Wildlife at Leisure Holiday Botanical & Birdwatching tour in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains
Tours that take the strain out of enjoying Europe’s flora and fauna! Tours under this banner will be based in a single good quality hotel, and will have direct flights, and these at kind times of day! And most importantly field trips will be kept to a maximum of six or so hours giving you plenty of time to relax before and after. Direct flights are available from some regional airports.
Marrakech is our gateway to the majestic scenery of the High Atlas Mountains. The little hamlet of Imagira is our base, set in the valley above Asni on the route up to the famous Tiz n’Test Pass. From here we’ll explore hillsides decorated with creamy Narcissus bulbocodium subspecies pallidus above richly coloured fields full of Lupins, Cladanthus, Silenes, Muscaris and Lavandulas where Clouded Yellows, Moroccan Orange-tips and Greenish Black-tips will provide a feast of colour for our cameras. At the ski resort of Oukaimeden pretty Romulea bifrons forms colonies in short turf where Crimson-winged Finches feed by melting snow, and descending we’ll stop to photograph White Storks at the nest, and the dazzling colours of Moussier's Redstarts will keep us enthralled. We’ll visit the gorgeous Berber village of Imlil under the shadow great Mount Aksoual in Toubkal National Park. Cherry blossom drapes the village, the sinuous line of the streams picked out by walnut groves from whence the calls of Levaillant’s Green Woodpeckers seem always within hearing. Flocks of Alpine Chough play in cheeky flocks about the village whilst on the slopes above are golden Narcissus jeanmonodii, rare ivory-white Narcissus watieri, and Colchicum triphyllum. We’ll spend an afternoon enjoying the sights of exotic Marrakech after a spot of birdwatching on the N’Fiss reservoir where Squacco Herons, Ruddy Shelduck, and various waders, wildfowl and terns congregate during migration, as do mixed flocks of Yellow Wagtails. Endemic Tristram’s Warblers and Atlas Geckos inhabit the drier warmer Sahara-facing slopes where we’ll find Chapman’s Green Hairstreak and Moroccan Hairstreak. Here are an assortment of often beautiful toadflaxes, notably stripey Linaria ventricosa and climbing Linaria sagittaria and the striking bushy purple and yellow Polygala baetica. Barbary Falcons patrol the rocky gorges where we’ll find Dipcadi serotinum and the little iris Gynandris monophylla whose blooms need many hours of daylight to awake them! There are so many unusual flowers, there’s the amazing little daisy Anacyclus depressus subspecies gelidus whose innocuous looking flowers make one gasp when turned over, so pure and bright is the scarlet on the underside. There’s pink-hued Anacyclus pyrethrum, elegant Rhodanthemum atlanticum, pretty Bellis caerulea, an orange-red form of Anagallis monellii, and the chunky wine-red heads of Anthyllis vulneraria reuteri.
Birds, Flowers, Butterflies and Mountain Landscapes.
No more than two or three miles in any one day, and always at a slow pace, ideally suited to photography. Though the area is mountainous much of the fauna and flora is visible from, or close to, the roads.
Included in the Price
All flights. All accommodation, transport and meals in Morocco. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.
Minimum is 5 and the maximum is 15. Only one leader will accompany a group of 8 or less.
The elegant Sel d’Ailleurs in the quiet little hamlet of Imagira is less than an hour up into the mountains from Marrakech Airport. We’ll have the entire 8-roomed privately-owned hotel to ourselves for the week. The setting is beautiful, amid quiet gardens, with migrant warblers and redstarts flitting through the olive trees every morning. The rooms are spread around the gardens and each comes with comfortable beds, tables, chairs, a sofa, and heating, the latter can be useful at this time of year! All rooms have en suite facilities.
UK direct return flights are from London Gatwick or Manchester* to Marrakech. Indirect routes from regional UK Airports* may be available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Warm and sunny for much of the time. Rain is possible, usually as short-lived showers or thunderstorms, and it can be cool, or even cold, in the highest areas.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.
Flower, bird and butterfly checklists are available.