The Atlas Mountains: Morocco’s Exposed Jewel

The unique mix of everything on the Moroccan Atlas Mountains is but a taste.

The isolated mountain range is one of the major highlights in a country that attracted 13 million tourists in 2019 alone.

Green pine and cider dotting the slopes, occasional snow at the summit and sand dunes to the south - How is this combination even possible? Located in Northwest Africa, the Atlas mountains form a unique geographical marker on the countries of the Maghreb. The stretch of the Atlas mountains running across the country creates a hybrid climate that is fairly cool than the humid coastal weather. The Atlas terrain is marked by hiking paths, snow-smeared peaks, and Berber villages.

Local inhabitants

Deep within the mountains is a humble community of Berbers living in harmony with the environment. Known for their dedication to traditional values stretching back several millennia, the Amazigh have manned the mountain from as early as 10,000 BC. ‘Amazigh’ means free or noble people, a name they adopted to distinguish themselves from outside civilization. Visitors get to see their flat roof houses made of mountain material - packed rock and earth. The area inhabitants make their living using old techniques for survival in the fertile valleys and mountain slopes. The women weave some of the best rugs found anywhere in the world. A visit to the High Table Mountain sets back the clock to a time when civilization was yet to cast its shadow over the proud natives of the Moroccan Atlas mountains.

The sandy hike through wild trails 

Do not stay locked up in the hotels, save a day or two for camping and hiking. Only then can hold onto tales of a starry moonlight gaze, sand-in-shoe discomforts, and the storytelling tour guide who ‘knows’ someone in the royal family. It barely takes an hour from Marrakesh when on foot, alternatively a 4 by 4 rover will do.

If you are physically fit and up for a challenge, take the difficult multi-day trek.

The slopes of Mount Toubkal is the ultimate challenge when hiking in Morrocco. As the highest point in North Africa, a trek to the summit takes you up 4,167m (13,671 ft). The view of the horizon, gaping mountain crags, and exposed valleys are priceless.

Harsh Sahara

South of the Atlas mountain range is the harsh Sahara desert. The scorching sun down below casts deep rays into the never-ending sweeping-red sand dunes that mark the Maghreb. A land of immense beauty - a worthy adventure.

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The Atlas Mountains: Morocco’s Exposed Jewel

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

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Wanted in Africa, part of the Wanted Worldwide network, is a website in English for expatriates in Africa established in 2006. We cover Europe's news stories that may be of interest to English speaking residents along with tourists as well. Our publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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