Located in the northwest of the African continent, Morocco offers relaxed beach holidays to vibrant shopping opportunities and rich historical and cultural activities.
However, the country is well-known for its amazing hiking and trekking excursions. From gentle treks in the Atlas Mountains during the warmer months and then the snow-capped regions during winter for the more experienced hikers, Morocco offers an unforgettable hiking experience for all.
Flickr.com/Aco Dani Milan Alpguide
Jebel Toubkal is the highest peak in Northern Africa, stretching up to 4167 metres towards the sky in the Central High Atlas Mountains. The mountain features in many myths and legends and the views from the top are well-deserving of its high status in the country’s culture. During the summer months, hikers will spend two to three days to reach the top from Imlil, providing one does not succumb to altitude sickness and/or dehydration. Kasbah du Toubkal is the main starting point on the trail. During the winter months when the snow covers the mountain, the trek calls for specific equipment and more experience. The Toubkal Circuit, which normally takes around seven days to finish, is ideal for those wanting more of a challenge.
During the winter months the snow can make the High Atlas Mountains quite a challenge so for those seeking a gentler hike will find Jebel Saghro the ideal option. It is part of the Anti-Atlas but the temperature is much warmer and the trails are not quite as challenging as that of Jebel Toubkal but still just as beautiful. Amalou n’Mansour is the tallest peak but at 2712 meters above sea level the threat of altitude sickness is much less. Don’t pass up on the chance to view the cave paintings here.
Negotiating across the M’Goun Massif, located in the Central High Atlas, makes for a wonderful experience. There are many trails to hike but for those not wanting a challenge avoid the higher peaks, such as M’Goun Massif itself which stands at an impressive 4071 metres. Instead, take the time to appreciate the awe-inspiring mountain views and the charming valleys where the Berber tribes live. Come in spring when the snow melts and flows in streams through the valleys and wildflowers cover the slopes.
The High Atlas Mountains often overshadow the Anti-Atlas region located in southern Morocco, but for those who venture here agree it features some impressive peaks to scale. Head to the volcanic mountain peak of Jebel Sirwa, reaching a height of 3304 metres above sea level, in reality joins the two ranges. A two day hike can be completed from Atougha but it is highly recommended that you take an experienced guide as the last section can be extremely problematic. For those who can spend a week here, start at Taliouine and take the time to appreciate the beauty of the various Berber valleys with their precipitous terrace fields.
Located in the north of the country, the Rif Mountains are not quite as highly celebrated as hiking and trekking excursions, but they are popular with families and locals alike. Start off in Chefchaouen and there are a number of treks available to choose from. The Ras el-Maa Rivers makes the ideal spot for relaxing with the family or just by yourself. Head up Jebel al-Kalaa for a day long trek where you can enjoy beautiful vistas of the town at the top. The Talassemtane national Park is a great option for those wanting to indulge in an overnight experience.
Ifrane National Park
Moyen Atlas Mountains l Commons.wikimedia.org/MichelGagnon
Also known as the Little Switzerland of the country, the Ifrane National Park is the perfect destination for hikers who enjoy the natural world. There is an abundance of stunning flora and fauna here, with the Atlas cedar trees covering the slopes like a lush blanket. As you head out along the trails don’t forget to try and spot the Barbary Macaque, an endangered species whose number has greatly reduced and calls the national park home.
Morocco boasts a great number of beautiful beaches so why not combine a relaxing beach holiday with an exhilarating hiking excursion? The verdant palm fringed gorge of Paradise Valley is situated not far from Agadir and trails the river to Imouzzer Ida Ou Tanane. A short three kilometre trek can be enjoyed from here to the Cascades waterfalls but for those who can spend longer, hire a guide and visit the many Berber villages and camp outside with the stars shining brightly overhead.