Morocco is located in the northwestern corner of Africa. The African continent is separated from Europe by the Strait of Gibraltar. At the narrowest point, a mere 14km divides these two vastly different worlds. On the west coast along the Atlantic Ocean, you find the Meseta, the low-lying fertile coastal plain bordering the Atlantic Ocean, which gets so much rain that it is virtually entirely farmed. It is also home to the main cities: the big port of Casablanca, the capital Rabat, the royal cities of Fès and Meknes and the exotic royal city of the south, Marrakech. In the east, three widely different mountain ranges form a giant barrier against the Sahara Desert. These are, from northeast to southwest, the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas and the Anti Atlas. While the first two mountain ranges and the Rif Mountains came about in the Tertiary, as a consequence of the collision between the European and African continental plains, the Anti Atlas range is much older – one of the oldest in the world actually. Fossils found in the younger mountain ranges prove that the Rif, Middle Atlas and High Atlas were pushed up from the sea bottom. The High Atlas range towers high above the other mountain ranges, with the Jbel Toubkal (4,167m, 13,750ft) as North Africa’s highest peak. To the east and south of these mountains lies the mighty Sahara Desert, interrupted by the occasional green oasis along rivers rising in the High Atlas.