Morocco invokes countless images of arid deserts and barren landscapes, but there is much more to this North African jewel than just sand dunes and camels (although there are those in abundance as well). For those on a holiday involving walking in Morocco, aside from the bustling cities and the rolling sand dunes there is plenty of enjoyment to be had. Read on for just some of the natural delights of this fascinating country.
Escape to the Desert
Naturally, one of the first terrains you will encounter when on a holiday walking in Morocco is the desert; however you may well want to enlist the help of a four-legged friend for this adventure! The fascinating deserts – or “seas of sand” as they are known – at Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga are a spectacular sight to behold. Depending on the time of day and the time of year you encounter them, the sands can appear anything from a deep, burnt orange to hot red or cool gold. While an expedition here is not for the faint hearted (the dunes are nothing short of gigantic) it is well worth the effort for the traveller who faces the challenge. Many choose to stay overnight in one of the traditional tents, getting a true taste of life in the desert as it has been for many years.
Traverse the Verdant Todra Gorge
While not easy to reach, with its position nudged in between the Atlas Mountains, it is certainly accessible for those who wish to make this a part of their holiday walking in Morocco. Upon arrival the only reaction is awe: the walls of the gorge soar up around you and the jagged faces of the rocks close in to only about 10 metres in places. A river makes its way through the gorge adding to the picturesque vista. Farmers still work the land as its soil yields abundant crops with the dual aspects of excellent shelter and plenty of sunshine. If the hike gets too challenging there is also a road to take.
While most water based holidays in the country revolve (naturally) around the stunning beaches around Essaouira, for those who prefer fresh water a visit to lake Tiguelmamine can surprise – in all the best ways. The area is simply spectacular with a location high in the Atlas Mountains a short distance (about 40 kms) outside the city of Khenifrain. With the contrasting colours of sky, lake and verdant foliage that surround it, this is a true gem to discover when walking in Morocco. When you come across it in a landscape of dry earth and rocky outcrops, it appears almost like a mirage. Don’t worry, it is real and well worth a visit.