Lay of the Land
“The sky was pure blue verging on turquoise green where the Altas floated above the mist.”~Edith Wharton
Morocco is a varied country, offering coast, desert, mountains, palm groves and cities to explore, but mapping out an itinerary can be tricky as the domestic air service is quite limited. Members can work with our Bookings Team to map out a trip suited to their tastes and interests. Among the highlights to consider:
High Atlas Mountains
To many, the most beautiful part of Morocco is the rural landscape of the High Atlas Mountains. Here, earthen Berber villages lay terraced into the mountains, their flat, baked-mud roofs nestled against the fertile slopes. Life moves at a slow pace, and the virtues of family and hospitality to strangers are held in high regard.
With over half of the country’s population living in rural areas, the Atlas Mountains provide a wonderful peak into the culture and beauty of Morocco’s countryside. There are opportunities for great hikes and mountain climbs, including a summit of Mount Toubkal, which can be accomplished in an overnight trip.
Known for its many prominent Kasbahs and nicknamed the “door of the desert,” Ouarzazate is located to the south of the High Atlas Mountains and is a wonderful base from which to visit the Draa Valley and desert. For those in search of something a bit off-the-beaten-path, Ouarzazate lies in the south of Morocco and is the gateway to the Sahara desert and its oases.
Famous for its seafood and agriculture, Agadir is a fishing and commercial port as well as a sea-side resort. You can either drive from the Atlas Mountains or fly from Casablanca to the seaside city of Agadir, which has a lovely small hotel. From here, you can visit the hilltop ruins of the old town’s Kasbah in Agadir as well as its colorful walled souk “Al Ahad.” You can also get a glimpse of the Berber traditions in the Talborjt Quarter, which is reputed for its skilled artisans and craftsmen. Or you can simply relax on the property and enjoy its acres of orange trees and organic gardens.
First, the bad news: if you want to explore beyond Marrakech, you have to accept that domestic traveling is neither easy nor glamorous. Morocco stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sahara, and much of it is mountainous, so journeying between towns and regions is arduous and time-consuming. Flights often get canceled on short notice and many roads are unpaved.
But if you are the type of traveler who can deal with last-minute itinerary tweaks and less-polished or -comfortable transportation options, Morocco holds a wealth of worthwhile experiences. Going with a trusted operator is crucial precisely because you want to be flexible on the ground and leave the details to a local.