Travel Guide > Travelling
Marrakech: An overview - Part 25
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Trips outside the city
Marrakech is a good place from which you can take a day trip to the Atlas Mountains. These tours often include a visit at a Berber village and camel rides. One of the companies offering this kind of tour also makes a visit at a Berber family' s house, where a meal is served. You can also plan a visit to Kasbah du Toubkal. This is a former tribal stronghold deep in the Atlas Mountains, this kasbah is at the foot of Jbel Toubkal. The last part of the journey is done by mule. You are brought a Berber lunch before you go on a hike and taken back into town before it gets dark. If you there is an option where you can stay overnight at the Kasbah.
Essaouira is a medieval walled port city on the Atlantic coast but a few hours travel from Marrakech. It has rampart walks, souks, beaches, a fishing harbour and an interesting history.
Barrage Lalla Takarkoust can be found to the south of Marrakech on Route d’Amizmiz. This is an impressive artificial lake with the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The clear water makes it a great place to go swimming. You can also take out one of the boats for hire. It’s also worth looking at the food in the many waterside restaurants. If you want to stay here for a while then the long-established Relais du Lac, offers accommodation.
Marrakech seems like an unlikely place to be used as a base for skiing. However, that is true for a part of the year when groups want to visit Oukaimeden. Snowfall on the Atlas Mountains between February and April means business for the ski resort at Oukaimeden which is high above the Ourika Valley. There is a chairlift and ski equipment can be hired on site. Visitors that are staying in Ouarzazate invariably stop by the imposing mountain palace of Telouet. However, if your plans do not include a trip south of the Atlas, then it is still worth planning a visit the kasbah on a day trip from Marrakech. A daily bus goes to Telouet or you can hire a taxi for the day for a very reasonable price.
About two hours’ drive south of Marrakech, the ancient, restored mosque of Tin Mal makes a superb day out in case a full trip over the Tizi-nTest pass is not possible.
Setti Fatma is a small village that is hidden away about an hour’s drive south of the city. It is at the head of the Ourika Valley in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Is it the starting point for a 15-minute stroll up to a fine waterfall and pool. If you are feeling fit you can then go on a strenuous hike up a steep valley to six more falls.
Country markets can be quite interesting and several small villages in the vicinity of Marrakech host weekly markets. Villagers from surrounding regions flock to them to buy and sell produce, cheap clothing and assorted bric-a-brac. Donkeys and mules are the dominant means of transport. Cattle auctions are also common, as are makeshift salons of travelling barbers and dentists.
Tameslohte is a 20-minute drive out of Marrakech on the Route d’Amizmiz. Tameslohte is a roadside village well-known for its busy potters’ cooperative. There’s also an ancient mule driven olive oil press, weavers’ workshops and a crumbling kasbah.
Cascades d’Ouzoud is two hours northeast on Route de Fès and is the most stunning waterfalls in Morocco. You walk through olive groves to reach the gorges of Oued El Abid. There is also a riad at the top of the Cascades if you feel like spending the night.
Continued in part 26
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