“There is real snow in Morocco?” I asked my friends when I moved to Marrakech. I saw the snowy peaks of the High Atlas mountains. Yet, I never thought there was actual snow, snowmen or even a skiing resort. I could never imagine that I could enjoy winter sports and snow in one hour drive from Marrakech.
I am from Lithuania, where we have snow every winter, so it is nothing special for me. However, many Moroccans never have seen snow, even though it’s right here in their country. Once, I went to Oukaïmeden with my Thai friends, and they also saw snow for the first time. It was so funny to watch them fighting with snow and taking millions of selfies.
Snow in Morocco: locations
In Morocco, there are two ski resorts located in the Atlas Mountains. One is near Marrakech – Oukaïmeden, and the other is near Fez – Ifrane. Both of them experience regular snowfall each January and February. I will talk more about Ifrane in my other article, and this time will focus on Oukaïmeden.
Oukaïmeden is located about 75 km from Marrakech; the village is at 2,800 metres. Oukaimeden is the highest ski resort in Africa, and its chairlift rises to 3,258m – the peak of Jebel Attar. The resort offers 7 lifts suitable for intermediate level and a rental shop for gears.
However, don’t expect a European-style skiing experience. I would say it’s more an adventure to brag that you were skiing in Africa later. Also, don’t book skiing experiences too much in advance. Even in the snow season, January and February, forecasting the snow is difficult.
From Marrakech, you can reach Oukaïmeden by driving towards the town of Setti Fatma in the Ourika Valley. If you haven’t rented a car, contact me, and I will arrange a private driver and even a professional skiing instructor. My good friend Karim is organising adventurous skiing trips from Marrakech to Oukaïmeden.
In winter, I wouldn’t recommend going to Oukaïmeden at the weekend. If there is plenty of snow on the weekend, Oukaïmeden will be packed with locals from Marrakech. We often got stuck in a traffic jam and even didn’t reach Oukaïmeden. Oukaïmeden is a small village, and after arriving there, you will encounter an overwhelming amount of locals selling all kinds of things.
Because I don’t ski, Oukaïmeden, for me, is a peaceful escape from the hustle of Marrakech. I love doing long refreshing walks in the snowy High Atlas mountains and eating delicious tagines after the walk. There are many small restaurants in the village, and eating there, you will also support local businesses. If you fancy more than a Morrocan tagine, order a traditional french fondue at Chez Juju, a French restaurant in the Oukaïmeden village.
Check my video about the trip:
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