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Atlas Mountains

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Revision as of 21:49, 19 April 2008 by NJR ZA (Talk | contribs)

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The Atlas Mountains are a mountain range in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The range can be divided into the High Atlas (or Grand Atlas) of Morocco, the Tell Atlas near the coast, and the southern Saharan Atlas of Algeria.



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The Berbers(or Amazigh possibly more properly) seem much more relaxed regarding women and Islam. Women are often seen on the street. It is said that the form of Islam practiced in the rest of the country never penetrated fully into the High Atlas, and all the attempts throughout history to invade the mountains have failed at least in part.

Other points to note:

  • Berbers are discriminated against quite heavily in Morocco (consider the symbols and papers they need to get into Fez, etc... - is that still true?)


  • In the High Atlas, in general fewer people speak French than in the cities.

Get in

Get around

The Atlas Mountains are best seen on a week or two walk through the mountains and valleys. Many companies organise these trips which take groups of, for example, 6 to 20+ people around. Most of these groups are French speaking. Less than ten is preferable since larger groups can have logistical complications. Good groups will provide you with a 3 meals a day and normally hot meals at lunch and dinner. You should also be provided with a tent for two and a large dinner tent to escape from the mid day sun or the wind and rain which can hit any time of the year. Your big bag will be taken by a mule and you can be left with a light day sack to walk with during the day so that you can be left to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

These groups mostly hire local guides and mule drivers and provide a great insight into the local culture if you get to know your guides. When you chose a company to go with make sure they use local guides. You should expect to provide a tip of at least €20 per week above what you have paid for your holiday - assuming you get the normal great Berber hospitality.

Private guides can be arranged and there were several flyers and adverts in Marrakech advertising such services.

The trails are reasonably well trod by tourists with several groups doing the major routes each week.


  • waterfalls
  • canyons providing breaks from the midday sun with refreshing bathing opportunities.
  • green valleys carefully watered by the extensive and sometime ingenious irrigation ditches
  • villages clinging to the mountain side


  • alpine skiing (Jan to March)
  • walk



Mountain springs provide great natural sources of water, although it's advisable to treat the water, e.g. with micropure. Sugary mint tea it the ideal local refreshing drink. Coke is as always available everywhere, from the ancient guardian of the mountain top stone carvings to the small boy with bottles in the muddy (but cold) water pit. Great opportunity to stay off alcohol as you won't find any.

Bottled water is fine to drink as it has already been distilled, the price is also good.

Get out

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