The Atlas Mountains Trip
If you’re in Marrakesh for more than a two or three days, this is one thing I would recommend you do. While Marrakesh is full of life and bustle I found I needed a bit of peace and tranquillity. The Atlas Mountains trip was just what was needed. Also, it was a great contrast between the city and the mountains. Each activity punctuated the strengths of the other.
This was on my friend John’s to-do list, and I’m so glad he suggested it. This is just what I needed after the city.
Our driver Omar picked us up from our hotel, The Riad Villa Wenge TripAdvisor was a great place to stay. And we made our way out of the city towards the Atlas mountains. Of course, as this was a new place there were lots to see out the window as we drove along. We were in a Toyota land cruiser. This, we found out later was very necessary the some of the roads we were on!
Our first stop was to be a traditional Berber market. Not a tourist market, this was one for the benefit of the locals and we could see that as soon we had arrived. This was a traditional weekly market where locals could buy food clothing and almost everything you could imagine. There were people sharpening knives, butchers, some chap was shooing a donkey. Which reminds me of a joke that can’t be repeated here. If you ever meet me ask me about my horseshoeing joke!
Fresh Local Produce
Anyway, back to the market. One thing among many that struck me about the market, was the amount of good fresh produce available. Some of the displays of vegetables looked really colourful and mouthwatering.
There was also food on offer, of course, although we didn’t try any. The market was set in the foothills of the Atlas mountains. And it made for an amazing backdrop to what was a busy market. I almost use the word vibrant, as it’s accepted meaning is to mean busy and full of life. However, I prefer the original use of the word vibrant, actually means, as you can probably guess from the word, something which vibrates.
The foothills of the Atlas Mountains
After our visit to the Berber market, we headed off into the foothills and further up into the mountains. We had a lunch appointment with the traditional Berber family. On our way, we stopped for tea, the traditional mint tea which if I were to guess I would say is the national drink. It was quite delightful and refreshing. We sat by the river and watch the world go by was sipping our tea.
After a quick stop at an argan oil making facility, we climbed further into the mountains. And we were confronted by some spectacular scenery on our Atlas Mountains Trip. Jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, these are just some of the superlatives I could use to describe the Atlas mountains. The mountain roads provided some spectacular scenery with some hefty drops on one side of the road and steep climbs on the other.
For a language developed to scream at the monkey in the next tree my words cannot do the scenery justice! I’ll include a gallery of some of the photos I took at the bottom of this blog so you can see for yourself what it was like. That way, you don’t have to rely on my failing perspicacity!
Lunch, which was in a traditional Berber house on their terrace balcony was the best to tagine I have ever tasted. We ate this overlooking the mountains and valleys of the high Atlas mountains. Such a peaceful lunch setting, blankets were supplied just in case we were cold as, of course, we were at altitude.
For the money cost, it was well worth it. Having a local guide and somebody else to concentrate on the driving meant we could look out the window to our heart’s content and see the fantastic scenery. And, was great to get out of the city and see another side of Morocco that some visitors just going to Marrakesh would miss. It’s a different way of life, a feeling of peace and tranquillity. In good company, while eating the best tagine in Morocco, that feeling goes a long way.
For my pictures and videos of Marrakech, see here.
Our tour company can be found here and the cost of the day tour to the Atlas mountains was about £60.
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