The Atlas Mountains are a short hour some drive from Marrakesh, and therefore a very doable day trip or longer. We rented a car and driver for the day which cost us 1300 MAD (approximately 150USD). We booked from the hotel and could have probably gotten something cheaper if we shopped around but we found this driver safe and his car had all the amenities we wanted like seat belts and air conditioning, so we figured it was worth it.
One of the first things we saw as we started to ascend the mountains was a series of female cooperatives selling Argan Oil. We stopped at the first one and got a quick tour on how this magic potion was made and sampled some used in cooking. Argan oil is available all over Morocco but there is certainly some variability in quality. Buying it so close to the production seemed like a good idea!
We carried on to a little village in the Mountains where we were introduced to our guide (included in the price of our car). Hussein guided us on a short hike to a little waterfall, which the kids really enjoyed. More adventurous families can pack in a whole day exploring this area – for us, it was enough. We put the kids on a mule for the ride down and they were thrilled!
After our little activity it was back into the car for lunch at the gorgeous Kasbah Tomodot. This property, owned by Sir Richard Branson may be the most spectacular place we visited in Morocco. Kasbah Tomodot accepts children during certain times of the year (check the website). They did not have any availability for us to stay but we were able to have lunch at the pool restaurant, which was just stunning. To make the most of our stay, we had dessert on the roof, which allowed us to explore some other nooks and corners of this spectacular hotel. We will be back, perhaps without the kids 🙂
We promised the kids a camel ride so that’s what we did after lunch. Quick negotiations (we ended up paying 200MAD for 30 minutes on a camel, which was frankly, 15 minutes too long) and a bit of a backache later, we were back in the car on our way back to Marrakesh.
For families looking for a more rustic retreat away from the city, I would definitely recommend some time in the Atlas Mountains. We barely scratched the surface.