban centers. In present-day
Morocco, traditional and Western-oriented artistic and cultural
systems exist side by side. Several exposition halls showing works
of Moroccan and international artists are located in Casablanca, Fes,
Tangier and Rabat. Many Moroccan painters trained in Europe have
adopted Western techniques, but have retained an interest in
traditional subjects as well.
Morocco is rich in traditional crafts such as rugmaking, pottery,
leather goods, and metalwork. The country's most noted handicraft
centers are Fes, Sale, Marrakech, Safi and Essaouira.
Both Moroccan and touring European theatrical and orchestral
companies perform in the larger cities. In June, Fes presents a
renowned sacred music festival that features musicians from around
the world, often including gospel singers from the U.S. In August
the coastal town of Asilah, just south of Tangier, boasts a widely
popular international cultural festival that attracts large numbers
of vacationing Moroccans and Europeans. Rabat stages a similar event
in June. The central coastal town of Essaouira puts on the Gnaouas
Festival, celebrating Moroccan and world music, also in May or June.
Andalusian Arabic music is popular and is often presented on TV,
radio and in local night spots, but public concerts are rare. Live
pop and jazz music can be heard in the major cities, and Tangier
hosts the annual Tanjazz Jazz Festival in May that attracts leading
jazz artists from Europe and the U.S. Rap and hip-hop are very
popular among Morocco's youth.
Morocco’s most important university, Mohammed V, established in
1957, is in Rabat. Its 20,000 students from Morocco, other areas of
Africa and the Middle East study medicine, law, liberal arts and the
sciences. Other universities are in Casablanca, Oujda, Marrakech,
Fes, Tetouan, Meknes, Agadir, El Jadida, Mohammedia, Kenitra and
Ifrane. The Mohammedia School of Engineers, the Hassan II Agronomic
Institute, and the National Institute of Statistics and Applied
Economics (INSEA), respectively, are the three most important
Moroccan institutions of higher education in their respective
fields. In Fes, Morocco’s religious capital, Moslem students from
around the world study Islamic law and theology at the
1,000-year-old Karaouyine University. There also are schools for
judicial studies, the arts, information sciences, business and
management, post and telecommunications, communications and
information (journalism), a school for architecture, another for
mineral studies, and finally, a National School of Administration.
A new private university, Al Akhawayn in Ifrane, was founded in
1993 and offers instruction in English according to a curriculum
patterned after the U.S. model. Many faculty members are either
Americans or else U.S.-trained in their respective fields. Both
undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered. Other private
schools of higher education have opened in recent years,
particularly in the field of business management, some using English
as the medium of instruction.
At the secondary school level, many Moroccan and French lycees
(high schools) offer choices of English, Spanish, or German as a
third language. University education, as well as elementary and
secondary education undertaken in public institutions, is free. At
the university level, most students receive scholarships for
expenses relating to books, room and board. During the past few
years, technical schools have been opening for those who are not
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 9/15/2004 6:33 AM
Morocco signed a free trade agreement with the U.S. on June 15,
2004, over two hundred years after becoming the first country to
recognize the U.S. as an independent nation. The U.S.-Moroccan Free
Trade Agreement (FTA) is one of the most comprehensive FTAs that the
U.S. has ever negotiated. It was approved by the U.S. Congress in
July and signed by President Bush on August 17. The FTA is likely to
be approved by the Moroccan parliament by the end of 2004. Morocco
is the second Arab and first African nation to have an FTA with the
The FTA eliminates tariffs on 95 percent of all bilateral
consumer and industrial exports on the day it comes into force. It
will help accelerate and deepen the economic reform process by
allowing greater competition and the formation of international
partnerships in key sectors such as insurance and banking, and by
greatly liberalizing the Moroccan textile and agricultural tariff
Morocco is now steadily progressing internally toward greater
modernization and globalization, with the creation of the country's
first commercial courts, new streamlined customs departments and 16
new Regional Investment Centers dedicated solely to facilitating new
business ventures. A new comprehensive labor code protecting both
the employer and employee was passed in July 2003. In addition to
calling for a more transparent judicial system and stricter
accounting standards, the FTA also provides a high level of
intellectual property protection, consistent with the standards set
by U.S. law. This includes state-of-the-art protections for
trademarks and digital copyrights, expanded protection for patents
and product approval information and tough penalties for piracy and
There are already 120 American businesses operating in Morocco
who have invested $600 million and have created 90,000 direct and
indirect jobs. Taking advantage of Morocco's 11 million person
workforce, American manufacturers are expected to follow the lead of
Fruit of the Loom and the Gap and begin producing popular American
textiles in Morocco, boosting its $45 billion GDP and $1,492 average
per capita GDP. The greatest challenge for Morocco and international
investors lies in providing effective education and job training.
Morocco also has an ambitious project to attract 10 million tourists
a year by 2012 in order to reduce its high unemployment.
Strategically located along the Straits of Gibraltar just seven
hours from JFK and three hours from Paris, Morocco is a regional hub
for transportation, transit, and business. Morocco's moderate
Mediterranean climate on 2,750 miles (3,500km) of coastline and its
developing infrastructure make it an increasingly attractive
location for business. Morocco's EU Association Agreement has also
spurred manufacturing development. Morocco will rely on these key
trade agreements to stimulate the economic growth and to foster the
job creation necessary to facilitate social and educational reform.
Agriculturally, Morocco has prospered due to moderately heavy
rainfalls in recent years.
Automobiles Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:42 AM
All employees should plan to bring personally owned vehicles (POVs).
Transportation is provided only for officially authorized travel,
including processing new arrivals. Non-business use of government
owned vehicles, as defined in 6b FAM 228, may be authorized on a
cost recovery basis while awaiting the arrival of a personally owned
vehicle. Employees are encouraged to send their POVs to ELSO in
advance in order to minimize their time at post without a POV. POVs
arriving in ELSO cannot be forwarded to post until the employee
The Moroccan Government authorizes duty-free importation of POVs
provided they are for the bona fide personal use of the employee or
their dependents and not for the purpose of sale, rent or transfer.
(Note: motorcycles over 50cc’s are considered a vehicle by the
Moroccan Government). Married diplomatic or consular personnel on
the diplomatic or consular list may import two vehicles duty-free
any time during their tour. Single diplomatic or consular personnel
may only import one vehicle duty- free. Administrative and Technical
personnel (those without a diplomatic title), are limited to one
vehicle per family duty-free within the first six months after
arrival. Please check with Post before making arrangements to
purchase or ship vehicles to ensure compliance with Moroccan
Be advised that POVs that entered the country duty-free are
effectively limited to resale within the diplomatic community.
Resale outside the diplomatic community on the local market is a
complicated and prolonged process and may not even by possible if a
CD car has not been registered for two years, or a PAT car has not
been registered for three years in country. Even if the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs approves resale on the local market, high duties
(60%) drastically limit resale value, and those who can afford the
duties are more likely to purchase new cars. Duty-free POVs are sold
throughout the year within the diplomatic community, and are
advertised in the Embassy's weekly "Maghreb Messenger" newsletter.
POVs should be shipped with keys and current license plates. Hand
carry to post the invoice or other proof of ownership if the vehicle
is new, or the registration document under which it was previously
registered. These documents are mandatory for customs clearance and
registration. Also, bring the owner's manual for descriptive details
to help with registration of your car.
Purchasing a car in Europe and driving to post is feasible.
Advance Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) approval is not required
for a vehicle to enter Morocco, provided it has a current
registration (from origin) and is insured for use in Morocco. A duty
free import request (bon de franchise) must be approved by the MFA
and the vehicle registered locally within one month following the
As noted above, the Ministry of Transport requires the original
title and registration card before a vehicle can be registered.
Vehicles imported to Morocco duty-free must be re-exported, sold to
another person having duty-free privileges, or if sold to persons
without duty-free privileges, customs duties paid.
Some personnel, such as AID contractors, will be placed on a
separate list and issued OI plates (Organization International) also
known as yellow plates. These individuals must re-export their car
or sell it only to another OI entitled person. CD and PAT personnel
may not buy an OI registered vehicle.
Mandatory third-party insurance costs from approximately DH 1,800
to DH 3,400 (DH = Moroccan dirham), depending upon the size of the
vehicle, horsepower of the engine, and intended usage. (A TVA tax of
15.3% is added to the insurance cost if the vehicle is registered in
the PAT series.) Post is not aware of any insurance company outside
Morocco that offers primary liability insurance valid in Morocco.
All types and makes of left-hand drive cars are driven in
Morocco. European cars (locally assembled) are sold in Casablanca,
Rabat and Tangier. Repair work on American cars costs less than in
Washington, D.C., but spare parts are expensive and often
unavailable. Local repairmen are more skilled and experienced with
manual transmissions than automatic transmissions. Repair work on
European cars is cheaper and satisfactory; spare parts are more
readily available. However, most spare parts unavailable in Morocco
usually can be ordered from mail-order firms in the U.S. Japanese
and Korean manufactured vehicles have become quite popular in
Morocco. Dealerships selling these automobiles generally have spare
parts and service departments with trained staff.
Gasoline costs about $3.50 a gallon on the local market. The
Embassy Cooperative Association (ECA) sells duty-free gasoline at
outlets in Rabat and Casablanca at approximately $2.35 a gallon.
Diesel fuel is available throughout Morocco and is less expensive
than gasoline. Unleaded fuel is widely available throughout the
A valid U.S., foreign, or international driver's license obtained
outside of Morocco can be used temporarily. However, local law
requires a Moroccan driver’s license be obtained within a reasonable
time after arrival. Personnel are issued a Moroccan driver’s license
upon presentation of any valid driver's license for a fee of about
DH 4.50. Also required are six photographs (b&w or color) of 1-1/2"
x 2" size. Eighteen is the minimum age to obtain a driver's license.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 9/8/2004 7:42 AM
The lack of adequate local public transportation can be a problem
for employees without personally owned vehicles. In some parts of
Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier, particularly in residential areas
where many USG employees' residences are located, taxis are few.
Use of public transportation is difficult without a working
knowledge of French or Arabic. Very few ticket agents, information
clerks, or other public utility employees can understand or speak
English. Public transportation in Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier
consists of buses and taxis. Bus service is limited. Taxi service
consists of more expensive “grand taxis” (Mercedes, or similar) and
the cheaper “petit taxis” (Fiats or similar). The latter only
operate within city limits and are generally inexpensive if the
meter is in working order and used. In recent years, some taxi firms
have begun operating radio-equipped taxis which are on call but
these are rare. In some parts of Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier,
particularly in residential areas where many USG employee residents
are located, it is virtually impossible to hail a taxi.
Employees may rent cars in Rabat or Casablanca, however rates are
more expensive and rental cars are generally older and less well
maintained than those for hire in the U.S.or Europe. Gasoline
coupons can be bought from the ECA in Rabat and used to buy gas at
any Shell gas station.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 9/8/2004 5:17 AM
Adequate public transportation is available to and from the
principal cities of Morocco with rail and bus fares less expensive
than in the U.S. Morocco’s major roads are generally well maintained
and directions are clearly marked, especially on more traveled
routes. Plane service links the cities of Agadir, Casablanca, Fes,
Marrakech, Rabat, Tangier, Oujda, Al Houceima, Essaouira, Safi and
Tetouan, with Casablanca—the main airport—as the hub.
The rail system links Tangier to Rabat and Casablanca, with
connections to Meknes, Fes, Marrakech, and other towns. Some trains
are air-conditioned. Train travel time from Tangier to Rabat is
about 5 hours. Daily air connections are available to Paris from
Rabat airport. More regular international air travel, including
direct flights to the U.S. and Canada, is out of Casablanca, the
country’s biggest international airport.
Auto ferry service runs between Tangier and Algeciras or Tarifa,
Spain; from Tangier to Sete, France; from Ceuta, the Spanish
enclave, to Algeciras; and in the summer from Melilla, the other
Spanish enclave, to Malaga. The auto ferry crossing takes 2–3 hours
from Tangier to Algeciras, and 5 hours from Tangier to Malaga and 35
minutes from Tangier to Tarifa. Tangier to France involves a voyage
lasting 38 hours aboard the ferry.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 9/2/2004 7:34 AM
Local and international telephone and telegraph service is
available. The Mission pays telephone installation costs. The user
pays a monthly rental charge as well as a unit charge per call.
Calls to the Washington, D.C. area using the Moroccan telephone
system cost approximately DH 6.00 per minute. AT&T telephone calling
cards also may be used in Morocco, but their charges are costly.
Morocco is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours
during Daylight Savings Time. A wide range of competitive cell phone
options is available in country. A US purchased cell phone will
generally not work on the Moroccan/European GSM system.
A full-rate telegram costs about DH 4.00 per word. Charges for
use of the FAX machine are about DH 24.00 per page to the U.S.
Internet Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:44 AM
Internet access is available in Morocco, and the national
connection is generally reliable and fast. Arrangements can be made
for a connection at home with any one of dozens of Internet service
providers in Rabat and Casablanca. The price of Internet access is
higher than that found in the U.S. Residents who make moderate use
of the Internet for web access and e-mail at home report costs of
$50–$75 per month. ADSL internet service is available.
Numerous Moroccan businesses, media outlets, government offices
and other organizations maintain web sites, which can provide much
- U.S. Embassy in Morocco: www.usembassy.ma
- Al-Akhawayn University: www.alakhawayn.ma (This web site contains
one of the best collections of Morocco-related links.)
