Trekking Atlas Mountains

What is special about the Atlas Mountains?

Trekking Atlas Mountains

 The moods and scenery of the Atlas change With the season: in the spring , the valleys are full of apple, pear, almond and peach blossom; in the summer,  the summits are veiled in mist; in the autumn, brightly attired Berber women can be seen staggering home with bundles of brushwood; and in winter,  ice crystals glitter on the branches and smoke rises above the villages.

Kingdom of Morocco

The history of a United Morocco begins in the 8th century with the establishment of the Idrissid state by Moulay Idriss l, a fugitive from the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad. After he was assassinated by the Abbassid in 791, his son Moulay Idriss ll moved to Fes, then a rural encampment , and established the city, aided by immigrants from Spain and Tunisia.  In the 12th century, the Berber Almoravide and Almohade dynasties extended the kingdom to include most of the rest of northwest Africa and Spain.

Flavours of the Orient

Wherever you go in Morocco, you will be assailed by a range and intensity of impressions that few countries so close to Europe can match. From the long Atlantic beaches and the rocky coves of the Mediterranean to the rugged mountains of the Rif, from the remoter peaks of the High and the Middle Atlas to the desert sands and plains of the South, this is a dramatically beautiful country that constantly stimulates the senses.
 In the ancient medinas of the imperial cities of Meknes,  Fes and Marrakech the aroma of spices, fresh mint, newly baked bread and wood-shavings hangs in the air; strong colours dazzle the eyes,  and the sound of the smithies ‘ hammers resounds through the alleyways.  South of the Atlas,  bordering the Sahara, ancient battlemented kasbahs Crown date palm oases, evidence of the wealth once derived from the trans-Sahara caravan trade. Thriving modern cities Such as Rabat, the swat of gouvernement, and the economic centre of Casablanca complete the picture.

East Meets West

For Europeans, Morocco is the gateway to the Orient. But Maghreb, the name given to this part of North Africa, actually means the West, or literally ‘the place where the sun sets ‘, as indeed it is for the people of Arabia and the Middle East.  For the inhabitants of the rest of the Maghreb, the Libyans, Tunisians and Algerians, Morocco is Maghreb El Aksa, the far west, the western outpost of the Islamic sphere.
   In Morocco, Islamic civilisation merged with ancient Berber traditions, and the magnificent buildings of the sultan were not purely Oriental but constructed in the Hispano – Moorish style.  Morocco ‘s unique cultural legacy is the result of numerous influences.
  Compared with many other African States, Morocco is not a poor country.  Its economy is developing at an outstanding rate, leading to the development of a Middle class with a disposable income.  Here, the traditional and the modern have always complemented one another. Moroccans are proud of the so-called ‘golden mean’ that governs their approach to life.

Position and Landscape

Morocco is a large country covering some 710850 Sq
km including the Moroccan Sahara. Bordering both the Mediterranean and Atlantic,  it has an extensive coastline, a rich coastal plain in the North, forested mountains in the Rif and Middle Atlas, a huge alpine range in the Atlas,  with more peaks over 3,000m .

Population of Morocco

Morocco stands out as a country where a wide variety of ethnic groups and tribes coexist without conflict. The population is around 34 million including some 60,000 foreigners, mainly French and Spanish.
  Broadly, Moroccans may be divided into urban ans rural populations, with many Moroccans people mixed Berber and Arab ancestry . The Berbers are the indigenous Moroccans.
   Around 40 percent of Moroccans still speak one of the three Berber dialects- Tamazight, Tachelhite , and Tarifit – as their mother tongue. In areas that are predominantly Berber, it is often only the men who are able to communicate in Arabic. Berber remains incomprehensible to most Arabs.

Things to do in Morocco

 Trekking  Atlas Mountains
  Trekking in the mountains of Morocco is an idea way of experiencing the stunning landscape of the Atlas and having some first-hand contact with the Berber people. Famous Trekking regions are Imlil (Toubkal massif), Tabant in the Ait Bouguemez (MGoun massif), (Siroua and Saghro Massifs) in Anti-Atlas and Rose valley in Boumalen Dades, where we provide guides, mules, food and village and mountain accommodation.

Into the High Atlas

  Leaving Marrakech for Ouarzazate via the Tizi N’Tichka pass, the road crosses the fertile plain south of the city. Lined with Eucalyptus and tamarisk and passing olive groves on either side, it is pleasant enough, crossing small tributaries of the Oued Tensift such as the oued R’Mat and Oued Zate as it climbs to the first pass in the High Atlas.

Descent to the South and Gateway to the Draa valley

 Leaving Ouarzazate against the magnificent backdrop of the High Atlas, the road climbs through the stony deserts of the Jbel Tifernine to the pass of tizi N’Tnifift 1660m. To the East, the 2500m pinnacles of the Jbel Saghro rise above the haze; to the south the road spirals down to the oasis of Agdz, known for its carpets, and the first date palm of the Draa valley come into view.
  Lush date palm oases, interspersed with the towers if multiple Ksours and Kasbahs,  flourish all along the winding course of the Draa. Five kilometres southeast of Agdz, beyond the left bank of the river, is the Old Ksar of Tamnouglat with its amazing defensive architecture. Further south, the village of Tinezouline is the scene of a colourful market held on Mondays and Thursdays. In this region you are likely to see large numbers of dark-skinned people, whose ancestors were brought to this part of southern Morocco as slaves from the Sudan.

What is the best excursion to the Atlas from Marrakech ?

Ourika – Oukaimeden
 When seen on a clear winter’s day from the ramparts of Marrakech, the snow-capped Atlas Mountains seem almost close enough to reach out and touch. In reality, their northern flanks are about an hour’s drive away by car and a little longer by bus ..
The most popular short excursion is to the Ourika valley,  beyond the village of Aghbalou 1025m, in the same valley of Setti – Fatima. As the starting point of trekking tours, the village has a number of inns and restaurants. In summer Marrakechis and young tourists come to swim in a series of seven waterfalls on the far side of the river.
All excursions to the Atlas and Trekking Atlas mountains will depart from the red city of Marrakech where our charming accommodation Riad Karim is located.