Climate of Morocco
Where is the country of Morocco located? Morocco is a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Many people think of Morocco as heat, drought and Sahara sand. Yet the climate of Morocco is not so one-sided and easy to describe. The south and southeast of the country fit this picture, as do the low-lying parts of central Morocco and the lower half of the coast. Mild winters and hot summers with very little precipitation is the picture you see there. Especially the part that belongs to the Sahara is extremely dry. The amount of precipitation there is limited to a few millimeters to a few tens of millimeters per year. Within the well-known Köppen climate system, Morocco has a mix of different B, C and D climates. The Atlas Mountains provide the main divisions in the different climate types that occur in Morocco. Northwest of the Atlas Mountains, the warm Mediterranean climate (Csa climate) predominates. Immediately northwest of the High Atlas, the semi-arid steppe climates dominate. The warm steppe climate (BSh climate) is most common here. In the mountain areas of the High Atlas you mainly see the moderate Mediterranean climate (Csb climate) and the warm continental Mediterranean climate (Dsb climate). In the southern regions of Morocco, there is mainly a dry desert climate.
As far as the temperatures are concerned, for Morocco it makes a lot of difference where you are in the country. The further south, the warmer. Closer to the sea you will notice a tempering in both the heat in summer and the cold in winter. In addition, the Atlas Mountains influence the measured temperatures. The mountains influence weather flows and at different altitudes you notice that the altitude causes lower temperatures. Throughout Morocco, the summers are considerably warmer than the winters. In January the maximum temperatures on the north coast are around 15 to 18 degrees, on the west coast around 18 to 22 degrees and inland usually between 14 and 22 degrees.
In the summer it is warm to very hot in Morocco. If you take the month of July as an example, you will see average maximums of about 36 degrees for Marrakech, in the coastal areas 26 to 30 degrees and in the Sahara afternoon temperatures of around 40 degrees are normal.
Although large parts of Morocco are dry to moderately dry, the northern part of the country is quite wet. In the Rif Mountains and the Middle Atlas Mountains in particular, amounts of precipitation fall that in some places are much higher than what we are used to in the Netherlands. The largest part of that precipitation falls in the period from November to April, the summer months are also quite dry in this part of Morocco.
Hurricanes do not occur in Morocco due to the country’s location, but strong sandstorms can occur in the desert areas. This wind is called a sirocco in Morocco. The storm rises like a wall of dust and sand and is preceded by a frightening period of calm, the calm before the storm. It becomes particularly hot and dry: the temperature rises to 30 to 40 degrees and the humidity drops to just a few percent. Such sandstorms are often very visible on satellite photos as they reach the sea. Several times a year the storms carry Sahara sand and heat to the Canary Islands to the west of Morocco.
Snow falls in the mountain areas of Morocco. The highest mountains of the High Atlas Mountains even have snow security until June. If you want to put on your skis, you can simply go to Morocco. There are a few areas that are set up as winter sports areas, complete with lifts and slopes: Oukaimeden (2 lifts) and Ifrane (2 lifts).
The sun burns brightly and for a long time in Morocco. Especially in summer, the sun can be present almost continuously during the day in many places and the chance of burning the skin is high because of the large amount of UV radiation. The number of hours of sunshine per day varies per location and per location. In the summer, the sun shines almost constantly in the desert during the day. On the coast there can sometimes be a cloud during the summer months. The winters are generally less sunny in Morocco. Especially on the Mediterranean coast you regularly see clouds.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. This information is for Marrakech and cannot be considered an average for Morocco. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month|
Best time to visit Morocco
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Morocco? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. The Kingdom of Morocco is the most northwestern country in Africa. It lies partly on the Atlantic Ocean and partly on the Mediterranean Sea. The influence of these two large bodies of water, the location near the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains ensure that Morocco has a fairly diverse climate. You cannot simply say that Morocco is dry or warm. This applies to a fairly large part of the country, but there are also places in Morocco that are wetter than the Netherlands. In the higher regions of the Atlas, temperatures can dip below freezing in winter, while in the interior of Morocco, maximum temperatures can shoot towards forty degrees.
Best months for Morocco
Those who want to travel to Morocco will in many cases want to avoid the worst heat. With that in mind, spring and fall are the best travel times for much of the country. If you want to go to the coast, it is better to opt for the summer period. Summer is actually too hot for many types of travel, with the exception of a beach holiday along the Moroccan coast. Especially the months of July and August can be blistering hot in Morocco.
Morocco sun holiday
The period from June to September is the best time to travel to Morocco for a sun holiday. This applies to those who travel to the coast or at least do not go too far inland. The beaches of Agadir are dry, pleasantly warm and very sunny in summer. If you look further north, for example near Tangier, there is a slightly higher chance of a single shower. The Mediterranean coast is quite dry in summer and pleasantly warm with afternoon temperatures of about 25 to 30 degrees. Sometimes it can get hotter when hot air is blown north from the Sahara. This can also happen on the west coast when the desert air is blown in a westerly direction.
City trip Morocco
The Moroccan cities are very popular as city trip destinations. Especially Marakech is very popular for a trip of a few days. From the Netherlands you can fly to this fascinating city in a few hours. Other cities, especially royal cities such as Fez and Meknès, are also becoming increasingly popular among European tourists. Due to the summer heat, the best travel times for most cities in Morocco are from March to May and mid-September to mid-November. There is a chance of a shower, but the weather will be mostly friendly and sunny.
Tour through Morocco
The best travel time for a tour of Morocco is almost the same as the best travel time for a city trip: March to May and mid-September to the end of November. Yes, there is a chance of a shower or even a rainy day. But that does not outweigh the heat that you have to deal with in the middle of summer. The best travel months are May and October. On average, these are the months that provide the best travel weather.
Morocco during the school holidays
If you are stuck with the school holidays, the summer holidays are the best travel time for a beach holiday. The May and autumn holidays are ideal for a round trip or a city trip. Spring break (also called carnival break) can be suitable for a city trip to a city that still has a reasonable chance of nice weather during this period (February / March), such as Marrakech.
Islamic holidays and traditions
Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country. That means different holidays and other important periods. As a tourist, there are two things to keep in mind. The festival of sacrifice has an influence on daily life, just like Ramadan. During this fasting period, it can be difficult to eat or drink in public during daylight hours. It depends on how touristy a destination is. Ramadan (and also the festival of sacrifice) changes every year, because this period is determined on the basis of the Islamic calendar.