Megdaz, Morocco: Hidden in the Mountains

Megdaz, MoroccoMegdaz is a village in the Atlas Mountains known for its high-altitude setting and distinct architecture of Morocco. The High Atlas (as they are also known) are the highest mountain range in North Africa, often called “the roof of Morocco.” They form a natural barrier approximately 750 kilometers (466 miles) long that separates Saharan Morocco from the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions. Located high in the Tessaout Valley, Megdaz lies almost 2000 meters (6500 feet) above sea level. Hiking enthusiasts rave over the lush environment watered by the Tessaout River and fertilized by the river´s mud and silt.

Apart from the scenic natural beauty of the village, visitors might be most interested in the reddish earthen fortified structures built as family homes, barns and defensive forts, referred to as a greniers collectifs in French, or ighrem (ih-RHEM) or agadir (ah-gah-DEER) in Berber. The structures look impossibly tall and strike an impressive silhouette. The architecture features multiple floors and large flat roofs, which are used for drying grain in the fall and for sleeping outdoors during hot summer nights. Thick earthen walls insulate the homes from both the scorching sun in the summer and from the bitter cold in the wintertime, when snow often cuts the village off from the rest of the mountain towns. (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…)

Morocco Trekking: The Azaden Valley

valley-morocco
Lush valleys, spiraling streams, and rushing rivers await your Morocco holiday. For those that may not know, Morocco is situated in the North West corner of Africa. Many of us recognize the country from the well-known city of Casablanca; outdoor addicts may know of Morocco through the Hight Atlas Mountains and Mount Toubkal. Regions within these mountains, such as the Ait Bougmez Valley, are largely unmapped.  Such a country offers a trekking opportunity and experience not soon forgotten in this lifetime. (more…)

Hiking & Trekking: Abound & Abundant Morocco (Part I)

The Rif Mountains (Part I):

Near the once prized Spanish enclave of Chefchaouen lies some of Morocco’s best and most hush-hush hiking and trekking in Morocco. Undulating trails pass through gorges, valleys, cedar and fir forests, over hills, mountains and peaks (reminiscent of a children’s rhyme, don’t you think?). Since this surrounding area receives fewer hikers than Mt. Toubkal in the High Atlas or Ait Bougmez, you’ll want to bring your own sleeping bag, mat and tent. If you plan on hiring a guide, bring as many supplies as you like, as mules (when available) will bear the backbreaking burden. (more…)