Middle Atlas Mt
Sahara 1
Sahara 2
Final Thoughts

© 5 June 2005

Middle Atlas Mountains

Picture Pages:  Ifrane  |  Cedar Forest  |  Berber Country  |  Berber Family  |  Midelt  |  Unemployed Dog  |  Ziz Valley  |  Er-Rachidia

From Fès it was a southward journey to Ifrane, the coldest city in Morocco.  It is situated in the Middle Atlas Mountains at 5595 feet.  It is a French built town and commonly called "Little Switzerland."  We had a chance to walk in the town with it's cool mountain air and clear streams.  It's a great place for hiking and cyclists.

The surrounding mountains reach 7000 feet.  While going through the Cedar Forest, we were allowed off the bus to walk a mile or two in the woods then back to the road.  It was nice to stretch the legs.  We passed many Berber families living in huts or tents.

Then a nice surprise.  Our guide stopped at one of the Berber huts on the side of a hill to ask if we could visit.  The family had 300 sheep.  The couple had 4 children and 2 half sisters living there.  During the summer they live in a tent.  The hut is only for the winter.  We were served mint tea and bread.

The Mid-Atlas Mountains were crossed as we proceeded to Midelt for lunch in the Kasbah Asma.  Some leftover food was saved since we heard about "unemployed" or wild dogs along the road.  We saw a few but stopped only to feed one.  The Ziz Valley did not have much vegetation, except along the small Ziz River.

One of the towns in the Ziz Valley was Er-Rachidia which, we are told, has a large military base since we were close to the Algerian border.  There was also a university, hospital, high school, and a hydro-electric plant.  This is considered an oasis town.  We saw many women in their black gouna.  In contrast the Arab women wore colored outer clothing. 

The Ziz Valley was followed all the way to Erfoud where we transferred to 4-wheel drive Land Rovers to continue our trip to the --> Sahara Desert.