Unique Family Hiking Vacations in Morocco's Atlas Mountains

One of the best ways to experience the wonders of Morocco is by hiking. Whether walking an hour or trekking a week, Morocco is best appreciated out on the trails. Dramatic and beautiful, the striking High Atlas Mountains, Morocco's highest peaks, make this region a perfect trekking and adventure outdoors destination.

Blessed with plenty of rainfall and a varied climate, the Atlas Mountains feature an enticing combination of arid peaks, verdant valleys, fascinating Berber villages and virtually deserted trails. The region is a Mecca for everything from easy rambles to challenging hikes, rock climbing and mountaineering. On the other hand, outdoor adventure here is not limited to exploration on foot - mountain biking, horseback riding and 4 x 4 safaris are readily on offer.

trekking in morocco

At the center of most challenging trekking expeditions in the district sits Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in northern Africa. Towering at nearly 4167 m, the trek up is strenuous but well worth the effect. The view from the peak is other-worldly, encompassing the Marrakech plain, the northern part of the High Atlas and the Sahara.

The Todra Gorge, near the village of Tinerher, is clearly among the most dramatic sights in the High Atlas. The stunning scenery of towering 300m limestone cliffs, lush date and fig trees and an icy-blue river at the foot of the gorge form the backdrop for an amazing hiking adventure At points, the pass through the gorge is no wider than 10 m, while the sheer rock formations tower above. Wandering off the beaten track, trails lead to areas of absolute silence, where peace and serenity settle in quickly. Not merely a mountain pass, the gorge forms part of the main access way between Tinerher and the town of Tamatattoucht in the Ait Morrhad Valley. Alternatively, 4 x 4 safaris and horseback riding are another way to explore this amazing canyon.

Dotted by small, ancient villages terraced beautifully into the sides of the slopes and valleys, the foothills of the High Atlas are populated mainly by the Berbers, the original inhabitants of North Africa. The culture and tradition of these peoples has remained intact, and their way of life simple: Farmers tend their fields and orchards, goatherds watch over their charge and mountain life has hardly changed throughout the centuries. Berber hospitality is second to none and the simple accommodations they offer afford travelers and trekkers a glimpse into local life.

The off-the-beaten-trek region of the High Atlas Mountains presents varied and undiscovered routes, amazing scenery and plenty of hiking trails and adventure travel opportunities at their best.

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The Food of Morocco

I have recently found a passion for Moroccan cuisine, it is amazing the vast array of influences to their cuisine. Interestingly, the French are far less involved with the development of their food than I would have thought.

Here is some research that I recently did into Moroccan cuisine, it maybe of interest to some of you! Enjoy!

Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah (The Kingdom of Morocco)

To understand any cuisine, especially the history, or origins, of food styles and commodity usage we need to look at a few relevant factors. It is also worth considering that Morocco has had such a variety of influences that it is very difficult to say one particular influence is the corner stone of Moroccan cuisine.


Morocco has a long history spanning approximately 3300 years, and was originally inhabited by the indigenous Berbers. The Byzantine Empire ruled Morocco during the 6th century, followed by perhaps the most prominent influence upon Morocco, the 7th Century AD invasion by the Moors and the establishment of the first Arabic Muslim dynasty. The Ottoman Empire later ruled much of North Africa, including Morocco, during much of the middle ages. Centuries later, in 1912, Morocco was split into two protectorates, French and Spanish.

Initially the Berbers focused on Tagines and couscous, followed by the Arabs who introduced new spices, dried fruits and nuts. The Moors introduced olives and citrus, while the Jews introduced pickling and preserving techniques. The Ottoman Empire introduced kebabs; the French introduces cafes, pastries and reinvigorated the wine industry.

These broad and diverse cultural, geographic and religious influences have each impacted upon Moroccan cuisine over the ages. For example, prior to the Byzantine Empire's control of Morocco, the area was one of the world's major producers of wine and exported large quantities to Rome, after the invasion the vineyards were removed with the exception of edible grapes.

