Must see attractions in Southern Morocco & Western Sahara

  • Top ChoiceSights in Anti Atlas Mountains

    Maison Traditionnelle

    The 3-storey granite, palm and argan house, some 400 years old, was inhabited by 20 family members – three generations – until 1982. The owner, Mohammed, is friendly, knowledgeable and multilingual, and obviously takes great pleasure in sharing tales of traditional life. On the tour you'll wind your way through the central kitchen, storehouse, bedrooms and, finally, the salon reserved for formal guests (you!). Highly recommended. At Oumesnate, 6km from Tafraoute, follow the signs through the village and then the footpath to this mountainside museum house.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Anti Atlas Mountains

    Calligraphie Tifinaghe

    Poet and calligrapher Moulid Nidouissadan paints Amazigh (Berber) proverbs and colourful compositions from natural inks. Free to every visitor is a rendition of their name in Tamazight – crafted via a dramatic combination of saffron ink and a blowtorch. Other interesting and well-priced souvenirs include T-shirts and tote bags. Moulid speaks French and a smidgen of English.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Agadir

    CrocoParc

    If anyone in your party is partial to a reptile, it's almost worth making a special trip to Agadir to visit this park, absolutely teeming with Nile crocs swimming and sunning around a pond (although the green dye in the water is a little too obvious). There are also iguanas, massive snakes and tiny monkeys which would make a tasty elevenses for the park's other residents. For the flora fans, gardens feature rare trees, cacti, flowers and several lily ponds. A shuttle bus leaves from Uniprix in the centre of town, daily at 9.30am and 2.30pm, depositing you back three hours later. The shuttle will also collect you from your hotel with advance notice. The fee for the shuttle bus and park admission is combined and includes a glass of tea and guided tour.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Taroudant

    Palais Musée Claudio Bravo

    This particular palais defies categorisation: it's a hotel, a museum and the former residence of deceased Chilean painter Claudio Bravo, who selected the countryside outside Taroudant as the ideal base for his dream home. The architecture of his house is noteworthy, as are its amazing contents, including paintings by Bravo and Francis Bacon, as well as dinosaur fossils, priceless antiques from Mali, India, Japan and Morocco as well as wonderful gardens. His devoted staff keep up the place and run tours.

  • Sights in Tiznit

    Grande Mosquée

    The minaret of the Grande Mosquée (closed to non-Muslims) is studded with jutting wooden sticks, in the style of Sahel mosques including the famous Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali. Local legend suggests this is where the souls of the dead congregate. More likely, these were left in place by the masons who built the minaret to help them climb up and replaster. There's a very atmospheric single palm standing in the small square at the mosque's entrance. Recently added signage – in French, Arabic and Tifinagh – explains the history of the mosque.

  • Sights in Taroudant

    Ramparts

    The 7.5km of ramparts surrounding Taroudant are among the best-preserved rammed-earth walls in Morocco. Their colour changes from golden brown to deepest red depending on the time of day. They can easily be explored on foot (two hours), preferably in the late afternoon; or take a bike or calèche (horse-drawn carriage) and see the walls by moonlight. Some horses look very fit; others not so much. Don't patronise a calèche driver who doesn't look after his animals.

  • Sights in Mirleft

    Plage Sauvage

    Four kilometres south of Mirleft is this truly wild beach, accessible down a set of steps, featuring caves, cliffs and crashing waves great for surfing. There's an outpost of Spot-M here for board and wetsuit rental, and Biscou Surf School also brings students here. But the beach is gorgeous and ocean relatively mild, whether or not you're riding a board.

  • Sights in Agadir

    Kasbah

    Offering superb views, the hilltop kasbah 7km northwest of the centre is a rare survivor of the 1960 earthquake. Built in 1541 and restored in the 1740s, the area once housed 300 people. All that remains is the outer wall, though traces of the dwellings can still be made out. The inscription over the entry arch in Dutch and Arabic (‘Believe in God and respect the King’) is a reminder of the beginning of trade with the Low Countries. The walk up to the kasbah is long, hot and uncomfortable: get a taxi (about Dh30) and walk back down.

  • Sights in Tafraoute

    Maison Berbère Traditionnelle

    Maison Traditionnelle stands in the largely uninhabited old hilltop village of Tazekka, where bulbous boulders have been incorporated into the pisé (rammed earth) walls of the centuries-old houses. You can visit the Carved Gazelle as part of a tour of the four-floor dwelling, where the knowledgeable proprietor Mahfoud’s family once lived. It’s possible to stay the night here (Dh150/230 per person including breakfast/half-board). Mahfoud, a trekking guide, offers Amazigh (Berber) music soirées and tea ceremonies.

