Marrakech is very hot in summer with 37-degree (Celsius) days in July made even hotter by the chergui, a desert wind. Ocean winds often keep the temperature in the high 20s in August. The heat is so intense that it is best to plan your excursions for early morning and return to your hotel by midday, then head out again in early evening.Winter is from November to March and the average daytime temperature is 21 degrees. Even though the rainy season, the annual rainfall is about 23cm (9 inches), and there are usually only six or eight rainy days a month.
When to fly to Marrakech
Despite the heat, July and August are the busiest times to visit Marrakech. In spring the Christian Holy Week (Easter) brings huge crowds of holidaymakers, especially from France.
September to December are pleasant with cool evenings. January through February the weather is unpredictable and sometimes chilly.
The Muslim Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (July in 2012) and nearly all restaurants and cafes are closed during the day.
Getting around Marrakech
After your Marrakech flight arrives, you’ll want to take a cab into the city’s centre. There are two kinds of taxis in Marrakech: Grands and Petits. Grands taxis use set fares based on the route and can be found waiting outside the airport terminals. Petit taxis have metered rates and are all beige-coloured. They can accommodate up to three people, plus luggage. At night, make sure you negotiate your fare before departing, as rates tend to shoot up.
If you’re walking through the city, an easy way to keep your bearings is by noting the names and sizes of the streets. Streets in the Medina are narrow and Arabic-named, while Gueliz streets are French and wide enough for two cars. The nearby parks are easily navigated with available maps, though you can hire an available guide if you’d prefer.
For longer travels, the public bus system is a great way to get around. It’s safe, inexpensive and runs on a regular schedule from dawn to dusk. Night buses continue to run after dark on the most popular routes. Buses will be very crowded during rush hour, so keep calm and go with the flow. The City Sightseeing Bus also offers multilingual tours in English, French, Italian and Japanese on red, double-decker buses. Embrace the tourist in you and hop on or off at the designated spots to explore many of the city’s sites. If you prefer to be your own tour guide, you can rent a bike to enjoy the Marrakech scenery.
Avoid renting a car though, as many of the streets are unmarked, one-way and difficult to get around.