Morocco trekking, Morocco treks, Morocco walking, Morocco Atlas mountains
To many, the real Morocco still lies in the southern half of the country, i.e. in and among the High Atlas Mountains, from Agadir in the west to Tinherir and Midelt in the east. Taroudant, the nearest town to our guesthouse, lies between these two points.
Southern Morocco includes the great High Atlas mountain chain, with Jebel Aouline (3500m) on the western side overlooking Taroudant and our Berber house at its foot. In the central area is Jebel Toubkal (4100m), which is the favoured destination of trekkers setting off from Marrakesh, and in the eastern part is Jebel Mgoun (4000m), rising above the Valley of the Roses and the Dadès Valley.
Further towards the south, you will find a line of notable towns, such as Agadir, Taroudant and Taliouine in The Sous Valley to the west, Ouarzazarte in the centre and Boulmane and Tinherir further to the east.
Further down, you will find the Anti-Atlas Mountains in the west, the Drâa Valley in the centre and Mt. Jebel Saghro further to the east.
Still heading southwards, you will reach the desert area of the Plage Blanche to the west (Guelmim and Tan Tan regions); the palm groves of the southern slopes of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, such as Amtoudi, Icht, Akka, Tata and Foum Zguid; the desert area of Erg Chegaga at the top of the Drâa Valley (between Foum Zguid and Mhamid); the desert area of the Kem Kem beds further to the east; and last but not least, the desert zone of Erg Chebbi near Merzouga.
If you choose Taroudant and Les Terrasses de l’Atlas as your base, you will have crossed the High Atlas Mountains and be on the threshold of both the long Atlantic coast (Essaouira, Agadir, Mirleft, Plage Blanche) and the Anti-Atlas Mountains (Tafraoute, the palm groves and agadirs), along with the different, less visited southern parts of the High Atlas, such as Jebel Aouline and the Tichka Plateau, which are directly accessible from our guesthouse. Further away are also Jebel Siroua, the Drâa Valley, famous for its adobe buildings such as kasbahs and ksours, the renowned gorges of the Dadès and the Todra, and above all, the desert of Erg Chegaga. All these places are within less than a day’s drive.
Les Terrasses de l’Atlas therefore offers you a favourable starting point for discovering the sea, mountains, desert, palm groves and medinas, whatever your preference, in a manageable way. A holiday or a tour of the region will guarantee you a wonderful assortment of different landscapes on all fronts.
Taroudant is ¾ hour from Agadir, 3 hours from Marrakesh and 4 hours from Ouarzazarte. A fast road links Agadir airport with Taroudant and a scenic motorway connects Agadir and Marrakesh. Even Casablanca is only 5 hours’ drive from Taroudant on the motorway.
At the end of the day, there are several Moroccos: the country of the people of the Maghreb living elsewhere, including among you in Europe; the country of northern cities such as Casablanca, Rabat and Tangiers; the country of classic cities such as Fez, Meknès and Marrakesh; the country of famous tourist sites in the south, such as Agadir, Ouazazarte, the Dadès, the Drâa Valley, Erg Chebbi at Merzouga; and last but not least, the country we love and want to introduce to you, the real, authentic Morocco. This is the country of the people who live on the southern slopes of the High Atlas, where we live; the quiet Berber town of Taroudant; the gorges of the Anti-Atlas Mountains; the desert of Chegaga; and the even more remote and unknown areas of the great Moroccan south.
Choosing Taroudant, our agency Hors Circuit and our guesthouse Les Terrasses d’Atlas means turning your back on mass tourism and escaping the stress, hustle and bustle, not to mention harassment, of the usual tourist attractions. It means seeking out unlimited human contact on a holiday which is peaceful and authentic. In this southern region, you have every chance of coming across children who don’t pester you for money or pens; shop-sellers who don’t chase after you; magnificent landscapes which don’t often figure in tourist guides; accommodation full of charm but with no frills; almost continuous sunshine; life at a slower pace and a way of living that will frequently make you think of the Middle Ages or Ali Baba.
Don’t try to see or do everything at once, but take your time. Be focused when planning your journey. In any case, you will be back!