Standing at the gateway between southern Europe and North Africa, Morocco is an exotic and culturally vibrant nation. The High Atlas Mountains pass close to Marrakesh and offer easy access to superb trekking and mountain climbing, including winter mountaineering when the 4000m peaks are covered with snow and ice, quite a surprise for this desert nation. The white ribbon of the Atlas in winter is easily seen from the hot and bustling souks of Marrakesh.
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Morocco has deep culture roots. The country is mainly composed of Arabs and Berbers. The Berbers live mostly in the mountainous regions of the country, such as the Atlas Mountains. Marrakesh lies at the heart of the Atlas Mountains. Meaning “Land of God” in Berber, this city hosts a wealth of culture. Put your finger on the pulse of Marrakesh and head to the Djemaa el-Fna. This souk contains the heart of the city. At nearly all hours of the day this place is alive with snake charmers, musicians, and street food galore. Experience the grand artistry of the Bahia Palace. From silk paintings to tilework, this place is a maze of craftsmanship. Marrakesh provides endless opportunity to immerse yourself in the Berber way of life.
Just outside of Marrakesh lies the peaceful Atlas Mountains. Lesser-known as far as trekking goes, these peaks offer excellent opportunities to enjoy amazing scenery while experiencing the Moroccan way of life. At Adventure Alternative, we take the lesser tracked routes in order to truly experience the welcoming Moroccan hospitality.
Adventure Alternative offers trips to these fantastic peaks year-round. Mount Toubkal is only 40 miles south of Marrakesh. When the weather is clear you can see this magnificent peak directly from Marrakesh. In order to enjoy the culture and scenery in a more authentic way, we take the less traveled route up the mountain. We offer a variety of other treks in the High Atlas Mountains. The Atlas are still undiscovered by many, and the lack of tourists means you enjoy this wonderful mountain playground in solitude.
Adventure Alternative also offers a luxury trekking package for those who are looking for a little pampering on their holiday. Relax in stunning lodges while trekking along the Atlas Mountains. See the way life has been for centuries while discovering remote mountain villages. Enjoy the famed rooftop views of Kasbah du Toubkal. This tour is all about you.
Sidi Moussa is an area not to miss in the High Atlas. Take the road west out of Tabant and there is a trailhead to the Sidi Mouassa, a UNESCO world heritage site. A 25-minute walk uphill will lead you to Sidi Moussa. Come in the evening and witness a spectacular sunset.
Berber culture dominates the mountain region. These people are spread across North Africa, they have no official homeland. They refer to themselves as “free people.” They are an ancient culture that has been around since 5,000BC. The Berbers were invaded by the Islam in the 600s. Despite the conquest, their culture is still intact today. They have their own language group and most practice Islam.
If you are interested in culinary arts, then Morocco is the place for you. In Morocco Mediterranean flair meets Arabian spices to create well-rounded dishes guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds. Fine oils, Mediterranean fruits and vegetables are a staple. Couscous, a small grain, is a national delicacy. Often times it is served with beef that has been cooked in a tagine oven to perfection. Salads are also common, usually containing aubergine and tomatoes, such as Zaalouk.
Perhaps you are a seafood connoisseur. Morocco boasts over 3,000km of coastline, making it a hub for fishers. Although sardines are their largest export, you can also indulge in sole, swordfish and tuna. With the flair and spice that is signature to Moroccan cuisine you will be in culinary heaven.
As you find yourself falling in love with the flavors of Morocco enroll in a cooking class and take the flavors home with you. Visit the souks and pick up the freshest ingredients, then get to work in the kitchen learning to cook in a traditional style.
For color and vibrancy head to Fez, a jewel of a city in the North Atlas region. One of the oldest medieval cities it boasts some of the best-preserved old cities in all of the Arab world. Enjoy delicious meal after delicious meal in one of the cities many famous tagine shops. Crawl through the bustling old Arab quarters, or medina, and take in all of the sights and smells in the many souks. This maze of alleyways and streets is best explored organically, without an itinerary. Lose yourself in the ancient buildings, check out a local spice shop, stop and observe the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Watch as the tanners work with leather in the Chaouwara Tanneries.
Outside of the mountains, along the North Atlantic coast lies the city of Casablanca. Most travelers will enter and exit through this modern city. Although it might not be the Morocco you expected, this metropolis is the perfect place to rest your head after a long journey of travel.
Walk the halls of Medersa Bou Inania. Medersa Bou Inania is one of the oldest theological colleges in the world. This place contains a complete mosque and all of the stunning Arab architecture to go along with it. Get lost in a maze of tiled rooms and halls. It is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Stop by the Palais Royale, or Royal Palace to see a stunning example of restoration in Fez.
In Morocco you can step back in time. Experience life the way it has been for centuries. Walk among the stunning Atlas Mountains, just as the Berbers have done for centuries. See the beauty and flair that makes Morocco so unique.