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A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

One of the highlights of our vacation in Morocco was the two day backpacking trip we did from Igmir to Amtoudi in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. It was like no other trip we’ve ever done. There were no route signs or other hikers and nor were there any facilities though the one village we walked through would probably have had some food available. It would be best to go well-prepared or better yet, hire a local guide and put some money into their economy.

We had a guide, Hassan, a local from Amtoudi who knew the area well. He leads many hikes in the general area with some trips that are up to a week long. If you are adventurous, and you spend a little time on Google Earth you could figure out the route we did quite easily but getting a map might be a problem.

The hike took us up a canyon starting in Igmir to a small village accessed via a tunnel through the mountains followed by a climb to a plateau. From there it was several hours of easy hiking across the plateau to Hassan’s property where we spent the night in a comfortable tent – but with no washing facilities to speak of.

The first day of our approximately 45 kilometre two day backpacking trip through the Anti-Atlas Mountains looked like this.

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

The trek started off in a palm lined canyon in Igmir

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Head into a tunnel through the mountains to save walking around to the village of Aoukerda

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Looking out towards the canyon from the tunnel

We took some time to wander through the village before climbing out of the canyon. Ladies covered from head to toe checked us out with curious but laughing eyes and in short order we were invited to tea.

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

The schools we saw in Morocco were always colourful

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Peering over an enclosure we found a pen full of sheep

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

The hole in the rock lets you shorten the route to the village by cutting off the hike around the promontory

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

The local dressed in green decided to join us for a partial trek out of the canyon – just because

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Hassan our guide making lunch with his wife’s home baked bread as a base – and yes that’s a significant drop-off behind him

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

We followed this women as she descended from way up high herding goats and scrambling over precarious rocks

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Watching the two ladies descend with their goats back to the village

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Climbing out of the canyon through wiggly hills of brown

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

We spend a few hours walking on the plains – where a road with the occasional car in the distance can be seen. Directions to this hike could be given based on location of the occasional argan tree.

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

We end up at a property owned by Hassan and four other families – and this is where we eat

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

We sleep in a new tent on rugs (super-comfortable) on the top of a roof of one of his unfinished buildings

Day 2 of hiking in the Anti-Atlas Mountains

Our second day of hiking took a solid seven hours. There wasn’t much elevation gain so it wasn’t hard hiking but we did thank our lucky stars that it wasn’t stinking hot. We continued hiking from Hassan’s property that was studded with flowering almond trees across a desert plateau, filled with cacti for many hours until we reached the top of a canyon. The descent was swift and the last few hours of hiking were spent in a beautiful gorge where the locals go swimming when the temperatures heat up. We passed huge walls that looked like they belonged in a cave, a Kasbah or fortress that spoke to difficult times when attacks were a threat in the area and finished in the pretty village of Amtoudi, perched below a stunning granary.

Here’s a look at day two from start to finish.

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

We pass this fellow with his goat at the start of our second day of hiking

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

We walked the open plains for hours – passing interesting hills with circular patterns

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Unusual patterns on the hills; the small bushes are all cacti

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

We pass a few close to deserted villages where the people still left rely on wells for water

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Our lunch stop in the shade of argan trees

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Watch where you step

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

I know it doesn’t look like much but it’s a dance floor! Nomads would meet up and pack down a spot and dance under a full moon

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Break time

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

An abrupt change from the plains to canyon country

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

An easy descent into the gorge

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Lovely to walk alongside water

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Skirting pools with interesting conglomerate around

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Heading for a weeping wall that looks like it belongs in the interior of a cave

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

We pass a precariously perched kasbah just before arriving in Amtoudi

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Another view of the kasbah just before we reach Amtoudi

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Amtoudi, our home for the night sits beneath a stunning granary and is the home of about 300 Berber families

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Sunset from our hotel El Malara in Amtoudi

We organized our hike (and full two week trip) through Sun Trails Morocco. Both John and I would describe this hike as one of the highlights of our trip – despite the fact it was what I would describe as rustic and bare bones.

Could you ever see yourself doing this stunning desert hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains?

A 2 Day Hike in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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