High Atlas Mountains
Travel to High Atlas Mountains – North Africa’s Highest Peaks
Located in central Morocco, The High Atlas Mountains, also called the Grand High Atlas, are the biggest mountain range in North Africa. The range is split up into three different ridges that climax just south of the city of Marrakech – home of the Jebel Toubkal National Park.
The villages in the High Atlas are small but thriving and are home to the Berbers who are enduring, hospitable and very friendly people. The villages offer stylish Moroccan accommodation in the local houses and there are established guides available. The high peaks force the clouds to give high quantities of rainfall; therefore the High Atlas has many fertile valleys surrounded by rivers and waterfalls.
The High Atlas rises in the west at the Atlantic Ocean and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border. In fact, it features some of the most beautiful regions of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. These mountains are the highest in the area, with Toubkal stretching to 4,167 metres above sea level, whereas the Middle Atlas reaches heights of 3,350 metres and the highest peaks of the Anti Atlas reach 2,531 metres.
The range serves as a weather system barrier in Morocco running east-west and separating the Sahara’s climatic influences, which are particularly pronounced in the summer, from the more Mediterranean climate to the north, resulting in dramatic changes in temperature across the range. In the higher elevations the range snow falls regularly, allowing winter sports. Snow lasts well into late spring in the High Atlas, mostly on the northern faces of the range.
The High Atlas forms the basins for a multiplicity of river systems. The majority of the year-round rivers flow to the north, providing the basis for the settlements there. A number of wadis and seasonal rivers terminate in the deserts to the south and plateaux to the east of the mountains.
Mineral deposits found in the Atlas range are gold, silver, lead, iron, phosphates lead and zinc.
The population of the Atlas Mountains in general consists of Berber people. They are an indigenous ethnic group of northwest Africa.
Visitors to the High Atlas Mountains have many villages and sites to discover. Among them there is the Draa Valley, the Ourika Valley, the Lake Lala Takerkoust, Tahanaoute, Amizmiz, Asni, Tin Mal, Ljoukak, Oukaimeden, and Imlil.
The Western High Atlas is the most popular for tour companies and travellers alike. The area boasts the 4,167 metre peak Toubkal which can be ascended on foot.
The Central High Atlas offers its visitors magnificent gorges, valleys and canyons. The most popular are the Todra and Dades Gorges. Rock climbing and trekking are quite popular in these areas.
The Eastern High Atlas contains other peaks that compete with that of Jebel Toubkal. Both Jebel Ayachi and Jebel Saghro offer some amazing hiking. Extreme skiers frequent the area in winter in order to enjoy the difficult terrain and splendid views of the surrounding countryside. In this area, the Atlasaurus was discovered, which has given the area some fame.
Visitors to the High Atlas are spoilt for choice. Find your own quiet place and enjoy the magical landscapes of the High Atlas mountains.
The High Atlas has walks to suit all abilities; mules and horses are available in the villages if riding suits you better than walking. Mules carry baggage and equipment whilst on trek.
- See the beauty and touch the culture of the High Atlas mountains.
- Discover Berber villages clinging to mountainsides, with terraces of apple and apricot trees.
- Get out on foot and hike or trek in North Africa’s biggest mountain range.