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The Atlas Mountains In Morocco As Part Of The Land Where The Sun Sets

This post is about The Atlas Mountains in Morocco as part of the land where the sun sets. Many stories have been told about the Atlas Mountains and you can believe most of them whether they are factual or part of the folktales. Scientifically, there had been a collision between Africa and America which led to the formation of ocean water-filled rift valley which we now call the Atlantic Ocean. This could have happened between 170 and 200 million years ago when the continents of the world were close to one another.

The Atlas Mountains In Morocco As Part Of The Land Where The Sun Sets
The Atlas Mountains In Morocco

COVERAGE OF THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

These are large mountain ranges found in Northwest Africa within modern-day Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Both the Mediterranean and Sahara environments have a special impact on plants, animals and people’s culture. However, within Morocco, you will find the different physical features of the Atlas Mountains. The Atlas Mountains cover 775,340 km².

DIFFERENT COMPONENTS OF THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

Morocco can boast of four out of the six components of the Atlas Mountains. The different ranges are the Anti-Atlas ranges, High Atlas Ranges, Middle Atlas ranges, Tell Atlas Ranges, The Saharan Atlas Ranges and the Aurès mountain ranges. Only the last two types of Atlas Ranges are not found in Morocco. The highest mountain in the Atlas is Mount Toubkal and it is within Morocco. Toubkal is 4170m (13,671ft). Some people claim they can see this mountain peak from Spain, the maritime border with Morocco.

MARRAKECH AS A GET WAY CITY TO THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

Marrakech is a popular town which provides a popular shopping spot for both locals and tourists. You may include well-crafted lamps, carpets and handbags on your shopping list and you will go back smiling all the way to your own country.

As you drive from the royal palace of Marrakech towards the Atlas Mountain, you see many cultivated crops and plantations. They show the simplicity of rural or peasantry life in contrast to the robust and fast life of urban life of Casablanca and other cities. There is magnificent scenery as you drive upwards to Berber villages.

Marrakech is a popular town in Morocco
Marrakech

SNOW IN SUMMER

Snow in Morocco is quite a common sight on the Atlas Mountains. There are two places on the Atlas Mountains where you can ski. One is near Ifrane and the other one near Marrakech. The months of January and February are full of snow to the extent of threatening crops such as sugar beer and sugar cane.

Minerals such as phosphate and lead can still be found in the deep layers of rocks of the Atlas Mountains as you admire them before reaching some villages and you may notice that even in summer some mountain peaks are covered with snow.

ANDROS VILLAGE

One of the villages, Andros, is 64 kilometres away from Marrakech and provides some refreshments to people going further up the mountains. It is one of the ancient villages which has been in existence since the 13th Century. It has been home to the earliest Berbers who are the natives of not only in Morocco, but also the neighbouring Arab countries. About 80 families live in this village and enjoy being helpful to tourists visiting the Atlas Mountains.

WINDING CURVES AND ALTERNATIVE FORM OF TRANSPORT

The next thing you may notice as you drive upwards towards the mountain top is that there are many curves along the road winding upwards. Donkeys and mules are used as major transportation to reach places that are far from the roads.

When you need to go further than Andros Village, it is better you hire a guide because the good road ends here and you may need the services of a donkey in certain places as you try to climb the summit. That is where you shall enjoy the breath-taking scenery.

RESORT CITY OF ESSAOUIRA

From Marrakech, you may go west towards the resort city of Essaouira. It is 3 hours away. It is a colourful port city. This is one of the favourite cities of Morocco among travellers. Every corner of the city is a fortified sand coloured border. It is also a cultural melting pot due to many races, tribes, found in it or going through it. There are many handicraft ceramics and the art galleries are in abundance together with spice market stalls. It is a typical example of a cosmopolitan city.

Middle Atlas Mountains are about a day’s drive away from Essaouira. You can experience a good nightlife by dancing the night away to the local artists who dish out danceable tunes to the delight of night revellers.

The resort city of Essaouira
Essaouira

SEAGULLS

In case you find yourself feeling lost in the medina (market) just look skywards and you shall see the seagulls that will guide you to the harbour where you can enjoy eating fresh fish roasted on a brazier or grilled to your taste. You will actually enjoy the picturesque view of the harbour as you enjoy the view of fishermen at work.

MIDELT

From Essaouira, it is advisable that you proceed to the majestic Middle Atlas Mountains. You shall pass through the peaceful town of Midelt. This is where you can spend your time watching the nomadic shepherds with their flocks. Next, you can find yourself in the village of Bremmen where local farmers will be busy working in their fields. At night under the shining stars, you can dance to local music…

The following day you can reach the Todgha Gorge in the midst of impressive limestone river canyons located on the eastern side of the High Atlas Mountains.

EL KORBAT OUJDID

Visit also El Korbat Oujdid, a fortified village with an oasis museum. After that be ready to explore the High Atlas Mountain by using a guide or hike a donkey to make your way easier up to the Berber villages of which occupants will introduce you to their ancient culture of hospitality and craftsmanship.

THE KSAR OF AITI-BEN-HADDOU

From the villages, you may want to visit the Ksar of Aiti-Ben-Haddou. It is a traditional mudbrick city found on the edge of the Eastern High Atlas Mountain. It served as a traditional caravan route between Marrakech and the Sahara Desert. Several videos have been shot from here together with some exciting television series. This has made Morocco a Top Holiday Destination for many travellers around the world.

Even caravan traders who sprang from Sudan would stop over here to refresh themselves and their camels before reaching Marrakech. Therefore, this city prospered greatly because of the many numbers of traders stopping over to trade in gold, silver, salt and other valuable items. Therefore, the city still boasts of its natural beauty with earthen walls, guard towers and its own share of tourists visiting Morocco.

