Walks and Scrambles in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas
Tafraout, Jebel El Kest, Ait Mansour, Ameln Valley, Taskra and Tanalt
By David Wood
Guidebook to 41 graded walks and scrambles in the Anti-Atlas mountains of southern Morocco. Routes from 3 to 25km, including a summary of a 1-week long-distance trail from the north to the south of the Anti-Atlas. Covers 6 main areas, including Tafraout, Jebel El Kest, Ait Mansour, Ameln Valley, Taskra and Tanalt.
SeasonsOctober through April with hotter periods moderated by altitude, low humidity and a frequent light breeze. Weather events can sometimes bring cold conditions and snow on the summits especially in mid-winter.
CentresTafraout and the Ameln Valley are the major bases with the Kasbah Tizourgane at Ida Ougnidif providing a shorter-stay option.
DifficultyThe routes best suit confident walkers and scramblers with a sense of adventure. Walks range from easy (2hr) to very difficult (13hr) explorations. Easy and moderate options require basic fitness and route-finding ability. The graded scrambles (1 to 3S) should appeal mainly to experienced scramblers.
Must SeeThe mountains of Jebel El Kest (2375m) and Adrar Mqorn (2344m) which dominate Tafraout, the strange eroded and weathered rock formations, the deep gorges of Ait Mansour and the skyline rim, the springtime flowers of the Tizi N'Takoucht escarpment, the Ameln Valley villages and the elusive Adad Medni.
The walks and scrambles in this guidebook explore the wild and rugged landscapes of the Anti-Atlas mountains of southern Morocco, with Tafraout and the Ameln Valley as the main base. 41 adventurous routes of between 3 and 40km include Jebel el Kest, Adra Mkorn and Ait Mansour, with an outline of a 1 week long-distance trek across the north-west Anti-Atlas. Walks are mainly moderate to difficult, and scrambles are Grade 1 to Grade 3+, with ropes being required for some sections. Often remote and challenging, the routes are suitable for confident walkers and scramblers with good navigation skills.
Each route description is accompanied by mapping, with some photo topos to aid route finding in tricky sections. The guidebook also gives background information on the people, culture and history of the region, as well as a wealth of advice on planning a trip, making it an indispensable guide to exploring this dramatic region.
The mountains and landscapes of the Anti-Atlas extend over 300km north east from the Atlantic Ocean to Jebel Sirwa (3305m). This guidebook covers an area of more than 4000m² in the north-west of the region. The spectacular, rugged surroundings include mountains, gorges, valleys and desert landscapes – whether it is the iconic Lion's Face which dominates the Ameln Valley and the Tafraout oasis, the deep canyons of Ait Mansour, the ancient villages of the Ameln Valley, or the Tanalt backcountry.
The landscapes of the Anti-Atlas
The Berbers and the Anti-Atlas
History and politics
Plants and animals
When to go
What to take
Money and entry requirements
Where to base yourself
Information and guides
Eating and drinking
Health and emergencies
Route selection and grading
Using this guide
Route 1 Ouadou Desert Basin Walk and Scramble
Route 2 The Painted Rocks and Tafraout Back Country
Route 3 The Elephant’s Trunk
Route 4 Napoleon’s Hat and the Three Flagpoles Scramble
Route 5 Direct from Ayerd
Route 6 Traverse by Southeast Ridge
Route 7 The Grid Ridge Scramble
Route 8 Tahala Peaks Scramble and Walk
2 Ait Mansour and the South
Route 9 Afra Ridge Scramble
Route 10 Tasselt Walk
Route 11 Tizi Ridge Scramble
Route 12 Northern Skyline
Route 13 Southwest Rim and Summits
Route 14 Southeast Towers
3 Ameln Valley and Abdellah Cirque
Route 15 Jebel Amagdour (Horseshoe Route)
Route 16 Ardrar Idekel Scramble and Walk
Route 17 Tizgut Ridge Scramble
Route 18 Above the Lion’s Face
Route 19 Below the Lion’s Face
Route 20 Ameln Villages Valley Traverse
Route 21 Abdellah Ridge Scramble and Azarhar Summit
Route 22 Isefsas Peak
Route 23 Azgour Ridge Scramble
Route 24 Oumsnat Peak by Dinosaur Wall West Window
4 Jebel El Kest
Route 25 The Summits from Tagdicht
Route 26 Tagdicht Skyline Scramble
Route 27 West Ridge Scramble and Summits from Anergui
Route 28 West Ridge Scramble from Afantinzar
Route 29 Jebel El Kest and the Ameln Summits
5 Taskra and the Northeast
Route 30 The Tamgelochte Fortress
Route 31 Amzkhssan Summit
