Marrakech continues to be one of my personal favorite destination. I admit, it has a lot to do with the shopping, particularly the Berber traditional pieces- each rich with their own story. And there is no better place to experience the Berber culture first hand than in the Atlas Mountains!
As you wander up the mountains you pass through simple clay Berber villages, alive with children at play, adults at prayer & animals lazily soaking in the sun. The view of the snow capped mountains above you (don't worry, you don't go up that far!) and the dusty mountain in front of you along with the desert view below you all serve as a steadfast reminder of the nature that surrounds you. Hiking the Atlas Mountains is an active way to experience ancient Marrakech- life here has been lived in a similar way for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
I recommend departing early in the morning, by 9:00 am, with a guide from Amizmiz, which is a small Berber village about 30 miles outside of Marrakech, at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. Be sure and have your guide arrange for a back up donkey in case anyone gets tired along the way. While not technically challenging, it is a 5-6 hour round trip hike, mostly up. Also be sure and have your guide arrange for food- I particularly enjoy having a picnic under the shade of a tree at the top of one of the lower peaks. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, hat & a camera. The people of the region make for the best photos- just ask permission first!
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