Ourika Valley/Setti Fatima
Leave Marrakech behind and drive along the Ourika Valley, a lush oasis of vegetation in the foothills of the magnificent Atlas Mountains. Visit the Berber village of Setti Fatima and lunch in a local Berber café. Follow the rocky foothills above the village to the series of seven waterfalls. 65km/1.5hrs, each way
Drive along the Ouirgane Valley via Asni to Imlil (1740metres), at the edge of the Toubkal National Park. This bustling Berber village has developed into a base for trekkers and mountaineers. Ride a mule to Kasbah Toubkal and enjoy lunch from the terrace with its magnificent views of the valley below and Mount Toubkal (4167metres), North Africa’s highest peak. 65km/1.5-2hrs, each way
Drive to Lalla Takerkouste Lake and turn-off the main road. Enjoy the panoramic views over the Lake and the High Atlas as the road ascends to the Kik plateau dotted with traditional Berber villages. Cross the Ouirgane valley via Asni and continue along the former Berber trail to Oukaïmeden. Enjoy stunning views and impressive passes at 2500metres.Return to Marrakech via Ourika Valley. 160km/3hrs, roundtrip.
Cross the highest Atlas road pass of Tizi-n-Tichka, visit the Berber village of Telouet and the kasbah of el Glaoui, former war lord and pasha of Marrakech. Continue on to UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, a fortified village that once stood on trans-Saharan caravan route through the High Atlas to the fondouks (workshops) of Marrakech. 230km/4hrs, each way.
Visit the beach and famous port of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. Formerly known by its old Portuguese name “Mogador”, Essaouira is a citadel with a prestigious past. Wander through this laid-back town with its ramparts, medina, art galleries and harbour. Lunch on fresh fish in one of the many cafés. Visit a women’s cooperative that manufactures the famous Argan oil. 176km/3.0hrs, each way.
Visit Tin Mal mosque a hidden jewel of ancient, Berber Islamic architecture, serenely placed within the N’Fiss Valley in the High Atlas Mountains. The journey alone makes this trip worthwhile as every twist and turn brings spectacular views, but first sight of the Mosque transports you into back into long distant history, rich with empires battling out cultural and ideological differences. Open to non-Muslims, closed Fridays. 100km/2.0hrs, each way.