With this enormous exposure to differing styles of food, Morocco is considered to have one of the world's most important cuisines. This diversity of influences has come together through the uniquely Moroccan blend of spices which contain a "medley of spices"; dried ginger, cumin, salt, black pepper and turmeric. Interestingly, cumin, a spice that was used frequently in ancient Greek and Roman dishes, is used in virtually every Moroccan dish.

As with all cuisine, geography and climate play a large part in the historical formation of cuisine. As Morocco is located on the north western part of Africa, it has a large coastline and an ideal climate for growing of fruit and vegetables, while the interior of the country is perfect for raising sheep and goats.


As with most Western cuisine, Morocco follows the same format of dining, including, salads, main dishes, desserts and sauces.

The midday meal is often the main meal (with the exception of Ramadan) and would begin with hot and cold salads, followed by a tagine; bread is also eaten with every meal. The tagine will often contain meat (lamb or chicken); followed by dessert.

The Moroccans will eat with their hands, utilising bread as the utensil. They will dine at a small round table sitting on cushions on the floor.

We can sum up Moroccan cuisine by highlighting the extensive use of spices, fruits, condiments and herbs, all culminating in a range of exciting and explosive flavours and cooking techniques.



Lamb, Chicken, Beef, Camel, Rabbit, Seafood, Nuts, Chickpeas and seeds (dried beans are also a popular breakfast protein).

Couscous is the predominant starch of Moroccan cuisine; followed by bread, and potatoes.

Tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, carrots, pumpkin and garlic are the main vegetables. However, Moroccan cuisine covers an enormous array of fruit and vegetables due to the ideal coastal growing areas available.

Fruits consist of oranges, grapefruits, lemons, melons, plums, apricots, grapes, figs, and dates.


Coriander, parsley, cumin, saffron, cinnamon, cumin, pepper, turmeric and ginger are the key flavours found in Moroccan dishes. Paprika is also used, but not overly common. Also, basil, marjoram, olives and preserved lemons are used as flavourings.

Cooking methods:

Predominantly stewing, or simmering slowly as well as steaming (for hot or cooked foods). For many salads, cooking is not required.

Traditional Dishes:

Zaalouk - Eggplant and Tomato Cooked Salad, served with bread.

Zaalouk is a typical starter (entree), this dish is simple to make and came about by the large amount of eggplant and tomatoes grown in Morocco. The dish contains vegetables with flavorings that would nicely complement a meal, and while it is simmered in a pot, would retain most of its nutritional value - especially as Moroccan main dishes are predominantly meat (protein).

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped*
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro and parsley, mixed
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • small wedge of lemon (optional)

Couscous - (the name is derived from the Berber language meaning rolled or well formed) and is main starch in Moroccan Cuisine, served with meat or vegetable stews.

Couscous is a manufactured product with semolina rolled into small pellets and sprinkled with flour to keep the pallets separate. Couscous also contains protein (3.6%); however it is considered a CHO as its 36% complex CHO. Served steamed also assists in retaining the nutritional integrity of the dish.

Tagine - historically a Berber dish and refers to the conical clay pot that the dish is cooked in.

Moroccan Meatball Tagine

This Moroccan Meatball Tagine is typical of Moroccan tagines, containing lamb as the primary ingredient and main protein of the diet, with many spices "medley of spices", to flavour the dish. The dish is slow cooked via simmering in the Tagine and served with Couscous, therefore encompassing protein, carbohydrates, sauce, flavourings and starch. The vegetable component of the meal has already taken place in the salad that is traditionally used as a starter.

  • 500gm Minced Lamb or Beef
  • 1 Onion
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Bunch of coriander
  • 1 tbs ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Tin of diced tomatoes (425gm)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 preserved lemon (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Metaxas - Baklava, while known as a Turkish or Greek dish, baklava is also very much a traditional dish to Morocco, again highlighting the mix of cultures throughout this countries culinary history. While the Moroccans traditionally eat fruit for dessert, they don't hesitate to indulge in sweets as well. Metaxes offer Moroccans exposure to both fibre and vegetable proteins via the combination of nuts. While this dish is high in simple sugars the quantity the Moroccans eat of such a dish is relatively small (as they eat desserts with fruit) which has traditionally helped to keep the Moroccan diet balanced and structured around all food groups. Although in the current era, 40% of Moroccan women are now either overweight or obese, predominantly in the urban areas, suggesting a move away from the traditional, well balanced Moroccan diet.

