Morocco (May-June 2016): From the Sirwa Massif to the Mountains of Amezmiz

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This two-week, 200km+, trek took me from the south of the Sirwa massif (which is part of the Anti-Atlas mountain range) to the mountains of Amezmiz (in the High Atlas range). I started the trek just south of the village of Atougha located about 27km north-east of the town of Taliwine (also spelled Taliouine) on the N10 road. The trek ended in the village of Ameghras, near the town of Amezmiz, about 50km south-west of Marrakesh. The following two pictures show the approximate itinerary (red lines) in Google Map (left) and Google Earth (right). Click here (.kmz file) to access all the recorded waypoints and placemarks in Google Earth. The red pins point to the start and finish of the trek, the green pins are the campsites, the yellow pins are the other GPS waypoints that I recorded during the trek, and the orange pins are placemarks of major landmarks. For lack of space, the Google Earth picture below includes no yellow pins and only some of the orange pins.

 

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This itinerary is covered by three 100K topographic maps Taliwine, Tizi-n-Test, and Amezmiz (click on these links to upload them).

 

I did this trek with Oumar Oulaidi, a mountain guide from the valley of the Ait Bouguemez and a good friend, whom I have known for almost 15 years. See here for more information about Oumar and how to contact him. Between Atougha and Ijoukak (located on the ″Tizi-n-Test″ road R203 connecting Marrakesh to Taroudant) we were helped by two muleteers, both named Abderrahmane, and their mule. In Ijoukak, we switched muleteer and mule. Our new muleteer was named Mohamed. All three muleteers had been arranged by Oumar.

 

Oumar

Abderrahmane #1

Abderrahmane #2

Mohamed

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Click on the links below to see pictures of the various sections of this trip:

1. Tabachirt to Amassine

2. Amassine to Ijoukak

3. Ijoukak to Amerghas

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A remark on trekking in the Atlas Mountains:

Over the past few years I have witnessed more changes in the Atlas Mountains than in the previous 30-40 years. Almost all villages are now reached by dust and sometimes paved roads. They are all connected to the electricity network. These changes have many positive effects on local people and are generally welcome by them. They have better access to health care. Their children have better access to schools and more of them eventually continue studies at the university level. However, this trend also impacts trekking. In villages traditional adobe houses are progressively replaced by not so beautiful concrete ones. Too often local people who have become richer after moving to cities or abroad build large ugly houses in their home villages. As a consequence, the beautiful traditional villages of the Atlas Mountains may soon be a thing of the past. Even worse for trekkers, many former good trails have been cannibalized by roads. Remaining trails are less frequently used and often poorly maintained. Increasingly, avoiding roads during treks requires hiking off trail. While it used to be relatively easy to trek with 100K topographic maps without any guide, this is much less so now, as most roads do not appear on these maps. Also, as mules are less frequently used by villagers, it is more difficult to directly find and hire muleteers (except on very popular trekking routes near Toubkal and Mgoun). A guide with good connections may be needed.

 

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