Marrakesh Favorite Tips by angiebabe Top 5 Page for this destination
Marrakesh Favorites: 134 reviews and 191 photos
snow on the Atlas mountains around Marrakech
Favorite thing: hi, i like any time of year cause I usually get a car and get out of town and have my favourite places to go with different looks for each season - with a car I have heating with me and shelter from whatever weather...so I enjoy whatever comes
.... sometimes snow has fallen around the Atlas mountains as early as November - sometimes there is stil no snow until mid or late December...but generally January and February are good months for snow - and I love going off to see snow - there is usually snow on the highest mountain tops still in March and even early April but even just going to Marrakech you can see snow on the Atlas mountains in the distance often looking rather dramatic especially in places such as Menara gardens or places where you can get shots of the city walls with the snow topped mountains in the background and up on rooftop locations.
If the snow has been good you can:
go skiing at AFricas highest skifield with Africas highest chairlift up at Ouikaimeden - nice on a good day and well worth a visit - trips around Ourika (up to Oukaimeden but also from just before the incline to Oukaimeden there is a turn off to Tahananoute - that road takes you along the back of the Oukaimeden mountains and they look like the Himalayas!
- drive the road that goes from Marrakech to Tin Mal and the mountain pass of TiznTest which also can have varying amounts of snow during the winter months)
- visit Imlil about 60km from Marrake (which is the trekking base for Moroccos highest mountain Jebel Toubkal - treks up high to Toubkal are using crampons and proper ice climbing gear but can be inaccessible during peak winter conditions in Jan and Feb but still have nice walks around the lower valleys and the new 5km road extension that takes you from Imlil to behind Oukaimeden and a lot of old villages is a scenic journey to take - but a very very cold place at night!!) - lovely snow topped Atlas mountains views from Asni the main town 17 km below Imlil
- locations over TiznTichka mountain pass 110 km from Marrakech on the road to Ouarzazate are the valleys and villages of Telouet (stunning but also very very cold at night mid-winter) and Ait Benhaddou are all still nice visits with often dramatic snowtopped mountain views around the place. occasionally the mountain pass gets blocked but as its a major access road the snow ploughs are usually out quick smart to keep the roads passable especially if there is traffic on the road when the snow comes down....so its not usually a worry.
- Ait Bougoumez (about 2-2 and a half hours from Marrakech) out near Cascade Douzoud (160kms/2 hours from Marrakech) - the turn off is from the town of Azilal takes you through Himalaya like scenery with huge Atlas mountains in view and huge valleys and deep cut rivers and gorges
- as is also the ultra scenic road from Skoura (about 2 hours from Marrakech - absolutely stunning in February with valleys chockablock with almond blossoms) which goes over now what is the highest or 2nd highest mountain pass in Morocco to Demnate - you need to check ahead how road conditions are though.
So Yes January is winter, it does get cold but can be very beautiful esp with deep blue of winter skies - that are noticealbe from really the end of November through to March - but days can be mild, especially if sunny...actually it can be really lovely and even warm, or it can be very cold, nights can be cold, freezing or bitterly cold or freezing! - best to get a place to stay that has heating! and take clothes that you can layer down and up to nice warm but light fleece or jacket , and yes days are shorter - dark by around 5pm
Fondest memory: scenes around Marrakech with views of the snow on the Atlas mountains in the background:
- good views from rooftops around the centre, Menara Gardens, for classic shots of the old city red brick walls with palms and snowtopped mountains behind drive out past the airport turnoff on the road to Oukaimeden to find them
Favorite thing: Hi most of us here in the forums answering questions also have our own travel pages with tips and pics and info on various locations that we have been to - Id recommend not wasting that opportunity to have a read around and get ideas and good preparation that way.
Also have a read back through the forum posts here for previous answers and info given here.
It can be nice to have a guide and go see things guided and get more info that connects that way but guide books such as the DK eyewitness have lots of info and small walking maps - I also like the Footprints guidebook and Lonely Planet for Morocco as they are designed to help people be independent and get the most out of their travels without necessarily needing tours.
There is a hop on hop off bus which can have the advantage of helping you get your bearings around the city before setting off on your own. many places are within walking distance and petite taxis - the little beige taxis you see running around - are only about 15 dirham a trip.
The Marjorelle gardens and Menara gardens and the Palmeraie are all further away from the centre but all very worth a visit and easy to get to by walking for about half an hour, taxi or caleche...or hop on hop off bus.
A caleche trip, ie horse and carriage, around the ramparts and out to the Marjorelle or Menara gardens is what Id recommend rather than having a tour to do them but its true Marrakech is a mixed bag - lots of hassle and area to get around and a few tricky streets trying to find places which having a guide can be a bonus.....especially when for the souks that can be a real rabbit warren but they will take you to shops and encourage you to buy so they get commission. and a lot of guides and carpet shop workers dont have a clue about for example what a good carpet or what good leather is - theres a lot of textiles from India for sale there too now.
A lot of the fun and great memories are of following maps and guidebooks and making your own way around - and the people that you meant enroute that meeting on your own can enable a whole different experience to when you are accompanied.
Excellent and artistically Moorish designed palaces and sites such as the Musee de Marrakech, Palais el Badi, Bahia Palace, Dar Si Said and Saadian tombs are all places being on your own can be a nice advantage if you like to take your time taking photos and absorbing the atmosphere and history....
Nights out for example to Chez Ali can be a good choice if you are on your own - if you book a ticket where you are staying they can arrange bus pick up as part of the ticket and bring you back again at the end of the evening - its out in the Menara gardens and is a night of entertainment with a 3 or 4 course meal Moroccan banquet style of typical dishes along with a variety of Berber tribes from around Marrakech and Morocco to show variety in music and costumes worn along with historically famed fast horseriding by men on horseback shooting rifles....costs about 350 dirham and quite good value.
And true you can easily go to lovely Essaouira, a portugeuse fortress town providing a large percentage of Moroccos fish and seafood, beside the sea, on your own and enjoy your own walk around the sights. takes a while to get there though if going by public bus. try to go by CTM/Supratours about 3 hours or grande taxi about 2 to 2 and a half hours (buy the front 2 seats) or if by tour then it will hopefully be by their faster vehicle.
all the best.
shame you have limited yourself by prebookng your accommodation...a night in Essaouira is nice, or a night in Telouet or Ait Benhaddou...
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