Have you ever dreamed of ascent mountain peaks in the world? Me too! But since my health is not good enough to reach the top, stepping into those mountain ranges is enough to fulfill my happiness. I traveled to the Rocky Mountains when I was in Canada. The 10 highest mountains in the world are already on my wishlist. Now, it’s time to prepare for a trip to the Atlas Mountains.
If the Atlas Mountains is also on your bucket list of mountains to conquer, let’s learn more about this mountain range for our next trip!
Where are the Atlas Mountains?
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range in the Maghreb region, northwest Africa. Spanning some 2,500 kilometers through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, this mountain range separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts from the Sahara. The highest peak is Mount Toubkal in southwestern Morocco, at 4,167 meters above sea level. The inhabitants of the Atlas mountains are mainly the Berbers. The word “mountain” in some Berber languages is Adrar and address, which is believed to be the origin of the place’s name. The mountains here are home to a number of plant and animal species found mainly in Africa, many of which are endangered and some are already extinct.
The Mountain Ranges that Make Up Atlas Mountains
There are six separate mountain ranges that make up Atlas Mountains, including the High Atlas, Middle Atlas, Anti-Atlas, Tell Atlas, Sahara Atlas, and the Aurès Mountains.
The High Atlas range in central Morocco stretches from the Atlantic coast in the west to the Morocco – Algeria border. Especially, it has several peaks higher than 4,000m, including North Africa’s highest peak, Toubkal (4,167m) and Ighil m’Goun (4,071m). On the Atlantic coast and to the southwest, the range lowers sharply and turns into the Anti-Atlas. To the north, in the direction of Marrakesh, the mountain range descends more slowly. On top of Ouarzazate, the massif is cut by the Draa valley to the south. It is mainly settled by Berbers who live in small villages and cultivate in the highlands of the Ourika valley. Near Barrage Cavagnac there is a hydroelectric dam that creates the artificial lake Lalla Takerkoust. This lake is also a source of fish for local fishermen.
The largest villages and towns in the region are Ouarzazate, Tahannaout, Amizmiz, Imlil, Tin Mal and Ijoukak.
The Middle Atlas range lies entirely within Morocco and lies to the north of the three major Atlas ranges. The mountain range is separated from the Higher Atlas by the rivers Moulouya and Oum Er-Rbia, and lies on the five side of the Rif, separated by the Sebou River. To the west are the coastal plains of Morocco with many major cities. Additionally, to the east are the plateaus between the Sahara and the Tell Atlas. The highest point of the Middle Atlas is Jbel Bou Naceur (3,340m). Particularly, the Middle Atlas receives more rainfall than the southern region, making it an important reservoir for coastal plains and biodiversity. It is home to the majority of individuals of the Macaca Sylvanus species.
Anti-Atlas Mountains run from the Atlantic coast in southwestern Morocco to the northeast with the peak of Ouarzazate and east to the city of Tafilalt, about 500km long. To the south, it borders the Sahara Desert. The easternmost point of the Anti-Atlas is the Jbel Saghro range and the northernmost point is part of the High Atlas range. Also, the area includes the Djebel Siroua, a massif of volcanic origin with its highest peak at 3,304m. Jebel Bani is a lower mountain range that runs along the southern slopes of the Anti-Atlas.
The Tell Atlas Range is a mountain range over 1,500km long, stretching from Morocco to Algeria and Tunisia. It runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast. Together with the Sahara Atlas to the south, the two mountain ranges run roughly parallel and reach the same point in the east, joining in eastern Algeria. The area to the south of the range is the Hautes Plaines, with lakes during the rainy season and fields of rain during the dry season.
The Sahara Atlas range of Algeria is located to the east of the Atlas Mountains range. While they are not as tall as the High Atlas, they are still much higher than the Tell Atlas ranges to the north near the Mediterranean coast. The highest peak is Djebel Aissa, at 2,236 meters. They mark the northern border of the Sahara. These mountains have less rainfall and are more suitable for agriculture than the highlands in the north. Most of the people in the area are Chaoui Berbers.
The Aures Mountains
The Aurès Mountains are the far eastern part of the Atlas Mountains. It stretches across Algeria and Tunisia. Indeed, it’s one of the two mountain ranges, alongside the Nememcha, which occupy the northeastern of Algeria.
There is Mount Chelia, located in the west of Khenchela in the Bouhmama region, the highest peak in Aures Mountains range. It’s 7,638 feet above the sea level. Yet, it’s not a popular destination to many travelers as it’s hard to climb.
In the end, I hope the information in this post sum-up a good knowledge about the Atlas Mountains for you to prepare your next trip to this mountain range. Enjoy, and have successful ascents!
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