Introduction

 Introduction

For centuries Europeans have been drawn to the mysteries and majesty of the Moroccan Maghreb. It has been home to great civilisations, pilgrims, poets, artists, writers and spiritual seekers. This is a country with a past as colourful as its carpets. Indeed the country has been conquered, colonised and re-conquered too many times to mention.

The northern and western coasts provide beautiful beaches and a sunny, sub tropical climate. Much like the European Mediterranean, the coast is dotted with farmlands and olive trees, the link of beaches only broken by seaside cities and towns like the capital Rabat, and Essouira.

The three ranges of the Atlas Mountains dissect the country from north-west to south-east. The Mid, High and Anti Atlas descend from north to south and are all distinctive regions in their own right. The Middle Atlas features rolling hills covered in cedar, ash, oak and juniper forests, and quiet cascades. Cradled between their folds are the famous royal cities of Fes and Meknes. The High Atlas contains Djebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa; its peaks provide a range of tantalising trekking possibilities.

The royal city of Marrakech sprawls out to the scrub of the semi-desert, within sight of snow-capped peaks. The Atlas tumble down to the southern plains and valleys of the pre-Sahara and the oases and kasbahs of legend. The dunes at Merzouga are among the highest in the world, with the pre-Sahara extending to the disputed southern borders. The arid Anti Atlas is altogether different again and home to Tafraoute Village, with its bizarre blue painted boulders and craggy clay-coloured contours. Altogether this makes for a dizzyingly diverse range of environments. Whatever your itinerary or interests, beauty abounds.

 

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