Birdwatching
Atlas and desert birds

The Atlas Mountains is the biggest mountain in North Africa. It covers more than half of Morocco. It is high and over 4000m at Toubkal. The desert is the entire band in the south of the country; it is the beginning of the big Sahara.

Our trip starts in the High Atlas near Toubkal, and then we continue down to the Anti Atlas before we reach the big Sahara. Most of the birds we will see on this trip are endemic. The alpine accentor is very high in the mountain, Levaillant's green woodpecker is in the high valleys, red ramped wheatear is in the high plateaus, desert lark is in the stony and desert hills, and desert warbler with the bar-tailed lark are in the sandy desert…etc.

ITINERARY

1st day:  Arrival in Marrakech and watch some local birds in the city: house bunting, house sparrow, common bulbul, white stork. We stay in Marrakech for night at Riad Mogador.

2nd day: We travel to the High Atlas . On the way at the Haouz plain we have a variety of birds: Thekla and crested lark, woodchat and southern grey shrikes, greenfinch, chaffinch, goldfinch, blue great and coal tits…etc. We continue up and many good spots are on the way where it is nice to locate many interesting birds in the forest and valleys. The scenery is also beautiful in the villages and mountains around. Moussier's redstart, crimson-winged finch, Lavaillant's green woodpecker are some of the target birds for today. It is quite hard to leave the plateau and the alpine village of Oukaimeden but we need to be back to our hotel in the valley.  Night in la bergerie a nice auberge(house inn) in the Atlas village

3rd day: We go up the test pass. We visit the historic Tinmal mosque on the way. The tawny owl is leaving in. From the pass we enjoy the wonderful view on the Souss plain. This one is a good place for birding. We can find any Atlas bird we miss the day before. The night will be in Taroudant at Palais Salam.

4th day:  We leave the mountains and plain and go south. At first we cross the last mountain, the Anti Atlas and join Tata. This is the beginning of the Sahara desert. We continue east to Foum Zguid. We pass from the black wheatear to the white crowned, red-ramped, desert wheatear. Desert lark is in the rocky slopes. Some raptors are possible: Bonilli's eagle, Barbary, peregrine and lanner falcons. In the oases of Tissint the fulvous babbler leaves in the palm trees. The river offers a good variety of waders and water birds. The houbara bustard can be located on the stony desert before Foum Zguid.
      
5th day: We continue our tour on 4WD safari in Sahara and look for more desert birds. We cross the desert of Irikki and Chegaga.  The sandy Sahara holds the bar-tailed lark, hoopoe lark and sandgrousse. In the bush we can find the desert warbler. The desert sparrow is very common.  At the end we come to Mhamid and Draa valley and continue to the north. The night is at Zagoura at la Kasba Seroukou.  

6th day: We drive north in Draa valley and watch birds in palm droves. The scenery is wonderful cross the villages and fortified buildings. In Ouarzazate we turn est. and spend sometime in the dam before we drive to Dades valley. Night is in Boumalen Dades on the famous Anved plateau at Kasbat Tizzarouine.

7th day: we spend the morning on the Tagoudilt track on the Anved plateau. This the right place where we can find all the larks: timminck's, thick-billed, short-toed, and lesser short-toed, hoopoe, bar-tailed, crested, thekla…and wheatears including morning (Maghreb), red-ramped, Seebohm's and desert. In the afternoon we go up the Dades valley because it worth visiting thanks to their nice scenery and people. We can see some interesting birds as well: the Bonnili's eagle is usually in the gorges. We come back to the hotel in late afternoon.

8th day: We travel to Ouarzazate then to Marrakech via the Tichka pass (2260m). On the way we can watch any bird we missed on the plateau or in the Atlas Mountains and spend one more night in Marrakech. 

9th day: This is the end of our trip.

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Mohamed ZAKI / Ifrane village PO Box 11 22450 Tabant, AZILAL Morocco

Mobile: (+212) 6 66 56 93 92
E-mail: mohamed@zakitour.com