Morocco: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Morocco.

  • Morocco is located in North Africa and it is officially called the Kingdom of Morocco. Morocco’s landscape is mainly made up of rugged mountains and large areas of desert.
  • Morocco has a population of over 33 million and it has an area of 446, 550 square km.

  • The capital of Morocco is Rabat but Casablanca is its largest city. Other key cities include: Tangier, Marrakesh and Fes.
  • Morocco’s population is mostly Arab, Berber, or those with mixed Arab-Berber descent.

Flag of Morocco

  • Morocco has a constitutional monarchy and the Moroccan Prime Minister is the head of the government.
  • Islam is the major religion in Morocco.
  • The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber. French is taught at all schools in Morocco because it is still widely used in the Moroccan media, and by business who deal with other French-speaking countries.
  • Since 1960, the Dirham is the currency of Morocco.
  • Soccer is the most popular sport in Morocco and the national team of Morocco has made it into the World Cup on four different occasions.
  • Couscous, a famous Berber dish of steamed semolina, forms a key part of many Moroccan dishes.
  • The Atlas Mountains are located in the south and centre of Morocco, and the Rif Mountians are located to the north of the country.
  • Morocco has both an Atlantic coastline and a Mediterranean coastline.
  • The south-east of Morocco is part of the Sahara Desert.
  • The Barbary lion, now extinct, is often used as a symbol of Morocco. The last Barbary lion was killed in the Atlas mountains in the 1920s.
  • Tourism is an important part of Morocco’s economy. In 2013, more than 10 million tourists visited the country.
  • Morocco became part of the Roman Empire in the first century BC.

Madagascar: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Madagascar.

  • Madagascar is a large island located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of east Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world and measures about 593,000 square km.
  • Because the island has been isolated from other continents for a long time, it has many unique plants and animals. About 90 percent of its species are found only on Madagascar.

  • It is often called the Red Island, because of the colour of its soil.
  • About half of the island is covered in forest, and the interior is mountainous.
  • Madagascar is the largest producer of vanilla in the world. Sugar cane, bananas and coffee are also produced there, and major industries include glassware, paper production and car assembly.
Flag of Madagascar
The flag of Madagascar
  • Madagascar has three official languages, Malagasy, French and English.
  • The island’s name may have been based on the Somalian city of Mogadishu, which the explorer Marco Polo thought was Madagascar.
  • The island probably broke off from the African continent about 160 million years ago. It is thought to have been one of the last large landmasses on Earth to be inhabited by humans.
  • Although it is close to Africa, there are no lions, tigers or hippos on Madagascar. Small hippos, known as pygmy hippos, lived there about 1,000 years ago before becoming extinct.
  • Over 30 species of chameleon and over 30 different species of lemur live on the island. Lemurs are related to apes and monkeys and can leap distances of up to 8 metres.
  • There are several religions on the island, although over half of the Madagascan people follow animist beliefs. They believe that all animals and plants, and even trees and rocks have a spirit.
  • Many people in Madagascar still use an ancient astrological system devised by the Arabs. It is used to determine the best day for weddings, anniversaries and other special occasions.

The Sahara: Facts About the Largest Hot Desert in the World

Here are some facts about the Sahara Desert:

  • The Sahara Desert, located in the north of Africa, covers an area of about 3,600,000 square miles, making it the third largest desert in the world after the Arctic and Antarctica (and the world’s largest hot desert).

  • Temperatures in the Sahara can often reach 136 F, or about 57 C. The total rainfall is less than three inches per year.
  • Despite being one of the driest and hottest places on earth, the Sahara Desert is home to an estimated 500 species of plants and about 70 species of animals.
  • 40 species of rodent live in the Sahara Desert, including the jerboa, which keeps cool by burrowing deep into the sand.
  • The most famous desert animal is the dromedary camel, which can drink up to 30 gallons of water in several minutes, and uses its heavy eyelashes to protect its eyes from sandstorms.
  • Some of the largest sand dunes in the Sahara actually move several metres every year, as they are constantly blown by the strong winds.
  • Despite its huge size, the population of the Sahara Desert is estimated to be only two million people, including those who are nomadic (move from place to place).
  • People have lived in the Sahara Desert since about 6000 BC.
  • Strong winds can blow fine dust from the surface of the desert, and the dust can be blown hundreds of miles. It is not uncommon for the dust to be seen in the United States.
  • The most widely spoken language in the Sahara is Arabic, which is spoken from the Atlantic to the Red Sea.
  • The Sahara has gone through cycles in the Earth’s history (caused by slight changes in the angle of the tilt of the Earth) and it has alternated between being a dry place and a wet place. It is expected that the desert will be lush and green again in about 15,000 years time.