Morocco’s Mohammedia offers calm and flowers in Ramadan
Approaching Mohammedia in Morocco from the sea, travellers see its beautiful beaches, full of activity and where residents and visitors spend the cool evenings during Ramadan.
Mohammedia’s beaches are among the most beautiful on Morocco’s Atlantic Ocean coast, attracting beachgoers and holidaymakers in the spring and summer. They are characterised by soft waves.
Hotels, camping grounds and residential complexes line the coast for 20km. From the sea, the city looks like a lush garden guarded by tall palm trees. One can also see new buildings, resorts, houses and furnished apartments for rent. Panning further, the port facilities and the huge oil storage tanks of SAMIR oil company are visible.
Ibrahim al-Zakari, 45, a tour guide in Mohammedia, said: “there are more than 100 hotels in Mohammedia, including 34 family hotels, 47 hotels with swimming pools, 30 coastal hotels, 20 economy hotels and 12 hotels dedicated to people with disabilities and special needs.
“Every day, more than 5,000 visitors come to the city, with double that number in summer.”
In the late afternoon during Ramadan, the coastline at Mohammedia is overrun with amateur fishermen and their equipment. Moroccans like to fish to pass the difficult hours of fasting near the end of daylight. Many families in Mohammedia break their fast by eating at one of the dozens of seafood restaurants that dot the city’s corniche. After dinner, seaside cafes open for the night, enticing customers seeking a leisurely calm evening.
Visitors arriving at Mohammedia by train find themselves in a beautifully landscaped park with hundreds of flowers as soon as they step out of the train station. Mohammedia is 67km away by train from Rabat and 20km from Casablanca.
Next to the park is the old town of Mohammedia with its casbah and 200-year-old White Mosque. The mosque is popular with women afflicted with infertility who travel from all over Morocco to pray there for a child.
The clay ramparts of the Mohammedia casbah date to the eighth century. The great wall has four gates. The city’s two main parks — al-Misbahiyat Park and the Sister Cities Park — amaze visitors with landscapes and the variety of flowers and colours, especially in spring, giving off a nice scent that can be detected even before getting there. During Ramadan, the parks are popular with fasters looking for a quiet spot to rest.
Local residents, extremely friendly with foreigners, greet visitors to Mohammedia with a smile and readily offer guidance and assistance. Right before breaking fast, workers at the seafood restaurants lining both sides of the road in the casbah solicit passers-by to have a seat for a delicious seafood meal.
Hassan Amili, a researcher specialising in Mohammedia history, said: “The port of Mohammedia is one of the best three natural marinas in Morocco, with the ports of Mazagan and Makador, on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a preferred area for recreation because of its mild climate in summer and winter with temperatures ranging 10-22 degrees Celsius. It also has natural water springs covering most of the region.”
Because of these springs, the mountainous areas around Mohammedia have become a favourite camping destination. Mohammedia also offers fans of elite sports proper facilities to participate in horseback riding, golf, archery, tennis, paragliding, water skiing and windsurfing all year long.
Ayoub Neji, 27, a visitor from the United Arab Emirates said he was invited to participate in an equestrian race at the Royal Equestrian Club Lalla Soukaina of Mohammedia during his spring vacation. It was his second visit to the city.
“I chose this city on the recommendation of my Moroccan friends living in the UAE,” Neji said. “I have found it to be a truly quiet coastal city and its people are really friendly with foreigners.”