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Ziz Valley

Ziz Valley Sights & Attractions

Ziz Valley Sights & Attractions

The great extension of the Atlas mountain range, with its different mountain ranges, causes large valleys to form in Morocco, especially on the southern slope. Although currently its rivers are not very large, they do make possible the existence of oases and green areas where towns and cities of interest also arise. In this post we talk about one in particular: the Ziz Valley, which you will have the opportunity to cover practically completely in many of our circuits around the country, especially those that cross the Middle Atlas to go to the Sahara desert. Here we give you some keys to this environment.

Ziz Valley

Where is the Ziz Valley and what is it like?

The Ziz Valley is the space formed by the erosion of the river of the same name, which runs about 300 km from the Middle Atlas Mountains to the border with Algeria. A characteristic common to all sections is the scarcity of river water, with a flow that is barely a thread, which disappears seasonally at some points. And of course, it is not navigable.

This thread of water allows, especially in its first kilometers, palm groves and even cultivated areas to form in its meadows. In addition, there are artificial swamps, such as Hassan ed-Dhakil, which have really made it possible for a large part of the local population to dedicate themselves to agriculture.

On the other hand, in its southernmost area, for example in Erfoud, the landscape becomes more arid and rocky around it, anticipating its end: unlike rivers in other latitudes, which end their course in another river or in the sea, the Ziz river ends up disappearing into the Sahara, already in Algeria.

Ziz valley

Main attractions in the Ziz Valley

The extensive Ziz Valley integrates interesting places from different points of view. Perhaps the most important population is Errachidia: it is a modern city, with about 200,000 inhabitants and promoted by the French at the time of the Protectorate because they located an important military base here. Although it lacks great monuments, it is a city with all kinds of services (including an airport), so it can serve as a support for long routes to the desert.

Erfoud, further south, is a more common tourist destination among foreign travelers. Its main claim is the fossils of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals, as well as the rocks exploited industrially and by hand in its workshops.

From a historical point of view, the most striking in the Ziz Valley are the kasbahs and small fortified villages. An example of this is the ksar of Maadid, with its humble adobe walls and its architectural style, between decorative and military.

And as we said, the landscape of contrasts that the humble Ziz watercourse makes possible makes any trip by car a worthwhile experience. One can cite spaces such as the blue spring of Meski and the colorful rocky gorges, which accompany the traveler for tens of kilometers.

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