Going off the Grid in the Atlas Mountains

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn

Going off the grid is not something many of us get to do too often, but every once in a while an opportunity presents itself and the rewards for taking yourself offline and into the moment are certainly worthwhile! One of the most popular day trips from Marrakech is to visit the nearby Atlas Mountains – about a one hour drive away – and experience village life outside of Morocco’s big cities. But with more time in Morocco, I was able to venture to the High Atlas Mountains for an overnight experience and truly get to understand and appreciate local village life with a trip to a private home, requiring a two and a half hour ride on a mule to even get there! Here’s how it all played out…

Atlas Mountains Trek

Into the Atlas Mountains

A trip to the High Atlas Mountains will likely start off in Marrakech, a city that is unlike any other and will leave you speechless, in awe, and in a world of thoughts all at once! Marrakech is so full of life, colour, sights, sounds and smells, that a few days there will easily leave you longing for silence and solitude. And thats exactly what you will find in the High Atlas Mountains!

The one hour drive to Ouirgane is as windy as a flattened rollercoaster, so be sure to eat only a light breakfast on the morning before you depart! The road creeps its way high into the mountains, showcasing the vastness of this incredible country. After passing through a couple of small towns, we arrived at Ouirgane, dropped our luggage, and headed straight off on an adventure to an authentic Berber village.

Berber Village Atlas Mountains

Berber Villages

There’s nothing quite comparable to being welcomed into a home by a local to experience their culture, lifestyle, and of course…. the food! We were guided into the mountains by Mohamed, a local who has a passion for welcoming visitors to his home to experience the Berber culture. After a two hour trek on mules to reach his village, we offloaded (with sore limbs – riding mules isn’t the most comfortable experience!) and took some time to learn about Berber culture before our lunch meal was served.

Here in the mountains, Mohamed explained, “we work to live…”, and I couldn’t help but to finish his sentence with “…not live to work”. The stark contrast between his culture and my own certainly got me thinking… but this is what travel is about for me, taking a little piece of knowledge, wisdom, or difference and adapting it into my own life back home or sharing it with others so they can do the same.

Here in the villages it is a self sustainable system – locals grow their own produce and trade with other villagers for things they don’t grow or do not have. While we passed through the villages and surrounding areas we saw walnut trees, fruit trees, vegetables patches, and could even smell the fresh herbs.

Local Lunch Berber Village

Lunch with a Local

If there is one thing I will struggle to forget about Morocco, its TAGINE! Being a vegetarian this is the most common dish I was delighted to eat in Morocco – in fact I had it at least once a day and often twice! Luckily I loved it so no complaints here!

Mohamed sat down with us to explain more about the local food grown in the area and educate us on typical Moroccan food. We were served raw nuts as an entree, tagine for our main course, and local fruit to finish on a sweet note – all of which are typical for his daily family lunch, he explained.

This experience was one of a kind and I’ll never forget the winding mule path on the way home that was steep, narrow and often frightening! It was an incredible opportunity to experience local life in a small Berber village and gain more insight into an alternative way of living.

Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_013 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_004 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_007 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_009 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_019 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_011 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_023 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_022 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_028 Atlas-Mountains_Sunday-27-September_029

World of Wanderlust experienced Morocco as a guest of By Prior Arrangement – my opinions are always my own!

You Might Also Like

    Angus and Vivian
    November 4, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Great post! We were thinking about taking a surfing trip in Morocco this December and are so excited. Did you drive yourself to the Atlas Mountains or what was your main form of transportation?

    November 2, 2015 at 8:48 am

    The Atlas mountains look superb!

    I was going to squeeze Morocco in to my upcoming trip but decided against it due to timing. I want to go back and really do it thoroughly.

    Rachel Lelliott
    October 29, 2015 at 10:52 am

    What an amazing experience! Absolutely love your blog x

    • Brooke Saward
      October 30, 2015 at 10:58 am

      thanks Rach 🙂 It was incredible! x

    October 28, 2015 at 5:35 am

    What a view! There is something immensely relaxing about going off the grid. Thanks for sharing.

    <3 Trou

    October 28, 2015 at 2:43 am

    What gorgeous photos! I’d love to get to experience the atlas mountains, see the colours of Marrakech and enjoy all that delicious Moroccan food!! It looks amazing!!

    x Carina

    October 28, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Dear Brooke, I so love your blog! I check in everyday to see if there is a new post to read! I am currently in Morocco in the oasis and I will stay here for 5 months: something tells me that I am going to follow your footsteps =)

    Good luck for your next adventures!

    • Brooke Saward
      October 28, 2015 at 8:25 am

      aww thank you Arianna! Hope you enjoy all the Morocco posts that are on the way!! 🙂 xx

    October 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I absolutely love the view, the weather looked pretty too! Thanks for sharing their lifestyle, it’s really interesting and informative!

    Nikki Vargas
    October 27, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Phenomenal photos! I was just on assignment in Morocco this past August and traveled from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert and through the Atlas Mountains. What a beautiful part of the world and yes, extremely off the grid! Loved the Berber villages and those tagines!


    Abbie E.
    October 27, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Gorgeous photos!!
    Abbie E.