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Middle Atlas Mountains

A holiday in Morocco can include a trip into the Middle Atlas Mountains region that lies between, and can be accessed from either, Fez and Marrakech. It is a region less popular with tourists than the High Atlas but consists of heavily forested slopes. A number of interesting Berber towns and villages to visit and also the famous waterfalls of Cascades Ouzoud. The cooler mountain air is an attractive relief from the summer heat of large Moroccan towns and cities inland.

Overview

The Region

The Middle Atlas range covers a vast area, lying just south of Fez and Meknes and running south towards Marrakech. Often covered in thick forest, with oak and cedar prevalent in the north, it is home to lakes, the Barbary “ape” (really a macaque) and numerous Berber towns, many of which are little visited by tourists. 

It is the most fertile of the Atlas ranges and runs from for around 350 km south of Fez and Meknes.  Although lower and generally less craggy than the High Atlas range, it has several peaks over 3,000 m and has a highest peak at Jebel Bou Naceur (3,340 m).

Location

The Middle Atlas mountains lie in a vast area between Fez and Marrakech in the heart of Morocco.

Due to their breadth and relatively slow road network, the range is most accessible from (we offer excursions to both these areas from the places noted):

  • Fez or Meknes, the fascinating Imperial cities, around 1 hour from the north into the northern foothills; or
  • Marrakech, the bustling centre of Morocco for most visitors, around 2.5 hours from the south into the southern section of the mountains.

Places in the Region

  • Ouzoud, 2.5 hours north of Marrakech, famous for its waterfalls and scenic olive groves and surrounds; a pretty place to stay.
  • Midelt, we recommend staying near to this market town to break your journey between the Fez or Meknes and the Saharan dunes at Merzouga.

Accommodation

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Riad Mimouna

Rating

> Destinations > Middle Atlas Mountains > Midelt

Riad Mimouna is an attractive small property with a pool, which forms part of an interesting project - a centre which is being developed to promote cultural understanding and grounds managed as a reserve. It is an ideal place to stay en route from Merzouga to Fez.

Standard Double Guide Price:

£55 per night, B&B Information

Standard double room price for indication only. Prices may vary considerably by season and room. Special offer or discount for multiple nights may apply. Prices updated periodically and can be affected by exchange rate.

2** Classic Information

For details of classifications see Star Rating and Guide Price above.

Riad Cascades D'Ouzoud

Rating

> Destinations > Middle Atlas Mountains > Ouzoud

Riad Cascades d'Ouzoud is a characterful traditional earth-built riad set in a superb scenic location next to the stunningly beautiful waterfalls, the finest in Morocco. The décor is rustic with copper washbasins, lovely clay pots and plants and beautiful painted designs on doors.

Standard Double Guide Price:

£80 per night, half board Information

Standard double room price for indication only. Prices may vary considerably by season and room. Special offer or discount for multiple nights may apply. Prices updated periodically and can be affected by exchange rate.

3*** Boutique Information

For details of classifications see Star Rating and Guide Price above.

Attractions

Things to do or see

The Northern Middle Atlas, accessed from Fez or Meknes:

  • The charming Berber towns of Bahlil, Sefrou and Azrou, from where several treks are available options.
  • The incongruous Alpine-style resort of Ifrane, set in stunning surroundings and frequented by Moroccan high society and home of the King’s summer palace, due to the cooler summer climate in the region.  In winter the region has snow and skiing is possible, most notably at nearby Mischliffen, but is very limited compared to resorts of Europe.

The Southern Middle Atlas, accessed from Marrakech offers:

  • Cascades d'Ouzoud, which are undoubtedly the most beautiful waterfalls in Morocco.
  • The recently designated M'Goun Geopark, covering nearly 12,000 sq km is centred on nearby Azilal; it contains a wealth of features of interest to geologists - mainly of Mesozoic age - including dinosaur footprints, natural pyramids and arches.  
  • Whitewater rafting on the river leading to the highly scenic reservoir lake Bin El Ouidane is an exciting possibility when the river rises with spring meltwaters between March and early May.

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