Casablanca is part of the Casablanca-Settat region, which is divided into eight districts that, in turn, are split into 16 neighbourhoods and a municipality. Anfa is the most exclusive and, when combined with the centre, gives you an idea of the most well-off, residential and finance-orientated side to the city and its upmarket leisure attractions.
Anfa, which is how Casablanca was formerly known, and the Racine and Gauthier neighbourhoods, together form the city’s golden triangle – it’s where the wealthy have their villas with large, lush gardens. If you were to draw a line around this “Beverly Hills of Morocco”, it would run from the beach to a small inland hill. It’s a parallel world that contrasts wildly with what you find in the city’s suburbs. It’s home to Anfa Park, which is perfect for doing sport or visiting with children, and the Hippodrome Casablanca-Anfa, which was built in 1912 and has a dirt track and covered stands. Nearby Royal Golf Anfa is a nine-hole golf course that is just minutes from the city centre and a real treat for golf fans. And, naturally, there is also a shopping centre with all the leading international brands that this residential neighbourhood could need. It’s called Anfaplace Shopping Center and, in addition to shops, it has a series of restaurants with lovely sea views.
There isn’t a ‘Centre District’ with that name as such, but the centre includes the financial heart of Casablanca and is home to the headquarters of the biggest Moroccan and international companies. It has large avenues lined with modern hotels, restaurants and the most exclusive shops. Like all big cities, it suffers from long traffic jams at rush hour so avoid the area if you need to travel quickly from one part of Casablanca to another.
The residential and business zone aside, Anfa District is home to important landmarks such as Hassan II Mosque, El Hank Lighthouse, the cruise ship terminal, United Nations Square, Arab League Park and Mohammed V football stadium, among other places.
When visiting Anfa, doing a tour based around its Art Deco architecture is highly recommended. Villa Ronde is one of the highlights; it’s popularly known as the Villa Camembert because this cylindrical home reminds visitors of the round French cheese.
Today it’s an art gallery and space used for cultural events, so it’s a great idea to include it in your travel itinerary when visiting the city.