Welcome to North Africa’s highest mountain range, known by local Berbers as ‘Idraren Draren’ (Mountains of Mountains), and a trekker’s paradise from spring through to autumn. The High Atlas runs diagonally across Morocco for almost 1000km, encircling Marrakesh to the south and east from the Atlantic Coast just north of Agadir to Khenifra in the northeast. Its saw-toothed Jurassic peaks act as a weather barrier between the mild, Mediterranean climate to the north and the encroaching Sahara to the south.
In its highest reaches, snow falls regularly from September to May, allowing for winter sports in Oukaïmeden, while year-round rivers flow northwards towards Marrakesh creating a network of fertile valleys – the Zat, Ourika, Mizane and Ouirgane. Happiest of all are the secluded valleys of the central High Atlas, which include Zaouiat Ahansal, Aït Bougomez, Aït Bououli and Aït Blel.
In the High Atlas the main language is the Berber dialect of Tashelhit, with some pockets of Tamazight.