The Marrakesh heat and medina stress can take its toll. This is true for tourists and Marrakeshi’s alike. So when faced with a free day ahead, do as the locals do and escape into the east.
Always hovering in the distance of Marrakesh’s horizons are the Atlas Mountains, home to Berber villages, beautiful waterfalls and, if you time it right, even a bit of skiing.
Why go: Head up to Oukaimeden around January or February to get a chance to ski or board down the snow covered peaks – not something most tourists to Morocco get to brag about.
At other times of the year the town goes dead but that shouldn’t put you off – it’s still a cool getaway, and you can wander around the incredible Atlas Mountains to your heart’s content.
What to do:
Ski, snowboard, hike.
Why go: The end of this section of road heading up into the mountains, Imlil is a collection of Berber villages with beautiful mountain walks all around.
Magnificent just on its own, Imlil is also the main base from which people start hikes up Mt Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.
What to do: Take walks and hikes, checking out the local wares as you go.
Why go: Explore some of the natural majesty of waterfalls and caves from the start point of Setti Fatma. Or relax in one of the riverside restaurants to feel the cool mountain stream at your feet.
This could be combined with a longer trip to explore the rest of the Ourika Valley (below).
What what to do: Hike the waterfalls – some involve climbing, so hire an official guide and be wary of fakes. Official guides can be hired from tourist offices and will have official documentation.