- Marocnet: www.maroc.net.ma
- Moroccan Ministry of Communications: www.mincom.gov.ma
- Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.maec.gov.ma
- Maghreb Arab Press Agency (MAP): www.map.co.ma
- Maroc Telecom: www.iam.net.ma
- Moroccan Trade and Development Services (MTDS): www.mtds.com
(Rabat-based Internet service provider)
- Maghrebnet: www.maghrebnet.com (Internet service provider and
- ACDIM: www.acdim.co.ma (Internet service provider and cyber cafe)
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 9/2/2004 7:37 AM
Personnel assigned to Morocco may send and receive all classes of
mail through the APO, a less expensive and more reliable service
than international mail. Dispatch and receipt of APO mail normally
occur three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The
Consulate General has courier runs to Rabat twice a week. Personnel
in Tangier also have a courier run to Rabat once a week. U.S.
Customs regulations must be observed for packages. Incoming packages
cannot exceed 70 pounds or 72 inches, length and girth combined.
Outgoing packages may not exceed 70 pounds or 72 inches, length and
girth combined. The APO insures items up to $5,000, certifies mail,
and sells U.S. postage stamps and money orders. It does not register
mail or offer express mail service. U.S. currency must be used to
purchase stamps and mail boxes. APO address is as follows:
PSC 74, Box (your box #)
APO AE 09718
(Note: Due to limited storage space at the APO, please notify the
APO staff before mailing a large quantity of boxes to post.)
Moroccan mail service to and from Western Europe generally is
reliable. Fast courier services, FEDEX DHL and UPS operate in
Morocco. Packages sent through one of these services to post from
the U.S. ordinarily take at least 72 hours and must pass through
Radio and TV Last Updated: 9/8/2004 6:23 AM
Local radio stations broadcast in Arabic, French, Spanish and
Berber dialects on AM and FM. Although local radio programs are
broadcast 22 hours a day, Radio SAWA broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7
days a week. Radio SAWA is available in Casablanca, Rabat, Tangier,
Fes, Meknes, Marrakech and Agadir.
In recent years, satellite dishes enabling viewers to access a
wide range of broadcasts have sprouted up all over Morocco as the
prices for such equipment have become more affordable. Many
employees have invested in such systems, which generally cost less
than $50—depending on size of dish—to purchase and install. Viewers
thus may tune in to CNN, BBC, NBC, TNT, the Cartoon Network or
Home video systems are popular among U.S. Government employees.
The Embassy Cooperative Association (ECA) has a 2,000 VHS videotape
collection and 110 DVDs. Only DVDs will be ordered in the future.
Tapes and DVDs may be rented by individual members. To use ECA
rental tapes you will need a U.S. or multi-system equipment. For the
DVDs, you need a U.S. system, or a player that is multi-code for the
U.S. Multi-system TV's (SECAM or MESECAM) are needed for satellite
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
9/8/2004 5:20 AM
American publications and magazines can be received through the
APO or through international mail. The International Herald Tribune
(available on newsstands in major cities late the day it is
published) or USA Today can be subscribed to for local delivery.
Many newsstands carry Time, Newsweek, daily newspapers from France
and England, as well as Spanish, Arabic and German newspapers. The
Public Affairs Office maintains a library in Casablanca, known as
Dar America. Although collections have been developed with a
Moroccan audience in mind, Mission members and adult dependents are
welcome to take out a membership and borrow materials.
The American Women’s Association maintains a small, popular,
up-to-date lending library at its site in the Agdal district of
Rabat. Library hours change seasonally. Volunteers from the American
Women's Association staff the library. Membership in the American
Women’s Association Library requires a nominal fee. The American
Language Center bookstores (located near both the Embassy and
Consulate General) each offer a modest stock of English language
bestsellers, classics, cookbooks, children’s books and other popular
paperbacks, all sold at prices somewhat higher than in the U.S.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 9/8/2004 6:49 AM
The Embassy in Rabat has a full-time Foreign Service Health
Practitioner (either a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant)
who provides primary medical care to the official American community
and oversees local specialist care. In Casablanca, a part-time
British nurse runs the Health Unit in consultation with Rabat's
Health Practitioner. American trained physicians and a psychiatrist
posted to Cairo, Egypt, provide regional coverage to Morocco, and
travel approximately once or twice per year to see patients in the
health units. The Moroccan doctors and dentists can be very good,
but as they are trained in the French system, the care can be quite
different than what one expects in the U.S. Few physicians speak
English. Finding quality medical and dental care in Tangier can be
problematic. Employees and family members posted to Tangier may find
it necessary to travel to the Health Unit in Rabat for episodic
treatment as the medical facilities in Tangier are not as consistent
in clinical approach as those in Rabat. It is advised to have
routine and required dental work completed in the U.S. before coming
to Tangier. See the general medical report for Morocco for more
Local facilities (private hospitals or military hospital) are
utilized only for emergencies, as ancillary care (nursing and other
services) is substandard. Small private clinics are used for
specialist consults, such as obstetrics, orthopedics, minor surgery,
and pediatrics. Patients requiring care which is not readily
available in Morocco are evacuated to London, the designated medevac
location for Morocco. The Foreign Service Health Practitioner or
Regional Medical Officer must authorize a medevac based on the
condition and whether it can wait for evaluation until next
scheduled travel from post. Military personnel may be authorized
medevac to Rota, Spain or Germany, depending on the condition and
whether care is available in Rota.
All employees and family members should plan to have their dental
work completed before arriving at post. French dentists can be very
good, but the system is different from American dentistry.
Orthodontists are available in Rabat and Casablanca, but once again,
the system may be different than what was started in the U.S., and
it may be advisable to start orthodontic treatment here in Morocco
rather than have to restart treatment that was partially completed
in the U.S.
Plan to bring adequate prescriptions for the first several months
at post. For long-term prescription drug needs, the FSHP can write
prescriptions, which can be faxed to MEDCO HEALTH or a pharmacy of
choice in the U.S. However, the APO and inherent delays with MEDCO
HEALTH prescriptions can delay receipt of the medication for up to
two months at times. Bring plenty of over the counter cough and cold
preparations to last awhile. Local products are not the same as what
we get in the U.S., and the commissary stocks limited OTC products
which tend to disappear in the winter months when they are most
All recommended medical diagnostic testing/treatments should be
completed before coming to Morocco. This is important, as
communication difficulties and differences in medical approaches
between the American and French system of care confound patients who
purposefully seek less expensive care locally but expect stateside
standard of care and treatment. For known medical conditions, always
get care from a private MD in the U.S. before coming to post, and
bring a copy of your medical reports so the FSHP can coordinate
ongoing care without confusion.
Community Health Last Updated: 9/8/2004 5:23 AM
Public health standards in the cities are steadily improving. The
Ministry of Health sponsors disease control programs for
tuberculosis, hepatitis and other communicable diseases.
Immunization programs are offered.
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:45 AM
Everyone should have immunizations before arrival at post for
rabies (3 shots over 3 weeks), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and
typhoid. Pets should be immunized for rabies before arrival. Rabies
has been reported in major cities in Morocco. There are enough stray
dogs in the cities to make this a hazard for everyone posted here,
hence the REQUIREMENT that everyone be immunized against rabies
during their tour in the event of a bite by a stray animal.
Most Americans posted to Morocco enjoy good health while here.
The climate is mild, and the most prevalent health problems are the
same ones encountered in the U.S. - colds, coughs and flu, and
allergies. There is a tendency to get episodic diarrhea in the
warmer summer months, as food handling and storage practices are not
as stringent as in the Western world. However, with diligence with
one's household help, and diligence with what one eats, one can
usually avoid this unpleasant aspect of life in N. Africa. It is
recommended that household help obtain a physical exam to search for
TB and parasitic infections before you employ them in your house.
The health unit can assist making these appointments, but the
financial responsibility for payment of bills is yours. There are
plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh seafood, and the water
in the major cities is drinkable from the tap. However, when
traveling, it is advised that one drink bottled water, consume only
fruits and vegetables which are peeled, cooked, or bleached, to
consume foods hot off the grill, and to avoid buffets with
questionable food heating temperatures. Bottled water and tap water
in the major cities consistently tests safe for consumption, with no
bacterial contamination, and no problems with lead or other heavy
metals. However, fluoride supplementation in the water supply is
slightly less than what is found in the U.S., so we do recommend
some fluoride supplementation for children between the ages of 6 and
15. The Health Unit can provide this once you arrive at post.
The hazard of an auto accident is the number one health risk in
Morocco. Driving habits are erratic by American standards, and it
takes a seasoned third world American driver some time to get
accustomed to Moroccans who drive too close to the car in front, who
veer out of lanes without warning, and who turn left or right from
the opposite lane (not the turn lane). Defensive driving is a must.
Seat belts are a must. Rural driving poses an especially risky
scenario as one shares small roads with donkeys, carts, farm
machinery, and large trucks. Passing any of these obstructions can
become a life and death moment for all involved - the oncoming
traffic, and the line of cars watching the brave but foolish soul
who pulls out on a blind curve. Ambulances and emergency care in any
locale besides the big cities are virtually non-existent, so be
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:45
The Mission offers a limited number of Eligible Family Member (EFM)
employment opportunities which covers the traditional range of
skills. These opportunities vary and depend on many factors
including skills, language abilities and available positions. There
are currently 15 dedicated EFM positions at the Embassy ranging from
shared community liaison officer, shared newsletter editor,
administrative assistant, computer operators, nurses, maintenance
inspector, postal clerks and security escorts. Employment may be
either full time or WAE (when actually employed).
All vacancy announcements are advertised and posted throughout
the Mission as well as noted in the mission newsletter, the Maghreb
Messenger. Eligible family members may apply for all locally
recruited positions by submitting an SF-171 (application for U.S.
Federal Employment) or OF-612 (optional application for federal
employment). When equally qualified, appointment eligible family
members and U.S. veterans will be given preference. French language
proficiency and computer skills greatly enhance one's marketability
and may be required for many professional jobs.
Employment for family members in the Moroccan private sector is
possible by virtue of a bilateral work agreement signed with the
Government; however, such employment opportunities are limited for
those without fluency in French or Arabic. Applicants must obtain a
work permit through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (processed by
Human Resources) to work legally in Morocco. This process begins
with finding work and obtaining Chief of Mission authority to work
outside the mission. When accepting employment outside the mission,
the family member must understand that by accepting such a position
they lose civil immunity from judicial process for activities
relating to employment. Any resident of Morocco (including
diplomatic residents) who works on the local economy and earns
revenue from such employment is subject to local Moroccan taxes.
Your employer will deduct local taxes from your pay. If you are an
independent contractor, you are responsible for declaring your
locally earned income on a yearly basis by March 31 of the following
The Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier American schools often have
openings for preschool, elementary and high school teachers. They
may also employ teachers' aides, secretaries, nurses and library
assistants. There may be additional opportunities for substitute
teachers, tutors and summer school teachers and aides. Individuals
with English teaching experience as a foreign language will find a
number of opportunities for employment. The Employee's Cooperative
Association (ECA) employs a cashier, office clerk and an American
A summer employment program for teenagers exists subject to the
availability of funds. Numerous volunteer opportunities exist in
both the American and Moroccan communities.
American Embassy - Rabat
Post City Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:46 AM
Rabat, located on the Atlantic coast of north Africa, is about
280 feet above sea level. The city overlooks the valley of the Bou
Reg Reg River and the point at which the river meets the sea. Sale,
its sister city, is more densely populated and lies directly
opposite Rabat on the north side of the river.
Rabat is 172 kilometers south of Tangiers, the closest point to
Europe, and 60 kilometers north of Casablanca, the country's largest
city, principal seaport, and industrial center. On the whole, the
climate is milder than that of Washington DC, and somewhat less
humid. Winters are wet with temperatures sometimes falling into the
mid 40°s F. Fog is not uncommon; yet days are frequently warm and
sunny. Summer is generally comfortably warm and dry, but
temperatures rise above 90°F from time to time. Most houses
withstand heat better than cold, but the cold season is quite short.
Spring and fall are both very pleasant, with warm days followed by
Rabat is an imperial city, like Fes and Marrakech, but really
came into its own in the early twentieth century as a center for
government administration. Consequently, residents often hail from
elsewhere in Morocco, and the cultural mix is rich. Life in Rabat is
slower than in the busy commercial center of Casablanca, which
boasts a wide array of restaurants and nightclubs. Rabat is
developing rapidly in these directions, however, and is, in any
case, only an hour away from Casa's urban bustle. In addition, great
recreational opportunities - mountains offering skiing and hiking,
beaches, the historic cities of Fes, Marrakech and Tangiers - are
within easy distance of Rabat.
The historic core of Rabat is the walled old city, the medina,
and the adjacent Oudayas, or Kasbah, which overlooks where the Bou
Reg Reg River meets the Atlantic. While these remain residential
areas, the majority of the population live in apartments or homes
located in the modern sections of the city and outlying
neighborhoods. These neighborhoods offer large yards and gardens and
amenities such as large grocery stores as well as some clothing and
specialty chain stores from Europe and the U.S. Most Embassy
employees live in these areas, within a reasonably short drive to
Most Rabatis speak Arabic and French well, and some are fluent in
Spanish or English. However, it is difficult to carry out normal
activities, including communicating well with most household staff,
without a good command of basic French. Post offers an excellent
language program for dependent family members and employees, but the
more French one has upon arrival, the better. A survey taken in the
late 1990s of two-thirds of employees and spouses showed that those
who spoke French had the highest morale while those lacking language
skills tended to be less happy. Moroccan society is very open in
comparison to most Islamic societies, and Moroccans are friendly and
supportive of any effort to communicate.
The rhythm of daily life in Rabat is determined in large part by
lunch. Moroccans customarily return home for lunch, and many
Moroccan schools and all French Mission schools send children home
for about two hours. Stores and many government offices close from
about 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm or even later, but supermarkets remain
open - in fact, this is a good time of day to do grocery shopping.
