When they first think about Morocco travel with an agency, many travelers stick to the imperial cities of Fez, Meknes, Marrakesh and Rabat, spend a few days on a desert trek in the Merzouga dunes and may check out the beaches and nightlife in Casablanca. If you’ve seen the main tourist sights and are ready to do something different on your next trip, consider the following activities.
Hike to the Summit of Jbel Toubkal (4,167m/13,671 feet)
Set in the Atlas mountains, North Africa’s highest peak is a simple and highly scenic two or three-day trek during the summer months. Travel south from Marrakesh via grand taxi to the mountain village of Imlil. At Imlil you can arrange a guide or donkey transport if desired and stay overnight in an auberge or hotel; an alternative option is to stay in the smaller, more picturesque village of Mezzik along the route to Toubkal.
Go Spelunking at the Taza Caves
Taza, a city located in the Middle Atlas Mountains, is home to an extensive network of underground caverns. Guided cavern tours are available during daylight hours; expect to be crawling on your hands and knees through small tunnels, walking over underground lakes and streams on wobbly wooden beams, dodging bat droppings and getting covered in mud from head to toe. Bring a headlamp or flashlight if you have your own and a change of clothes for when you emerge from the caverns … otherwise finding a taxi to take you back to your hotel may prove difficult!
Take an Epic Bus Trip to Western Sahara
The road from Tiznit to Laayoune is flat, rocky desert, although there are a few rare scenic spots with oceanside cliffs and rolling dunes; it’s surviving the tedium of the journey that really makes this an epic trip. Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara, is a quirky desert outpost filled with the colorful textiles worn by Sahrawi women, UN peacekeepers, an eclectic mix of restaurants and cafes, and old Spanish churches. Further south in the Sahara is one of the best spots in the world to learn kitesurfing: Dakhla Lagoon.
Attend a Music Festival
If you’re planning to visit Morocco in June, time your trip to attend one or both of the country’s major annual music festivals: The Festival of World Sacred Music in Fez and the Gnaoua Festival in Essaouira. The World Sacred Music festival hosts local and international artists (you can read more on our insightful Morocco blog) of different traditions and backgrounds while the Gnaoua Festival celebrates the distinct North African musical tradition of gnaoua. Both festivals are popular with locals and tourists so be sure to book your accommodation well ahead of time.
Written by Heather Carreiro.
Photo by Tomasz Tom Kulbowski.