  • Sights in Tafraoute

    Le Châpeau de Napoléon

    These rocks don't look much like Napoleon's hat, to be frank, but they're still weird and impressively massive, soaring above the little town of Aguerd-Oudad. It's possible to climb to the top; the views over the boulder-strewn landscape are exceptional, especially in the morning and late afternoon. Aguerd-Oudad makes for a nice stroll or bike ride. From the roundabout by the Afriquia petrol station in Tafraoute, take the R107 toward Tizi Amanouz.

  • Sights in Mirleft

    Aftas Beach

    Rocky cliffs frame the soft sand at this beach, popular with footballers and families. The predictable thatch huts and decrepit loungers are available, there are cafes to have a snack and if you can't tear yourself away you can rent a room at Aftas Beach House and fall asleep to the crashing waves.

  • Sights in Mirleft

    Marabou Beach

    Bisected by a massive, imposing boulder, this beach is petite compared to its neighbours, but the waves are no less intense. Avoid swimming at high tide, but sunning and strolling can be just as nice.

  • Sights in Mirleft

    Mirleft Beach

    Layers of breakers crash on miles of tawny sand at the longest of Mirleft's clutch of wonderful beaches. Thatch huts and loungers are available for Dh5, but bring your own picnic.

  • Sights in Agadir

    Palm Beach

    A relaxed private beach with showers, toilets and a kids' play area. Seclusion from the main beach means a more serene visit for families and women.

  • Sights in Souss Valley

    Cascades d'Imouzzer

    One of North Africa's most storied waterfalls, unfortunately the Cascades are only intermittently running these days depending on rainfall. Whether or not they're 'on', the steep 4km walk down to the falls can be pleasant (once you say plenty of non merci s to the faux guides toward the start of the trail). You'll have the most chance of seeing the falls in action from February to August. When it’s flowing, water falls off the edge of the plateau in several chutes, running down one cliff face known as the Bride’s Veil. The path to the foot of the falls finishes at an iridescent blue plunge pool with overhanging rocks and foliage; sadly we can't recommend the water for swimming. If you can cross the river here, you can climb to a plateau and see the top plunge pool, and caves once inhabited by hippies. There are trails down to the falls signed from the village, and from the garden at Hôtel des Cascades.

  • Sights in Tiznit

    Source Bleue

    The original town spring is now a shallow, stagnant pool, and green rather than blue. Legend claims a woman of ill repute, Lalla Zninia, stopped to rest here at what was then plain desert. She spent the next three days repenting her wicked ways, and God was so impressed that he showed forgiveness by having a spring gush beneath her feet. Her name was thus given to the village that preceded Sultan Moulay Al Hassan’s 19th-century fortress town. The adjacent citadel is undergoing careful restoration (scheduled to be completed in 2020) and is also worthy of a quick stroll. Nearby are more jewellery and Berber crafts shops.

  • Sights in Tafraoute

    Carved Gazelles

    The most easily accessible examples of prehistoric rock engravings found in the Tafraoute area are the Carved Gazelles, 2km away in the village of Tazekka. There are actually two gazelles: one on the upturned face of a fallen boulder, and another on a larger boulder above eye height. They're large, prominent and quite elegant. It's a pleasant mountain-bike ride or walk 2km from central Tafraoute. The easiest way to find it is to walk along Route de Tazekka to Camping Tazka on the Tiznit road (R104), and ask the jovial Anglophone Mohamed for directions once you arrive.

  • Sights in Tafraoute

    Pierres Bleues

    The bizarrely beautiful Pierres Bleues are the work of Belgian artist Jean Verame, who spray-painted the smooth, rounded boulders in shades of blue, red, purple and black in 1984. Decades later, they remain vivid against the red desert. Visitors disagree over whether it's art or a blight on the landscape, but villagers give the rocks a fresh coat of paint every year to keep the controversy fresh. You'll find them some 7km south of Tafraoute, 500m past the turnoff for Aït Mansour; a piste leads uphill to the right.

  • Sights in Souss Valley

    Tioute Kasbah

    Southwest of Taroudant, this kasbah was once used as a location for a 1954 French production of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The stone kasbah overlooks a palmeraie (palm grove) and a couple of restaurants, with the High Atlas and Anti Atlas in the distance. Visit early to ensure you find a grand taxi (Dh15, 30 minutes) there and back, and to beat the tour groups.

  • Sights in Tiznit

    Tiznit City Walls

    Built in 1886 by Sultan Hassan I, the 5km of plaster walls signify the inauguration of Tiznit as an official city. It’s possible to climb onto sections of the walls, which have some 30 towers and nine gates. On the northern side of the medina, Bab Targua overlooks a palmeraie (palm grove) with a natural spring, used as a laundry by local women.