While winter in much of the northern hemisphere is characterised by cold, wet and often snowy conditions the climate of southern Morocco is comparatively mild, indeed pleasantly warm during a large part of each day. Average maximum daily temperatures hover around 18° (warm enough to enjoy relaxing by the pool) while night time lows are seldom below 5°. Taken together with some 7 hours of sunshine per day and pretty modest rainfall (25 mm), January can be a great month to visit Marrakech if you fancy avoiding the crowds while profiting from low season prices.
Proclamation of Independence – January 11th is Morocco’s Independence Day when the nation marks the formal separation from colonial France in 1956. Some businesses will be closed on this day in observation of this national holiday
Aid al-Mawlid – 24th January is the birthday of the prophet Mohammad. Mosques are busy, of course but, again, many businesses will be closed.
Marrakech Marathon – a colourful spectacle for spectators alike and a chance to see some of the world’s top long distance runners, the 26th edition of the Marrakech Marathon takes place on 31st of January (there is a ‘race welcome’ and ‘kids race’ on the 30th). Considered to be one the most attractive, and fastest, international marathon circuits, the route takes participants around the city ramparts and through smart residential areas such as the Hivernage district via large expanses of olive, palm and orange groves. With an expected entry of some 7000 participants, the Marrakech International Marathon is a must-see event this month.
Tip of the Month
Ait Benhaddou, the ancient, fortified hill village situated, south of the Atlas, on the one-time caravan route between Marrakech and the Sahara, is a major tourist attraction and popular location for film makers. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this impressive historic monument, naturally fortified by its setting on a steep hillside, is a fascinating example of ancient earthen architecture, its buildings seeming to merge with their ochre-coloured surroundings. Climb to the castle remains at the top of the hill and you will be rewarded by some stunning views of the surrounding mountains and desert hill country.