15 Places to go in South Morocco that you must not miss! #MuchMorocco

Jonathan Howe Africa, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 26 Comments

Surfing spots, check! Mountains, check! Rivers, check! Canyons, check! Farms, check! Beach, check! Luxury properties, check! Desert, check! Seems like they have everything here in Morocco! Marrakech is undoubtedly on the bucket list of anyone with the travel bug, for its notorious sense of chaos, overwhelming colours, smells and sounds in stark contrast to the tranquility found within the walls of the city’s atmospheric luxury palaces and riads. Once exhausted from the many streets of the medinas and scrubbed clean in the hammam there are a million more experiences waiting outside of the city.

Things to do in South Morocco - Erg Chagaga Desert

The best way to travel through Morocco is independently, using the country’s vast network of amazing roads. Driving in Morroco is pretty safe and from our own experience, driving standards were high and we saw very little of the dangerous driving that you might normally associate with Africa. On our ten-day adventure in Morocco, we travelled through the Draa Valley by motorbike with Palm Road, then rented a 4X4 Mitsubishi Pajero from Safasud Cars for a road trip along the Atlantic Coast to Essaouira.

We were so lucky to spend 11 days exploring Marrakech and South Morocco with MuchMorocco as our guides and here’s our pick of the 15 highlights you shouldn’t miss!

1. Ourika Valley

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 1Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco – Photo – Bryce Edwards

Known as a cool, blooming and colourful retreat from the stifling heat of the cities, this valley is home to a variety of plant life and cultivation due to its comfortable temperatures and location in the shade of the Atlas Mountains. Spring is when the valley really comes alive, offering beautiful treks through wild flowers and almond and cherry orchards. Only 45 minutes by car south of Marrakech, it’s so easy to escape for a couple of days and learn about the nature and produce of the valley. Here are some suggestions of what you can do:

Dar Taliba: a girl’s secondary school specializing in botany and research on indigenous herbs and their properties. Run by a local NGO the school offers education to students from remote villages and tourists can support by visiting and sampling refreshing herbal teas between 3 and 5pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday for a donation between Dh250 and 500.

La Cledes Huiles: a mecca for olive enthusiasts, this eco-museum is housed in a farmhouse where you can learn all about the olive-oil making process with many tastings on offer. Also on site is a restaurant, accommodation and a pool hidden in the olive grove.

Safronerie: Visitors to this saffron farm in early to mid-November between 4 and 5am can witness the harvest of the saffron flower, with an option to buy this gold-dust at Dh13 per gram.

2. Ouirgane Valley

Another 45 minutes south brings you higher into the Atlas Mountains to the Toubkal National Park and the quaint Berber Village of Ouirgane. At 1000 metres travellers here will be rewarded with a quieter setting for great treks and mountain-biking excursions along the river Nfis and up into the mountains to see the variety of birdlife that reside here.

Berber Markets: Asni on Saturdays is 15kms away, Talat n’ Yacoub on Wednesdays is 35kms away and Ouirgane itself on Thursdays.

Tinmal Mosque: nice to wander to slowly in the morning enjoying incredible views along the way.

Activities: Walking, mule and horseback treks

3. Takerkoust Lake

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40 kilometres from Marrakech is a man-made lake, originally built to provide electricity to city and surrounding areas and also as irrigation for the fields of Haouz roughly 80 years ago, it is now popular with locals and tourists alike to swim, sunbathe and partake in the many available activities. Although not originally a natural feature the lake blends beautifully with the stunning landscapes around it. Recommended activities are:

Activities on the lake: jet-skiing, kayaking, water-skiing, wake-boarding, pedal-boating and fishing

On land: quad biking, walking, mountain-biking, horse-riding

Above ground: microlight flights, either as a passenger or pilot!

4. Tichka Pass

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco – Photo: Britrob

This pass through the High Atlas Mountains sits at 2,260 metres above sea level (the highest in Morocco) and travelers can find it by taking the Route Nationale 9 towards Ourzazate from Marrakech. The best time to make this journey is in winter with the possibility of adding snow-capped peaks to the already remarkable views, but take note that this is a very winding pass so take lots of breaks to enjoy the scenery and avoid car sickness.

