Morocco: Camel trekking and hiking in the desert with Akabar - Sahara Treks - individual - flexible - sustainable

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Information on trekking areas in the Atlas mountain range:

The Atlas is a high mountain range in the north-west of the African continent, stretching over 2300 kilometers from Morocco, Algeria to Tunisia. The highest peak is the Toubkal with 4167 meters of altitude. The Atlas forms a distinctive shear line between the relatively humid climate in the extreme north of Morocco and the Sahara.
The Atlas Mountains include the following mountain ranges: High Atlas in the center of Morocco, in the south-west of the country the Anti-Atlas, the Jebel Siroua south of the High Atlas and the Saghro Massif in south-east Morocco.

The Toubkal Massif in the High Atlas is about 60 kilometers south of Marrakech (about 1.5 hours driving time) and developped during Palaeozoikum.
The Toubkal (4167 m) is the highest mountain in Morocco and North Africa. The Toubkal massif extends between Tizi-n-Test pass in the west to the Tichka pass in the east and consists of many valleys along the northern and southern slopes. The Toubkal National Park was founded in 1942 as the country's first national park and is 380 km² in size. The climate in the national park is determined by its altitude, the Atlantic and the Sahara. About 15% of the national park area is covered with forest. The northern, more humid flanks are covered with forest of trees like holm oak, Aleppo pine and juniper. In the higher altitudes one finds mainly juniper, which passes into alpine meadows, followed by steppes-like vegetation and gravel. The alpine zone occupies about 20% of the national park area. Here, daffodils, bell-flowers, broom, rub-thistlesand dwarf eye-rust can be found. The southern slopes of the massif are drier than the northern ones, so they are also less wooded. Here dominates the juniper. The numerous river valleys enable a rich flora which is dominated by oleanders, willows, black and silver poplar, holm osk, Portuguese oak, and whitethorn. In the are of the National Park, there are about 16 mammalian species, e.g. Berber monkey, atlantic grain, mane jumper, common porcupine, and striped hyena. Among the approximately 50 bird species, we find birds  such as bearded vulture, falcons and eagles.
In the High Atlas - in the area of ​​the Toubkal - we see villages whose high stone houses steeply climb the slopes. As an agricultural form, there is terracing with an irrigation system. Grain, maize and vegetables are cultivated. In the gardens at 2000 to 2300 m mainly apple and walnut trees grow. On the mountain slopes there are bee boxes, sheep and goats.
In the northern flank of the High Atlas, between the cities of Azilal and Kelâa M'Gouna, are many fertile valleys such as the Ourika Valley, the Aït Bougoumez Valley, the Ahansal Valley and the Anergui Valley. Here a very traditional way of life of the local Berber tribes has been preserved.
In the Aït Bougoumez Valley, thanks to its fertility, two harvests are possible depending on the winter snow or rainfall, and because of its balanced climate, it has got the nickname 'happy valley'. In contrast to agriculture in the Toubkal region, e.g. in the Ait Bougoumez Valley farming is performed on the fertile bottom. Vegetables and field crops are cultivated; the orchards are dominated by apple and walnut trees. The wood for buildinh houses is made of poplar and willow trees. The gardens are traversed by irrigation channels. The Aït Bougoumez Valley, which is about 1800 m to 2200 m high, is easy to reach with quick taxis from Azilal and offers a wealth of insights into the life of the Berbers of the High Atlas. A little farther to the south is the long-stretched, over 4000 m high M'Goun mountain range (4071 m).
The economy of the secluded but fertile valley was centered on self-sufficiency and self-sufficiency for centuries; Markets were simply too far away and donkeys were the only means of transport. A system of strict controls (agdal), which was strictly based on the availability, the individual needs and the shared use of natural resources (water, soil, wood, etc.), allowed the inhabitants of the high valleys to achieve a successful and sustainable survival. In spite of the lack of written records it can be assumed that the high valley has been inhabited for centuries.
Nevertheless, the valley has still remained quite original in many respects and offers not only its scenic beauties but also a wealth of insights into the life and culture of the Berbers of the High Atlas. The round Agadir 'Sidi Moussa' can be visited above the village of Timit, one of the most peculiar and imposing buildings of its kind in the whole of Morocco, as well as several rock blocks with dinosaur tracks.
The valleys south of Azilal are very well suited for trekking tours -among others on M'Goun and mountain bike tours. This area is far away from the Toubkal mass tourism. Accommodation is possible in Gite d 'Etappes or tents in the gardens of the villagers; hotels and official campsites are not available.
Many villagers ride on the mule to the traditional weekly markets. It seems like a visit to another time. As soon as you are outside the villages, the loneliness and silence of the mountain world begins.