High Atlas !
High Atlas Photos
The High Atlas is a region in
covering the mountain range and surrounding destinations such as
It's a regular destination for mountain hikers, ski enthusiasts, or
travellers interested in the indigenous Berber culture found throughout
its many peaks and valleys.
Berbers are the indigenous North Africans, having
inhabited the north coast of Africa ranging from present day Morocco to
Egypt, for at least 5,000 years.
The Arab invasion of North Africa in the 7th century
forced Berbers to assimilate, or take refuge in the Atlas mountains.
It is said that as much as 80% of the Moroccan
population is racially Berber, however only half of those people live
culturally Berber lifestyles.
Berbers have adopted Islam as their primary religion,
but continue to speak dialectic Berber in their villages, and practice
Berber music, spirituality, and art.
The Atlas mountains are home to relatively pure Berber
populations, who live in earthen adobe houses. Marrakech is the only
Moroccan city with a recognizable Berber ambiance, being situated at the
base of the southern Atlas mountains. The color of Marrakech is the
color of the Berbers - reddish, ochre and earth tones are the only
colors you see adorning the adobe buildings, giving the impression that
the entire city springs from the earth.
Marrakech It's long been a city that conjures up images from
your wildest dreams. It's a great market town and a great place to
Aït-Benhaddou a traditional mud brick town, and a
UNESCO World Heritage Site
A small Berber town that hosts one of the largest Berber souks in
the region. A great point of departure for the small Berber villages
of the mountains.
small town at the foothills of the High Atlas
Starting point for some awesome hiking. Only 75 minutes from
Marrakech by shared taxi. or, 25 minutes from Asni by shared taxi
Oukaimeden Ski resort.
Berber, or the
Amazigh language, is
spoken byHigh Atlas
Berber population. they call thier Berber dialect
Also, most of them speak Arabic.
Although you will
find people who speak
French, English and
tourist centers in high Atlas, many of these will be touts and faux guides,
who may become a burden. Some shop owners and guest houses managers in the
villages of high Atlas also speak French and English, but outside of that
these languages are not widely understood.
biking trips in the nearby of village and tows
Hiking in the valleys Toubka, M'goun, Ourika, Bougmaz,
Hire a 4x4 and drive around the the mountain villages.
Visits can be arranged to Berber homes to see how they
live, watch them prepare home-made bread and cous-cous or tagines, eat
with them and drink mint tea.
If you are looking to experience how real Berbers
live in the High Atlas, there are different outfits that will help
you get to some of their villages. One of the best is Berber
Adventures. You'll be able to schedule a day trip or more extended hike
into the mountains. The prices are reasonable and the guide is
extremely kind and used to working with westerners. If you're in
Marrakech, this is a great one or two day side trip.
Prices are to be bargained hard, it has been
reported that travellers payed between 300dh and
600dh/person/night. You loose face if you don't
For some weird reason, sleeping 2 nights is
more expensive. The reason is that Lunch is
included if there is more than 1 night's travel.
That explains the difference in price.
Talk in advance what is included and what's
not: food, water, blankets, how far are you
Each guide cooks for just his group, so if
you want to eat something special, maybe you can
pay a few dirhams more and have a tastier meal
(standard is chicken tajine) Depends on your
There are many small hotels gits guest houes of varying
categories in the berber villages all over high Atlas.
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