5. Draa Valley

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco – Photo: Singa Hitam

The lushest section of this valley is the 95 km stretch between Agdez and Zagora in which the most oases can be found emerging from the desert. This drive can be done in about 4 hours, but those with more time should take the Circuits Touristiques which take you directly through the vibrant scenery.

Places to visit in the valley:

Zagora: a trading post and meeting place, this lonely spot often hosts lively festivals and a regional souk on Wednesday and Sunday.

Tamegroute: a place of pilgrimage home to a Quranic school and also a library of ancient illuminated texts.

Kasbah Timidarte: One of the finest examples dating from the 17th century, now open as a guest house.

6. Merzouga Dunes

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco – Photo: Dimitry B.

Merzouga and Hassi Labied are two villages shadowed by dunes that rise dramatically above them, Erg Chebbi. The legend goes that these dunes bury a wealthy family who refused to shelter a poor woman and her son as a punishment from God, now they are the dream destination of visitors seeking a once in a lifetime desert experience. A paved road from Ouarzazate gives access to the edge of the dunes, where many tour companies offer journeys by 4WD and of course by camel back.

7. Todra Canyon

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco – Photo: Singa Hitam

If timed correctly, tourists will arrive at this orange limestone ravine early in the morning in time to see the sun’s golden glow light up the gorge and the crystal-clear river below. The deepest points of the fault reach 300 meters with a narrow pass for trekkers to follow. Travelling from Tinerhir you will pass through green palm groves and Berber villages for 15km before reaching this magnificent site. 18km on the other side will bring you to another Berber village called Tamtattouche and 95km further is Immilchil.

8. Dades Canyon

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco – Photo: Singa Hitam

The best way to reach this spectacle of nature is by rented 4WD, following the N10 route and travelling 110kms south through El Kelaa and Boumalne Dades in the valley of roses. Once in the gorge (spring is the best time) you will find gardens of palms, walnut, almond, poplar and argan trees, and incredible landscape for hiking, rafting and rock climbing.

9. Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou

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South Morroco’s silhouette is one of overlapping blocks rising into hillsides as a result of the traditional Ksars, many houses crowded inside defense walls with corner towers for extra fortification. Ourzazate is home to one of most striking of these pre-saharan architectural treasures, Ait-Ben-Haddou.

10. Essaouira

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco

Built by the same Frenchman as Saint-Malo, one could be forgiven for mistaking this North-African Port for the coast of Brittany. Once inside the city walls however, its true Moroccan identity is revealed through its red walls towering over narrow alleys in which skilled woodworkers and painters sell their wares amongst towers of aromatic spices. Sun-seekers beware; this seaside town is known for its fierce winds that make the beach less than ideal for sunbathing, but great for wind-surfing.

11. Ammeln Valley

Home to twenty-six villages each rich in cultivated green land and stunning backdrops of the Jebel el Kest. The landscape around these villages is perfect for trekking, biking or rock-climbing and a few of these worth mentioning are:

Oumesnat: home to La Maison Traditionelle in which resides a Berber family teaching visitors about daily life there

Anameur: the source of a natural spring

Tazoulte: famous for its ancient Jewish Cemetery and Jewish silverware

Tagoudiche: the highest village accessible by a rough track in 4X4

Tirnmatmat: even further and more remote where prehistoric rock-carvings can be found.

The Ameln Valley has the majestic Jebel el Kest as a backdrop, with gold and copper colored terrain punctuated with patches of green cultivated land watered by springs and irrigation canals. The valley has twenty-six village

12. Taroudant Old City

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco – Photo: mustapha ennaimi

With a slower-paced, more laid-back atmosphere than Marrakech, Taroudant offers the opportunity to leisurely stroll through the Medina within the old city’s red mud walls with distant views of the snowy-peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Only 65km from Al-Massira airport many visitors make this their base-camp for activities further afield with both the mountains and the coast in easy reach.

13. Tizi’n Test Pass (2000 meters)

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco 115 Places to go in South Morocco – Photo: Britrob

Almost reaching the height of the Tichka pass at 2092 metres above sea level, Tizi n’Test cuts right through the centre of the Atlas Mountains connecting Marrakech with the Souss Plain and the desert. Since its completion by the French in 1932 the engineering required has been admired for allowing important trade passage that had been otherwise impossible before. While manoeuvring the hair-pin bends travellers can appreciate incredible panoramas of the Souss Valley and spot the groups of villages in the Nfiss Valley on the descent.

