The diverse splendours of Morocco’s great Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains extend over 2000 km from Agadir Atlantic port in Morocco to Tunisia. But Moroccan mountains are, without doubt, the most interesting part of all the Atlas chains. Indeed, they are divided into several parallel channels, the Anti, the Middle and the High Atlas. The High Atlas attracts most visitors, many of whom come to climb Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak of north Africa (4,167 m).
The Middle Atlas is the northernmost of the massifs of Morocco. It is bounded to the north by the Sebou River, between the Rif and the south by the Moulouya and Oum Errabiaa. It consists of generally rounded reliefs separated by productive uplands.
Further in south, the High Atlas is the highest and rockiest of its mass. It stretches from the Atlantic coast to Algeria borders. At its southwest end, it dives with a relatively steep slope toward the coastal plain while its northern border descends gently towards the plain of Marrakech. The famous valley of Ourika is in the north of the massif. In the south, the massif is cut off from the city Ouarzazate through the Deraa valley, forming freshwater pools.
The Anti Atlas is the southern most massive of the Atlas. This massive is the oldest and eroded desert bordering the Sahara. It extends east to Djebel Saghro which forms a transition to the High Atlas.
Most mountain activities are available in the Atlas, but trekking is the main attraction of thousands of mainly French, Spanish and British walkers. A highly developed geology, warm weather and a colorful local population make the Atlas one of the best trekking spots in the world. The four main areas are completely different trekking: Jebel Toubkal , Jebel M’Goun , Jebel Siroua and Jebel Saghro. Toubkal is the highest and most easily reached from Marrakech, M’goun is abundant and densely populated; Siroua and Sahro are the warmest and isolated ones.
The first hikers of the Atlas will be surprised by the number of colleagues they meet there. Trekking is still in its early days here and the range is far from crowded. All visitors are not necessarily backpackers; many of them are simply visiting to see the mountains or enjoying peace times. Horseback riding, mountain biking and rock climbing are easy to organize even fascinated birds find their satisfaction in its shelters safe and important.
The Atlas may be one of the chains of the most spectacular mountains in the world. To access Jebel Toubkal one must start with Imlil valley and its famous Berber villages. Tabant is the starting point for the neck of M’goun. One of Sirwa is easily accessible from Taliouine, while Saghro should be addressed by of N’Kob.