Roads to explore
Morocco is over-brimming with places to explore, acquaintances to make, visits to undertake, scenery to admire, and routes to travel along the twists and turns of mountainous terrain. These itineraries, although they can be dangerous in places, will reveal a unique environment, and panoramas to take your breath away during your journey. Among the Moroccan routes that contain some of the most beautiful settings in the country, those to Tizi n’Tichka and Tizi n’Test are two of the best to explore, without any doubt. Both will provide a trip of discovery and adventure, bringing you to their highest points at more than two thousand metres.
Route to Tizi n’Tichka
Between Marrakes and Ouarzazate, a dizzying pathway crosses the most beautiful terrain in the High Atlas, at nearly two hundred kilometres. Nature and the colours of the countryside change all along the track, with the region of Tizi n’Tichka offering walkers astounding natural riches, and a variety of hiking possibilities.
Snaking around bends, the road rises above the plains to reach its highest point at Tizi n’Tichka, “the pass of pastures”, which is 2260 metres high. Forming a natural barrier between the provinces of Marrakesh and Ouarzazate, the vistas and elevation are very impressive here. You’ll then reach the pass of Tizi n’Aïtit Imquer, where you can admire the incredible panorama over the djebel Tistouit, which is ringed by mountains, while below a few kasbahs and little villages are visible.
Continuing for around twenty kilometres, you’ll come back to the village of Telouet. While you’re there, you absolutely must visit the kasbah, a neglected treasure! This is the ancient palace of the Pasha of Marrakesh, the last Sultan of the Atlas region. Wandering through a sumptuous maze of corridors, galleries and courtyards, you’ll be dazzled by the marble objects and colourful chunky earthenware.
Having rejoined the Tichka route, veer to the left two kilometres before Taoussit in the direction of d’Abadou and Sidi Daoud, and you’ll come to Tighza, point of departure for some lovely excursions. We advise you, for example, to follow the course of the wadi Lounil (or Ounila) as far as its source, which will take you little by little into a mountainous landscape bathed in a myriad of hues. After four hours of walking, you’ll reach Tamda lake, a genuine oasis providing light and freshness.
To use the route for Tizi n’Tichka after Marrakesh, follow that of the palm plantation in the direction of Fez, then head towards Ouarzazate. Allow about two hours to reach the pass, and then one and a half more to rejoin Ouarzazate. Or you can equally as well opt for the bus, which goes a slightly less direct way. If you’re travelling in the region between January and April, make enquiries before taking this journey, in case adverse weather conditions have closed the passage through the pass.
These Moroccan expeditions, then, are a holiday in themselves, and in using them, you’ll unearth step by step every aspect of the country.
Tizi n’Fest Route
At the heart of Souss-Massa-Draâ province, the Tizi n’Test journey is another one that shouldn’t be missed by visitors to Morocco. Carrying you towards the lush countryside of the region around d’Asni and d’Ouirgân, this road connects Marrakesh to Taroudant and Taliouine. Passing by the n’Fis valley where ancient kasbahs rise up, you’ll reach Tizi n’Test pass at 2902 metres high, where you will enjoy an incomparable viewpoint. You can hike in the region all year, the summer season being particularly appreciated for its freshness.
A little after Tahanaout, the route leaves the plain and climbs the first of the Atlas foothills. After forty or so kilometres, veer to the right to turn into the gorges at Moulay Brahim, where pleasant walks beckon you over waterfalls and streams. In the middle of a luxuriant green landscape, you’ll notice several outcrops of black shale. After four kilometres the village of Moulay Brahim will come into sight, perched on a rocky outcrop. Stop once more at Asni at the foot of the mountains, and set off on a hike on the Kik plateau. This enjoyable walk will take you as far as lake Lalla Takerkoust. In re-taking the way towards the south, you’ll pass by Ouirgane, a peaceful health resort. In the attractive Alpine surroundings, various excursions will lead you to the sides of the neighbouring mountains or into the n’Fis gorges, and to the sighting of a number of small Berber villages.
On the Tizi n’Test route you’ll pass Ljoukak, departure point for a variety of hikes in the direction of the Agondis Valley, which is much quieter. It’s here that you’ll find the ancient kasbah Talat n’Yaccoub, in the middle of a charming olive grove, and at the edge of the wadi n’Fis. Not far from there you’ll notice the fortress of the Goundafi on a rocky promontory. You’re now at Agadir n’Gouj, at the foot of the snow-capped Idget mountains, and can enjoy a superb view!
After 135 kilometres, you’ll finally reach the Tizi n’Test pass where you’ll find a stunning panorama over the plain and valley of the Sous, between the Siroua djebel and the ocean. To cover these 180 kilometres will take around five hours by car, but walkers and hikers will need to devote at least two days to it. After the Tizi n’Test pass you will quickly come to the Sous Valley (28km), allowing you to reach Taroudaut in one and a half hours.