Six of the best adventure activities in Morocco, from rock climbing to mountain biking

1. Climbing in the Todra gorges

The Todra Gorge is a narrow limestone canyon, carved into the Atlas Mountains by prehistoric floodwaters, its walls reaching 1,312 feet in places. It is one of Morocco’s natural wonders, with a steady stream of tourists arriving from Tinghir to marvel at its vastness. Climbers who want to feel its rocky embrace have dozens of fully equipped official routes to choose from, including challenging sport climbs and more technical multi-pitch routes suitable for experienced partners. Outfitters like Aventures Verticales Maroc can provide equipment, instruction and guides. climbing-in-morocco.com

2. Winter sports in Oukaïmeden

Home to the ski lift with the highest terminus in Africa – at 10,738 feet above sea level – the ski resort of Oukaïmeden has plenty of appeal. To add to the intrigue, it’s less than 80km from Marrakech, making day trips from the desert to the snow quite doable. The trip to the High Atlas is part of the adventure: the road climbs thousands of feet in less than two hours. While the lower ski runs are unlikely to impress anyone who has progressed beyond novice level, the more challenging upper runs are considerably more appealing. For the best skiing conditions, arrive in January or February.

3. Surf in Taghazout

Taghazout, Morocco’s low-key surf capital, has chic accommodations but rustic roots. Located about 15 miles north of Agadir’s beach umbrellas and promenade, it’s still a fishing village at heart, but with a string of new five-star hotels. Key to its appeal are a handful of melodramatically named surf spots: Killer Point, near a spot where killer whales are sometimes seen; Boilers, a powerful right-hander named after a shipwreck; and at Dracula, where long peelers crash into rocks as sharp as a vampire’s teeth. Local companies Surf Maroc and Surf Berbere offer accommodation, equipment, training and yoga.

4. Mountain biking from the High Atlas to the Sahara

With reliable weather and an extensive network of mountain and desert trails, southern Morocco is an adventure playground for cyclists. Whether you’re an all-mountain biker or an old-school mountain biker, there are routes to suit everyone, including thrilling routes along winding mule tracks and through rock-strewn landscapes too remote to reach. foot. For a satisfying long-distance pedal ride with all the logistics sorted, join a fully supported group tour. Saddle Skedaddle, for example, offers a nine-day trip from the Atlas to the desert between the magnificent kasbah of Telouet and the fringes of the Sahara, cycling between 16 and 36 miles per day.

5. Kitesurfing and windsurfing in Essaouira

With a three mile beach swept by trade winds (trade winds), Essaouira will amaze you. Gusty winds between April and November, peaking in July and August, mitigate the fierce summer heat. Several centres, including Ion Club and Explora, offer beginner lessons in the morning, when the sea is calmest. For veterans, there’s no rush – enjoy a long breakfast, then head out at midday, just as conditions improve. Whitewashed Essaouira is also an alluring place to stroll and has a cool, relaxed medina.

6. Hike to the top of Jebel Toubkal

At 13,671 feet, the highest peak in North Africa is an achievable goal for anyone with above average fitness and altitude tolerance. It’s a strenuous hike rather than a technical climb. however, having a local guide or porter is strongly encouraged. The most popular starting point, Imlil (1,600 m), is 68 km south of Marrakech. From there it’s a five to seven hour hike along stony paths to the Toubkal Refuge (10,521ft), where climbers rest overnight before a final ascent at the first light of the mountain. dawn, often with snow underfoot. On a clear morning, the views stretch from the Atlantic to the Sahara.

Published in the April 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveler (UK)

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Richard V. Johnson