MOROCCO ~ Crossing the Middle Atlas Mountains

May 3rd – Cross Middle Atlas Mountains, Drive to Erfoud

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Crossing the Mid Atlas Mountains

Today is a full day on the bus as we drive into and over the Middle Atlas Mountains.

The poppies are in bloom

The red poppies are in bloom

Starting our drive through the Mid Atlas Mountains

Starting our drive through the Mid Atlas Mountains

Our morning stop to use the facilities and stretch our legs is in Ifrane, a Moroccan ski resort. The last lions of Morocco were found in this area but are now all gone except for a few in zoos. The town has adopted the lion as their symbol.

“The Lion of Atlas, called als Berber Lion was the largest and the most ferocious of all subspecies of lion, males weigh more than 300 kg and females more than 200 kg. It is the second largest feline that exist, surpassed only by the Siberian tiger. Main characteristic of males was the black mane, which covers much of their body.

The last Berber Lion in freedom was killed in 1922 in Morocco, in the Atlas Mountains. In many Zoos around the world there are scattered descendants of the Atlas Lion.” ~ Moroccos.com

The symbol of the town of Ifrane is the lion.

The symbol of the town of Ifrane is the lion.

As we climb higher we are treated to beautiful panoramic views of the valley below. The roads are very good here in Morocco, as is much of the infrastructure.

Our scenery has included numerous olive groves, cedar trees. The almond trees are in bloom. They also grow figs, cherries, and apples in this area, as well as dates.

Scenic overlook of the valley below

Scenic overlook of the valley below

Then a delightful stop to take pictures of the Barbary Macaque monkeys. We had our first experience with this type of monkey when we visited Gibraltar in 2007, but found out that they had originated here.

Very gently accepting a peanut from my hand

Very gently accepting a peanut from my hand

Midmorning, we cross the 6,000-foot pass and continue west toward the great Sahara.

Still green, but few trees as we climb higher into the mountains

Still green, but few trees as we climb higher into the mountains

Numerous herds of sheep can be spotted grazing on the scrub. Some herds have a few goats or the occasional cow mixed in.

Sheep and goats are a common sight, along with their attendant

Sheep and goats are a common sight, along with their attendant

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Even the soil is colorful

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A river flows into the lake below

Next, we stop for lunch in the village of Midelt. Here we see another style of architecture with a variety of brick and adobe construction.

Then as we approach Erfoud, we enjoy views of the remarkable Ziz Gorges and vast valleys. Date palms are in abundance in the valley oasis, in fact over 1 million trees have been planted and they expect to plant 600,000 more. The king of the dates is the medjool which is our favorite as well. Some years ago a tree disease almost wiped out the medjools in Morocco and a few trees were shipped to California where they thrived and have since helped lead to the repopulation of their crops.

Over 1 million date palms inhabit this area

Over 1 million date palms inhabit this area

And here are just some more miscellaneous shots taken throughout the day of our views from the bus. You can click on any picture for a full size slide show.

Early evening we arrive in Erfoud where our accommodations are in a Kasbah.

Being greeted and welcomed at the Kasbah

Being greeted and welcomed at the Kasbah

Our room:

And around the property:

Overnight: Kasbah Xaluca Maadid, Erfoud

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that the medjool date was saved. We often make a date shake as a nutritious and healthy snack at home using this variety. If you want to try making one, here is what I do. Put six to eight dates (remove seed) in a blender. Add a dozen ice cubes, one small very ripe banana, a teaspoon of peanut butter, a couple drops of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon. Blend until the consistency you prefer and enjoy.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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21 Responses to MOROCCO ~ Crossing the Middle Atlas Mountains

  1. Looks like a really interesting trip and place to visit. Thanks for sharing. Do you have any how old that lion sculpture is? Is it old or on the newer side?

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  2. Meagan: A Friend Afar says:

    How wonderful! I’m heading to Morocco at the end of the month with my husband for our anniversary. Your pictures have me so excited to be there already! What a scenic drive!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. larrymuffin says:

    Again great photos, very nice trip all around.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karen says:

    Fascinating! You’re staying in the same Casbah where we stayed. We tried to leave the next day but it had rained so hard the river water was higher than the bridge so we had to turn around and go back. Good news, because we got to stay there 2 nights instead of just one. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Love, Karen

    Sent from Karen’s iPad

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  5. natalyadrian says:

    Your room looks really nice and comfortable! And the whole place looks stunning! Have fun! Best, Nataly

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  6. ardysez says:

    This is a fascinating trip you are taking us on! I have a banana smoothie for breakfast often and I will try your version. Happy travels!

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  7. janet oates says:

    Your photos have really softened my view of Morocco, and am loving your accommodations in Kasbah, so full of culture! Thanks for sharing, You are really give me the experience of traveling there with you and Tim. Then I turn around and am still in front of my computer…. well darn! Wishing you lovely travels. Looking forward to tomorrow. JanO

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  8. papaparisien says:

    Awesome to see photos of my old home town!!! Such a strange little village in the middle of Morocco!

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