The Atlas Mountains in Morocco
A lot of people have the idea that North Africa is a vast desert.
While this is certainly true, that is not really the case to a very large extent.
The fact is that much of North Africa, at least the western half of it, is covered by a vast mountain range called the Atlas Mountains.
The mountains are spread out across three major countries in North Africa, namely Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
Out of these three countries, Tunisia has the smallest share of this mountain range, with a small part of its northwestern region covered by the ranges.
About half of the remaining mountain ranges are located in Algeria, while the other half is in Morocco.
Coming to the Moroccan part of the mountain range, roughly half of the entire range is located in the country.
Indeed, you could say that about half of the country is mountainous, with the other half being either a desert or various coastal geographic formations.
And this part of Morocco happens to be one of the most scenic and wonderful places in the country.
From stunning landscapes to beautiful sceneries, you can find it all in these parts.
The Atlas Mountains are very popular among tourists, due to the many amazing outdoor adventures and activities it offers.
From trekking and camping to birdwatching and sightseeing, the Atlas Mountains offer it all.
There are several sub-ranges within the Atlas Mountains, the details of which are given in the list below:
• Anti-Atlas, High Atlas and the Middle Atlas
• Tell Atlas
• Aurès Mountains
• Saharian Atlas
Also called as the ‘lesser Atlas’ or the ‘Little Atlas’, the mountain ranges extend from the Atlantic ocean in Southwestern Morocco to the northeast of the country.
The High Atlas range is situated in the central region of Morocco, stretching from the west of the country to the east.
It is one of the largest subranges of the Atlas Mountains and has numerous high peaks such as the Ighil mGoun and Toubkal peak.
The Middle Atlas
The Middle Atlas is located entirely in Morocco and is situated in the northernmost part of the Atlas mountain range.
It is situated just north of the High Atlas, and near to the coastal plains of the country.
The Saharian Atlas
The Saharian Atlas is located mostly in Algeria and in the eastern part of the Atlas Mountains.
It is relatively shorter in comparison to the other subranges and is the one which marks the edge of the Sahara Desert.
The Tell Atlas is a mountain range that stretches along the coastal regions of northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean coast.
It stretches from Morocco in the West to Tunisia in the East.
The Aures Atlas are not found in Morocco but rather in Algeria and Tunisia.
They are a fairly moderate mountain range that stretches out from along the eastern part of the Atlas mountain range.
In all, the subranges that can be found in Morocco are the High, Middle, Anti, Saharan and Tell Atlas.
Exploring the Atlas Mountains
There is much to do and explore in the Atlas Mountains.
If you are planning on any trip along or across the Atlas Mountains, one of the best places to stay in would be in Marrakech.
The city is the fourth largest in Morocco and located in the center of the country.
Situated just adjacently to the vast Atlas ranges, it is one of the best cities to use as a base, for exploring this mighty mountain range.
The best time to visit the Atlas Mountains is during the winter, autumn and just after summer.
It’s because the temperatures in this part of the world can be rather hot for tourists.
Do note that as you go higher up, the summers tend to be rather tolerable, due to the climate being a ‘Mediterranean’ one rather than a desert one.
Some Important Tourist Hotspots
Given in the list below are some of the best places to visit if you are interested in exploring the vast Atlas Mountains.
The Berber are an ethnic group native to the regions in and around Morocco.
If you happen to be visiting these mountain ranges, you can look forward to visiting some of their villages, which are scattered all throughout the Atlas ranges.
It is a great place for one to check out scenic views, go on treks and enjoy the fresh mountain air.
Ouirgane National Park
The Ourigane National Park was set up to protect and preserve the beauty of the vast Atlas ranges.
In addition to the scenic sights, there are also hiking trails that you can look forward to here.
This is a small town located in the high atlas and is famous for people wanting to go out on treks or climb the nearby Mount Toubkal.
Asni is a small town located near Marrakech, where people travel to get some peace and quiet. It is also known for snowfall as well.
This is by far one of the most famous villages in the Atlas mountain range.
Set up by the Haddidou, a semi-nomadic tribe, the village is a picturesque and quiet village located fairly deep inside the Atlas mountain range.
It is a fairly laid-back and calm place, where people can go to when they feel like escaping from the rush of urban life.
Tizi n’Tichka Pass
The mountain pass has been used for a very long time to travel across the Atlas mountain ranges.
Today, it is frequented by trekkers who want to get a glimpse of this vast mountain range and its stunning views.
This is an important tourist destination in the Atlas Mountains of Marrakech.
It is a walled and fortified city, that served as both a military fortification as well as a place of refuge.
From olive groves to protective walls, this is an excellent piece of history not to be missed.
As a whole, the Atlas Mountains are an excellent place to experience the wonderful natural beauty that nature has to offer.
And if you are interested in getting a glimpse of this vast mountain range, there is no better place to check it out than Morocco.
Video By: The Budgeteers