In general, the daily lunch break makes running errands in the
middle of the day difficult, and generates four rush hours, with all
attendant environmental consequences. The evening rush hour normally
begins at about 7:00 pm. During Ramadan, however, when the majority
of Rabatis are fasting, stores remain open during midday, and close
before sunset. At that time, driving conditions become profoundly
irritating and frequently hazardous. During July and August, many
stores and offices adopt summer hours and do not close for lunch,
but in the late afternoon.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 9/13/2004 12:05 AM
The Chancery is located at the corner of Boulevard Front d’Oued
and Avenue Mohammed El Fassi in a neighborhood of large villas,
other embassies and diplomatic residences. ICASS agencies at post
include the offices of the State Department, Foreign Commercial
Service, Defense Attache, Agriculture, the Office of Defense
Cooperation (ODC), International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), USAID
Legal Attache and Peace Corps.
The USAID building is located at 10 Avenue Mehdi Ben Barka. Peace
Corps offices are located in downtown Rabat and Public Affairs
offices are in Souissi, a suburban area about a 10-minute drive from
the Embassy. The IBB site is located in Briech, just outside
Tangier. The Ambassador oversees all official U.S. personnel,
including Department of State personnel, the Defense Attache,
Agriculture Attache, Legal Attache, Public Affairs Officer, USAID
Director, ODC chief (who administers the U.S. Security Assistance
Program to Morocco), the Consul General, IBB Station Director and
the Peace Corps Director.
The Embassy office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday
through Friday. USAID has a flexi-time schedule requiring eight
hours of work between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Financial Service Center in Bangkok, Thailand serves as the
payroll office for State personnel. AID personnel are paid at
central payroll in AID/Washington.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 9/7/2004 11:39 AM
Most new employees move directly into permanent housing and on
occasion into transient quarters on arrival. Please inquire with
your sponsor before arrival regarding the status of your permanent
quarters. Occasionally, it is necessary to lodge new arrivals in
hotels. The Hilton, the only U.S. hotel chain in Rabat, is a 5-star
hotel 2 miles from the Embassy with a swimming pool, tennis courts
and exercise club. Hotel Tour Hassan, conveniently located near the
center of the city within walking distance of Embassy, has a
charming Moroccan atmosphere.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:47 AM
The housing pool consists of mostly leased and some U.S.
Government-owned residences. The Ambassador and DCM are housed in
USG-owned and furnished residences. Approximately 60 percent of
employee homes are located 4-7 miles from the Embassy, while 40
percent are located within a 2-3 mile radius. Housing assignments
are based on rank and family size in accordance with Post's housing
policy as issued by an interagency housing board and based on
Department interagency standards.
Many rental properties are of French origin and masonry
construction. Others are of more modern design and recently
constructed. Most homes have tile or terrazzo floors and often have
lovely gardens surrounded by walls or fences. Most homes have either
central or electric heating, although heating systems are not as
efficient as those found in the United States. The summer can be hot
and humid, particularly in July and August, while the winter can be
chilly and rainy. The Embassy provides one air-conditioner or
ceiling fan per occupied bedroom in addition to one electric fan and
space heaters when necessary. Additional fans or heaters can be
The quality and convenience of housing varies widely, depends on
availability, and does not equate with U.S. standards. Maintenance
and repair can be a problem, although the GSO office employs a staff
of tradesmen who are capable and experienced at effecting most
Furnishings Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:47 AM
All agencies at Post provide the basic set of furniture and
furnishings as defined in the Foreign Affairs Manual (6 FAM 772.3),
although as post does not at present have a joint furnishing and
furniture pool, exact supplies may vary by agency. Furniture
packages include sofas, chairs, dining and kitchen tables, desks,
buffets, coffee and end tables, bookcases, china cabinets, mirrors,
one queen bed per household plus twin beds for other bedrooms,
dressers and side tables. Furnishings include area rugs, table and
floor lamps, draperies/curtains/blinds, American-style cooking
range, refrigerator, washing machine and dryer, smoke detectors,
fire extinguishers, initial set of light bulbs, and three
transformers. Supplementary equipment approved by the Housing Board
includes one freezer, one air conditioner per inhabited bedroom,
ceiling fans for entertaining areas, one set of garden tools, a
lawnmower, vacuum cleaner, one mircowave oven, and dehumidifiers and
electric space heaters if needed.
Employees are encouraged to ship all other essential items to
post such as small electric appliances, linens, china, glassware,
small lamps, kitchen utensils, silverware, shower curtains and
rings, ironing boards and irons. (The Ambassador's and DCM's
residences contain these items). Bring paintings, photos or other
decorative items to personalize your residence. The masonry
construction makes hanging items difficult. Maintenance personnel
will assist with hanging pictures for one time only, and at that
time can provide appropriate nails, drills, anchors and screws.
Many items, such as shower curtains, ironing boards and electric
fans are readily available on the local market. It is advisable to
purchase 220V appliances with heating elements such as irons and
toasters, which are also available locally at competitive prices.
During the winter rainy season, mildew is a problem, making
periodic cleaning and airing of leather goods, clothes, and books a
necessity. Flies, mosquitoes, roaches, and other insects abound in
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 9/7/2004 1:00 PM
All residences are wired for 220V 50 cycles. The Mission normally
supplies three step-down transformers. Voltage regulators are not
necessary, but surge protectors are advisable for computers,
stereo/video equipment or other valued items.
Food Last Updated: 9/13/2004 12:10 AM
Nearly all fresh vegetables and fruits found in the U.S. are
available in Rabat groceries and markets. Moroccan groceries and
corner shops sell imported canned and dry goods, with prices often
but not always somewhat higher than they would be at home. Dairy
products, flour, rice, couscous, pastas, olives, oils, chips and
crackers, spices and fresh meats and fish are easily purchased at a
variety of local supermarkets and markets. Moroccan bread is of good
quality and remains subsidized. Specialty bakeries offer wonderful
breads, pastries, cakes, and Moroccan cookies. Moroccan lamb,
particularly, is of excellent quality, and fresh turkey and pork are
Morocco produces and sells very good wines and beers which are
easily and cheaply purchased in the supermarkets, but liquor,
tobacco products, and imported wines sold there are significantly
more expensive than in the U.S. Buy those at the Commissary!
Items unavailable or difficult to find include specialty foods
and spices for oriental cuisines. At present, tofu is unavailable.
There are, however, Asian restaurants and East Asian diplomatic
missions easily grow many fresh vegetables specific to their
The ECA Commissary, Snack Bar, and American Club:
The ECA maintains a small Commissary for authorized Mission
personnel. The ECA membership deposit currently is $200 for families
and $150 for single employees, and is refundable upon departure from
Post. Prices on some ECA items, such as paper goods, cereals and
American snacks, are lower than on the local economy but higher than
in the U.S. The ECA also stocks items unavailable elsewhere, such as
American convenience foods, cheeses, ice cream, soups, frozen fruits
and vegetables, meats and lunch meats, and pet foods. American soft
drinks, alcoholic beverages, including a wide selection of American
wines and beer, and tobacco products are sold duty-free at the ECA.
The ECA operates a small Snack Bar in the Embassy which serves
breakfast and lunch. The American Club, which includes a bar and
restaurant, is open for lunch everyday and most evenings for dinner
and is located within a five-minute walk from the Embassy.
Duty -Free Shopping :
There is a diplomatic store in the Hay Riad neighborhood of Rabat
which also sells wines, liquors, chocolates, and tobacco products,
as well as other items, duty-free. Prices, however, are set in
Many families occasionally drive to Ceuta, one of two Spanish
enclaves on the northern coast, for tourism and to shop at several
supermarkets which carry a large selection of Spanish and other
European products (such as Spanish ham), as well as CDs, DVDs, and
houseware and hardware products at duty-free prices. Imported toys
and electronics, for example, are a better value in Ceuta. Ceuta is
approximately 3-1/2 hour's drive from Rabat, or 1-1/2 hour's drive
Gibraltar is accessible by ferry via Algeciras from either
Tangier or Ceuta. At present, the exchange rate makes prices set in
British sterling and the Euro less compelling, and, in any case,
hotels are expensive. If there for tourism, however, many families
make time for the Safeway for English tea, cheeses, beers, biscuits,
condiments and other products which are unavailable in Morocco.
There are also many stores offering cosmetics and electronics at
what is currently the equivalent of standard U.S. department store
Clothing Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:48 AM
Throughout the year in Morocco, a warm sunny day may be followed
by a very chilly evening, and the proximity of Rabat to the Atlantic
Ocean makes the winters colder and damper than many expect. Winter
clothing such as fleece vests and jackets, light sweaters for
indoors and out, and light wool dress coats or jackets are quite
definitely needed. Every member of the family should have a
raincoat, and those with zip-out linings are ideal. It is necessary
to bring blankets or lightweight down comforters, as well as warm
pajamas and slippers. Light shawls and scarves for women and
summer-weight blazers or casual jackets for men are good to have on
hand for every other season.
The type of clothing worn by Americans in Rabat and Casablanca is
much the same as in Washington, DC with some exceptions. Shorts for
men and shorts, midriff tops and short skirts for women are not
appropriate for wearing in public. Women may wear sleeveless shirts
and dresses, provided they are neither too sheer nor too short.
Loose-fitting sport shorts for both sexes are fine for tennis, the
beach and workouts at a club or a fitness center. Golf shorts are
also appropriate for men. Western-style bathing suits and bikinis
are fine at the pool and on most public beaches, but put the
Brazilian thong and the mini Speedo in storage! Women should have a
cover-up and men a shirt for walking from the car to the water.
Good quality Western-style clothing and shoes are available, but
in European styles and sizes, and the prices usually are somewhat
higher than those of clothing available through US catalogues or the
internet. Shopping for clothing and lingerie in Casablanca is fun
and not always prohibitively expensive depending upon where one goes
and whether one knows one's size. Shopping for clothes in Rabat is
rapidly becoming more appealing for women as more large European
chains open stores here.
Parents of teen-aged children should be aware and help their
children, especially girls, live with a double standard: Moroccan
young people can wear more provocative clothing in public than
Americans and get away with it. Regardless of what is worn at home
or at a friend's home, boys should not wear pants that expose
bellies and/or underwear, and girls should not wear low-rise pants
with midriff tops, spaghetti straps, tube tops or mini skirts.
Western women and girls will be assumed to be sexually available in
situations that similarly dressed Moroccan women will not be.
Dressing in a way that does not call attention to oneself is part of
practicing good security.
Local tailors have been used with varying results, and, in
general, more successfully by men than women. Post has names on hand
of tailors and dressmakers employed and recommended by Mission
personnel. Some of these can work with or without patterns. While
good wool and wool blends are available, it is recommended to bring
dress or other fabrics. Good locally available fabrics for clothing
are imported and tend to be either expensive or not to American
Men Last Updated: 9/8/2004 5:43 AM
Most invitations indicate whether a function demands casual or
business attire but Moroccan men, as well as those from most parts
of Africa and Asia and some parts of Europe, tend to dress more
formally than Americans. Men should have blazers for wearing to
casual dinners and similar occasions. T-shirts are appropriate only
for sports and gatherings with Americans, and khakis are worn more
often than jeans.
Suit and tie are standard office attire and a dark suit for
evening events is necessary. The Marine Ball is likely to be the
only formal event of the year, but those who own tuxedos should
Morocco produces shoes galore, but most American men have trouble
finding the right size and style. Sandals can be made to order, but
are not as sturdy as American counterparts.
Women Last Updated: 2/18/2005 10:42 AM
Moroccan women wear a wide range of styles, from the latest
French fashions to the traditional caftans and djellabas. At
diplomatic functions, women will dress up, and American women will
find that the proverbial little black dress is a wardrobe staple.
Dressy pants are appropriate, and can often be combined with tops
having Moroccan embroidery or other local touches. Casual evenings
almost never mean jeans unless the event is among other Americans or
at the American Club. However, jeans are perfectly acceptable for
spouses to wear to the Embassy, as well as out and about Rabat.
Suits, pants or the usual styles of professional attire are worn
for work. Heels are not necessary. Make-up is standard, but not as
"overdone" as in many Eastern Mediterranean countries. Most women
buy shoes in the States, through catalogues, and also locally. It is
helpful to have at least one very dressy outfit for invitations to
Moroccan weddings and holidays and one formal outfit for the Marine
Children Last Updated: 9/8/2004 5:45 AM
Appealing clothing for young children is not hard to find and
there are retail outlets that offer good basic clothing at
reasonable prices. The French clothing stores are somewhat
expensive, but the clothing is of very good quality. Childrens'
shoes remain expensive given that they tend not to hold up as well
as American brands.
Most parents rely on catalogues and the internet. Teen-aged girls
are likely to find styles here more appealing than boys, but, in
either case, nothing beats American athletic shoes! Blue jeans are
worn by young people virtually everywhere - but not at invitations
to dinner or other evening occasions at Moroccan homes.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 9/8/2004 5:46 AM
In addition to foodstuffs already mentioned, the ECA Commissary
carries a basic and limited supply of toiletry products. It is
possible to special order items, but shipment usually takes two to
three months. Families with infants are recommended to put as much
in the way of disposable diapers, foods, wipes, etc. as they can in
Disposable diapers are NOT stocked by the Commissary as they are
much more expensive than locally available Pampers and Huggies.
While these do differ somewhat from the U.S.-made counterparts, most
families have found that the difference in price makes up for any
slight difference in quality. U.S. brand formulas, such as Similac
and Enfamil, are available in pharmacies, though one may have to
hunt to find the pharmacy with the brand that one prefers.