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 orange peel (no pith)
  • 1 lemon rind (no pith)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted, blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 pound unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 package filo pastry sheets

For the syrup, combine the sugar, water, orange and lemon rinds, cloves and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes, to thicken syrup slightly. Remove from heat. Discard spices and rinds. Stir in honey and orange flower water. Cool to room temperature.

Combine nuts, sugar, ground cinnamon and rosewater.

Brush a 13x9x2-inch baking pan well with butter.

Separate 25 phyllo sheets from the package. Place under a smooth, damp towel to prevent the phyllo from drying out. Wrap remaining phyllo well and freeze for future use.

Place one phyllo sheet in buttered pan. Trim to fit. Brush generously with melted butter. Repeat procedure until there are 5 layers of buttered phyllo in the pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 nut mixture. Repeat this procedure two more times, ending with phyllo.

Drizzle any remaining butter over top. Bake in 350 degree oven 1 1/2 hours, or until golden brown. Remove baklava from oven. Using a sharp knife immediately cut long, diagonal lines from corner to corner, forming an "X" design. Follow these guidelines to cut baklava into serving-size diamonds. While still hot, pour cooled syrup over baklava. Let stand overnight before serving.

8 Reasons Why I Fell in Love With Tours of Morocco

Traveling to Morocco is not cheap but every penny spent there is totally worth it.

The country has a lot to offer - beautiful scenery, tasty food, hospitable people, and a quality and simplicity of life that is rare in our days.

These are the things that (in my eyes) make Morocco one of a kind travel experience.

 morocco desert tours

1. Sahara Desert - Morocco Desert Tours
The Sahara Desert is the main reason why people travel to Morocco. In Merzouga you can see the highest dunes and Morocco is a relatively safe destination to travel in comparison with the other countries where the desert occupies large parts of their territories.

2. Hassan II Mosque 
Hassan II is the landmark of Casablanca but also the most beautiful mosque in Morocco. It is a surrealistic experience to walk around its impressive construction surrounded by the mist coming from the ocean. Try to visit the mosque on Sunday morning when many people go to the prayer and the place comes alive.

3. Majorelle Garden
Created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle but later the home of the designer Yves Saint-Laurent, this garden is a beautiful masterpiece combining oriental colors and exotic plants.

It is a quiet place in the middle of Marrakesh, the busy imperial city of Morocco and also the house of the Berber Museum, exhibition of the Berber's culture, lifestyle, and handcrafts.

4. The Raids 
Raids are traditional Moroccan houses that often are turned into small hotels. Feeling cozy behind the thick walls of your guest house after wandering on the small narrow streets of the medina will be your time for indulging in all things Morocco has to offer - good food, excellent service, and magical environment.

5. Medina 
Walking in the medina can be really challenging for a woman. But the feeling of treasure hunting makes you feel exited in front of all these colorful babush slippers, spices, jewelry pieces, leather bags, tasty food and freshly baked bread. There are hundreds of items that you can choose from, many of them handmade.

6. Morocco Interiors 
Another of Morocco's charms are its cozy houses and bold house fixtures. The sofas are large and low, the tables are small but just enough for the tasty food and refreshing tea.

Lanterns make mysterious shade and the ochre color of the tiles makes the whole room look warm. Everything in the Moroccan style interior design is rustic but made with clear attention to the detail.

7. Carpets 
Having shared my addiction to the Moroccan interiors, it is understandable to share my love for Moroccan carpets.
As everything in this country, they are in strong and warm colors, with simple designs that can fit any style. Your house can get a bright retouch with a Moroccan rug. The only problem can be its weight and volume for transporting it back home.

8. Oasis 
Well, you have to go out of the famous cities like Marrakech and Casablanca, to pass the Atlas Mountains and on your way to the south you finally will get to take these unbelievable photos in orange and green colors. Oasis still exists in Morocco, just like at the time of Lawrence of Arabia.

