High Atlas

November 8, 2017
Best Places

The High Atlas is one of three ranges of the Moroccan Atlas and the highest massif of North Africa. It spans 750 kilometers between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Morocco in the northeast and the Saharan Morocco in the southeast. It rises in the west near the Atlantic Ocean and stretches east toward the Moroccan-Algerian border. At the Atlantic and to the southwest the range drops dramatically and provides an impressive transition to the coast and the Anti-Atlas range

High Atlas cities are small towns. The largest is Ouarzazate with a population of 20,000. Here you will enjoy excursions to the villages of the Dadès, Tineghir, Asni, Moulay-Brahim, and Taourirt, where you will discover traditional medinas, and visit fascinating souks. There are also valleys and passages perfect for exploration. Among them is the Valley of Roses, especially interesting in May during the flower harvest and the celebration of the Moussem of Roses. Discover M’Goum and its troglodyte dwellings used by nomads during the transhumance and Telouet and its eyrie, formerly the only available passage from Ouarzazate to Marrakech.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see the gorgeous waterfalls of Ouzoud, the most beautiful in Morocco, and the Djebel Toubkal, the highest peak of North Africa.

The High Atlas is a popular destination for rugged hikes or leisurely rambles and is a perfect vacation spot for nature lovers as well. You can travel in this stunningly beautiful setting for a few days or for several weeks with a caravan of guides, chefs and mules. The variance of the landscapes is remarkable with its green valleys, almost desert plateaus and oasis valleys. At each juncture, you will meet the genuine and hospitable inhabitants of the many villages nearly untouched by time.

The High Atlas itself is made of three parts. The Western High Atlas is the oldest and highest massif, home to the Djebel Toubkal. A nature reserve of extraordinary natural richness and diversity was created here in 1942.

The Central High Atlas has amazing and contrasting landscapes of awe-inspiring beauty. Steep-sided canyons cross the high plateaus, much like ones found in Colorado in America.

The Eastern High Atlas, with its numerous high plateaus, is of a great paleontological and international interest. Remains of dinosaurs were discovered here when Africa and America were the same continent.

The Atlas range has dramatic climatic variances. On the north side, the climate is oceanic and subtropical, prone to storms originating in the Atlantic with infrequent but torrential rains and an average rainfall of 500 mm per year. Snow is common in areas that reach above 2500 meters and lasts from November to April. The plentiful amount of snow forms the water reserves of the entire country and supplies the needed water for the pines, holm oaks and thuja forest. The southern side has a semi-desert climate, with extreme variations in the weather. Its sparse vegetation is located primarily on the high steppes.

The contrasting landscapes and temperatures of the High Atlas provide a brilliant variety of sights. You will see reptiles and birds, mountains and valleys and be astounded by the different landscapes and climates of each area.

Whether hiking or enjoying the wondrous landscapes the High Atlas is a perfect destination for those in search of a unique and truly memorable vacation location.