BEST TIME TO VISIT MOROCCO

Although many people say Morocco can be visited at any time of the year, the majority of the people prefer visiting Morocco in April and May and then September to November. I just hope that one of these days we may meet in one of those restaurants on top of the Atlas Mountains enjoying Moroccan Traditional dishes and dancing the night away before the gifted traditional musicians.

 

12 thoughts on “The Atlas Mountains In Morocco As Part Of The Land Where The Sun Sets

  1. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. i know very little about morocco and the mountains that are located there i always hear of cassablanca but i have never been there. i think this is an opportunity to visit and learn more.

    1. Thank you, Benny, about your positive comments about the website.
      You need to visit Morocco in your lifetime to discover its uniqueness. Apart from Casablanca, other places you can visit that I didn’t mention are Fes, Meknes, Chefchaouen, Rabat and Asilah. You will like the sandy beaches, painted ambience and traditional sites.

  2. wow, this is such a comprehensive review of the atlas mountains and it feels like it is in another part of the continent although I am in the Africa continent and I like the fact that there is dried fish at Medina market.  I will plan to be here on one of the holidays this year.  Thank you so much for such vital information.

    1. Rutz, we may be on the same continent but fail to reach all the places.
      I hope I will be able to sort out for the places to visit first. I am sure you will like Marrakech, which is known to be the safest city in all Morocco. It is not only popular for its food but for its culture, red old architecture and the Koutoubia Mosque as well.
      I hope to read your review one day after you have visited this country.

  3. Many thanks to you for sharing such an excellent article with us .I went to Morocco’s Atlas tour two more years ago with my family.And the most popular city in the city of Marrakech, I went shopping with my family.And the city most suitable for shopping is Marrakech.And the scenery from the inside of the car is very beautiful as the Atlas moves in from the front.There are many crops and shrubs that show the success of rural or peasant life.And when we get to Madinah, seeing the sea there attracts my mind, and it’s like eating fresh fresh fish.

    1. Shariful, I am glad you have been to the Atlas Mountains and can share your experience with us.
      Whoever has been to the market in Marrakech has had a wonderful shopping experience.

      Apart from the pleasant scenery, I hope you had the time to go to the Dar Si Said Museum, where you can learn more about the culture and tradition of the Moroccans. 
      Hotel La Maison Arabe in Kechmara is also a beautiful place to be for dinner and to unwind after touring Marrakesh.

  4. Many thanks to you for sharing such a beautiful article with us .I went to Morocco last year and saw the Atlas Mountains where the sun goes down .One of the really fascinating scenes was for me .I went to Marrakech and it’s a very popular city that provided a popular shopping spot for both locals and tourists. .I bought handbags and carpets from here .From the palace of Marrakech I saw a lot while driving towards Mount Atlas .The simplicity of the agricultural life of the farmers here has really fascinated me .I am still fascinated by the snow in Morocco in the Atlas Mountains .The donkey here is known as the big transport to get to many places along the curved road. What really surprised me about my donkey service for the final ascent .I like to eat traditional dishes a lot and the songs here really hold their traditions pretty well.The Atlas Mountains in Morocco are really nice and I’ll be back again this year and will definitely share with you my new experience .Can I share your article on my social media?

    1. Thank you, Shanta, for the decent comment you have shared. Please go right ahead and share the article anywhere you like because this information should reach as many travel enthusiasts as possible.

      For over 200 years, the people of Morocco have been making hand made carpets and their products are one the best in Africa. So it was good you purchased one of the finest products on the continent from your tour there.  
      To know how fascinating the Atlas mountains are, on Thursday, 13th February 2020, NASA, using their Spitzer Telescope, released a beautiful image of these Mountains of Morocco with infrared bands depicting different rocks and showing their complex folding.

  5. Visiting the Atlas Mountains in Morocco has long been on my bucket list. I don’t want to climb them, just take in the breathtaking scenery and history. I see there are various modes of transport up the winding roads, so I would take full advantage of these.

    Reading this article I see there is so much more to see than I imagined and it was interesting to read just how the mountains were formed all those years ago. Skiing is something that also looks like a must-do, as well as visiting the resort city of Essaouira.

    1. Michel, I believe it is time you knocked Morocco off your bucket list, and have a ride on donkey or mule near the mountains. 
      I see you want to visit the resort city of Essaouira. If you have been following Game of Thrones, it will thrill you to be in the city where season three was shot. It is a town that was made popular in the 1960s with visits from musicians like Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix. 
      The Gnaoua World Music Festival still remains Essaouira’s major attraction every year in June, where over 500,000 take part in a three-day event. They place live music ranging from blues, reggae, jazz and hip-hop.
      I am certain you will have a great time.

  6. Your post reminds me of a fortress in Ait-Ben-Haddou in southern Morocco. After you get through its impressive entranceway, I navigated a labyrinth of winding alleys that led toa public square where the settlement’s inhabitants once gathered. I recall there were a mosque and two cemeteries; one for Muslims and one for Jews.
    It was a nice moment for me to see how some homes converted into stalls selling handicrafts.

    The fortress is indeed a perfect setting for shooting films and possible music videos and it is located a short distance from the film studios of Ouarzazate, Morocco.
    This blog has indeed played back those moments for me.

    1. Thank you, Kaju, for this elaborate encounter you had in Morocco.
      Ouarzazate is home to Morocco’s biggest studios and many reknown international film companies have been there for filming purposes.
      Ouarzazate, in history, was a central point for African traders en route to Europe. It was an administrative centre and customs point.
      It is also known for its Ouazguita geomtric designed carpets.

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