Known to local Berbers as ‘Idraren Draren’ – the Mountain of Mountains – North Africa’s highest mountain range, the Atlas Mountains, runs across Morocco for nearly 1,000km, separating the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline from the Sahara Desert. Its diverse terrain is dotted with Berber villages, canyons, waterfalls, and spectacular valleys with snow-capped Jebel Toubkal its highest peak at 4,167m (13,671ft) above sea level.
The foothills of Atlas Mountains are home to Kasbah Tamadot, Virgin Limited Edition’s tranquil retreat located just an hour’s drive from Marrakech. Our Reservations Team is often asked about the best time to visit this region of Morocco and while the answer depends on what you are looking for in a holiday, the Atlas Mountains can be enjoyed at any time of the year. With Morocco’s seasons similar to other countries in the Northern Hemisphere, our handy guide breaks it all down for you.
Take in the views of the Atlas Mountains from Kasbah Tamadot's Berber Tents
Visit in Spring
In early Spring, the slopes of the Atlas Mountains are softly coloured with white and pale pink almond blossoms, and wildflowers – ranging from poppies to wild orchids – making for a striking natural landscape. With temperatures averaging 18.2°C/65°F during the day, this time of the year is ideal for hiking, mountain-biking, tackling the trek up Jebel Toubkal or simply exploring the many traditional Berber villages dotted across the landscape.
The ninth and holiest month in the Islamic calendar – usually around April or May- marks the start of Ramadan. A time for spiritual rejuvenation, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset through this month, marking the end of this period with Eid-el-Fitr, three days of celebration and feasting. During Ramadan many shops and restaurants will have altered hours – something to bear in mind when travelling – however, seeing worshippers head to their local mosques for evening prayers before sitting down together with family and friends to break the fast – known as f’tour – is quite something to observe. It’s also the perfect time to sample some of the traditional foods popular during this time of the year such as chebakia, a honey- coated fried flower-shaped sesame biscuit, and harira, a flavourful lentil and tomato soup.
Summer days spent in the shade by the pool at Kasbah Tamadot
Visit in Summer
In Summer, the Atlas Mountains offer much needed respite from the heat in Morocco’s cities, with temperatures here often 15˚C lower than the rest of the country. While during the day it may still be too hot for long and strenuous hikes, gentler walks first thing in the morning can be combined with relaxing afternoons lingering in the shade by the pool at Kasbah Tamadot.
Cool evenings and clear skies make for incredible stargazing opportunities – just make sure to layer up as temperatures do drop significantly at night-time.
Browsing Marrakech's labyrinth of souks packed with beautiful goods
Visit in Autumn
Between October and December, all across the Ourika valley – just a short drive from Kasbah Tamadot - local Berber women head out several hours before sunrise to harvest Morocco’s red gold: saffron. Spending several hours picking the purple crocuses lining the valley’s fields before gathering around small wooden tables to carefully separate the red stigma from the crocus flower, while enjoying their social time together, it is quite the process to observe.
With the Summer heat subsiding also and temperatures averaging between 27.5°C/81.5°F and 14.7°C/(58.5°F), Autumn makes for a great time to explore Marrakech and its many sights. From perusing its labyrinth of souks brimming with spices – including the precious saffron -, pottery and stunning fabrics to taking in the city’s world class museums such as the Museum Macaal (Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden) or the Berber Museum, located within the beautiful Majorelle Garden, there is plenty to while away the day before heading back to Kasbah Tamadot for a relaxing evening.
Taking in the snowcapped peaks of Morocco's majestic Atlas Mountains
Visit in Winter
Morocco isn’t often associated with skiing, however located just over an hour and half’s drive from Kasbah Tamadot and standing at over 3,000 metres (or 9.500ft) is Africa’s highest ski resort, Oukaïmeden. With 10 kilometres of skiable slopes and seven ski lifts, tackling these runs are a great option for more adventurous skiers looking for a less traditional destination.
If you prefer to admire the beautiful snow-capped mountains instead of tackling them, wrap up and enjoy a traditional Moroccan mint tea while taking in the views from the roof terrace at Kasbah Tamadot instead or snuggle up with a good book by in front of fire at Asmoun Lounge.
Ready to plan your next Moroccan getaway? Browse our offers for Kasbah Tamadot.