Detergents and cleaning products, as well as insecticides, insect
pest traps and similar items, are available both at the Commissary
and on the local market. U.S. voltage light bulbs for those homes
with some 110v outlets are available at the Embassy.
Cosmetics and a wide range of hair care products are available.
Most tend to be more expensive than in America. Anyone who has brand
preferences is urged to ship toiletries and cosmetics. Local
pharmacies and stores stock a large assortment of locally produced
and imported drugs and health-care aids. Some are more expensive
than they would be in the U.S., but many are far cheaper.
Basic home repair and crafting items such as wood glue, spackle,
nails for hanging pictures, thin, flexible wire and etc. should be
brought from home. It is hard to find items such as this in any
single location, and the quality of Moroccan paints is not high.
Basic Services Last Updated: 9/8/2004 5:49 AM
Both high speed and ordinary internet service is available for
personal home computers. Currently, installation costs about $100.00
- $130.00 and a monthly fee is charged depending on what type of
connection one chooses. High-speed ADSL service costs about $60.00
Rabat boasts many chic salons and quaint barber-shops which offer
good service at prices significantly lower than in the U.S. A
well-known barber near the Embassy charges about $4.00 for a man's
haircut. A cut and color at a fashionable women's salon costs about
$40.00, on average. Spa services such as steam bath (hammam) massage
and manicures and pedicures are all available far more cheaply than
in the U.S. There are also fitness centers and dance studios. Shoe
repair is cheap, but so are the materials used. There are competent
dry-cleaners and digital photo-processing centers, as well as
veterinarians and groomers.
Auto repair for French, Italian, Japanese, and German cars is
often better and cheaper than for American cars due to the limited
availability of parts. Embassy motor pool mechanics generally do
minor work during off-duty hours on personally owned vehicles. Bring
standard replacement parts, such as belts or filters, or plan on
ordering them from catalogues.
Plants for inside and outside the home are very inexpensive and
firewood can be delivered to the home.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 9/13/2004 12:18 AM
Almost all Mission employees hire a maid or housekeeper and a
gardener. Most domestic staff do not live in, but this remains an
option. For example, some families have a live-in gardener who also
serves as a watchman, and some families with very young employ
live-in housekeepers who also perform childcare and baby-sitting.
Many singles or couples without children hire maids or maids/cooks
for only a few days each week. This arrangement is not uncommon for
larger families with stay-at-home spouses.
Virtually all housekeepers and maids seeking employment within
the American community speak French and most have a long history
working for American or other Western diplomats. Very few speak
English. Many gardeners do not speak much French, and almost none
speak English. Salaries range depending upon the responsibilities
and hours demanded, language skills, and whether transportation is
paid for separately. After hours baby-sitting is paid for separately
and currently runs at about $10.00 per evening, regardless of the
hours. It is common for one's maid or housekeeper to serve as
baby-sitter, and many are willing to over-night if they do not live
At present in 2004, the salary for a maid who carries out routine
cleaning and laundry services with some cooking is about $12.00 -
$15.00 per day. A housekeeper who manages the home and shops and
cooks daily earns at least $15.00, especially if childcare is
routinely included. A gardener generally earns about $10.00 - $12.00
per day depending upon the size of the yard and garden.
In general, while staff may indeed become loved and trusted
members of one's household, Moroccans are not a servile people.
Americans enjoy a relationship that is fundamentally based on
employment, rather than patronage, as is common in parts of
Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Nevertheless, the employer is
expected to furnish food and any uniforms needed. The employer is
legally liable for medical bills incurred by employees due to
accidents sustained on the job or going to and from work, and it is
recommended that liability insurance be purchased to cover such
contingencies. The rate for this type of policy averages about 2% of
the employee's annual wage.
The CLO office at the Embassy keeps a file of cooks, maids,
housekeepers, gardeners, drivers, etc. who seek employment, together
with recommendations or warnings from former employers.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:49 AM
Morocco is an Islamic state and the King, Mohammed VI is both the
head of the church and a descendent of the Prophet. Proselytizing is
illegal, and violations of the law are taken seriously.
Non-Muslims generally may not purchase Korans, although there are
no restrictions on buying religious art, such as embroidered or
painted suras which are Koranic texts. With the exception of the
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, entry to Moroccan mosques is
prohibited to non-Muslims. Non-Muslims are welcome to stroll around
outside these often ornate and beautiful structures to admire their
architecture, and, of course, Muslims of all nationalities are
welcome to enter and to pray.
Ramadan fasting and the major Sunni Islamic holidays are publicly
observed throughout Morocco, though secular Moroccans may not fast
in the privacy of their own homes.
Supermarkets do not sell alcohol to Muslims during Ramadan.
Americans can expect to be invited to the evening meal, the iftar,
by Moroccan friends or official contacts, especially because of the
pride Moroccans take in their cuisine.
Jewish services are held in Hebrew in a number of synagogues,
most of which are very old. Some expatriate Jews prefer to gather
privately to mark religious holidays.
There is a Protestant Church which holds a nondenominational service
every Sunday morning in English. Sunday school classes for children
and adults are also available.
Catholic masses are held in French and in Spanish each week at
two local churches, but English language services are available only
every other week at the Cathedral, which is located very near the
Embassy. Members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints meet in
Contact the CLO office at the Embassy for details on religious
Dependent Education Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:50 AM
The Rabat American School is a PreK-Grade 12, coeducational
school, accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and
Schools. RAS welcomes motivated students from all national,
religious and ethnic backgrounds to learn together in a
community-based environment of mutual respect and understanding. The
school offers an American style, university preparatory,
student-centered educational program for students from more than 40
different countries. Morocco and the USA are the two countries with
the largest number of students. Dependents of U.S. Government
personnel are assured enrollment. The school was founded in 1962.
The academic year is three trimesters extending from late August to
the middle of June. The school is governed by a nine-member Board of
Directors, elected for two-year terms by the Rabat American School
Association. Membership in the Association is automatically
conferred on the parents or guardians of children enrolled in the
school, as well as on administration and faculty members.
The RAS curriculum is similar to that of U.S. schools.
Instruction is in English with French or Arabic being taught as
foreign languages. The International Baccalaureate diploma program
is offered for students in the high school, giving graduates a broad
range of possibilities for their university education. Throughout
the curriculum there is emphasis placed on learning about the
geography, history, culture, religion and accomplishments of the
host country. This is presented through special school programs,
community service and field trips to a variety of sites in Morocco.
The Elementary curriculum, besides the core subjects language
arts, mathematics, social studies and science, also includes
computer instruction, physical education, Moroccan studies, music,
foreign language and art. For prekindergarten, a child must be 4
years of age by September 1. RAS offers the option for either a
half-day or a full day program in prekindergarten. It should be
noted that the preK fees are the responsibility of the parent. Rabat
also has two English language nurseries for 3 and 4-years old. One
is located close to the Embassy, and one is located close to the
USAID office. There are also a number of French language nursery
schools. Note: As registration in some of the above-mentioned
schools is limited, it is advisable to communicate with the Embassy
early to improve chances of placement.
The Secondary curriculum, besides the core subjects English,
mathematics, science and social studies, also offers desktop
publishing, economics, computer science, physical education,
yearbook/literary magazine, Moroccan studies, drama, music, art and
student services as electives. The secondary education curriculum is
based on the rigorous International Baccalaureate program, with
heavy emphasis on mathematics, science and English. The school will
test prospective students for a placement and make recommendations
if there are any deficiencies that need to be addressed.
The school is located on an attractive campus of eight acres in
the Agdal district, surrounded by a high wall with guarded front and
back entrance gates. The campus houses facilities that include
several classroom buildings, 2 libraries, a computer science center
with three computer laboratories, administrative offices, science
labs, art, music and foreign language classrooms, a nurse's office,
an auditorium, sports field, a gymnastics room, locker rooms,
swimming pool, changing rooms, a gymnasium and a cafeteria.
Transportation by school buses is provided to and from school.
After school athletic activities, boys and girls scouting, and
other extracurricular offerings are available, with late bus
transportation provided. The school sponsors boy’s and girl’s
basketball, soccer, volleyball, badminton, track and swim teams.
Student teams participate in national and international sports
events, as well as international math competitions and the Model
Enrollment at the beginning of 2003-2004 school year was 383
students (preK-grade 5: 182; grades 6-8: 84; and grades 9-12: 117).
Of the total, 74 were U.S. citizens, 148 were host-country
nationals, and 161 third-country nationals. Class size averages 18
students, with the exception of foreign language classes where 10-15
students is the norm. The faculty consisted during the 2003-2004
school year 47 full-time and 10 part-time teachers; 30 U.S.
citizens, eight host-country nationals, and 19 third-country
The Administration consists of a Director, Elementary Principal,
Secondary Principal, Financial Manager, and Facilities Manager.
For further information, see the Department of Overseas Schools
Summary School Information or check the school's website at
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 9/7/2004 4:34 AM
The post conducts an FSI-approved French-language program for
employees and dependents. Various cultural missions also offer
language training; post personnel recommend the French Cultural
Mission. All courses are offered at a moderate cost. Enrollment in
correspondence courses sponsored by the FSI Extension Studies
Program is possible.
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 9/13/2004 12:21 AM
There are many restaurants in Rabat offering an excellent variety
of seafood and Moroccan dishes. It is more difficult to find good
cuisine from elsewhere, but ethnic restaurants are opening at an
increasing rate. At present, there are two Japanese restaurants,
several Italian restaurants, a few Lebanese restaurants and at least
one South East Asian restaurant. The French would dispute that real
French cuisine is available in Rabat, but very nice cafes, at least
one of which is a French chain, abound. U.S. fast-food outlets such
as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Dominos have more than one outlet in
Casablanca, an hour away by car or train, is a bigger and more
sophisticated city than Rabat. There are many excellent ethnic
restaurants there and also more nightclubs than in Rabat. Rabat,
however, does have a few clubs offering music for dancing, which
also serve alcohol. Rabat is a city in transition, rapidly adapting
some of the more exciting features of urban life that are found in
both Casablanca and Marrakech.
Moroccans tend to socialize within the extended family, if less
exclusively than nationals of other Arab countries. Those here who
seek out Moroccan friends make them with no difficulty and socialize
comfortably not only in Moroccan homes but also in their own. The
international community here is also very open. It is especially
easy for those with children to meet friends outside the Embassy
community through the Rabat American School, but singles meet others
at diplomatic functions and can easily take the initiative to invite
those from other Missions to their homes. As with most aspects to
living in Morocco, speaking French helps!
It is more difficult here for singles, especially for single
women, to make a full social life. This is a modern society and
women here are more independent than in most parts of the Islamic
world, but nevertheless dating is viewed with some reservation by
many Moroccans, especially as a Muslim woman who marries a
non-Muslim man cannot remain Muslim. Moroccan women from "good
families" are not expected to be out with men in the evenings.
American women who date Moroccans may face the expectation that they
will be more sexually available than they really are.
Sports Last Updated: 2/18/2005 10:44 AM
Moroccans are sports-oriented, and spectator sports include
soccer, tennis, basketball, and polo. Pick-up soccer games take
place on every stretch of beach, in parks and on empty lots, and
there are leagues and city teams that play regularly. Morocco hosts
Davis Cup tennis regularly in Casablanca and tickets are both easy
to get and very affordable -- about $8.00.
Organized sports activities include an adults' softball league,
T-ball for kids each spring, soccer for kids (depending upon
interest), a basketball camp offered at the close of the school
year, and the Hash House Harriers. There are several marathons and
half-marathons held in different cities, with the Marrakech Marathon
(January) among the most popular.
There are numerous sports activities at the Rabat American School
including organized baseball for young children and pick-up games of
volleyball, basketball, soccer and badminton for children and
adults. There is now an ice skating rink in Rabat, with the
possibility of organized children's hockey.
Rabat boasts a large park not far from the Embassy which is great
for walking and running, and is used by men and women of all
nationalities. There is an increasing number of fitness facilities
which offer classes in aerobics as well as other amenities. Women
exercising in public should not wear short shorts or sports bras
without t-shirts, but loose-fitting longer shorts, or stretch shorts
and leggings topped with a large t-shirt are fine.
There are private clubs for tennis, horseback riding, surfing,
yachting, and golf. The previous king, Hassan II, was an avid golfer
and there are many good courses throughout Morocco. Costs for club
memberships are far less expensive than for comparable facilities in
the U.S. and many Mission employees belong to the Dar Es Salaam golf
club located on the outskirts of Rabat. Dar Es Salaam has two
18-hole and one 9-hole golf course, a play area, pool, tennis
courts, and restaurant, as well as other facilities. There is an
affiliated riding club which offers lessons for children as well as
stable facilities for personally owned horses.
The pool and gymnasium at the Rabat American School are available
to all full ECA members -- all Mission employees who enroll in the
ECA -- regardless of whether they have children enrolled at the
school. While hours are limited to after-school during the school
year, the pool is very large and includes a toddler pool and a snack
bar. In addition, the beaches within easy driving distance from
Rabat are clean and beautiful. Some are not safe for swimming due to
currents, and information on local beaches is available in the CLO
Morocco is one of the few countries on the African continent
which offers skiing during the winter months. Depending upon
snowfall, the ski season may begin as early as December and run
through the end of March. Ifrane, approximately 3 hour's drive from
Rabat, offers slopes that rise to an altitude of 6,500 feet.
Sledding (sleds are available for rent) and camel riding are also
available! There are hotel accommodations and the additional draw of
Barbary apes living in the forested areas near the ski slopes.
