High Atlas: Places to Explore

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Tizi-n-Test

The road to Tizi-n-Test is the most glorious mountain drive in Morocco. The route south from Ouirgane to Tizi-n-Test takes you through the upper Nfis Valley, which was the spiritual heart of the Almohad Empire in the 12th century and later the administrative center of the Goundafi caids (local or tribal leaders) in the first half of the 20th century. It's best enjoyed as a day trip by car from Ouirgane, especially as lodging options are seriously basic and few. There are plenty of caf├ęs on the way, however, and a great stop off at Tin Mal Mosque.

The route to Tizi-n-Test clings to the mountainside, sometimes triple-backing on itself to climb the heights in a series of precipitous hairpin bends. It's often only a narrow single lane, with sheer drops, blind corners, and tumbling scree. Expect every bend to reveal a wide and furiously fast Land Rover coming right at you, or worse, a group of children playing soccer. Honk as you round sharp corners, and give way to traffic climbing uphill. There is no need to pick up hitchhikers, as they are most probably just moving from one nearby village to another. However, if asked for water, it is customary to stop and hand over any water bottles you can spare.

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