6 original ways to discover Marrakech’s surroundings

Beyond the hubbub of the medina, Marrakech has a diverse and wonderful landscape surrounding the city, that can surprise, stimulate and inspire. To really experience it, you have to get off the beaten track and discover what lies in store. Explore Marrakech by air or buggy, or go traditional with a horseback or camel caravan tour. Here are 6 of the most original ways to see another side of Marrakech.

Atlas Mountains

Raid buggy

For a fun and adrenalin-packed ride through Marrakech, a desert dune buggy ride promises an experience that can’t be beaten. With the guidance of a supportive instructor, strap yourself into a dune buggy for a hurtling ride across the sands of the Agafay Desert. Free of any human influences, the vast dunes open up to offer a variety of rides – from gentle, sandy paths to fast and furious dirt tracks. Not one for the faint hearted, but certainly an experience you are unlikely to forget.

Mountain biking

For fans of cycling, the busy streets and souks of Marrakech are a definite no-go, but by journeying just a short distance away from the hectic city, you can enjoy a vast and open expanse to explore. Whether you are a seasoned mountain biker or just want to enjoy a relaxing tour on two wheels, Marrakech offers plenty of opportunities to explore the landscape. For a gentle ride, the Oases of Marrakech provides a ride through lush fields of barley and wheat, while thrill-seekers will enjoy riding through the Tikla Valley, in the heart of the Atlas Mountains, across stone crests and pine forests.

Mountain biking

Paragliding

The skies above Marrakech are relatively unexplored by paragliding enthusiasts, but with warm, clear skies throughout the year, even into winter, Marrakech offers ideal conditions for paragliding. At the edge of the Atlas Mountains, sites such as Agregour offer dynamic soaring and excellent thermals, and a unique chance to take in the stunning views across the desert, and the lush, green oases beyond.

Hot air balloon rides

For a gentler, more relaxing experience of the skies above Marrakech, a hot air balloon ride provides the chance to take in some truly magnificent views above the city. Head out early at dawn to witness an incredible sunrise, and take in the relaxing stillness and silence. In the distance, you can observe the snow capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains, while historic Berber villages and the desert landscape unfolds beneath you.

Hot air ballooning

Horse riding

A half day excursion by horseback through the Atlas Mountains gives you a different view of Marrakech, far away from the bustling, urban city of the Medina. Instead, enjoy a slower pace with a ride through traditional Berber villages with homes made of mud and straw, and explore the serene landscape of the desert hills.

Camel riding

A camel trek through the verdant groves of Marrakech gives you a glimpse back into history, as you journey through the colourful Palmeraie. The gentle, swaying pace of a caravan of dromedaries provides a unique experience of traditional Moroccan life. With a ride through the countryside outside Marrakech, you can enjoy a relaxing and refreshing change of pace from the bustling throngs of the city.

Stéphane Abtan is Director at Dar Ayniwen.

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