Oukaimeden is a 90-minute drive from Marrakech, which is between
four and five hours from Rabat, and offers the best skiing in
Morocco. Facilities include a chair lift to 10,637 feet and
intermediate and beginner slopes with T-Bars and Poma lifts. Ski
equipment may be rented near the slopes, though quality of such
equipment may not be up to U.S. standards.
Hunting and fishing are strictly licensed, and firearms
regulations are especially stringent.
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:52 AM
Morocco has long been a popular tourist destination, especially
for Europeans, and there are tour companies which arrange desert
camping and camel trekking, mountain hiking into Berber villages,
and other outdoor activities. There are also bird and wildlife
sanctuaries, two of which are near Rabat. Activities are easily
arranged for groups as small as individual families, and, in most
areas of Morocco, it is easy enough to make one's own itinerary and
The city of Rabat includes several interesting cultural and
historical sites. The Chellah, a former Roman settlement believed to
be established by the Phoenicians is well worth visiting, as is the
medina and the Oudayas, or kasbah, which was founded around A.D.
788. Its principal gateway, the Bab el Kasbah, is widely admired,
and opens onto a Moorish garden. Within the Oudayas is a museum of
Moroccan clothing, jewelry, and furniture, several galleries, a
seafood restaurant and an open-air tearoom both of which overlook
the Atlantic and the Bou Reg Reg River.
The Mausoleum and Mosque of Mohammed V are beautiful examples of
modern Moroccan artistry and craftsmanship. At the same site are the
columns and unfinished minaret of the Tour Hassan, begun in the 12th
century by the Almohad ruler, Yacoub El Mansour.
The city of Meknes, famous for its grand gates, is about an hour
and half away from Rabat by car. About an hour's drive further
brings one to the major Roman ruin of Morocco, Volubilis. Fes, a
UNESCO world-heritage site, is about two hours drive away and can
also be reached by train. The medina there remains what every reader
of "The Arabian Nights" imagines an ancient Arab city to be.
Unique beaches offering good hotel accommodation are found about
four hours south of Rabat, as well as three hours north. There are
charming mountain towns in the Rif, about four hours to the north,
and in the Atlas, in the region south of Marrakech. Further afield
are the beach resort cities of Essaouira and Agadir. Essaouira was a
Portuguese port and is the site of a ruined fortress. The famous Red
City of Marrakech remains very popular for excellent hotels, lovely
riads--traditional homes turned into small hotels--, wonderful
dining and a particular Moroccan style and joie de vivre.
To end here fails to do justice to the charming coastal town of
Asilah, the desert region of Ouarzazate, made famous by several
recent films and the dunes of Merzouga. It is impossible to detail
all the opportunities for interesting travel and tourism in Morocco
in the Post Report, but excellent guidebooks on Morocco are widely
available. There is plenty to choose from for a day away, a weekend
getaway, a long weekend break or a long vacation. CLO trips to
various parts of Morocco are offered from time to time, and most
Mission employees travel with friends to these and other
Entertainment Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:53 AM
Morocco has become well known for many international festivals.
Essaouira has long been the site for an international music festival
featuring Moroccan gnaoua music (May) and the Fes Festival of World
Sacred Music welcomes well-known artists from literally all over the
world (June). Tangiers hosts a renowned Jazz festival and Rabat also
hosts an international music festival (June). There are numerous
smaller, but truly world-class, festivals of art, including the
relatively recently instituted Marrakech Film Festival held each
Although concerts are relatively rare, European classical,
Moroccan music, jazz and music or performance art from many
countries are periodically on offer in Rabat and Casablanca. Such
events, whether hosted by a foreign diplomatic mission or by a
national arts group, are always well attended by Moroccans. There
are also small art galleries as well as exposition centers in the
major cities which regularly exhibit the work of Moroccan and
Shopping is a form of entertainment at Post in that the process
of buying many hand-crafted items, such as carpets, is enjoyably
time-consuming. Day trips to a traditional open-air carpet souk are
hosted by CLO, as are regular trips to Casablanca for hitting the
stylish boutiques and European chain stores. Shopping in the Rabat
medina is also a social activity for which friends get together.
In the past, there was an amateur theatre company, The Very
Little Theatre, which performed plays at the Rabat American School
and also held readings in private homes. The group is not active
presently but easily could be revived depending upon interest in the
Local theatre is in French or Arabic, but from time to time dance
or folklore performances are offered at cultural centers or the
Mohammad V Theatre. Films at the Mohammad V and at local cinemas are
in French or Arabic and very few members of the Mission go out to
movies here. The Embassy Marine Security Guard Detachment receives
and shows new American movies regularly and the ECA maintains a
video/DVD rental library.
Social Activities Last Updated: 9/15/2004 9:54 AM
The diplomatic social scene is very busy in Rabat. Entertaining
at home or meeting in restaurants is common, and is the main form of
social activity. The burden of obligatory, if also enjoyable,
socializing falls mainly on the Ambassador, the DCM, the Political
Counselor, the PAO, the Economic Counselor and staff of the Defense
Attache's Office. More junior level reporting officers and members
of the USAID mission generally are obliged to attend fewer functions
but will find themselves out and about fairly frequently as they
make contacts in connection with their work.
There are frequent "Happy Hours" at either the American Club or
Marine House. CLO sponsors evening events such as Quiz Night and
Cheese and Wine on a regular basis, and also hosts Restaurant
Outings. At this time there is a very lively Monthly Spouses Coffee
organized by CLO and held at private homes or in local cafes. During
American holidays, CLO and Mission members hold special events for
adults and for children. Many of these are open to FSNs and to
friends outside the Mission.
The Rabat Hash House Harriers are very international with a large
Moroccan contingent. Runs are held every Saturday afternoon, and
some Mission members participate faithfully. The Hash is a good way
to get to know interesting areas close to Rabat and interesting
people outside the Embassy community.
There are several long-running book clubs which continually take
in new members and at least one discussion group, all of which meet
regularly. During American football season, fans watch games
together at a different home each week.
The American International Women's Association of Rabat is open
to all English-speaking women and holds monthly meetings. AIWA
sponsors a variety of activities, including an annual fund-raising
event to benefit local charities and scholarships.
The Circle Diplomatique is confined to spouses of ambassadors,
except that an annual bazaar for charity demands participation by
other Mission spouses, albeit on a volunteer basis.
The Diplomatic Women's Association meets strictly for social
reasons and is open to all women spouses, but by invitation only so
that there is room for two or three representatives of all
diplomatic missions. It is usually possible for anyone interested to
join a lunch from time to time and to become part of the group at
some point during a tour of duty.
For children there are social events organized by the Rabat
American School or parent groups there. Depending upon interest
there are Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts. There
are always playgroups for pre-K children organized by mothers, and
outings to the zoo, pony club and other places of interest for kids.
Embassy members have participated also in a range of charitable
activities, especially with the Infants' and Children's Hospital,
and with some orphanages, associations for the handicapped, and a
cancer hospice. It is easy to take part in these efforts, and to use
time constructively in substantial volunteer work.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 9/8/2004 6:08 AM
Senior officers and their spouses routinely attend official
functions hosted by Moroccan Government officials, by other
diplomats and by leaders of various organizations. Junior officers
have fewer official social obligations. Since the Rabat diplomatic
colony is large, official invitations seldom include everyone with
Most diplomatic missions mark national days with large receptions
that typically include officers of the Defense Attache's Office and
Office of Defense Cooperation. American military officers assigned
here tend to find themselves quite busy with official functions.
Mission employees at all levels and from all departments are
periodically called upon to help the Ambassador and senior officers
with official entertainment responsibilities. Of course, officers in
the Public Affairs Section host and attend functions as a matter of
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 9/15/2004 12:19 AM
Mission employees will need business cards and should bring
plenty to official functions. Spouses generally do not need calling
cards and, in any case, should wait to have them printed here with
local phone numbers. Invitation cards are useful, but, again, should
be made here and printed in French. Many people have maps to their
homes printed on the reverse side of the invitation. Good local
printing is available.
Special Information Last Updated: 9/15/2004 10:06 AM
IBB MOROCCO TRANSMITTING STATION
Strategically located facing the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier is
one of the oldest urban settlements in Morocco. It likely was
founded as a trading post by the Phoenicians around 1100 B.C. and
later was settled by Carthaginians and Romans before Arabs arrived
in the 7th century A.D. Later, Tangier was fought over by
Portuguese, Spanish and the English. From 1906 until Morocco’s
independence, Tangier existed apart from the rest of Morocco as an
international port governed by European countries. It was during
these five decades that the city gained a reputation for smuggling,
intrigue and espionage. Various artists, writers, poets and
eccentric expatriates were attracted to its pleasant climate and
checkered history. While the Moroccan government’s successful
efforts to clean Tangier of its most unsavory elements have altered
the character of the city, its proximity to Europe and regular flow
of tourists, its somewhat run-down 1930’s architecture, its mixture
of Berber, Arabic and European influences, and its still active
cultural community, combine to make it a highly individual but
With a population of nearly 800,000, Tangier is built around a
sandy beach and extends up into the foothills of the Rif Mountains.
The general topography is hilly and craggy, with scant vegetation in
the summer dry season, and with a profusion of flowers and greenery
in winter and spring, which are generally cold and rainy. Average
temperature in August, the hottest month, is 86°F. Particularly
during the summer months, tourists descend upon the city, both from
Morocco and the European continent, swelling the city’s population
and filling its many restaurants, hotels, apartments and cafes.
Tangier’s winters, November to April, resemble those of San
Francisco, chilly and rainy. January average temperature is around
63°F. Periods of rain can last for several days, however, and the
resultant dampness coupled with barely adequate heating facilities
in many homes require families to have on hand a good supply of warm
The Station and Its Administration
The IBB Morocco Transmitting station at Briech is located
approximately 22 miles south of Tangier near the town of Asilah, a
beach resort midway between Tangier and Larache. Asilah is well
known for its excellent seafood restaurants, extensive beach areas,
and annual cultural festival which is held in August. The station’s
telephone number is 039-93-59-04/5/6.
VOA broadcasts from the Morocco Transmitting Station at Briech.
The radio frequency (RF) subsystem includes 10 high power, 500 KW,
shortwave transmitters, coaxial transmission lines and baluns, dry
air system, 2 high power dummy loads with transmission lines, and
all directly associated power equipment, cooling equipment and
support structures. The Station is a state-of-the-art facility with
ten 500 KW shortwave transmitters and includes an “on site”
satellite system for program feeds. All facilities are within the
There are currently 4 U.S. Government direct-hire employees
authorized and 61 Moroccan FSN employees assigned to the station.
Because of the relatively isolated location where nearby housing and
educational facilities are not existent, personnel assigned to the
station — all U.S. citizens and most Moroccans — reside in Tangier
and Asilah and commute to Briech via transportation which is
provided by the station. Driving time between Tangier and the
station is approximately 45 minutes. Office hours at the station are
from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, although operations
continue 24 hours per day.
IBB will attempt to move employees assigned to Tangier directly
into U.S. Government-leased quarters. Should there be a requirement
for temporary quarters, the employees and dependents would be lodged
in one of the local hotels.
Four residences (including one apartment) are held under U.S.
Government lease. The houses are built according to Moroccan
standards and tastes with terrazzo or tiled floors, kitchens
somewhat smaller than those found in modern American homes, ample
living, dining and entertainment areas, and at least 4 bedrooms.
Each has a small garden and outdoor area suitable for entertaining.
All residences have heating for the chilly winter months.
The Station provides furnishings according to the same guidelines
outlined in the Permanent Housing section for U.S. Embassy Rabat.
Utilities and Equipment
Electrical current is 220v. The Station provides transformers if
they are required.
Tangier has one major supermarket offering the range of food
products found in the large shopping centers in Rabat and
Casablanca. Fresh seafood, meat and poultry products, and vegetables
and fruit can be purchased in the daily souk market or in smaller
convenience stores sprinkled throughout the city, although the
quality is generally poor compared to US standards. Prices are high
compared to the U.S. Availability of individual vegetables and
fruits may depend on the season. Families residing in Tangier
recognize that lack of proper sanitation and clean water in
surrounding rural areas, as well as use of fertilizer of uncertain
origin, require them to wash thoroughly all vegetable and fruit
products purchased on the local market. Western style products,
alcohol and smoking products are very expensive.
Tangier’s reputation as a place where one can obtain hard-to-find
items is still alive and well. Personnel living in the city report
that practically anything can be ordered and delivered within 2-3
days by a shop owner for his regular customers. Most expatriate
families rely on occasional visits to Ceuta — the Spanish enclave an
1-1/2 hour’s drive away — to take advantage of reasonable prices,
European brand names, and greater variety of vegetables and other
The station’s weekly pouch run to the Rabat Embassy allows an
opportunity for Tangier families to acquire items at the ECA.
Typically, orders are faxed ahead of time and picked up by the
(See Clothing section under U.S. Embassy Rabat.) While most of
the information pertaining to Rabat and Casablanca applies to
Tangier, it should be noted that, despite the city’s historic
reputation as a more open city, there is a strong underlying strain
of conservatism and strictness concerning Islamic morals and values.
This manifests itself in a more conservative dress code for women,
for example. Use of the djellaba by women is the rule, with fewer
Moroccan females dressed in Western attire in public.
As elsewhere in Morocco, but perhaps even more so in a city that
attracts a steady flow of European tourists, foreign women attract
the attention of the male population. Expatriate female residents
claim this uninvited attention can be more persistent in Tangier
than elsewhere, at least until the newcomer is recognized as a
resident and not a tourist. American women generally adhere to the
rule that sleeves should extend to the elbow and skirts to the knee
when they are shopping or otherwise in public.
