Hiking and Trekking Experiences
With the Rif and High Altas ranges at your fingertips, Morocco offers plentiful hiking and trekking opportunities.
Just an hour outside of Marrakech is Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. You’ll travel from Marrakech to Imlil, a small mountain village, and ascend from there. Hiking Mount Toubkal can take up to four days, and its best done with the help of a guide that can help you navigate the rural terrain. Traditional Berber meals and camp setups at night are also usually accommodated for—for more info, check out this article.
There are are also gentler treks in the Atlas Mountains that offer stunning scenery and villages that you can stop and hike through. On the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, you’ll find Ourika Valley which is less than an hour from Marrakech. The valley is rich in flora and fauna and home to Berber villages that you can hike to including Timalesen, Taourirtm, and Azro Melloule.
The Jbilat Mountains are a 45-minute drive northeast from Marrakech and offer both advanced and beginner hikes in an area that is still somewhat undiscovered by visitors. Treks include hiking through rural farming villages and hiking to Antar Summit, where you’ll be able to view rolling mountains and valleys at the top.
The Rif Mountains are located in Northern Morocco and offer some excellent hikes through Talassemtane National Park—not to mention the charming city of Chefchaouen. Want more info on hiking near Marrakech? Check out this article.
Scale Limestone Walls and Gorges
Todra Gorge, a natural limestone river canyon in the High Atlas Mountains, is one of the best places to rock climb in the country. At 984 feet deep and with over 400 climbing routes available, the options are endless and guided excursions can be easily booked. Pillar du Couchant is one of the most famous (and most difficult) routes, best suited for experienced climbers. Other climbs, such as Petit Gorge, are ideal for all levels.
Though Todra Gorge may be the most well-known spot in Morocco, the climbing opportunities don't end there. Another option is Taghia in the High Atlas Mountains: with plenty of perfect limestone walls, this area is remote and accessible only by hiking in with mules, making it significantly less crowded and just as fun.
Get Soaked White Water Rafting
The Ahansal River in the High Atlas Mountains is one of the most popular places for rafting, and a particularly great option from March to June. Ahansal is ideal for rafters of all experience levels and rafting trips can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. As you raft through Ahansal, the river will give way to breathtaking Cascade D'Ouzoud—Morocco’s highest waterfall—before drifting past Bin El Ouidane lake.
Dades and Ourika rivers also descend from the Atlas Mountains, offering equally spectacular views of spectacular waterfalls, Berber villages, and mountain peaks. You'll want to go with a knowledgeable guide that can take you through the twists and turns of the rivers and train you in safety and rafting techniques—inquire with your local specialist for more information.
Hang Ten in Taghazout
The bohemian beach enclave of Taghazout, just North of Agadir, is the ideal destination for a surf vacation. The small fishing village is inhabited by approximately 5,000 people and the area boasts a booming surf community, nearly year-round sunshine, and epic breaks.
It’s a great place for beginners to learn surfing—there are a variety of surf schools in the area—but the palm-dotted beaches are also great for surfers with experience. Surf Berbere is an example of a surf school in the area that offers inclusive packages that include week-long surf lessons with accommodation. Dfrost Almugar Surf and Yoga School provides room and board in a surf and yoga house with choices starting from shared dormitories to premium rooms.
Kitesurf on the Coast
For kitesurfing, there’s no other place quite like Essaouira. Known as the wind capital of Africa, Essaouira is located about two hours away from Marrakech on the southern Atlantic coast. It’s a charming seaside town with gusty winds, making it a great place for more expert level kitesurfers. Dakhla, another location that offers consistent winds, is situated on the edge of the Western Sahara desert and has a lagoon that is a great place for kite surfers of all skill levels—check with your local specialist about opportunities for lessons.
Explore the Sahara Via Camel or ATV
The sand dunes of the Sahara Desert are a must-visit during a trip to Morocco. A camel trek is an ideal way to experience the areas of Merzouga and Zagora, where you’ll be able to view the sand seas of Erg Chebbi and Chegaga respectively, comprised of seemingly endless, wind-blown dunes. During a tour of the Sahara, you might do everything from interacting with Berber tribes to village visits and camping under the stars. This 4-day desert tour itinerary offers more insight on what might be included on a typical trip.
If you are looking for something a bit more high energy than a camel ride, an ATV (quad bike) tour is an ideal way to experience the desert landscape. Some tours offer overnight trips, while others can be experienced during the day. An overnight might include a day of quad biking in Erg Chebbu, camping in a Berber tent, and watching the sun set and rise over the dunes.
View Morocco from Above in a Hot Air Balloon
Morocco's landscape spans mountains, valleys, farmland, and more—and all of it is best seen from above. Rise pre-dawn to view an unforgettable sunrise over the Jbilet Mountains and Marrakech Plain, perched in a hot air balloon. Hot air balloon rides can accommodate small groups or intimate, private trips with a dine-in-the-air option, especially ideal for the romantically inclined.
Just about an hour away from Marrakech, a particularly great ride departs from the traditional village of Douar Oulad Elguern. Once in the air, you’ll traverse over villages, farmland and see the Jbilet Mountains from above. The experience is exciting and serene all in one breath—and after your ride, you can visit a local Berber village for breakfast. For more about village visits in Morocco, check out this article about Morocco's Unique Cultural Experiences.