Are you heading to Morocco and looking for that special place? There are plenty of possibilities for ecotourism in the Atlas mountains of Morocco: Why don't you head there, where life goes by deliciously slow?
Morocco is a country of contrasts and breathtaking landscapes: the arid desert in the southern part, the green, lush valleys and the Atlas ranges in the north, vibrant cities where the smell of spices inundates the nostrils.
The Atlas region is vast, made of the three ranges of Middle Atlas, High Atlas and Anti-Atlas: what these ranges have in common is a favorable environment for a great biodiversity that attracts an increasing number of visitors every year, looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
The magic landscapes of the Atlas mountains, though, hide a fragile environment that we need to protect.
How to do that? Well, it's very simple, we just need to follow some simple responsible tourism rules.
Respect the environment, don't pick "souvenirs" from the national parks, keep your garbage with you until you find an appropriate place to get rid of it; don't waste the water, a particularly scarce resource in the Moroccan region.
Another thing you can do to be a responsible tourist is to choose for your stay sustainable structures and tour operators
Where to stay: a selection of green hotels
Accommodation providers have started to recognize the importance of ecotourism in the Atlas mountains and of sustainable practices, and they are somehow implementing them into their operations; some hotels in the Atlas mountains, nonetheless, are greener than others.
Kasbah du Toubkal: who said that luxury and sustainability can't go together?
Kasbah du Toubkal is located just 65 km from Marrakech, yet it feels a world away thanks to the Berber hospitality and a spectacular location reachable only on foot or on the back of a mule. It's not surprising that Martin Scorsese chose this kasbah to film "Kundun".
Here you will be pampered, but always with a special consideration for the environment and the local traditions.
Ecolodge Touda is an eco-conscious lodge in the Ait Bougmez valley, where guests can experience a true immersion in the Berber culture. Whatever you came to the Atlas for, you can find it here at Ecolodge Touda: how do some relax in the hammam, a cooking class and photography classes sound?
Tighremt Assif Melloul: if you're looking for a more remote and isolated location, this might be the place for you. Located in the Assif Melloul Valley, 350 km north east of Marrakech, Tighremt Assif Melloul is a simple and small guest house managed in a responsible way, where the owners will make you feel at home.
Green Tour Operators
Terres Nomades is more than a simple tour operator: it proposes a wide range of treks and activities all over Morocco, including treks in the High Atlas, the ascent of Mount Toubkal and M'Goun, and once in a lifetime encounters with nomadic Berber tribes. The special part though, is that Terres Nomades finances sustainable development projects for the local populations, giving back a part of the profits.
Kasbah du Toubkal, mentioned above, also offers trekking packages, both for the more adventurous willing to sweat all the way up to Mount Toubkal and for beginner level trekkers.
...and if you just came to relax, there is no better place to do it.
Post by Stefania Guglielmi
Photo by Discover.ltd.uk