Route 32 Tassilla Summits
Route 33 Jebel Taskra and the Tizi Skyline
Route 34 The Targa Skyline
6 Tanalt and the Northwest
Route 35 In Search of Darth Vader
Route 36 Dwawj Circuit
Route 37 The Tirki River Valley and Potter’s Cave
Route 38 The Lost World of Adad Medni
Route 39 Adad Medni Tighmert Face Circular Walk
Route 40 Jebel Imzi and the Dragon Tree Gorges
7 A Traverse of the Northwestern Anti-Atlas
Route 41 From Ait Baha to Ait Mansour
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Distance table
Appendix C Useful contacts
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Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction
Page 31: Time Zone in October 2018 Morocco suddenly announced that it was discontinuing the daylight saving adjustment and it will remain on GMT + 0 in line with western Mediterranean countries.
Appendix C p276 : Ait Baha- Hotel Aladarissa email address 'email@example.com' no longer works and is replaced by 'firstname.lastname@example.org'.
Page 277 Under important telephone numbers: Additional Police Telephone number for the north part of the area above Ida Ougnidif is covered by Ait Baha Police (+212(0)528254355). This covers the One Week trek stages 1&2 and routes 30,31,33 and 34.
A nice, well researched guide to hiking and mountain adventures in this wonderful part of North Africa.
I have a couple of other guidebooks to Morocco as it’s finally edging itself up the list of places to visit for a trip in 2019 or early 2020 so the arrival of the new and updated Cicerone guide came as a welcome addition to my The High Atlas: Treks and Climbs and Morocco Rock. On top of those two the you might find the Lonely Planet guide and other useful addition if you are intending to explore the country after your mountain adventures.
That said there is more than enough useful information in Walks and Scrambles in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas to plan a trip to the area and the area is well served with mobile signal so you should be able to supplement the guide with Google. The information David Wood provides in the guide is informative and very useful with being overly complicated and unnecessary, just enough to get what you need. There is plenty of informative advice on when to go, how to get there and how to enter the country. On top of that there are chapters covering geology, politics, culture, climate and a good section covering the basics needed to enjoys a holiday scrambling and travelling through the mountain environment. All very useful stuff that doesn’t crowd out the main content of describing the routes.
Routes are described in geographical locations and each village has a detailed map showing where important places are such as the pharmacy, medical centre, etc. Each area has a great selection of routes at all grades (grades are explained in detail in the introduction section) and abilities from simple walks with easy summits to complicated and long days out with scrambles that will test you. They are all described in detail with where to park, a general description and then a detailed description and map. The description also notes what detailed map is needed for the activity and it must be stated that although the maps provided are reasonable they are no substitute for a detailed topo map and a compass.
Much care is used to describe descents and this alone marks out David’s knowledge of the routes and the area as in other guidebooks I’ve used they are often sketchy. There are also plenty of good quality photos to keep you inspired. The Walks and Scrambles in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas is a useful guide to planning and enjoying your hiking adventures in this amazing and varied country. I’m currently planning a big Moroccan trip which involves hiking, scrambling, bouldering and general travel so David Wood's Guide is proving extremely useful as the information is bang up to date and the guide is small enough to pack in my very small hand luggage. I won’t hesitate to take it with me and use it as an in country source of reference.
Dave Sarker, Climbing Gear Reviews
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Based in West Lancashire, David is a keen walker, photographer and rock climber. As a frequent traveller he has followed his pursuits in over twenty countries across five continents.View Articles and Books by David Wood