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Home Plan your trip Travel Guides The complete guide to exploring the Atlas Mountains

The complete guide to exploring the Atlas Mountains

The mountain chain provide various scenery and here is what you would like to understand before visiting the Anti-Atlas, High Atlas and Middle Atlas sub-ranges

NASA (National physics ANd area Administration) has an completely lovely image of the mountain chain taken from area. it’s AN ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne emission and Reflection Radiometer) image, showing reminder red, inexperienced and blue representing combined short-wavelength infrared bands and lightness completely different rock varieties like limestones, sandstones, mineral and granitic rocks. the image is probably going to depart you in awe.

On land, if you were to form your thanks to a Barber community close to Aroumd inside the Assif Aït Mizane natural depression, a part of the High mountain chain, the attractive views of soaring mountains, sunken valleys and bright inexperienced terraced fields would most likely leave you in awe too.

Suffice to mention, the mountain chain ar one among the world’s most fascinating regions to travel through. the majority return here to trek, walking from one remote village to a different. If this is often what you plan to try to to, then let this guide share everything you would like to understand in preparation for a journey to the current gorgeous region.

What are the Atlas Mountains?

Stretching some 2,500km (1,600 miles) across Morocco, African nation and Republic of Tunisia, the mighty mountain chain ar a series of mountain ranges created by the violent collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates roughly 80 million years agone.

The mountain chain may be split into six distinct sub-ranges:

Anti-Atlas range, aka Lesser Atlas or very little Atlas, extending from the Atlantic Ocean within the southwest of Morocco to Tafilalt, the most important oasis in Morocco. The different landscapes ar transcendental.

High Atlas or the Grand mountain chain ar most likely the foremost well-known section of the mountain chain. the world stretches from the Atlantic Coast to the Moroccan-Algerian border and includes Toubkal, the very best summit in geographic region at 4,167m or 13,671ft.

Middle Atlas is the northernmost chain of the Atlas Mountains. It is also in Morocco.

Saharan Atlas marks the northern edge of the Sahara Desert. It is mainly in Algeria with a small area extending to the eastern side of Tunisia.

Tell Atlas is vast, covering Morocco, African nation and Republic of Tunisia. It runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast and acts as a weather system barrier that separates the Mediterranean climate to the north and also the Saharan climate to the south.

Aurès Mountains in Algeria and Tunisia make up the eastern part of the Atlas Mountains.

How far are the Atlas Mountains from the major cities?

It is potential to expertise a part of the mountain chain via day journeys or two-day journeys from major cities across the 3 countries.

Marrakech is without doubt the most effective hub if you wish to explore the mountain chain. The ‘Red City’ is AN intoxicating place that is still universally in style as a holidaymaker destination. urban center conjointly sits on the cusp of the High Atlas – the foremost in style sub-range of the mountain chain. As such, urban center is that the good launchpad for a journey into the mountain chain due to being 2 hours’ drive from the High Atlas entry city of Imlil.

Fez and Meknes to the north act as nice entry points into the center Atlas, whereas Agadir is nearer to the Anti-Atlas.

In Algeria, Constantine is comparatively close-by to each the Tell Atlas and also the Aurès Mountain sub-ranges. each port and city, the 2 largest cities in African nation, ar gateways into the Tell Atlas sub-range.

The {atlas mountains|Atlas Mountains|range|mountain vary|range of mountains|chain|mountain chain|chain of mountains} range ends at Tunis, creating the capital of Republic of Tunisia an excellent setting-out purpose for people who ar trying to beat the complete vary (with Agadir acting because the most westerly point).

What can you do in the Atlas Mountains?

The mountain chain ar a terrific location for trekkers World Health Organization need to require in numerous sights. Nature is that the true attraction here. you may realize remote valleys, inhospitable canyons and mighty peaks that supply jaw-dropping views. throughout spring (March to May) and season (September to November), you may meet fellow walkers from round the world coming back to savour a ‘back-to-basic’ expertise that’s void of contemporaneousness.

Embracing the native Berber culture is AN absolute should. The locals ar friendly and hospitable – it’s straightforward to seek out yourself invited for a few tea. The Berber communities in Morocco ar principally farmers, placental homeowners, and conjointly merchants. They conjointly keep tour guides to foreign guests.

In this guide, we’ll specialise in the key sights within the Anti-Atlas, High Atlas, and Middle-Atlas sub-ranges, all of that ar in Morocco.

What are the sights in the Anti-Atlas sub-range?

Tafraoute (Tafraout), 166km (103 miles) southeast of Agadir, is noted for blue painted rocks by creator Jean Verame and strange rock formations revealing the powerful force of nature. Another highlight is memorial art of bovine and Berber warriors close to Tazka, that is inside walking distance from Tafraoute.

On the road from Agadir to Tafraoute, can|you’ll|you may} surpass Tagdicht and without doubt will notice the imposing Jebel El Kest (Afa-n-Tmezgadiwine), the very best purpose during this space at 2,359m (7,740 ft). you’ll hike from Tagdicht to Jebel El Kest in four hours. If you visit in spring, you may see realize flowering grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus) in abundance.

What are the sights in the High Atlas?

