Middle Atlas Mountains
The Middle Atlas is a solid mountainous mass of 350 km in length in the northeast of Morocco with a unique charm. Its wealth of biodiversity, both in fauna and flora, make the Middle Atlas a popular tourist destination. Extensive forests of cedar spread over the mountains slopes, intersected by deep valleys.
Bordered by the rich Plaine du SaÔs and the cities of Fez, Meknes and Beni Mellal, the mountainous reaches of the Middle Atlas are the stronghold of Berber tribes, speaking Tamazight and living at very low population densities.
The Middle Atlas is crossed by one of the principal access roads to the south Marocain, connecting Fez with Tafilalet. The Middle Atlas ends in the east at Tazekka National Park, with a landscape replete with narrow canyons and caves. In the south of Sefrou, the forests of cedars, Holm Oak and Cork Oak alternate with small lakes full of fish. The jewel of the Middle Atlas is Ifrane National Park, located between Khenifra and Ifrane.
Things to See & Do
The Middle Atlas is an area of Morocco that, surprisingly, doesnít get much attention from outdoor enthusiasts who prefer the slopes of Oukaimden and the High Atlas Mountains where they scale to the summit of Mount Toubkal. However, with an altitude in most places over one-mile (1.6 km), the Middle Atlas shouldnít be overlooked if youíre searching for an alpine experience. Because of its elevation, the Middle Atlas experiences snow during the winter months and a cool climate during the summer.
Winter in the Middle Atlas can be as extreme as that of the High Atlas. With snow and significant precipitation that falls from November through April, the soil of its forests and grasslands in the lower altitudes bring nutritional prosperity to millions. If you come between December and March, be sure to bring your snowshoes, cross-country, downhill skis, or even a snowboard. You can also rent them from one of the many higher-end hotels in Ifrane. The slopes of Michlifen are where most Moroccans and tourists choose to flock. However, if you continue on the same road towards Errachidia and Midelt, the surrounding hills provide much more freedom and flexibility for any of the aforementioned activities.
On a sunny day, you can park alongside the road and trek the open terrain. If youíve packed your windsurfing gear, try gliding around any of the sizeable lakes you come across. You will most likely be the only person around, but you might happen upon a Berber town, or spot shepherds who know the hills better than anyone. These once warring Berber tribesman are some of the nicest people that youíll meet in all of Morocco. Donít be surprised if you are invited for tea in one of their rocky, adobe-like houses.
Rolling ridges run from Fez to Marrakech with cedar forests scattered along the way. In the Azrou and Ifrane areas, Barbary apes watch from their upper canopies. Additionally, the Middle Atlas has some of the best trout and fly-fishing in Africa. As the season begins in March, Moroccans and foreigners alike don their gear and their fishing passes as early as 4 a.m. to ensure a worthwhile catch. If you are in the Azrou or Ifrane area, get your one-day pass the day before your trip. It will cost around 100 Dirhams (£6/9 EUR).
The Middle Atlas is by far one of the best-kept secrets of outdoor splendour in all of Morocco. Stay there for a day or two and head for the cedars to see the monkeys, snowshoe the hills, fly-fish the streams, or windsurf its lakes. Make sure to breathe in plenty of the fresh air as the views and the altitude can leave you breathless.
Enquiries & Booking
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Middle Atlas Mountain tour, please call us on +44(0)7713 615829 or send an email to
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© COPYRIGHT 2006-2008 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LAYTEN LIMITED Date last edited: 12 November 2012