Morocco - natural history, mountains and coast
An introduction to the natural history of southern Morocco.
Fully booked: spaces available 7 – 14 March
29 February to 7 March 2020
Return flights from London Gatwick to Agadir. Local transport on excursions as specified in the itinerary. Seven nights’ accommodation, full board basis.
Refreshments. Entrance fees for optional sightseeing. Gratuities. Travel insurance.
Minimum 4 or 5, maximum 14.
Morocco is a country of great contrasts. Situated on the edge of Europe, its culture and people are a fascinating mix of Berber, European, African and Arab influences. From the Mediterranean coast in the north, through the snow covered Atlas mountains to the arid Saharan desert these diverse habitats make Morocco a top destination for wildlife.
March is the best time for enjoying many of the flowers, both on the coast and in the mountains. With Mediterranean, Macaronesian and African influences, this area has a fascinating mix of plants including succulent euphorbias, colourful composites, toadflaxes and lavenders and interesting shrubs, including the endemic Argan tree.
The birdlife is very interesting and we should see most of the local specialties, including House Bunting, Moussier’s Redstart, Black crowned Tchagra and, with luck, the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis. We will visit the Sous Massa National Park, where as well as a variety of birds, we will also look for several species of antelope that have been reintroduced here, including Addax, Dorcas Gazelle and the graceful Scimitar-horned Oryx.
Based for the week at the wonderful Atlas Kasbah, near Agadir, this holiday is intended to give an introduction to the plants, birds and other wildlife of this corner of southern Morocco, including an insight into the local Berber culture, at a relaxed pace. This trip should be ideal for anyone wanting a taste of Morocco in the company of expert leaders whilst enjoying a high standard of accommodation and easy, comfortable travel.
Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.
Day 1 Flight to Agadir and transfer to the Atlas Kasbah.
Day 2 We will explore the lanes and hillsides around the hotel and the nearby village. Cultivated and colourful annuals are a feature and include North African endemics, and the birdlife also includes local specialities.
Day 3 The Atlantic coast south to the Sahara is well known for its unique communities of succulents mixed with shrubs.We will visit Cap Rhir to explore these communities and visit nearby Oued Tamri, where we hope to see the endangered Northern Bald Ibis – the total world population is only around 400 birds.
Day 4 We visit the attractive town of Taroudant, described as a ’mini Marrakesh’ and explore the labyrinthine market – full of herbs and spices, and traditional furnishings. House Buntings sing from the buildings and Little Swift trill overhead.
Day 5 We head south along the coast to the famous Sous Massa National Park to learn more about conservation here; especially the reintroduction of a variety of Saharan ‘megafauna’ including Dorcas Gazelle, Scimitar-horned Oryx, Addax, and the North African Ostrich. We will finish our day by visiting the Oued Sous, where Greater Flamingos feed alongside various waders, gulls and terns.
Day 6 We head south to the Anti Atlas, travelling to Ait Baha and beyond, with stunning views and interesting plants along the way.
Day 7 We head for the slopes of the High Atlas via the aptly-named Paradise Valley and the Cascades du Immouzer.
Day 8 Our last morning will be spent exploring more of the local area, or just enjoying the relaxing grounds before we transfer to Agadir and fly back to the UK.
Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.
We will stay for the whole week at the wonderful, award-winning Atlas Kasbah, set in lush grounds amongst the Argan trees in the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve. Opened in 2009, the Kasbah was designed sustainably, built using traditional techniques and local craftsmen, with a view to promoting ecotourism in Morocco and sharing the local Berber heritage. The rooms are spacious, the local culture reflected in the furnishings, with lovely views from the roof terrace and patio. The Atlas Kasbah is the first accommodation in North Africa to have been granted the prestigious World Responsible Tourism Award (Gold winner, 2015) as a recognition of its proactive ecotourism practices. In 2016 it won the COP22 Tourism and Climate Award.
All meals are included. Evening meals will be at the hotel and we will have picnic lunches on most days.
We will travel by minibus for our excursions. Our visit to Sous Massa will be in high clearance 4WD vehicles.
The group flights are with Easyjet from London Gatwick:
29 February depart London Gatwick 14.25, arrive Agadir 18.20
7 March depart Agadir 19.05, arrive Gatwick 22.55
It should also be possible to fly from Manchester with Easyjet:
29 February depart Manchester 14.35, arrive Agadir 18.35
7 March depart Agadir 19.20, arrive Manchester 23.30
Morocco is one hour ahead of UK time.
If you hold a British passport, you do not currently need a visa to travel to Morocco, but your passport will need to be valid for at least six months after your entry into Morocco. If you do not have a UK passport, please check with your local consulate.
At this time of year the weather is usually sunny but not too hot, although the season varies so there may be hotter weather or possibly some cooler weather and some rain.
This is not a strenuous holiday but on some days we will be walking for much of the day, sometimes gently uphill. All excursions are optional and you can choose to spend more time in the pleasant grounds and rooms of the hotel if you wish. The hotel rooms are on the first or second floor and reached by stairs.