The majestic Oukaimeden valley, set inside Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, is a popular day trip from Marrakech. A lush gorge carving its way through a tableau of jagged peaks, the valley is dotted with traditional Berber villages and prehistoric rock art sites, plus it offers year-round outdoor adventures—including wintertime skiing.
At 8,700 feet (2,650 meters), the sleepy mountain village of Oukaïmeden transforms into a wintry paradise for skiers and snowboarders from December through March. On the edge of Jebel Attar mountain, the Oukaïmeden resort area soars to 10,603 feet (3,232 meters) and is home to Africa’s highest ski lift. There are satisfying slopes for all skill levels, including several red and black runs. In spring, from March to June, hikers explore myriad trails through landscapes awash with wildflowers.
You can discover Oukaïmeden valley as part of a half-day, full-day, or multi-day private or group tour from Marrakech. Some tours include neighboring Imlil and Asni valleys to explore mountain vistas, waterfalls, and Berber villages, and make stops to ride a camel through the Moulay Brahim gorge, hike through Toubkal National Park, and enjoy a traditional Moroccan lunch at a local Berber home. Most tours include round-trip transport from Marrakech, lift fees, gear rental, food, and drink; check specific tours for details.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Oukaïmeden is ideal for outdoors enthusiasts, especially skiers and hikers.
- Families with children may take advantage of the resort’s nursery area and ski school.
- If traveling independently, be aware that the infrastructure here—such as facilities and rentals—is limited.
- Valley tours are not accessible to wheelchair users.
The Oukaïmeden Valley is located in the High Atlas Mountains, approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Marrakech, about a 2-hour drive. Shared and private taxis are readily available in the city; negotiate the price ahead of time or have your hotel concierge arrange your transport.When to Get There
Ideal timing depends on your desired activity. Skiers visit in winter (December through March), with January and February being the best months to hit the slopes. Hikers prefer spring (April and May) and fall (October and November), when the weather is pleasant and the trails are less crowded. Summers in the valley can be very hot, with afternoon thunderstorms likely.
Skiing in Africa
You might be surprised to know there is skiing—excellent skiing, in fact—in Morocco. While hardly comparable to European and North American world-class slopes and high-end amenities, Oukaïmeden is pristine, spectacular, and shockingly uncrowded and affordable. It’s advisable to either be self-sufficient (bring your own gear) or flexible (roll with facilities and gear that might not be up to more upscale standards). Tours are often the most convenient way to experience Oukaïmeden, one of Africa’s few snowsport areas.