We sunbathed in the morning on beautiful, sandy beaches on the western coast. After a quick lunch in a city that was the setting of one of the greatest movies in history, we headed southeast to take a camel ride through the desert.
Where in the world could we be? Do you have any ideas? Do you give up yet? Here's one last hint: we're in Africa. If you guessed Morocco, you're right!
As you travel south and east, the coast gives way to the Atlas Mountains, which separate the coastal areas from the hot, dry Sahara Desert. Morocco shares land boundaries with Algeria and Western Sahara to the east and south.
Today, about 99 percent of the population of Morocco is Muslim. In fact, King Mohammed VI, the ruler since 1999, claims to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. Mosques with tall, decorated towers (called "minarets") are common throughout the country.
About 60 percent of the population lives in large cities along the coastal plain, including Marrakesh, Fez, Tangier, and Casablanca. If Casablanca sounds familiar, it's probably because of the movie of the same name, which is considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time. The city of Rabat serves as the capital of Morocco.
The Moroccan economy is largely based upon agriculture and phosphate rock mining. Recently, the country has suffered from extended drought and high unemployment.
The King of Morocco remains deeply involved in all major decisions, despite the appointment of a Prime Minister. Calls for change have led the king to implement reforms that have moved the country in the direction of democracy. However, Morocco remains a long way away from the type of democracies that exist in Europe and North America.