Atlas Mountains Overview
- Untouched mountainside
- Country life
- Rural as can be
Marrakech gives a very European impression of Morocco. Head just few hours out of the city and you'll find a completely different atmosphere.
Modernity isn't a big thing in the mountains south of Marrakech, where Berber culture is strong, and tourism mainly confined to trekkers. Two specific draws are the snaking road south to Taroudannt; and Imlil, Asni and Aremd, the Berber villages en route to the highest peak, the Djebel Toubkal. But sights aren't what the High Atlas is about – it's the views. Almond blossom at Ouirgane; winter snow at Ouïkaimeden; wild nature and traditional villages all year round.
Absolutely Atlas Mountains
Do as Marrakeshi families do and pay a visit to the shrine of Moulay Brahim, where there's a festive bank-holiday atmosphere between June and September.
- A 'grand taxi' will take up to six – explain first if you don't want to share with other parties. Establish a price for your trip before you set off.
- Tipping culture
- Sling porters and anyone who helps you out along the way maybe five or ten dirhams. Taxis tend to overcharge, so don’t feel you need to add extra.
- Packing tips
- A Polaroid camera, so you can give locals an instant family portrait.
- Recommended reads
- Lords of the Atlas by Gavin Maxwell.
- Couscous and tajine are the staples. Sweet mint tea is ubiquitous.
- Dirham (Dh).
- Dialling codes
- Code for Morocco: +212.
- Do go/don't go
- There's skiing of a kind in Oukaïmeden in winter, though good snow isn't guaranteed. Trekking is best in spring when the almond blossom is particularly lovely. The cooler temperatures in autumn make this a good time too. High summer is still a good time for the mountains, unless you're intending to climb Mount Toubkal.