Few American residents in Tangier rely on public transportation
except for occasionally using taxis. Most employees bring cars to
post or buy an automobile from someone with similar tax-free status
who is departing. (See Transportation under The Host Country section
of this report.)
Tangier has many competent hair stylists, beauty shops and
shoe-repair shops. Drycleaning is more problematic; wash-and-wear
should be selected over clothes that require drycleaning. The
quality of repairs and service for automobiles, electronics,
household items, etc. is poor.
Protestant services in English are offered by the Anglicans at
St. Andrew’s Church. A group of expatriates also meet regularly at
the Tangier International Church for Sunday services. Regular
Catholic mass in Spanish, or once monthly in French, is also
available in the community.
The American School of Tangier (AST), founded in 1950 to serve
the needs of the American community, was established as a
coeducational, non-sectarian institution open to children of all
religious and racial backgrounds. Over the years, as the American
community has dwindled, the composition of the student body has
evolved so that today the overwhelming number of children attending
AST are Moroccan, with a sprinkling of U.S. students and other
nationalities. Nevertheless, its American headmaster of more than 25
years and his faculty of 45 teachers, seven of whom are Americans,
have managed to continue the school’s tradition of providing an
English language, American-style education, and to place its
graduates in institutions of higher education throughout the world.
The school has been assisted by grants from the Department of
State. Together with grant moneys and donated funds, land was
purchased and an academic complex was constructed beginning in 1962.
The complex includes a modern building housing 20 classrooms, a
large library, administrative offices and a fully equipped science
and language laboratory. Later, a dormitory was opened to
accommodate boarding students from outside the Tangier area. A new
gymnasium and a swimming pool for competition were inaugurated in
June 2004. The complex was made possible by a generous donation of a
member of the Board of Trustees.
AST is incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware as a
private, non-profit educational institution and is governed by a
self-perpetuating Board of Trustees, over half of whom must be U.S.
citizens. While the school is not officially accredited with any of
the various accrediting organizations which exist in the U.S. or
Europe, AST has compiled a noteworthy record of turning out
graduates who gain entrance to some of the best American, European
or Moroccan universities. (Absence of accreditation, however, does
permit families in Tangier to opt for the away-from-post education
allowance if they choose to place dependents in a boarding school.)
AST follows an American curriculum from kindergarten through the
12th grade. While teachers represent various nationalities,
textbooks are nearly universally American. Elementary school covers
the fundamentals of reading, number concepts and writing. Students
are taught the importance of accuracy, close observation and logical
thought. Instruction in French begins in the fifth grade. Arabic is
an elective except for Moroccan students for whom it is a compulsory
subject. Art and music are offered in the elementary school and in
the high school. The school produces twice a year a school magazine
containing stories, essays and poems by students from all grades.
AST’s Archaeological and Historical Club meets regularly and takes
field trips to historical places of interest around Tangier and
In 2003, the student body from pre-kindergarten through 12th
grade numbered 340, with 9 Americans among them. Twenty-one other
nationalities were represented among the student body. Secondary
education is rigorous and designed to prepare the student for
college, with heavy emphasis on English, history, mathematics and
the applied sciences. A full range of athletic activities is
offered, including track and field, swimming, soccer, volleyball,
basketball, table tennis and tennis. But perhaps in the
extracurricular field, AST is most well known for its dramatic
productions which for over 30 years have earned a reputation for
excellence and innovative techniques. Typically, these works involve
virtually the whole secondary student body who work up to three
months to rehearse and stage the productions, with immense
contributions from professional members of the artistic community
who donate their time and talents to areas of particular expertise
such as direction, set design, costume design, make-up or music.
Parents of school-age children should consult with A/OS in the
Department of State.
Special Educational Opportunities
There are opportunities for language study in Tangier — French at
the Alliance Francaise; Spanish and Arabic at various institutes.
Recreation and Social Life
Tangier offers a number of good restaurants, from simple
sawdust-on-the-floor, cheap cafes in the medina where fresh seafood
is the house specialty, to more up-market establishments, which are
licensed to serve alcohol. Many restaurants offer menus with an
emphasis on Spanish-style cooking. There is one Chinese restaurant.
The medina itself is a labyrinth of small shops and stalls
selling every manner of Moroccan artifact. Prices, however, always
start very high because of the constant tourist flow, so negotiating
a fair price can be a challenge. One stop not to be missed is the
site within the medina of the original American Ambassador’s
residence, now called “the American Legation.” It was given to the
new U.S. Government in 1777 by the Sultan Moulay Slimane and is
considered an American Historic Landmark. The building now houses a
Despite Tangier having fallen on hard times in recent years, the
area still has a lively schedule of cultural offerings — from
concerts, to film showings, to art exhibitions. The problem for
Americans is that most of these cultural activities require French
or Spanish in order to be appreciated, as they are sponsored by the
Alliance Francaise, the Spanish Institute, the Italian Cultural
Center or the German Goethe Institute. One would do well soon after
arrival to pay a visit to these respective centers and get one’s
name on the mailing list.
To the west of Tangier, less than 30 minute’s drive, is Cap
Spartel with first-class accommodations and restaurant at Le Mirage.
To the east, one can stop virtually anywhere on the scenic coastal
route drive to Ceuta for great sea views and a meal at one of the
many restaurants along the way. Ceuta itself has a number of hotels
and a completely different atmosphere for those wishing to get away
for a weekend. South of Ceuta, along the Mediterranean coast there
are any number of resorts — including Club Med and several hotel
complexes patterned after it — where bungalows or rooms may be
rented. Farther east there is the beach town of Al Hoceima. Other
smaller beach towns are located along the Mediterranean coast until
you reach Melilla, the second Spanish enclave.
Traveling south of Tangier, Tetouan is worth a visit, if only to
spend some time in its souk. Tetouan does not attract many foreign
tourists, which makes the negotiating easier, and the city’s
stylized carpets are well known throughout Morocco. An hour and
one-half farther south is the medieval mountain village of Chaouen.
This fascinating town was founded by returning refugees from Iberia
in the 15th century and remains surprisingly unfazed by modernity.
It is a great weekend getaway spot.
Tangier does have the advantage of frequent ferry service to
Spain, which opens up touring possibilities in Spain and Portugal.
The overnight ferry to Sete, France also permits discovering the
pleasures of that country.
(See Recreation and Social Life under Rabat and Casablanca
sections of this report for descriptions of other Moroccan places to
visit. Rabat can be reached in just over 3 hour’s drive, most of
which is tolled freeway.)
Aside from the cultural activities listed above, people assigned
to Tangier often have to make their own entertainment. Some choose
to take mountain bike excursions; some drive up into the surrounding
Rif Mountains for hiking; some arrange tennis games or golf outings.
All make use of satellite TV systems to receive U.S. and European
Because of language barriers and the fact that Moroccans are
accustomed to spending spare time with their own extended families,
invitations are not extended to Americans very often. Of course,
when they are received, one can expect extraordinary Moroccan
hospitality and a sumptuous meal. The best Moroccan cooking is
always found in the home.
Tangier is not an easy assignment for the dependent spouse. Work
opportunities, aside from perhaps teaching English, are virtually
nonexistent. For cultural reasons mentioned previously, it is not
always pleasant for women to venture out in public alone. Local
society is conservative and often not accessible. Dependent spouses
who have years of experience abroad may adapt to these conditions
and throw their energies into hobbies, sewing, experimenting with
new kinds of recipes, studying languages, volunteering their
services at AST or with charity work, ferreting through the
handicraft shops to decorate their residences with flair and
originality, reading those novels they have always wanted to read,
or planning excursions to Morocco's and Iberia's most exotic and
enticing attractions. But for an American dependent without prior
foreign experience, spending a tour in Tangier likely will test
one's adaptability and sense of humor.
There are not many official functions to which Americans might be
invited. While the U.S. Government has no diplomatic or consular
presence in Tangier, a number of European countries -- Germany,
Spain, France, and Italy -- do. Becoming acquainted with these
families might open up some good opportunities to meet other
expatriates and expand social contacts.
Calling cards are useful, particularly at the beginning of an
assignment to Tangier. Station personnel should bring 200. Folding
“Mr. and Mrs.” cards are useful as informal invitations. These can
be printed locally.
Consulate General - Casablanca
Post City Last Updated: 9/8/2004 7:45 AM
Casablanca is Morocco’s economic, financial, industrial and
demographic capital (population about 6 million) and the country’s
most important seaport. It is also a significant airline crossroads
from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and other African countries.
Casablanca’s broad boulevards, multi-story office buildings,
bustling business districts, and relatively small medina (the
ancient, walled old city) contrast sharply with the traditional
imperial cities of Rabat, Fes, Meknes and Marrakech. Though
Casablanca begins at sea level, several of its suburbs are
considerably higher. Temperatures range between 46°F and 65°F in the
rainy winter and between 65°F and 90°F in the humid summer. Humidity
averages 75%. Rainfall averages 15–20 inches a year.
The modern city of Casablanca originates from the ancient Berber
hamlet called Anfa. The present city center was largely built during
the French Protectorate in the first half of the 20th century, while
extensive outlying areas have been constructed since independence in
1956. The most visible new landmark on the Casablanca skyline is the
Hassan II Mosque, located on a promontory overlooking the Atlantic
with its 200-meter-high minaret towering above the city. This
magnificent building took 13 years to complete, with several
thousand artisans working on it around the clock. Plans include
building a conference center, library and other buildings to house
businesses in this redeveloped area of the city.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 9/15/2004 10:06 AM
The Consulate General is near the city center at 8 Boulevard
Moulay Youssef, phone number 02-22-41-49 or 02-26-45-50. The office
building, surrounded by a small, attractive garden, was built in
1972. Mohammed V Airport is located about 18 miles outside of town;
there is regular train service (about 30 minutes) from the airport
to the main railroad station in downtown Casablanca, which is a
20-minute drive from the Consulate General. New arrivals are met at
the airport, if advance notice is given. Frequent train service
connects Casablanca and Rabat in about 1 hour. The Public Affairs
Office maintains a cultural center and its only library in-country
(Dar America) on 10 Place Bel Air, about 5 minutes' walk from the
Consulate General, phone number 02-22-14-40.
The Consul General oversees the usual political, economic,
administrative and consular functions required in a major
cosmopolitan center. In Morocco, all visa issuance takes place at
the Consulate General; the Embassy does not issue visas. The Senior
Foreign Commercial Service Officer is located at the Consulate
General, and the countrywide Labor Officer is assigned to Casablanca
because Morocco's trade unions are headquartered there. The
Consulate General also serves as regional headquarters for the
Engineering Services Center (ESC). Office hours are from 8:00 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. A duty officer is on call
evenings and weekends.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 9/8/2004 7:53 AM
It is the post’s policy, whenever possible, to assign employees
to quarters in advance of their arrival. If, however, transient or
permanent quarters are unavailable, new arrivals stay at either the
Hyatt or the Royal Mansour.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 9/13/2004 12:56 AM
Casablanca has one government-owned and furnished home, the
Consul General’s residence, Villa Mirador, which served as Winston
Churchill’s quarters during the World War II Allied Conference held
in Casablanca in 1943. It is equipped with basic furnishings. A
newly arriving principal officer should bring a set of everyday
dishes, personal bedding and linens, pool towels, flower vases,
pictures, and other decorative items. Electric appliances should be
220v. The grounds of Villa Mirador are landscaped with palm and
citrus trees and a grape arbor. Its recreation area includes a
swimming pool and clay tennis court. The Consul General establishes
policy regarding use of these facilities by the Consulate General
Official Americans are provided with government-leased and
furnished housing. Except for furniture and most major appliances,
bring all personal belongings. Items should include dishes,
silverware, linens, small appliances, and other personal decorator
goods. The voltage is 220v, 50 cycles. Short-term leased housing
consists of single-family dwellings. Employees occupying houses are
responsible for the maintenance of their yards, and therefore may
wish to include appropriate tools in their household effects
shipments (HHE). These tools also are available on the local market.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:07 AM
Most leased housing is wired for 220v, 50 cycles, as is the
Consulate General. The post normally provides transformers only for
Consulate General-furnished appliances. Therefore, buy or bring
transformers and voltage regulators for personal items. Local
regulators are costly and not always available or well made. Most
nonsynchronous motor, 60-cycle appliances work well. Convert before
shipping, since required parts are not always available, and local
technicians often prove unfamiliar with American models.
Food Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:13 AM
Markets and grocery stores abound in Casablanca; the Central
Market and the Maarif offer good quality and selection but are more
expensive than local markets where you are able to choose your
produce. Although most markets are open only in the morning, the
grocery stores, many of which also sell fruits and vegetables,
remain open well into the evening; in addition, several large
American-style supermarkets and buyers’ clubs are located in the
All fresh fruits and vegetables found in the U.S. are available
seasonally. Most personnel buy poultry, meat and fish locally. Cuts
of meat differ slightly from those in the U.S., but quality and
variety are good. Pork, chicken, mutton and beef are available at
prices somewhat higher than in the U.S. Alcoholic beverages are
available, although expensive when purchased on the local market.
Moroccan wines, however, are plentiful and vary in quality from
table wine to quite good vintages. Prices are reasonable by U.S.
standards. Casablanca has an excellent selection of French pastry
shops and Belgian chocolate shops; Moroccan breads and pastries are
of good quality.
Personnel assigned to Casablanca have access to the Embassy
Cooperative Association (ECA) commissary in Rabat. Orders are faxed
and delivered on thrice-weekly courier runs. Alcoholic beverages and
paper products, which are of limited availability locally and at
higher prices, are the most frequently purchased items.
