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Our Atlas Mountains day trip starts by your experienced driver picking you up from your riad and head off on the road to the Ourika Valley, leaving the hectic city of Marrakech behind. Soon the open landscape changes and the plains give way to majestic valleys and gorges. Following a break in the village of Tafza, including a visit to a typical Berber house overlooking the area, begin your ascent and head towards Oukaimeden, one of the few ski resorts in Morocco, and carry on along the quiet roads.
As you reach almost 2,000 meters (1.25 miles) above sea level, the snow-capped mountains in the background make for a perfect photo opportunity. Starting the descent towards Asni on the other side of the valley, you’ll notice Sir Richard Branson’s imposing Kasbah Tamadot in the distance, tucked between the cliffs and the lush vegetation.
For lunch, take your pick between eating inside a traditional house with a Berber family or poolside in a charming local inn. In the nearby village of Asni, a vibrant Berber souk is held every Saturday, where producers bring fruit, vegetables and livestock to sell.
After lunch, you’ll head towards the Kik Plateau at 1,800 meters (1.1 miles) above sea level to soak in spectacular views of the mountains. Experience the amazing contrast between the two mountain ranges and look around to see traditional Berber adobe houses scattered around in small villages.
As you descend onto the other side, keep your eyes open for paragliders flying off of cliffs nearby. If you desire, stop once more to capture the amazing landscape unfolding before your eyes.
The vast panorama is only interrupted by the reservoir of the 4 mile wide lake Lalla Takerkoust and the ruins of ancient Kasbahs further down the road. Here you will stop for a cup of tea by the lake before starting the journey back to Marrakech where Atlas Mountains day trip will end.