Best known as Morocco’s only ski resort, Oukaïmeden (elevation 2650m, 75km from Marrakesh) is also a handy trekking base to explore local rock carvings; the Club Alpin Francais (CAF) can point you towards trailheads.
Oukaïmeden is also a beautiful trekking base during the warmer months. At the end of a steep, winding road, Oukaïmeden is little more than a smattering of Swiss-like holiday homes and a few hotels, although this may change in the near future with a proposed Dubai-financed property development. A ski base during the winter and a beautiful starting point for trekking during the warmer months. If the aforementioned property development is approved, the village will evolve into a golf course–cum–ski resort, with a water park, exclusive shops, and faux beachfront. Jebel Oukaïmeden’s chair lift -once the highest in the world at 3,273m above sea level- will likely also receive a makeover. During the warmer months, the peak of Jebel Oukaïmeden (3,263m/10,705 ft.) is within easy hiking reach of the village. It’s a moderate 650m (2,133 ft.) ascent and offers stunning views, especially at sunset. For a truly peaceful and refreshing break -during summer it’s about 10 degrees cooler up here than in Marrakech- we recommend a day or two here. Birders may wish to note the crimson-winged finch is an elusive resident here.
In peak snow season, skiers will find seven runs from nursery to black, six tows and the highest ski-lift in Africa (3243m). Gear, passes and lessons are available in town at prices that will delight skiers used to European and American rates.
Peak season has historically been late January to March, but in recent years snow has been scarce by March, and there is environmentally oblivious talk of manufacturing snow to artificially extend the season. Given Morocco’s scarce water supplies and the energy output required to create snow in Oukaïmeden.