Clothing Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:15 AM
Most personnel purchase clothing either directly from the U.S.
via catalog or while on vacation in Europe or the U.S. However,
Casablanca has an increasing number of boutiques with adequate to
very good apparel and footwear, some of it imported. Clothes may
also be purchased at the large supermarkets, department stores or
price clubs mentioned above. Although many employees shop by catalog
from the U.S. or order products from the ECA in Rabat, there is very
little that cannot be found on the local market.
Casablanca’s medina and Habbous district offer an excellent
selection of Moroccan arts and handicrafts, everything from bronze
metalwork to Berber carpets, to decorated ceramics and pottery.
(Other major handicraft centers within the consular district are
Marrakech, Safi, Essaouira and Ouarzazate.)
Many expatriates living in Casablanca take advantage of its
antique shops, fairs and flea markets to hunt for that special
Moroccan or European decorative item.
Supplies and Services
Basic Services Last Updated: 9/7/2004 4:23 AM
Casablanca has many excellent hair stylists, beauty shops and
shoe repair shops. Drycleaners are not of American or European
standards; wash-and-wear is preferable to items requiring
drycleaning. There are very good drycleaners in the Maarif called
L'Ecureuil. Local film processing using the latest technology to
produce fast service is reliable and comparable in price with the
U.S. Some employees, however, prefer to send film to the U.S. for
processing. (For additional information on Clothing and Supplies and
Services, see Rabat.)
Religious Activities Last Updated: 9/7/2004 4:23 AM
English-language services are available at the Anglican Church of
St. John the Evangelist, located near the Hyatt Regency Hotel in
downtown Casablanca, and weekly Catholic Mass in English is held at
Christ the King Church near the Holiday Inn. Several Catholic and
Protestant churches hold services in French and Spanish. Other
places of worship include synagogues and Greek Orthodox Churches.
Non-Moslems generally are not permitted to enter mosques in Morocco.
An exception is the Hassan II Mosque where visitors can view the
magnificent ornate interior on guided tours for DH 120.
Dependent Education Last Updated: 9/15/2004 10:07 AM
Parents of pre-school age youngsters may enroll their children in
the Casablanca American School (CAS), which offers nursery and
kindergarten classes on a half-day basis, or else choose one of a
number of French language pre-schools in Casablanca. A third option
is the George Washington Academy (GWA), inaugurated in 1998. It
offers an American curriculum taught in a trilingual setting (40–45%
English, 40–45% French and 10–20% Arabic). GWA offers kindergarten
through 12th grade education.
Tuition at the French language pre-schools generally has been
less expensive than that charged by CAS; parents must pay this
tuition charge themselves.
Other dependent children attend either CAS or one of the French
Mission schools. CAS, which opened its impressive new campus in a
suburb named “California” in September 1989 but which has been in
operation since 1973, provides English-language, international
education from nursery school through grade 12. Interested parents
representing the corporate sector and the Consulate General founded
the school, and it has been well-supported by the entire
English-speaking community, as well as permanent residents of
Morocco in Casablanca. The school year begins in late August/early
September and runs through mid-June. Its walled campus contains a
pre-school with 6 classrooms, administration building, large
classroom building, two-level library, gymnasium, cafeteria and
dining area, and sports field. In 2002, a new building was
inaugurated featuring computer and art labs, a lower school library,
a state-of-the-art performance center and a roof-top salon..
The school is supported in part by a grant from the Department of
State, and uses modern teaching methods and materials, maintaining
high academic standards. It compares favorably to better American
public and private schools. The International Baccalaureate program
as well as an American high school diploma are offered. In 2003,
enrollment stood at 481 students, representing over 30
nationalities. American students made up 15%, Moroccan students were
63%, and 22% came from other nations. While all Consulate General
children are accepted, grade placement for all students is
determined by testing. Space limitations, particularly in the lowest
grades, have meant that early applications for contractors and
non-Consulate General families are highly recommended.
The school attempts to limit class size to 18 students per class,
though CAS responds positively to requests that additional students
be accepted from the corporate sector or from Consulate General
families. French language instruction is provided to all students;
Arabic is optional except for Moroccan students for whom it is a
compulsory subject. Computer instruction is introduced at an early
age. Students can access e-mail through the school's computer lab.
The CAS faculty includes 90 full-time and 10 part-time staff
members, including 45 from the U.S. Teachers are assisted by
instructional aides in the lower grades as well as by several
CAS integrates the study of Morocco into its curriculum at all
levels in order to build a better understanding of the host country.
There are academic and athletic exchange programs with Moroccan
counterparts; moreover, field trips and visitations promote an
appreciation and understanding of the geography, history, language,
religion and accomplishments of Morocco.
As the rigorous International Baccalaureate curriculum, beginning
in middle school and continuing through high school, places heavy
emphasis on mathematics, science and English, students transferring
into CAS at the secondary level may find adjustment difficult
without a solid grounding in previous academic work. The school will
test all such prospective students for placement and make
recommendations if there are any deficiencies that need to be
addressed. Extremely limited resources are available for students
with special needs. All students are mainstreamed into the normal
academic programs if admitted to CAS. Parents of high-school-age
students should consult with A/OS in the Department of State.
CAS graduates in recent years have gained admission to superior
North American and European universities such as Duke, Penn,
Stanford, Yale, Harvard, M.I.T., Cal Tech, Vassar, Williams, McGill
(Canada), International School of Economics, (Rotterdam), London
School of Economics, etc. Depending on the institution and IB
examination results, some graduates may be given advanced standing
or awarded credits at universities based on their IB degree.
After-school activities include a full range of sports for both
boys and girls including volleyball, track and field, basketball,
soccer, swimming and softball. Other extracurricular offerings are
drama, art, choir, debate and yearbook clubs. Student councils are
elected at both the lower school and upper school levels. A charity
committee focuses CAS efforts at outreach into needy communities in
Casablanca and its environs. On the academic side, the school
regularly places students from grade 5 upwards, based on Scholastic
Achievement Test results, to special summer programs for the
academically gifted at Johns Hopkins, Duke University, Amherst and
other U.S. higher institutions.
The French Mission system, another educational option,
traditionally has many more applicants than places and therefore
gives preference to students who have already studied in the French
system. French-language fluency is essential. French school hours
are longer (including some Saturday sessions) and discipline may be
different for those accustomed to U.S. public schools. Class size
could well be substantially larger than that at CAS. Graduates of
the Lycee Lyautey in Casablanca possess the equivalent of a high
school education plus 1 year of college credit, and may continue
their education at French universities.
American college degrees or certificates cannot be obtained in
Morocco, though Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane offers coursework
in English according to a U.S.-based curriculum leading to
undergraduate or graduate degrees.
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 9/7/2004 4:23 AM
The Department-sponsored FSI language program teaches French and
Arabic, depending on funding and community interest. The French
Cultural Center also offers reasonably priced French or Arabic
lessons. The American Language Center, an independent educational
institution, is located in the downtown building which formerly
housed the Consulate General. The center offers classes in English,
French and Arabic. It also houses the American Bookstore which
contains a modest assortment of English-language books.
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:24 AM
Casablanca offers a wealth of excellent restaurants, many of them
French. They can be found both in the major downtown hotel area and
out on the Corniche overlooking the water, where diners take
advantage of both the beautiful sight and an abundance of fresh
seafood. Although there are Moroccan restaurants as well, the best
Moroccan cooking in Casablanca remains in private homes. Casablanca
has many Lebanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Kosher, Italian, and Spanish
In recent years, U.S. franchise establishments have entered the
Moroccan market. Casablanca now boasts well-known outlets such as
McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza. Additionally, Casablanca
offers innumerable cafes and ice cream parlors. Personnel at the
Consulate General also travel frequently up and down the coast to
enjoy the numerous fish and seafood restaurants in such towns as
Mohammedia, El Jadida, and Oualidia. The latter is particularly well
known for its cultivation of oysters.
Casablanca has a number of night clubs, jazz clubs and
discotheques that typically attract the late night crowd. These are
generally found along the city’s Corniche waterfront area.
Sports Last Updated: 9/7/2004 4:24 AM
The three golf clubs in the Casablanca area have a combined but
limited membership for use of their facilities. One 9-hole course is
located in the Anfa residential area of Casablanca near the
principal officer’s home; it also offers a restaurant, swimming
pool, sauna, and tennis courts. Another, which has an 18-hole
course, is about 20 miles from Casablanca, in Mohammedia. The third
golf course is a new 9-hole course situated in Ben Slimane about 20
miles from Casablanca, on the old road to Rabat. There is an
excellent 18-hole private links course in El Jadida about 50 miles
south of Casablanca. Casablanca has many tennis clubs. The Consul
General determines rules and hours for use of the clay tennis court
and pool at Villa Mirador. There is also an Aeroclub at Tit Mellil,
on the northern outskirts of Casablanca. Flying lessons are
available at a reasonable price.
(See Rabat Sports section on beaches, skiing, hiking, hunting,
fishing, etc.) A long strip of clean beaches can be found a half
hour’s drive south of Casablanca in Dan Bonazza, including several
private beaches which offer dining, shower and bathroom facilities.
Many people enjoy saltwater fishing, and two yacht clubs offer
boating and sailing. Surfing and windsurfing are available, but are
not recommended for beginners. Recreation for children is limited,
but small public parks, a very small zoo and two small amusement
parks are located in the city. Horses can be rented and excellent
instruction is available for children at reasonable rates.
Long distance running is becoming increasingly popular. Employees
from Rabat and Casablanca participate in the annual Marrakech
International Marathon, as well as in many shorter races. Spectator
events in Casablanca are held in the Mohammed V Stadium; weekend
soccer matches are popular and draw huge crowds and considerable
traffic congestion. The local newspapers offer coverage of sporting
events. Most sports from archery to scuba diving, fencing to squash
can be practiced in Casablanca.
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:27 AM
Casablanca’s consular district offers a wide variety of sights of
both natural beauty and cultural importance. Marrakech, with lovely
monuments and excellent restaurants, has a booming tourist industry,
as does Agadir with its beautiful Atlantic beaches. Safi and
Essaouira offer attractive ceramics and handicrafts as well as a
less hurried pace, while Ouarzazate is the gateway to the Draa and
Dades Valleys, and Zagora lies at the edge of the Sahara. Within a
few hours’ drive from Casablanca, one can admire beaches, forests,
mountains, waterfalls and deserts. The major cities of Rabat, Fes,
Meknes, Marrakech, and Tangier are all linked to Casablanca by
excellent and inexpensive bus and rail service.
Entertainment Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:29 AM
Cultural events are limited, but the foreign cultural centers,
particularly the French, Spanish and Italian, as well as the
neighborhood cultural centers of Anfa, Maarif, and Ben M’sik, offer
frequent concerts, lectures, painting exhibitions, and other
cultural events. The Goethe Institute and the Spanish Cultural
Center also offer a variety of programs. Casablanca’s dozen cinemas
offer a variety of films, including American films dubbed into
French. Three or four showings are featured daily. The foreign
cultural centers also show films in the original language with
French subtitles. Teenagers participate in social events with their
counterparts from the various high schools. The common language is
French. Casablanca's Villa des Arts, situated near the Consulate,
hosts exhibitions of paintings and photographs by contemporary
Few festivities take place in Casablanca proper, but there are
occasional “moussems”and “fantasias” (colorful simulated charges by
horsemen in full regalia, brandishing and firing weapons), and there
are native folk dances in the Atlas Mountains. A National Museum and
National Library are planned for the redevelopment area surrounding
the Hassan II Mosque.
Newsstands carry primarily French and Arabic periodicals, but the
International Herald Tribune, the European editions of Time and
Newsweek, and The Economist are found readily. Several excellent
French bookstores, some of which carry English language titles, are
Shortwave reception is good. A quality shortwave set receives VOA,
BBC, or other European broadcasts. Local radio and TV broadcasts are
in French and Arabic. A multisystem TV is required for viewing these
broadcasts. (See The Host Country, Radio and TV, for information
regarding satellite TV.)
Social Activities Last Updated: 9/7/2004 4:24 AM
The Churchill Club, located in the suburb of Ain Diab off the
Corniche, stipulates that its members speak English on the premises.
Membership is primarily English and American, with some French and
Moroccans who wish to exercise their knowledge of English and
socialize with native speakers. This club provides a means of
getting acquainted with other members of the English-speaking
community. The club offers dinner every Tuesday night, luncheons on
Sundays, and limited food service during the week. Members are
permitted to bring out-of-town visitors. Facilities include a bar,
library, small wading pool, table tennis, and billiards. The club
also sponsors dances, ethnic dinners and bridge tournaments. Both
the American and British consuls general are ex-officio members of
the governing board.
The Casablanca Amateur Dramatic Society (CADS) presents several
full- length plays annually, as well as numerous readings using the
Churchill Club’s facilities, but remaining a separate group.
Casablanca's American International Women’s Club membership is
mostly non-American, although the club president must be a U.S.
citizen. Working closely with many hospitals and schools, this group
has an effective charity and development program which provides for
the needy, and sponsors one annual fundraising event—the
pre-Christmas bazaar. Besides monthly business meetings, the club
sponsors afternoon bridge sessions and occasional outings. Many
social clubs offer tennis, yachting, riding, and swimming. These
clubs and the Royal Golf d’Anfa and Mohammedia provide good
opportunities for meeting the local community of all nationalities.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:31 AM
The principal officer, section heads, and spouses participate in
an active representation program involving local government,
business and social contacts. Entertaining varies from small to
medium-sized dinner parties, and large receptions. American staff
members are often invited, either because of their official position
or for social reasons. Moroccans are hospitable and enjoy meeting
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 9/7/2004 4:25 AM
All officers are encouraged to participate in social affairs to
broaden contacts and increase their knowledge of Morocco and the
local community. With a good knowledge of French or Arabic, one can
develop friends in Moroccan and third country national circles.
