The High Atlas Mountains form the backdrop to Marrakech, some 40 miles away by road – and a world away in ambience. A holiday here is the perfect antidote to city life and to the fast pace of 21st century living.
Many choose to spend their time simply relaxing by the pool with a good book, surrounded by beautiful scenery, others prefer to be out and about rambling through the countryside and enjoying long walks through the Ouirgane Valley.
The mountain vistas are astonishing, and the way of life of the Berber people who inhabit this area is refreshing in its simplicity. A stay in the High Atlas Mountains can form a welcome counterpoint to a trip to Marrakech.
A stay in the High Atlas Mountains can form a welcome counterpoint to a trip to Marrakech – please see our multi-centre and tailor-made holidays for details of possible combinations.
Walking in the High Atlas Mountains
Many people who visit this beautiful area do so to enjoy rambling and hiking amidst its unspoilt natural beauty. The Toubkal National Park was created in 1942 to protect the unique flora and fauna of the region. It stretches over some 100,000 hectares from the N’fiss Valley in the west to the Ourika Valley in the east. The altitude rises to 4167 metres over diverse terrain of cliffs, ridges, valleys and gorges punctuated by streams and springs.
You can choose whether to explore on your own, or to use the services of a guide. There is a wide choice of itineraries, depending on where you choose to stay, and walks can be booked in advance. Kasbah Angour offers a variety of walks, lead by its own local guides,which include a 2 day trip to climb Mount Toubkal; as well as shorter half and full day walks. You can discover the beautiful Ourika Valley, or visit the Berber villages of Sidi Fares. If you are not a keen walker then mule-trekking is also a popular option and a great way to explore the area and survey the scenery.
Wildlife, flora and fauna
Nature-lovers will be delighted with the variety of birds indigenous to this area and it is commonplace to hear the song of nightingales, blackbirds, cuckoos and woodpecker as you walk. Keen bird-watchers are also drawn here to watch the migration of storks, bee-eaters, turtle doves and golden orioles. You will also observe many birds of prey such as eagles, sparrow hawks, falcons, buzzards and owls.
Spring is the best time to visit when the lush green of the mountains forms a sharp contrast with the distinctive rust-coloured soil, the flowers are in bloom and snow can still be seen on the peaks. Juniper, poplar, ash and pink oleander are typical of the region. Autumn is also popular, and even in summer the cool mountain air provides respite from the heat of Marrakech
Discovering the Berber Way of Life
The Tinmel Mosque, dating from the 12th century is well worth a visit and a trip to a Berber village such as Imlil or Tikhfist provides an insight into local Berber village life. Stop off and share a glass of refreshingly sweet mint tea accompanied by tanourt, the local bread, freshly baked in a special clay oven. The weekly Berber markets are not to be missed – the market of Asni takes place on Saturdays, Talat n’Yacoub on Wednesdays and Ouirgane on Thursdays - and are a great opportunity to stock up on unusual souvenirs.
Transfer & distances
Set in the midst of the mountains, 5km from Tahanaout and
approx. 30 minutes’ drive from Marrakech International Airport.