THE TELL ATLAS
Northeast Morocco Wildlife Tour, Flowers and Birds of Northeastern Morocco
The Atlas Mountains of northwestern Africa are really a complex of quite separate mountain ranges. Much of the Tell Atlas lies in Algeria but the very western end of this range extends into Morocco and we’ll spend a week exploring the surprisingly rich mix of habitats found in this part – from remote plateaux to deep river valleys, and from semi-deserts to coastal dunes, Mediterranean maquis and coastal marshes.
Debdou sits adjacent to the high interior plateau. It is a small rural town of just five thousand or so known for its multi-ethnic population. The plateau has an unusual and surprisingly varied plant life. After spring rain or late snow the arid steppes are suddenly dotted with Asteriscus and Marigolds mixing with delicate Convolvulus supinus and the lovely Raffenaldia primuloides. Catananche caespitosa has tight mats of grey-green foliage topped with crisp bright yellow blooms. We’ll see Romulea bulbocodium, elegant pink Volutaria muricata and delicate wine-coloured Volutaria lippi, and fabulous endemic Centaurea oranensis with rich golden flowers topping architectural foliage. Black-bellied Sandgrouse fly in to drink at little springs where we can find both Mediterranean Painted Frog and Sahara Frog. Red-rumped Wheatears and Southern Grey Shrikes are on the lookout for insects as we admire Asphodelus acaulis with its marvellous clumps of stemless large pink flowers – a truly showy ashphodel. Another plant that has dispensed with its stem is Carthamus pinnatus whose large pink blooms sit above filigree thistle leaves
Moulouya’s importance can be gauged from its new status as both a Ramsar site and a national park. The 3000 hectares of marshes and dunes is an important stopover for migrants as well as hosting resident Marbled Teal and Audouin’s Gulls. Waders will include Black-winged Stilt and Avocet and sometimes good numbers of Greater Flamingos are present. Some of the site is used as a juvenile eel nursery and abandoned agricultural fields are a good place to watch for Black-shouldered Kite and the beautiful Moussier’s Redstart, like so much other fauna and flora in this area, found only in the Maghreb! We’ll see Black-eared Wheatears and Black-crowned Tchagra in the maquis surrounding our hotel where at night we’ll hear if not see the Berber Toad. Barbary Partridges and Spur-thighed Tortoise are common in the hills where Woodchat Shrikes and Sardinian Warblers chatter amongst impressive Onopordum macracanthum, tall yellow Linaria multicaulis and yellow and purple Linaria triphylla. Craggy hills above the marshes are smothered in yellow Calicotome intermedia and the blue domes of Globularia alypum and there’s fabulous Perralderia paui smothered in large yellow and cream flowers. Levaillant's Woodpeckers are relatively common and we’ll see Long-legged Buzzard and Booted Eagle soaring overhead as Greenish Black Tip and Moroccan Orange Tip visit the various Nepetas and Rosemaries.
Flowers. Also Birds, Butterflies, and Landscapes.
Stefano Doglio, Abderrazzak Fattah
Very easy. Always at a relaxed pace and never more than two or three miles in any one day, perfectly suited to photographers.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Morocco. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature, including travel insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 15. Only one leader will accompany a group of 8 or less.
We start with a night in the Ibis Hotel in Oujda. A typical Ibis Hotel it is rather plain but comfortable. Next are two nights in Dar Sbylia in Debdou. This is a small family-run guesthouse and is much the plainest accommodation of the tour however it is the only reasonable accommodation in the area. We finish with 4 nights in the excellent Raid Oriental in Beni Snassen, a very nice hotel with lovely rooms and all the usual modern facilities. There are en suite rooms throughout except the Dar Sbylia where rooms share a bathroom per every
UK return flights are from London Heathrow via Casablanca to Oudja. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* may be available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Usually very pleasant with warm sunny days. Showers or sometimes more prolonged rain can occur. Especially in Debdou and the High Plateaux next to this town climate can be surprisingly cold at this time of the year, with fresh snow unlikely but far from impossible: please do bring warm clothes!
Why not combine this holiday with the Morocco’s High Atlas tour? Your leader will transport you between the two… London to London the cost of the two tours is £3000. Marrakech to Oujda it is £2700. Single supplement is £190 for both tours. Accommodation, meals and transport between the two tours is included.
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. Flower, butterfly and bird checklists are available.