The Blue City.
Set dramatically beneath twin peaked mountains, Chefchaouen (Chaouen) is achingly beautiful. It’s fresh, clean, lovingly taken care of and very friendly. Founded in 1471, Chefchaouen was a Moorish fortress for exiles from Spain. Over time, the city grew and welcomed Jews and Christian converts alike. Its buildings have all been dipped in shades of blue paint as Jewish teachings suggest by adding blue dyed thread to prayer shawls, people would be reminded of the power of God.
Here you can watch women and children washing carpets and clothes in public washing units – complete with scrubbing blocks, by the side of the river, before laying them out to dry on the roof-tops. There are public ovens and baths and through every other doorway, you will see craftsmen hard at work using traditional methods.
Once far enough off the beaten track to discourage most tourists, it has recently exploded in popularity. However, somewhat off the beaten path, it still offers something authentic to those that seek it. The calm, arty environment is a welcome alternative from a hectic city tour and the steep streets are cobbled and virtually traffic free. Chefchaouen is a holy city of Islam and consequently, alcohol is not routinely served here.
Imlil is a village in the High Atlas Mountains, well known as a base for trekking and climbing holidays.
Mt Toubkal is the highest North African mountain at over 4ooo metres and Imlil sits at its base. These huge mountains offer outstanding trails and amazing photo opportunities. There are treks for all standards and plenty of mules available to ease your journey.
Less than two hours drive from Marrakech this makes a wonderful day-trip and is definitely worth a visit. The village of Imlil has a varied range of shops and basic style accommodation and much of the money from tourism goes directly to projects organised by the Village association such as litter collection and disposal and a Community Hammam.
Before tourism became so important to this village, fruit trees were a vital part of the local economy and walnut trees can still be seen everywhere adding to the wonderful fresh scented mountain air.
Alternatively, stay overnight or longer in Imlil before setting out across the Tizi n Test pass over the High Atlas mountains to Taroudant. This is a breathtakingly beautiful drive and So Morocco can design an itinerary to show you the best that this area has to offer.
Todra Gorge is a huge canyon in the High Atlas Mountains. Both Todra (Todgha) and Dades have rivers which have carved out these spectacular canyons in their final stretch between mountain and desert.
With gigantic walls of 300m which change colours all day long this is a stunning sight and is in the heart of nomad land and you will see them moving their herds through the winding roads of the canyons.
Morocco’s mountains are breathtakingly beautiful and your tour of Morocco will be sure to encompass some of them. The Atlas Mountains are North Africa’s highest range. They stretch 600miles in a diagonal line across Morocco and are made up of the High Atlas, Mid Atlas and Anti Atlas. In addition, there are the Rif Mountains to the North and Jbel Sarharo in the Sahara desert amongst others.
Snow-topped for much of the year, the High Atlas are clearly visible from Marrakech. It takes just an hours drive to be right up in the heights amongst the walnut and cherry blossom and welcome cool air. Two spectacular roads cut across the peaks, the Tizi-n-Test & Tizi-n-Tichka being North Africa’s highest road.
This is true Berber country and you will pass through the most remote of villages. Here the children shepherd the goats and the women weave carpets which the men sell along with honey, olive oil and herbs.
At over 4000m, the highest peak, Jbel Toubkal draws serious trekkers but there are a variety of good walking opportunities, from short strolls to mountain summits. At Oukaimeden, there is even a ski resort. A beautiful day trip from Marrakech is to the waterfalls known as Cascades D’Ouzoud situated in the High Atlas. These are North Africa’s prettiest and Morocco’s highest Waterfalls.