trekking anti-atlas mountainsPeople travel from around the world to trek Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. The most southern of the country’s ranges is known as the Anti-Atlas, which spans from the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest to Ouarzazate in the north. The Sahara Desert borders the range to the south … a drastic contrast from the towering mountains!

Though the Atlas Mountains is often the most popular trekking destination in Morocco, the Anti-Atlas rivals the northern peaks with views of the Sahara Desert and fewer people on the trails.

Many treks in the area leave from Tafraoute. Jebel Siroua, an ancient volcano, is a popular hike for trekkers. Jebel Lekst, a purple-colored mountain, is arguably the most popular—and one of the most difficult—treks in this mountain range, though there are other mountains northeast of Tafraoute that are equally challenging. Jebel Aklim is remote and relatively under visited, though it is becoming increasingly popular with trekkers. After the strenuous climb, expect to be rewarded with spectacular views of the High Atlas and Jebel Siroua.

Southeast of Tafraoute is Adrar Mqorn, another difficult but rewarding trek. The peaks are jagged but the land below is thick with oases and irrigated valleys. If you’re seeking something less strenuous, consider trekking the twin peaks of Ait Mansour and Timguilcht.

The trek from Taliouine toward the Zagmouzine Valley to Tagmout is also a popular route. The walk is fairly gentle compared to some of the more strenuous hikes in the Anti-Atlas. One of the highlights of this trek is passing through Tisgui, a cliff village where basic supplies can be replenished. The trek ends in Ihoukarn, where you will be able to find transportation to leave the region.

The facilities in the Anti-Atlas Mountains are not as developed as those in other areas visited by trekkers, and the climate is particularly harsh compared to other parts of Morocco. Due to the close proximity to the desert regions, one would choose to travel in the region outside of the summer months, much like a tour of the Sahara Desert in Morocco due to the extreme heat. It occasionally snows in the winter on the higher peaks so choosing the right time to trek is imperative.

There are only a few stores for supplies in this area and trekkers are advised to stock up on food and water before leaving for their hike. Though there are village homes that you might be able to stay in along the way, do not count on this amenity when preparing your supplies.

If you have any hesitations about trekking the Anti-Atlas, consider hiring a guide who is knowledgeable about the area. There are many guides in the 26 local villages; registered guides will carry identification cards with them.

Posted by JoAnna Haugen, managing editor at Journey Beyond Travel and author of Kaleidoscopic Wandering.

Photo by Ze Eduardo…