From the high Atlas Mountains to the deep Sahara Desert
As the gateway to North Africa, Marrakech is a melting pot of Arabian, Berber and European influences. Heady aromas, dazzling lanterns and stylish riads pack tightly into the medinas of the centre. And while the areas surrounding Djemaa el-Fna are magical, there’s also more to be explored at the fringes of this vibrant city. From the traditional villages cut deep into Imlil Valley, to the infinite shades of the Sahara sand – all easy to combine with a stay at some of the best hotels in Marrakech.
A Moroccan adventure wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spellbinding Sahara Desert. To really experience desert life, it’s well worth staying overnight. Hotels such as Dar Ahlam in Skoura offer the chance to camp among the dunes in a luxury tent.
See every angle of the vast desert from the comfort of a camel’s back. Camp under the stars and dine beside a roaring fire. Watch the sun set over the Sahara from the peak of a sand dune. Then gaze up at the night sky while the sound of crackling firewood cuts through the silent Sahara.
Fall head-over-heels for the Atlas Mountains
As North Africa’s highest waterfall, Ouzoud Falls is a 360-foot drop with 360-degree views from the stop. A lush ravine in an otherwise arid landscape, the falls feel like you’ve stumbled upon a secret paradise.
As it can take a few hours to get here from Marrakech, the best way to see the falls is on a private tour. From your boutique hotel, your professional driver will take you to the village of Tanaghmeilt, sharing local knowledge about the falls along the way. While you’re there, soak up every side of the falls, from the rainbows arching at the base to the sweeping views from the top. If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the caves and their water mills powered by the falls. Whichever angle you experience them from, a trip to Ouzoud Falls will be a welcome contrast to the hubbub of city life.
Four valleys. One day.
Spend a day trekking through the four valleys of the Atlas Mountains. From your hotel in Marrakech, book a tour or drive yourself to Ourika, a lush valley running through the Atlas Mountains. Follow the river to the waterfalls, or pay a visit to the Berber women extracting Morocco’s unique Argan Oil. From there, head to Oukaimeden Valley. Spend the day here marvelling at the distant, snow-topped mountains while sipping traditional mint tea. Or move on to Sidi Fares, a Berber village surrounded by olive groves. Pause for a staple Moroccan lunch of rich tagine and couscous, before you head off to the final valley – Asni. Set in traditional Berber countryside, this small town is famous for its fruit trees bearing lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. Walk through peaceful countryside and buzzing markets, before heading back to the city.
The Atlas Mountains may not seem a likely destination for ski resorts. But visit in winter and you can pair your city escape with a day of skiing. Returning to the warm, bustling streets of Marrakech after a day in the snow is certainly a surreal experience. Perfect if you want to turn your African adventure into a ski holiday like no other.
After mixing days exploring vibrant Marrakech medinas with adventures to desert dunes and rugged mountains, take time to relax before heading home. Stay at La Sultana Marrakech a historic palace with an enchanting spa at its core.