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Tangier, Casablanca, Marrakesh...just the names of these cities stir a hint of spice in the nostrils. Morocco has been thoroughly mythologised, and for good reason. Travellers extol the country's unique living history, its shimmering light and its extraordinary art.

Morocco is the ideal starting point for the traveller to Africa. An easy hop from Europe, it is hectic but also friendly and stimulating. Open-air markets throughout the country are piled high with rugs, woodwork, jewellery and leather - said to be the softest in the world.