The city of Marrakech is located north of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the northwest African nation of Morocco. It’s 327 km southwest of the capital, Rabat, and was built by the former Moroccan Berber Empire. Founded in 1062 AD, Marrakech has the nickname the Red City due to the red sandstone used to build ancient walls around the Medina.
The education system in Morocco is compulsory and free from the ages of seven to 13 years old and available to children from the age of four. It is based on the French system as students must pass Certificate d’études primaires for admission into lower secondary schools. Only around 50% of Moroccans are literate with a higher percentage being male than female.
For expats, International Schools offer a continuation of the education system your child may already be familiar with. There is the American School of Marrakesh (ASM); this is a non-profit, independent, International School that offers classes from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Students in grades K-12 receive instruction in English, arts, mathematics, social studies and science, from Grade 1, all students study Classical Arabic for one period each day. From Grade 5, students have French classes for one period each day. There is also the Lycee Victor Hugo de Marrakech, a private school with French instruction.
A new train station was built in Marrakech in 2008. Here you can get trains to Casablanca, Fes, Rabat and connecting trains to Tangiers. Buses to most destinations depart from the terminal at Bab Doukkala. Grand taxis are good value for money and relatively safe. Marrakech’s airport is 4 km out of town and has flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Lyons, Geneva and Madrid as well as internal flights to Casablanca and Agadir.
If you were to buy a car, driving conditions are reasonable, however there can be hazardous routes, more down to the behavior of other drivers than due to the quality of the roads. The road signs are helpfully written in several languages or are the same as road signs the world over. Long-term residents will need a Moroccan driving license and must take a test locally. This will be conducted in Arabic and French. You are permitted to have a translator during the test.
Marrakech has a two-tiered medical system, meaning there is public healthcare and private healthcare available. The public healthcare system is very basic and the private system is predominantly a pay as you use service. There are health insurance plans available if you’d prefer the help with costs. Healthcare is relatively affordable.
There are general practice physicians and specialists, some doctors will take ‘walk ins’, whereas others need an appointment. If an x-ray or blood test is needed, you will be sent to a different location provided by the doctor to do this.
Prescriptions are available from pharmacies, easily identified as they are marked with a green crescent or plus signs. Painkillers are not available over the counter, only via the pharmacists, who are also able to give antibiotics without a prescription. Hospitals are called Cliniques and will charge for operations on the point of discharge, often follow up care is included.