Casablanca’s vast and at times turmoil history, its exotic and romanticized way of life, its people and its customs are a traveller’s dream and is a sure way of getting ones imagine and wonder into full flow. It is perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, as it is Morocco’s most populace city, which unfortunately means traffic congestion and chaos.
Casablanca Mohammed V Airport, also known as Mohammed V International Airport and to the locals as “Nouasseur” which is the name of suburb where it is located and site of former USAF Air Base. Todays Mohammed V Airport is named after the late Sultan V of Morocco. It is the busiest airport in Morocco and indeed Morocco’s most popular point of entry, with approximately 7 million passengers transiting through each year. The country is well connected to Europe, North America and most of Africa.
What to Do & See
King Hassan 11 Mosque is the largest in Morocco, 3rd largest in the world and is open to non-Muslims. The interior is made up of beautiful water features, a roof that opens to the sky, a huge Hammam in the basement (not in use) and decorated throughout by exquisite tile work. The mosques minaret is the largest on the planet. The old Medina (Traditional Moroccan Walled Town) isn’t quite up to the magnificent of its rivals at Fes or Marrakesh but does have a certain charm about it, and is a great place to get a feel for the city’s history.
The ocean hugging neighbourhood of Corniche was once thriving resorts, filled with hotels, clubs and bars, most of which have seen better days. Although along the boulevard de l'Océan Atlantique newer and fancier hotels are starting to spring up and give the place new life.
A trip to the shrine of Sidi Abderrahman can be pretty fun as it is only accessible while the tide is out. Although the shrine itself is off limits to non-Muslims, visitors are permitted to explore the tiny, Mediterranean-like neighbourhood that has sprung up around it. We would recommend that you get to it by walking along the beach as it provides such fantastic photo taking opportunities.
The airport is located 30 km southeast of Casablanca. There are several options to get to the heart of the city in Casablanca from the airport. The fastest method to get into town would be to take a taxi (located at level 0), but you’ll need to haggle with the driver. Fares should cost around US$20. Trains to the centre can be found on level 1 of arrivals area of terminal are cheaper and takes around 30 minutes. Buses are also available by the CTM bus company but this mode of transport takes 1 hour.
A fairly reliable, convenient and inexpensive tram service was recently opened in 2012, which runs from 6am to 22:30, seven days a week. Most streets are signposted, and you’ll find that locals are tremendously helpful and informative. Although French and Arabic are the main languages, you may be put to find help while speaking Spanish or English. If you choose to flag down a taxi, try to avoid using the white Mercedes grand taxis as they are much more expensive and less safe than the typical red taxis whose drivers have a remarkable good knowledge of the sites sights. Do be sure that the meter is running to avoid being overcharged, and it is a common occurrence when taxis then start to pick other passengers up after you’ve gotten in.