The Atlas Mountains are a walker’s paradise, just 30 minutes from vibrant Marrakech in what feels like another world. For almost 1000km, the High Atlas stretches across the middle of Morocco. In the distance and at the highest reaches, snow falls, but lower down there is plenty of fertile land as temperatures rise and stay mild throughout the year making the lower reaches of the Atlas Mountains a year-round destination.
Kasbah Angour is wonderfully located to explore and enjoy this magical and unique part of North Africa. The hill top location of this hotel with easy car access is designed with traditional architecture showcasing authentic Moroccan Berber style and ambiance. There are 25 bedrooms and suites, a restaurant and bar and large outdoor swimming pool with the magnificent backdrop of snow-capped mountains. The stunning gardens here cover 10 acres with spectacular views of the surrounding Atlas Mountains and green countryside. Kasbah Angour truly enhances the senses whilst celebrating its eco credentials showcasing a greener way to holiday in Morocco.
Half-day walks starting from Kasbah Angour are ideal for those looking to do moderate walking. Full-day walks are also offered and really enhance the experience in this setting. Walks are with a multi-lingual mountain guide local to the area and take between 3-4 hours. Thanks to Kasbah Angour’s privileged position, they can offer superb half day walks that start and finish at the Kasbah. As the Kasbah is in the foot-hills of the mountains, there is the possibility to choose walks where the amount of climbing is moderate rather than strenuous. They can also adjust walks to suit all walking abilities. Aside from the health benefits outlined below, walking holidays in the Atlas Mountains allow visitors to know about the country, its history, culture and environment which are all rewarding. As visitors open their lungs on a walk, they also open their minds. Walking transforms the way visitors view and remember a destination.
Visitors who want a half-day experience can enjoy one of three walks which showcase Berber villages, a National Park and stunning scenery and views:
1- Berber Villages & Mountains, Medium (or Leisurely) (11km) 3-4 hours
Head east to Agadir village to admire the marvellous views north to the Haouz Plain and south to the mountains (including Mount Toubkal, 4,167m). The circuit continues south along a delightful small valley and into a lightly forested part of the Toubkal National Park. Proceed to Outghal village to see houses constructed from baked earth, with the return through olive groves and mountain fields.
2- Azrou Village & Local Market Gardens, Medium (7km) 2½-3 hours
Head north to the Ighigheyene river valley and continue alongside market gardens and orchards until reaching Douar Azrou, a very attractive village perched on an outcrop of rock. Climb the hill to admire views of the mountains to the south and continue through further Berber villages.
3- Tintar Plateau & Tagoum Village, Medium (9km) 3 hours
Descend from the Kasbah (altitude 1,000m) and cross the Sidi Fares valley passing below the Forest Guard’s house to follow the path along the lightly forested valley until we reach an open plateau. Continue higher up (1,200m) to admire the views of Tagoum village perched on a hill above the Moulay Brahim Gorge. For the return leg descend by a path via Igli village.
Kasbah Angour offers all manner of outdoor activity holidays including: Half Day Walks (3-4 hours), Full Day Walks (6-7 hours), Visit to the local Souk on Tuesdays (2-3 hours), Visit Imlil for the Day with mule trek & picnic, 4x4 Adventure in the Mountains, Tours of the Mountains by Car, Ascent of Mount Toubkal (2 days), Camel Rides, Visits to Marrakech and Skiing & Golf.
Walking has always been linked to improved health. No training is needed and pollution is kept to an absolute minimum. Walking is also sociable and improves one’s overall sense of community. The Department of Health has produced research that highlights that regular walking improves mood and that active people have a reduced risk of suffering clinical depression. There is increasing evidence that we need to spend less time sitting down. The National Health Service in the UK highlights that studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. It states that sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. Everyone needs to move more and sit less and a walking break at Kasbah Angour is faultless for this.
Not only is this an active break but also a cultural one. Berbers are Morocco’s proud indigenous people and visiting local Berber villages and staying in a Berber castle only add to the uniqueness of a trip here in the mountains. Kasbah Angour supports the local community in a massive way. Not only does the hotel provide jobs but it also purchases everything locally supporting local farmers and businesses. Freelance guides and other professionals are also employed locally and they possess local knowledge and provide a unique awareness of the surroundings.
The hotel’s location in the foot-hills of the mountains means the weather is good throughout the year. The best months to walk are between September and May with blue skies and exceptional light conditions to admire the views.
Counting calories? If the walker weighs between 81 and 86 kg and walks just 7.2 km (4.5 miles) a total of 385 calories are burnt. If the walker is heavier they burn even more, so between 87 and 93 kg doing the same walk, 417 calories are burnt. Weighing between 94 and 100 kg burns 449 calories on the same walk. Calories aside, walkers are rewarded both physically and mentally from the moment they set off.
Escape the rat race in 2019 and experience solitude and a sense of space and wellbeing in the Atlas Mountains staying at independently owned Kasbah Angour.
B&B is priced from £108 per room per night
Half-day walks are priced 295 dirhams around £24 per person