For a wildlife holiday with a difference, Morocco makes a wonderful destination to explore on foot. This magnificent country is dominated by the High Atlas Mountains, which boast the perfect habitat for much of the country’s wildlife. Harsh, rugged landscapes blossom into lush pastures in springtime, when winter melts away to reveal a colourful display of mountain flowers in a profusion of pinks, yellows and purples. This is definitely the best time to trek in Morocco, as the temperatures are pleasant and the scenery is nothing short of stunning.
A Wildlife Holiday in the Moroccan Mountains
Morocco is home to many endemic and rare bird species, which inhabit every corner of the country from the coastal wetlands to the towering mountains of the High Atlas. This dramatic range of mountains separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts from the extensive Sahara Desert, and it spreads through northwest Africa into Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Mount Toubkal is the highest peak, standing at 4167m above sea level.
Many wildlife trekking holidays begin in Marrakech, which itself deserves a day or two of exploration. The vibrant atmosphere in this capital city is captivating and there is much to discover here, from palaces and souks to mausoleums and mosques.
Leaving the bustling city you will head out to the Atlas Mountains where your trekking adventure begins. Led by experienced guides and muleteers, these treks are well catered and very efficiently run. In order to get the most out of your experience, it’s best to book with a company that caters to small groups only.
As you venture into the mountains you will see the scenery change dramatically, and for those with a special interest in endemic avian species this area is very exciting. Look out for the Moussier’s Redstart, Barbary Partridge, African Blue Tit, Levaillant’s Woodpecker and Tristram’s Warbler.
The mountainous area of Morocco also has a long history of settlement, and as you trek you will more than likely encounter the local Berber farmers who have inhabited the mountains for centuries making a living from farming their Barbary sheep. The Berber people predate Islam and the Arabs and have a long and interesting history. You can find out more about this fascinating culture with the opportunity to visit local villages and explore the ancient traditions for yourself. The mountain people are incredibly hospitable and are delighted to see visitors, welcoming them with open, smiling faces.
Many wildlife holidays based around a trek in Morocco also include a trip to Essaouria, which is located further south on the coast. Here, it is the Eleanora’s Falcons and other seabirds that are the highlight for keen bird watchers. Essaouria has some stunning beaches as well, which offer a welcome respite after a long trek in the mountains.
If you’re looking for a wildlife holiday that offers a taste of adventure, head to Morocco and discover the many delights of this wonderful and colourful country.