Reasons to Visit
The Berbers are the indigenous people of Morocco. During the Arab conquest they retreated into their mountain strongholds and took refuge in the inhospitable deserts of the south. This is where their culture persists, based around fortified dwellings; a strong sense of community and an ability to cope with almost any hardship.
The Sahara washes into Morocco at its western extremities, and the Erg Chebbi sand sea is the best place to see this. Passing first through dramatic ridges of blackened rock, the going becomes sandier and sandier, until you're eventually confronted with towering dunes and the best sunsets in Morocco.
A kasbah is a fortified village, made from traditional pisé, or mud brick. Their distinctive towers, with ornate windows, are a dominant feature of the Moroccan landscape, none more so than along the Dades and Draa Valleys in the south: some have been converted into hotels, so you can even spend the night in your very own kasbah.
At the heart of any old Moroccan city will be the medina, the vital core encircled by walls punctuated by ornamental gates. It's in the medina that you'll nearly always find the souqs, and there will probably be a number of old palaces too: some of these are now hotels, some are museums, while others are abandoned and decaying gracefully.
The High Atlas are home to Jebel Toubkal, at over 4,100m the highest mountain in north Africa and a challenging climb. But the Atlas mountains also offer gentler hikes, perfect just to appreciate the scenery, the cool, clean air, and to enjoy Berber hospitality in remote villages.
The souqs of Marrakesh are the most famous in the country, but almost every town has its souq. Those of Fez seem endless and labyrinthine, whilst those in Taroudant are much more compact and sell the simple goods that the local, rural population need. It's unlikely you'll escape from Morocco without doing a bit of shopping at some point!
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North Africa & the Middle East
The Atlas Mountains are in fact three distinct ranges that divide the interior of the country into strips of lower lying land: the Middle Atlas, Anti-Atlas and High Atlas.
The Atlas Mountains are in fact three distinct ranges that divide the interior of the country into strips of lower lying land.
The Middle Atlas are the furthest north, whilst furthest south are the Anti-Atlas that almost cut the desolate Western Sahara off from the rest of the country.
It is the High Atlas that are the most dramatic, containing North Africa’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal (4,167 metres), as well as countless Berber villages, terraced on to inaccessible ledges and perfectly preserving a tenacious culture.
Trekking is easily arranged, and can be anything from a day’s walk into the foothills to a trek lasting several days. The ascent of Toubkal is a favourite, requiring no technical expertise but a good level of fitness.
The High Atlas are easily accessed from Marrakesh, about 40 minutes away, and also offer wonderful mountain retreats, rustic but full of local character and set amidst stunning scenery.
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Include a visit to the Atlas Mountains on your tailor-made trip around Morocco by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in MoroccoWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout MoroccoCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:EgyptIranJordanLebanonLibyaOmanSyriaTunisia
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