Travel Tips for the Anti-Atlas Mountains

anti atlas mountains moroccoLocated in southwest Morocco, the Anti-Atlas Mountains are far off the beaten path and can deliver an unspoiled experience for travelers willing to make the journey. This range derives its name from its big, better-known northern neighbors, the High Atlas Mountains, where walking and trekking in Morocco was made popular; “Anti-Atlas” means “Lesser Atlas.”

This range is hardly lesser, however, except when it comes to a tourist population. Within the mountains, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the landscape and glimpses of Berber village life without a crush of other visitors. The Anti-Atlas range extends all the way to Ouarzazate, where many choose to begin tours of the Sahara Desert, so many itineraries combine mountain and desert. (more…)

The Fint Oasis, Morocco

morocco donkeyIf the Moroccan town of Ouarzazate is the “Door of the Desert,” then the Fint Oasis, located 10 kilometers south, might well be the desert’s garden.

It is nearly impossible to imagine, departing from Ouarzazate and traversing the dry, desolate terrain of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, that any place so green, lush and full of life can be on the horizon. But suddenly you spot it: a massive, verdant palm grove, teeming with plant, animal and village life.

Composed of four traditional villages which blend Sub-Saharan, Moroccan and Berber culture, the Fint Oasis is a laid-back place where donkeys and other beasts of burden still roam the streets and women still wash clothes in the river. Though largely unknown outside of Morocco, the Fint Oasis has served as the setting for a number of Hollywood films, including Babel, Prince of Persia and Kingdom of Heaven. (more…)

Health and Safety Tips for Hiking and Trekking in Morocco

Donkey in mountains MoroccoWith five distinct mountain ranges, trekking in Morocco is a year-round activity. From the rugged Rif mountains in the north to the dramatic Anti Atlas that spill out to the southern Souss plains, dozens of routes for hiking and trekking are accessible during whatever season you plan to visit Morocco. Being prepared and planning ahead will help keep you healthy and safe during outdoor pursuits.

Consider the Weather

The Atlas Mountains are best accessed from late spring to early fall, although the higher peaks remain above the snow line until mid to late June. If you want to summit Jebel Toubkal or hike at higher elevations before the snow melts, you’ll need proper equipment for winter trekking. Jebel Sarhro, a volcanic range in Morocco’s southeast is best accessed from December to mid April before water sources disappear and the mercury starts to rise. The Anti Atlas, Rif and Middle Atlas can be hiked during all four seasons, although conditions in the Middle Atlas vary widely during the winter months; you could experience days warm enough to wear t-shirts in December or need to bundle up for a blizzard in March. (more…)

10 Reasons to Vacation in Morocco

morocco things to doWhen you travel, do you like to poke around palaces, indulge yourself in history at a museum or sip coffee at a local café? Do you prefer to take part in extreme sports or wander through the wilderness?

The beauty of Morocco as a vacation destination is that it’s a country diverse in adventure, culture and heritage, and regardless of your travel style, you’ll find something here that suits you. Whatever your preferences when it comes to travel, here are ten good reasons you’ll want to make Morocco your next holiday destination:

1. Trekking experiences are plentiful. The main mountain ranges in Morocco are the Rif Mountains, Atlas Mountains, Middle Atlas Mountains and Anti Atlas Mountains. The Rif Mountains, located in the northern section of the country, are covered with cascades, forested land and caves. Expert trekkers will find more challenging terrain in the High Atlas Mountains. (more…)

Exploring Laayoune, Morocco

laayoune moroccoLaayoune is the largest town in Western Sahara, the desert region south of Morocco’s Anti Atlas Mountains. Occupied by Spain until 1974, Western Sahara remains in legal limbo as a disputed territory. After the “Green March” of November 1975—when 350,000 Moroccans marched across the border into the Sahara—a conflict broke out between the Moroccans and the Polisario Front, a group that demanded independence for its native Sahrawi people. Talks have been underway between Morocco and Polisario since a UN-sponsored cease fire in 1991.

The town tends to serve as a stopover point for travelers going between Mauritania and southern Morocco or for those on the way to try kite surfing at Dakhla’s desert lagoon.  From Marrakech, it’s a 16-hour plus bus ride to Laayoune. Although you’ll be driving through desert, don’t expect spectacular scenery like you’ll find at Erg Chebbi; this part of the Sahara is all hamada—flat, rocky desert. (more…)

Introduction to Taliouine, Morocco

taliouine moroccoTaliouine is a small village located near the city of Taroudant, in the southern Souss region of Morocco. The village is situated in the Anti Atlas Mountains, which tend to be less hospitable due to hotter temperatures, rockier terrain and the harsh desert, which lies at its base.

Despite the difficult living conditions, Morocco’s history here was written by Glaoui (or El Haj T’hami el Mezouari el Glaoui), who moved into the area and decided to become “Lord of the Atlas.” Glaoui and his brother ran the Aglawou tribe of southern Morocco. In the 1800s, they created a Kasbah in Taliouine and Telouet. Today, though the Atlas Mountains are primarily populated by the Berbers, in Taliouine, you will meet descendants of Glaoui’s servants. (more…)