Must see attractions in High Atlas Mountains

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ourika Valley

    Anima Garden

    Nestled in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, Anima Garden is a space designed by multimedia artist André Heller. Surprising sculptures referencing local and international themes are hidden among the shady pathways and flowerbeds filled with wildflowers, cacti, water features, palm trees and tall grass. The on-site cafe serves light food, sweets and an array of hot beverages. There's a free shuttle service here from just behind Koutoubia Gardens in Marrakesh; seat preference is given to those with online reservations. Check the website for shuttle timings and detailed directions to the pickup point.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ourika Valley

    Ecomusée Berbère

    Four kilometres past Tnine, a discreet sign points up a dirt path into the Amazigh (Berber) village of Tafza, where the three-storey mud-brick ksar (fortified village) that once housed the local qaid (chief) is now a museum. Enthusiastic guided visits (in English, French or Spanish) cover every detail of household life, from symbols carved in door frames to silver dowry jewellery, and a 1½-hour loop of short documentaries show life in the High Atlas in the 1940s and ’50s. Call ahead to reserve meals on the terrace (Dh70), to arrange visits to Tafza pottery workshops, or for half-day excursions that take in community gardens, pottery workshops and village life.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ijoukak

    Tin Mal Mosque

    This Almohad-era mosque was built in 1156 in honour of the dynasty’s strict spiritual leader, Mohammed Ibn Tumart, and it remains an architectural wonder. The mosque is still used for Friday prayers, but on other days the guardian will usher you through its massive doors and rose-coloured archways into the serene prayer hall. The intricate geometry of the carved cedar ceilings has been preserved through painstaking restoration, and the soaring archways give a sense of solidity and grace.

  • Sights in Ourika Valley

    Safranerie de l'Ourika

    Almost anything thrives in Ourika’s rich soil, including saffron, organically grown here from bulbs that are cultivated near Talouine. Saffron is a high-maintenance plant, with flowers harvested before dawn for maximum potency. Guided tours of the several-hectare fruit and saffron orchards are given by staff who reiterate key points on explanatory placards. Tours end with a complimentary tea (a mixture of herbs grown in the garden) and a soft-sell of Safranerie saffron and estate-grown herbal teas (around Dh100). You can also watch the harvest take place during the first three weeks of November, although you'll need to arrange it in advance and get here by around 5am. To get here look for the poorly signed turnoff about 700m west of the bridge, opposite a pharmacy.

  • Sights in Ait Bougmez Valley

    Zawiya of Sidi Moussa

    For a spectacular sunset, climb the steep but straightforward trail up to the zawiya (shrine) of Sidi Moussa, a local marabout (saint), on a conical hilltop at the centre of the valley. Look for the trailhead just opposite the Gîte Timit. The round structure served as a collective granary and has been restored through a community effort, with fitted-stone walls and weather-beaten wooden doors making a worthy photo backdrop. When it's open, locals charge Dh10 admission, which includes tea.

  • Sights in Ourika Valley

    Jardin Bio-Aromatique d'Ourika

    The organic botanical gardens of a Franco-Moroccan bath-product company combining Amazigh (Berber) herbal remedies with modern aromatherapy make for pleasant wandering, and they certainly smell great. With reservations it's also possible to order meals (Dh70 to Dh120), with many ingredients plucked fresh from the gardens. Just west of the bridge in Tnine, turn north along a dirt track at a poorly signed turnoff.

  • Sights in Tabant

    Sunday Souq

    The valley's weekly market takes place on Sunday and offers a great insight into valley life. Traders and shoppers start arriving in Tabant on Saturday evening, 'parking' their donkeys at the top of town. Expect an authentic experience of busy butchers stalls and veg vendors alongside traders selling everything from used clothes and imported shoes to teapots and tajines and even the kitchen sink (literally).

  • Sights in Zaouiat Oulmzi

    Lac Izoughar

    At the very upper (northeastern) end of the Aït Bougmez Valley, the seasonal Lac Izoughar is a favoured watering hole for the nomadic Aït Atta tribe. Higher water levels make this most impressive in March and April, but the 11km from the village and back is pleasant hiking anytime of the year.

  • Sights in Toubkal National Park

    Cascades d’Irhoulidene

    This splendid waterfall cascades for more than 20m above Azib Tamsoult and makes an excellent full-day hike from Imlil or acclimisation day en route to climbing Toubkal. A small shop nearby sells cold drinks and basic snacks.

  • Sights in Amizmiz

    Amizmiz Tuesday Souq

    The bustling Amizmiz souq remains one of the most sprawling in all the High Atlas.

  • Sights in Ourika Valley

    Aghmat Archaeological Site

    These excavations, about 200m to the left off the main road, began in 2010 and have revealed ancient urban foundations, including a hammam, grand mosque, marketplace and irrigation. More than 7000 artefacts have so far been unearthed, and there are hopes for a future museum. For the moment, there are only windswept ruins and the excavated hammam to peek into – casual historians will probably be content to look in from over the fence. It's possible to go inside with a small donation to the site gardien (caretaker).

  • Sights in Oukaimeden

    Petroglyphs

    A signed open-air petroglyph site sits just at the entrance to Oukaimeden, with carved illustrations of pastoral life and geometric patterns first catalogued by researchers in 1949. Look for small metal stakes marking the location of the most important carvings, or ask one of the local faux guides (unofficial guides), who will inevitably wander over when travellers arrive, to show you around for a small tip.

  • Sights in Ourika Valley

    Al Mutamid Mausoleum

    Al Mutamid’s tomb is marked with an Almoravid-style domed mausoleum. It's signed right off the main road after the commune building, inside a garden enclosure 200m along on the left. The dissident’s tomb was the site of a 1950 protest against French occupation that was violently suppressed by Pasha Glaoui – an inciting incident in Morocco’s independence movement.

  • Sights in Central High Atlas

    Sebt Aït Bououli

    The small village of Sebt Aït Bououli, located on bend in the road at the centre of the valley, trekkers can spend the night or stock up on food for their trek over the M’Goun Massif at the Saturday souq.

  • Sights in Ijoukak

    Wednesday Souq

    The small Wednesday souq is a reliable place to fill up on fresh vegetables and packaged goods before leaving on a long hike.

  • Sights in Imlil

    Imlil Waterfalls

    Two small waterfalls just south of the Kasbah du Toubkal make a pleasant afternoon walk from Imlil.