Morocco: Haute Atlas Mountains
Bicycle Africa / Ibike Tours
 
       
  Morocco flag Haute (High) Atlas Mountains: Tizi-n-tichka  
    Topography from Marrakech to Ouarzazate, over Tizi-n-tichka.  
    Topography from Marrakech to Ouarzazate, Morocco
[Depending upon the quality of the underlying data graphs maybe only general representations of the topography.]
 
    Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco  
    Out of Marrakech, heading east towards the Haute Atlas, initially the road is fairly straight. Agriculture stretches to the horizon. The housing tends to be scattered among the farms -- rarely clustered into a village.  
    Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco  
    At about 50 kilometers the road turns south and heads into the Haute Atlas.  For the first 65 kilometers the slope is rarely over 2%.  As the road reaches further into the foothills of the Atlas, the agriculture become more restricted to the flatter bottom lands.  
    Western slope of the Atlas Mountains, east of Marrakech, Morocco Foothills of the Haute Atlas Mountains, near Touama, Morocco Foothills of the Haute Atlas Mountains, near Touama, Morocco Foothills of the Haute Atlas Mountains, near Touama, Morocco  
    Tree crops might run over the lower hills, but higher hills have more natural vegetation.  
     Foothills of the Haute Atlas Mountains, near Touama, Morocco Foothills of the Haute Atlas Mountains, near Touama, Morocco Foothills of the Haute Atlas Mountains, near Touama, Morocco River valley, Haute Atlas Mountains, near Touama, Morocco  
    Penetrating the foothills the scenery becomes increasingly rugged. The road begins to wind its way up river valleys. The wide dry river beds are tale tell signs of extreme weather events -- wide raging rivers have scoured out these valleys.   
    Village in the foothills of the Haute Atlas Mountains, near Taddarte, Morocco Snow on a high peak, Haute Atlas Mountains, near Taddarte, Morocco Village in the foothills of  Haute Atlas Mountains, near Taddarte, Morocco Snow on a high peak, Haute Atlas Mountains, near Taddarte, Morocco  
    As the valley become narrower the housing tends to become more bunched into small villages. Past the 65km mark the road is more seriously "mountainous" with the grades around 5%, plus or minus a degree or so.  
     
    The "mountain town" and the largest town between Marrakech and the summit is Taddarte (1830m), about 90 kilometers southeast of Marrakech. It makes itself welcome to travelers, with several restaurants and a small hotel.  
    Switchbacks to Haute Atlas summit, near Taddarte, Morocco Haute Atlas summit, near Taddarte, Morocco Haute Atlas summit, near Taddarte, Morocco Haute Atlas summit, near Taddarte, Morocco  
    Out of Taddarte there are a lot of switch backs to the summit (2230m). As the crow flies it is about 5 kilometers. By road, you will travel about 15 kilometers -- all in an effort to make it easier. The average grade for this section is about 5%. The summit is about 105 kilometers from Marrakech.  
    Mountain town, south slope, Haute Atlas, near Agouim, Morocco Village near Agouim, road to Ouarzazate, Morocco Open road nearAgouim, road to Ouarzazate, Morocco Near Agouim, road to Ouarzazate, Morocco  
    On the south side there are few switchbacks and the slopes are half a steep. It is generally less rugged.  From the summit it is a general descent for the next 70 kilometers.  
    Agouim, Road to Ouarzazate, Morocco Agouim, Road to Ouarzazate, Morocco Agouim, Road to Ouarzazate, Morocco Hotel, Agouim, Road to Ouarzazate, Morocco  
    Twenty kilometers south of the summit is the small cross-roads town of Agouim. From the point of view of the traveler there are the essentials; cafe, restaurant and hotel.  
     