14. Erg Chigaga Desert

Things to do in South Morocco - Erg Chigaga

Many tourists visit Morocco with the dream of trekking through the Sahara on camel back, sleeping under the canvas of a luxury tent and waking up to a perfect sunrise over the dunes. While Morocco has a huge expanse of desert this particular stretch, being more isolated, offers the peace, quiet and tranquility to recreate that dream. The Erg Chigaga dunes are 60 km south west of M’Hamid and can be reached by 4×4 in just a couple of hours, or 5 days there and back by camel alone.

15. Atlantic Coast Road

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Having previously been quite an overlooked and neglected coastline, these five-hundred kilometres of the Atlantic are now home to twenty percent of the country’s population. With the major cities of Rabat and Casablanca attracting many of the region’s visitors, the lesser-known resorts further south also offer charming insights into the life of the more Europeanised Moroccans in resorts like Essaouira, Oualida and El Jadida. With its strong winds and currents the Atlantic coastline is very popular with surfers and windsurfers.

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Our 10-day adventure in Morocco was made possible by Much Morocco  who organised all of our hotels and itinerary.

Two Monkeys Travel - Africa - Morocco - places to go in morocco

Comments 26

  1. I’ll definitely bookmark this post for future travel reference. Morroco looks such a luxurious travel itinerary but real gem to ones travelogue if all can be visited. What’s your top 3 most recommended spots if you only have 4-5 days? 🙂

  2. It seems like Morocco is getting more famous everyday. I haven’t been there yet but it’s on my list, I’ll keep in mind these amazing places.

  3. The different kinds of natural landscape are just beautiful! Can’t imagine how gorgeous Todra Canyon looks when lit with the glow of the sun, I have to see that in person.

  4. Look at those Dunes!! I wish I could also travel as much as you guys do! You’re #relationshipgoals and #lifepegs!!!

    airinaapril.blogspot.com

  5. How timely! My friend is going to Morocco this May and she could use your list. I hope you don’t mind that I share this with her. Also, Morocco looks pretty and interesting.

  6. I’ve never travelled outside our country yet but Morocco looks wonderful! I wanted to visit Erg Chigaga Desert but because of watching too much National Geographic, I can only think of snakes when I see a desert. Hahaha

  7. Whoaaa!! Would definitely come to Morocco!! Says my inner traveller self. Hehe. I haven’t been to any country outside Asia so this post just felt like I need to explore Asia faster so I can now explore other countries. Would definitely be using this guide when I’m travelling to Morocco. Thanks for sharing this post! 🙂

  8. Wow, I have never been overseas, ever! But Morocco looks absolutely amazing. Great pictures, and they make me feel like I am right there!

  9. This gave me all those prince of persia feels. Morocco is so picturesque and there are looots of colors to play with when you love taking photographs.

  10. I’ve never been to Morocco but I find it interesting.I’ve seen on tv that their food and busy markets as full of life.I hope to visit the places you mentioned someday.

  11. The shots look awesome, like something out of movie frame! The dunes remind me of Mad Max , Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou of the The Prince of Persia.

    1. Hi kati, this is beng patron from manila. My husband recently had a 2-wk vacay in morocco. Happy to tell you that yes Prince of Persia had location shoots in Ait Benhaddou along with Gladiator, Jesus of Nazareth, jewel of the Nile, Game of Thrones and many more. We also joined the tour to merzouga and had unforgetable experience of riding a camel in the Sahara and being in the big sand dunes. We also visited other tourist destinations listed in the guide. We had real fun and adventure, met new people, and learned a lot. It was a vacay worth spending on.

  12. Out of all places on the list, the only one that’s familiar to me is the Merzouga Dunes. It’s fascinating to know more about the places to visit in Morocco.

  13. Great places! Love every photo in this post. Added this to my dream destination! I’ll see you soon Morocco! 🙂

  14. So envious of this trip! Never though Morocco is a vast land to cover. How many days, all in all, did you spend in this wonderful state? 🙂

  15. I could not decide on picking the one photo I truly like. All the places you recommend are truly beautiful… well, except for the beach because living in an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, we have a lot of beautiful beaches.

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