Forming an imposing barrier between the Atlantic coast and the Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains plough their way through central Morocco. The mountains are split into three distinct areas – the High Atlas, the Middle Atlas and the Anti-Atlas; all are a paradise for trekkers. A network of trails weave their way between small Berber settlements and up into the mountains. Renowned for their hospitality to strangers, it’s not unusual to be invited into the home of a Berber tribesman to enjoy a glass of mint tea.
The Atlas Mountains are home to North Africa’s highest peak – Mount Toubkal (4167m) – which it’s possible to summit virtually all year round. Those who make it to the top are rewarded with superb views across the High Atlas Mountains; on a clear day, it’s possible to see the edges of the Sahara Desert. In winter, its snow-laden top can only be negotiated using crampons and ice-axes.
If you prefer to stay at lower altitudes, try trekking in the Jebel Sahro area, a land of dramatic plateaux, deep gorges and flat-topped mesas. The parched slopes are sparsely vegetated but the irrigated valleys support a surprising variety of crops including date palms.