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The Highlights of a 10 Day Majestic Morocco Private Tour

The Hassan II Mosque in

Located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Casablanca, El Hassan II Mosque is the largest in Africa, and among the biggest mosques in the whole world. The mosque is featured with its Andalusian style minaret that is 210 meters in height. Most of the tours to Morocco would often include a visit to the Mosque of Hassan II.

The Hassan II Mosque was built in 1993 after five years of intensive construction works. The huge surface area of the mosque is incredible. The prayer area for example can accommodate up to 25,000 prayers. This is in addition to another 80,000 in the open courtyard of the mosque. This is in addition to its distinctive decorations and architecture that grab the attention of many tourists who spend their holidays in Morocco.

 tours to morocco

Mohamed V Square

The Mohamed V Square is the heart of Casablanca. This square had many names in the past that included the Victory Square, the Administrative Square, The United Nations Square, and then finally the Mohamed V Square. A visit to the square is a must for any traveler who tours Morocco.

The location of the square was where the European first came into the city in 1907. The importance of the square comes from its magnificent design that blends the Moorish and the Arabian outlines. This is in addition to many impressive buildings that several tourists who travel to Morocco are fond of.

Oudaya Kasbah

The Oudaya Kasbah is one of the most remarkable monuments of Rabat, the capital of Morocco. This impressive complex was actually a fortified citadel that was constructed by the Moravids Dynasty and it greatly flourished during the ruling period of Almohad Dynasty in the 12th century.

However, the complex was abandoned after the decline of Almohads. The complex witnessed a huge development afterwards when the Moorish took control of it in the 17th century and constructed most of the buildings tourists who visit Morocco view today. When the Alawites dynasty took control of the country they carried out some large renovation and rebuilding works in the Kasbah in the 18th century.

Today the Kasbah is featured by its fortified walls, its huge gate, and the ancient mosque, the Alawites Palace. This is in addition to many other constructions that attract a lot of tourists who enjoy their vacations in Morocco.

Mohamed V Mausoleum and the Towering Minaret of Hassan

Featured with its marvelous white marble and its green tiles, a large number of travellers who tour Morocco visit the Mausoleum of Mohamed V and admire its wonderful architecture. The mausoleum of Mohamed V was constructed in 1971 and the king was buried there in 1999.

Located near the mausoleum, the Towering Minaret of Hassan is one of the most distinctive monuments of Morocco. Constructed in the 12th century, the minaret is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The minaret is often included in many tours of morocco.

The Minaret has a distinctive square shape and it is characterized by its height being 44 meters. It has an inner entrance that leads inside the minaret with six chambers that are featured with magnificent decorations and ornaments that date back to the styles of the 12th and 13th centuries. Many tourists who travel to Morocco explore these wonderful monuments of the country.

The Historical Mosques of Morocco

Morocco hosts a number of very interesting mosques that host a blend of the Islamic, African, and Andalusian styles and outlines of architecture. Mosques like the Qarawien and the Towering Mineral of Hassan are included in many morocco travel packages for how impressive they are. Today, we would be exploring some of the most remarkable historical mosques located in different region of Morocco.

 Morocco Imperial Cities Tour

The Koutoubia Mosque

Constructed in 1147 by Abel Moe'men the Islamic Caliph of Morocco at the time, the Koutoubia mosque is the most interesting and remarkable historical mosque of Marrakesh that is commonly included in several Morocco Tours.

The mosque gained its name, Koutoubia because it was built near a large books market. Featured by its huge columns, large stone capitals, and decorated domes, the Koutoubia Mosque is the best example of the art and architecture of Almohad Dynasty that always amaze travellers who tour Morocco.

The Mosque of Al Quaraouiyine

One of the most and ancient and most significant mosques in Morocco, the Mosque of Al Quaraouiyine was built in the 9th century in the marvelous city of Fes, commonly included in several travel packages to Morocco.

Although the mosque was constructed during the ruling period of Almohad's dynasty, many other dynasties including Almorvids added their contribution to the mosque renovating it and increasing its space. They even largely enriched the mosque's decorations and constructed a notable Minbar that is still present in the mosque until today.

