Driving in the High Mountains
After the unforgettable journeys through the desert we now are in mountainous terrain. The desert unnoticed changes into the Atlas, the highest mountain range in North Africa with peaks well over 3000 meters. This also means that the temperatures in this season, winter and early spring, especially at night, can still be quite low.
We enjoy the roughness of the landscape and the exceptional friendliness of the people in this area, see A special hospitable encounter.
At the bottom of the Atlas
We have already made a long drive through the Atlas (see The Moroccan Sahara (2)) when we arrive in Aoufous. A beautiful town in the middle of the palm oasis of the Oued Ziz, the river Ziz. The river provides water for the palms and the fields in between on which crops are grown almost all year round.
We spend a few nights at camping Hakkou where owner Ahmad manages to entertain his guests all day long with morning tea, a common meal on the odd day and just pleasant entertaining chats during the day.
Ahmad invites us to explore the palmaire around the campsite with him. He has lived here all his life and can tell us everything about the variation of dates produced here (I didn’t even know there were different kinds of dates) and the difference between male and female trees. To show this difference, he even climbs a tree.
He also takes us into the old Ksar of Aoufous, the walled city in which the families lived together until the second half of the last century and collectively processed the oasis products, for example in the olive press.
Into the Atlas
The road from the south into the Atlas is the main road between Fez, one of the royal cities and Merzouga, in the middle of the desert. African traffic conditions also apply here.
The further we drive off the main road, the rougher the terrain and roads become, until you can no longer really speak of a road, but rather a rough unpaved path, or even less than that.
Beautiful overnight places
Many campsites are not to be found in the Atlas, but all the more beautiful are the overnight spots that we find at the countless reservoirs and other water basins that we visit.
Snow and beautiful landscapes
There is even skiing here, just not now …
The other side of the Atlas
We choose our route in such a way that we drive through the cedar forest from the Atlas towards the Royal cities. Beautiful forests and we even see the Macaques, monkeys that live here.
The city of Azrou is the end of the Atlas for us. The beautiful mosque and the murals surprise us.