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 Anti Atlas is the hub of all commerce in Morocco’s grocery trade: banana and orange groves flourish amongst the extensive vegetable crops. The landscape is dominated by vast granite rock formations, and palm plantations line valley floors.
This is the principal region in which the arganier, pretty much unique to Morocco, flourishes and the foothills of the anti atlas are dotted with the trees.
Similar in appearance to olive trees the argan fruit is harvested during the hot summer months, mainly by women and children from the local Berber hamlets and villages. The Chleuh Berbers are the original inhabitants of this area and most men travel to other regions of Morocco and abroad to trade, traditionally in the grocery market. Money is sent back to families who tend the stock and harvest the land and many return to the area in their retirement, building large villas amongst the small stone villages of the mountains. Here the pink granite rock formations dominate the landscape, palm plantations and almond trees line the beds of the valleys and the distinctive red painted stone houses enhance the regions distinct character.
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Include a visit to the Anti Atlas 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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