Imlil, 90km (56 miles) south of urban center is wherever most guests begin their journey into the High Atlas. Set outside the Toubkal park (Parc National du Jbel Toubkal), Imlil could be a hub for mountain business in Morocco – which means it’s the place to satisfy your guide, rent a mule or get any unpunctual provides before beginning your trek. The route from Imlil to Refuge du Toubkal (French CAF Refuge) – the second hut – ought to take concerning four hours, though you’re possible to require a while loving the gorgeous views around Aroumd that is on the manner.

It is suggested that you just keep in Refuge du Toubkal for each day to urge acclimatised, before subjection the summit of Jbel Toubkal which may be worn out four hours from Refuge du Toubkal.

Following the murder of 2 tourists in December 2018, the authority currently needs every cluster to be among a certified native guide World Health Organization has lots of expertise and information concerning the High Atlas before trying ascent. you want to conjointly book accommodation ahead and inhabitation in unauthorised places is prohibited.

Azzaden Valley, just south of Imlil, is usually touted because the quieter various to Imlil. it’s potential to run from Imlil to Azzaden natural depression (about six hours). you’ll conjointly begin the hike to the summit of Jbel Toubkal from here.

Ourika Valley, 40km (25 miles) southeast of Marrakesh, is additionally fashionable day-trippers from urban center. This abundant corner of the High mountain chain is best visited on Mon once the native open-air marketplace (Tnine Ourika) takes place and also the city comes alive. If you be part of a tour, you’re possible to go to a women’s argan oil co-operative and have tea with a Barber family in Setti Fatma.

From Ourika, if you travel north and so southeast for four hours, you may return to the UNESCO-listed Ksar of Aït Ben-Haddou. Lying within the Ounila natural depression on the southern slopes of the High Atlas, Ait Ben-Haddou could be a must-see destination for pic buffs because it was featured within the Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander and even Game of Thrones. The buildings, fabricated from clay bricks, start to the 1700s.

Todgha Gorge, close to the city of Tinghir (Tinerhir) some 390km (242 miles) east of urban center, is breathtakingly lovely and a magnet for photographers, hikers and rock climbers.

What are the sights in the Middle Atlas sub-range?

The oak and cedar-forested Ifrane park lies 80k (50 miles) south of Fez, it’s home to the world’s largest population of geographic region macaques. Seeing a troop of them – with ten to thirty people in a very troop – is nearly secure. within the Cedre Gouraud Forest, there’s conjointly AN 800-year-old cedar tree.

Berrem Gorge (Gorges des Berrem) could be a tiny however gorgeous canon close to the town of Midelt, 199km (124 miles) south of Fez. within the close areas, there ar plantations manufacturing walnuts, plums, apricots and pomegranates.

Once a base of the empire, Volubilis is currently a UNESCO World Heritage web site dotted with Roman ruins – it’s quite sensational to check remnants of the Arch of Caracalla, Basilica, and Capitoline Temple rising from the plain. the space between Fez and Volubilis is 69km (43 miles), therefore offer or take one hour half-hour.

What should you pack?

If you propose to trek in either spring or season, pack mountain boots and sneakers (you don’t need to wear your boots when a protracted day of walking), waterproof vesture, a heat layer, bottle, binoculars, sun hat, sunscreen, repellant and hand sanitizer. don’t pack wet wipes as a result of they contain plastic fibres that don’t break down simply.

The water quality in Morocco has improved. If you’re staying in hotels and filling up your water bottles each morning, then likelihood is, you must be alright. however if you’ve got a sensitive abdomen, pack some water purification tablets.

Consider looking forward to native information by hiring a Berber guide. several of those guides ar unbelievably work and well tailored to the assorted routes and intricacies of the Atlas Mountains range.

You can conjointly rent a mule – mules ar referred to as the Berber Mercedes; they will carry your luggage across the rough piece of land for an extra worth.

Keen photographers might want to think about traveling in a very guided tour employing a 4×4. it’s potential to seek out photography consultants with native information World Health Organization are ready to show you the foremost attractive areas across the assorted sub-ranges.

In the winter, {the heatth|the heat} dissipates and also the peaks ar capped with snow – therefore pack warm jackets, gloves, woollen socks, and a skullcap.

What will you eat?

When it involves food, expect ancient honest like recent bread, couscous and tagines, further as bean-based soup. Snacks like dates and figs are in style.

Chicken and olive tagine, further as lamb tagine toasted with a spread of edible fruit, featured heavily on the menu. You eat them with bread and couscous.

If you’re invited to a pageant, likelihood is you may stumble upon Mechaoui, a full roast lamb that is best enjoyed with the whole community.

Best time to visit the Atlas Mountains

Although the world is Brobdingnagian, covering some 2,500km (1,600 miles), March to could (spring) and Sep to Nov (autumn) ar thought-about the most effective times to go to the mountain chain if your primary purpose is hiking. throughout peak periods, costs tend to be higher and holidaymaker sites ar possible to be packed.

Summer is sizzling hot at the most of the sights we tend to coated on top of, whereas winter may be rainy, or snowy, looking on wherever you go. as an example, you’ll ski in Toubkal park and Oukaïmeden from January to March.

Ramadan could be a special time wherever Muslims can pray, replicate spiritually and reach bent family and friends. it’s conjointly a month of abstinence. you must avoid visiting the mountain chain throughout Ramadan as outlets ar possible to shut or have shorter hours.

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