What You Need To Know
Casablanca is the largest city of Morocco, located in the central-western part of the country on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the largest city in the Maghreb, as well as one of the largest and most important cities in Africa, both economically and demographically. Casablanca is Morocco’s chief port and one of the largest financial centers on the African continent. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, while the national political capital is Rabat.
The city’s French colonial legacy is seen in its downtown Mauresque architecture, a blend of Moorish style and European art deco. Standing partly over the water, the enormous Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, has a 210m minaret topped with lasers directed toward Mecca.
Population: 3.36 million (2014)
Area: 149 mi²
The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham, denoted as MAD or Dhs. The Moroccan Dirham is composed of 100 centimes; notes are available in denominations of (Dhs) 200, 100, 50, 25, and 20, all in new and old varieties and coins are available in denominations of (Dhs) 10, 5, 2 and 1, or 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes.
Casablanca’s climate is classified as warm and temperate. The rain in Casablanca falls mostly in the winter, with relatively little rain in the summer. This climate is considered to be Csa according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The temperature here averages 17.7 °C. Precipitation here averages 412 mm. The least amount of rainfall occurs in July. The average in this month is 1 mm. In December, the precipitation reaches its peak, with an average of 80 mm. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 23.3 °C. At 12.4 °C on average, January is the coldest month of the year. The variation in the precipitation between the driest and wettest months is 79 mm. The variation in annual temperature is around 10.9 °C.
The official language of Morocco is Classical Arabic, but many residents of Casablanca speak a regional variation of this so practicing with a phrasebook before you arrive may only go so far to helping you converse with the locals. Additionally, French is commonly spoken while English-speaking remains a skill largely associated with the educated or those working in popular tourist areas.
Almost all of the things to see in Casablanca are in the north of the city; very few maps even show the southern end of this sprawling metropolis. Common sense will alleviate 99 of problems; try to look as little like a tourist as possible, do not flash large quantities of cash, and so on. Faux guides are much less of a problem here than in the rest of Morocco and are limited mainly to the area around the Old Medina. It is inadvisable to walk alone in Casablanca at night. Women, as in all Moroccan cities, should dress modestly to avoid harassment (which almost always consists of lewd comments, but nothing physical).
The tram works from 6 AM to 22:30 PM during the week. End-to-end journey times are put at 60/70 minutes. The 31-kilometre line links some of main neighbourhoods of the city, and includes 48 stop stations.
Many bus companies run through the city, the bus routes are the same for a given number, although the route remains completely unclear. Going by bus is the cheapest way to get around.
All taxis red in color, drivers know how to get to every single place in every single guide book, even if you tell them just “the restaurant on Blvd. Hassan II.” Don’t be surprised if the taxi stops to pick someone else up. The white taxis act much like buses, squeezing up to 6 passengers inside. If you are waiting for a taxi feel free to pull one over and tell him where you’re going, and he’ll take you if he happens to be heading that way.