Associations may be formed with the growing number of
English-speaking Moroccans who may have studied the language or gone
to school in the U.S., but French continues to be the medium of the
Casablanca social groups.
Business card use is widespread. About 300–500 calling cards for
principal officers and 200–300 for other officers should be
sufficient. These cards also can be printed at the Consulate.
Spouses may have their own calling cards printed here. Most
officers’ business cards printed locally include: name, functional
title, local address, telephone number, cell phone number and email
address. Informal “Mr. and Mrs.” cards may be used for invitations.
Most officers have formal invitations printed locally.
Special Information Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 9/13/2004 1:04 PM
There is one direct flight daily from New York to Casablanca
offered by Royal Air Maroc code shared with Delta. There is also one
direct daily flight from Paris to Rabat operated by Air France, also
code shared with Delta. Post recommends (although does not require)
that employees assigned to Rabat use the Delta/Air France flight.
The Mohammed V Airport is located about 18 miles from Casablanca
and 70 miles from Rabat. The Rabat-Sale Airport is about 5 miles
outside of Rabat. The Tangier Airport is about 9 miles outside of
A government vehicle will be dispatched to meet you at the
airport. Please ensure that Post is informed of your flight arrival
information well in advance of travel.
Allow 2 weeks for receipt of your UAB and approximately two
months for receipt of HHE from Baltimore. HHE and POVs are shipped
to ELSO Antwerp and then forwarded to post upon arrival of the
employee at post.
Include in your airfreight bed sheets, towels, blankets, an iron,
and kitchen appliances and equipment. Some tools (hammer, pliers,
screwdrivers, wrenches and flashlight) are useful. Bring sweaters
regardless of the season. If you have infants, bring a substantial
supply of baby food and diapers. Also bring any special medication,
drugs, or vitamins the family requires. Have an additional supply of
these shipped with your HHE.
For those assigned to Rabat and Casablanca, address all shipments
of HHE, either by air or surface, as follows:
For those assigned to Rabat, route airfreight to Rabat-Sale
Airport. For those assigned to Casablanca or Tangier, route
airfreight to the respective international airport in each city.
Port of discharge for surface shipments destined for Rabat or
Casablanca is Casablanca. Surface shipments for Tangier may be
shipped directly to Tangier using the following address:
U.S. Embassy (IBB Relay Station)
Port of Tangier
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 9/7/2004 1:15 PM
Personnel with diplomatic or consular titles receive free-entry
privileges for the duration of their tour of duty. All other
direct-hire and U.S. Government contractor personnel receive
free-entry privileges only during the first 6 months after arrival.
Passage Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:34 AM
U.S. citizens, including Official American personnel, do not need
visas to enter Morocco; valid passports are sufficient. Check with
the Department of State Medical office for necessary inoculations.
An entry date stamp is required on all passports entering Morocco.
If you enter the country through small border stations, insist on
having your passport stamped. Carry several copies of travel orders,
and your passport.
When you arrive in Morocco for a tour, present 13 photos, size
1-1/2" x 1-3/4", to the Human Resources Office to process your
Moroccan identity card and driver's license. Photos must be taken
full face and without glasses. Photos are easily obtainable locally
at prices cheaper than in Washington, D.C.
Pets Last Updated: 9/15/2004 10:08 AM
To bring a cat or dog into Morocco, submit a certificate of good
health. Technically this certificate should be signed no more than
48 hours before departure. A registered veterinarian must state that
the animal is free from infections and contagious diseases, and that
a rabies vaccination was administered no less than 15 days, and no
more than 1 year before arrival.
If at all possible, pets should accompany their owners rather
than arrive either before or after arrival of owners. Additionally,
flights with pets aboard should be scheduled so that arrival occurs
during weekdays when veterinarians normally are on duty to examine
documentation and permit entry. There have been cases when pets
arrived at odd-hours and were forced to wait until the next business
day to be freed from a holding area at the airport. In cases of
weekends or during frequent religious or national holidays, delays
are common. Advance planning and consultation with the embassy are
critical to assure that pets will not suffer during this last stage
of their journey.
Birds with parrot's beaks must be accompanied by a statement
signed by the owner and countersigned by a registered veterinarian
stating that the bird has been the owner's personal property for at
least 6 months before date of departure, that it will not be sold or
used for any commercial purposes, and will remain the owner's
personal property. A registered veterinarian must also sign a
certificate, dated no less than 3 days before departure, stating the
bird is free from any visible symptoms of psittacosis (parrot
disease) and ornithosis.
For other birds, a signed certificate by a registered
veterinarian must be submitted, and dated no less than 3 days before
departure, certifying the bird free from contagious or parasitic
diseases that can be transmitted to humans or other animals; that
the bird is free from ornithosis, plague, and Newcastle disease; and
the bird does not come from an area where such diseases are
For other animals (turtles, reptiles, etc.) bring a health
certificate signed by a registered veterinarian stating that the
animal is free from any disease peculiar to its species, and free
from any contagious or parasitic disease transmittable to humans or
other animals. Importation of rodents, guinea pigs, hamsters and
rabbits is prohibited.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 9/15/2004 10:09 AM
It is imperative that Post receive advance notification of an
employee's intent to bring firearms and ammunition into the country.
In case these regulations change after publication of this report,
check with your regional bureaus or the post administrative
counselor before making a final decision to ship arms or ammunition.
Only the following non-automatic firearms and ammunition may be
brought to Morocco:
(gauge 20,16 and 12)
Ammunition 1,000 rounds
Firearms must be registered with the Embassy and with Moroccan
police authorities on arrival. A hunting permit and hunting
insurance are required (about $150 a year). The Embassy will assist
in registration and in securing required permits and insurance. Any
ammunition purchase must be noted by the seller on the hunting
permit. Except as listed above, no other types of firearms or
ammunition are permitted in Morocco; i.e., no rifled weapons are
licensed for private individuals.
The above-listed firearms and ammunition may be shipped (but not
mailed) to post without an export license, provided they are
consigned to U.S. personnel for their personal use and not for
resale. Prior approval of the Chief of Mission is not necessary,
provided post is given advance notification.
To bring additional firearms and ammunition into the country,
obtain permission of the Chief of Mission in advance. In shipping
additional firearms and ammunition from the U.S., forward copies of
your exchange of correspondence with the Chief of Mission, along
with a completed form DSP-5 (export application), to Office of
Defense Trade Controls (PM/DTC), Department of State, Washington,
D.C. 20520. The application should include all firearms and
ammunition to be shipped to post. The export license issued by PM/MC
must be given at time of shipment to the U.S. Despatch Agent who, in
turn, will surrender it and other shipping documents to U.S.
If you receive permission from your next Chief of Mission to ship
firearms and ammunition in excess of those prescribed, and you ship
them between foreign countries only, no license is necessary from
No Department of State license will be issued if you ship only
shotguns (with barrels 18 inches and over in length) and shotgun
ammunition within the quantities listed. You must, however, comply
with the Chief of Mission's determination and with export
regulations of the Office of Export Control, U.S. Department of
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 9/8/2004
The official currency is the Moroccan dirham (DH). In 2004 the
exchange rate was about DH 9 to US$1.00. Morocco prohibits import or
export of dirhams. Other currencies may be brought into Morocco, and
arriving personnel should be prepared to declare funds in their
possession on arrival.
A number of local banks are available. The official USDO account
is maintained at BMCI Bank. In accordance with post policy and
regulations, American U.S. Government personnel must obtain all
local currency from official banks or the Embassy cashier. To
facilitate meeting this requirement, a teller from BMCI Bank is
available at the Embassy, at USAID, and at the Consulate General in
Casablanca to provide accommodation exchange services to Mission
employees, eligible family members who are on employees' orders, and
official visitors. The Embassy cashier does not provide
accommodation exchange except for VIP visits and in emergency
BMCI is open at the Embassy Monday through Thursday from 11:00
a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. BMCI is
open at USAID Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m to
10:30 a.m. At the Consulate General, hours are Monday through Friday
from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Arrangements also have been made for Mission employees to use
BMCI branches located throughout Morocco, which are open daily from
8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., as well as
Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
In Tangier, International Broadcasting Bureau employees obtain
accommodation exchange at the IBB station.
Personal checks in U.S. dollars are used for all expenditures
made at the ECA. American Express travelers' checks may be purchased
at the ECA for a fee of 2%.
In recent years, a number of Moroccan banks have begun to offer
their clients automated teller machine (ATM) service. While these
machines are not yet found at all bank branches in the country,
Rabat, Casablanca and the major cities and towns attracting tourists
offer a number of locations to those wishing to access bank accounts
in their home country. Local ATM’s will accommodate some U.S. bank
cards and/or major credit cards.
Local weights and measures follow the European metric scale.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 9/15/2004 10:26
U.S. Government employees pay sales taxes in the form of TVA
(VAT) on all single purchases less than DH 2,000 in value and on
telephone bills of any amount. (Reimbursement for TVA paid on
purchases greater than DH 2,000 must be made in writing.) Fees are
charged for vehicle registration, license plates, drivers’ licenses,
etc. A hunting permit will cost approximately $100 a year. All
instructions, procedures, and prohibitions are applicable to U.S.
Government employees of any agency. This includes personnel and
organizations attached to, or under the jurisdiction of, these
agencies. Property purchased in Morocco for which Moroccan customs
duty and taxes have been paid are exempt. Fees are charged for
vehicle registration, license plates, drivers’ licenses, etc. A
hunting permit will cost approximately $100 a year.
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:38 AM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse
American University: Area Handbook for Morocco. Washington, D.C.,
Barbour, Nevill. Morocco. Walkers and Co.: New York, 1965; Thames
and Hudson: London, 1965.
Bovill E. W. The Golden Trade of the Moors. Oxford University
Press: London, 1968.
Bowles, Paul. Their Heads are Blue and Their Hands are Green.
Ecco Press, 1994.
Bowles, Paul. The Spider’s House. Black Sparrow Press, 1982.
Coon, Carleton S. Caravan. Revised edition, Henry Holt & Co.: New
Combs-Schilling, M.E. Scared Performances. Columbia University
Press: New York, 1989.
Davis, Susan. Patience and Power: Women’s Lives in a Moroccan
Village. Schenkman Books:,1982.
Entelis, John P. Culture and Counterculture in Moroccan Politics.
University Press of America, 1996.
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock. In Search of Islamic Feminism: One
Woman’s Global Journey. Doubleday, 1997.
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock. Street in Marrakech. Waveland Press,
Findlayson, Ian. Tangier: City of the Dream. Harpers Collins
Gellner, Ernest and Charles Micaud (eds). Arabs and Berbers—From
Tribe to Nation in North Africa. Duckworth: London, 1973.
Gibb, H. A. R. Mohammedanism, An Historical Survey. Oxford
University Press, 1953.
Geertz, Clifford. Islam Observes. University of Chicago: London,
Hall, Luella J. The United States and Morocco, 1776–1956.
Scarecrow Press: Metuchen, 1971.
Halstead, John P. Rebirth of a Nation: The Origins and Rise of
Moroccan Nationalism, 1912–1944. Harvard University Press:
Hargraves, Orin. Culture Shock! Morocco. Graphic Arts Center Pub.
Hart, David Montgomery. The Aith Waryaghar of the Moroccan Rif.
University of Arizona, 1976.
Mernissi, Fatima. Women & Islam: A Historical and Theological
Enquiry. South Asia Books, 1993.
Montagne, Robert. (Tr. by David Seddon).The Berbers: Their Social
and Political Organization. Frank Cass and Cie: London, 1973.
Munson, Henry. Religion and Power in Morocco. Yale University,
Parker, Richard B. North Africa: Regional Tensions and Strategic
Concerns.Praeger: New York, Connecticut, London, 1984.
Pedron, Francois. L’Echec au Roi. La Table Ronde: Paris, 1972.
Waterbury, John. Commander of the Faithful. Columbia University
Press: New York,1970.
Waterbury, John. North for the Trade.University of California
Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1972.
Westermarck, Edward. Marriage Ceremonies in Morocco. Rowman,
Woolman, David S. Rebels in the Rif—Abd El Krim and the Rif
Rebellion.Stanford University Press: Palo Alto, 1968.
Zartman, William. The Political Economy of Morocco. New York:
Local Holidays Last Updated: 9/8/2004 8:39 AM
Local religious holidays follow the lunar calendar. The
month-long religious observance of Ramadan is currently observed
during the months of October -November, but moves forward on the
Gregorian calendar about 1 week each year. During Ramadan, adult
Moslems fast from sunrise to sunset and pray, meditate, and abstain
from physical pleasures. Restaurants may close for the entire month.
Other establishments gear their hours of service to the public to
coincide with their periods of fasting. The holiday schedule for
2004 is as follows:
New Year’s Day Jan. 1
Martin Luther King's Birthday Jan. 19
Aid Al Adha (Feast of Pilgrimage Feb. 1, 2
President's Day Feb. 16
First Moharram (Moslem New Year) February 22
Aid Mawlid An Nabbaoui May 2, 3
Memorial Day May 26
American Independence Day July 5
Feast of the Throne July 30
Revolution of the King & the People August 20
Labor Day Sept. 6
Columbus Day October 11
Veteran's Day Nov. 11
Aid Al Fitr Nov. 14, 15
Feast of Independence Nov. 18
Thanksgiving Day Nov. 25
Christmas Day Dec. 25
New Year's Day (2005) Dec. 31