The mosque also had an Islamic teaching institution that is considered one of the most ancient universities in the world. While in Fes, it is always a good idea for travellers who tour Morocco to explore the Mosque of Al Quaraouiyine.

The Towering Minaret of Hassan

Constructed by Jacob El Mansour, the establisher of Al Rabat as the capital of the Moroccan Kingdom, the Sultan chose the location of his mosque carefully to be overlooking the Abi RekRak River, near the Atlantic Ocean. However, the mosque was never completed due to the problems that took place in Andalusia at the time. However, the towering minaret of the mosque remained as a clear evidence of how glorious it was. Today, the mosque is one of the most significant historical sites visited by numerous travellers who tour Morocco.

At the time, the Mosque of Hassan would have been the largest in Africa with a surface area that exceeds 26 thousand and 100 square meters. The towering minaret of the mosque, the only remaining part, is 44 meters high and it is richly decorated in the Andalusian style of architecture. Many tourists who travel to Morocco are usually amazed because of its impressive size and magnificent ornaments.

The Mosque of Hassan II

The largest mosque in Africa, the Mosque of Hassan II is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The construction work took more than 14 years to be completed, from 1986 till 1993. The mosque is featured with its magnificent decorations characterized with its mosaics and wooden works. The mosque is one of the most popular monuments explored by several travellers who tour Morocco.

From Morocco With Love - The Culinary and Cosmetic Argan Oil

When you think of Morocco, bright colours, carpets, spices and streets full of hustle and bustle come to mind. The weird and wonderful food and oils on offer can make walking around their range of famous markets a wonderful and exciting experience.

The western world takes many of its natural medicines and culinary influences from other countries and Morocco is no exception. It's a country that rely heavily on our business. The most recent export from this vibrant country has been Argan oil.

What is it? It's an oil that is sourced from the kernels of the argan tree. The trees are neatly placed within the beautiful and dry countryside of Morocco. The fruits of the tree are small and hard-shelled, similar to a nut. The hard shell covers some pulpy flesh and the flesh is home to kernels, kernels that are then used to extract the infamous oil.

Many farmers will break the hard shell, feed the flesh to their livestock and extract the much-needed nectar from the kernels. It is an incredibly hands on job as automatic processes have not proved as effective. In 1998 due to the high demand and as the trees cannot be produced the Argan forests have been declared a protected reserve by UNESCO.

Argan oil has two usages. In Morocco its traditionally used for food, often used to dip bread in at breakfast or to drizzle on couscous. Its extremely nutritious and is packed full of fatty acids, linoleic acid and Oleic acid, all of which have been proved to aid good heart health.

It will also be used to treat skin diseases and burns. In the west we traditionally use it for cosmetic purposes and it has the innate ability to soothe dry skin and nourish very dry hair. As it can be used to treat both, it has become very popular and common medicine in many cupboards.

Many women will use Argan oil for a host of cosmetic reasons. Due to its ability to treat issues with dryness it can be used on the body. It can soothe dry lips, dry feet or hard nails and it is an excellent soother for cuts, burns and even razor rash. Due to its safe versatility it makes a fab option for the entire family.

If it is required for cosmetic usage the kernels will not be roasted and the process is in essence easier, but when used in culinary the kernels will be roasted to enhance their flavour. Either way the process is timely and very hand crafted.

Argan oil is now easier to buy, health food shops are usually the first place many people will look too, but as with most things under huge demand there are lots of fake products on the market. A low quality oil will not give you the same benefits and the concentration of nutrients will be much lower. You usually get what you pay for.

A pure version will be more expensive, but is worth the extra to make sure you get all the benefits. Always look for 100% pure cold pressed oil and you can be sure you are getting every piece of goodness.

As with most oils, it is essential to keep alternative medicine bottles out of direct sunlight and its recommended to use your purchase within 6 months of opening. It may make sense to buy a smaller bottle. When it comes to using it, always carry out a small skin test, as it is a distant cousin of the nut family, it may cause an allergic reaction if you suffer with nut allergies.