The Best of Morocco:
Away from the noise of the cities you can find amazing places. Morocco is famous for its color, but the local nature is not as monotonous as it may seem at first sight.
However, in the countryside you can find interesting and unusual places to visit during your trip. And it’s not just the endless dunes or the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
The highest peak in Morocco, as well as in North Africa, its height is about 4167 meters above sea level. The ascent requires only a reasonable degree of fitness, determination and, of course, motivation.
Toubkal is easily accessible from Marrakech via the Berber village of Imlil, where you can hire qualified guides and porters if you need to carry food supplies and equipment. But it’s a moderate hike for experienced climbers, and navigating the mountains is easy. It will take you two days to hike there and back.
The hike takes an average of a 4-hour walk from Imlil village to the traditional-style stone shelters used as a base camp at 3207 meters. You can spend the night there (reservations in advance are recommended) and buy some food, or you can just pitch your tent near the camp for a small fee. Then the second day, or rather night, is the hike itself, strongly recommended 2-3 hours before sunrise to reach the summit and enjoy the spectacular view of the sunrise from the distant Sahara desert…hopefully it will be a clear day!
Obviously this is a very easy hike in the summer (May through October), you just need a windbreaker and good comfortable mountain boots, but in the spring or if you’re a big mountaineering fan in the winter, you’ll need icebreakers and crampons and all your equipment.
When you reach the top of Toubkal, Ifni lake can be found in about 6 hours of walking. First you have to climb 3207 meters to Tizi nouanems (3664 m), where you can enjoy a view of the Toubkal Massif and the Ifni Dome, and then descend to the lake to 2312 meters.
This lake with blue water is located between the mountains, and there are no trees or plants, only rocks and huge mountains around it. And it is not only a wonderful scenery, you can also swim here and refresh yourself during the hike.
Merzouga Sand Dunes
Located in southeastern Morocco, near the border with Algeria, Merzouga is the smallest village where tourism is the main activity. You can ride a camel to Erg Chebbi, the highest sand dune about 160 meters high, and if you go to the top of the dune, you will see this stunning large sand beach, which is about 100 square kilometers of reddish-gold sand dunes surrounded by mountains.
The M’hamid Wilderness
A small village also located in the southeast of Morocco, the heart of the nomadic culture and the main station for the Silk Road caravans in the past. This village is still wild and close to the largest desert area 60 km from Erg Chigaga.
Hamid el Ghizlan is less crowded than Merzouga, which is a good option if you want to enjoy a quieter landscape. And the color of the sand dunes becomes more red, changing to pink during sunset or sunrise.
The Berber village of Amtoudi is a small town inhabited by less than 300 families whose main activity is traditional farming. The village is known for the old barn-type buildings on the highest peak overlooking the entire valley. This was the storage place for the grain of the entire village. These are the best preserved granaries in all of Morocco.
The Amtoudi Valley is very large, you can hike across the river where you will find stunning wild natural pools, you can even swim naked, just because no one is usually around.
Tafraout painted Rocks
The strange formation of granite rocks in the middle of dry desert terrain has become famous thanks to just one man. In 1984, Belgian artist Jean Veram made this stunning art installation, which he painted in blue pink and green, which create a strong contrast with the red granite landscape.
It can be reached by car, bike or on foot and is less than 4 km from the village of Tafraoute. You can also reach the valley of Ait Mansour, which is also a large canyon famous for the tallest palm trees in the whole country.
You have probably already seen these beautiful pictures of reddish arches collapsing onto the ocean. Well this is Legzira beach, these arches were formed naturally after decades of erosion and are only visible at low tide. This beach used to have 4 arches and one of them, the thinner one, collapsed in August 2016.
In addition to the natural arches, Legzira is also known as a great place for solitude and relaxation. It is still not that popular with tourists, here you will find only a minimum of hotels and restaurants near the beach, providing a very friendly and welcoming service. Legzira is located between Mirleft and Sidi Ifni, two small towns well known among surfers, fishermen and sea adventurers.
Located north in the Rif Mountain chain, it is a hidden paradise where the main attractions are the lower waterfall, and the much higher waterfall and the cascades sharing the same water flow. To reach all of these natural sites in one day it is recommended that you start very early in the morning and walk the half-track from Akchur Village to the bridge, then reach the main trail before climbing the lower waterfalls, and then finally reach the upper section. The whole way there and back to the village takes about 10-12 hours on foot with breaks.