    On the southern slope of the Haute Atlas the climate is generally more arid and doesn't support agriculture, expect near the rivers. Where the valley floor is wide enough to support some agriculture there is usually a village perched on the hillside above the flood plain. Even if little else marks a village they can usually be spotted from a distance by the white minaret of the mosque.  
    shops selling fossils, minerals, and geodes, near Amerzgane, Morocco Minerals and geodes for sale, near Amerzgane, Morocco Pot of honey for sale, near Amerzgane, Morocco Ouarzazate River, Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco  
    Between towns a small amount of the economy is aimed towards passers-by. There are a few shops selling fossils, minerals, and geodes,  
    Ouarzazate River, Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco Ouarzazate River, Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco Ouarzazate River, Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco Kasbah, Afella Isli, Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco  
    For about sixty kilometers the road stays in the proximity of the Ouarzazate River. Though the river is flowing east at this point, seemingly towards the Sahara, the water eventually joins the Draa River, running south and finally turns west to find its way to the Atlantic Ocean.  
    Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco Marrakech-Ouazazate road, near Amerzgane, Morocco
    The gentle road, light traffic and mixture of wide valleys, narrow valleys, river, villages, ruins,  and  mountains made for and engaging and pleasant ride.  
    Atlas Film Studio, near Ouarzazate, Morocco CLA Film Studio, near Ouarzazate, Morocco Oversize film spools incorporated in to the sculpture in a traffic circle.Ouarzazate, Morocco  
    The areas claim to fame is film studios. Three studios built here and started producing motion pictures in 1930. Atlas Studio is said to be the largest in the world. IMDb lists over 760 films and TV episodes filmed in Morocco (most not in Ouarzazate).  From the outside the Studios are not very interesting, and from the inside they aren't very interesting, but some of their productions are famous. Many films use the surrounding villages for locations. Oversize film spools have been incorporated in to the sculpture in a traffic circle.  
    Ouarzazate, Morocco Ouarzazate, Morocco Ouarzazate, Morocco Ouarzazate, Morocco  
    The modern development of Ouarzazate started in 1928 when is was selected as a base for the French Foreign Legion. The Legion is long gone and the outpost is now an administrative center and city.

When the French began their colonial rule in the 19th century, the el Glaoui were a powerful clan that controlled one of the major southern caravan routes to West Africa. The French anointed them the governors of the region in exchange for keeping the southern tribes subdued.

 
    Main entrance, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Main entrance, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Main entrance, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Main entrance, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco  
    The most significant building in Ouarzazate is Taourirt Kasbah or el Glaoui Palace -- much of it now in ruins. A small section has been restored and is maintained. The preservation is due in part to Hollywood, which brought attention to the building by using it as a backdrop for such movies as Sheltering Sky, Gladiator, and Prince of Persia. It now also generates revenue from tourist admission fees.

The Taourirt Kasbah was built in the 19th century and reached the height of importance during the 1930s, when the el Glaoui powers were at their peak. Although located at a strategic junction of the caravan routes, the Kasbah was never actually resided in by the el Glaoui chiefs. Housed here would have been the second tier of command, such as the dynasty's sons and cousins and their extended -- numbering in the hundreds -- entourages of servants, builders, and craftsmen.

 
    Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco  
    Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, MoroccoThe building is a maze of corridors, stairways and rooms. It once had close to 300 rooms and within the Kasbah (walled community) were more than 20 riads (garden houses). A small corner -- maybe twenty rooms -- of Kasbah has been partially restored, with assistance from UNESCO. A couple of the restored rooms are exquisite, but none of the rooms have any furnishings to give them any contexts so it is a bit like wander in a vacant house.  In the section open to visitors are the former reception rooms, a harem room, and a kitchens. Even knowing the purpose of the room, overall touring the building is a rather superficial experience.  
    Courtyard view, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Courtyard view, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Courtyard view, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Courtyard view, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco  
   

In the center is a courtyard that once served as a souk (market). Now most of the surrounding structures are vacant and in various degrees of decay.

 
    Roof view, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Roof view, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco Roof view, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco  
    Some of the upstairs area offer roof top views of the remainder of the Kasbah, as well as the Oued Ouarzazate (river) to the south and the High Atlas Mountains to the northwest.  
    Fried Krupp 75mm canon, Ouarzazate, Morocco Fried Krupp 75mm canon, Ouarzazate, Morocco Fried Krupp 75mm canon, Ouarzazate, Morocco Kittens, Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco  
    In the foyer is an industrial artifact; a Fried Krupp 75mm canon, made is Essen, Germany, in 1884. The Krupp family was a prominent 400 year old dynasty, known for there production of armaments. The kittens are more recent.  
       
   

Marrakesh Dades River Valley

 
     
       
 

touring tour eco-tour safari responsible travel journey adventure expedition trip active vacation culture cultural holiday budget

Unique Programs To Special Places For Memories Of A Lifetime!

Please write if you have questions, suggestions and comments about our program or want to be added to Bicycle Africa's mailing list. (Also let us know how you found this site.)

Bicycle Africa Homepage        Ibike Programs       IBF Homepage     To Search
"Hosted by DreamHost - earth friendly web hosting"
Created by David Mozer.
Copyright ? 1983-2016  Ibike LLC.  All rights reserved.