It is helpful to know that this hike is suitable for intermediate to advanced levels. If you want to do a circular hike in one day, you will have to traverse the route along the river, some steep slopes and walk over narrow wooden bridges.
Ait bouguemez Valley
The popular name of this place, Happy Valley, speaks for itself. It is a fabulous landscape of farmers’ fields and rural landscape. Tabant is the main village in the valley, located literally in the middle, from here you can walk to many smaller villages. The people there are very friendly and welcoming, and if you can pick up a tour or make the trip yourself. It is best to get there on a Sunday and visit the market where you can buy very fresh fruits and vegetables and everything you need for your hike in the area.
You can trek to Mount M’goun, the second-highest peak (4,071 meters), from Mount Azourki’s summit and take in the breathtaking views of the entire valley.. Throughout the valley you will find great guest houses and small hostels, as well as many activities and hikes. It is located in the middle of the Atlas Mountains and is well known for its hiking excursions to exceptional hidden local experiences.
The Cathedral Rock Imsfran
It is not difficult to guess that the name of the place is inspired by its shape: this huge rock, 1872 meters high, is one of the most beautiful landscapes of Morocco. It is a great place to visit on your way to the mountains, here you can walk and enjoy the shadows and green forest scenery of the forest. And if you like adventure, you can climb to the top of the cliff and enjoy a stunning and unusual view. The place is also popular for kayaking and rafting.
There is a small hostel (a traditional Berber guesthouse) nearby where you can sleep and spend the night. Berber food for dinner will be just right and will help you fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere of North Africa.
Berber Pathway Zaouiet Ahansal to Taghia
This small village in the high Atlas Mountains has a very old and mysterious history. It is said to have been founded by the Islamic explorer traveler Sidi Said Ahansal from the 13th century, he founded an Islamic school there and had great influence and disciples. And as legend has it, he built his religious schools where his cat jumped off his mule, and of course the cat saw that beautiful river crossing the mountains and giving green life wherever it went.
As a result, and because this little village was frequented by nomadic tribes, the regions prospered materially and intellectually. There were many libraries, schools and collective granaries, also known as some of the oldest banking institutions because they were not only used for storing grain but also for trading.
From the village of Zaouiat Ahansal you can also reach the beautiful Berber village of Taghia. It is about 2 hours walking and you will follow the famous Berber trail (note: not recommended if you are afraid of high and narrow paths). And if you are a fan of rock climbing, you will definitely like this place. There are more than 100 routes to explore, and local guides are happy to help you.
This is a land of crazy shapes and strange sedimentary rocks that take your breath away! Here, the movement of the earth’s crust has forced the region to rise above the sea, forming these unreal reddish-colored formations that contrast with the fig trees and farm fields throughout the valley.
Here you can find many old rusty buildings called Kasbahs, like The Kasbah of Ait Arbi, each with its own story. You can drive all the way to Amsemrir on the famous road where they filmed many commercials such as Land Rover, Chevrolet, Volvo. They also filmed a lot of footage from popular movies on this road.
This place has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The twice fortified village called Ksar in Arabic was built to become one of the main stops of caravans between the Sahara desert and Marrakech. This village is an excellent example of Moroccan earthen architecture and it is well preserved from the 16th century.
Ait-Ben-Haddou is close to Ouarzazate, the Moroccan “Hollywood” known for the giant movie studios where many movies were produced, such as “Gladiator”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Prince of Persia”, scenes from “Game of Thrones” and much more. No doubt this place will seem familiar to you.
The natural bridge Imi-n-Ifri
This stone structure was created by nature itself, or rather by the water that flows beneath it. Slow but persistent nature created the conditions that shaped this fully functional limestone bridge.While hiking under the magnificent bridge, note that the microclimate makes it home to migratory birds, some of the rarest species of birds rest here before continuing their journey.
As a rule, the round trip should take 1 hour, the bridge is not difficult to find, so there is no need to hire a guide. In addition, the river has formed huge pools of natural stone, where you can enjoy a very cool natural energy bath.
The waterfalls, with a total height of about 110 meters, are divided into three cascades and are a mesmerizing sight. There are many excellent traditional restaurants and cafes at the foot of the falls, where all the dishes and decorations are beautifully handmade and naturally designed.
This place is not well known to tourists, but is popular among locals, so it is best avoided during the summer or spring vacations.